Question Smoothen harshness

DriedFartz

Active member
Aug 13, 2022
12
5
25
Hello, all!

I would appreciate your insight on a particular conundrum.

This is my current chain:
paradigm PW Link (I use this purely as a streamer, and Spotify is my source)
miniDSP Flex (Pre Amp, room calibration)
Crown XLS 1502 (Power Amp)
Sonus Faber Venere 2.5
Rythmik L12
(Subwoofers x2)

My issue with the sound is that it's a little dry, harsh or hard. This could be attributed to the Class D Crown. I have tried the Marantz PM8006 and the Audiolab 6000A which smoothen the sound a bit but lack the dynamics of the Crown. I need the dynamics as I listen to a lot of fast and heavy music (Metal).

What can I do to smoothen out the dryness? I would truly appreciate your guidance on this.
 

Gray

Well-known member
What can I do to smoothen out the dryness?
Continue to audition alternative amps, by the sound of it.
As you probably know, the sort of power you're looking for usually costs a fair bit more than that Crown of yours.

(A check of the Hegel 590 price will confirm that, as one example).

Of course the Marantz, Audiolab and that Hegel are all integrateds - whereas you only need a power amp....no shortage of those waiting for your money 👍
 
Last edited:

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
313
19,270
Hello, all!

I would appreciate your insight on a particular conundrum.

This is my current chain:
paradigm PW Link (I use this purely as a streamer, and Spotify is my source)
miniDSP Flex (Pre Amp, room calibration)
Crown XLS 1502 (Power Amp)
Sonus Faber Venere 2.5
Rythmik L12
(Subwoofers x2)

My issue with the sound is that it's a little dry, harsh or hard. This could be attributed to the Class D Crown. I have tried the Marantz PM8006 and the Audiolab 6000A which smoothen the sound a bit but lack the dynamics of the Crown. I need the dynamics as I listen to a lot of fast and heavy music (Metal).

What can I do to smoothen out the dryness? I would truly appreciate your guidance on this.
Hi,
Maybe try a different power amplifier - such as class D, but with slightly better performance specifications.

What is your budget ?

Regards,
Shadders.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
313
19,270
About $1000
Hi,
I would look to purchase a Class D amplifier based on the Hypex modules or Purifi modules. The NAD 268 costs approximately $900, and is based on the Hypex UcD amplifiers.

The power is 80watts, which is much less than the Crown, but the speaker sensitivity is 89dB/m so they should go reasonably loud.

There may be other amplifiers with the same modules or similar, which are more powerful for the same money.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

DriedFartz

Active member
Aug 13, 2022
12
5
25
I would look to purchase a Class D amplifier based on the Hypex modules or Purifi modules. The NAD 268 costs approximately $900, and is based on the Hypex UcD amplifiers.
Thanks! I've been looking at this one. I have heard good things about the Hypex NCore modules. Will give it a try if I come across one.
 
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
Hello, all!

I would appreciate your insight on a particular conundrum.

This is my current chain:
paradigm PW Link (I use this purely as a streamer, and Spotify is my source)
miniDSP Flex (Pre Amp, room calibration)
Crown XLS 1502 (Power Amp)
Sonus Faber Venere 2.5
Rythmik L12
(Subwoofers x2)

My issue with the sound is that it's a little dry, harsh or hard. This could be attributed to the Class D Crown. I have tried the Marantz PM8006 and the Audiolab 6000A which smoothen the sound a bit but lack the dynamics of the Crown. I need the dynamics as I listen to a lot of fast and heavy music (Metal).

What can I do to smoothen out the dryness? I would truly appreciate your guidance on this.
Not sure how tou define "dryness". The only brands from your bunch I'm familiar with is Sonus Faber speakers.

How did you stumble across this mishmash of brands and did you demo them before buying?

My kit is a mishmash but one that's been built on demos and experience from older models.

This is the bonkers world of hi-fi.
 
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Not sure how tou define "dryness". The only brands from your bunch I'm familiar with is Sonus Faber speakers.

How did you stumble across this mishmash of brands and did you demo them before buying?

My kit is a mishmash but one that's been built on demos and experience from older models.

This is the bonkers world of hi-fi.
Yep.
To my mind harshness, whatever that is, isn't going to be changed by swapping power amps....
 
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shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
313
19,270
Yep.
To my mind harshness, whatever that is, isn't going to be changed by swapping power amps....
Hi,
If you check the Audio Science review website for both the Crown XLS 1502 and Nad C268, their distortion profiles are different.

