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  1. #1
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    Bright sounding speakers

    I have finally locked in my speaker positioning, however everytime I listen to music I get a headache. My system sounds very bright and is actually hard to listen to for more than five minutes. What causes a system to sound so bright. I am using acoustic panels and a rotel amp which is supposed to be laid back. I know my b and w speakers have been called bright. What can I try to reduce this. As of now I am just trying to tolerate the system rather than enjoy it. Need help with this. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Ajani
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    Quick Question: Did your system sound bright before you got the Rotel amp (when you were just using the B&W with the Denon)?

  3. #3
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    Not as bright do you think it's the amp

  4. #4
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    That's not good...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    I have finally locked in my speaker positioning, however everytime I listen to music I get a headache. My system sounds very bright and is actually hard to listen to for more than five minutes. What causes a system to sound so bright. I am using acoustic panels and a rotel amp which is supposed to be laid back. I know my b and w speakers have been called bright. What can I try to reduce this. As of now I am just trying to tolerate the system rather than enjoy it. Need help with this. Thanks.
    ... sounding too hot is probably the worst offense a stereo can do. And you can only listen for five minutes?!?!? Something is amiss...

    Are you listening too loudly? My Studio 60s used to get a bit hard at higher levels, O.K. lower. Seems to have been the nature of the beast, especially if your room accentuates the highs - lotsa wood, glass, etc.

    What are you listeng to? There are a LOT of poorly mastered discs that no rig can help.

    I don't THINK the Rotel is the culprit. If anything, methinks mine is on the "laid-back" side as well. I might consider it a bit "dry" in retrospect, and maybe that is not helping your cause.

    Another idea - at the end of the day you don't really like the B&Ws. I'm not advocating the audiophile "merry-go-round" and dump the speakers, but it is a possibility.

    Now that you mentioned it, I have noticed one thing... out of the eight speakers I have used in the last 12 (or so) years, four remain - all fabric-dome tweeters!

    Hhmmm...

  5. #5
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    Jimmy I think your onto something........the b and w tweeters are accurate but can definately come of harsh. You mentioned the affect of a lot of wood in a room causing harshm sound. I have two wood dressers one on each side of my listenin position and a wooden hitch on either side behind me. Could the excess wood furnishings be the culprit?

  6. #6
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Not as bright do you think it's the amp
    I've auditioned B&W 800, 700 and CM series extensively on Rotel gear and despite how nice the sound was, I always experienced the same listening fatigue you refer to... My friend bought a pair of CM1s and used with a Yamaha Receiver and I found that in 5 minutes I wanted him to turn down the volume (much as you described)...

    I think the amp might be adding to the problem... BUT if you were already experiencing bright sound with the Denon, then the issue is really with the speakers....

    The good news though, is that some people (including B&W - I saw it in one of their user manuals) say that people tend to eventually get used to the brightness... so maybe with time (if you can't afford to change the speakers now) you'll get used to the sound.

  7. #7
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    I have always thought...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    Jimmy I think your onto something........the b and w tweeters are accurate but can definately come of harsh. You mentioned the affect of a lot of wood in a room causing harshm sound. I have two wood dressers one on each side of my listenin position and a wooden hitch on either side behind me. Could the excess wood furnishings be the culprit?
    ...the two most important things for good sound are the speaker/room interface, as well as recording quality. That doesn't mean lousy recordings should sound the same as a great one, but it shouldn't be painful.

    Also, I'm not saying a room with hardwood floors can't sound great, but an area carpet is usually employed. But, sure... too many reflective surfaces ain't good. Nor is a room too dead.

    You said it wasn't as harsh before the amp? Maybe that IS your problem. Or, are you just "cranking up" your new toy :*? In other words, the problem was always there, now you're noticing it more.

    B&Ws never struck me as too bright, then again I never owned a pair.

    I'm not sure, just a few ideas.

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    It has become a problem for me to the point I would consider selling the pair if you think I could find better speakers for aroung 600 dollars

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    When my system sounds too bright it is usually due to several things. The first is the speaker is toed in so the tweeter is firing towards my ears. If that is not possible to change the toe-in invert the speakers so the tweeter is lower than the woofer and this may tame some of the hot sound.

    I owned a Rotel RA970BX int. amp and it was a nice smooth sounding amp. When it needed servicing they loaned me a Rotel RA971BX and that was so much brighter and I was worried my 970 would come back sounding like the 971. I ended up not listening to the loaner at all.

