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Bright Sounding Speakers With Mild Bass

ravishing

New member
Nov 28, 2010
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Hi there,

Am looking to correct my bright sounding speakers and therefore hope to be able to consult you. If need be, i seriously consider to upgrade my speakers.

Currently, my hifi set up is :

- NAD Power Amp C275 BEE
- NAD Pre Amp C165 BEE
- Chord Company: Epic Twin speaker cables
- Tara Labs : Spectrum 3a Interconnects
- Mordaunt Short Mezzo 6 (Tower speakers)
- Marantz CDP (2003 model)
- Def Tech Supercube 4000 sub

Problem :
The Mezzos sounded bright and after almost 4 years, it still sounded bright. For extended listening duration, my ears can get tired and fatigue and then, it is worse if i crank up the volume. Bass response is way below average and i thought a sub (just bought in 2012) might do the trick (which it did but only for the bass) and solve the brightness problem. Unfortunately, its still there.

I understand and was told that NAD amplifiers are characteristically punchy and warm sounding. Please correct me if i'm wrong ?

I was toying with the idea of changing the speakers. I heard the B & W 685 and Kandy K II combo and i thought they sounded warm & fabulous.

I am typically a 80 % music and 20 % home theatre (2.1 to me is just fine) person and the entire hi-fi set is in the living hall (19' L x 12' B x 15' H) with an extension to a small dining area. The speakers fire across the 12' B of the living hall. It is stuff with the usual furniture, sofas, a coffee table resting on medium size piece of rug and flooring is ceramic tiles.

I listen to a variety of music genres but mostly jazz fusion music/vocals + sometimes contemporary pop and classical. in the living area and sometimes from my bedroom. I like to fill the entire home (960 sq feet) with background music sometimes soft, sometimes upped (about 9 o'clock on the volume knob).

I recently demoed the CM1 and vs 685. CM1 was very smooth and musical in all departments.
Clarity was sweet and top notched but never bright. Bass was extended with good soundstage. The 685 was good too but once the speakers were switched A/B and compared headon, the CM1s are clear winners. The audio shop i demoed was using a Rotel intergrated amp, not sure which model though.

Question:
Through youtr experience, basing on my set up, do you think the brightness problem lies with
the speakers?

Would my NAD pre/power amps be good enough to drive the B & Ws ?

Which would be most suitable - the 685s or CMs . I personally like the CM5.

The audio showroom permits me to bring the NAD + Marantz CDP down for a more accurate
auditioning.

Really appreciate your advice.

With much thanks.
zhou
 

Gravenhurst

New member
Feb 10, 2013
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I would Definatley change the speakers.

Have you tried any other speakers other than B&W? Dynaudio’s excite range, (although the new excite range does come out in the Autumn) Spendor or Dali speakers may be to your liking?

Your amp combo should be more than adequate to run any speakers I or you have mentioned.
 

DandyCobalt

New member
Oct 8, 2010
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Whilst I'm a big fan of B&Ws (see sig), I would definitely check out the Dynaudios.

A reason for going for the B&Ws was that I wanted "studio sound", and the B&Ws delivered for me personally.

But I've been in a few music studios recently, and they all swear by the Dynaudios that they have installed.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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I would change the speakers also, B&W are OK but I would try some Kefs start with R100s. Try and get a home demo. NAD are not the most detailed of amps and tend to be bass prominent. The NAD CM1 combination maybe too much bass although your room/positioning will have a large bearing on that. Not CM1s take some driving as not sensitive about 84db @ 8 ohms.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
393
206
19,270
I thought the CM1s were horrible when I tried them. As far from natural-sounding as I've ever heard. I would suggest very careful auditioning of these because my feeling is you will either love them or hate them.
 

ravishing

New member
Nov 28, 2010
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Thanks very much guys for all your invalueable feedback and advice.

One of the audio salesman told me that it would be a downgrade from Tower speakers to stand mounters. He suggested the B&W 684 instead.

I demoed the 684s (not with my NADs) with Rotel integrated. It sounded punchy but not quite like the 685 & Roksan Kandy II combo.

Could the brightness of the Mezzo 6s anything to do with the room acoustics ? I was told that Marantz CD players are generally bright sounding and could be the source.

