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Please HELP ME WITH HARSHNESS!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Wilkins, Sep 1, 2001.

  1. Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Auditioning

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    Hello, I posted this on the Klipsch forum and received some answers. I would like to know what some people here think.
    Every time I listen to music with my Legends (KLF 20 & KLF C7 - no surrounds) it sounds extremely harsh.
    Ive owned these speakers for over 6 months now and they still are harsh. I have just now been able to describe the harshness.
    It is not anything specific that stands out, rather it is just an underlying sound that is there. My ears get worn down and begin to hurt after just 2 songs. I have no problem when watching movies, just when listening to CDs (this happens with all CD's, not just old or poor quality ones)
    Im powering them with a Denon 2801 and have Monster bulk speaker wire (the $1.50/ft kind). I have a Toshiba 3109 DVD player that I also use to play cd's and it's connected by an optical cable.
    I have tried using a coax digital cable and analog output, but it does not make a difference. I turned down the treble, it did not help either.
    I dont think that this sound I am hearing is the brightness that all Klipsch speakers have, it's difficult to describe. The "harshness" is just there, like it's bleeding through the music.
    Someone suggested that I use a CD player for playing CD's, would this reduce harshness? Any suggestions for a decent CD player for around $200.
    Any suggestions on what's causing this and how to get rid of it????
    THANKS
     
  2. TomH

    TomH Second Unit

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    I think that is the way they are intended to sound. You might try matching them with some electronics that have a warm characteristic. I was auditioning speakers one afternoon and just out of curiosity stopped in to listen to some Reference series. In my opinion these were some of the brightest, harshest speakers I have ever heard. It was actually painful to listen for more than 10-15 minutes. Maybe it was just a bad sound room or bad electronics but these were possibly the worst speakers I have heard. I could appreciate Bose after these. Yes this is IMHO.
     
  3. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    You have entered the confusing zone of the lovers and haters of the "Klipsch sound". I wonder why this brand cause this types of response from the people...
    Im a Klipsch owner, and I agree with Sean when he says:
    quote: There are some people who after owning Klipsch's cannot listen to other speakers because they say the detail is just not there like it is with the Klipsch's.[/quote]
    In fact, for me is exactly the opposite "problem" I can't really enjoy others speakers because they just sound way "muddy" and not "alive" (for my taste at least). [​IMG]
    Getting back to your problem, have you tried to "cover" the horns with something? You can also use an equalizer to cut power on high frequencies.
    OR... perhaps what you need is to get used to the "Klipsch sound". Try this, get to a local bar or something with live music, then close your eyes and feel... in my opinion the so called "harshness" will be right there, in front of you.
    [Edited last by Manuel Delaflor on September 01, 2001 at 05:36 PM]
     
  4. Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Auditioning

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    Thanks for the help so far.
    I dont think it's the brightness that bothers me.
    The harshness is difficult to explain. I've heard several demos at stores with the legend and reference series and loved them. That is why I bought these speakers, because of the amazing clarity.
    I have a few dvds that are concerts (Pear Jam and Dave Matthews) and I can listen to them for hours. And I can easily listen to dvd movies. But when I play cd's my ears physically hurt after 1 or 2 songs.
    I tried stuffing the horns (highs) with cotton balls, but that only muffled the sound and did not take away the harshness.
    The harshness I hear is like a muddy ambiance that feels like needles to my ears - if that makes sense.
    Any other thoughts?
     
  5. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Does the harshness go away on the "quieter" CDs? That is, the CDs that were mastered with a lower peak level? Try older Sting recordings, like Nothing Like the Sun, and see if the harshness disappears. Nowadays, most CDs are mastered for radio play, hence the music is in-your-face, loud, and hard on the ears. Slap in a Peter Gabriel CD (like So, or Passion) and compare with your known harsh CDs.
    I have a Yamaha DSP-A1 mated with Paradigm Monitor 9s...it was harsh for a few months, but now they sound fine to me...probably a combination of breaking in and my getting used to the bright sound.
     
  6. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Personally, I always think of harshness and brightness as the same thing. When the high freqs become too overbearing they hurt my ears and sound very "harsh". The way I've combated this is by simply using an EQ (either onboard or separate component) to tone down those frequencies that are being over accentuated. Perhaps the demos you listened to in the store were tweaked a bit differently than how you currently have them set up at your house. Hope that helps any. Best of luck.
    Dan Hine
     
  7. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Jason,
    It may very well be your room. I would venture a quess that it is. What you may want to do is go over to www.audioasylum.com and do a search under the Tweaks Forum for "acoustical wall treatment", or "tube traps". Jon Risch has some excellent DIY room treatment recipes listed at his website. Or, you can get to Jon's site here..... www.geocities.com/jonrisch//a1.htm
    I just recently installed Jon's "quick and dirty" bass traps, as well as two first reflection wall hangings per Jon's recipe (ok, I altered them slightly due to my room setup ... ) and was astounded by the positive change.
    I am amazed, actually, at what some acoustical treatment can do to cure bass boom and smooth our the HF harshness in my new basement HT. I'm a convert now.
    I recall reading a post or two from a couple of Klipsch users, like yourself, that asked Jon for advise about the same issue you now have---- HF harshness.
    There is a solution out there for you in curing this high-end malady.
    Good Luck,
    BOK
    [Edited last by Brian OK on September 01, 2001 at 07:52 PM]
     
