Classic Rock Listener - Help me build my system

It's a Saturday evening, Got my equiptment all warmed up,
put on a Yes, Led Zepplin, Moody Blues, Nektar, etc.( or almost any of my late 60s thru 70s ), kick back in my chair
and am disappointed time after time at the lack of enjoyment I'm getting from all this equiptment I've invested in. As a music LOVER, I admit I am not all that knowledgeable about the equiptment and what matches what.
I have a Krell KAV-300, Sunfire Classic tube Preamp, into a Mark Levinson 331 into Legacy Sig.III. Using Audioquest Crystal2/Forest biwire and Cardas Quadlink 5c connects.I need much advice as to what to change out of system and what to replace with other than my Sig IIIs. The sound mostly seems dark with a fatigueing hardness if you can believe that. I like to somewhat crank but the more I do the more those negatives increase. Any advice?
Sell the Krell KAV-300, Sunfire Classic and Levinson 331, that should give you around $5K to play with.

Look to buy a VPI Scout w/JMW9 arm, add a Dynavector 10X5 cartridge, and you have yourself a kick a$$ source for around $1500. Made to play classic rock. Remember, when Yes, Zepplin, Moody Blues were in their heyday, vinyl was the only way. Perfect sound forever was a lie.

You got around $3500 left, you could go in a couple different directions. Either seperates or integrated. I'd recommend a Jeff Rowland Concentra II w/ built in phono. If you want to go seperates, I'd recommend buying a preamp with a built in phono stage. I don't think you'll find a amp/preamp/phonostage seperates in the $3-4K price range to top the Concentra II.

If you still want to play cd's, because you don't want to throw them at your neighbors dog, get a Rega Planet for around $350.

Viola! You're happy and listening to music again.

I also enjoy listening to music from that era which is the bulk of my collection but more important is the quality of sound you're getting & what you're hearing wouldn't differ much regardless of the genre.

Before changing out any equipment I would concentrate on the room & the AC. The room includes spkr. placement & you might also want to add isolation devices, esp. with regards to the spkrs. I've heard $10k spkrs. that sounded much worse than they should simply because the spikes were not used. Experiment with spkr. placement, as a one inch difference (or less) can noticeably affect the quality. Reflective surfaces (walls, wood floors & ceilings, glass) along with openings also affect the sound. In case you've already been there/done that maybe room treatments are needed?

Even if you have good AC with a regular outlet but share the circuit with other devices, there's nothing like giving your rig its own dedicated line, in terms of eliminating the potential noise influx from other electrical devices. Add on to that a better quality outlet & PC's & again, you can eliminate the potential of extraneous noise. Everything you can do to lower the noise floor is that much less your stereo has to overcome to run at its maximum potential.

I'm guessing your description of a fatiguing hardness is a result of an "in your face" kind of presentation & it's possible you've done the few things I've suggested & then some and if that's the case, I'd say it's more a condition of the synergy of your system & you would have to experiment with substituting one piece for another. You have a couple of different ways to go, depending on if you can borrow different pieces or have some audio buds bring their gear over to audition. It's always best to hear the changes in your system, although you could swap out a piece in a friends system, especially if you're familiar enough with it to hear what kind of a change there is.

I would also suggest taking notes to keep track of your listening impressions.
Hope you're sitting down : )

You've got several factors going on here. Individually, they might not be that offensive, but when combined, you're getting clobbered.

The Legacy III's have typical Legacy bass response. The output between 40 Hz and 150 Hz is appr 5 - 7 dB's above midrange level. Below 40 Hz, the output falls like a rock. While the added upper bass tends to fill things out at very low volumes, this tends to make everything sound "heavy" or somewhat "slow". As you raise the volume and drive the woofers harder, the added bass weight will become even more apparent.

The lower midrange / upper bass has a slight dip centered around 200 Hz or so. This typically has to do with floor-bounce and cancellation due to poor driver positioning in the speaker itself.

From appr 400 Hz to appr 2 KHz, the output is relatively smooth. It is slightly more pronounced than the frequency range directly above it though. This tends to bring the tonal balance forward, making things a little more aggresive sounding in the mids.

From appr 2 KHz to appr 9 KHz, the output gets slightly softer as frequency rises. The harmonic overtones of the human voice and many instruments fall into this region. Since the primary notes are presented more aggressively than the harmonics, the timbre of notes are altered and the presentation becomes less cohesive.

