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  1. #1

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    Default Eliminate harshness?

    IDK if I am sensitive to high frequencies or something, but this has been an issue with every speaker... at low volumes, everything is cool... once I crank the volume, certain high frequencies, like guitars and vocals, hurt my ears. Sometimes it drowns out all other sound, so I will only be hearing this incredibly harsh tone (and my ears hurt). if I turn the volume up, it will be apparent in just about every track. My only solution right now is to lower the volume.

    Some tracks that this is really noticeable in: MGMT- Time to Pretend (the start), Counting Crows - Angels of the Silences, Weezer - The angel and the one

    So, is there any quick fix for something like this? I tried using an equalizer and lowering the high frequencies, this did not make a difference. I also tried cutting up some wash rags and putting them around the tweeter... I think I am going to go get some felt when I'm at the store next, cause it might have helped a bit.

  2. #2

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    If every speaker does it, it's your room, gear, or a combination of both.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    What speakers have you been listening to?

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    Cheap cables and cheap gear will do that.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    What speakers have you been listening to?
    LSi25, Monitor Silver 8i, Tyler Acoustic monitors (current)

    the tylers sound great at moderate volumes, but I really can't turn them up without hurting my ears.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Cheap cables and cheap gear will do that.
    so, how much, in your estimation, do I have to spend on gear before I stop hearing harshness?
    Last edited by cokewithvanilla; 04-27-2011 at 07:08 PM.

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    LSi25's should not sound bright at all, it's something else. What are you using for gear? Do you have any room treatments?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    My suggestion was going to be room treatments as well.. I had some issues in my room prior to adding some GIK panels.. better separation and no high end harshness afterward for me

    Jason
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    DAC: W4S-Dac2
    Source(s): Computer and Denon 2910
    Amp: Parasound HCA-1200II
    Speakers: LSi9s - Vr3 Fortress Mod

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    LSi25's should not sound bright at all, it's something else. What are you using for gear? Do you have any room treatments?
    Keep in mind, I have not had the lsi's in here in... forever... like 8 months or something, so my recollection of those speakers is going to be less than perfect....

    With the lsi's, I was using a B&K 7270 sii or adcom 5800 and a emotiva dmc-1

    current: Computer (FLAC>WSAPI)>HRT Streamer II>Bens Silver>Aragon 24k>Signal One>Adcom GFA-5800>MIT Exp 2>Tyler Monitors

    to a certain degree, this has always been a complaint of mine. I have no room treatments.... the room is carpeted and has a couple leather couches and a cat climber that is carpeted.

    edit: can I hang some blankets/towels or something to test the room treatment theory?

  9. #9

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    Some of us, just can't tolerate any kind of tweeter. I learned this after spending way too much money. I finally accepted this fact about my ears and bought an ESL.

    I was ready to drop some big dollars on some DynAudio C1's for my rig. I brought some fairly neutral music and they hurt my ears. I refuse to spend any money on something that will cause me pain. ( I'm not a Sado/masochist)

    As our hearing ages and our tastes develop, we all will decide at one point what is acceptable to us. It may be Polk, Dyn's, P'digms or any brand you can think of. There is no right answer. You may be a devoted fan of brand whatever, if they cause you to not enjoy the presentation, then they are not worth a dime.

    I started with Polk speakers many years ago and still enjoy some of them. But, as my tastes have changed and my hearing has degraded, there are speakers out there to make me a bit more happy. Just because you've moved on from a Polk speaker doesn't make you any less a member here.

    It may time to broaden your horizons be it gear or speakers, but do what gives you the most enjoyment.

    Gordon
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  10. #10

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    Not just speakers, or money spent... may not even be the room.
    Try some of the classically nonfatiguing speakers (e.g., ads L-710 and its kin, QUAD ESL-57) with very neutral (accurate) amplification. Need well behaved sources, too, of course.
    all the best,
    mrh

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post

    It may time to broaden your horizons be it gear or speakers, but do what gives you the most enjoyment.

