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Mystery Leak Troughline III with internal stereo decoder

Discussion in 'classic' started by mr_phillip, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. mr_phillip

    mr_phillip pfm Member

    So I’ve owned this Troughline for at least six years and, during that time (and for a variety of reasons I won't bore anyone with) all it’s done is sit on a shelf and look pretty. I finally got around to setting it up for a listen a week ago and it sounds amazing. It's not like I haven't heard Troughlines before either – I've owned four in total, my first came with an early external decoder from One Thing Audio and sounded pretty decent as I recall.

    This one though has had an internal stereo decoder fitting with some quite extensive modifications. The signal strength is amazing, way better than the unmodded mono version I also have (which is all the more remarkable given that it’s just plugged into an old rooftop tv aerial).

    I’d love to know if anyone has any idea who might’ve done the work. I know nothing about it. I don’t even really recall where I bought it from - eBay most likely, probably after a few drinks (the 1am virus claims another victim!) As I say, it was a good few years ago and I've had more pressing things to deal with in that time than old radios, but whoever did the work certainly knew what they were about.
    [​IMG]
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    John_73 likes this.
  2. Chops54

    Chops54 pfm Member

    That’s interesting. I have one of those third party decoders in a box somewhere. I also have a Troughline III with the factory decoder fitted and the performance is pretty poor tbh.
     
  3. madmike

    madmike I feel much better now, I really do...

    There's a Philips Tda1005 Multiplex Decoder in there...
     
  4. Paul R

    Paul R pfm Member

    It's had some pretty serious hacking, starting with replacing the tube rectifier, but lots of modern looking resistors underneath in interesting combinations.
     
  5. audioflyer

    audioflyer No going back once you heard a ceramic cartridge

  6. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    All that done to it and yet the most unreliable part left in place.... the green 8uF electrolytic near top right in photo 3.

    I've done similar conversions and even built advanced outboard decoders for them but still don't rate them at all.
    The standard TL3 with original internal decoder is the worst sounding tuner I've ever heard!
     
  7. mr_phillip

    mr_phillip pfm Member

    Yeah, I think I'd assumed someone had just popped an internal decoder card in the case and hooked it up to the multiplex line internally. It was only when I opened it up I realised the extent of the mods. When you A-B it against a stock Troughline, it's had an awful lot of work.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    A later Leak Stereofetic will easily beat a Troughline and is both far cheaper and needs no mods.

    I have about a dozen TL's, have done similar mods to the OP's on several, made outboard decoders, built RF pre amps for them to boost sensitivity etc etc and cannot state strongly enough that all the "Troughline legend" stuff is total guff! These are poor tuners by any current standards. OK they were about the best British tuner in the early 60's but that's about it.
    They also don't have valves in the audio signal path, apart from a cathode follower on the TLIII, when used for stereo.
     
  9. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    It’s also incredibly clean inside for a half century+ old item!
     
  10. Paul R

    Paul R pfm Member

  11. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    TBH I'm far from sure they were the best British tuner thoughout their lifetime in production. Leak was a pretty good salesman/marketingbod. Knew how to promote by 'selling' some technical detail. (Ducks and runs... 8-] )
     
  12. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Well, I am beginning to think that the experts are suggesting my radio is rubbish - a 1957 Trouhgline used daily. I must be deaf, but then, perhaps, the experts are justifying the now fairly widespread scepticism of experts!

    Of course this old radio has the singular disadvantage of playing through an ESL [also made in 1957], which is such rubbish that anything would sound "not bad" through it. Apaologies, as this is only mono through one mono speaker ...

    Best wishes from George
     
    mr_phillip likes this.
  13. deebster

    deebster pfm Member

    Apologies for interrupting but do I remember it right, that this is the tuner Hi-Fi World used to wax lyrical about?
     
  14. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Ah I did say "in the early 60's"... but yes various Leak claims were exaggerated or the test conditions were not as expected.
     
  15. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    "Apologies for interrupting but do I remember it right, that this is the tuner Hi-Fi World used to wax lyrical about?" [Two posts up].

    And the BBC used to develop [in the real World] their VHF broadcasting ...

    Of course the BBC is rubbish as well. The Danes do it so much better.
     
  16. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Yours is the earlier original TL of course but most of them are perfectly adequate as mono tuners, which is what they were designed to be. It's when you use them with a decoder in stereo that the problems become apparent.
     
  17. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Jez,

    You know what I think of stereo - smoke and mirrors is the most polite I can put it!

    Even AD Blumlein saw no use for it in music, but merely as a method of allowing the voice of actors to follow their position on the cinema screen.

    Blumlein, who produced the first practical stereo, was right.

    Best from George
     
  18. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Yup. An article by IIRC Haden Boardman appeared which claimed that this very commonly available for a £tenner old tuner which most hi fi dealers had piles of in their basements was the best tuner in the world... period. And for a while they were going for like £350!! Now far be it from me to even suggest that a dealer in vintage hi fi equipment such as Mr Boardman who probably had enough of them to pay Troughline Jenga with them had any motive...:rolleyes:
     
  19. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Well the old mono Troughline is producing a wonderful concert of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos on Radio Three. It's the interval now!

    Amazing that a sixty-two year old radio can [on a good relay] sound as fine as anything else I have heard through a loudspeaker musically speaking.

    I have to say that it does not sound like a valve based design with its brilliance and natural brightness on the harpsichord, and its even handed handling of the whole musical balance from treble to focussed and lucid bass.

    It is the best piece of replay equipment I have ever used, apart from the ESL. So perhaps I am deaf ...

    Best wishes from George
     
  20. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Distributor and Manufacturer

    There is a massive difference between the Troughline that HiFi World used and tested and a normal standard Troughline...
     

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