System tweaks to make treble softer/silkier/sweeter?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by AdvanTech, May 1, 2018.

  1. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I'm currently trying out a power amp with treble that is a bit fatiguing after extra long listening sessions, and I was wondering what kinds of things I can do to smoothen out the higher registers. So far, I've replaced the Sylvania 6SN7 in my Saga with an RCA red base, but I'm open to more options.

    Thanks!
     
  2. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    Have you addressed the acoustics of your room?
     
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  3. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I have 4” broadband panels in the corners w/thick blankets stuffed behind them, 2” panels at first reflection points, and a QRD diffuser on the front wall.

    I think it bothers me most because I have an M-22’s sweet sweet sound to directly compare it to. The only thing is the M-22 doesn’t have the slam and grip I sometimes want.
     
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  4. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    It may not be up your alley, but applying a bit of de-essing works for my sibilance allergy: https://www.dmgaudio.com/essence. Assuming of course a digital source, and its sibilance that's grating and not tonality.
     
  5. AdvanTech

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    That is interesting. I think it’s a mixture of sharpness (possibly artificial?) and a lower treble hump compared to my M-22. I’ll keep it in mind but would like to try more old-fashioned tricks first before digital ones. Thanks though!
     
  6. Hooncake

    Hooncake Mid-Fi Purgatory Redemption

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    Maybe tube pre for smoother sound and more gain?
     
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  7. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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    You’ve probably already considered this, but it seems like a natural application for Loki
     
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  8. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I was hoping for tweaks of smaller commitment, if possible. If they won’t do it I should probably just try another amp.
     
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  9. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    Hm, that might do it. Thanks for the reminder about that little box.
     
  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Isn't the Saga relatively transparent, even regardless of tube? Either way, RCA 6SN7s tend to have rough, grainy sounding treble, in my experience. They're not cheap, but the VT231 Ken Rads usually have the lush, sweet, slightly rolled sound you'd expect you'd get from RCA based on what everyone else says.

    I might recommend a non-oversampling DAC. They are inherently softer and less fatiguing sounding, especially in the high end.

    But, at the end of the day, you might just need to get a different amp. Usually tweaking around a component you don't really like doesn't work out as well as just getting something you like as-is.
     
  11. AdvanTech

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    Great points. Thanks @Hands. I’m wondering if it’s worth trying to work around this amp as well.

    Truth is, summer's coming and I'm afraid my M-22 is going to overwhelm my little room with heat, so I was looking for something that runs cooler but doesn't make me feel like I'm missing too much compared to the Pioneer. This little Nuforce STA200 surprised me with sharpness, bass slam, and grip (more class A/B power) even if it lacked the finesse and a bit of inner detail compared to the M-22, so I was wondering if I could make it work.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  12. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    What happened to the Van Alstine amp?
     
  13. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    Are your speakers on stands? In the past, for me, raising the tweeter, above ear level, sometimes does the trick. That science is free
     
  14. AdvanTech

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    After hearing a FirstWatt at @sphinxvc’s next to the Van Alstine, I knew it had to go. I sold it after my friend restored an M-22 that I’d picked up.
     
  15. AdvanTech

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    They are. And the effect should be even more pronounced with it being an MTM configuration. Thanks for the idea. Is raising the stand on cinderblocks a silly idea?
     
  16. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    IME the red base 5692 is pretty neutral up top, in my Freya feeding the same nuforce. You could try an older Sylvania 2-hole 6SN7GT like this one; I found them to be a little rolled off and sweeter than the RCA 5692s, but still keeping good bass response. Another thing to try for cheap (if you're running dome tweeters) is a felt diffraction ring around the dome. Also, play with toe-in on the speakers; if the speakers are voiced for slightly sloping response off-axis, you could take advantage of that.
     
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  17. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I'm not saying you should live with it that way, but maybe just as a temporary science experiment. Speaker elevation always made a huge impact with me...
     
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  18. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Per @Hands recommendation, I also recommend a NOS DAC. Holo Spring L1 is the perfect counter point to Yggdrasil A2 and it won't break the bank while still offering excellent sound quality.
     
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  19. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I'm still more inclined to recommend the Metrum stuff. I dunno, the more I listen to discrete resistor DACs, the less I tend to like them. I don't buy that the different architectures or corrections or whatever with discrete resistor DACs really net you the same resolution (plankton) as you can get from a good multibit chip DAC. Discrete seems to be missing something. Usually sounds like someone used the equivalent of too much noise removal to make things seem cleaner...

    Related side note: I guess I can't rule out that Metrum doesn't use some amount or form of discrete resistors for their DACs, but they have criticized discrete resistor DACs due to inherent tolerance limitations as well as mentioned laser trimming being best for getting closest to 24-bit performance. Still, they aren't totally clear about it either and seem more concerned about the sealed nature of their DAC modules. And, yes, they do use some form of FPGA compensation, but, again, I don't know if they use discrete resistor DACs. I suppose it's possible with how they do their correction stuff. Anyway, I still think the Metrum stuff captures the nuances the most common discrete resistor DACs seem to clean out of the signal.

    Edit 2: I did find a quote from Cees regarding their designs. I thought I had read somewhere they don't use discrete resistor DACs:

    Just a note to discrete R2R ladders and why they cannot work properly:
    1 no more accuracy than 0,01% so not more than 14 bits precision.
    2 Too much temperature differences over the entire pcb leads to linearity problems.
    3 Sensitive for pollution and humidity.

    Therefore we only use lab grade laser trimmed ladder networks to get perfect
    linearity and real 144 dB dynamic range. Next they should be encapsulated to
    avoid mutually temperature changes and pollution.

    I know designers of the discrete resistor DACs will say and have said otherwise, either due to specific architectures or use of different compensation methods, but I think the proof is in hearing. Of course, I'm not a DAC designer. Just an armchair idiot.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
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  20. TwoEars

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