    Gordon
    Well, good thing for me is that I have absolutely no brand loyalty whatsoever Currently, I am listening to the tyler monitors which have been my best speaker to date... I mean, they rock compared to my other ones... multiple levels above them. The LSi's were a frustration... I couldn't get them to do anything for me... nothing in the 'good' column. The monitors (silver 8i) were a plus, they weren't the LSi's.... but they didn't really do it for me... they could image pretty well.. especially on Pixies - Here comes your man.... but they didn't really have anything. The tweeter was pathetic, when I saw it, I cried.

    I am up for anything, but I would really hate to think I would have to get rid of these speakers... I am pretty happy with them... I'm listening to Ben folds lonely avenue right now and it sounds great... spl is 65 on RTA and 86 on my other meter (both iphone apps)... sound great no problems....

    Honestly, I would hate to go the new speaker route at the moment. I finally found something that sounds good on just about everything, only issue is I cannot crank them.
    Last edited by cokewithvanilla; 04-27-2011 at 07:39 PM.

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    Well, you have enough power there. The pre could be a problem? Or, as mhardy, suggests, the source. What are you using as a source. A CDP, TT, SACD/CD? Because I've found that a LOT of mid to lower range CDPs have one thing in 'common', i.e., they 'all' sound harsh as you turn up the volume--almost regardless of your speakers?

    cnh

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    Well, you have enough power there. The pre could be a problem? Or, as mhardy, suggests, the source. What are you using as a source. A CDP, TT, SACD/CD? Because I've found that a LOT of mid to lower range CDPs have one thing in 'common', i.e., they 'all' sound harsh as you turn up the volume--almost regardless of your speakers?

    cnh
    Well... the source is a computer with HRT Streamer II as a dac.... I can switch to the soundcard which does not help. I will be keeping my source as digital files... that is the one thing that I really refuse to compromise on.

    THis is probably the weakest link... I think the aragon pre is supposed to be pretty good,, right?? I'll try connecting the streamer directly to the amp after this album

  14. #14

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    I'm losing my mind.

  15. #15

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    from the sound? or because the sound went away all of a sudden? =)
    2-Channel - So far...
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    Speakers: LSi9s - Vr3 Fortress Mod

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by punk-roc View Post
    from the sound? or because the sound went away all of a sudden? =)
    because I waited out the storm before I started testing DAC>Amp, no pre... it sounded better, I could go louder without much ear pain.... so I'm like "Success!" then I decide to switch it back to Dac>Pre>Amp and test at the same volume to see the huge difference, of course... and there was none...

    This always happens... so now I have to wonder if it's because I turned the stuff off for an hour, or if it's because my ears have not been listening to music for an hour, or because the storm knocked out the power a few times and now the electricity is magical... or because I have lost my damn mind!!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by cokewithvanilla
    current: Computer (FLAC>WSAPI)>HRT Streamer II>Bens Silver>Aragon 24k>Signal One>Adcom GFA-5800>MIT Exp 2>Tyler Monitors
    I deleted the rest of your post to concentrate on what you have now. First off, as far as hanging a towel or blankets, they might help give you an idea of what room treatments can do but they will not provide the same thing. I would suggest trying them out at what would be the first reflection areas. You might want to throw a blanket over the leather couch as well, just for sheits and giggles.

    Moving on to what you currently have....In my experience, I have found silver cables to be revealing but there is one drawback. That is, they can tend to be bright. What I would suggest is aquiring or borrowing a set of copper IC's and see how that tones it down for you.

    Also, I know that the Adcom [while a powerful amplifier] is also what some consider bright. Too me, it's way too bright, but that's just my observations. We did a little swap over at Trey's pad one evening and we hooked up an Adcom, all I wanted to do was turn it down or get out of the room. I'm not sure whether or not we were listening to your speakers or not but I am familiar with your speakers and I can tell you that this is not the best match if you want to tame the brightness down.

    The source is another possible issue but see if you can't start with the IC, move onto the amplifier [borrow another one if you can] or look at one that is more laid back and/or neutral. Let me ask you this, have you ever considered a sub to round out the spectrum of frequencies?

    Forgive me if there are typing issues with this post. Apparently I'm having a migraine that I can't feel and it is giving me ocular visions. Basically, I can't read what I'm typing.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    I deleted the rest of your post to concentrate on what you have now. First off, as far as hanging a towel or blankets, they might help give you an idea of what room treatments can do but they will not provide the same thing. I would suggest trying them out at what would be the first reflection areas. You might want to throw a blanket over the leather couch as well, just for sheits and giggles.

