How to take the edge off a bright setup?

2xcess

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Mar 7, 2011
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I've just added a Roksan Kandy K2 integrated amp to my setup. When the volume is turned up loud the sound becomes increasingly bright. Too much so.

The setup comprises a Squeezebox Touch (in pass through mode), DACMagic, Kandy K2 and Dali Ikon 6s. Files are FLAC (ranging from 16bit, 44khz to 24bit 96khz quality). Interconnects are Chord Crimson Plus and Atlas Compass Coaxial with bi-wired IXOS XHS513 silver plated speaker cable. At low and moderately high volume levels the sound is excellent, but towards the upper limit of my normal listening volumes the treble becomes increasingly dominant or bright. FWIW go much past 10 o'clock on the Roksan and the Dali Ikon 6s are very loud, far too loud to enjoy.

I'd like to keep the kandy K2 and Dali's for the moment, so are there any other components that I should be looking at changing to tame that brightness at very high volumes?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Steve.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The answer lies in the two components you don't want to change.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Try Chord Carnival Silverscreen speaker cable. Contrary to its name it is actually coppet multi-strand and personally I think it is very hard to beat. I also own some Rumour 2 which is more expensive (and silver like your cables) but find the Carnival to be much better balanced. Silver speaker cables always sound to me as though they are slightly squashing the depth out of the sound and making it seem overly thin and/or edgy. If you have a good relationship with a dealer they might even lend you some Carnival to try.
 

gramps23

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Mar 7, 2011
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Couple of thoughts... Firstly, have you tried fiddling with the placement of your speakers? I know it's a basic, but can be a quick remedy to lumps in the frequency response of a loudspeaker that are often accentuated at higher listening levels. If that's not helping, then, as mentioned above, it could be something that's "tunable" by having a play about with the cables. Most dealers have some that you can take home and demo, so well worth a go before considering more drastic action with the expensive components.
 

2xcess

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Mar 7, 2011
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That's one thing that concerns me. However the sound is excellent until it gets really loud so I'm grasping at the straw that it maybe curable with subtle changes in the other components before touching these 2 components
 

Joe10155

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Oct 25, 2008
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Looking at the What HiFi review of your speaker cables it does comment on the brightness.

http://www.whathifi.com/Review/Ixos-XHS-513/

A change of speaker cable may well tone it down a bit. Although the cross-sectional area of the Ixos is not that small at 2.1mm sq. thicker cables can dampen down some of the brightness and transmit more bass. It made quite a lot of difference for me when I changed from QED Silver Anniversary-XT cable (1.88mm sq. I think) to Atlas Hyper 3 cable (3mm sq.) on my set up.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Try toeing the speakers slightly out the way a little. Not to much, just enough to point the tweeter away from your normal listening position. You might be pleasantly surprised. If not, change the speakers or employ a good equaliser.
 

Dan Turner

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Jul 9, 2007
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Look at a decent multi-stranded copper cable - Van Damme is excellent value. Also try adjusting the speaker orientation slightly - toe in/out and even try lower the back spikes/raising the front so that they are tilted backwards slightly, so that the tweeters are not pointing directly at you when you're in your main listening position.
 

WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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Hi, if the set up sounds good at lower volumes, and gets too bright (harsh) as you turn it up, is it possible that the amplifier is starting to struggle? If so, it might be worth trying to get a home dem of the K2 power amp?
 

2xcess

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2011
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Speaker placement is limited in my living room which 'L' shaped. They are just 6" from the wall (Wife will not let me stick them in the middle of her living-room!) but I can try toeing out a little.

The speaker cable looks worth trying. I had not seen that review on the current cable. Can bi-wiring add to the brightness? Worth putting the jumpers back and connecting up the bass connectors? Should I try the Chord Carnival Silver Screen or is there something better suited to my needs?
 
2xcess:

I've just added a Roksan Kandy K2 integrated amp to my setup. When the volume is turned up loud the sound becomes increasingly bright. Too much so.

The setup comprises a Squeezebox Touch (in pass through mode), DACMagic, Kandy K2 and Dali Ikon 6s. Files are FLAC (ranging from 16bit, 44khz to 24bit 96khz quality). Interconnects are Chord Crimson Plus and Atlas Compass Coaxial with bi-wired IXOS XHS513 silver plated speaker cable. At low and moderately high volume levels the sound is excellent, but towards the upper limit of my normal listening volumes the treble becomes increasingly dominant or bright. FWIW go much past 10 o'clock on the Roksan and the Dali Ikon 6s are very loud, far too loud to enjoy.

I'd like to keep the kandy K2 and Dali's for the moment, so are there any other components that I should be looking at changing to tame that brightness at very high volumes?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Steve.

What are your room acoustics like? Do you have hard flooring? If your room is reflective then it'll have a huge influence on the sound.
 

