How to Take Out Some Of The Brightness???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Koch, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi:

    In my set-up (noted below) I have noticed what I think is a bit of brightness. I hear it mainly in some female vocals (Sinead O'Connor specifically), cymbals and some horns. I hesitate to call it "harsh", but it is comparatively harsh to the rest of the sound... maybe it is just a bit too forward. Imaging is perfect (played a lot with toe-in until I got cenetered sounds cenetered) and a good, wide soundstage. The rest of the music seemes (to my ear) relatively well balanced and tight... good, punchy bass with quick response, mids seem great.

    Maybe I am just hearing things, or being overly critical.

    Anyway, I wanted to ask you all if there were some tweaks that might help bring the highs down a bit, or make them a little less harsh or pronounced...

    Equipment:

    Paradigm Ref Studio 60 (v 2)
    Home Depot 12 gauge, bi-wired, NO connectors (bare wire)
    ROTEL 1095
    Marantz AV-9000
    Sony ES CD
    Monster 3500 Power conditioner thingy

    The interconnects are Monster, Mk II or III (forgot which)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hard to say just what's going on. If its occasional, perhaps its the recording. Possibly the s's and t's and sh sounds are affected?
     
  3. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Dave, are there lots of hard surfaces in the room? What is the size and what is it like?
     
  4. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I would probably say the culprit is your speakers, as Paradigms tend toward a brighter sound. Your room could definitely play a large role, as well as specific recordings. Audioquest's past mid-priced offerings have been somewhat subdued in the top end, and those may help. I have not persoannly auditioned any of their latest stuff, so I can't speak for that. As far as tweaks that may help? I would consider some sound absorbing materials on your walls, which could include a tapestry/rug, or acoustical panels.
     
  5. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi:

    No, it does not seem to be just the "s"'s and "t"'s... it is just that that part of the spectrum seems, well, harsh. All the other parts seem to go together really well, and this just kind of takes my ears and slaps them... Maybe they sound more tinny, more metalic? And thinner?

    Room is 14 x 22 x 8. Concrete floor, with a low-pile carpet, couch, couple of paintings on the walls, blinds not curtains in windows, french doors with a sheer fabric.

    The Paradigms are on the floor, so the tweeters are about ear level. They are 6-7 feet apart, 3 1/2 in from the walls on the sides, 2-3 feet from the back wall (the front of the speaker is, that is!). There is a big screen TV between them, but the speakers extend another 6-8 inches into the room in front of the TV. The toe in is not too dramatic, I would say that at the listening point, the "aim" point for the speakers is still a good 2-3 feet wide (that is, the speakers are not aimed DIRECTLY at the listening point...)

    Oh, and there is an SVS in the room... forgot to mention that! Hardly the cuase of the problem, though!

    Hey, thanks!
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Try this link, and then see what it sounds like. It's better if you do this alone, or with someone who won't start doubting your sanity [​IMG]
    http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html
    It's one of the best speaker positioning techniques I've seen, at least it worked better for me than many others I've tried.
    Also, try reducing your toe-in even further, most speakers' high-frequency response falls off as you go off-axis, and you might get a wider soundstage to boot. Room treatments might help, if your living conditions would allow rugs or egg-crate foam on your walls, but I would advise against spending too much on this. The sound you're describing is just the character of every Paradigm speaker I've heard, they have an ever-so-slightly up-tilted top end. In some situations, it becomes just a little too much.
    If nothing else works out, I'd recommend shopping for new speakers. Expensive, I know, but personally, I would fix the problem at its source rather than spend smaller amounts of money on band-aid fix attempts. Of course, that isn't always practical or possible. An interconnect which is known to have high capacitance could help in rolling off the treble. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you could try out interconnects made of different types of cable for very little cash outlay. Alternatively, if you have a dealer who'll let you borrow cables, that would work too. However, like I said, IMO this is a bit of a bandaid. However, also IMO, no component is perfectly neutral, and the 'art' of system matching is largely finding components which enhance each others' strengths and make up for each others' weaknesses.
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Aw heck, I'd just stop listening to Sinead! That's cheaper than new speakers!
     
  8. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    He did say the problem isn't only with Sinead, that was just a specific example [​IMG] Sure, you could stop listening to half your music collection, but that seems like a very typically 'audiophile' approach to things - set up a very elaborate system on which you can only tolerate a handful of recordings, so spend all your time listening to those few over and over again. Which is fine, because all you do with your system is demo it for others anyway, or continuously test soundstage/imaging/frequency response.
    [​IMG]
    Been there, done that, glad to be out of it.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Oh Saurav!! Allow me upon occasion to be just a little flippant and take a dig at Sinead! I think investigating the room approach using some software and mic could certainly yield some postive benefits. Even a treble adjustment might yield some clues. And your suggestion was certainly with merit. I hope Mr. Koch posts back with what he tried and his personal assessment.
     
  10. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu:

    I DID take it as a joke! In fact, I laughed pretty good about that one- no offense taken! (I was puzzled why I did not think about that!) Actually, the reason I named her specifically is that her voice is right there at the point where I hear it the most- Diana Krall is a little lower, and I do not here it there. I was just trying to give you an idea what register I hear the problem in.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, I liked the speakers when I first got them. In the last month, I replaced a Yamaha 995 (used as a pre) with the Marantz, and an older CD player with the Sony ES, and that is when I really started noticing the "problem."

    Saurav:

    Thanks for the link- I have not had a chance to go there yet, but I will later today. It is good to know I am not the only person to notice this with these speakers, if only to make me feel I do not have tin ears! But the idea of replacing the speakers, well, that is a chunk of change I do not want to part with right now. You are [probably right down the road, but I was hoping to apply a band-aid for now!

