System too Harsh!

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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Hello All!

I have a CA 540a v2 and MS902i's that I've had for about 5 months now. Initially very harsh sounding but now significantly better after a decent run-in but in a lot of tracks particularly very compressed tracks with a lot of treble, they still sound a bit too harsh - its bugging me and impairing my enjoyment. More dynamic tracks eg jazz, acoustic, etc sound brilliant but the compressed "pop" sounds too harsh. I listen to a whole load of stuff and I want it all to sound good (or at least none of it to bug me!). I listen via a squeezebox (using FLAC) plugged into the new Beresford DAC (which is great). I've tried turning the treble down a bit on the amp but I think this is cheating a bit (because i'm a bit of a purist and it bugs me to have to turn the treble down!) plus I don't want to lose the great acoustic sound I get from it. I'm using Gale SYMPHONY 200 speaker cable (not biwired).

Basically, it just BUGS me - and I find myself just listening to the tracks that sound good!

So, what d'ya reckon? Live with it, keep the treble turned down, new amp, new speakers, new cable, or accept I can't have the best of all worlds??

Cheers my fellow Hi fi chums!
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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[quote user="mattc76"]but in a lot of tracks particularly very compressed tracks with a lot of treble, they still sound a bit too harsh - its bugging me and impairing my enjoyment. More dynamic tracks eg jazz, acoustic, etc sound brilliant but the compressed "pop" sounds too harsh.[/quote]

That's what compression will do for you. The better the system, the worse they'll sound. But they'll be really exciting on a car stereo or a cheap boombox, which is just how they're mixed to sound.
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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I am not familiar with your amplifier or any of CA's budget amps but there seem to be rather a lot of people that abandon them for reasons of 'brightness' or more likely, high frequency/xover distortion. For that reason I'd say they are unlikely to make a happy partnership with your MShorts which can be fatiguing to listen to because of a detached, thin treble. I guess they're ok for HT, cheap too. Many punters trade them in after far less than the time you've had them! Previous MS offerings sound far more sympathetic if memory serves well.

I would suggest you change your speakers to something better. If you can afford it a pair of Epos M5's (old) can be had for about £250. They make a fine basis for a future amplifier upgrade.
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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[quote user="drummerman"]
I would suggest you change your speakers to something better. If you can afford it a pair of Epos M5's (old) can be had for about £250. They make a fine basis for a future amplifier upgrade.

[/quote]

Ta for the reply! Not heard much about these.

I've had my eye on Monitor Audio RS1's. They occasionally crop up on ebay for about £200-£250 ish SH. Hmmm not sure...
 

fatboyslimfast

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Jan 10, 2008
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Even though I own RS6s, if you find the 902i's too bright, I would steer away from MA, as they also tend to have a brightish sound, unless you partner them with warmer sounding kit...

I have also heard a lot of people say that the CA/MA combo is not one for the sensitive of hearing!
 

drummerman

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[quote user="mattc76"]I've had my eye on Monitor Audio RS1's. They occasionally crop up on ebay for about £200-£250 ish SH. Hmmm not sure...
[/quote]

I would'nt. They are dynamically restraint, sound washed/bleached out ie lack 'musical colour' and the treble is ... nuff said.
 

Cypher

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Jun 8, 2007
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If you find the 902i too bright, do not try the RS1. I have owned both speakers and they both have harsh treble.
 

fatboyslimfast

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Jan 10, 2008
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[quote user="drummerman"]They are dynamically restraint, sound washed/bleached out ie lack 'musical colour' and the treble is ... nuff said.[/quote]

You're really not keen on MA are you Drummerman?!?
 

drummerman

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[quote user="fatboyslimfast"]You're really not keen on MA are you Drummerman?!?
[/quote]

Just preferences. No offense meant, your system seems carefully matched and I'm sure you enjoy it.
 

fatboyslimfast

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No, none taken - my ears are not the most sensitive to high frequencies (years of being a biker) and the rest of my kit is quite "warm" sounding so the MA's suit me fine, but I can fully appreciate why some people (esp with CA amps) could find them a little "fingernails on a blackboard"!!!
 

drummerman

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Bikes eh. Used to work for years at Battistini Harley Davidson. We customized them for the well-off and a few celebs
. I was the sales side and we had some wild times and shows.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Andrew Everard"]

That's what compression will do for you. The better the system, the worse they'll sound. But they'll be really exciting on a car stereo or a cheap boombox, which is just how they're mixed to sound.

