Why does my hifi system sound lean?

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gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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This has nothing to do with the gear and everything to do with the placement and setup. Especially if you have a subwoofer involved, there is no reason it shouldn’t be nice and full sounding, your room is not what I consider big at all.

This could be as simple as the subwoofer is out of phase, knocking out the rest of the sound. Or it could be that your simply sitting in a null (from what you discribe this is more than likely) and simply moving your seating position slightly will flesh out the sound.

Until you narrow down these possible problems don’t spend any money. No amount of money will solve a null/phase/timing/ cancellation issue.

You need to tell us more about the room it’s always the room.

edit: does the subwoofer have an auto sensing circuit? When at low volumes the sub might not be registering the input from the amp. Thus not turning the subwoofer on. A 12 volt cable will solve that problem

It's not lik a subwoofer is the only thing responsible for making the sound lean

So using a subwoofer sound is lean, not using a subwoofer the sound would not be lean?

Can sound a tad lean, in my system it didn't

2021-12-22 21_40_29-Window.png
 
A class A amp should be better than other amps at lower volume because the current is constant and not fluctuating, so I don't know where you got that notion from.

And the subwoofer settings may well be the problem, because some amps let you adjust the crossover frequency.

My first check would still be to ensure his speakers are stable and firm wherever he's placed them.
I don't think a class A amp at 12wpc is going to drive something like the Metas very well do you?
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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I used silver anniversary with my arcam kit a while back and it always sounded a bit on the bright side, then I went over to A Naim amplifier and it was just a absolute no no with silver cable, some information just steer clear and use a good quality copper cable,..can't go wrong with linn k20 (aka naim nac a4) can get it on eBay at a decent price..it's not expensive, I use mogami quad core 2972 at present.
Cheers for the recommendations - not alot of love for silver cable out there! It was recommended by the guy I was dealing with at the hifi shop who suggested the system would be better balanced with it.
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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First, silly question, you haven't bunged the Meta's ports?

Second and most crucial, make sure they're sat absolutely stable on your side cabinets - I now recall with the mk1s that they won't give their best unless firmly placed. Put your hand on top of one speaker - is it easily lifted to one side? They need to be firm and stable - and I suspect this may be the problem.
I've got them on IsoAcoustics Pucks on side cabinets - I'd love to get proper stands but it would mean getting rid of the furniture (not an option unfortunately).
 

gasolin

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I've got them on IsoAcoustics Pucks on side cabinets - I'd love to get proper stands but it would mean getting rid of the furniture (not an option unfortunately).

Mabye get the small isoacoustics stands ?

 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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It doesn't sound right that your system should sound lean - plenty of power in the amp, Metas known for having a meaty sound if fed enough watts, and you have a sub. Does it sound lean with everything or just some material?

My system sounds nice and weighty with most material I play on it, but it can sound lean with material that I think was produced to sound lean, maybe not intentionally so but maybe turned out sounding lean in the final mix.

An example of music sounding surprisingly lean might be Tame Impala's albums which you would think would be weightier as psychedelic tinged dance music. Examples of surprisingly nice full-fat and rich sounding mixes are 50s jazz like Frank Sinatra with big band backing and Brizilian jazz and Bossa Nova. Generally, though, I'm very happy with the overall tonal balance of my amp and speaker combination. My speakers are small like yours but renowned for their lively nature and punchy bass, characteristics which I thought were shared by the Metas. My amplifier is renowned for having a fairly neutral frequency response but for having some warmth in the mid range, again something I thought would be attributes of your Arcam.

Perhaps the Metas are just not a good marriage with the sa20.
It sounds lean to me with pretty much everything. I've got some Sinatra on now and I get the smoothness in his voice, but there's a general lack of warmth there
 

OllieC

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2021
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This has nothing to do with the gear and everything to do with the placement and setup. Especially if you have a subwoofer involved, there is no reason it shouldn’t be nice and full sounding, your room is not what I consider big at all.

