How to tame brightness?

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by fasted2015, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. 2112

    2112 Active Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Fox Island, Washington
    Can an Engineer explain in lay terms what I am doing by using the lower ohm taps with the 8 ohm speakers? :smoke:

    I am loving the 6 ohm taps and am contemplating the 4 ohm taps next. Am I taxing the amps more this way? Why isn't this in my owner's manuals??:scratch2:
    .
     
  2. Victor

    Victor Super Member

    Messages:
    4,652
    Location:
    Indy, In
    I believe the lower taps have longer windings in the autoformers.

    Going to a lower tap is actually easier on the amps.
     
  3. 2112

    2112 Active Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Fox Island, Washington
    Then why isn't this standard and recommended protocol? I am trying to wrap my mind around this. I am having a hard time finding the tradeoffs. :scratch2:
     
  4. Victor

    Victor Super Member

    Messages:
    4,652
    Location:
    Indy, In
    The tradeoff is: If you have a MC602 and 8 ohm speakers and use the 4 ohm taps you will only have a 300 watt amp. If you have 4 ohm speakers and use the 8 ohm tap you will have a 1200 watt amp but over driving it like this could cause it to overheat.

    As long as your solid state McIntosh amp does not run too hot or the protection circuit come on, use the taps that sound best to you. If your amp runs too hot or the protection circuit comes on, use the next lower tap.
     
  5. 2112

    2112 Active Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Fox Island, Washington

    Well, I jumped from the 8's to the 6ohm taps and saw a huge improvement. I guess I am at 450 watts then right :scratch2:.

    So since the watts are decreased is the voltage (or amperes?) increased? I forgot how the math works. I was banging up against the powerguards alot with the 8 ohm taps and not at all with the 6 ohm taps. Sound pressure seems to be @ the same level. I need to get a SPL meter to be sure.:yes:

    BTW The factory rating for the speaker is 8ohms. Maybe they aren't?
     
  6. Victor

    Victor Super Member

    Messages:
    4,652
    Location:
    Indy, In
    My previous post was an over simplified explanation because in the real world the speakers impedance is constantly changing with the music it is playing. So it is difficult to say what you amps actual available output is on a given tap with a given speaker. Many speakers that are listed as 8 ohm will drop impedance in the bass making is act like a 4 ohm speaker. Just keep in mind that with the protection circuits in McIntosh amps, it's very unlikely you will damage your amp so use the taps that sound the best to you.

    And yes, using the lower taps is most likely why you are no longer hitting powerguard.
     
  7. 2112

    2112 Active Member

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    Fox Island, Washington
    So, am I reducing the energy going to the speakers? 120volts at 600 watts is 5 amps and at 450 watts is 3.75 amps.

    But the sound quality is improved and the volume level appears to have remained the same.

    Of course, different recordings can be all over the map on SPLs.
     
  8. cornhulio

    cornhulio Active Member

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    houston
    This is safe, effective and inexpensive. My maggie 1.6qr's came with 2 resistors and I used the 2 ohm after trying the 1.0 ohm which wasn't strong enough.

    Caps can also be used to fine tune the crossover point to prevent the harsh mids from getting to the tweeter. A 1.0 uf 250 v radial mylar cap is a good value to start with.

    http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=139881&d=1236231803
     
  9. WilCruiser

    WilCruiser Active Member

    Messages:
    255
    Location:
    MA
    I'm very sensitive to high frequencies, especially at higher volumes. Extreme brightness actually hurts my ears. When I sold audio equipment in the 80s I found that the B&W Matrix series was one of the few speaker lines that consistently reproduced high volume, high frequencies so they didn't bother me. I've been stuck on them ever since.

    I've seen reviewers claim some of the newer iterations are a bit brighter, but I'd give break-in a chance. As stated earlier, one of the big draw-backs of the high end B&Ws is that they are relentlessly unforgiving for any flaws in the stream of execution prior to getting to them.

    If the source material is poorly recorded - You'll know it.
    You'll notice changes in cabling
    You'll notice weaknesses in source electronics (CD players, TTs, decks)
    You'll notice differences in different amps too. I run a pair of Adcom GFA 555IIs bi-amping my B&Ws and if I use my 555 instead of my 555II (different, but very nearly identical amps) the 555 is noticeably brighter through the B&Ws. I don't notice it if I drive my Energy 22s with it - a pretty darned good speaker.

