Aggrivated tinnitus from speakers?


I'm new to the forum and was looking for some advice. I recently put together a system comprised of a McIntosh MA6900 + a pair of KEF R7s.

I've always had hearing sensitive to high frequencies, and have a very high frequency tinnitus at 18,000k. That's why I went with the Mac, as everyone talks about how smooth and musical it is. When I was shopping for speakers, I was doing a lot of research but then the KEF R7's went on crazy sale and I was able to pick up a pair for under 2k. It seemed like too much of a deal to pass up, especially with all of the glowing reviews, but maybe that was a mistake on my part...

I'm noticing when I listen to the system, my tinnitus activates at a lower frequency for several hours afterwards. I notice this most on FLAC / MQA - quality tracks on Tidal (via WIIM w/ integrated DAC, at very reasonable volumes - <85db ) It seems to happen less when I listen to vinyl or CD-Quality tracks, but it still happens.

It's driving me crazy and I'm so disappointed as I thought this was going to be my ultimate setup and I dropped a lot of $. The Mac has just been to an auth service center for new lamps and was bench tested and given a perfect bill of health after a small bias adjustment, so I don't think it's the problem.

I decided to use some headphones to see if I experienced the same thing... Senn. HD650's let me listen for long periods without problems. HD660S2s seem to give me maybe a little sensitivity after awhile, but the sensitivity I get from the KEF's is totally different.

I realize I should have demoed the speakers, but I just jumped on the deal - partially on their reputation and also because their narrow, tall size was ideal for the room layout.

Any advice on how to get to the bottom of this? Do I need to test different speakers or do I need to treat the room? I'd hate to give up the Master level recordings because I mentally swim in the detail and love it. I just hate the thought of not being able to enjoy the system properly, but I'm not sure where to start on making  it work for me.




I never had tinnitus until now.  Thanks long covid!  Mine actually couldn't be worse, so any music helps.  Too much Aspirin can also cause tinnitus.  Unfortunately, it appears that there isn't a remedy.  I will add that most of my speakers roll off @ 13-15k just like me ears~

@omegaman79 Neither I nor @evanpress were 'speaking' about YOUR grammar, but the appaling writing that exists, in general, by several regular, and some less regular, posters on here.

I don't know how you get to hear an 18KHz tone through your PC/Laptop/Tablet/phone speakers, and even less, how you can actually HEAR an 18KHz tone yourself in any situation, let alone differentiate between similar frequencies. You must have the hearing of a Bat!

@jay15206 That is a very interesting comment. Interesting as I too have Tinnitus which also manifests itself as a hissing, rather than a 'tone'. I also took Gabapentin for about a 9 Month period c10yrs ago, and although not sure, I do seem to remember my Tinnitus began at roughly the same time. This needs looking into further IMO.

   I suffer from long term exposure to firearms , racing and live music. About 10 years ago I rethought my system, and went with low power tubes. Since my price point is pretty modest I run a basic tube pre, SEP tube amp and 97 db speakers. I have the room heavily dampened and avoid the use of silver in all my cables. I did extensive tube rolling and run Telefunken NOS small tubes and dropped my rectifier tube to a lower power and this provides a very smooth but linear response. Last year I rotated in a SS amp at 60wpc, and if I listen too loud I pay for it. Where I really have to be careful is in the car and wearing headphones. I miss loud off axis music that shakes the house , but late night listening at low volume to someone like Diana Krall is absolutely amazing. But I had to give up listening to her husband at 95 db. In retrospect I’ve struggled my whole life understanding the lyrics and now they are crystal clear. Now if I could only spell. Happy Hunting, Mike B.