Question My system is light on bass. Any suggestions?

Culy30

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Marantz MCR-603 Music Centre/Receiver
Mordaunt Short 904 speakers (20 years old) with QED bi-wire cable (actually bi-amped and yes I've checked polarity)
Pro-Ject Primary E Phono Turntable with original Ortofon OM nn cartridge and stock sperical stylus.

Clearly this isnt a high end system, but I'm disappointed with the sound, especially when playing vinyls. My age old Rotel (long since departed), Castle Accoustics speakers and Pioneer PL12D with Shure M75E cartridge seemed far better.

I play FLAC's (at CD quality) that are actually far better than vinyl in terms of how engaging the music is. I listen to a wide range from Blues, Rock, Jazz and Classical. FM/DAB radio is also better than the turntable can reproduce.

I've often thought that the speakers arent the best. The treble can be harsh at times and the bass has never been that good. I've tried most things, speaker placement, different cables etc. Turning the bass up on the amplifier a tad helps, but it can get very boomy if I go too far. The room is around 5x 5meters and is fully furnished.

Does anyone have any thgoughts? Should I spend around £100 and upgrade the stylus to an OM20 maybe? Or what about some new speakers? Budget would be about £500.
 

twinkletoes

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Hi @Culy30, posts like these are very difficult to answer because there is a lot here that could be going wrong.

Perhaps you're sitting in a Null for instance and no amount of speaker changing will sort that, you have to experiment with the position of things in the room, normally your seating arrangement, which can be difficult to sort for obvious reasons. But easy to sort if you're willing.

Your room might have natural bass suck at 50-60hz (the exciting energetic stuff) again no amount of spending money will sort this, short of damping the room in the specific ways, generally, dsp are a no no for increasing bass.

You could be having standing wave problems ie speakers cancelling each other out. Again no money is going to sort that out.

Your room could have an open staircase, again no amount of money is going to sort that out just something you will have to live with.

perhaps you have floating floors this can be a real problem with some designs of speakers transmission line design for example.

A problem that can be easily sorted out is a distance mismatch between the wall. eg once speaker is sitting slightly further back than the other, and yes this can have a massive effect on the bass as you could be sending it to the right or left of you.

Point being we need more info to help, you perhaps some pictures of the space. DO NOT SPEND money till you have done everything in your power to improve the lay out of the room/position of the speakers. In my experience 99% this is what the problem always is, less the ideal speaker placement and listening position.

But if you have done all this and you feel you need new speakers i suggest you go. and listen to a few ad ask to borrow some to see what work in your room the best. Standmount might be sometimes less is more as i found.
 
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Basso

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Is the tracking weight on the turntable set correctly. Maybe adjust it a bit to see if that helps with your records. My experience is that this can have a big impact.
 

Culy30

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Is the tracking weight on the turntable set correctly. Maybe adjust it a bit to see if that helps with your records. My experience is that this can have a big impact.

Thanks for your reply. These turntables are supposed to be "plug and Play", but I did check the tracking weight and it was 2.25 gr. Recommended is 1.75 gr which I set it to. I havent checked the anti-skate though. I'll do that and see if that changes anything.
 

Culy30

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Welcome from me too.

I’m not clear if the lack of bass has suddenly occurred - a fault? - or has been the case for 20 years. Or have you just bought this kit and don’t like it?

The turntable is a recent purchase which has highlighted the bass and treble failings. I've owned the speakers for many years when I had a Denon PMA250 amp which seemed a little "bright" at the time, hence a move to Marantz. I bought the Marantz a few years ago in order to stream digital files from the PC. We've recently moved house to a new build timber frame, block and beam flooring. Room size is similar and like the previuos house the room in question is fully carpeted.

So to answer your question, I guess I've always been looking for a more involving sound.
 
The turntable is a recent purchase which has highlighted the bass and treble failings. I've owned the speakers for many years when I had a Denon PMA250 amp which seemed a little "bright" at the time, hence a move to Marantz. I bought the Marantz a few years ago in order to stream digital files from the PC. We've recently moved house to a new build timber frame, block and beam flooring. Room size is similar and like the previuos house the room in question is fully carpeted.

So to answer your question, I guess I've always been looking for a more involving sound.
I think we need to determine if it is bass light across all sources or just from your turntable
 

Culy30

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Well £500 puts it in the Dynaudio Emit M10 range and are cracking speakers. I'm sure others will suggest similar speakers.

