Arcam A85 / EPOS ESL3's sounding too Bright

Hello fellow audioenthusiasts,

My system is sounding so bright that it hurts my ears to listen to it for any amount of time. Having said that, here is an outline of my system; I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction to make my system more mellow:

Arcam A85 integrated
Arcam CD73 Cd player
Monster speaker cables
AudioQuest CinemeQ RCA interconnects
Epos ESL-3 monitor speakers
Yamaha SW315 10" powered subwoofer

Thanks in advance!!!
The speaker cable can definetly be the suspect. Perhaps someone can recommend a better set. But then, did the EPOS ELS sound a little lean on the Stereophile review? I cannot recall.
Have not heard the Epos, but I know the Arcam stuff. Have the speakers been fully broken in? What about speaker location and your position relative to speakers? Could be the room too.
Owned the EPOS ESL3's for a while and they were not bright sounding at all ... perhaps a little boxy sounding, which was more due to how I had them placed. I had them paired with a vintage Marantz receiver and Signal Speaker Cables & Interconnects. In the HIFI review of the EPOS, their only caveat was to pair them with quality amplification, in fact better amplification than you would normally provide for $300 speakers. Can not imagine why this combination would sound so bright that your ears would hurt. Are the speakers connected in phase? If you are willing to do some research, there was a thread either here or in Audio Asylum in the last month, about an ESL3 owner who took apart his speakers and removed some loose tape or something similar to that.

Regards, Rich
First of all, thanks for the replies, I should have clarified the fact that the problem seems to go away when I put the grills back on. I re-read the stereophile review on them a couple of days ago, and they said that they perform better with the grills off. There was a noticable improvement as far as detail and highs are concerned, but it came at a price... I put the grills back on last night, and I can listen to my system again... however, you should be able to get the detail and no listening fatigue at the same time.
From the reviews Ive read the Arcam A85 is a lively sounding amp which when paired with Epos might result in a bright combo. The lower end Arcams such as the A65 plus (which Ive owned)and the older models are warmer sounding.
I agree with Bundee1. The A85 might be too neutral in the upper mid and treble region. The most Epos speakers are voiced so that the upper mid is emphasized.

Together, I can understand your complaint.
I also have access to a pair of B&W CDM-NT1s, should I swap the speakers out?

I also have access to a pair of B&W CDM-NT1s, should I swap the speakers out? If not, what would be the ideal speakers for the A85?

I would tend to agree about the Arcam/Epos combo. I has Epos M12 and with the wrong SS gear would be bright due to the metal tweeter. This was mentioned in the reviews about them as well. I heard the Arcam, great amp, lively, detailed and basically neutral. Are the ESL tweeters metal?

You may want to try taking the edge off via different cabling. Discovery cables as an idea. Also, give the Cable Company a call, for a small deposit they will let you demo various cables at home. You don't lose your deposit, you can then apply it to a purchase with them.

Good luck,

PS - You could also switch amps to a Creek amp, like the 5350SE (which is what I had). It might be easier to switch speakers though.
If the tweeter is the culprit, you can add some sort of "sponge" ring or audio foam just above and below the tweeter, this solution might tame an overly aggressive tweeter.

As I said before, cabling might be adding to the problem.
I swapped out my Audioquest Copperhead RCA interconnects with a pair that my dealer made, and the edge was gone, but since the dealermade cable was belkin 75-ohm video cable, I lost some detail, clarity and the midrange was muffled. I think the interconnects are the culprit. The Copperheads have very nice detail, but they are way too bright for my ears. What do you guys recommend? I don't want to lose the detail and resolution.

If it was a cable that produces edginess, I was referring to the speaker cables and not the interconnects. Monster cables for wiring are known to be edgy.
I agree get rid of the monster cables. Make your own if you are tight with the budget.

Are you sure it's not the room you are in?

If you are trying to figure out if this combination is unerringly bright and edgy you might want to approach your culprits one at a time. Were I in your shoes I would experiment with the room/accoustics/placement situation and cables first. If this proves fruitless,then you have your primary players to consider- source, amp, speakers. If you introduce the cdm1nts into the mix(switching the epos out), you may only discover that you like that combination more or less than what you have. Fine, I guess, but it really does not tell you what you are trying to find out.
All good suggestions...however changing amps,cables,etc would be marginal compared to selecting a new speaker...perhaps one with a softer top-end...such as castle richmond(soft dome tweeter)...this would guarantee easy listening...and very affordable....used here for under $300...