I've had some quality electronics: Started with Marsh seperates, Shunyata Hydra PC, had Def Tech BP 7000 speakers, Jolida JD 100 tried Simaudio Nova moved on to McIntosh 6900 integrated then, Plinius 9200 integrated; had Talon Raven speakers briefly, moved on to NAD M3 integrated had, all Acoustic Zen cabling, Modwright Sony 999ES, Von Schweikert VR4JR speakers, Now have the DK Signature integrated and Reimer Wind River GS speakers. The one constant has been that each of my systems has underperformed top to bottom- in my opinion. Bass has been a big disappointment too. My room is a rectangular family room over a concrete floor 11 by 20 by 8 with speakers on one of the short walls about 1 foot from the front wall and 6 feet apart- room is filled with furniture. 2 couches plus fish tanks toy chest etc. Because my setup is in the family room, I have no options for differnt speaker placement. We've had various power issues in the area over the last 2 years and I plan to get dedicated lines. Do you think dedicated lines are the key to most of my performace issues? Thanks
My immediate thought is that since you feel that EVERY system has underperformed, that it is most likely due to the room. Room acoustics can easily make or break the listening experience.
First off, try moving your speakers further out into the room and in different positions. I understand that the space competes with other uses, but you won't be the first to find out that the "prime" listening positions don't work with other room functions. That's OK. Just mark them and then move the speakers back to the wall when you're not doing serious listening. The same goes for other pieces of furniture, try moving them away from the listening area when you are doing your critical listening.
I think you will find that the room acoustics will have a much greater impact on the sound than the AC dedicated lines.
I don't beleive that dedicated lines are the key to your short comings although may be a part of it. IMO, you already told us the short comings, placementand the room. Being in the same boat as you, in a family room with little flexibility, I am content with my current setup. When I get a dedicated room I will become more critical.
What is disappointing about the bass? Lack of, sloppy...?
Then suck it up and learn to enjoy 'music' with your room/system limitations. If your bass is too boomy or uneven get smaller stand mount speakers. Don't waste any more money on big audiophile equipment based on reviews and reputation and spend your money on more, lots more, music.
Given you've yet to find the sound your looking for, here's what I'd suggest after looking at the equipment you've owned so far.
First, at least look into highly efficient horn loaded/horn speakers. These type of speakers offer a completely different sound than what you've been listening to.
To my ears, they sound far more "real" than any other design.
If you're going to use tubes, use them only at the source unit, never downstream. Tube buffers right after the source unit are my preference.
You also may want to try a set of AKG 701 headphones with a good headphone amp. There will be no room problems to deal with, and it will give you a perspective on just how good a playback system can sound.
Finally, I would seriously consider getting all the conventional pots/volume controls out of your signal path and going exclusively with Placette based volume control.
IMHO, until you've heard your system through Placette's completely transparent volume control, you really have no idea what it real sounds like.
I agree with others that your room and speaker placement is more likely the main problem. When using rooms for multipurpose you need to make sacrafices like moving speakers out from the wall a bit more, room treatments, listening position, etc, etc. Until you get a dedicated room you'll need to except this situation. Many of us have these types of rooms and with a few adjustments you can have great sound. It's a give and take thing. Buy more music!
At least try the different speaker placement (cardas). If that greatly improves the sound then you know what the problem is. If it doesn't then you've eliminated that variable.
Another option is to get behringer DEQ 2496 and try out room correction. This is not the last word in hifi, but, again it will show whether room correction is the answer, and you may prefer the sound through the behringer's correction. It will also enable you to exactly assess any room treatments you perform.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Tvad: quantity of bass has been the issue. I'm an old bass head. I'm not able to move the speakers any further from the front wall unless I move them 2 ft closer together. Though I'm not a tube roller per se, the tubes I use in the Modwright, Jolida and DK have all been replaced at various intervals. Newbee: yes, being a dedicated fan of the forums here, I've read that same advice given to several others in various circumstances. Gettheleadout: at this point, I've spent way too much on gear the past 3 years and I really want to stick with what I have now which is all good gear. Newbee's and Aball's advice really resonates with common sense and practicaltiy. (concepts my friends and family would say I lost-way lost). I plan to try to maximize what I have within the limitations that are present. The one thing I may do is buy a new sub and add a different cdp. For me the midbass and low bass quantity in this setup is the larger issue-the sonics have improved with the Reimers. Thanks again everyone.