    Moving on to what you currently have....In my experience, I have found silver cables to be revealing but there is one drawback. That is, they can tend to be bright. What I would suggest is aquiring or borrowing a set of copper IC's and see how that tones it down for you.

    Also, I know that the Adcom [while a powerful amplifier] is also what some consider bright. Too me, it's way too bright, but that's just my observations. We did a little swap over at Trey's pad one evening and we hooked up an Adcom, all I wanted to do was turn it down or get out of the room. I'm not sure whether or not we were listening to your speakers or not but I am familiar with your speakers and I can tell you that this is not the best match if you want to tame the brightness down.

    The source is another possible issue but see if you can't start with the IC, move onto the amplifier [borrow another one if you can] or look at one that is more laid back and/or neutral. Let me ask you this, have you ever considered a sub to round out the spectrum of frequencies?

    Forgive me if there are typing issues with this post. Apparently I'm having a migraine that I can't feel and it is giving me ocular visions. Basically, I can't read what I'm typing.
    Alright... well, as you can see from my previous post... I am confused. I just played them loud again with very few issues, there are a few areas that could be worked on, but not to the ridiculous level it was at before. I didn't do anything... that is what is baffling me. I will have to test this over the next few days, maybe with longer listening sessions.

    I will try to put up some blankets, but I just realized that I don't have many because I am getting rid of everything and preparing to move.

    As for the amp... I would love to try a different one out, but short of buying one, I am probably out of luck. I'd have to sell the adcom to fund another amp. What kinds of amps would be on your mind... I've always wanted to try conrad johnson.

    A sub is probably an excellent idea. I would want two to avoid issues. Problem is, to find two matching subs (good with music), I would probably have to shell out around $1000 used. Right now I'm pretty tapped out until I get a job, which I plan to do after graduation.


    I also need to figure out what is going on, before the power outage, it sounded bad in the highs, I mean real bad.. bad enough for me to post this and it was like ear pain on all the high notes. ATM, it appears not to be very bad (but this issue is definitely recurring). I am wondering if part of it could actually be this computer. It has some deep rooted issues (mobo or cpu) that seem to crop up here and there. Every now and then it will hang completely, for no reason... or with the audio it will play some distorted ass ****, then I will have to stop the track and start again and it's fine... these are definitely hardware issues. I will get a dedicated laptop for this system shortly.

    So, as far as switching gear goes, that will probably have to wait. Since no tweaks have been mentioned, it will be unlikely that I will get to this any time soon.

  19. #19

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    trying different cables from Ben's Silvers might be a good idea, I found that they were a little bright in my setup too and have since moved on to different cables to try and tame that issue.. Do you have a spare set of ICs lying somewhere? I'd offer to send you some, but the only spares I have are my Ben Silver ICs =)

    Jason
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    Pre: Dodd ELP
    DAC: W4S-Dac2
    Source(s): Computer and Denon 2910
    Amp: Parasound HCA-1200II
    Speakers: LSi9s - Vr3 Fortress Mod

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by punk-roc View Post
    trying different cables from Ben's Silvers might be a good idea, I found that they were a little bright in my setup too and have since moved on to different cables to try and tame that issue.. Do you have a spare set of ICs lying somewhere? I'd offer to send you some, but the only spares I have are my Ben Silver ICs =)

    Jason
    Hah, thanks.. I forgot to address this point... I did, just today, switch bens IC's out with some copper (crappy) and it did not appear to make a difference in the brightness

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    Just unplug the tweeter.

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    Do you have any type of CD player that you can connect? A portable unit, a mini-stack, walkman, anything that you can use to eliminate certain things. From what you just mentioned, I'm now questioning your source. At the very least something downstream from that to the Adcom.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroyjr1 View Post
    Just unplug the tweeter.
    Brilliant!

    hah... my xos from my old monitor's arrived today.. Igot to listen to them with one missing tweeter... no good.. no good... you actually miss quite a few frequencies, if you'd believe it

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    If we're talking about harshness that isn't speaker dependent it's usually due to the large amount of "hard surfaces" in your room such as bare walls. If your room is sparsely furnished, the sound will be harsher. The first thing you can do about this is to treat all first reflection points, that includes the front wall, ceiling, floor, and side wall either with absorption or dispersion. Harshness is more apparent when your room is on the smaller side as well, but we can't do much for changing the size of the room. However dispersion right behind the listener can do wonders.

