Monitor Audio + Arcam = bright! Help

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by LeeloChip, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    Hello,

    I have a pair MA GS20's (plus matching centres and surround) hooked up to an Arcam AVR450 home cinema amp, which I bought second hand last week.

    When playing two-channel music there's just something missing in the mid-range, it really lacks warmth.

    Is there anything I can do to improve the situation or am I stuffed?

    I believe the (pristine!) amp has been stood a good while, could this be a factor? I've maybe given the amp 30hrs of play since buying it.

    I'd read that MA and Arcam was a good match, now I'm not so sure. Any thoughts or words of advice greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Cribbster

    Cribbster
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    364
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +32
    How old are the MAs? Generally MA speakers tend towards a brighter sound (the Silvers especially) but Arcam are not known for being unreasonably bright. They have a history of being a bit warmer whih means the combination should work reasonably well. Imagine how bright it would sound if you were hooked up to a Cyrus!
     
  3. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    Thanks for replying.
    The MA's (Gold series) are a few years old, properly burned in and, yes, they're rather bright. I was hoping the Arcam would soften them a little, but as yet no such luck.
    Maybe I need to give the amp a little more time for the sound to mature. The previous owner barely used it and it's been sat for a while.
     
  4. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    621
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Kettering, Northants
    Ratings:
    +42
    I'm wondering if another way of saying that an amplifier 'lacks warmth' is that it lacks distortion?

    I'm thinking it could be a road to frustration and misery, trying to get synergy out of a system by balancing a characteristic of one component against a characteristic of another. It's not an easy task.

    Is there anything you can do to soften your room?
     
  5. Southern soul

    Southern soul
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Messages:
    465
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    47
    Location:
    left the forum
    Ratings:
    +137
    What cables are you using?
     
  6. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    I'm about to order a large rug to replace a smallish one that currently sits on my wooden floor. I had the same thought.
     
  7. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    Honestly, some not great ones. What would you recommend? I've been upgrading bit by bit and neglected the cabling somewhat. Can that make a massive difference?
     
  8. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    621
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Kettering, Northants
    Ratings:
    +42
    I would see what you can do in terms of experimenting with the positions of your speakers in the room. Even if you can't move your speakers by a great deal permanently, moving them around will help you understand what contribution your room is making in comparison to the electronics.

    See what effect you get from toeing in the speakers by different angles.

    It could help people to make suggestions if you tell us more about your room. Specifically, how far are the speakers apart; how far away from side walls are they; how far from the speakers do you sit; and do you have space or a wall immediately behind your head?

    What about furnishings – do you have anything along the walls, such as bookshelves et cetera? Any scope to treat the room at all?

    Have you tried electronic room correction?
     
  9. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    21,338
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,955
    Look around your room and describe it to us? Modernistic bare walls and bare floors? Old fashioned softly furnished with curtains, rugs and carpets?

    Next where are the speakers placed? That is how close to the walls and corners are they. Less of a problem with a 5.1 system as the Sub takes care of the low bass. However, in a Stereo 2.0 only system, if the speakers are against the wall or in the corners, that typically boost the bass, but does so at the sacrifice of mid-range quality. The Mid-Range, in my experience, becomes muddy.

    As an experiment, try playing music in 2.1 mode. With the Subwoofer in, the electronic crossovers will be active, and divert low bass from the Front speakers. If that sounds better, then very likely it is a placement issue with the Front speakers. Though if you like what you hear, 2.1 is certainly a valid option for playing music.

    Also, the direction the speaker are pointed. If the speaker are toed-in and pointed at you, that can make the treble a bit brighter. Pointing them more forward can soften that aspect.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  10. Southern soul

    Southern soul
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Messages:
    465
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    47
    Location:
    left the forum
    Ratings:
    +137
    Yes, cables can make a difference, for example silver coated cables can tend to be bright.
    I would steer towards all copper cables in your system, as for brands best to get a good dealer on board who can lend you cables to test at home.
     
  11. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    621
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Kettering, Northants
    Ratings:
    +42
    Could you say what cables you mean: mains, digital interconnect, analog interconnect, speaker cables? Could you cite the evidence for your claim, or at least explain the theory?

    I'm glad you added that part. Nothing wrong with giving it a try for free I suppose, apart from maybe adding to the frustration and disappointment.
     
  12. Longy00000

    Longy00000
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,266
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    England
    Ratings:
    +476
    Given the avr is second hand have you changed all the crossovers and various settings to your own from the previous owners set up. You don't mention a sub but my old sony would still send a sub signal even if it was disconnected unless I went and physically changed settings to NO sub , new amps tend to detect if attached or not just not sure about arcam.
    Not trying to offend but sometimes it's the obvious.
     
  13. martimu

    martimu
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Messages:
    970
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Nr St Albans
    Ratings:
    +445
    I think you've been given some good places to start here. And your rug will help

    Check the amp settings - turn off all processing etc
    Then play with position ( if you can)

    I'm not confident mucking around with cables is going to make a significant difference. I run some pretty expensive cables on my kit and whilst I think they do make a difference it's marginal and I'm not sure I could pick out any night/day difference with cheapies. It's more a long term thing where I feel a subtle difference.

