Cambridge Audio + Kef LS50 Meta Bass Issues

grassoz

Standard Member
Hi,
I've just upgrade my amp from an old Akai to the Cambridge Audio CXA81 to pair with the Kef LS 50 Meta.
I listen to a lot of bass heavy music like dub, reggae. Unfortunately this pairing is terrible, the bass is too heavy, on some song even seems distorted. Definitely unpleasant to listen to and fatiguing (sorry, I don't know how to exactly describe the issue).
The problem happens with different sources and input (spotify, FLAC, USB, BT,..)
My question is if the ampli can be defect or it's just a wrong pairing.
Is there a simple way to measure the bass response and see if there is an objective issue?
Thanks in advance.
 
D

Deleted member 824153

Guest
Hi, I’d experiment with speaker placement first of all. Bring them away from rear and side walls, if possible. Then try bunging the rear ports to see if that improves things. Worth experimenting with the free things first.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
I have a Cambridge amplifier sometimes it depends on your sound settings I always used to use mine with my own treble and bass settings then I tried the source direct and it sounded a lot better in that mode it is like both knobs are in the 12 o clock position. It is worth trying it that way to see if it helps. Hope that you get it right. Sorry not sure if this model has this function.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Double check you have the speakers wires red to red and black to black, we have all done it at least one incorrectly :D.
 

grassoz

Standard Member
I have a Cambridge amplifier sometimes it depends on your sound settings I always used to use mine with my own treble and bass settings then I tried the source direct and it sounded a lot better in that mode it is like both knobs are in the 12 o clock position. It is worth trying it that way to see if it helps. Hope that you get it right. Sorry not sure if this model has this function.
thanks, the CXA81 doesn't have tone controls. :)
 

camcroft

Well-known Member

English Invader

Active Member
You're not the first person here to have issues with this amplifier. There was a thread a few weeks ago from someone complaining about a lack of bass with a pair of the new Wharfedale Lintons:

It's the opposite problem to what you're having and it appears to have been resolved with the addition of a subwoofer but it does seem that something isn't quite right with the CXA81.

I suggest getting in touch with the Cambridge Audio customer service team. They're very easy to get hold of from the main website and I've found them very co-operative with a hum issue with my AXA35.

All companies have defective components and I think the way you're treated when something goes wrong is one of the best indicators to look for when making a buying decision. Cambridge get full marks in that area.
 
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grassoz

Standard Member
You're not the first person here to have issues with this amplifier. There was a thread a few weeks ago from someone complaining about a lack of bass with a pair of the new Wharfedale Lintons:

It's the opposite problem to what you're having and it appears to have been resolved with the addition of a subwoofer but it does seem that something isn't quite right with the CXA81.

I suggest getting in touch with the Cambridge Audio customer service team. They're very easy to get hold of from the main website and I've found them very co-operative with a hum issue with my AXA35.

All companies have defective components and I think the way you're treated when something goes wrong is one of the best indicators to look for when making a buying decision. Cambridge get full marks in that area.
Thanks. I've contacted already the customer service, indeed they are very responsive and willing to help. Given all the variables, it is not easy to understand if it is a defect or maybe just unfortunate pairing or positioning. That is why, I am trying to search if there is a way to measure the bass response and produce some more objective analysis.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
This is what What Hi-Fi said in a part of their review
We suggest Cambridge’s CXA81 integrated with a suitably capable source, though such are the LS50 Meta’s capabilities that you could easily use the likes of Naim’s SuperNait 3, and the speakers wouldn’t be limiting. Could be to do with the source of the music.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If anything the LS50s are quite bass light. Positioning may be causing the bass boom and nothing beats posting a photograph of the speakers in their current positions. KEF speakers are capable of good fast and clean bass response when mated to the right amp as I found when auditioning different amps several years ago (KEF R300).
 

grassoz

Standard Member
This is what What Hi-Fi said in a part of their review
We suggest Cambridge’s CXA81 integrated with a suitably capable source, though such are the LS50 Meta’s capabilities that you could easily use the likes of Naim’s SuperNait 3, and the speakers wouldn’t be limiting. Could be to do with the source of the music.
I don't think it's the source, I've tried spotify via buletooth, spotify via toslink, FLAC from laptop via usb. Always too much / distorted bass (on bass heavy pieces).
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
As someone mentioned above try filling the holes on the back with the foam bungs there is lots of talk on Google about this subject and that might be the solution. My speakers are different but I have to keep my bungs in to stop excessive bass. If they are close to the wall this is a solution.
page5image1714704960
 
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grassoz

Standard Member
As someone mentioned above try filling the holes on the back with the foam bungs there is lots of talk on Google about this subject and that might be the solution. My speakers are different but I have to keep my bungs in to stop excessive bass. If they are close to the wall this is a solution.
yes, I am trying with the foam bungs and changing the position and it seems better indeed.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member

grassoz

Standard Member
Let us know how it goes.
Actually still not that great.
Speakers are about 50 cm from back wall and 150 cm from side walls. With foam is better but still too much bass.
Attached a recording with and without foams (removed at sec 39).
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Actually still not that great.
Speakers are about 50 cm from back wall and 150 cm from side walls. With foam is better but still too much bass.
Attached a recording with and without foams (removed at sec 39).
View attachment 1486668
Yes definitely better without what have you got your speakers on stands or on a shelf?
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
they are standing on the old speaker. I am still setting up the room.
View attachment 1486674
That is a definite no no it will resonate the drivers of the speakers below and cause a boxy sound plus the speaker underneath is directly on the floor and its wooden will definitely make it boomy. Thats what I think put them on a small table or two small tables I am sure you will hear the difference.
 

camcroft

Well-known Member
Your speakers need to be on stands similar to mine to have solid support and isolation.My speaker set up is not ideal but thats the room that I have look how near my speakers are to the walls and they are really too close together.
IMG_0231.jpg
 

gibbsy

Moderator
There's your issue with where you have your speakers placed and what they are standing on. They are resonating the old speaker and they are too low. The KEFs do respond to having the foam bung applied, my R300s came with an inner and outer combination and I have mine half ported. They are 30cm from a back wall and well clear of any sides walls. They are on a really solid heavy cabinet and sitting on isolation feet and I get good tight bass. I'm not into bass heavy music and it's just about perfect for me. Amp is a Rega Elicit-R.
 

English Invader

Active Member
Can you give us some idea of the type of room you're setting up? Is this a dedicated room for music playback? Is it a living room? Is it a bedroom? Is it an office? Each one of those will require a different approach.

70% of your sound experience is informed by the room. Every room is different and has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you understand them, you can make the room work for you rather than against you.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
You say some songs the bass sounds distorted.
On the music you listen to there can be lots of detail and intentionally added distortion when recorded that you won't hear on a basic system. Try natural music, pianos etc.

If your in warranty make a recording of the distortion and include it in an email to the supplier for a record if warranty/return lapses.

I often think my system is broken, the last time it was a fly.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
they are standing on the old speaker. I am still setting up the room.
View attachment 1486674

Standing speakers that resonate on a resonant box gives all the problems you’ve described and you won’t be hearing high frequencies (around 2000Hz or above) both because of the bass resonance smearing out to all frequencies and because the tweeter is much too low.

It will not be possible to do any positioning experiments with the speakers like that.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
... I’d suggest these as the least expensive good mass stands. A couple kilos of children’s plays and in the main column and they’re as good as it gets.


Plenty more at a similar budget in the same shop too, and Richer Sounds sometimes have a few pairs at reasonable prices.
 

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