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  1. #1
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    cd player to tame system brights

    i find that musical fidelity a3.2 int amp is a great product. clear as a whistle, will go loud as my neighbors can stand, and sounds very musical. however, they are a bit on the "bright" side. and even so after 100 hours. but, i am using a toshiba dvd as source. i am definitely looking into a cd player (post in digital domain "cd for 52se"). Someone today told me to look into a DAC for the dvd. I am unfamiliar with the benefits of a dvd/dac versus a cd player (or is it vice-versa). But, what i am really asking here is what cd players would be good options to tame down the sound a bit while still preserving musical rightness. Or, i have a week left to exchange the mf. My dealer carries Linn and Rotel. Would either of these solve this "bright" issue? I was pretty surpised/excited to find that Linns Genki can be used as a cd/pre to go straight to a power amp. Maybe this is worth considering? As always, your advice/comments are appreciated.

    Thanks all, Nusic.

  2. #2
    RGA
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    My opinion is that a cd player could help you. DVD players, especially Toshiba, is noted as being bright. DBT's no doubt will disagree with this provided someone has a specific test of your specific player.

    I would recommend a Sony 300 disc player because it's not bright - i have one. It also has loads of features and a DA output so you can add on an external higher quality DAC. You could do the same with your Toshiba if it has a Digial output.

    Will this fix a BRIGHT set-up? Doubt it. You have to figure out what is bright...Could be your speakers and room acoustics. Your speakers are not bright - the Dynaudio 52 is laid back if anything. Make sure your room is fairly dense of furniture and your postioning is good.

    Whatever you do make sure you can return whatever cd player or DAC you try. Arcam makes a nice one, Cambridge Audio, NAD...and some Marantz models (Ah Tjoeb), Rotel etc.

  3. #3
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    Agree with RGA that Dyn 52 is not known for being bright. My bro has MF A3.2 separate and Contour 1.1 and I don't find them bright. My guess is (if your room is not too lively) that you expect more bass from those little speakers that they can't deliver. This can be perceived as bright. An addition of subwofer or equalizer is likely to improve the sound with more predictable result rather than many trials and errors with various CDP or DAC. OK both subwoofer and equalizer can be considered as sin in audiophile term, but hey, not all rooms are the same and not all recordings are the same and you want to listen music the way you want it. Both can be used to tweak the sound to suit your taste. Enough ranting now. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Sealed's Avatar
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    Bright

    I found that the a3.2 integrated wasn't really bright per say on monitor audio GR60's.

    But:

    A smooth type cd player might balance the sound down if it's a room issue.

    Rega planet 2000
    Ah Noe Tjoeb 4000
    AMC cd6-5404u
    Jolida jd-1000

    And there are more expensive options, LINN Genki, Meridian 506.24, Rega Jupiter, Audio note dac zero or one and transport zero or one.

    All the above will be smooth a tonally rich, without getting overbright.

    Also consider going to DNM reson IC's or Kimber PBJ/Hero, as they are more/less invisible and will not be additive like some IC's are. (I have heard cheap silver Ic's induce brightness, same goes for cheap silver coated copper)

  5. #5
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    Well, I'm going to disagree to some degree with the others here. While I do admit there are sonic differences between cd players, you'll achieve a higher level of change by looking at your room interaction and room treatments or lack thereof. Have you tried calming the first order reflections? Any carpets? Wall treatments behind the speaks? Corner traps? Are the Danes toe'd in too much causing beaming? I would try to exhaust all of my room interaction options first before buying new equipment. You'll get more bang for your buck.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    yeah, all of you have viable info imo. tops did make me look around and notice the couch, the carpeted floors, the big cushions, the huge floorstanding mirrors right next to the speakers. did i just say floorstanding mirrors right next to the speakers?!? ok, maybe THIS is the issue.
    thanks guys i will try to mess with it. But, heres another question. Since we are having issues with stereo placement right now (for some reason she doesnt understand the value of sitting directly in front of the speakers - the sweet spot) because i want a chair well centered in front of the speakers and decoratively speaking the best situation is the couch facing the other way, meaning that id have to listen with my back facing the speakers (ideal anyone?). Now we have thought to make the space behind the couch a "listening room" but this would mean creating a sitting place on the ground and lowering the speakers accordingly(cinder blocks as stands?) Does anyone think this is a bad idea to even try? I have never heard of "listening alternatives" or for that matter "stand alternatives". Any ideas?
    I am thinking about a tube cd player. Either the Njoe Tjoeb or Jolida. Or, using a marantz 5300 and adding a DAC.