    I would pretty much scrap any ideas including gear or speaker cables until you properly treat your room. Your speakers and the room pretty much make most of the equation to yield sound.

    As a last resort if everything is too harsh for you you can place a piece of felt in front of the tweeter to alleviate the harshness.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by aboroth00 View Post
    If we're talking about harshness that isn't speaker dependent it's usually due to the large amount of "hard surfaces" in your room such as bare walls. If your room is sparsely furnished, the sound will be harsher. The first thing you can do about this is to treat all first reflection points, that includes the front wall, ceiling, floor, and side wall either with absorption or dispersion. Harshness is more apparent when your room is on the smaller side as well, but we can't do much for changing the size of the room. However dispersion right behind the listener can do wonders.

    I would pretty much scrap any ideas including gear or speaker cables until you properly treat your room. Your speakers and the room pretty much make most of the equation to yield sound.

    As a last resort if everything is too harsh for you you can place a piece of felt in front of the tweeter to alleviate the harshness.
    Interesting. this is definitely worth some consideration. I am going to go get some felt... currently, I tested the same concept with some wash rags... probably not ideal. What kind of inexpensive portable treatments could I get to test this out?

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    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    ^^^^^michealclark444 spam in post reported
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    Quote Originally Posted by cokewithvanilla View Post
    Interesting. this is definitely worth some consideration. I am going to go get some felt... currently, I tested the same concept with some wash rags... probably not ideal. What kind of inexpensive portable treatments could I get to test this out?
    GIK isn't exactly the most portable thing you can get, but it's definitely a start. When you get to your new place you can of course start thinking about real room treatments and save yourself money with DIY. For now, others mentioned blankets, curtains, anything you can think as soft to absorb sound. It won't absorb as well as panels can, but unless you wanna hop out and order some OC703, then you'll have to do with just blankets, and curtains. For diffraction if you want to play with that you can put plants behind the speaker or at the first side wall reflection point. A nice area rug where it first reflects off the floor is also advisable.

    Furnishing the room with more objects always helps as well. How big of a room do you have? Carpet? Vaulted ceiling? I said to use felt as a last resort because essentially you are absorbing some frequencies from passing through.

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    Computer sourced files can be a real problem if not done properly. There is a LOT of jitter introduced and jitter translates to listening fatigue.

    I'm guessing it's primarily your source and even the source material. Many computer sound cards are horrible when it comes to giving you an audiophile signal. The HRT Streamer seems to get good reviews but I have some doubts because it's powered by the USB port.........IMO, much less than ideal.

    Everyone thinks they just rip digital files and hook up a computer and away they go with audiophile, non fatiguing sound. It's not that easy and the entire chain needs to be configured properly or you can risk the exact scenario you are experiencing. I'm very sensitive to the same kinds of things.

    Good luck because it could be one thing or numerous things or a combination of a few things. No one said this journey was easy or short. I'm ruling out speakers and for the most part the amp. I didn't really get rid of all nasties until I moved to a single ended class A amp and some tubes and MIT cables. Sometimes depending on tube choice, my rig is a little to laid back for my tastes.

    Also seriously think about room treatments. My brother did room treatments and I was floored by the difference. It brought his room right where it needed to be and it wasn't difficult.

    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...room+treatment

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    The most overlooked piece of gear & by far the most important as to how your system sounds is the "Room". You've had a very nice sampling of great speakers in your system & you've come to the same conclusion every time...listeners fatigue with harshness being the on going theme. It looks like you've swapped out gear & cables to no avail (which by the way they will not correct the issue). The one unchanged constant has been your room. Until the address the issue your problem will persist. Here's a great site that has a lot of info on the subject. http://www.getbettersound.com/. I have Jim's book & DVD's & by following just a few of his tips the difference has been stunning. More of his tips will be put to use & I expect the results to compound themselves.
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