    If you have a room interaction issue with your speakers it's massively frustrating. I've got an issue with mine too, and if the above changes don't help then you are looking at room treatment, DSP, or different speakers. I thought I had speakers for life and a house move has rendered them frustratingly difficult in my current room and having to look for alternatives - much to my wife's annoyance who 'thought I wasn't needing to change things any more'
     
  14. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    Hello all, thank you very much for your replies. I'm still trying my damndest to get to the bottom of the issue.

    I've shifted the speakers so they're a little less toed-in and, well, that's about it so far.

    One thing I didn't mention is the sources I'm using; a Sony Blu-Ray player (BDP S7200) for discs/hi-res streaming and, please don't shout at me, the latest Apple TV for other streaming (including Apple Music).

    So, a friend thinks this could be the main sticking point - lack of a decent source. He's currently heading over with his fancy player (transport only) and DAC and we shall be giving it a spin very shortly.

    I committed what many of you may think to be a cardinal sin last night. In an attempt to smooth out some of the, sometimes quite harsh, brightness I reduced the treble on the amp by 2dB.
    Seemed to help somewhat, but I wasn't sure what else I was losing by doing this. Also, it seemed to muddy the audio a little, though I may have imagined this.
    Can be hard to discern sometimes, can't it?

    Oh, Martimu, you made me laugh. I mentioned to my wife yesterday that I was considering selling the speakers and replacing them. 'Why? You're pi**ing me off now with all your chopping and changing - what colour will they be??'

    I just shrugged and shrivelled into the corner.
     
  15. martimu

    martimu
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Messages:
    970
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Nr St Albans
    Ratings:
    +445
    Haha. Yep colour and size always the same issue.

    Mind I'm trying to get a pair of these in Heco Direkt | Deutsch | Heco

    Not been met with enthusiasm lol
     
  16. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    21,338
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,955
    Indeed you have gotten a range of suggestions.

    I can't say about your amp, but many AVRs have the option of going in and tweaking the EQ. Their should be a volume slider for each controllable frequency band. You could try rolling the high end off a little bit.

    Something like the Attached image. Even at the highest frequencies, it is only down about -6db, which is noticeable but not huge.

    [​IMG]

    Also, absolutely run the Setup Program again. You need it configure to your system, in your room, with your speakers.

    Once the Setup Program (Audyseey or whatever) has run and the results make sense, listen to the AVR/Speakers and see if there is any improvement. If not, then you can Tweak the EQ setting if you feel it is necessary.

    Steve/bluewizard
     

    Attached Files:

  17. HeadBanger

    HeadBanger
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2000
    Messages:
    2,216
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Ashingdon
    Ratings:
    +479
    That's exactly what tone controls are for - to shape the sound to your taste/room acoustics.

    I very much doubt it will have any adverse affect as it will probably be done in the digital domain.

    HB
     
  18. dean999

    dean999
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,402
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +129
    Having read the full thread I would be saying the same as blue wizard. U need to look at your room. If it's bare it needs soft furnishings and also run the room eq feature like audyssey or whatever after you have repositioned your speakers and done some room treatment /added thick rugs and thick carpets etc
     
  19. KenM10759

    KenM10759
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2015
    Messages:
    524
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    47
    Location:
    Spencer MA USA
    Ratings:
    +114
    Yes put room treatment at the top of the list of corrective action, cables at the distant bottom, and amplifier somewhere in the middle.
     
  20. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    21,338
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,955
    I think the absolute TOP Priorities is to run the Setup Program again. Then see where you stand.

    Once we are sure the amp is properly calibrated and EQ'd, assuming it has Room EQ. Then we can look at external factors.

    Room acoustic being near the top of the list. Perhaps the room is such that a simply Rug and some Curtains would be enough to soften the sound.

    Perhaps the system you have is not perfectly to your liking, but a mismatch to the degree you are implying seems off.

    Cables are the least of your worries ...assuming you have half-way decent cable to start with. Half-way decent does not mean expensive, it simply means real copper of sufficient size, which covers a very wide range of wire.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  21. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    Hello, thank you all for your suggestions and apologies for my disappearing act - been working away.
    So. My speakers are now less toed-in, almost square on to the room, in fact. Also, I re-ran the auto setup. While still a bright sound it seems less so. I think this is down to the speakers' new position and the amp warming up somewhat (it had been stood, powered-off, for quite some time).

    The sound warms up greatly during night time listening, but this is probably down to the curtains being drawn and, well, music sounds different at night, doesn't it? :)

    I'm currently bidding on a second hand Arcam irDAC. I may have been a little rash, but it received great reviews and it's 'warmth' was often referred to. I guess I shouldn't expect a night and day difference, but I'm hoping a little 'softening' may occur.

    Now I've just got to figure out a way to get Apple Music from the Apple TV into the DAC. Quite why Apple would remove the optical out is beyond me. Seems a major step back.
     
  22. dazed&confused

    dazed&confused
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    621
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    Kettering, Northants
    Ratings:
    +42
    Just curious – from having the speakers less toed in, have you noticed any lessening of vocal clarity, or any lessening of focus of the vocal in the stereo image?
     
  23. LeeloChip

    LeeloChip
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2012
    Messages:
    47
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +13
    I feared that might be the case, but not at all. I can say, pretty unequivocally, the sound has only improved since I adjusted the speakers' positions.
    My listening room is rectangular, though not particularly long. The speakers are along the short wall.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice