Help. System sounds thin and bright or harsh

Hope this isn't redundant tried to post in Tech Talk

Just moved my system to a new home/sound room and it still sounds harsh and a bit thin despite supposedly "warm" sounding Harbeth 30.1 speakers. This issue is not new and I had put the blame on the old listening room.  Can't figure out what the problem is. I listen loud at 80dcbl or higher and sit nearfield about 8 feet from the speaker plane. (sound is thin and bright from afar as well) I have experimented in both homes with speaker placement, toe-in and the like. Speakers are placed a lil over 3 feet from the rear wall and about two and a half feet from side walls.  I feel something is off. Perhaps a component or two that is known to be tipped up in the highs and a lil bass shy?? Also, I leave all solid state components fully powered up 24/7. (not the tubes)


Modwright/Oppo BDP 105 disc player  (all mods with tubed power supply and pricey NOS tube upgrades throughout)  Looking to replace once the harshness/bright issue is nailed down.

Parasound JC2 Preamp

Pass Labs X250.5 Amp

Harbeth 30.1 stand mount speakers

Puritan Labs PSM 156 power conditioner. (less "edgy" sound with it in system)

System is run all balanced with fairly costly Cardas interconnects.

All input is welcome. Thanks in advance.

Happy listening.



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Just tried Musetec 005 dac (already broken in) fed by Oppo bdp 105 via optical out (cd) with dac fed straight into the Pass Labs X250.5 (by passing Modwrighted tubed output) (jc2 headed back to Parasound for repair) Unfortunately my 105 does not have usb audio output.

Far from best set up. Waiting for Benchmark LA4 to be shipped.

BUT....First impressions: sound is cleaner, fuller if not a lil recessed compared to what I had before especially with the oppo feeding the amp directly. (unlistenable) there's a deeper soundstage...voices don't glare as much. And there's more pronounced instrument separation.  This is all very promising. Hoping new pre amp will bring more low end and smooth out the top end.  LA4, though, is said to let the source and amp fixing the sound.  CDP might need replacing...then gotta pin down streaming.

But can listen to this while waiting for the new pre


Focus on cables and their replacement. Stay away from bright sounding cables that have silver wire. Don't buy the ones that are advertised as highly revealing as this can put you over the top, especially if your components are considered to be high definition, you may end up with too much of a good thing.


Seems like the bright sound gremlin was lurking in the Pass Labs amp.  After new dac and preamp I finally unhooked the Pass and stuck in my older Nuforce V3 monoblocs that were just collecting dust.  I'm very surprised how good they sound with the dac and pre It;ll be interesting to see what a difference a repaired Pass amp can make..  Oppo 105 is acting as a transport..  Not done by a long shot yet.  Chasing a warmer bigger sound.  Pro Ject Transport may be next as its gotten lots of praise in these forums.