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.




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.


New cd transport (Project RS2T) has killed most of the bugaboos for harsh sound. I am now on the right path without even doing room treatments. .Oppo bdp105 was just lean and bright in comparison.  Clean power, stereo subs (recommended by many here, thank you) and room treatments (also recommended here) are next and not necessarily in that order.   Clearly bits are NOT just bits...the transport into a decent dac is a game changer in my system/room.  Thanks all for all the help.