2xcess

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2011
22
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WinterRacer:
Hi, if the set up sounds good at lower volumes, and gets too bright (harsh) as you turn it up, is it possible that the amplifier is starting to struggle? If so, it might be worth trying to get a home dem of the K2 power amp?

That is an interesting suggestion. I had assumed that the volume being no further that 10 o'clock meant the amp wasn't trying. Perhaps I'm wrong. The Dali Ikon 6s are 6ohm (impedance) and 92 db/w/m sensitivity. I don't have enough experience to judge.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
That should be fine - the K2 I think is about 75/80wpc and with a 90db+ sensitivity it'll cope with the level you're playing at. Were you pushing the amp hard, then you'd have clipping issues, but at 10 o'clock on the volume dial, the K2 will barely be breaking sweat as the speakers are an easy load to drive.
 

WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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2xcess:That is an interesting suggestion. I had assumed that the volume being no further that 10 o'clock meant the amp wasn't trying. Perhaps I'm wrong. The Dali Ikon 6s are 6ohm (impedance) and 92 db/w/m sensitivity. I don't have enough experience to judge.

The Ikons dip to 4.7 ohms, but that's not really difficult load. My view is that cables don't (shouldn't) change the character of the sound and the fact that it sounds good at lower volumes makes me think this isn't to do with cables or room acoustics.

I also think you can never have too much power - sensibly used :) I certainly got better results when I added an Audiolab 8000px to an Audiolab 8000A when driving a pair of mission 753s (another multi-drive unit floorstander). With the 8000A alone, these also got harsh as soon as I upped the volume.

Make sure you get a home demo if you do pursue this route as it's not a cheap option!
 

6th.replicant

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Oct 26, 2007
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IMHO, DacMagic + silver-coated speaker cable = bright
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Maybe try some 100% copper, multi-strand, 6mm-thick, oxygen-free speaker cable? Available from Musicraft, IIRC it costs less than £5/metre
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ear

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Aug 24, 2008
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the ikons have very lively treble, the mk2 are a bit more tamed on the treble.im not quite sold on ribbon tweeteers yet...
 

gramps23

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Mar 7, 2011
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ear:the ikons have very lively treble, the mk2 are a bit more tamed on the treble.im not quite sold on ribbon tweeteers yet...

You've not heard a decent ribbon then.. Done well they are sublime
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Cypher

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Jun 8, 2007
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I've had the K2 amp in the past and couldn't live with it in the end. The sound became very bright and hard when you listen to loud volumes. I've never had the impression the amp has a lot of power. But that's just my opinion
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A

Anonymous

Guest
I had dodgy brightness (almost sibilance) with my 640's (as everyone here knows!)...Drove me nuts
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but my Dali Lektor 2's have solved 95% of this problem and opened up a whole new window on my CD's
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2xcess

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2011
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plastic penguin:Really do believe the OP should check acoustics before splashing out on something he may not need.

Room acoustics: Speakers are located about 8 feet apart firing 'down' the living room into the larger of the 2 cubes that make up the 'L' configuration of the room. Flooring is carpet with a large rug in the middle (listening position is middle of this). 2 large linen sofas, one to the left (looking towards the speaks) and one opposite the speakers. Wall furnishing is limited comprising of 2 canvases that cover less than 20% of wall area, whilst on the right (looking towards the speakers again) there are large patio doors with vertical blinds.

What do you think is there room for improvement here (above the normal restraints that I do not have a dedicated listening room)? Any changes would have to be Wife friendly.
 

2xcess

Well-known member
Mar 7, 2011
22
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18,525
Speaker cable has been mentioned a few times. That is something I'm happy to look at. Chord Carnival Silverscreen is all copper and my local dealer has that. Worth buying 10m or is there a better choice?

Steve.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Don't forget fleabay for the Chords. In my system they helped with the base but only marginally at the top end...the single biggest change to my brightness problem came with the speaker change ..

This brightness thing is weird. It plainly isn't just down to low end/higher end kit as I heard some Cyrus gear with Focal floorstanders giving the same issue.
 
2xcess:

plastic penguin:Really do believe the OP should check acoustics before splashing out on something he may not need.

Room acoustics: Speakers are located about 8 feet apart firing 'down' the living room into the larger of the 2 cubes that make up the 'L' configuration of the room. Flooring is carpet with a large rug in the middle (listening position is middle of this). 2 large linen sofas, one to the left (looking towards the speaks) and one opposite the speakers. Wall furnishing is limited comprising of 2 canvases that cover less than 20% of wall area, whilst on the right (looking towards the speakers again) there are large patio doors with vertical blinds.

What do you think is there room for improvement here (above the normal restraints that I do not have a dedicated listening room)? Any changes would have to be Wife friendly.

No that sounds fine. I was checking because so often you here people splashing out on new equipment and find it's no different.

I would certainly start off with the cheapest - look at a good quality copper speakers cables. It's a little puzzling this one, because I've heard Kandy K2 and I wouldn't describe it as being bright. Also, the Dali speakers should balance it out a bit.

Good luck.
 

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