Once we hit about 8.5 to 9 KHz, output dwindles rapidly. Above appr 8.5 - 9 KHz, high frequency energy falls off at about 5 - 6 dB's an octave. This is a drastic reduction in output and is quite noticeable.

While there aren't a lot of instruments up that high, there are plenty of harmonic overtones generated by other instruments that will make it up into that frequency range. Reduced output in that frequency range tends to reduce air and detail* and makes everything sound "closed in". As you drive the speaker harder, you'll reduce upper treble response even further. While this happens with all speakers to some extent, the effect of this is compouned due to the fact that you're already way down in output in that range at normal levels. Kind of a double whammy.

As a side note based on past experience both inside and outside of Legacy products, the crossover design could use some work. The upper midrange and treble drivers also aren't countersunk, which increases baffle related distortions and introduces further non-linearities ( peaks and dips ). By correcting problems in the crossover and countersinking the drivers, you can reduce the somewhat harder upper midrange glare that is present in some of their larger designs. If you don't want to go inside of these ( or any other speaker ), covering the entire top end of the baffle with a layer of felt will work wonders in terms of reducing glare & sibilance while improving imaging.

As to your current electronics, let's take a look.

I am not familiar with the Krell KAV 300 cd player in specific, but the Krell cd's that i've heard in the past tended to sound somewhat hard and bright sounding. Upper midrange glare was present to a noticeable extent. I know a few guys that had these and they tried to tame this sonic trait by using cables from MIT, etc... Outside of the crossover / driver mounting problem in the Legacy's, this player might be part of the "hardness" factor that you're encountering.

As far as the Sunfire preamp goes, it is pretty mellow sounding and has a slightly sunken upper midrange response. Carver made no secret about the fact that he liked the sonic traits of "dip" in this region, which tends to smooth things out. Given the fact that most digital gear / digital recordings tend to sound hard and / or highlight this frequency range, this "dip" may help some systems to sound more natural. If you had a preamp that was actually more neutral, you would probably have a bigger problem with a hard, glaring upper midrange.

As far as your Levinson goes, i'm not real familiar with their amps. From what i recall, they are a little "soft" sounding and lacking in dynamic punch. Out of your CD, preamp and power amp, the amp is probably the most neutral sounding.

Your cabling is all relatively neutral to "warm & smooth" sounding. Given the rolled top end of the speakers and elevated bass response, cabling that was slightly brighter / more open sounding might help here. Then again, that might highlight the hardness in the upper mids that you're also experiencing.

Based on the above, you're speakers are "flavouring" everything that goes through them in the exact manner that you describe. That is, they are dark sounding ( elevated bass with reduced treble ) and have a slightly forward midrange presentation. While changing your components may alter some of those traits to some extent, any benefits that you introduce into the system will still have to go through the speakers before you hear it.

If i was in your shoes, the speakers would be the first thing to go without hesitation. If you REALLY want to keep your speakers, the primary suspect that i would look at would be the CD player. Problem with going to a "better" CD player to alleviate the possible "hardness" that you're experiencing is that many better players also have a "softer" presentation. This is only going to aggravate your lack of output in the treble regions from your speakers and make things sound warmer. In effect, you are in a vicous circle. Unless you do something about the primary cause of your problem i.e. the highly coloured speakers, you are going to have a tough time.

Obviously, this is only my opinion based on the information that you've provided us with. Hope what i said came across in the spirit intended. Sean

* This is the reason that John Dahlquist used a Piezo Super-Tweeter in the DQ-10 design. The output of the dome that he used was starting to taper off, so he highlighted this region by adding the Piezo. This gave the speaker "added detail" and "brilliance", but sounded "splashy" or "smeared" due to the use of such a low grade driver.
I love Cardas cables and have used several of their models. However, the quadlink IMHO is inferior to the lower cost Crosslink. It noticeably rolls off the highs. Try neutral reference for a much more open sound.
I have owned a pair of Legacy signature 3's. This speaker has a very warm/sultry midrange. The bass output was always a problem- too much. And the ribbon tweeter has little power to overcome the other drivers. To get these speakers to open up:

1) Use very light guage copper cables.
2) Open up the terminal plate and combine the bi-wire leads to one post.
3) Use an amp that has massive stability into 2 ohm loads and has the ability to soundstage/image. ie Classe Audio.
4) Choose source components that have a light and airy character.
5)Place the speakers atleast 3 ft out from the back wall and tilt them back.

