Attributing system sibilance

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric Sevigny, Sep 25, 2001.

  1. Eric Sevigny

    Eric Sevigny Stunt Coordinator

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    I am fairly new to Home Theater, in fact I am fairly new to audio component altogether. I currently have what many would consider a "bright" system:
    Yamaha RX-V800 (Receiver)
    Paradigm Monitor 3 v2 (Fronts)
    Paradigm CC-370 v2 (Center)
    SVS 25-31PC (Subwoofer)
    Marantz CC-45 (CD-player)
    Pioneer DV-333 (DVD-player)
    It was fine for me at the beginning, but it did wear me out. Now I find it too bright, and sibilance is something I can't help but notice (although, I have to say some CDs or DVDs are better sounding, but at higher volume, they all exhibit some degree of it).
    My questions would be, how can I be certain the sibilance is caused by my equipment rather then say, the recording I am listening to ? If I decide to go out and buy new speakers, how can I be certain I will evaluate the sibilance/brightness of a speaker correctly (i.e. I can't be sure the CDs I bring are free of it, I can't be sure the equipment the dealer uses are clean, ...)? Choosing audio equipment is a way more complicated endeavor then I had initially expected.
    To fix my problem, I was considering either trading in my speakers for some other (perhaps Studio line of Paradigm? PSB Stratus?) or buying an external high-end amp like the Odyssey Stratos. Would any of that fix anything ? (I am not considering changing the Yamaha, and playing with the treble doesn't really do what I want...).
    Alternatively, maybe my problem is in the cables (I use plain cables I got at the local shop) or players (DVD or CD) ?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't find the Monitor series to be bright at all. I would say, in your case, it may have more to do with the receiver and/or the pairing of these speakers with it than anything. It sounds like an otherwise very nice setup.
    Changing amps will not change the sonic character of the receiver. Try to audition different receivers with the same speakers you have, or you will not be able to adequately compare.
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  3. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Eric, from what I have heard, the newer yamahas are not bright.
    You should definitely try some new cables...or at least clean up your cables. I was having some sibilance problems in the beginning too...but then I cleaned up my (Monster) cables and things became much better. Make sure that you are not coiling excess wire (you should keep the excess wire in a snaking non-overlapping "s" pattern). Good luck!
     
  4. ThucN

    ThucN Agent

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    I have Paradigm Mini-monitors (v1) and I do find them bright. For the first month or so, I loved the sound of these speakers, and didn't find anything wrong with them. As more time passed, I became more familiar with the sound of the speakers used with a wider variety of recordings. It was definitely gradual, from not noticing anything wrong to sensing brightness in the speaker. Now, I can't help but notice it. The answer (for me) -- upgrade speakers.
    BTW, I used the mini-monitors in many different rooms, with many different receivers, and the sonic character of the speaker was essentially unchanged.
    I would be surprised to find that changing your components would tame the brightness to any worthwhile degree. My suggestion would be to trade in your speakers.
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    Eric-
    Have you thought about the acoustics of your room? Is it a room with many large and mostly blank plaster/drywall surfaces? The echo and reverb of such a room can sound like "bright" speakers/equipment. Checkout my page for some pics of solutions.
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  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'd have to agree with Ned that the first thing you should consider are the acoustics of the room as well as how your speakers are positioned. Judicious use of room treatmentsSeeing as how your receiver is capable of quite reasonable power output (>100 watts/channel), I fail to see why the thought of an amplifier (Odyssey Stratos has similar power to your Yamaha) would make any difference. Speaker cables to solve your perceived problem??? That's way off base even considering using cables as a panacea for overall balance. If using your tone controls doesn't result in what you're looking for, cables sure as hell won't do it.
    If you haven't invested in an SPL and a calibration disk, I'd urge you to do so. From your explanation, it appears something may also possibly be amiss in the way you've configured your system.
    As far as choosing speakers...my opinion has always been the only way to make a choice there is to audition them in your own environment.
    The solution to your unhappiness may well lie within effort on your part within your home rather than spending more money. By the way, what did you have prior to your existing system...just curious.
     
  7. Eric Sevigny

    Eric Sevigny Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the feedback! I'll try to answer some of the questions I got.
    Chu Gai:
    I know my way around electronics, and I did test my system with Avia and a SPL meter. For one, the reference level or 75dB recommended level is way too loud for me. At that point sibilance is *very* noticeable on near anything. I also did try to play with the trebel and center equalizer of my receiver, but I felt I was trading accuraty for a sound I'd be able to live with for long term listening. Not too good.
    I didn't really have a previous system to speak of. I was running the Marantz CD through RCA cables plugged into a Panasonic AM/FM cassette mini-system. This really was my first speaker purchase, and I made the huge mistake of listening to very few speakers (the little JBLs, the Paradigms, and that's it), and didn't even do A/B tests. Honestly, I don't think at the time I knew what to look for in a good speaker. Anything sounded better then what I had.
    As for the amp, I was under the impression that using an external amp would, perhaps, fix things *if* the problem was the receiver (really don't think it is...). But I already crossed out that choice, as I have heard an amp doesn't change the sonic characteristics.
    Cables, I will admit, I didn't think would solve anything. But I figured people are buying very expensive speaker cables for a reason...
    Ned:
    My listening room is pretty small and filled with furniture (I use the same room to watch movies in). My listening position must be 6-7 feet from the TV. Really nothing ideal I must admit. But nothing prone to excessive reverb effect I would think.
    All:
    I will get demo speakers to try at home this weekend (PSB Silver i, B&W and anything I find in my price range hopefully). I'll then be sure if my problem is simply a speaker issue (i.e. I just don't like the sound of those) or something else (really think it's just that I don't like my current speakers). I'll bring what I consider is "good sounding CDs" on my current setup to test at the dealer in case they don't want me to try some at home. Perhaps something like a live performance CD, The Corrs "Unplugged", and a studio one, Dido "No angel" (my main listening CDs are female vocalists). Anything I should specifically be looking for when I demo speakers? I have some idea now (sibilance/brightness, bass response...) but would like your inputs.
    I would like to say that my system isn't really "ear bleeding" bright, at least not all the time, but it is enough bright to bother me.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Tori Amos "Under the Pink". Lots of Piano and vocals. Great demo disc. Sarah Mclaclan's "Fumbling Towards Extacy" is also a fine disc, particularly the bonus track at the end. [​IMG] (one of my favorite types of listening material also)
    Consider NHT SB2 and SB3 in your search for speakers. Very accurate mid-bass (sealed) and nice tweeters.
    B&W CDM-1NT is a *tad* pricey for a pair, but they have some of the smoothest tweeters I've ever heard, personally.
    Sonus Faber, Ariel, Theil... *edit* and don't forget KEF
    [Edited last by John Garcia on September 26, 2001 at 04:55 PM]
     