This could be as simple as the subwoofer is out of phase, knocking out the rest of the sound. Or it could be that your simply sitting in a null (from what you discribe this is more than likely) and simply moving your seating position slightly will flesh out the sound.

Until you narrow down these possible problems don’t spend any money. No amount of money will solve a null/phase/timing/ cancellation issue.

You need to tell us more about the room it’s always the room.

edit: does the subwoofer have an auto sensing circuit? When at low volumes the sub might not be registering the input from the amp. Thus not turning the subwoofer on. A 12 volt cable will solve that problem
IMG_4795.JPGIMG_4796.JPG

Here are a couple of pictures of the room - be great to hear your thoughts.

Yes the sub is auto-sensing - it has the option to have always on or always off, so I could try switching to that. I've played around with the settings of the sub a bit and felt like I got into phase and an okay balance - but this is my first doing it so it's quite possible I haven't found the sweet spot with the settings.
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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The speakers are to fare away from each other and the wall in the middle with the tv is adding some refelctions since the wall is not flat,even with the wall the kef are up against

Mabye try angle them towards the listening position

Mabye try on each siode of the tv wityh some adjustable wall mounts ?
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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@Ollie

Just out of interest, what system did you have before your current bundles?

Couple of points: firstly, when I had the original LS 50s on home demo, they weren't as good at low volumes as my PMCs. I can only put that down to the efficiency of the KEFs as well as the cabinet size. Secondly, they did need a lot of tinkering in terms of placement to hit the sweet spot.

Silver cables shouldn't have much bearing on the depth. Having previously owned Chord Odyssey, the major difference is the 'Silver' can be pick up sibilance.

It just seems to be a number of subtle things that collectively influence a leaner sound
The KEFs need good, heavy stands
I had a Sonos 5.1 setup. I thought it was ok until I heard my brother's hifi setup (Cambridge Audio AXR 85 amp; Q Acoustics 3050i; Rega Planar 2) which blew my mind and that started me on the search for my own hifi setup.

I think you're right - it's a marginal gains game in trying to find that sweet sound I'm looking for!
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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I had a Sonos 5.1 setup. I thought it was ok until I heard my brother's hifi setup (Cambridge Audio AXR 85 amp; Q Acoustics 3050i; Rega Planar 2) which blew my mind and that started me on the search for my own hifi setup.

I think you're right - it's a marginal gains game in trying to find that sweet sound I'm looking for!

Can you try a pair of q acoustics 3030i or concept 20 or even better the new m20 (active) you might need a preamp for that
 
I had a Sonos 5.1 setup. I thought it was ok until I heard my brother's hifi setup (Cambridge Audio AXR 85 amp; Q Acoustics 3050i; Rega Planar 2) which blew my mind and that started me on the search for my own hifi setup.

I think you're right - it's a marginal gains game in trying to find that sweet sound I'm looking for!
Fair play.
Those Q Acoustics are floorstanders (towers). Even though you have a sub, unless the sub is tweaked correctly, the dynamics will be different..

And from personal experience, Arcam & Cambridge are very different.

Given your size of room a compact floorstander may well be better suited: something like Monitor Audio Silvers or Totem Arros
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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Is there a big difference in the sound with and without the sub?
I can't really tell much of a difference unless the system is turned up quite loud. When I initially set the sub up I was conscious not to set it to have a boomy sound which I was originally getting and I think changing the phasing then sorted that.
 
Fair play.
Those Q Acoustics are floorstanders (towers). Even though you have a sub, unless the sub is tweaked correctly, the dynamics will be different..

And from personal experience, Arcam & Cambridge are very different.

Given your size of room a compact floorstander may well be better suited: something like Monitor Audio Silvers or Totem Arros
Just seen the photos and straight away the KEFs won't perform at their best plonked on a cabinet. As I mentioned in the previous post they need good quality stands or dedicated wall brackets
 

OllieC

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2021
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545
Fair play.
Those Q Acoustics are floorstanders (towers). Even though you have a sub, unless the sub is tweaked correctly, the dynamics will be different..

And from personal experience, Arcam & Cambridge are very different.

