The dedicated 20 amp lines have made no difference in the sound of my system. Have you tried to measure the room response?
Dedicated lines are a huge bang for the buck in terms of sonics and low noise, but I don't think your not having them is what's at the root of your particular problem. And all your equipment is first rate, except I might want to do different ICs, still, I don't think they're the problem either.
No, if I had to guess, it's those 35' speaker runs. Even with those great SS amps, 35 feet of (anything) speaker cable is going to reduce damping enough to tip the sonic balance toward the highs.
You need, IMESHO (in my ever so humble opinion) to get a really good pair of long ICs and a really short pair of speaker cables. And that applies even if you're running single ended (and not balanced.)
I suppose someone could argue the JC-1s aren't getting enough juice, but that would be easy enough to establish without putting in the dedicated circuits. Just go to Home Depot and get a couple of 20 or 30 foot extension cords of at least 12 AWG (preferably 10 AWG) and plug each JC into different house (15A) circuits and see what happens. (You can always return the cords, HD is very nice about that.)
Proper line conditioning is an absolute must. So are ics and scs that minimize time smear.
The dedicated 20 amp lines will essentialy provide two benefits:
1) Minimize any harmful AC noise that is generated within your home ie refrigerator motors, microwave ovens, dimmer switches, etc..
2) Help endure that your amplifier has enough juice to more dynamically and realistically reproduce dynamic passages. A very big plus.
Dedicated lines will do nothing to filter out the AC noise in the lines coming in from the street. Everybody has this problem to one good degree or another and the only cure is proper line conditioning or components that have attempted to address the filtering issue inside the component but not both.
Your best bet is to audition a number of line-conditioners because quite frankly there some to many that simply aren't worth owning.
I think the only way to find and solve your problem is to do some process of elimination things, first I'd move the amps close to the speakers and try some Rat Shack 12 gauge speaker wire just to see if thoses 35' wires are causing problems, next I would do some more speaker positioning and adjust cross overs, and the Home Depot cords are a good idea too. All these things will cost next to nothing and a bit of your time. I would spend some time on speaker placement and cross over adjustments as this can be one of the most PITA things to get right!
My two dedicated 20 amp lines, with FIM-880 outlets, did improve the bass. My friend the electrician, not an audiophile, even noticed it.
However, I don't think electrical is your problem. I recently had a similar condition, i.e., lean sound with a lack of bass, that was caused by the two 12ax7 Mullard gain tubes in my phono preamp subtly degrading over time (one year) until it became so pronounced I inquired about it.
I never would have guessed it was the tubes. I had two Electro-Harmonix 12ax7's on hand and swapped them into the phono preamp. Musical nirvana! I had no idea how far the sound had degraded until then. Everything came back, the meat and body of the music, the soundstage even improved.
I also found another audiophile who routinely changes the tubes in his preamp for the same problem. Perhaps the Mullards both went bad in a subtle manner and the EH tubes won't. I know I'll be aware of this, and swap out tubes just to check them in about a year.
In the package that came with the vandersteens he cautions the buyer from using long runs of speaker cable.He says that a moderate priced speaker cable in short runs will sound better than expensive long runs. He says use longer interconnects up to 2m. Do you have the Cheetahs running from the pre to amp or the Golden Cross. I have the golden cross and it is warm not bright at all.
I installed a couple of 20A dedicated lines and did not hear a significant improvement; maybe a blacker background. Having said that I would definetly suggest you install them but I don't think you will get the results your looking for. As others have suggested you might try some active line conditioning.
Thank you for all the excellent suggestions. I have measured the room response and there is a large dip at 100-125 hz. From what I have read this is common to most rooms but Im not sure how to address it. I will definitely try the extension cords, short spk cables, install the new lines and try line conditioning. Maybe a Hydra? I will get some new tubes for my pre also. I wanted to try some different ones anyway. I experience the leanest most non musical sound when using cheetah source to pre-pre to amps. I get the best sound when I throw the golden cross in from pre to amp. I would say that with golden x in the system retains about 70 to 80 percent of the benefits of all cheetah but with a fuller presentation yet still a little lean for my taste. After having all Cheetah in for a few weeks Ive come to realize its just to threadbare. At least with the system in its current state. What would you guys say is the longest spk cable run I could get away with?