[/quote]

"The better the system, the worse they'll sound". I've recently upgraded my hifi and was hoping it would make a better job of badly recorded material. But it doesn't. As you have said, it sounds worse (or perhaps just as bad but appears worse because the well recorded stuff now sounds a lot better). Why should this be so? I was hoping that it would make a better job of the lower quality CDs too.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="ca_blues"][quote user="Andrew Everard"]

That's what compression will do for you. The better the system, the worse they'll sound. But they'll be really exciting on a car stereo or a cheap boombox, which is just how they're mixed to sound.

[/quote]

"The better the system, the worse they'll sound". I've recently upgraded my hifi and was hoping it would make a better job of badly recorded material. But it doesn't. As you have said, it sounds worse (or perhaps just as bad but appears worse because the well recorded stuff now sounds a lot better). Why should this be so? I was hoping that it would make a better job of the lower quality CDs too.

[/quote]

What was the upgrade??

I hate to disagree with the other posters, but I feel a move to the NAD C355 or 352 (or some other "warm" amp) would do more to fix your high-freq woes than a speaker change. I moved off CA for the same reason, they emphasize the high end to an extent that I'd have to call absurd.
Sorry to any CA lovers out there.
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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I've heard many bright comments about CA and MA. Best steer away in my book.

I've got Arcam/Dali/ProAc kit and quite honestly I can listen to it for hours and hours without any semblence of fatigue. It pays to go for something somewhat less harsh.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yeah I second that, unless you wanna pay big money for the higher end MA speakers you'll find them having the same brightness issue. I would change your amp. I imagine a beefy NAD amp would make you a happy man, that or something Arcam - but I have heard them accused of being too laid back. Beefy nads will bring out the bass potential of your speakers too. While I don't know the model, I do know that MS liek their bass;)
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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Hmmm. I've heard that the C325BEE sounds good with the MS902is. What d'yall reckon? If I do change it then how can I get rid of my cambridge amp??
 

fatboyslimfast

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Jan 10, 2008
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Ebay! I had a cambridge A5 that I paid £120 for 5 years ago. It sold a couple of months ago for nearly £80... These things seem to have a halo over them...
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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Ooh ooh, richer sounds now do the C325BEE for £249.99 and its only a mile from my house and I've got a day off.....tempting...tempting.....I know that RS do a 14 day return if you're not happy....what shall I do? I was trying to avoid impulse purchases lately but if i'm not happy with my system.......

 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="mattc76"]
I know that RS do a 14 day return if you're not happy....


[/quote]

Steady! The 14 day money back guarantee is only for mail order purchased stuff. If you buy in-store, they'll exchange, but not refund. Unless you discuss and arrange a trial or something.
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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[quote user="bloney"]
Steady! The 14 day money back guarantee is only for mail order purchased stuff. If you buy in-store, they'll exchange, but not refund. Unless you discuss and arrange a trial or something.[/quote]

OK, I didn't realise that - thanks. Fortunately though after a bit of research I found it in superfi for £220 or £199 "opened box" so i might pop in later this week and have a listen!

Cheers!
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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[quote user="ca_blues"][quote user="Andrew Everard"]

That's what compression will do for you. The better the system, the worse they'll sound. But they'll be really exciting on a car stereo or a cheap boombox, which is just how they're mixed to sound.

[/quote]

"The better the system, the worse they'll sound". I've recently upgraded my hifi and was hoping it would make a better job of badly recorded material. But it doesn't. As you have said, it sounds worse (or perhaps just as bad but appears worse because the well recorded stuff now sounds a lot better). Why should this be so? I was hoping that it would make a better job of the lower quality CDs too.

[/quote]

The better the system the more it will reveal
 

emcc_3

Well-known member
Feb 20, 2008
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18,545
If you go back to richer sounds with the price from super-fi after demoing you could get afurther 10 quid off under their price beat promise as shown here.

http://www.richersounds.com/information.php?cda=static&cst=pricebeat
 

mattc76

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Jan 2, 2008
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[quote user="emcc_3"]If you go back to richer sounds with the price from super-fi after demoing you could get afurther 10 quid off under their price beat promise as shown here. http://www.richersounds.com/information.php?cda=static&cst=pricebeat[/quote]

Thats cool. I've found it for £220 at hifibuyer.co.uk - So RS should give it to me for £210?

What do people think? Will the C325BEE + MS 902i's cure the overbrightness issue? I am always a bit dubious about listening in a shop because i am not sure you can listen properly/critically? I got back home today and turned my hifi on and the first thing to hit me was the brightness - not the music - so it really is bugging me so i think i need to do something!

Another thing - is the NAD in terms of quality, as good an amp as the cambridge 540a v2??


Thanks for the help!
 

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