Bright sound - new amp?

danrv

New member
Sep 17, 2010
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Hi
Any ideas what may be causing my system to sound a little bright?
It's a 12m x 12m bedroom setup with soft furnishings and I listen to
most styles of music.
While I do favour a brightish sound as opposed to dull/lifeless I'm finding
that anything modern/pop results in sibelance on vocals making them sound
unatural and a little thin.
Bass and midrange is good but treble is too much at times. Don't really want
to use tone controls as I'd like to 'warm' the sound up a bit also.
Speaker positioning doesn't help and had considered changing the speaker cable to
Chord Carnival Silver Screen but it's a bit bulky compared to the QED.

I'm thinking maybe the Rotel is giving the Dali's too much top and they would benefit
from a better amp.
Looks & matching are quite important so would prefer dark grey or black.
Any help appreciated.

CA Azur 640C / Rotel RA-01 / Dali Lektor 2 / Atacama Nexus 6 / Target Hifi stand / Chord ChrimsonPlus / QED Silver Anniversary XT.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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I think the first thing to do is borrow (or buy with the ability to return) some "all copper" cable.....the natural choice would be the Silver Screen (as you suggested).

This should take the edge off; but if still too bright it'll be down to the CA/Rotel mix, as I don't believe the speakers are bright......changing the amp is likely to have the biggest effect.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
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Hi Danrv, I've got a pair of Lektors 2's as well and find them very good with no real harsh treble. I would say first thing would be to try a different CDP or source instead of the CA. Second try a different amp. Such as NAD, Marantz or Onkyo.
 

Pistol Pete1

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Jan 27, 2008
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Definitely try the Chord silver screen speaker cable......

I have some of it, and Chord Odyssey 2 cable (which I use), and silver cable is definitely 'brighter' than copper......

It's the cheapest option too....
 

jonomd

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Nov 13, 2010
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Hi, I had a rotel 931 amp with the Dali lektor 2 speakers. The source is a yamaha hard drive recorder. Don't know how this compares with a cambridge. This arrangement did produce a bit of an edge to the sound. I was using a QED speaker cable (not sure what type). This I changed to a Chord carnival silverscreen cable which took the edge away. Like you said the cable is rather thick.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
danrv said:
Hi Any ideas what may be causing my system to sound a little bright? It's a 12m x 12m bedroom setup with soft furnishings and I listen to most styles of music. While I do favour a brightish sound as opposed to dull/lifeless I'm finding that anything modern/pop results in sibelance on vocals making them sound unatural and a little thin. Bass and midrange is good but treble is too much at times. Don't really want to use tone controls as I'd like to 'warm' the sound up a bit also. Speaker positioning doesn't help and had considered changing the speaker cable to Chord Carnival Silver Screen but it's a bit bulky compared to the QED. I'm thinking maybe the Rotel is giving the Dali's too much top and they would benefit from a better amp. Looks & matching are quite important so would prefer dark grey or black. Any help appreciated. CA Azur 640C / Rotel RA-01 / Dali Lektor 2 / Atacama Nexus 6 / Target Hifi stand / Chord ChrimsonPlus / QED Silver Anniversary XT.
Your problem is a system pulling in the same direction as each other: Rotel is lively, CA CDP is pretty much the same, while Dali speakers, the ones I've heard, is very lively.

Personally I would change the CDP first, then speakers or, lastly, the amp.

I have a brightish set-up, although with sources that tame the kit it isn't a problem. One of them, for sure, has to be culled.
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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Thanks for the replies. PP has a good point. All the components are on the lively side but I'm hoping that the speakers are versatile enough to be tamed a bit.

I have an old Technics CD player I could try and can also borrow an Arcam Delta 60 which should have a warmer delivery. Will also try CC Silver Screen as I've recently added the ChrimsonPlus to replace QED Reference Audio 1 interconnect. Going full silver hasn't help things much.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
danrv said:
Thanks for the replies. PP has a good point. All the components are on the lively side but I'm hoping that the speakers are versatile enough to be tamed a bit.

I have an old Technics CD player I could try and can also borrow an Arcam Delta 60 which should have a warmer delivery. Will also try CC Silver Screen as I've recently added the ChrimsonPlus to replace QED Reference Audio 1 interconnect. Going full silver hasn't help things much.
Certainly try different things, but I've found cables only have subtle changes to the tonal quality.
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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I think I may try some Van Damme UP LCOFC 2 X 2.5 hifi speaker cable at only £1.89 per metre. May not make much difference but from what I've read online it's pretty good and a lot cheaper and more discreet than the Silver Screen.
 
A

Anonymous

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That is one big bedroom!!!! More like 12' x 12' I would think.
 

