How to make sound less detailed with warmth?

Hello All,

I am quite new to audio stuff... just been listening to my current set up for about a year.

CD Player: RCD-1072
Preamp: Sonic Frontier SFL-1
Poweramp: BK M-200 Sonata Series
Speaker: Thiel 1.3
Cable: Not sure...

I liked detailed sound at first but now I am more into musical and warm sound. It becomes a pain when I listen to violin on my current system. So my question is which part should I change to make my system sound more musical?

One more question: My BK M-200 Power amp just died on me. Is it a wise decision to send the unit back to B&K or get it fixed here?!?! Please let me know.

Thank you!
I would pin most of the blame on the Thiels. In my early audiophile days, I was a Theil owner (mid-80's, model O3A). At that time I was also getting interested in classical music and it became very apparent that the Thiel's would not produce violins naturally - they always had a glare and edge in the top end that was fatiguing. The Theil sound signature continues to this day IMO. In recent years I've had Spendor SP 1/2E's which are very musical (but lack the deepest bass) and now the Vandersteen 3A Sigs which give the whole package - very natural high end, great soundstaging and wonderful bottom end. For less money, the Vandy 2CE Sigs are also very good. So my advice is to change your speakers first. Next, I'd suggest a decent tube amp. Good luck.
I once had the same problems as you now experience . I had spent money on well respected equipment that did not please me . It sounded good in the store but soon after bringing it home I did not like it nearly as much ! I discovered that some CD's were now unlistenable . So I found this forum , read , asked a bunch of dumb questions and learned .
I then took this knowledge and listened to as many equipment setups as was possible . I soon learned a few things .

First , I much prefered speakers with soft dome tweeters rather than the metal ones I had purchased . This alone was probably worth 30% - 40% percent of an improvement of my listening exsperience !

Second , I prefered tubes to SS . I started with one in the pre section of an integrated amp . It was a little better . Then I moved to a tubed CDP , another improvement . Then I went all of the way with a tubed integrated amp . Much much better . I can now listen to CD's that were relegated to the 'for sale' stack and enjoy them !
And it is possible to get detail and warmth together without loosing musicality . I found this out with the purchase of a second Int. amp that had better extension , detail and low level resolution . I am now rolling tubes to increase the warmth .

I think of tuning , in the audio world , the same as tuning in the automotive world . It does not fix a malfunctioning setup . Tuning is what you do to get the last few percent improvement to maximize what you already have and enjoy . You wouldn't put a new set of hi-performace wheels and tires on a car that runs so poorly it won't get you around the block ! So you wouldn't put new cables on an audio system that you deem unlistenable !

If I were to do it again , I think that I would go the all tube route first . Sort of one extreme to the other . Then if it was too much back out of it one piece at a time . YMMV .

No flames please , just my opinion here .

Good luck .

Changing a cable or any other components in a system is the "normal" read expensive audiophile "FIX".....

Many times we don't realize that the room imparts it's characteristic to the sound we hear and might be a "veil" that doesn't allow you to assess the true potential or difference in sound with your current standard.
Any future component you change / acquire / borrow will benefit of a proper set room.
I had the SFL-1 preamp connected to my system for a while a few years back. As you know the SFL-1 is a Hybrid. With a Sovtek or EH tube it will sound like a SS preamp. Change the tube to a NOS Mullard.... The preamp will sound like a tube preamp. Bet it will give you the sound you are looking for.

If memory serves me right the SFL-1 came new with two tubes. One Sovtek and one Mullard. I tried both and the Mullard won out hands down. [url=]Email Chris Johnson[/url] and ask him which Mullard he would recommend.
If the Thiel 1.3 uses a metal dome tweeter then this may explain your problems with the violin - high Q resonance from a rigid diaphragm - it is a common problem with all light weight rigid diaphragms (ceramic, metal etc.).

Some designers (such as Audiophysic) use deep notch filters to try and eliminate this non-musical ringing, others (like Thiel) do not add notch filters because of the other phase issues they introduce, others (like accuton drivers) have rubber dampers on the cone itself, others use coatings instead of these visible rubber dampers, some have tried exotic shapes, some use a constrained layer approach (two rigid cones in a sandwich with a soft viscous fluid between the cones to dampen them).....all these efforts are to reduce the bell ringing from rigid light weight devices.

Why then do they use rigid light weight drivers? Becuase a rigid piston would be an ideal raditaing surface if it did not ring like a bell, and light weight drivers mean they can be coupled with small magnets and small motors and therefore are cheap to achieve a high level of efficiency.

This form of distortion can be particularly distracting and fatiguing because it is totally unreleated to the music. The more expensive the drivers the better this is controlled, however most speakers under $5,000 use drivers that cost the manufacturer around $50 wholesale... sound crazy....well it is even more crazy when you realize that the veneers and finishes are generally the most expensive cost of the speaker construction. Manufacturers know all to well that "how it looks" is often more important in sales than an extra 5% improvement in how it sounds. Audio furntiure is what audiophiles are mostly paying for. DIY'ers have known this for years....