The Crown has more distortion in the higher orders (5th+), and the Nad is much more benign, with lower distortion dominated that is dominant in the 2nd, then 3rd, with the higher orders 20dB lower.

I think the OP should try the Nad C268, via a demo or loan.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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Whatever distortion
Hi,
If you check the Audio Science review website for both the Crown XLS 1502 and Nad C268, their distortion profiles are different.

The Crown has more distortion in the higher orders (5th+), and the Nad is much more benign, with lower distortion dominated that is dominant in the 2nd, then 3rd, with the higher orders 20dB lower.

I think the OP should try the Nad C268, via a demo or loan.

Regards,
Shadders.
Whatever distortion you are capable of hearing is going to be a function of source, preamp, and the end product speakers.
I would suggest that in a blind listening test not many would be able to determine a change if I swapped out the power amp.
Unless, of course, those amps are rubbish....
In my experience any 'harshness' in a system is unlikely to be caused by a power amplifier, however in this mish mash you never know.....
 
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shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
462
313
19,270
Whatever distortion

Whatever distortion you are capable of hearing is going to be a function of source, preamp, and the end product speakers.
I would suggest that in a blind listening test not many would be able to determine a change of I swapped out the power amp.
Unless, of course, those amps are rubbish....
Hi,
As a general statement using a digital source/DAC and solid state components, the descending order of distortion is speakers, power amplifier, preamp, then DAC.

It may be that the preamp is better than the DAC, but distortion is dominated by speakers and power amps.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
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Hi,
As a general statement using a digital source/DAC and solid state components, the descending order of distortion is speakers, power amplifier, preamp, then DAC.

It may be that the preamp is better than the DAC, but distortion is dominated by speakers and power amps.

Regards,
Shadders.
If you say so, however not too sure where the evidence comes from in this general statement, and it's certainly not in my experience
 
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Hi,
The OP did state that they swapped the power amp for a class AB (Marantz, Audiolab) which smoothed the sound, so this does indicate that amplifier is the key component here.

Regards,
Shadders.
He did indeed but this doesn't answer my question.
If the swap in power amps is what the OP believe will improve his set-up he's on a very expensive trip..... :)
My money is still on source or preamp.
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
1,458
291
19,570
Topping L90 might not have enough power but save up for one more


One of the best amps for under 1000 euros

Sell your
paradigm PW Link (I use this purely as a streamer, and Spotify is my source)
miniDSP Flex (Pre Amp, room calibration)
Crown XLS 1502 (Power Amp)

And get a lyngdorf TDAI-1120 amp streamer, might just be enough if you can get one at a good deal, amp,dac,streamer and room corretion

Or get a pair of eve audio sc 305 or 307 if not to expensive

Can you use a differenet dac like the TOPPING D90SE ?


Do you use any special cable ?

Single wire or bi wire ? Replace the metal brackets with speaker cable ?

Amp review https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-crown-xls-1502-amp.6062/

If the sound is a little dry, harsh or hard, is it when you play really loud ?

View: https://youtu.be/yeQPx-FrYZw
 

DriedFartz

Active member
Aug 13, 2022
12
5
25
Not sure how tou define "dryness". The only brands from your bunch I'm familiar with is Sonus Faber speakers.
The opposite of "Lush". Clinical sounding chains may be described as "Dry".

How did you stumble across this mishmash of brands and did you demo them before buying?
Not a single dealer on this side of the continent offers home auditions or returns. It's pretty useless with the showroom demos. So we here fallback on other audio enthusiasts to ask and share from their experience what gear gels well together.

I needed a streamer, so got a used Paradigm PW Link that was going for a good price. Figured I could use it as a Preamp to hook up my TV, and had the added advantage of room correction. So that was a big plus. It's a decent device.

I got the Audiolab first, it was alright; but was found lacking in dynamics. Got the Crown. Stellar performance, but came at the cost of a tad bit of "dryness". Came across a Marantz PM8006, but didn't like it over the Crown.

I have heard good things about Dirac Live, especially its independent subwoofer management capabilities. miniDSP is popular with folks dipping their toes in calibration/room correction fold. It's a nifty little device to sort out difficult rooms, or rooms where elaborate acoustic treatments are not possible.

This is the bonkers world of hi-fi.
:grinning:
 

DriedFartz

Active member
Aug 13, 2022
12
5
25
Always remember the RS6 with the Leema sounding a little "mechanical" with certain remastered CDs. I don't know if mechanical and dryness are the same thing.
"Mechanical" could also be referred to as "Analytical", or "Clinical". In turn, makes the sound appear "Dry", or hard around the edges.
 

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