How can I tell if I am overdriving the amp or the speakers?

I have a Hegel H390 driving KEF Reference 5 speakers and when I play something loud, the upper midrange ( saxophone, electric guitar, piano ) start sounding sharp and annoying. The amp is 250 x 2 into 8 ohms, stable down to 2 ohms and the speakers are 90 dbs, 8 ohm, ( min 3.2 ) 50-400 watts. I’m pretty sure it’s not room acoustics, but.




“I am a Audience AR6 power conditioner“

Should read, I have an  Audience, AR6, power conditioner.


I’m still not sure it’s not my ears.



I wish everything was recorded at the same level!

I am really sad to say it is my ears! Some of the music I listen to in the morning sounds good and sounds sharper in the evening. Same everything, Equipment, tunes and volume. If I keep it simple, like Bill Evans Trio or Art Pepper it is as bad, but the more instruments the worse it gets.


You've probably arrived at that certain age when you must pay the price for your extravagant volume habit. Surprised you hear anything but tinnitus.

Look at the Stereophile review of the Kef Reference 5 (2017). Go to measurements and look at first graph, the impedance curve is the solid line. 1k - 5k they appear easy to drive. I would try reducing the 4' distance from speaker to side wall, if there are walls, to 3' for starters. How far to the back wall ?  Hope this helps, Best.