Big Chris

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Apr 3, 2008
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I agree with the consensus on ditching the QED speaker cable. I recently ditched my old Silver Anniversary cables and went with Atlas Hyper 2.0. Much more natural and neutral than my old QED cable. Well worth the outlay.
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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I have the same CD player as you and have had the same cables. I replaced the QED SA with Chord Odyssey and it certainly took the edge off the top end and produced imprevements else where, however while I think the QED SA should ultimately go I would look at the CD Player first. I kind of wish I did. I have it running through an Onkyo 905 which is on the warmer side of neutral and while I like the sound, it is still a little too bright and thin for my liking. Thin is a word that is often associated with the 640C.

I think source will make a bigger impact than the cables at the moment, however I would look at changing the cables at some point too.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Yes, I'm not knocking it..I think it's a fantastic player for the money. I've really enjoyed it and my criticisms of it are quite minor and would probably not be an issue in another system ;)

I'm not sure about the best upgrade path though. I'm actually wondering the same thing myself :)
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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Thanks.
Although I didn't hear the CD player at Richer Sounds before I purchased,I did a fair bit of research.
I was impressed by the WHF review and considered at the time,that between CD, amp and speakers,the CD player has the least impact on the overall sound.
I don't regret buying the 640C as I'm impressed by the amount of detail it extracts from the disc and the big,clear sound it produces.
I've heard that Cambridge stuff can sound bright and a bit clinical. It was a close call between that and the Marantz CD6001.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
It just might be the CD-player that throws an otherwise okay or a-little-bright system too far into Brightland.

I have had the Cambridge 740A amplifier, and upgraded to their top set, Cambridge 840A V2 amp and Cambridge 840C CD-player. My sound is definitely bright, and I'm having trouble matching it with a good set of speakers. Found out that perhaps Rega RS 5 is the best match.

Try borrowing a different CD-player and see if that works.

Best,
Henrik
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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Thanks. All I have is an old Technics SL-PG 400A CD player as an alternative. I rigged this up to an Arcam Delta 90.2 and it does still sound rather bright. Next thing is to do is swap the QED Silver Anniversary XT speaker cable for Van Damme hifi cable or Chord Carnival Silver Screen as I already have the ChrimsonPlus IC.

I noticed a smoother sound when I swapped my QED Reference Audio 1 for the Chrimson so hope that the CC Silver Sceen will improve things a little more.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
silver cables have a tendency to increase the treble.
try some cables without silver coating.
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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Still haven't progressed much on this one. Not sure what to swap and could get expensive buying components only to find it's still the same.

A fellow musician who's heard it reckons it's the speakers and says I should have stuck with the MA RX1's I had briefly and use the tone controls (they had too much bass). I suppose I need to lug my gear in to a local dealer and try different things.

I don't think cables are going to tame the brightness and do think a different source or amp would make a difference.

Possibilities are:

Marantz CD6004/PM6004 combination - looks good value.

Arcam FMJ18 amp

Rotel RA 1520 amp

S/H Marantz CD63
 

Big Chris

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Apr 3, 2008
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danrv said:
I don't think cables are going to tame the brightness and do think a different source or amp would make a difference.
Seriously. Ditching the QED S.A for all copper cabling will give a more natural sound with less top end..... I know, I did it, as I had the same issue as you. I'm now completely happy.

Don't get me wrong, it's not gonna be a gargantuan shift in tonality, but it'll definitely send you in the right direction and it's also a lot cheaper than box swapping.
 

danrv

New member
Sep 17, 2010
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Thanks. I tried some old Cable Talk 3.1 copper cable that I used to use and I think there's a subtle difference. Not sure if the Chord Silver Screen or Van Damme would help anymore.

I'm really not sure if it's just the mastering on some tracks. Modern over produced pop/female vocals and Jazz funk really do highlight the bright sound. It's open and lively which is welcome when needed but it does become a bit unbearable on mellow stuff.

The Chord SS is popular and would get some but at around £40 for the amount I need it may not be an improvement on the Cable Talk. Interconnects can be exchanged but unfortunately not cut speaker cable.

I do have funds for a new amp and CD player if it comes to it and I think that would bring the biggest improvement. Suggestions here said the brightness/sibelance may be down to the CA/Rotel mix. I've tried a couple of different CD players but these were old 90's Technics and Kenwood ones.

CA Azur 640C / Rotel RA-01 / Dali Lektor 2 / Atacama Nexus 6 / Target Hifi stand / Chord ChrimsonPlus / QED Silver Anniversary XT & sometimes Cable Talk 3.1.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Im afraid it is the combi. Rotel and Dali. Rotel is bright and clear, so is the Dali. It is too much. The QED is warm and smooth, so I wouldn't change any of that. But before you change anything, try to borrow a Marantz or a tube amp and see what it brings!
 

danrv

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Sep 17, 2010
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Thanks. Don't know where to borrow an amp from but I think Marantz would be a good match. I read that Dali used a PM6002 for Hifi show demo's.

There's a few used Marantz amps on Ebay that are half the price of a new one so that's a possibilty or Richer Sounds as they have a returns policy.

Maybe the Dali's would benefit from a more mid level amp with more power/quality. It's a shame CA amps aren't a warmer sound as I have the 640C and the remote would control the amp.
 

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