Thanks for your suggestion. I'd not come accross Dynaudio before. If I do buy new speakers, I'd prefer to go for some floorstanders.
 
The turntable is a recent purchase which has highlighted the bass and treble failings. I've owned the speakers for many years when I had a Denon PMA250 amp which seemed a little "bright" at the time, hence a move to Marantz. I bought the Marantz a few years ago in order to stream digital files from the PC. We've recently moved house to a new build timber frame, block and beam flooring. Room size is similar and like the previuos house the room in question is fully carpeted.

So to answer your question, I guess I've always been looking for a more involving sound.
The turntable will have a different sound to CD or streaming. These are likely to be more even-handed sources to set up the sound to your liking.

I quite appreciate that the sound will be significantly different in your new room. I’d recommend a visit to a convenient Hifi dealer to see and hear some amps and speakers in your budget.

The Marantz is a decent little unit which should suffice with some carefully selected, newer speakers. However, a 25sq m room ideally needs a bit more heft with typical speakers. Try to hear some QAcoustics, as they’re warmer than some and sensitive too (that is, relatively loud for a given number of watts input). The floor standing QA3050i are often available for around £500 and give a large sound, yet are easy to drive.
 

Culy30

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Welcome to the forum.
Definitely have a look at the cartridge and that's a big room for those speakers.

Thanks, I'll probably get a
Hi @Culy30, posts like these are very difficult to answer because there is a lot here that could be going wrong.

Perhaps you're sitting in a Null for instance and no amount of speaker changing will sort that, you have to experiment with the position of things in the room, normally your seating arrangement, which can be difficult to sort for obvious reasons. But easy to sort if you're willing.

Your room might have natural bass suck at 50-60hz (the exciting energetic stuff) again no amount of spending money will sort this, short of damping the room in the specific ways, generally, dsp are a no no for increasing bass.

You could be having standing wave problems ie speakers cancelling each other out. Again no money is going to sort that out.

Your room could have an open staircase, again no amount of money is going to sort that out just something you will have to live with.

perhaps you have floating floors this can be a real problem with some designs of speakers transmission line design for example.

A problem that can be easily sorted out is a distance mismatch between the wall. eg once speaker is sitting slightly further back than the other, and yes this can have a massive effect on the bass as you could be sending it to the right or left of you.

Point being we need more info to help, you perhaps some pictures of the space. DO NOT SPEND money till you have done everything in your power to improve the lay out of the room/position of the speakers. In my experience 99% this is what the problem always is, less the ideal speaker placement and listening position.

But if you have done all this and you feel you need new speakers i suggest you go. and listen to a few ad ask to borrow some to see what work in your room the best. Standmount might be sometimes less is more as i found.


ooh, that's a lot of info.

So, no staircase. Beam and block floor. The room isnt quite sqaure and has plenty of large soft furnishings. I'd have thought standing waves would be unlikely. I've also experimented with speaker position to the rear wall and optimised that. The speakers are a long way from side walls. Maybe its my old ears?



IMG_20220915_100021[1].jpg
 

Culy30

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I agree with this. In fact you can’t be biamping because you’ve only one stereo amp. You may mean you’re using both sets of speaker outputs, which imo is pointless and potentially confusing.

Ah, OK yes I'm using A+B speaker outputs. I'll make up some jump leads and connect to the A terminals only and see what happens.
 

Culy30

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I think we need to determine if it is bass light across all sources or just from your turntable


The turntable has highlighted the lighweight bass. I've set the tracking weight and made sure the plinth is level. I've not fiddled with the anti-skate yet.

I do find that when I turn up the volume, the bass is present, not the deep thump in the chest that I've heard on some systems. But the tweeters become tiring after a while, at least that's what I hear.
 
The turntable has highlighted the lighweight bass. I've set the tracking weight and made sure the plinth is level. I've not fiddled with the anti-skate yet.

I do find that when I turn up the volume, the bass is present, not the deep thump in the chest that I've heard on some systems. But the tweeters become tiring after a while, at least that's what I hear.
Perhaps a change of cartridge and / or a change of speakers might be required.
Try to audition some speakers like the Dalis I mentioned
 

Culy30

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Perhaps a change of cartridge and / or a change of speakers might be required.
Try to audition some speakers like the Dalis I mentioned

I think I'll try an OM20 stylus before I do anything else. I like the look of the Dalis, in fact I've had my eye on those for a while.

Thanks guys, I'll come back here to report in a couple of weeks.
 
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