    So, I will check the link and report back!
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Sounds like a plan Dave! Glad you read it as the gentle joke/rib it was meant to be. These things don't always translate well when typing, smilies or not!
    BTW, I see that you've replaced components. As you reflect back, did you make any other changes to the room? For example, not looking to be nit picky, but was furniture moved around...maybe the rack where you keep your components...speakers moved at all while you did the switches, change the curtains, put in metal blinds, etc? Just trying to get a handle here. How long you had your speakers?
     
  12. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu:

    Good point! I DID toe the speakers again, and they are toe-ed in more, so that is something I should probably play with... Kind of a hassle playing with them as they have those darn spikes, which makes minute adjustments difficult (you have to lift them, not just "scoot" them).

    Let me ask this.... then I adjusted them, I played some old, mono Jazz (Billie Holiday, I think), and tried to center the image. I then started moving the speakers toe OUT until the centered image seemed to loose some "force", that is, until it started to go a bit hollow. Then I moved them back ever so slightly until the centered image seemed to be fully strong again. Then, when I went to something more modern, the soundstage seemed wider than before, so I left it there. Sound good, or should I try something else?

    The speakers are 2 years old or so, so they are probably broken in pretty well.
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well for now take a look at Saurav's link and as far as the toeing in goes, that can be approached in a variety of ways. One way is to rig up a laser pointer (probably a couple of bucks at the store) on the speaker. Now let's say you're sitting in your favorite position. Furthermore, let's say you can rig up something just behind your head...piece of cardboard. On the cardboard, draw a horizontal line with equally spaced markings. Use the laser pointer (rig up a jig to keep it squared properly) and adjust the speakers so that the laser hits the spot dead center. Listen. Adjust the speakers out a bit so that the laser hits to the left and right of center the same distance. Listen again. Keep repeating and making notes during each session. Myself, I'd then split the distance and use that. For example...say that at +/- 12 inches the soundstage or whatever you want to call it collapses. Set the speakers up to hit the +/-6 inch. Sound reasonable. Also check out the PM is sent you...maybe something useful.
     
  14. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  15. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    she has a very raspy and bright voice. [​IMG]
     
  16. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    Having a set of studio 60's in my HT system I'd say the problem is not your speakers but the cables. I too use Rotel amps. My system does not exhibit any of the treble harshness you describe, even with Sinead.
    The first thing I'd do is try new speaker cables. Then replace those Monsters with some Neutral sounding cables. I found the monsters fatten up the bass and midrange while smearing the highs.

    If you want that amp of yours to perform even better then toss out that horrible Rotel OEM power cord. You will get an across the board improvement from tighther bass (better pitch definition) to highs that will allow you to hear a high hat cymbal from a tamborine!There a a lot of DIY cable recipes around that will do the trick. The improvement over the stock cord is amazing. The best bang for the buck IMO.
     
  17. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Saurav:
    Thanks for the link. Could not get to it earlier- looked in depth (it was), and I had other things going. Just read through it, and I will give a lot of those hints a try.
    Also read the Cardas article about golden triangles and such (here)
    I have a question before I go about tweaking. Seems they all recommend getting the front to back first, then the side-to-side. OK. Then, we go for toe-in. Now, I am guessing (and this is what I want confirmed) that the plane of the speaker cones is the rotation point for toe-in. Silly question, I know.... but it seems that this is where the music is ultimately created, so this is my reference point. Is that correct? Once I have front to back and side to side, I should rotate for toe-in by moving the BACK of the speaker out and in, leaving the face in the same position...
    Thanks again for all the help- you are making my head hurt!
     
  18. Bob Cal

    Bob Cal Stunt Coordinator

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    Dave
    Just to pass on my observations with my Studio 60's. I purchased them about 3 months ago. I found that on a few cd 's I would get some brightness etc. I was aware of the discussion on Paradigm speakers and this characteristic. I am using a Technics A/V Receiver which I will be replacing
    later for a Denon which is supposed to complement the Paradigm speakers .

    I had some old speaker wire which I just replaced with a little bit better quality 12guage wire, and I do not know if it was the break in period of the speakers or the wire that I changed, but I do not notice the same sound on those cd's any more.

    Also my speakers are not toe-ed in as much as most.

    I had to put on Sinead O'Connor "I do not want what I haven't got" and she sounded fine.

    Could be me getting use to the Paradigm sound as well.

    Good luck with it.
     
  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Getting used to the sound of speakers, i.e. listener adaptation, is quite valid...who knows...maybe sinead recordings will be the test for all to evaluate their speaker's performance? I'd then consider throwing in Rosie O'Donnel, Joan Rivers, and Roseanne into the mix and we might have something!
     
  20. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Stunt Coordinator

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    Back to the matter at hand....

    I have spent the last 3 or 4 hours playing, and I am not too happy where I am now!

    I started with the Cardas measurements- figuring I could at least hit the numbers I am suppossed to. Im my room, that meant putting the speakers 44 inches in from each wall. Well, that would block a stairway, so I had to go 50. Cool. From the back wall, I would have to be 76 inches in- way to much for the SAF... so I did 1/2 that (Figuring that a ultiple is better than nothing...).

    Started wiuth them pointed straight in, and I have been messing with toe in ever since.

    I HAVE LOST MY SOUNDSTAGE!!!!!!

    It sounds ok and all (balance wise), but all the sound is between the speakers now. Oh, occasionally, I can get something outside the speakers, but is sounds weak. Even with no toe at all, the sound is inside the speakers. I close my eyes, and I can see the speaker position.

    The best I have come up with is a very slight toe in, and I do get some sounstage, but not like before.

    So, to get that back, I am supposed to straighten the speakers out, right? Anything else?
     

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