Tvad: Thanks for that suggestion. I've considered the Behringer before. Considering my setup: A DK Signature to Reimer speakers with a Shunyata Hydra to-Modwright Sony and Jolida players -all single ended. Where can you suggest I get the single ended to balanced interconnects to connect the DEQ and secondly, where would the DEQ be placed; between the integrated and one of the cdps?
If you want a built-in EQ, check out the McIntosh C42/C46 preamps. I love mine and it solves this sort of problem rather well. The EQ on the 6900 won't do it - it has to be at least an 8 band for your situation.
Newbee and Aball; you guys oughta just rent a hotel room and get'er done ;-)
Good on'ya Foster_9 for giving such a thorough accounting of your system and room for others to respond. I'd agree that clean power is not the answer, though it is a positive step, I don't think it will clear things up. Beyond that I think the positioning advice is good. I'm just not familiar with the gear your currently using so won't comment there. I think, for what you are looking for that the match between amp and speakers would be where I'd look. From what I've read about the Modwright I don't think the problem could be there. You mentioned AZ cabling throughout - which of their cables are you using..specifically, what is the link between your front end and amplifier? I like silver everywhere else, and this is a broad generalization, but in the link between source and amp(pre) I found that copper IC's really made a big improvement in bass quality and quantity, and I preferred the strongly over silver. This has come as a very recent revelation upon changing DACs. YMMV. I've preferred silver in every other connection where I've found copper softens things a bit too much...at least in the very limited number of cables I've tried (relative to what's out there). Anyway, if you try altering cables, I've found that source-amp link is critical.
Thanks for the advice Marco. I have AZ Matrix Ref II for the front ends and Satori for the speakers. I spent more for these cables then I ever thought I would when I started in this. I feel they are quality, so I plan for these to be my last cables.
Just a few summing up suggestions: 1) Spend no more money at this point EXCEPT on music. 2) Put on music with bass content (try classical with basso continuo for example), and start moving the right spkr forward and inward AS YOU DESCRIBE ABOVE by small increments. At one point you SHOULD hear low frequencies start to appear out of nowhere -- at least SOME low frequency. 3) Leave right spkr as per 2, and start doing the same with left spkr. Stop where bass content starts to appear out of nowhere. Note: although I mention "bass content" what you'll be really hearing is midbass. You want to find a point where there is SOME at least, midbass energy coupling b/ween the two spkrs. 4) Adjust with both spkrs and try to mark to positions in 2&3 above (use masking tape & quickly remove same after set-up --- or the wife will remove you altogether:) ). 5) If 4' apart is what it takes, you'll have to live with it. DOn't toe in the spkrs, it may work. Listen nearfield (you probably are already). Don't worry. Smile at the family and play their favourite piece when you're done. Cheers
Having just moved in to a similar-sized room (last week in fact), I've found that one of the advantages of a smaller room is being able to get great sound through smaller electronics and speakers. I seriously considered VR4jr's for my new room until enough folks here told me there were better options.
I'm currently using Totem Model 1s and so far, although it's only been a week, I'm encouraged with the results. With the Totem's size, I'm able to move them around quite a bit and I'm slowly getting them in to position...20-inches from the back wall and 18-inches from the side at the moment. They'te toed-in about 10-degrees and the soundstage is locking in nicely.
Just last night my son and I were listening to Spencer-Dickinson on vinyl and on several tracks he mentioned how the sound was wide and deep, with some drum whacks sounding outside the speaker plane. That's what I want.
May I suggest smaller speakers? IMHO you don't big equipment to get big sound in our similar sized rooms.
Vinylmatters, thanks. In fact, thanks everyone for the responses. My plans are to stick with the current gear I have other than maybe a new front end, a sub, and some tweaking. I really don't want to go through another pair of speakers. I'm tired of dealing with speaker changes.
I agree with Goatwuss, go for the Rives assessment. Far too many audiophiles underestimate the impact of room acoustics and overestimate the impact of lateral equipment changes. Know your room acoustics first to optimize your sound; the room has the greatest influence on the sound that reaches your ears.
The driverack 260 (or its older prior model Driverack Studio (not PA) is superior to the Behringer Ultracurve in that it has less noise and sounds better overall. It can be had used on ebay for around $350 but costs close to $1000 retail.
I would agree with getting a DEQ and trying it out. I had a big null around 80hz-100hz and it was sucking all of the bass out of my system. Everything sounded lifeless and there was no punch. Once I heard my system (room) corrected, there was no going back. I started with the Behringer, but have since moved up to a TacT. You won't believe how good everything else sounds once you have corrected for the room.
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