  7. #7
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    First off, nice speakers. The "se" is definitely a big step up from a regular 52. I always found Dyn's to be very neutral and honest. However a good amp and speakers will deliver extended highs, so your perception of bright may depend on what you had before. I am sure the mirrors are having a big negative impact on your presentation as well. I believe the Toshiba is your weak link electronicwise. Although some think a DAC is a DAC, entry level units, especially DVD players do not have quality analog sections. This can give you overly bright highs and listening fatigue. MF did make a stand alone DAC but I'm not familiar with it. Look, don't over compensate by buying a cdp that is known for rolled off highs like the Rega Planet. I have found the Arcam cdp's are one of the best bang for the buck cdp's going. Just go for a quality source in the same manner you have a quality amp and speakers.

    As far as your decorating problem you have 2 choices, move your sound system to another room or become a headphone listener. You have nice gear, don't sentence yourself, and it, to squatting behind a couch man. Well, maybe 3, you could give your wife the ole "a man is king in his castle" routine. Come on, whose wearing the pants here?

  8. #8
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    as soon as she is my wife i will start laying down the law but until then i have to keep up the courtship
    i am really curious to know what a dac would do w/a dvd transport in comparison with what a good cdp would do. being the dac and cdp where equivalently priced. i would really appreciate websiting for reading material since i am struggling with understanding the difference here.

  9. #9
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    Check out onhifi.com...

    I remember reading somewhere on that site (maybe it was the "Ask Wes" section) where someone did a aseries of comparisons of combinations of high quality transports verses cheaper transports (all using the same DAC). That person did notice a difference in sound, whether or not it was better or worth the price is up to you to decide.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    as soon as she is my wife i will start laying down the law but until then i have to keep up the courtship
    i am really curious to know what a dac would do w/a dvd transport in comparison with what a good cdp would do. being the dac and cdp where equivalently priced. i would really appreciate websiting for reading material since i am struggling with understanding the difference here.
    I've been doing some recent additions to my system that are somewhat like yours. I just added the Audio Note DAC 1.1x to my Integra Research RDV-1. I tried A/Bing the two and found that I like the DVDP better in some instances and the DAC 1.1x in others.

    For Mtry, if he comes trolling around here, I did three series of blind A/B tests:
    RDV-1/RDV-1+AN 1.1x;
    Toshiba 1600/RDV-1 + AN 1.1x
    RDV-1/Toshiba 1600.

    Playing a bunch of CDs with my wife doing the blind switching and taking notes, while I marked down which unit I thought I was playing, I was 15/15 when comparing the Toshiba 1600 vs. either setup (30 tries in total with 100% accuracy). Comparing the DVDP vs. the DAC, I was 11/15 correct. For those who believe there are no differences between CDP or DACs, you probably need to get a better rig in order to hear the difference of which there are many....

    I found the AN 1.1x gave some very shrill outbursts on the leading edges of violin notes, but seemed better (maybe not better but different) when doing voice reproduction. I'd recommend at least getting an upgraded DVDP if not a DAC for your system.

    Again for Mtry, here is the methodology that we used. My wife sat up near the integrated which requires a manual turning of the knob to select which line is being played. She would mute the amplifier and then silently switch the selector knob while I had my eyes closed and my hands over my ears. I never heard whether she switched the knobs at all. I told her that she could feel free to switch sources or she could change the knob and move it back into the original position. After she had done that she clicked off the mute button and I listened until I felt that I could make a decision as to which setup I was hearing. We had the exact same disc in both the players and they were running in just about synchronous time.

    The results were as follows:

    a b b b b a a b a b a a a b a
    c c c c b c b c c b b c c c b
    a c a c a c a c a a c c c a a

    I only got some of the a/b wrong - never missed identifying the Toshiba 1600 vs. the other units. The ones that missed were on insturmental jazz music and one voice selection.

