Speakers, speaker cables or I’m getting old…

I began listening to my gear as it filtered in from various spots in the US. I bought cheap cables, as I waited for my cabling to arrive. I have a set of Heritage Specials, ran from a Pass X150.8. I noticed right out of the gate at what I would call “moderate” volumes there’s a frequency that “smears.” I’ve never heard this in any of my setups, have just read others reference it. Now, what I’ve noticed is as my gear has arrived and as the chain improved, it reduced, but is not gone and I’m unable to listen at louder volumes due to it.

The one item that’s yet to arrive are the speaker cables, currently on there is what was available at the moment, something very thin and cheap.

My prior setup was Harbeth’s off PL, and am very familiar with that sound. I’ve ran PS Audio BHK Mono’s off a set off Dyn Confidence and loved that too. I tend to believe it’s not the speakers. But rather the cheap speaker cables…Or, I’ve aged 3 years since I’ve had a 2ch setup, and my hearing has changed and I’m just more sensitive to certain frequencies. For the record, I’ve always been rather sensitive to an upper mid/higher freq sound, it pierces my brain. B&W + Mac comes to mind…ran that once as well.

The other oddity is that older recordings, or older remasters like Tom Petty Wildflowers and the off shoot releases from it sound amazing. Dave Matthews sounds amazing, Radiohead, Willie Bobo, so there’s a bunch that doesn’t generate that smear or sheen. I’m using qobuz. Really, anything metal related, Tool, Lamb of God, Metallica is a little harsh to listen to and moderate volumes.



Everything has begun to settle in. Some isolation bits arrived from Butcher Block Acoustics, swapped in the Harbeth H5 XD’s, along with the new speaker cables. The hiss and sheen on the higher frequencies are no longer present. Tomorrow I’m dropping in a MSB Analog DAC. FWIW, I did A/B using the Inakustik with everything plugged in and using a Shunyata Cyclops dedicated to just the amp. I prefer the later, the biggest difference I noticed was a slightly deeper/cleaner bass. Nothing earth shattering, but something I’ll keep.

Thanks for the input.



if the kimber kables you listened to were harsh then you likely have listened to a fake pair. 

lots of fake kimber kable cables out there. 

I also have Heritage Special’s . They take a good long time to break in. I drive my HS with an Aestheix Mimas . Speaker cable is Audience FrontRow. I don’t have ANY issues. Sound is sublime. 

@sudnh There may be lots of fakes but it wasn't the case.

Kimber recommended 12 TCs for my system and they were downright bad - the sound was muddy and harsh.  They weren't a good fit for my system to my ears.

Kimber was easy to work, and that's why I tried the BiFocal XLs.  I think they are awesome and I also use their KTCG XLRs interconnects.  Also of note, Kimber Kable sometimes sells demos and trade-ins on eBay.  

Your amplifier and the speakers are great, but perhaps there is not the best synergy.

I tried Pass labs 250.8 mono blocks with my Dynaudio Confidence 60 and they sounded very good, but I preferred my Accuphase A46 and Mcintosh Mc 611, and zero brightness with both.