FWIW: I also owned the Focus and these also have problems. But they sound MUCH more open and detailed than the Sig 3.
Hello Daveheine...Lots of advice to look into... I like Jmcgrogan2s advice...Myself,if Rock music is the only type of music you listen to [thats a shame] dont spend alot of money on equiptment...What your looking for is not in most rock engineered/recordings...
Thanks for the advice. I learned quite a bit just reading those 3 posts. I forgot to mention that I do have everything on a dedicated line into a Monster 2000 and the room is average size ( 14 x 16 or so) with the left side open to living room. Moving the speakers around is difficult with the Audioquest garden hoses so Im going to replace those first for that reason alone. They really put a strain on the speaker lugs. John, I like the phono idea and its something I was going to add to the system after I get things to sound right for my Cds because I've got a huge collection from that era compared to the vinyl I own.
Prior to getting the equiptment listed above, I was just using a Sunfire Sig amp into the classic preamp and into a pair of Pinnacle Reference speakers and a Pinnacle 350 sub using the Krell cd player, using Nordost Blue Heaven all around and I swear it sounded noticably
better. Seems like every review I read on different equiptment, the guy doing the review evaluates the stuff based on critical listening type music instead of how it does good ole' classic rock. I don't really need my stuff to ace jazz or orchestra music, I want it to KILL when I put on Aphrodites Child (the 4 horsemen). I have been told more than a few times that the Theta Miles is a cd player to try. Going from that Sunfire amp to the ML 331 might have been a change for the worse too cause that Sunfire
Seemed to have much better bottom end and could really crank. Anyway, thanks for the input and I'll just keep
I find it interesting that sometimes somebody (in this case Stiltskin) has to say rock music (or any type of genre) isn't worth having good equipment to listen to.
"dont spend alot of money on equiptment"
I won't go into what I think saying it's a shame implies but the overall context of the post is clear.

Dave, since you mentioned you have everything plugged into the Monster, how about trying the amps directly into the wall? Conditioners can sometimes choke the sound when it comes to amps.
ROCK and ROLL will never die!!!! oh,yeah mun.
This response is to thank all that posted for their support and POSITIVE advice and to Stiltskin........ Your not the type of person Im interested in getting advice from...
you know, the "I'm somehow superior because I'm ABOVE listening to that "Rock and Roll". Also,you dont know me or what I listen to or dont listen to so do me a favor and leave out the personal BULL#$%^ and If you havent anything positive to help me with then stick a violin up your....!
Reb1208: Everything that you posted was VERY good info. Having said that, using such an approach is what one has to do when working to "band-aid" deficiencies in the system.

1) The lighter gauge wire will tend to reduce low frequency output and open up the top end, in effect, helping to even out the tonal balance.
2) Using one set of cabling rather than bi-wiring may increase coherency from top to bottom. Using two sets of different cabling can sometimes skew tonal balance and coherency.

3) While "sturdy" amps should be "mandatory" for most installations, it is pretty much required for an installation like this. Your Suggestion of Classe' also seems reasonable so long as one doesn't go too high in their model structure. The lower models tend to sound leaner in bottom end and brighter up top, making them a more suitable candidate. Their upper models have a noticeable high frequency droop, which would only aggravate the problem. All of their models are typically "sturdy" in terms of current capacity though.

4) "Light & airy" would be a good descriptive term that i overlooked. Added brightness typically accompanies "hardness" in the upper mids. Personally, i find a lot of the Musical Fidelity gear to sound "light & airy". While i don't think that their amps would be a suitable choice for this installation, their digital gear or possibly a preamp might work great.
5) Moving the speakers further out in the room will reduce low frequency reinforcement. Tilting them back will elevate the angle of radiation from the tweeter, bringing it more in line with one's ears at seated listening height.

and this one wasn't mentioned, but...

6) Install additional amounts of polyester fiberfil into the cabinet. This will help reduce the bass hump in amplitude. One can vary the density and quantity of stuffing to suit their specific likes / dislikes in the low frequency department. 20 ounce bags of polyester fiberfil can be purchased at Wal-Mart for under $2. These are located in the "arts & crafts" section.

Bravo to you for working through the challenges that this speaker presents. With that in mind, wouldn't it have been easier to build your system around speakers that were a little more neutral in response / didn't require so much "band-aiding" ?

Dave: The Sunfire amps, especially the Signature's, do quite well with multiple large woofer arrays and / or speakers that are of a lower impedance. That has to do with two specific design attributes of these models.