    Back in the day I had a cool Adcom CD player (yes, I'm admittedly an <early> Adcom fan-boy as well as B&W & Thorens). That deck had a switch to tone down the brightness on some CDs. Early recordings frequently didn't get the hang of the CD thing and some tried to over-exploit it for a few years. For example, that switch was the only way I could even attempt to listen to Heart's self-titled CD (think it was engineered by someone with a tin ear;-)

    If you're confident that the room isn't the cause I think you're on the right track by swapping out components to see if you can find the offender. I'd agree with a prior post that suggested a Bose component probably isn't up to the task for the quality of your equipment though.

    Check with the place you bought it from. Many upscale dealers will let you borrow (with a security deposit or something) a sample component to do stuff like that if you made a big purchase - especially if they think you might buy some more.

    Good luck & keep us posted. I'd be interested to hear what you narrow it down to.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
    GRACE RUBY likes this.
  10. fasted2015

    fasted2015 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Interesting observations. After having the B&Ws for only 2 months I see that everything you said here is totally true. Life can be so much easier by not getting such good equipment!! :sigh:

    My previous speakers were PSB Stratus Silvers, which have a very easy, very friendly, neutral sound with just about anything they're hooked to. One of the things that first attracted me to the B&Ws was that they have a very PSB-like sound with the bonus of better bass, more transparency, and better soundstaging. But there was oh so much more to the story just waiting to be discovered....

    I grossly underestimated how revealing the B&Ws are. As it turned out, most of the CDs in my collection have audible flaws in the amount of compression, and/or the brightness of the recording, and/or the placement of the microphones, etc. etc. etc. And the very audible character of each and every component and wire in the system was a totally new and unexpected discovery. The B&Ws reveal EVERYTHING. Nothing escapes them. Very few CDS have the ability to deliver that elusive "spectacular" sound thru this system; the ones that do sound truly awesome and remind me that maybe I really didn't waste all that money if I can just get everything right.

    At the behest of many in this thread, I'm doing more burn-in to the whole system. And because of the interesting test with the Bose CD player, my MAC CD player is getting an extra intensive dose of burn-in to see if it will smooth out. Also I'm building a cable using DH Labs Silver Sonic Pro-Studio cable and Neutrik XLR connectors, as an experiment to see if it's any better than the others.

    This is truly a journey. :yes:
     
  11. Mike19

    Mike19 New Member

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Fla
    Hi ed.

    "The sound is outstanding except for a little brightness on most CDs."

    As already noted, some, maybe a lot, of CDs are not well recorded. I use the treble tone comtrol on my preamp when I play a CD that is too bright.

    But, you posted that MOST of your CDs sound bright. Perhaps your CDP's DAC chip is not doing a good job at jitter reduction. If so, the solution could be an ouboard DAC with a solid reputation for significant jitter reduction. Problem is, a lot of these DACs are expensive.

    Mike
     
  12. tmornini

    tmornini Active Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I found (with advice from all over the net) that the 803Ds perform ideally when you sit at one corner of an equilateral triangle, where the speakers sit on the other two corners.

    Positioning is *critical*. Take the covers off (!), turn the lights down, and point a flashlight on the midrange driver. It has a little metal ring around the center. Adjust the speaker's spikes so that the two speakers are pointing absolutely directly right at your head. :)

    It made a gigantic difference in soundstage and depth for me. Your mileage may vary.
     
  13. tmornini

    tmornini Active Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I agree 100%. 4 ohms is right for these speakers, and will likely go a long way toward eliminating the brightness.
     
  14. Timobi12

    Timobi12 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Old thread but really good. I too have some brightness that seems over bearing. I've owned a set of GoldenEar Triton 1's for about 9 months. Like B&W very revealing speakers. Don't miss much. Paired with a MC452 (bought last fall) and now a new C2600 tube pre. Traded in a new C47 for the tube pre. Wanted a warmer more musical sound.

    Also have a VPI Classic Signature TT with Ortofon Cadenza Blue. So a pretty revealing system. Sony HAP 1ZES HDD hi-rez music player.

    I'm aware my room is not ideal. Its truly a tad too small for these big towers.

    Only have 20 hours or so on the new Pre c2600 so more time is needed. I also upgraded to new Audioqest Water XLRs. Was using King Cobras throughout. The brightness was there using those as well so it's not the cables. Now I could try cables that are on the warmer side of things.

