First, wait until you upgrade; that may solve the problem. If not, try some NOS tubes and if that doesn't work try some Cardas interconnects.
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it sounds like you bought the cary w/o 1st auditioning it in your system. that's a shame, cuz (really) you need to start all over, using the cary as your reference point for everything else. frustrating, huh? learn by your mistakes and recognize that it takes years to get to a "perfect" system, which will then be outmoded or outclassed in no less than 30 days thereafter.
Hey Cornfed - You helping or gloating? It's hardly a "mistake" to improve one part or component of one's system, even if you then discover an undesireable characteristic needs further correction. This is bound to occur if an individual is serious about improving his/her system. It would be nice to have every upgrade available for audition, but even then, a significant improvement will likely show a shortcoming in another area. The goal is not that each upgrade will perfectly compliment all of the other components in the system regardless of their quality or faults. How can it be a mistake to learn what one truly values out of an audio system? No, the real mistake would be to never step out of the level that your system is at now by limiting yourself to components that can't show a deficiency in any other part of that system. Keep going Jcidulka, you now have a very good CD front end by which to direct and evaluate future upgrades. Enjoy.
Try some cheap/free temporary fixes if it is realy driving you crazy right now. You could attempt to tune (or detune) the CD player by experimenting with different isolators. If you are using cones, don't. Try resting the player on different materials laying around the house. It could be a tea towel, mouse pads a mailing envelope etc. You get the idea. Isolation teqniques work both ways. You may also grow to like the additional detail in time. "It is new and therefore we must fear it" is my usual first reaction to a drastic change in sound. I am not audiophile and tend to look for quick easy and sometimes temporary solutions to audio problems. So, please take my advice with a grain of salt. If it seems reasonable though, what's it going to cost to try?
I promise you, the Shearwaters sound "blacker" than most speakers, that is, the treble is very organic sounding- not necessarily rolled off, but definately relaxed. I auditioned a pair a while back. If it were me, I would play around with cheap tweeks until I got my new speakers broken in (that will be quite a while with the Meadowlarks) then, try different speaker cables if it still sounds bright. If you cant find speaker cables that float your boat, DONT BUY ANY. until you throw the interconnects into the mix. It sounds to me like a detailed CD player into a tubed intergated into the Meadowlarks is a match made in heaven. My suggestion (or prophecy) is that you end up with some neutral interconnects and speaker cables. Audioquest and Cardas are considered pretty neutral. You will be able to find an Interconnect/speakercable scheme that mates well with the Meadowlarks and your Cary and your Mesa. It's all about the journey, good luck
Hi, I have H.R. Shearwaters and a Cary integrated sli80. The combination is wonderful. I would advise that you wait til you get the Shearwaters, then you've gotta let them break in for a LONG time, like 300-500 hours. But it's worth it. The highs IMO, will be Very smooth and natural. Also, I've noticed quite a difference with other tubes. When I replaced my Sovtek6922's with some Tungsrams, and got some Raytheon 6SN7's, the highs "went farther up", but were smoother. You're making a great choice with the Meadowlarks. You will have an incredible system, probably similar to mine, although I need a good CDP or DAC as the final upgrade- presently I'm using a Marantz cd63, my plan is to get a Bel Canto DAC 1. (The Cary is too$$ for me at this point). Enjoy
It can not be stressed more, Make SURE it is broken in at least 200-400 hours. I had a similar problem with a Sony 9000ES, I thought it sucked for at least 200 hrs. It was too harsh. I almost gave up. The only thing that keep me trying was the comments on this site about the change in sound quality after 400+ hours of run in time. If your Cary is fully broken in, try these 2 things: remove any regid coupling devices (cones, spikes, ect.) 1.)install a small air ring (drug stores sell these for hemorroid customers to sit on) between transport and shelf. 2.) build some magnetic pods and use under transport to float it above shelf (I'm using pods with great success).
A lot of really good advice above.
If you're sure you want the Shearwaters, they may help correct what is bothering you. Then after that, you can make whatever additional fixes you feel you need. Otherwise, I think alot of good advice regarding cheap tweaks and cable changes has been given. I've tried some of the fixes mentioned. Some were temporary and others I've stayed with for awhile.
I've was able to reduce brightness a bit in my system by changing my interconnects from DH Labs BL-1 to Cardas Golden Cross. A much bigger difference was realized when I switched speaker cables from DH Labs Silversonic T-14 to Analysis Plus Oval 9. It had the effect of reducing brightness, creating a fuller, rounder sound, and greatly improving soundstaging.
Also, I've heard some differences trying the Black Diamond Racing Cones in my system. I purchased the mk3 which are said to have a dark sound quality. Under my DAC and CD player, I heard only minor changes. But under my Sim Audio Moon I-5 integrated amp, the difference was more noticeable. Warmer and and less strident, but it also had the effect of muddying up the bass.
The frustrating thing about this process, is it's so time consuming, and costly. Why can't we get what we want on the first try??!!! But then again, the process is what makes this hobby so dang fun!
Cary CD 303 - Assembled in Hong Kong.I got my Cary CD 303
few weeks ago and was surprised to see at the back a sticker staing "ASSEMBLED IN HONG KONG " . Can other Cary CD 303 owners confirm if their units have such stickers? I was a bit disappointed to know that mine was not assembled in Cary factory in USA. I got a good deal on my cary 303, may be due to assmbled not in USA!?
Given comments above, espec about running in, if they don't work look at your mains and your earth. I find all my cd players didn't work (harsh, unpleasant,digital) till i installed a seperate mains ring. Cured the problem right away and was one of the biggest upgrades ive done. plus good earth, good wall socket, and getting the rf out of the mains cable, i/c and speaker cable.