  9. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  10. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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  11. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    For what it's worth, I changed my Monster Series 3 coax cable to a Better Cables Ultra. I got a significant drop in sibilence and raspiness in the highs. Both were about the same price cables, so it wasn't "more expensive" cables that did it for me, just a different cable.
    Deane
     
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    While everyone who has followed any of the wire or digital wars knows which side of the argument I stand on, in this case I'm sceptical. Sure, they make a difference, and I agree with you, it doesn't hurt to try. However, in my opinion, the answer to "what should I do" in this situation doesn't lie in the cables. There are other things that are wrong somewhere, that's my gut feeling.
     
  13. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    IMO, the speakers will have the greatest overall impact, even though every part of the chain will have an effect to a lesser degree.
    DJ
     
  14. Deane Johnson

    Deane Johnson Supporting Actor

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    Actually, most any of the suggestions made in this thread could or could not be a contributor. What that adds up to is that you need to isolate the problem. Just spending money to replace any section without knowing what the problem is could get a little expensive.
    You probably need to have someone with a bit of experience take a look for you. As pointed out above, it could be receiver, speakers, coax connection, room accoustics or something else.
    I once had a defective reciever and when the dealer replaced it all cleared up. These kinds of problems are an argument for buying from a local dealer where there's help rather than the internet.
    Deane
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  16. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I've one last (at least I think it's my last) thought on your 'disatisfaction' with your HT. Making assumptions such that there's nothing significantly unusual with your room, your speaker positioning is basically correct and standing waves are not an issue, and that your various components are operating according to manufacturer's specifications, it just might be that the overall frequency response of your system needs to be adjusted to your listening preference.
    You had stated "I also did try to play with the trebel and center equalizer of my receiver, but I felt I was trading accuraty for a sound I'd be able to live with for long term listening. Not too good."
    There have been reviews and quasi-studies that I've read in the past that have examined listener's reactions when a system they were listening to, and quite pleased with, was equalized to result in a 'flat' frequency response. Now according to your statement, this equalization should have produced an 'accurate' sound. Yet, a very significant number of individuals didn't like it.
    If tonal modifications results in a sound that is more pleasing to you, perhaps looking into demoing an equalizer and adjusting it meet your individual preference may well be a possible solution. The point is that you need to find what sounds good to you and if dropping your treble a bit and bumping your mids makes you happy, isn't that what's important? Take care and good luck!
     
  17. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    to demo speakers, i try to use a range of music. in your case, if your checking for sibilance
    "check! check! one, two, three. check, check...sibilance...sibilance!" sorry....just had to throw in that snl reference
    then i recommend some good acoustic stuff. someone mentioned sara mac. her song "angel" is a great tune to use. also, almost any recording from sting - i often use "fragile". i also have some heavy electronic music i like to use. the crystal method's "comin' back" from their first example is a great example. i actually made my own demo cd which i often use when listening to speakers. it also includes stuff from hooverphonic, the beatles (great test for left/right separation), david benoit (jazz type music), some world-beat stuff, etc.
    i guess all i'm saying is it's important to make sure you use a variety of music when you test - it'll give you a better indication of what the speaker will sound like overall and what it can do under different "loads". of course, if you only listen to one type of music, then this is a null point.
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  18. Eric Sevigny

    Eric Sevigny Stunt Coordinator

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    John:
    Good choices for demo CDs! I had almost forgotten about those, and I do have them [​IMG]
    Chu Gai:
    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll at least try playing more with my receiver's treble/eq options see if I can get anything.
    Deane:
    I am not planning to drown the problem with money, but I don't have surround speakers and WAS considering moving the Paradigms to surround position and buying bigger, more "music friendly" fronts anyway. So, now would seem like a good time to go speaker shopping again. I'll be able to listen to my stuff with another set of speakers and see how that sounds, and talk with my local dealer(s) about how I feel my equipment should sound.
    All:
    One last thing, I tried yesterday to move the center channel to the top of the TV instead of below it. For some reason I never did try that configuration. I thought it improved things for movie dialog somewhat, but I fear for my little 27" WEGA TV with my speaker directly on top of it, the CC *is* relatively heavy [​IMG]
     
  19. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    not to stray too much farther...
    quote: I have been listening to the new Crystal Method "Tweekend" since the day it came out, and I think it is just as good as "Vegas". Different, but after listening to it for a while, I really like it. You might also stuff from BT [/quote]
    i have both. i really like bt - nothing new, but well done. i'm still in the air with tweekend...maybe just because i'm so used to vegas.
    i'm going to check out your jazz recommendations. thanks!
    "you may now return to your regularly scheduled thread..."
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    [Edited last by Ted Lee on September 27, 2001 at 12:06 PM]
     

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