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disappointing wooly bass or my ears?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by virtualpt, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Hi All,

    Having just purchased my new kit (Arcam CD 192, Exposure 3010 integrated & PMC DB1+ speakers), I am now a bit disappointed having listened to it at home for a few days. :rolleyes: The detail & top & mid range are great, but the bass seems to get a bit lost in the mix & sound a bit wooly (especially at lower volumes). Everything else is so detailed, but the bass seems to lack detail.

    This is my first foray into serious HiFi & I wonder if it is me, because I am used to listening on my IPod with a pair of Grado SR80s, with eq on 'rock', in the car with bass turned up on the car CD & also on a ghetto blaster with bass boost on.

    I don't remember it sounding like this in the shop, but it is hard to tell as you can only listen to a couple of tracks & with swapping components round all the time it gets a bit confusing.

    I'm also wondering whether the sound will change as components run in? I have experimented with different speaker positions, but as you can see from this photo http://www.javacoda.com/speakers.html there's not much room for adjustment! Maybe it's this positioning that's causing the problem?

    At the moment the speakers are still on the Linn Katan stands on loan from the shop, I'm hoping when I put them on the Atacama's I've ordered, it will improve things.

    Has anyone else experienced similar issues with any of these components? I have no idea whether it is the CD, Amp or speakers (I'd imagine it's the speakers - or my ears!).

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks
    Paul
     
  2. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    It is not easy to see from your picture but could you bring the speakers out from the way by a few feet.

    It does sound like a positioning problem but also ensure the stands are very stable
     
  3. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Thanks for your reply

    Probably not :( The room is really small, I had to scrunch up against the opposite wall to get the photo ;) Maybe a few inches, but probably not more.


    Paul
     
  4. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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  5. Harry T2

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    I would try some paving slabs under the stands. And add some weight on top the speakers. If that improve the bass response, then you could start looking at a more cosmetically appealing solution using the above principle.
     
  6. pwood

    pwood
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    Marble tiles look good under speakers and can help tighten up the bottom end. Also the amount of fill inside the actual stands is very important. A quality musical sub like an REL would be my choice as next upgrade seens how you are happy with the top end and midrange.

    Hopefully you purchased the speakers from a decent HiFi dealer that would perhaps allow you to exchange them for something more suited to your room and tastes.
     
  7. slingshot

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    I think it could be a combination of things :-

    1 - You're used to listening to an iPod with the EQ set to rock, and turn the bass up in the car so maybe you like quite boomy bass.

    2 - I have some DB1's and they certainly aren't overblown with bass, certainly not when compared to some similar priced floor standers.

    Some things you could try :-
    - You could try putting the speakers more in a corner this should emphasise the bass.
    - You could look at getting a smallish sub-woofer to fill in the bottom end, may or may not give you the sound you want though.
    - Persevere and see if you grow to like that kind of sound.
    - Go back to the dealer and see if you can borrow some floorstanding speakers instead to try out, maybe something like Rega Jura's may suit you.

    Anyway hope that helps.

    P.S. do you dislike the same thing if you set the ipod's EQ to normal ?
     
  8. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    maybe the speakers just need running in.
     
  9. pwood

    pwood
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    The higher the quality the longer they usually take to run in. Leave something running through them all the time even if its barely audible and then after a week let rip. My Ruark Talismans2's took a good 2 weeks to loosen off.

    To be honest your room setup is always going to result in compromise of some sort.
     
  10. EvilDead

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    The biggest influence on the sound without changing components is the speaker positioning and interaction with the room IMO, the fact that the system didn't sound the same in the dem room supports this.
    I reckon your problems are due to the positioning of the speakers, you could try the speakers on taller stands to lift them clear of of the furniture, the Nexus stands are available in heights up to 1m, that may help.
    If you can't play with the position of the DB1s to get them to sing (and they can) your best bet I think would be to try some different speakers on home demo, looks like you're fairly limited with positioning options so its crucial to try and find some that are happy in that location.

    Hopefully your dealer will accomodate this.

    Good luck.
     
  11. slingshot

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    That's always true my 25' rooms my biggest problem, but it does mean he should get fairly decent bass response even off smallish speakers due to room gain.

    Another thing you could try is stick your ipod through the amp, and see if using the EQ on the iPod improves the sound, if it it does then you could always look at getting an equaliser for the amp. I'll probably get shot down in flames for that suggestion but if it gives you the sound you want then why not.

    Slingshot.
     
  12. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Hi All,

    Many thanks to you all for your replies. I have read some reviews on PMCs site where they talk about needing to run the speakers in for some time (one reviewer didn't get a decent sound until after 2 weeks) - however, these were ex dem, so the shop may already have run them in (but perhaps not!).

    I'm gonna try & run them in for a while & if not talk to the shop about home demoing some other speakers - they seem pretty friendly & helpful, so I wouldn't imagine it being a problem.

    Don't think I've got room for a sub anywhere, as you can see the room is pretty small & full!

    Will try putting the IPod through the amp & changing the eq as a test, although I don't really want to go down the equalizer route, I think I'd rather get speakers I'm happier with.

    I'm gonna have a chat to the guys in the shop when I go to pick up my stands (hopefully in the next couple of days).

    Once again many thanks for your replies, I really appreciate it. :thumbsup:

    Paul
     
  13. Knightshade

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    Hi Paul,
    Is the Amp new or Ex dem? If it's new it will also take a while to run in. Certainly nothing wrong with the choice in Amps and CDP. The speakers (I would've thought) would give you decent Bass response. Certainly worth trying out a few of the suggestions on here first before you dash out and buy new speakers. The DB1's are very neutral, granted they are small but they produce good bass for their size. Anything much bigger and I'd imagine it would start to boom around the room nicely. Same goes If you get rear firing speakers. Good luck.:)
     
  14. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I'm not sure about electronics run-in myself but as KS says, I really wouldn't expect your speakers to "boom" naturally. It's not a trait common to well-designed transmission line types. Moving them a few inches from the walls will help if you can.