Are the amps new? If so, I would either try another amplifier or let the JC's warm up for a few days and see if there's a difference. The JC's takes a while to settle in. If it's not the amps, it may range from something trivial like out of phase wiring to a bad tube. You also can't rule out improper application of acoustic treatments.
But I think Kal is closest - room response from speaker placement vis-a-vis listening position. Try a Radio Shack SPL meter with something like the Stereophile Test CD on your setup. Take one reading from the listening position and one reading a foot away from each speaker. If there's a marked difference, it would point to room response.
Dedicated circuits are not going to cure what you describe. Long cables may become a problem if the amp has a too low damping factor (which the JC don't). A call to Vanderstein wouldn't be a bad idea, either, if all else fails.
I use a braided six foot run of the Anti Cable and have used 8 feet of Monster Sigma 2 and 10 foot of Monster M1. I wound say up to eight feet but remember do your homework because some cables travel better than others. I wish I could tell you one length is better than another but I used three different speaker cables.
I'll weigh in on the side of eliminating your long speaker runs. It was actually Richard Vandersteen who convinced me to switch to longer interconnects, and shorter speaker cables. He said, "we're talking over a long interconnect now, aren't we?" This was the phone line, of course. The problem is the long speaker cables. No amp can keep a handle on damping over a 35 ft run...
Ultra short speaker cables are only a benefit when the speaker cables themselves are of a poor design / implimentation and / or the run is simply WAY too long. Since most all speaker cables are of a poor design / implimentation, those factors are only compounded as line length is increased.
This is why most people notice a big improvement by going to shorter speaker cables, as they've reduced the amount of influence that the shoddy speaker cables have on what they are hearing. This could be avoided by simply using properly designed speaker cables of reasonable length.
There's more series resistance / signal loss in the crossover circuit of ANY passive speaker than there is most any "reasonable" audiophile grade speaker cable. This does not include esoteric small gauge speaker cables since they are inadequately designed to start with.
Having said that, 35 foot is too long for any type of signal to travel with good fidelity, be it line level or amplifier level. Running gear and cabling in "balanced" mode can reduce some of these drawbacks, but even then, you're subject to the degradation and sonic signature of that specific long run of cable.
I would start looking at speaker placement / crossover settings. I'm assuming that you are running Zobel's since you are using the Goertz speaker cables. Even with the Zobel's, using this length of those specific speaker cables may be playing havoc with the amp. This is a high negative feedback design and the low impedance / wide bandwidth of the Goertz cabling may be playing with it. Substituting some higher inductance cabling may resolve the tonal balance problem of this installation, but doing so may introduce another fly into the ointment.
Since Vandersteen's are only difficult to drive in the treble region, hence their notoriety for sounding "soft", i sincerely doubt that a low loss ultra-wide bandwidth speaker cable is introducing the "lean" characteristic that is being encountered.
As to the effects that the AQ Cheetah has on your system, it sounds like the effects that Nordost speaker cabling has in most systems. Very quick, sharp and open sounding, but it doesn't resemble music to me at all. It is "audiophile" in a "hi-fi" sort of way, not in a "music lover" sort of way. More "flash" than actual "substance". Do you want "hi-fi effects" or "music" from your system? Sean
PS... Longer speaker cables actually improve the "damping" that the amp sees, as it increases the difference in output impedance vs the load impedance. A longer run of speaker cabling can actually increase fidelity / system performance if the amp is not up to the task of dealing with a highly reactive speaker load. Besides the higher series resistance and increase in impedance, you've also got higher line loss. This helps to damp the reflected EMF that the reactive speaker generates once excited.
Damping and Damping Factor are very mis-used and misunderstood terms to say the least.
Hi guys. Sorry its taken so long to get back. Ive tried all of the above suggestions with the exception of actually installing the new lines and power conditioning. I really want to try a Hydra. Only one thing at this poit seems to help and that is getting rid of the Cheetah. I think it was the WOW factor at first that sold me on them with so much detail, resolution and great pace but as time went on I began to realize that although a nice cable they are ultimately unmusical to my ears. Especially with less than perfect recordings. So for now the Golden Cross is back in and the hunt for the right interconnect resumes. Any thoughts on an intercon that posseses the "good" qualitys of both silver and copper? Good quality for me being excellent resolution without being too analytical, great slam, speed, air, liquidity, harmonic texture.