Cable suggestion

My set up is:

PC to Ayre QB9 (regular USB)
Ayre QB9 to Audio Research LS-25 mk2 (Cardas Golden Ref XLR)
Audio Research LS-25 mk2 to Audio Research DS450m (Cardas Clear Light XLR)
ARC DS450m to Gallo Ref 3.1 or Harbeth SHL5 (Morrow Audio SP4)

The sound is little bright.
What can I do to tame the brightness.

Hello Jay, maybe add a quality sound card to your PC with a s/pdif output. Then get a good digital coaxial cable to use. Love my Tara Labs RSC Air 1 75 ohm! Analysis Plus Digital Oval also does very well for the $. Bottom line: Digital Coax will give you noticably better sound than the USB !
Try the Cardas Golden Cross, it is warmer than their Golden Reference cables. I have not heard the Clear Light. You could also try cables from Kubala-Sosna, Purist Audio Design, or MIT, as they should also help "tame the brightness".
Jay Bird -

try Audioquest or Transparent cables/cords.
Do you have a good power cable on the Ayre?

Things got a lot smoother as I upgraded the power cable on my DAC - also got a lot more detailed and spacious - even using the USB

Just a thought :-)
What strikes me most is that between the computer, its power supply and power cord, the "regular USB cable," your high powered "hybrid Class D" amplifiers, and the QB9, you've got a lot of things in the setup that can generate RFI and digital and switching noise, and potentially couple it through the air or the power wiring into other parts of the system. With consequences that are unpredictable but very conceivably could affect perceived brightness.

Some things to consider trying:

1)Put a shielded power cord on the computer, or on its separate power supply if it is a laptop.

2)If the computer is a laptop, see if you perceive any difference when running it on its battery vs. its AC power adapter. That would provide insight into whether switching noise from the power adapter is contributing to the problem.

3)Try different lengths of USB cable. Keep the USB cable as far away as possible from components and other cables. Consider upgrading that cable.

4)Plug the computer into an outlet that has separate AC wiring than the outlet(s) used for the rest of the system.

5)If they are not already present, install power conditioners. One for the computer (to minimize noise it may inject into the power wiring), and one for everything else (perhaps excluding the amplifiers).

In saying all this, I'm assuming that the root cause of the problem is not the speakers, speaker placement, or room acoustics. If there is reason to suspect that assumption is not correct, I would address those issues directly, and not try to band-aid them with cables or tweaks.

-- Al
Your suggestion is something I've never considered.
If I get a new DAC with s/pdif input (not too distant future), I will certainly explore getting a quality sound card. Do you have a personal favorite brand/model of PC soundcard?
Thanks for your suggestion.

Oh ok, I didn't know Golden Cross is warmer than the refs. I will certainly try aforementioned cables next time I get a chance.
Your suggestion is greatly appreciated.

You know, I am using the stock power cable for Ayre.
I was thinking about getting better power cable(s) and give Ayre the try first.
Thanks for sharing your experience!

I've read numerous AG posts and have to admit most of my audio knowledge is from helpful postings from members like you.
Thank you for taking your time to share your thoughts and experiences.
I will certainly implement suggestions.

Hope you have good TG weekend!

Since you are using your computer as the music source, why need get a software audio player that allows for a parametric EQ plugin? This will allow you to experiment with altering your system's high frequency reponse. It's more cost effective than a cable and will permit you far better control of your sound.
Jay - along the lines of Onhwy61's post...

I use Audirvana software on my mac, which has some nice flexibility...
- bypasses the OSX music processing code - which degrades the sound
- operates as standalone mode or integrates with itunes
- has an equalizer function if required
- can play just the raw music file ( no data file tweaking) - my choice
- can play flac files even from iTunes - it uses a proxy file - works well
- plays dsd - I think up to 128
- loads track into memory and plays from there - no network speed issues
- best of all - you can try it for free - just download from site.

I tried one other package and stopped when I tested Audirvana

Support is very good - quick to respond to questions and provide solutions.

I play everything from 44/16 through 24/192 without any issues, including

FLAC caveat - the folder for the proxy files has to reside on the computer
drive - I had mine originally on the same NAS drive as my library and it
didn't like that.

I also use a Droid app called Retune to remote control iTunes from my Acer

The sound quality is the best I've heard to date

Hi Jay, take a look at the ESI Juli@. $150.