Newbie (kind of) seeks expert advice on speaker problems

lindsayt

Active Member
With the fault persisting across multiple sources, and across 2 pairs of speakers, it's almost certainly the amplifier.

One very simple test is to try a different amplifier.

The last non-valved amplifiers I've bought have been:
a brand new NVA A20 power amp in a sale for £133 direct from manufacturer
a used NVA P50 SA passive pre-amp for £166 off ebay
a Urei 6400 4 channel amp with 1 channel broken for £15 - ebay
A Urei 6230 2 channel power amp with volume control for £80 - ebay
2 Urei 6290 high powered amps with volume controls for £150 each - ebay

The point being that you can buy some very nice sounding solid state amps for not a lot of money if you know what to look for, have some patience, and an open mind.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
With the fault persisting across multiple sources, and across 2 pairs of speakers, it's almost certainly the amplifier.

One very simple test is to try a different amplifier.

The last non-valved amplifiers I've bought have been:
a brand new NVA A20 power amp in a sale for £133 direct from manufacturer
a used NVA P50 SA passive pre-amp for £166 off ebay
a Urei 6400 4 channel amp with 1 channel broken for £15 - ebay
A Urei 6230 2 channel power amp with volume control for £80 - ebay
2 Urei 6290 high powered amps with volume controls for £150 each - ebay

The point being that you can buy some very nice sounding solid state amps for not a lot of money if you know what to look for, have some patience, and an open mind.
Well, thanks for that. You've completely lost me with those amps: never heard of any of them! I'm more of a vanilla guy in that I go for something I've heard of, budget and, as far as I can tell, is fairly neutral. Hence Marantz.

Now I do have my Denon AVR-X540BT hooked up to my TV. So, presumably I could hook up my new speakers to that as front left and right speakers? And, what, unattach the centre speaker, play a song and see how the speakers sound? (This is how little I know.)

Not sure how doable that is as I'm dependant on family to move things about but that would prove 100% that my amp is the problem, is that about right?
 

lindsayt

Active Member
The best sound quality per pound spent, tends to come from obscure equipment that not many people have heard of. Although this does get diluted over time as great value components get "outed".
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
The best sound quality per pound spent, tends to come from obscure equipment that not many people have heard of. Although this does get diluted over time as great value components get "outed".
"If you know what to look for" is the key phrase. I wish I had the knowledge but I genuinely cd it difficult to understand the terminology you guys use - you're way above me which is why I'm asking for help here!

And grateful to everyone who is helping me. It's very much appreciated.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Well, thanks for that. You've completely lost me with those amps: never heard of any of them! I'm more of a vanilla guy in that I go for something I've heard of, budget and, as far as I can tell, is fairly neutral. Hence Marantz.

Now I do have my Denon AVR-X540BT hooked up to my TV. So, presumably I could hook up my new speakers to that as front left and right speakers? And, what, unattach the centre speaker, play a song and see how the speakers sound? (This is how little I know.)

Not sure how doable that is as I'm dependant on family to move things about but that would prove 100% that my amp is the problem, is that about right?
Your AV amp will be no match for a decent stereo amp (including your existing one, any potential fault notwithstanding), but that would be a potential troubleshooting step. As you say you would hook up the stereo speakers to the front left and front right speaker terminals on the AV amp. No need to disconnect the centre, just change the audio mode (or whatever it’s called - Audio, Mode, Audio Mode, Sound Mode etc - there will be a button for it on the AVR remote that cycles through the various modes) to stereo. Need to connect your source to the AVR as well and select that input on the AVR.

That will help confirm it’s the amp, although to be honest swapping the L&R speaker cables on the stereo amp should also do that and with less effort.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
Your AV amp will be no match for a decent stereo amp (including your existing one, any potential fault notwithstanding), but that would be a potential troubleshooting step. As you say you would hook up the stereo speakers to the front left and front right speaker terminals on the AV amp. No need to disconnect the centre, just change the audio mode (or whatever it’s called - Audio, Mode, Audio Mode, Sound Mode etc - there will be a button for it on the AVR remote that cycles through the various modes) to stereo. Need to connect your source to the AVR as well and select that input on the AVR.