Given your size of room a compact floorstander may well be better suited: something like Monitor Audio Silvers or Totem Arros
I tried the same setup my brother had (except using a streamer instead of turntable) in a demo room and it just did not sound as good. It's got me wondering whether it was the record player that was making the difference. I'm planning on buying the same one he had in the January sales (Rega Planar 2) and starting to collect some vinyl - so will find out what difference that makes...
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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The speakers are to fare away from each other and the wall in the middle with the tv is adding some refelctions since the wall is not flat,even with the wall the kef are up against

Mabye try angle them towards the listening position

Mabye try on each siode of the tv wityh some adjustable wall mounts ?
Wall mounts maybe a solution here since you have to keep the cabinets.
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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I tried the same setup my brother had (except using a streamer instead of turntable) in a demo room and it just did not sound as good. It's got me wondering whether it was the record player that was making the difference. I'm planning on buying the same one he had in the January sales (Rega Planar 2) and starting to collect some vinyl - so will find out what difference that makes...
Woah... hang on there! That seems a bit radical having to get a turntable and a vinyl collection to sort out your sound. I stream and stream only and have lower end elements to my system than yours and a room not to dissimilar to yours with objects obstructing the line of sight between the two speakers and with their spacing further than what is ideal, but I'm getting a full, rich sound.
There must be a less drastic solution here!
I do, however, have speaker stands.
I want to post a picture of set up but my bloody google photos won't update to let me upload an image. Grrr!
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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Woah... hang on there! That seems a bit radical having to get a turntable and a vinyl collection to sort out your sound. I stream and stream only and have lower end elements to my system than yours and a room not to dissimilar to yours with objects obstructing the line of sight between the two speakers and with their spacing further than what is ideal, but I'm getting a full, rich sound.
There must be a less drastic solution here!
I do, however, have speaker stands.
Well the setup did sound lovely in the demo room... with the speakers on stands.
As for the record player and vinyl - from what I've heard and read, vinyl gives you a different sound that is typically warmer than digital. Also I have a horrible habit of skipping songs on albums :)
Would wall mounts actually sort the problem, given they'll be shoved up against a wall?
 
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robdmarsh

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Any recommendations on wall mounts?
Should they be at head height when sat or is there more flexibility?
I'm sorry I don't really have any experience with wall mounts but back in the day I did have a friend with little Wharfedale daimonds very successfully wall-mounted. They were about a foot or so above ear height when seated but we never seemed to mind. I remember his system sounding pretty good but it was a long time ago.
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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Well the setup did sound lovely in the demo room... with the speakers on stands.
As for the record player and vinyl - from what I've heard and read, vinyl gives you a different sound that is typically warmer than digital. Also I have a horrible habit of skipping songs on albums :)
Would wall mounts actually sort the problem, given they'll be shoved up against a wall?
Listen, believe me, I'm no spring chicken, I grew up with vinyl but I've never felt the urge to revisit balancing tone arms, changing out cartridges, combating static dust attraction, anti-skating, hunting down the best pressings of X album costing 30,40, xty quid etc, etc. Streaming can be bloody brilliant if you get it right, technology advancements have moved quality on and prices down so, no, I'm not too nostalgic for what we did "back in the day", .... but many on here would disagree with me!
 

OllieC

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Dec 22, 2021
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Listen, believe me, I'm no spring chicken, I grew up with vinyl but I've never felt the urge to revisit balancing tone arms, changing out cartridges, combating static dust attraction, anti-skating, hunting down the best pressings of X album costing 30,40, xty quid etc, etc. Streaming can be bloody brilliant if you get it right, technology advancements have moved quality on and prices down so, no, I'm not too nostalgic for what we did "back in the day", .... but many on here would disagree with me!
Haha. I must admit if I was dead pleased with my current setup with digital then my desire to reach for vinyl might not exist! I think the good thing about reaching out to the forum is that I have a bunch of options to consider in tweaking the setup to try and reach the sound I'm looking for, before plumping for the nuclear option!
 
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