The first is that they are very powerful amplifiers. They utilize high rail voltages and can produce very high amounts of current. That is why they REALLY "double down" as impedances are halved. As i've mentioned before, "doubling down" is a way for the manufacturer to play with numbers and make the amp appear to have more "audiophile appeal". Where the Sunfire's differ from other amps is that they don't just double down in terms of RMS power rating, they come very close to doing this at the point of clipping. Most amps don't come anywhere near "doubling down" when driven to clipping. Since clipping puts a strain on EVERY part of the amp, seeing what an amp can do at these levels into different impedances is a great test of an amps "intestinal fortitude".

The high rail voltages that the Sunfire's produce is needed to deal with the reflected EMF ( electrical back pressure ) from larger woofers. The high current capacity helps deal with the low impedance issues. Current is what controls the forward motion of the driver and the higher rail voltage helps to damp the inward thrust of the cone. Due to multiple woofers, you need a LOT of current due to the lower impedance AND a LOT of voltage due to the higher levels of reflected EMF ( Electro-Motive Force ). If you lack one or the other, you'll end up with sonic deficiencies.

The second factor is that the Sunfire amps are very efficient and run reasonably cool under most loads. This is one of the reasons that they sound less strained at high volumes and can maintain coherency in a more consistent manner. The wider the temperature swing that an amp goes through, the more likely that the amp will be to vary sonically during those swings. High bias amps get around this ( once fully warmed up ) by staying quite warm all the time. If you turn them off, they have to thermally stabilize all over again and the sonics will suffer until they do. In my experience, this can take quite a long period of time to do so and it is the reason that i recommend leaving high bias amps powered up all the time.

High efficiency amps ( like the Sunfire ) tend to offer less thermal variations, therefore presenting a more consistent sonic presentation when going from stone cold to normal operating temperature. While they do change their sound somewhat as they warm up, the difference is not nearly as drastic as it is with higher bias designs. A good 20 - 30 minute work-out session is all that many of these types of amps need to "limber up" and operate at peak sonic levels.

Having said that, my thoughts are that a well designed high bias amp that is thermally stable will typically sound better ( at least at low to medium levels ) than a low bias high efficiency design. When you start throttling the amps hard, the low bias high efficiency amplifier designs may have some advantages. This is especially true if you like to "raise the roof" for extended periods of time.

As with your specific situation, the Legacy's have three good sized woofers and are of lower impedance. Due to the fact that you like to "rock", you also probably tend to listen at a higher average level than what someone listening to Classical or Jazz tends to. In effect, the Sunfire ( and especially the Sun Sig ) were built for speakers / systems / listeners just like your situation called for. I can see how you think that the Levinson is a step backwards, because in your case, it probably was. Had i known that you had a Sunfire Signature, i would could have explained why this was a good combo. Having found out after the fact, i can only mention this in retrospect.

As a side note, my Father has been using Legacy's in stock form for many years. After trying well over a half dozen different amps with his speakers, the best match was with Sunfire products. The second best was with some older Nelson Pass built & designed amps. These sounded more articulate and "sweeter" than the Sunfire, but couldn't deliver the bass control or output that the Sunfire's did. Since doing these comparisons, i have modified the Legacy's for drastically improved performance and think that the older Pass designs might feel more at home than they did before. None the less, my Father is happier with his system now than he has ever been. Then again, i've replaced every piece of gear ( cables included ) that he had with units that i selected for him. The only units that are remaining ( his speakers ) have been highly modified. With all of the drawbacks to having me as a son, i guess that there are a few benefits too : )

As a general comment, you folks have to be careful when buying gear. One has to look at the "BIG picture" when building a system, otherwise you end up with components that are not a good match electrically or acoustically. Buying "audiophile approved" name brands and / or spending more money isn't necessarily going to get you better results or the specific results that you are looking for.

This is one of the major reasons that i try to encourage others to read and learn as much as you can about spec's and how products work / are designed. The more that you know, the more informed your purchasing decisions will be. The more qualified your purchases are, the more likely you are to achieve good sonics with the specific results that you are looking for. Building a system properly uses quite a bit of science. If you don't know your science i.e. how to interpret spec's* accurately, it becomes more of an "art". Much of that art comes into play trying to balance the deficiencies ( band-aiding colourations ) that one could have avoided if they knew their science. Sean

* When it comes to interpreting spec's, the spec's that you are looking at have to be taken under real conditions and documented in a usable manner. Otherwise, inaccurate spec's make for inaccurate comparisons. On top of that accurate spec's using non-standard rating systems make it very hard to compare values with other units that use industry standard rating systems.

