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.




What power cables are you using. In my system stock power cords made it sound harsh and bright and thin, lot of metallic sounding highs. Replacing with Pangea Ac14se mk2 eliminated emi and made music.

Seems to me more and more the 30.1's are just not big enough. Room treatments and less speaker toe in will likely help but not fix the sound. 

Earthbound     I am seriously considering subs but a pair of rel s510's would be pretty pricey.  The rel website configured that a pair of t7x's would work based on limited data punched into it's questionnaire,,,speaker square footage and such. I have read threads saying its very hard to integrate subs  but also others praising the use of subs.  I already believe two is the proper way to go to. 

I'm waiting for a new cd transport to arrive to see what that might offer. (probably not the magic bullet but the new one should be better than the Oppo bdp 105.)

vrao 81     I have a couple of after market power cords including one for the cd player acting as a transport (puritain along with the Puritain 156 conditioner) The others probably aren't high end. 

pointtrucking      I THINK its phase correct as some recordings sound very good.


I own 30.2's with a Class A amp. My suggestion is a combination of the above. Place the speakers closer to the walls if possible. Use Ton-Trager or similar stands, or what I did was put springs under my speakers, made a huge positive difference, and get a sub. Even a small one, or two, will do it.

I think good quality wire is worth it, but it should not be used as a tone control. Do the above first before switching wire.

You could get a pair of SVS 3000 Micro subs for $1700. They have an app for setup and allow phase adjustment from 0-180, rather than REL’s 0 or 180. I’ve found that alone allows for better fine tuning. REL not having an app makes setup frustrating as your constantly getting up to turn dials on the back.

I would also trying using the Sumiko setup. It sounds unusual in that your speakers often times don't end up symmetrical but it's all about placing the speakers to your ears and room as no 2 are alike. See here. It's free and you may learn something about placement while doing it. This is how my dealer sets up all his speakers and the only way I do it now.