  11. #11
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    this is an interesting study. thanks for sharing. my only question in it is why didnt you do a test with toshiba+AN 1.1x vs either RDV-1 alone or with AN1.1x? or Toshiba/Toshiba+AN1.1x?
    also, im hearing you say that sometimes you preferred the RDV-1 alone whilst other times you preferred it with the AN1.1x Do you think you will keep switching it depending on what you listen to? Im still interested to know what the AN1.1x does for the toshiba (assuming this is possible).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    this is an interesting study. thanks for sharing. my only question in it is why didnt you do a test with toshiba+AN 1.1x vs either RDV-1 alone or with AN1.1x? or Toshiba/Toshiba+AN1.1x?
    also, im hearing you say that sometimes you preferred the RDV-1 alone whilst other times you preferred it with the AN1.1x Do you think you will keep switching it depending on what you listen to? Im still interested to know what the AN1.1x does for the toshiba (assuming this is possible).
    I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the AN 1.1x for an extended period of time. The RDV-1 does a respectable job playing music and I'm not sure whether the AN 1.1x is better or simply different.

    As for why I didn't do the other tests, well the wife wasn't about to sit for another 45 minutes switching a knob for me. I'm happily surprised she lasted so long at it in the first place. I'll probably try the other combinations, but I'll have to do sighted subjective testing. Also the AN only has 1 coax in so you can't try out two different transports.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    yeah, all of you have viable info imo. tops did make me look around and notice the couch, the carpeted floors, the big cushions, the huge floorstanding mirrors right next to the speakers. did i just say floorstanding mirrors right next to the speakers?!? ok, maybe THIS is the issue.
    thanks guys i will try to mess with it. But, heres another question. Since we are having issues with stereo placement right now (for some reason she doesnt understand the value of sitting directly in front of the speakers - the sweet spot) because i want a chair well centered in front of the speakers and decoratively speaking the best situation is the couch facing the other way, meaning that id have to listen with my back facing the speakers (ideal anyone?). Now we have thought to make the space behind the couch a "listening room" but this would mean creating a sitting place on the ground and lowering the speakers accordingly(cinder blocks as stands?) Does anyone think this is a bad idea to even try? I have never heard of "listening alternatives" or for that matter "stand alternatives". Any ideas?
    I am thinking about a tube cd player. Either the Njoe Tjoeb or Jolida. Or, using a marantz 5300 and adding a DAC.
    You really have only two options, your speakers or its placement in the room or the room itself causing the sound that you don't like.
    A CD player WILL NOT solve your dilema, nor will wires or other components.

    You need to work on the room's acoustics, speaker position or, better yet, if you have tone controls, cut the treble. From what I read with other influences in the house, a wife, you need to apply diligent amount of the tone control, or you live with it, Period.
    mtrycrafts

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictooth
    I've been doing some recent additions to my system that are somewhat like yours. I just added the Audio Note DAC 1.1x to my Integra Research RDV-1. I tried A/Bing the two and found that I like the DVDP better in some instances and the DAC 1.1x in others.

    For Mtry, if he comes trolling around here, I did three series of blind A/B tests:
    RDV-1/RDV-1+AN 1.1x;
    Toshiba 1600/RDV-1 + AN 1.1x
    RDV-1/Toshiba 1600.

    Playing a bunch of CDs with my wife doing the blind switching and taking notes, while I marked down which unit I thought I was playing, I was 15/15 when comparing the Toshiba 1600 vs. either setup (30 tries in total with 100% accuracy). Comparing the DVDP vs. the DAC, I was 11/15 correct. For those who believe there are no differences between CDP or DACs, you probably need to get a better rig in order to hear the difference of which there are many....

    I found the AN 1.1x gave some very shrill outbursts on the leading edges of violin notes, but seemed better (maybe not better but different) when doing voice reproduction. I'd recommend at least getting an upgraded DVDP if not a DAC for your system.