Will checkout the the Dynaudio EXcite X12. The CM5s are bigger in its mid/bass driver (6.5" vs 5.7''), kevlar material cone and also deeper in its cabinet. Will this generally translate to better timbre and overall tonality and soundstage? I noticed that the X12 power handling is up to 150 watts whic is on par with my NAD power amp. CM5 is at 125 watts. Does that mean the NADs can drive the CM5 for a smoother and better sound quality?

Thanks v m again.

zhou
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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I would not believe a word a salesman says, ignore it. Floorstanders have lots of problems to overcome with the large cabinets. I don't think Marantz cd players are bright more neutral I would say. I would get to hung up on different speaker materials, they all have their advantages and disadvantages, Kevlar have some technical crossover problems to deal with, the Kef LS50s use Kevlar which works well but I found they need some driving to get going. Try the Dyns, I did not like them and I think they will not suit your system. Bigger drivers/cabinet will generally give more bass but not better timbre and overall tonality and soundstage, in fact I would say worse, to me the CM1s were abit unbalanced with bass being to much. I did not find B&W to be very natural/neutral.

Yes your room will have an effect on the sound. What size/shape and type of floors and walls does it have?
 

ravishing

New member
Nov 28, 2010
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Thanks very much bigh.

My apology. You said you did not like the Dyns or is it the B&Ws ?

My living/dining flooring are all ceramic tiles. Its configuration is quite oddly shaped. The living area is "joined" to the dining area. Speakers are firing across the breadth of the listening area which is 19' in Length x 12' in Breadth x 15' in Height.. there is a short wall (in length) behind the entire hi-fi set. To the right of the speaker, it is being ''spaced' in to accommodate the dining table & chairs. Effectively, the right speaker is partially

covering the back wall only ie half of the speaker's rear is exposed to space only. The left speaker is no better as well. It stands to cover also half the wall and teh teh half is open to space as its the opening to the balcony. I can close the sliding glass door and with curtains but absolutely nothing i could do about my right speaker :(.

Thanks & cheers

zhou
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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ravishing said:
Thanks very much bigh.

My apology. You said you did not like the Dyns or is it the B&Ws ?

My living/dining flooring are all ceramic tiles. Its configuration is quite oddly shaped. The living area is "joined" to the dining area. Speakers are firing across the breadth of the listening area which is 19' in Length x 12' in Breadth x 15' in Height.. there is a short wall (in length) behind the entire hi-fi set. To the right of the speaker, it is being ''spaced' in to accommodate the dining table & chairs. Effectively, the right speaker is partially

covering the back wall only ie half of the speaker's rear is exposed to space only. The left speaker is no better as well. It stands to cover also half the wall and teh teh half is open to space as its the opening to the balcony. I can close the sliding glass door and with curtains but absolutely nothing i could do about my right speaker :(.

Thanks & cheers

zhou
It was the Dyns I did not like, not that keen on B&W CM1s either only played them because hifi shop did not hav emuch else and they were pushing them. The problem with the Dyns I had was the forward treble, it was not harsh but a bit forward on things like drum cyblems, which I found iritating, also strings sounded a higher pitch than normal. There are a few fans of the Dyn X12 on here but I think they use warm sounding amps like Rega/Heed.

As for your room tiles will not help, I would buy some rugs esp. on the reflection point, which is halfway between the speakers and you. Generally firing the speakers down the room is better and about 1/3 in, I know in many rooms that is not possible. Curtains will help. There is plenty of sights online that advise about speaker positing etc. but I would get too hung up on it, I think more suitable speakers will solve most of your problems. If you find a speaker you like try to get it on home demo, even if its just for overnight.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,674
121
19,870
ravishing said:
Thanks very much bigh.

My apology. You said you did not like the Dyns or is it the B&Ws ?

My living/dining flooring are all ceramic tiles. Its configuration is quite oddly shaped. The living area is "joined" to the dining area. Speakers are firing across the breadth of the listening area which is 19' in Length x 12' in Breadth x 15' in Height.. there is a short wall (in length) behind the entire hi-fi set. To the right of the speaker, it is being ''spaced' in to accommodate the dining table & chairs. Effectively, the right speaker is partially

covering the back wall only ie half of the speaker's rear is exposed to space only. The left speaker is no better as well. It stands to cover also half the wall and teh teh half is open to space as its the opening to the balcony. I can close the sliding glass door and with curtains but absolutely nothing i could do about my right speaker :(.