    I also had some silver coated copper cables that skewed the balance to the highs. Exciting at first but fatiguing after a week. Cables can make a difference.

    When I moved into this apartment I became annoyed by all the high frequency hash my system was producing. The trick for me was to remove everything from ground. You can do this by using a cheater plug on grounded plugs or with the PS Audio power cords you can unscrew the ground plug.
    JohnMichael
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  10. #10
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    Welp, there goes the...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    It has become a problem for me to the point I would consider selling the pair if you think I could find better speakers for aroung 600 dollars
    ..."merry-go-round" ;^)

    Just ask us anytime you wanna burn up some money :*P

    Simply for kicks, try a few sheets of toilet paper draped in front of the tweeter...lol. If that mellows the presentation a bit...

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Bigmoney I looked at your equipment list and I do not think it would be your cables. My next question for you is are you running digital out to a dac in the receiver? When I recommend the Marantz CD5001 it was always with the idea of using the internal dac which I thought was quite smooth and pleasant. You might want to try runing analog out to analog in on the Denon to see if the sound is any better. If the Denon does not have an internal dac, never mind.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  12. #12
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    I would do three cheaper evaluations first.

    Number 1: Visit rivesaudio.com order their Test CD 2 for approx. $20. Then order a Sound Pressure Level Meter from radioshack.com http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search
    Apparently they are up to $50 now. But they are very useful. If you look around, you might be able to find one for cheaper. The disk and meter will help you establish an in-room response curve, which IMNSHO is the foundation of evaluation.

    Number 2: While you are waiting for your test disk and SPL meter to arrive, read the "resources" on the rives website. There is alot of good stuff there.

    Number 3: Listen to your system at night, with the lights turned off by candle light. It sounds corny, but every now and then another thread pops up asking "Why does my system sound better at night/with the lights off/candles/humid night/warm night vs. cold night,ect.?" 9 times out of 10, your system is going to sound its best on a Friday or Saturday night with good lighting, comfy slippers and favorite beverage. This will help evaluate whether the system has an objective of subjective problem. i.e. Is the system really bright or is it just you.

    A final thought. Alot of people will tell you that you need to listen to jazz or classical recordings to really test a system. That may not help that much if you are not a fan of jazz, but well recorded acoustic jazz can reveal alot about your system. When I want to really show of my system's chops, I don't go for AC/DC, I go for Ramsey Lewis or Ahmad Jamal. But, for such tests you have to be a fan in the first place, IMO.
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  13. #13
    PDN
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    First, I believe your DM602 S3's are excellent loudspeakers. I have a pair of the lesser DM601 S3's in a 2nd two channel system in my LR which is heavily carpeted with much upholstered furniture. They produce some damn good bass ext depending on the CD being played. I'm using a 20 year old NAD 7240PE 40 watt/ch RMS receiver. So it can't be your DM602's. No way. Question: what is your room size? Is it carpeted, have drapes and uph furniture? Are you using a powered subwoofer? Didn't see that in your equipment list. Maybe you simply don't have enough bass being produced to balance the system out. I agree with Slumpbuster to listen to your system mainly at night. The later the better if you can. Sound is so much better due to cleaner power, no sunlight to distract us, more melatonin in our brains, etc. Rotel equipment is somewhat more polite but it can't be that either.

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    My room is 11.8 feet wide and fifteen feet long with 8 foot ceilings. A according to cardas audio I have my speakers positioned at .275 the width of the room in from the side walls and .275 the lenth of the room in from the front wall which is 39 inches from the side and 49 from the front wall. I have a carpeted floor anda lot of wood furniture in the room. I have acoustic panels at the first reflection point. I lay on my bed facing the speakers .33 the length of the rom in from the rear wall which is 1.25 the distance bettween my speakers from each speaker. All according to cardas. Directly behind my speakers I have a fairly large window.

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    By the way. My equipment list was just updated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmoney
    By the way. My equipment list was just updated.
    Where is the list, budd? I don't see it.