    Again for Mtry, here is the methodology that we used. My wife sat up near the integrated which requires a manual turning of the knob to select which line is being played. She would mute the amplifier and then silently switch the selector knob while I had my eyes closed and my hands over my ears. I never heard whether she switched the knobs at all. I told her that she could feel free to switch sources or she could change the knob and move it back into the original position. After she had done that she clicked off the mute button and I listened until I felt that I could make a decision as to which setup I was hearing. We had the exact same disc in both the players and they were running in just about synchronous time.

    The results were as follows:

    a b b b b a a b a b a a a b a
    c c c c b c b c c b b c c c b
    a c a c a c a c a a c c c a a

    I only got some of the a/b wrong - never missed identifying the Toshiba 1600 vs. the other units. The ones that missed were on insturmental jazz music and one voice selection.

    With a 100% accuracy, there is something wrong, broken in the unit/s or protocol. Well designed components just don't score 100% under proper protocols, no way, no how. You can take that to the bank.
    Who will keep you guys honest if I am not around?
    Your instructions to the wife seems reasonable.
    Did the CDE players have level difference issues? How did you check to be sure the levels were matched properly?

    Oh, now I see that you had two CDs, one in each player and thought you synchronized them properly? Was it withing a few milli seconds? How did you check this? Almost impossible to do this part. So, there must have been enough lead/lag to identify 100% of the time just by this clue alone, even though you think you didn't notice it. Trust me on it, or not Would have been better just to start a track for each trial in each player. Unfortunately your memory sufferes then.

    11 of 15 is not significant; you need 12.
    mtrycrafts

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictooth
    well the wife wasn't about to sit for another 45 minutes switching a knob for me. I'm happily surprised she lasted so long at it in the first place. .
    Give her my warmest congratulation for helping you out Not her fault, she followed your directions
    mtrycrafts

  16. #16
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    Rotflmao!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    as soon as she is my wife i will start laying down the law but until then i have to keep up the courtship
    Boy, I can sure tell you're not married YET! hehehehoho!!

    Brother, have you got a surprise coming after that ring's on her finger. Ask any married man.

    Oh yeah, congrats on your impending nuptials.

  17. #17
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    yo tops, lets keep the ring on the down-lo shall we. she aint expecting anything soon (or so she lies well) and for now im still reaping pre nuptial benefits.

  18. #18
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    I absolutely agree with mtry and topspeed...

    ...changing a source to clear a system problem is not the answer...it's analogous to tuning a guitar to an "E" chord rather than tune on a string by string basis...all your "E"s will sound great, but chances are(owing to string age, pressure variances, intonation, to name but a few)every other chord will be off.

    Even if you only listen to CDs, you're just putting a bandage on a problem that requires a systemic solution.

    Audie

  19. #19
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    Correction/addendum...

    ...lest some smug, musical, wordsmith jump in my $h!t, I mean a fingered "E" chord, not an open tuning...

    Audie

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    With a 100% accuracy, there is something wrong, broken in the unit/s or protocol. Well designed components just don't score 100% under proper protocols, no way, no how. You can take that to the bank.
    Who will keep you guys honest if I am not around?
    Your instructions to the wife seems reasonable.
    Did the CDE players have level difference issues? How did you check to be sure the levels were matched properly?

    Oh, now I see that you had two CDs, one in each player and thought you synchronized them properly? Was it withing a few milli seconds? How did you check this? Almost impossible to do this part. So, there must have been enough lead/lag to identify 100% of the time just by this clue alone, even though you think you didn't notice it. Trust me on it, or not Would have been better just to start a track for each trial in each player. Unfortunately your memory sufferes then.

    11 of 15 is not significant; you need 12.
    Hmm, maybe the level matching wasn't exactly there, but the SPL said it was within 2 dB and from what I understand that isn't audibly different. As for the two discs, they were kept running the whole time. When she clicked the mute switch they were still running, and while she was switching the inputs, the discs were still running. The time difference is not a factor in this instance. This way we also got to listen to different stretches of music instead of the same clip.

    You say that 11/15 is not significant, but I'll pretty much guarantee if we did certain violin stretches, I could tell you which system was running at least 80% of all tries. There was some serious high frequency leading edge when she (the violinist) laid bow to string in a loud downstroke with the AN DAC.

