Searching for a little more warmth

Hello all, 

I know this might be a little open ended but I wanted to ask the crowd here for some thoughts and opinions on a matter I have been contemplating for some time now.  

To begin.  My current system is comprised of:

  • Shindo Cortese 300b amp
  • Aurieges pre 
  • Bluesound Node
  • Zu soul vi speakers
  • Thorens TT

I am looking for a little more warmth and richness from my system.  The low end is there (to some degree), however it often feels as if the sound is having a difficult time filling the room.  I'm not looking for a super boomy low end, just a little more presence from the speakers that is able to fill the room without turning to "11".  The room is decent size, about 16' x 30' with high sloping ceiling.  (Speakers are placed on the 16' wall about 11' apart and close to corners)    

I've gone back and forth on what I believe might be the best path forward and after countless motions back and forth, I figured I'd put this out there to the crowd to see what the group thinks.  

My gut tells me that swapping out my speakers might be the best option.  Currently they are Zu soul vi but I have been considering Devore O/93 or 0/96 or audio note but am open to suggestions.  

Option two might be to leave the speakers and add a small subwoofer.  

Or lastly, consider the source, where most my music is played through bluesound Node, that adding or replacing that Node with a Gold Note DS-10 or (used) aurender might add some dynamics and texture.  

Or... perhaps I need to swap out the system for something with a little more oomph..

Many variables and possible contributing factors, I know.  I figured it'd be fun to see what the group picks out as the weakest link here or suggests as the best path toward a goal.






@croissantfoxwine be sure if considering Devores and Audio Note speakers that you are allowed a home demo with your gear. Perhaps your Shindo dealer can also advise. The Cortese has gone through some minor running revisions which are typically well done and nice. The thing to pay close attention to is the recommended output impedence, which on the Cortese is 16ohm IIRC, which makes them a natural partner for Devore O’s (10 ohm) vs Audio Note E’s (6 ohm) for instance. It matters.

If "bright" were the only issue with Zu speakers, that might be dealt with by cable choices and other such changes.  But, for my taste, Zu speakers are unnaturally hard and brittle sounding with too lean upper bass/lower midrange  If you find them not to your liking with a 300b amp (something that adds upper bass/lower midrange and tends to be soft on top, a speaker change is in order.  Your looking in the direction of DeVore and Audio Note is quite sensible.  If you can do corner placement, Audio Note would be a terrific choice.  

I also like, among higher efficiency speakers, models from Charney Audio, Rethm, Volti, Songer Audio and PureAudioProject.  

I heard Audio Note and ProAc speakers at the same dealer in northern Virginia and liked them both, but felt the ProAcs had more life and energy, with the Audio Notes sounding laid back in comparison. Both fell on the warmer side of neutral. My ProAc D40R are fairly easy to drive, do not need subs, and fill the room easily, even when pushed farther apart than ideal.

A speaker change will get you closer to where you want to be than changing the source. If you can only do one thing initially I would change your speakers. 

Not familiar with your amps, but I've heard many models of Zu driven with many amps, and I would not consider any Zus to project sound as,

warmth and richness

IMO, change speakers.

I love my O/93's but your room is much larger than mine If you go with Devores (not "DeVores") my suggestion would be to go with the 96's and use Auditorium 23 speaker cables. Room placement is everything with Devores. They are not that picky but the devil is in the details for coaxing the best bass, midrange and treble balance. Anyone (uh, e.g. above) who gripes about bass and treble imbalance and/or midrange incongruence had simply failed to system-match and room-place with some mediocre degree of effort. Just my 2 sense. Tip; too far out Into the room enhances soundstage and imaging at the expense of being too dry and bass-shy. Don't be shy about placing them closer to the front wall corners. Mine are about 30 inches from the rear wall and eighteen inches from the sidewalls but that means nothing for you in your much larger room. Devores, tubes, and vinyl are meant for each other. Again, just my thoughts.