That will help confirm it’s the amp, although to be honest swapping the L&R speaker cables on the stereo amp should also do that and with less effort.
Ah, of course, forgot about the different sound modes.

So, if I swap the L&R speaker cables on the amp, which result confirms that the amp is the problem? I'm getting myself confused again!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Can you post picture on how you connected the speakers to the Marantz amplifier? On the rear of the speakers, amplifier.

Then we can tell you what do.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Ah, of course, forgot about the different sound modes.

So, if I swap the L&R speaker cables on the amp, which result confirms that the amp is the problem? I'm getting myself confused again!
If you swap the cables and the balance issue inverts, then the amp is the problem. If it stays the same then the room is the problem (given that sources (multiple) hearing (multiple people) and speakers (changed to new ones) have all been ruled out).
 

Flobs

Active Member
It's also worth pointing out that if it's the amp using the balance control to even things up is fine.
If it's the room some speaker placement experiments will be necessary to get it as 'good' as possible. After that once again some balance correction is totally fine.
Just because you swapped speakers and the problem persists does not eliminate room acoustics if the speakers were placed in the same positions (they are after all pumping out the same frequencies).
Be patient I've had balance problems due to 'dirty' rheostats in amps, room acoustics (even due to resonating speaker cabinets (a side just touching on a 1/3 resonance spot). If you know what your listening for educated guesses can be made when 'walking' round the room though that's pretty difficult to explain with out demonstrating in person.
As the amp I have now hasn't a balance control I have to be very careful over speaker environment 1 inch can make an enormous difference.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
Got a text about a delivery tonight which I presume is for the speaker stands and my wife is off tomorrow so might be able to get them set up and check the amp so fingers crossed we might be further along soon!

Thanks for everyone's input so far.
 

lindsayt

Active Member
"If you know what to look for" is the key phrase. I wish I had the knowledge but I genuinely cd it difficult to understand the terminology you guys use - you're way above me which is why I'm asking for help here!

And grateful to everyone who is helping me. It's very much appreciated.
Indeed. You can either build up your own experience by taking part in a variety of comparative listening tests.

Or you can take the approach that you won't reinvent the wheel. That you will find someone that knows what they're doing and follow in their footsteps.

In the world of hi-fi there's lots of people that give the initial impression that they know what they're talking about, but when you put their systems to the test, they come up short.

The people whose opinions I respect the most in the world of hi-fi are the ones that have either put together really good sounding systems for under £1000. Or world class systems for under £5000.
They also need to have integrity to earn my respect.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
OK. So: stands are up! Thank you to Son No. 2 for setting them up last night. Makes a nice difference, although I could still hear the left bias, no matter how we placed them; he was not so sure.

My wife has just spent time switching the speaker cables at the back of the amp as suggested by many on here and this is where there was a shock twist: they were incorrectly hooked up! The left connection was already going to the right speaker and vice versa! So when my wife switched them she was actually fixing them, putting left to left and right to right for the first time in I don't know how long.

So, has this made a difference? Well, mostly. The vocals are now definitely centred which is good, that is a change I can notice. I would say I could hear, very slightly, a bias to the left with instrument noise but I'm putting this down to mostly my ears. I am slightly deaf in my right ear. (I would have blamed the whole thing on this if my son hadn't confirmed the left bias too!)

I don't know if or why switching the speakers to what turns out is the correct alignment has made a difference or if is getting the speakers on their stands and positioning them a bit better following suggestions on here but it is definitely about a 95% improvement so I'm happy with that!

Thanks to everyone again for your patience and your advice. Now, if I could only find out a decent way to get my records clean as I seem to live in the dustiest house in the northern hemisphere!
 

Onlythesound

Well-known Member
I suspect it may take a little while to get used to your ‘new’ setup. So now we definitely have wires correctly running red to red and black to black from each speaker terminal A and B?
Often you’ll find that instruments or vocals may change their apparent position depending on the musicians/singers/production values etc. Try that closing your eyes trick when you put your favourite track on and enjoy the music, not the machinery.
Enjoy anyway. 🙏🙏
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Also make sure the RCA cables are connected the same way as the speaker cables.