    There should be a marked difference in the bass sound from your right speaker as it has the curtain behind it which should help tame the "wooly" bass, is this noticeable, or indeed is the other way around? :)
     
  15. Nobber22

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    You need taller stands. The speakers haven't got a chance there, firing into the arms of your sofa. :lesson:

    To prove this: drag the green sofa right out of the way for 60 mins. Move the speakers about 30 cms from the wall, toe them in slightly towards your listening position and then sit back and see what they really can do! :smashin:
     
  16. slingshot

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    That's easy enough to test out, I'd agree it will affect the speakers but I'd be surprised if the sofa makes very much difference to the bass response. I've tried loads of stuff to tame bass and it just goes through almost anything, including big sofas, chairs the walls.
     
  17. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I don't think it's necessarily the speakers that are the problem but the way their sound is interacting within the room. A big sofa between the speakers like that could indeed have a marked effect on the lower frequencies. :)
     
  18. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    I don't think it's just the bass that he's disappointed with. Both the midrange and the low-end are probably sub-standard in that position right now.

    All speakers need room to breathe, even subs. Having a huge sofa between them will not be doing them any favours. He might as well put them in a cupboard or a fireplace. :(
     
  19. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Thanks to all again for your responses.

    I am borrowing the amp from the shop at the moment while they wait for mine to arrive. I will certainly try the experiment with moving the sofa & see how it affects it. I wanted to get slightly higher stands, but SWMBO wouldn't have them.

    It's not that I want boomy house type bass. Normal bass lines just seem to be a bit quiet, lost in the mix & less defined than I'm used to hearing. Stuff like Massive Attack is fine, as they are quite bass heavy. It's things like Led Zep or the new Robert Plant album, the bass just seems a bit lost under the other stuff & not well defined.

    I thought that the DB1s would produce a more balanced sound. Unfortunately when I listened in the shop, I listened to Massive Attack for bass & Tom Waits for vocals/instruments. I originally took in lots of CDs, Led Zep included, but found it difficult to choose between components when listening to too many different tracks.

    I do wonder if some of the components need running in. Perhaps the Arcam & maybe the Atlas Voyager are bright for a while? The DB1s, although ex dem, perhaps may not have been run in?

    Again thanks for all your replies, they're really appreciated :thumbsup:

    Paul
     
  20. EvilDead

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    I recall my PMCs improving dramatically over time, I would say your looking at well over 100hrs use to really loosen them up, they were quite harsh to start with. You never know, yours may not have seen 100hrs of run in yet.

    Can't say I've ever heard an Arcam product sounding bright at any stage of its life, though can't say I've heard the 192.

    I suspect that even after a thorough run in you'll still be disatissfied as, in the current location, any speaker is going to struggle to give its best.
     
  21. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Tried moving the sofa out & pulling the speakers 30 cm from the walls, but no improvement. The bass still seemed low in the mix & to lack definition.

    I'm trying to keep the speakers running at the moment all the time,to see if they'll improve.

    I'm also wondering if it may be the Katan stands I have on loan from the shop? They don't seem to be filled with anything. I'll have to wait & see if the Atacamas will improve the sound, when they come.


    Paul
     
  22. EvilDead

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    Might be worth double checking you've got your speakers wired in phase, if they were out of phase, that may cause the problems you're seeing.
     
  23. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Thanks EvilDead, but I already checked that. I even reversed the plugs in case I'd got a dodgy speaker that was wired incorrectly.

    I've tried most things now, but think that the speaker probably just doesn't suit my room. Gonna ring the shop tomorrow & see how they feel about trading it for something else, or see what else they recommend. Maybe push the budget up a tad, I notice that they sell the Monitor Audio GR10, which is probably worth a listen.

    Cheers :)
    Paul
     
  24. Londondecca

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    Could you try bringing the speakers so that they are slightly in front of the sofa, ie a few feet from the wall. Not as a permanent position but for experimentations sake

    Whatever speakers you go for, now you know the real benefits of a home demo before you buy.
     
  25. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Have tried that & even tried moving the sofa out & moving the speakers out, but still the same.

    Agree with you about the home demo. Hopefully the shop will be OK about it, I've only paid a 50% deposit so far anyway as I've been waiting for amp & stands to arrive.

    Thanks again for all your replies :)
    Paul
     
  26. virtualpt

    virtualpt
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    Went back to the dealer today, who was excellent (Radfords in Bath). They have loaned me the PMC GB1 to try out & it sounds much better. Gonna cost me a few bob more, but they're worth it. SWMBO really likes them too & prefers the look of them to the standmounts (so do I). Many thanks for all of your helpful replies guys :)

    Paul
     
  27. EvilDead

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    GB1s are top speakers for the money, big improvement in bass depth and "kick".

    Glad its sorted, enjoy.
     
  28. slingshot

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    Glad you sorted it out.

    I loved the GB1's, for the money they are awsome speakers.

    Slingshot
     
  29. Peter Baker

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    I'm sure you've thought of this, but is it possible you are running the speakers out of phase? This effectively kills the bass response. To check, put speakers face to face c 6" apart and try the sound. If all you can hear is treble, they are out of phase. Simply reverse the connected terminals on one speaker and hey presto!
    the bass is back.
     

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