    The difference with the Toshiba 1600 and the others is that it just sounded digital. I know it is hard to describe, but the sounds seemed synthesized rather than natural sounding.

  21. #21
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    Not for nuffin' but...

    ...two different discs of the same recording may not be quite identical...there are such things as production vagaries...

    ...2db is quite probably audible, especially if you are really concentrating on hearing a diff...or if specific to frequency bands...

    ...all CDs sound digital...

    Audie

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audie Oghaisle
    ...two different discs of the same recording may not be quite identical...there are such things as production vagaries...

    ...2db is quite probably audible, especially if you are really concentrating on hearing a diff...or if specific to frequency bands...

    ...all CDs sound digital...

    Audie
    The discs are burned collections of material. They should be exactly the same. I've got to say that the high end DVDP and the DAC yield a more natural presentation that you probably won't understand until you've heard it.

    Yeah, not sure about 2dB, but I thought the normal threshold was 3 dB. And the 2dB difference wasn't with a test tone, but rather playing music so there may have been greater differences in some of the loud peaks. It might be important to note that the RDV-1 was 2dB less than the Toshiba 1600 and normally people say that the louder piece sounds better whereas I found I could differentiate between the two units perfectly and I thought the RDV-1 sounded better.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular gonefishin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    i find that musical fidelity a3.2 int amp is a great product. clear as a whistle, will go loud as my neighbors can stand, and sounds very musical. however, they are a bit on the "bright" side. and even so after 100 hours. but, i am using a toshiba dvd as source. i am definitely looking into a cd player (post in digital domain "cd for 52se"). Someone today told me to look into a DAC for the dvd. I am unfamiliar with the benefits of a dvd/dac versus a cd player (or is it vice-versa). But, what i am really asking here is what cd players would be good options to tame down the sound a bit while still preserving musical rightness. Or, i have a week left to exchange the mf. My dealer carries Linn and Rotel. Would either of these solve this "bright" issue? I was pretty surpised/excited to find that Linns Genki can be used as a cd/pre to go straight to a power amp. Maybe this is worth considering? As always, your advice/comments are appreciated.

    Thanks all, Nusic.

    Hi nusiclover,

    While CD players can certainly have different characteristics, I don't think this would be the best solution to taming a bright system. Why? Because I suspect that the brightness is coming from your speakers. But, how many of us can simply just go out and buy a system that has no faults...or that has no compromises.

    As suggested by others...there are a few things you can do...

    Play with speaker placement and positioning. Use small increments and take your time.

    Do you have a bunch of windows in the room? or hardwood floors?
    do some reading on treating your room. While some of the DIY treatments won't fly with the wife...there are other things you could do that may be "acceptable" to her. Such as a large area rug to cover the hardwood. Heck, let her even pick it out.

    While CDplayers and some other components can have a positive (or negative) effect on a system...don't just go out and buy something (say a new CDplayer) trying to chase your problem away...this is how you'll lose alot of money! If you've got a good dealer in your area (which it seems you do)...your already at an advantage over many folks. See if you could have an in-home audition. Now, you can evaluate if this solves the problem or not.

    Further...take your time with this...and don't just throw money out there. Have fun!
    __________________
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    enjoy the music!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nusiclover
    But, what i am really asking here is what cd players would be good options to tame down the sound a bit while still preserving musical rightness.
    Despite what those who are "experience free" would say, poor cables can imbue edge and brightness to a system. I am not suggesting that you get a cable to use as a tone control to roll off the high end. What I am suggesting is that my experience has demonstrated to me that some brightness effects of a system are artificially induced by less than ideal cables. My initial reaction to the JPS Labs cables, for example, was that it was a darker sound. Over a period of time, I realized that what the cables did was to remove the high frequency haze suffered by a number of cables.

    rw
    Last edited by E-Stat; 04-15-2004 at 03:59 PM.

  25. #25
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    With a 100% accuracy, there is something wrong, broken in the unit/s or protocol.
    Or choice "B", you are a non-discerning listener or limit yourself to mediocre equipment.

    You really need to work on those comma splices as such poor use of the language does not support your ability to grasp what is being discussed.

    rw

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