  17. #17
    Ajani
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    From the owner's manual for the B&W 683 & 684 Speakers:

    Running-in Period
    The performance of the speaker will change subtly during the initial listening period. If the speaker has been stored in a cold environment, the damping compounds and suspension materials of the drive units will take some time to recover their correct mechanical properties. The drive unit suspensions will also loosen up during the first hours of use. The time taken for the speaker to achieve its intended performance will vary depending on previous storage conditions and how it is used. As a guide, allow up to a week for the temperature effects to stabilise and 15 hours of average use for the mechanical parts to attain their intended design characteristics. However, longer run-in periods (as long as a month) have been reported and there is evidence to suggest that this has little to do with the speaker changing and more to do with the listener getting used to the new sound. This is especially so with highly revealing speakers such as these where there may be a
    significant increase in the amount of detail compared with what the listener has previously been used to; the sound may at first appear too “up front” and perhaps a little hard.
    After an extended period of time the sound will seem to mellow, but without losing clarity and detail.
    You can download the manual from B&W's website:

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...fid=2281&sc=hf

  18. #18
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    From the owner's manual for the B&W 683 & 684 Speakers:



    You can download the manual from B&W's website:

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...fid=2281&sc=hf
    That's hilarious! Our speakers aren't bright, just too detailed for ya. Nice spin.

    My experience is that every pair of B&W speakers I've ever heard is bright, usually painfully so. My experience won't be the same as anyone else's so if somebody else digs them that's fine by me!

    jc
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  19. #19
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    That's hilarious! Our speakers aren't bright, just too detailed for ya. Nice spin.
    LOL, I know I found it really funny too... Though their claim of "you'll get used to the sound", may be valid... I remember when I first moved from a mini-system to seperates (All Technics gear with 12 inch woofers), I used to get listening fatigue and have to turn off the system after about half an hour of use... but eventually I got used to the sound and had no issues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    My experience is that every pair of B&W speakers I've ever heard is bright, usually painfully so. My experience won't be the same as anyone else's so if somebody else digs them that's fine by me!

    jc
    Yep I've had the same experience with B&W speakers, but I also know many people who love the sound and have no idea why I call the speakers bright... so I guess it just comes down to the individual's ears....

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    While I was searching for other topics, I found 1 review once stated that the diff of the room's temp also changes the sound. And this is, some what, the reason people sometimes notice their system sound diff from any other time. I would say the individual's mood holds a more important part.
    So, my old dad just walked by and saw me reading this thread, he was like "what are you up to now?" after I briefly explained what's happening here, he was like " why not buy a cheap EQ with 10 or 20 bands for about 100 bucks from www.PartsExpress.com and be done with it"....... I'm speechless.
    ANyways, have you done anything else diff to your system like swapping cables, reposition your speakers, etc.?

  21. #21
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Now it's getting interesting.

    Fortunately, I was in a position where I could audition B & W before buying them. As such, I chose to not own them.

    While I respect the B & W brand, I have always found them a bit "lean" for my tastes. It's funny, but they seem to use Rotel when they show them at the shows.

    Now, had I made my purchasing decision based on what I read about them, I most likely would have bought them and, who knows, I might have been in the same boat as Bigmoney here. Either that, or I would have acclimated to them.

    Not liking a well-respected speaker is not a slight on one's personna. It's more of admitting that your tastes differ from other people. Some people like their steaks well done, others like 'em rare and there's the betweens as well.

  22. #22
    PDN
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    The B&W Group owns Rotel, Bowers & Wilkins Loudspeakers, and CLASSE Audio. In fact, the new 600 series B&W loudspeakers are manufactured partly in China at a Rotel plant. That's why you'll usually see them sold together or at shows together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDN
    The B&W Group owns Rotel, Bowers & Wilkins Loudspeakers, and CLASSE Audio. In fact, the new 600 series B&W loudspeakers are manufactured partly in China at a Rotel plant. That's why you'll usually see them sold together or at shows together.
    Same thing to Paradigm and Anthem? I see Paradigm brand sold at www.AnthemAV.com

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    I wasn't as fortunate. I read the reviews on the 602's which said these were the best budget speakers. I assumed with so many people agreeing how great the 602's are I figured they must be, especially with the rotel combo. I hate bright sound because my ears are very sensitive. Does anyone know of warmer sounding speakers. I went to my dealer today and brought home the marantz 5001 which is a much warmer sounding cd player than my marantz 3002 dvd player. What a difference it made. I really didn't believe the different a better source can make until I heard the 5001. My interconnects are one belkin interconnect and an acoustic research cable. Thinking about getting bluejeans. I am currently doing near field listening whoich I am sure can't help. I dont think getting close to thos b and w tweeters is a good idea............unless you have tylenol. What are warmer sounding speakers.............or some suggestions to making my set up warmer.

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    How much acoustic panels/foams do you have in the room?

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