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Room treatments to tame brightness?

 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4841
Registered: Feb-07
Hey guys,

All you regulars here will know about my dedicated music room.

I've had my gear down there for about 2 weeks now with my new Exposure amp, but I'm finding the system a little too much on the bight side.

I think the Exposure is a muscular, aggressive amp to begin with, but paired with Monitor Audio speakers, in a basically untreated room, I feel like someone is smashing a crash cymbal beside my head repeatedly with a hammer (I'm sensitive to high frequencies, as luck would have it).

In your guy's experience, will getting rid of reflections and taming the room a bit get rid of the brightness?

Thanks dudes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1416
Registered: Jul-07
If your room is empty an appearance of brightness is probably a given. High frequency sound waves are very directional and will bounce around from surface to surface if there is nothing there to diffuse or absorb them (preferably a little of both). You don't have to junk up the room though to start to tame this, although some strategically placed items will be required.

Don't do what I did and turn your lovely looking room into.....well, a freakin' mess. Mind you, it sounds really good.....it just looks like crap. Acoustic treatments aren't all that expensive, and you can do some very nice DIY's with minimal investment in time. I'd start with first reflection points, and get some of the front and back walls covered with something. A thick tapestry, or a velvet "Dogs Playing Poker" would be nice.

How is the bass response David ? Sometimes the appearance of bright is partially caused by the absence of bass, or lower midrange.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4843
Registered: Feb-07
Thanks for the kind words on my hard work Chris :-)

"Dogs Playing Poker" would work. Does a Velvet Elvis have the same acoustical properties?

The bass response is definitely something I cannot complain about. The room is built like a bunker, so I'm not surprised that the bass is strongly reinforced.

I'm just a little concerned that may have some components that are not synergistic viable, but you're right - it's probably just the room needing the requisite attention.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14690
Registered: Feb-05
"In your guy's experience, will getting rid of reflections and taming the room a bit get rid of the brightness?"

No.

It will improve but won't go away. It may take longer for you to get the headache but you will still get one. You have a mismatch, which was bound to happen with the number of amps you've owned. Many of which you don't quite have speaker enough for. Treating your room will be a good thing but it won't solve a mismatch.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4844
Registered: Feb-07
So you've owned the Exposure/RS6 combination?
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1417
Registered: Jul-07
Start with the room and see. See how good you can get it. A room with reasonable/good acoustics and a decent system will sound significantly better than a great system in a crappy room IMO. If you have a mismatch, you'll then have the room to audition and properly evaluate other gear. I've actually gone back to some components (e.g., cables) that I'd swapped out at one time. I thought the new stuff was better, but once I had the room the way I wanted I realized it was just compensating for an imbalance created by the room.

Room first. Always.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14691
Registered: Feb-05
"So you've owned the Exposure/RS6 combination?"

I have not. All any of us can go by is your description of the sound you are getting. None of us here have owned that specific combo of amp, speakers and source. Any combination of pieces that cause one to say..."I feel like someone is smashing a crash cymbal beside my head repeatedly with a hammer" would seem to me to be a mismatch. That comes from my experience as being another person who is sensitive to brightness. I've been down the road you are on and feel that I have some understanding of what you are saying.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4845
Registered: Feb-07
The weird thing is that lower volumes, the combination is actually quite good. I guess it's a trade off. I liked the W4S initially because of the warm sound of the amp, but I later got tired of it's lack of top end, air, and dynamics.

This amp has all three of those qualities (with the bass control of the W4S), at the cost of being too bright when turned up loud.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3566
Registered: Jun-07
This reminds me of the Bryston/MA days in the living area which was all windows,walls and hardwood flooring. Although your room is far far better than my living room I do not believe the problem would had went away for me on a simple room change (downstairs) if I were to keep that combo. I find the MA speakers to be a heck of a speaker if paired properly but are challenging to find an amp and room they work in at times. I feel room treatment is far more important than simply changing out gear but in this case I think its just a poor match to be honest Dave. Have you tried the exposure amp with the more laid back Bookshelf speakers you have (forget the brand)? To see if maybe in the long hall the Exposure amp is really for you? Perhaps a bookshelf speaker is needed with a sweeter top end is needed?
http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/648956661-totem_model_one__originals_in_b lack/
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4846
Registered: Feb-07
Yeah Nick, I agree. The MA's are good speakers, but are very revealing. I found they really sang with good tube gear actually.

Hmmmm. The Model One is definitely on my radar. Haven't heard that speaker in awhile, maybe it's time to give it another listen.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16728
Registered: May-04
.

Dave, I sent you a PM. Let me know if you haven't received it.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4847
Registered: Feb-07
Got it Jan. Thanks!
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1118
Registered: Dec-06
FWIW, I owned the RS5 and ran it with the 2010s2. I don't consider my room too lively, though I'm sure I can improve it with some well placed absorption.