    My plan is to not toe the towers in. Try that. I do have a big rug in there. Huge fluffy sofa :)

    Some recordings are ok. Sound GREAT. Others are quite piercing. So it's not an all the time thing. Just wish it was less edgy...

    Going to keep breaking in the new preamp & go from there.

    I love the GoldenEars but they might be the wrong match for the mcintosh gear.
     
  15. stevo137

    stevo137 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,661
    Those Macs have treble control don't they?
     
  16. unfairlane

    unfairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    Norway
    Some room-tips:

    Avoid big pictures with glass-fronts, they will act like acoustic mirrors. Real paintings made on canvas on the other hand has shown to be wery effective diffractors that reduces flutter-echo surprisingly well. And they looks better too.

    Do not use leather-furniture in your listening-room. While an upholstered sofa will act like a absorbent a leather-sofa will not calm down Your room the same way.

    Todays homes ends up beeing full of phone-chargers and battery-eliminators on top of all the other transformers we have in our tv`s and stuff. All these small trafos makes a lot of noise(NB!) that makes a sound-system sound hard and thin. Those trafos you can not turn off, try to put them on another course or at least as far away from your setup as possible.

    Avoid using extension-cords of any kind, specially to your poweramp. If you need a power-strip, buy a good one.

    And last but not least; speakercables. Thick sold copper (min.12awg) will calm down and clean up the tweeter a lot while even thicker solid core (like 9awg-bluejeans 10awg is Close enough*) will make your amp show its real potensial. Wery few audiophiles are aware of this simple facts because they are still lost in the cable-jungle.

    I used to visit my local B&W-manufacturer back in the 90`s bringing my own cables. They emptyed the high-end room and we removed the top-model cables from Audioquest or Taralabs and replaced them with my heavy diy-cables. That was enogh to allmost tame the B&W`s top + improve quite a bit all over.I remember seeing tears in one`s eyes when I packed up once ;)
    Btw; they sold my diy-cables "under the table" to customers that could not get their system to play with their inhouse brands.

    * I`m running 7awg in the lower end ;)
     
    Timobi12 likes this.
  17. Timobi12

    Timobi12 New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Thx Guys. All good thoughts.
     
  18. GRACE RUBY

    GRACE RUBY New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Can We Please Raise Our Glass For Tone :angel:

    forzaroma
    Can not agree more, and how brave to even say it these days, there is a audio class of elites , (IMHO after 40 years of selling music gear), i feel has done a great injustice to real music Lovers as opposed to lunatics, if ones does all one can to bring out every frigging detail, the music is over and the listeners fatigue is ON, and the wife with better hearing vacates the roomand the "Man Cave" is born.

    Woman were the first to carp about early crude CD in my shop, ha ha remember when every woman had sansui suit case size amp/receiver.

    I lived with a mac system for 2-3 years with non OFC inter connects, and cable, short ones, but non OFC.It was a joy, deep of field, that went in for miles, to own such a rig is a gift from heaven, and my friend had a "love seat" for him and the wife, who would sleep in his arms like for hours, they had a huge box of candles, swan of touneala, Beethoven's moon light sonata, I used to sit with them in the "Side Car" chair, dam best moments of my life.

    I have OFC all around, hollow core speaker cable, cardas clone, but i found a cheap but not so thin $5.00 RCA in front of my house, no name on it, I joke its radio shack, for grins I put it between a 1000.00 pre amp in to a large sm class one bit digital amp, zero loss of bass, huge mid range and treble like water, Zero listening fatigue, and no more listening to flu and colds coughing in the back ground of a concert.. I sleep in front of it all the time, I have a old famious NAD pre amp too, its modded free of even a head phone jack, but i left in the tone controls, I Can Listen To Any Thing I love, I am not stranded to just rare good recordings.

    happy listening ya all
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  19. GRACE RUBY

    GRACE RUBY New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Another great post,UNfairlane :beerchug:

    I destroyed my old rig with a shrieking pair of 800.00 audio quest cables, that sounded great else where, lucky I bought them from a home seller and got my money back.

    There is a most interesting wire out there called "Plenum" wire, Teflon coated thin strains,more strains the better, up to 12 strands per pos and neg, its non OFC, I put some on my Dyna-audios, cleared completely that nasal tone they can have.

    Wow what a wild forum ha ha ha :bowdown::bowdown:
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  20. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    Treatments, treatments, treatments. That is what one needs to do.
     

Share This Page