Thanks & cheers

zhou
I can fully understand what the others are saying about the speakers, but I have a hunch that your amps are the problem, and here's why: The Nads tend to have heavy bass and in a well damped or average room they are generally fine. But I've heard Nad 352 in a reflective room and that extra bass turns very harsh, resulting in a ill-defined sound.

I think Dyns are fantastic speakers. They could just be the ticket. Personally I'd be looking at a more sonically balanced amp first. Perhaps something in the region of Creek Evo2, Arcam FMJ range or mid range Marantz, such as 8003 or Pearl Lite. These amps aren't quite so bass-reliant and help tame any HF and LF nasties.
 

RobinKidderminster

New member
May 27, 2009
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I also doubt the speakers are too bright. Not reviewed as such and my mezzo 8's are not bright. A case for audition if ever there was? Interested to know of the final 'solution' but room acoustics has to be a first consideration. Good luck
 

MakkaPakka

New member
May 25, 2013
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It would be helpful to see pictures but it sounds very much like your room is too reflective - you've got sound bouncing between a reflective floor and ceiling - I had a similar problem with a wooden floor. If the coffee table, for instance, is in front of the speakers then that can make a huge difference - try covering with something soft.
 

ravishing

New member
Nov 28, 2010
2
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Thanks Plastic Penguin for your take on the NADs.

i tried moving the glass top coffee table in the listening area. It does make some difference.

there is a piece of medium size rug in fron of thr speakers. i draw all the curtains to cover the glass windows. some slight improvment on the overall sound quality especially the bass. i still find the treble a little harsh and unrefine especially when cranked up the volume.

when i purchased my Def Tech sub, i demoed with the Mezzo 6. i think it was a Marantz AVR then followed by a Marantz Integrated amp. I heard the mezzos without the sub and it sounded hollow. Its bass was a 'thud'' sound, simply lifeless and horible.

Guys, what's your take on sound diffusers and absorbers to reduce reflections. I would like something portable so that they can be removed when not in used - to eliminate the ''nays'' from the other half.
 

RobinKidderminster

New member
May 27, 2009
582
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Check my signature for some cheap wxperimentation with traps. Otherwise search rhese forums for loads of info and links to sites with info at all levels
 

ISAC69

New member
Mar 13, 2012
73
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Besides the B&W try to demo the Proac , PMC and Spendor they all on the neutral/natural side not too bright and not to worm .

I am not a big fan of NAD maybe the problem is with your amp too.
 

Gravenhurst

New member
Feb 10, 2013
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ISAC69 said:
Besides the B&W try to demo the Proac , PMC and Spendor they all on the neutral/natural side not too bright and not to worm .
Spendor and Proac are not bright but i found the PMC twenty series a little harsh when i compared them with dynaudio and spendor, All down to the individual ears though i guess.
 

ravishing

New member
Nov 28, 2010
2
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0
thanks for your suggestions to treat the living room. i shall look into it but def needs to portable

and not too huge due to WF (wife factor).

i had the oppotunity to demo the Quad 12L Classic vs the 685s with a Rotel Integrated. i tend to lean towards the Quads as i find the music more wholesome overall to the ears both on high & low volumes. The 685s seemd a liitle lightweight in all departments. The Quads wew on awooden cabinet about 12-14'' (?) away from the & the 685s were on stands. Not sure if the diffference may due the speaker placements.

The most astounding discovery was when i demoed the MA RX 2. These mighty boxes can really sing and it blew me away. These definitely have the WOW factor IMHO. A very small low end tube amp costing about 300 Sin $ and apparently a car cd player was used in the demo.

Question is, would my NAD 275/165 be a good match for the RX2.

All your answers are always welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you.
 

Tibor

New member
Oct 23, 2007
59
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Change the speakers or get some valve DAC. Be careful with metal based dome! What about Wharfedale Denton 2: lovely warm speakers?
 

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