Right to right, left to left. Same on the amplifier, CD player.

Speaking of the vocals in the center. If you have the opportunity to stream Eric Clapton Unplugged Album, then you well notice he’s voice is on the left speaker.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I meant he’s voice should be on the right speaker, not the left. Epically on the song Tears In Heaven.

If you try another song from another album, then you well notice it can be different as mentioned by @Onlythesound.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
I suspect it may take a little while to get used to your ‘new’ setup. So now we definitely have wires correctly running red to red and black to black from each speaker terminal A and B?
Often you’ll find that instruments or vocals may change their apparent position depending on the musicians/singers/production values etc. Try that closing your eyes trick when you put your favourite track on and enjoy the music, not the machinery.
Enjoy anyway. 🙏🙏
Yep! Wires all connected properly. I can sit back, relax and enjoy my music now, which was the goal.
 

Flobs

Active Member
OK. So: stands are up! Thank you to Son No. 2 for setting them up last night. Makes a nice difference, although I could still hear the left bias, no matter how we placed them; he was not so sure.

My wife has just spent time switching the speaker cables at the back of the amp as suggested by many on here and this is where there was a shock twist: they were incorrectly hooked up! The left connection was already going to the right speaker and vice versa! So when my wife switched them she was actually fixing them, putting left to left and right to right for the first time in I don't know how long.

So, has this made a difference? Well, mostly. The vocals are now definitely centred which is good, that is a change I can notice. I would say I could hear, very slightly, a bias to the left with instrument noise but I'm putting this down to mostly my ears. I am slightly deaf in my right ear. (I would have blamed the whole thing on this if my son hadn't confirmed the left bias too!)

I don't know if or why switching the speakers to what turns out is the correct alignment has made a difference or if is getting the speakers on their stands and positioning them a bit better following suggestions on here but it is definitely about a 95% improvement so I'm happy with that!

Thanks to everyone again for your patience and your advice. Now, if I could only find out a decent way to get my records clean as I seem to live in the dustiest house in the northern hemisphere!
Sounds great, well done thanks to your son and wife.
Your left now with just some minor room acoustic problems (try a blanket over the TV).
There is sometimes some bias with instruments particularly with older recording. This is due to the classic setup of musician placement on a stage. Bass is to the left as we look and this sometimes deflects our concentration. So I'd say in a few days you'll be used to it. Don't hestite to tell me if this isn't the case. Try different music as well and see which types you sense the left bias.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
An additional question about my new speakers if you folks don't mind.

Do you still need to "burn in" speakers? I haven't had new speakers for over thirty years and you were advised to back then but what with advances in technology do you still need to do that?

I'd rather know what people I trust think from their own experience rather than read online.

Cheers.
 

Flobs

Active Member
An additional question about my new speakers if you folks don't mind.

Do you still need to "burn in" speakers? I haven't had new speakers for over thirty years and you were advised to back then but what with advances in technology do you still need to do that?

I'd rather know what people I trust think from their own experience rather than read online.

Cheers.
I believe they do. for the 1st 50 hours of use starting at lower volumes and gradually increasing (no need to go full out mind no need for burst ear drums here) so up to mid/high volume. They have mechanical components so it's logic above all for bass/mid drivers.
After that it's probably all about 'getting' used to them and discovering the new joys they bring to your music.
 

Jon Lyttle

Active Member
I believe they do. for the 1st 50 hours of use starting at lower volumes and gradually increasing (no need to go full out mind no need for burst ear drums here) so up to mid/high volume. They have mechanical components so it's logic above all for bass/mid drivers.
After that it's probably all about 'getting' used to them and discovering the new joys they bring to your music.
OK, cheers.

I'll leave them running low in the background while I watch the snooker!
 

Onlythesound

Well-known Member
Indeed. My Q Acoustics Concept 20s have quite a lot in common with your 3020i s. I let them settle ‘on simmer’ for at least 20 hours before turning the volume to the right🧐
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
OK, cheers.

I'll leave them running low in the background while I watch the snooker!
I don’t think you need to do anything special, just use them normally but expect them to improve over the first 50 hours or so.
 

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