  8. Jason Wilkins

    Jason Wilkins Auditioning

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    Thanks again for the replies. Im sure my room could use some sound damping for the walls, so I will check out the above links.
    To answer the question above, I am using a Toshiba SD3109 DVD player also as a CD player. I have tried both analogue and digital outputs from it and there is no difference.
    (Edited to add link [​IMG]
    Link to specs of DVD player http://www.toshiba.com/tacp/dvd/dvda...09_detail.html
    I am considering buying a Denon DCM-370A CD player (which I was already going to do) and see if it helps at all. I will most likely try to borrow someone's CD player first and see if it's better.
    Is there a considerable difference in the way a CD is played and processed in a DVD player vs. a decent quality CD player?
    [Edited last by Jason Wilkins on September 01, 2001 at 08:28 PM]
     
  9. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    I have an M&K 750THX system (about 6 mos. also) and initially thought it was on the bright side. Just short of what I would consider harsh.
    Since then they now sound better than ever. And here are three things that have happened over that time which I believe contributed to the improvement.
    1) I spent a lot of time properly aligning and calibrating my system.
    2) I added a wall hanging (3 sections of styrofoam insulation 2" thick covered with colorful carpet runners) to the wall behind the mains.
    3) I went from a Pioneer receiver to a NAD T751 receiver, the output of which feeds a B&K 3220 3 channel amp (the receiver handles the surrounds, and the sub is powered).
    4) The better the program source the better the sound. These are very revealing of poor recordings. I played a XLO Test CD and the musical cuts are pristine. Just crystal clear without a trace of harshness.
     
  10. Dave Dahl

    Dave Dahl Stunt Coordinator

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    It sounds like you are describing the effects of low level distortion in your system. It can reveal itself by the very effect that you are describing: an unexplainable fatigue that seems to come quickly after listening to the system.
    If you are sure it's not the 'Klipsch' sound then I would make sure that the cables being used in your system are of sufficient high quality and that the power coming into your system is not dirty.
    Good luck.
    Dave
    ps you may also find that if you take the speakers back to where you purchased them and listened to them there you may be able to determine for certain what the problem is.
     
  11. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    I have not listened to Klipsch in a long time but I do recall having the same reaction when I first heard them. Maybe the Denon and Klipsch do not make a good match. How are the Klipsch positioned and how do you normally listen to them? Do you sit precisely in the sweet spot? I've found them to be pretty harsh if I position myself exactly at the intersection of the radiating path. Have you tried toeing them out a little? Try positioning them so that you are not in the direct radiating path. Also try raising or lowering them so that you are not in direct line with the tweeters.
    The reason why you can listen to DVDs more than CDs is because CDs have much higher upper frequency content. DD and DTS are rolled off in the upper frequencies. And, as mentioned before, a lot of CDs these days just aren't mastered very well. Try something that is known to be well mastered, like Enya's Watermark CD.
     
  12. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    This sounds just like my experience with my own HT gear. I bought a Yamaha DSP-A595a and mated it to a set of B&W speakers all round.
    For movies it was great! Very clear sound and enjoyable indeed. With music... it STUNK. I couldn't stand listening to it for more than a few songs and I wasn't really enjoying that either.
    So after thinking a while I realized that it couldn't be the speakers. These have won five-star awards and I have heard them myself mated to other amps sounding stunning for what they cost. I had to look elsewhere. Part of it was probably the room and placement, so I worked on that first. It gave me better sound but the harshness wasn't abated at all really.
    So, I sold the amp and brought home a NAD T751... and it was like a completely different HT. All the harshness and annoyance of the sound was gone and music sounded much much better.
    Unfortunately the NAD was defective (bad digital input) so I took it back and for various reasons wound up with a Pioneer receiver that I'm quite happy with as well (not as good with music but better with movies).
    Try to find a different amp/receiver and try that out. I can't be sure that that is the problem for you but in my case it was definitely the amp that was the problem.
    ------------------
    /Kimmo
     
  13. Dave N.

    Dave N. Stunt Coordinator

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    As suggested,you may very well have a multifactorial cause for the harshness. I can state from my experience that the Toshiba 3109 is really horrible for CD playback. I was using one in my streo only system and upgraded to the Sony 777ES SACD player. Even on Redbook CD the improvement was astounding. Of course this led me to upgrade my amp,cables,...
    Try a good CD player in your system first and then go from there.
    Dave
     
  14. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    No one has yet pointed out 2 of the most obvious candidates...Speaker Toe-in and amplifier. Try varying your toe-in, ranging from a few feet outside the prime listening position to actualy crossing in front of the listening position.
    Your Denon 2801 is a fine receiver...but a seperate amp will totally change your sound. I would try B&K, Odyssey, Adcom, Rotel, Parasound, and Marantz. Each will sound different but undoubtably one will be a better match for your speakers than the others.
    ------------------
    http://www.sdiver.org
     

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