Anyways, the RS series has a reputation for brightness. I've run a few speakers and the RS5 was by far the brightest sounding. I could handle it...it didn't give me headaches or fatigue or anything like that. But it did obscure the rest of the music below it, which was my main gripe and why I eventually moved on. The speaker was great in other respects.

When I moved on to the Quad 12L2, the highs softened up some but it was still kind of bright. The current Castles are the only speakers to really eliminate all harshness in the highs. The tweeter is really a highlight as it never becomes harsh but still sounds clear and extended. I've not heard better highs in my room (aside from perhaps the highs from the PMC TB2i, which I never actually owned).

Whether you have a mismatch I don't want to say definitively, but I'd probably try working on the room as Chris suggests, which should create the right environment to draw conclusions in. Even though I say that it's not what I did, I tried different speakers and some definitely worked better than others.

The other thing is that the Exposure amp, assuming yours has a passive preamp section, is sensitive to high capacitance cables. I'm not sure what cables you are running. When I got the 2010s2 I made sure the cables I was using were relatively low capacitance. This is probably a separate concern from what you are raising here.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4848
Registered: Feb-07
Good to know Dan. Thanks for all the info.

One of the speakers I was actually looking at was the Quad 12L2, but if you still found that kinda bright, I may pass.

Room treatments are definitely the top priority right now, but nonetheless I am going to go with different speakers. I like the Exposure amp, and I think it can really shine, given the right speakers.

Anyone have experience with Dynaudio speakers?
 

Gold Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 1119
Registered: Dec-06
The Quads helped, but proved not to be enough for me. Can't help you with Dynaudio, only that from what I've read their tweeters get high praise. Lots of bottom end too. Heard a pair of Excite 16 once, but not in my system or room, so it's tough for me to say anything definitive. Sounded plenty deep though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Canada

Post Number: 3567
Registered: Jun-07
Dynaudio I hear are great. I only have experience with their car audio speakers back in the day and they are known in that area as top dog.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14692
Registered: Feb-05
I haven't heard a Dynaudio in a long time but my memory of them is positive and i don't remember them being lively at all...just not sure.

Also don't forget Audio Physic. Stu is pretty enamored with them and I don't think he would tolerate brightness.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dakulis

Spokane, Washington United States

Post Number: 1307
Registered: May-05
Hey guys,

Long time no writey. Glad to see a few of the old crew hanging in and helping David out here. I can only say from my own experience that room treatment and speaker placement can help some with brightness but if the component or the system is the problem, you can't solve it with room treatment.
Dave
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 2581
Registered: Oct-07
Worst case? / If after tuning the room fails?
Try an old Magnepan strategy.
Most of 'em come with a 1 ohm resistor to be inserted as one of the jumpers to the HF part of the panel.
You could go into your speaker and install a 1/2 ohm (to start) 5 or 10 watt power resistor in series with the tweeter. Tweeter resistance to start depends on DCR of the tweeter. Since most elements of Magnepans is 4ohm.....plus a little, a 1 ohm resistor is good for 20% reduction.
ONLY if all else fails.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4487
Registered: May-05
I really liked the Dynaudio Focus 110 (or was it 140? pretty sure it was 120). The highs and mids were great. If you're having issues with highs, this may be what you're looking for.

Art's correct, I can't tolerate brightness or edginess at all. My Yaras aren't bright, yet they're very articulate in the highs. High levels of detail while keeping it musical.

But in a very small room, I'm not sure I'd be as enamored with them to be honest. How big is your room? I think you said something like 12x10? Check out Audio Physic if you can, but i think they may need a bot more room to breathe. Mine need at least 18 inches behind them, and other models may need more.

I'd look at Dynaudio Focus 110/140 PMC TB1/DB1, and Totems. But that's just me.

The best speaker in an absolute sense may not be the best sounding speaker in your room. The right speaker for the room will IMO.

I definitely agree with Art's notion that treatments will help, but they'll delay the inevitable if it's a poor match. Exposure is a bit aggressive, and MAs aren't exactly a laid-back, warm and mushy speaker by any means.

Maybe, just maybe, Linn Katan or Majik 140 or whatever the cutrent model number standmount is. It's a great speaker, IMO that'll work well up against the wall. Linn's presentation isn't exactly a universal recommendation.

Had I not bought the APs, I'd have pr
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4488
Registered: May-05
Damn iPhone!!!

Had I not found the APs, I'd have most likely bought the Dyn 110s.

One other speaker to consider, then I'm finished - Focal Chorus 706.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4489
Registered: May-05
OK, I lied...

Sonus Faber. Haven't heard the current line, which reportedly has a new house sound. The previous generation is definitely worth looking into IMO.
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