Some manufacturers do the former ( pumping up spec's ) while others do the latter. The reason that they do the latter is so that they can say that they did provide spec's / have nothing to hide, but at the same time, the average enthusiast doesn't know how to convert those spec's to something usable. If they did, they would know that the unit wasn't as good as they thought. That's why the manufacturer gives you only "half-truths" i.e. spec's that aren't usable for sake of comparison.
Hi Sean,

I am also a frequent rock listener- but have an appetite for high-end electronics. It is not easy to find a full range high-end speaker that can play rock. The Legacys have high power handling capability (high temp voice coils) And they can rock out very well. But as noted, the frequency response is nearly impossible to overcome. I have just now gone thru a pair of Snell xa-90's. These have a flat response but did not work out for me for other reasons. I now have a pair of Maggie 2.7qr- nice speaker-wrong room (for sale by the way) I'm thinking about a pair of von Schweikert VR4se's to try next. Already been thru the b+w's.

Oh by the way, the Classe Amp I was suggesting was the model 15. Very lively and alive sounding, with soundstaging/imaging that are excellent. Works very well with Legacy.

Daveheine, It sounds like you were happy before the Legacy and the Levinson came into the picture. The Levinson does have a reputation as sounding, well, polite. So it's probably not a rocking amp. I'm not familiar with the Sunfire gear, so I cannot comment. I do find that Krell KAV series to be quite fatiguing. This is what happens by the way, when you make too many changes at once. I've been guilty of the same thing. I then go back and try to undo things, until I find the problem.

I'm just curious as to why you're stuck on the Legacy speakers. If you liked the sound better through the Pinnacle speakers and Sunfire amp, what makes you think it's not the new speakers you don't like? Is it that you like the visual appearence? Maybe you turned the bass up in the sat/sub setup you had, and you're finding out that you can't do that in a single speaker design. If that's the case, maybe you need to look for a preamp with *gasp* tone controls, possibly a Adcom GFP-750, so you can turn the bass up again. I don't know, I'm grasping here.
The Cardas cables are darker than the Nordost too. It just looks like you have a case of too many changes at once. Do you still have the older stuff around? Can you just, for example, switch the Cardas out and put the Nordost back and see if you like it better or not? Put the Sunfire amp back in place of the Levinson and see if that helps. One step at a time backwards until you found out where you lost your way.

Definitely look into vinyl though, there is magic in that Licorice Pizza. I lost my love of old rock, until I got back into vinyl. LP's just sound more like rock was meant to, not thin and sterile. That of course is just my opinion.

Man- the knowledge within the posts is incredible to me.
Sean, you mentioned something in your post about using a single run for the speakers instead of biwiring. That really struck me because I have found that to be true for my ears and that is why the first move I'm making is to sell my Audioquest and trying a pair of single Nordost Blue Heavens or maybe the SPM. Probably the Blue Heavens first.
But your overall post has a lot of great info for me and I thank you for all of it.
And John,
Thanks too for the interest. As far as the Legacys go, I just got them and I have read much about how well they perform for my type of music which leads me to want to try looking at, say the Krell Cd, and the Cardas cables, along with the ML amp. I think if I replace those properly it will go a (hopefully) long way towards my goal. I thought the Pinnacle, Sunfire setup I had before was better but I didnt mean that it was good enough. I just wanted, like everybody else, to continue to improve my system. I probably made a huge mistake like you guys said: changing too many things at once. Now Im less dazed and confused, but this thread will help me 100 times more than anything else I could have tried. Nothing better that listening and learning from informed people, especially those familiar with the components I've listed. I'm not wealthy, but Spending money for audio in this price range isn't a problem and it's also a VERY enjoyable hobby. Can any one suggest what CD player to try as I am convinced that the Krell I have is a big part of my problem. Based upon using the Sig iii, the Sunfire Sig amp, and Nordost cable.
I think the best , first 2 things to do are the get the Nordost and CD player. And then the amp. I also didn't mean that I wanted a bass heavy system, just that PUNCH! I got that with the Sunfire amp and Pinnacle sub. Nor is the system I have now TOO bassy, just too dark (warm) and hard in the midsection. I've read a lot of opinions about the Theta Miles for Rock. Thats the one I may get next unless someone convinces me of another unit.
Thanks everybody!
When you suggested using light guage copper cables:
Would the Nordost fall into that catagory and if not, do you have a cable recommend? I'd like to know about combining the bi-wire leads to one post. Is that different than using the external jumpers?
Hi Dave,

The crossovers in the Sig 3 present a wicked load to the amplifier. I experimented everyway possible with those speakers. The best results are to open up the terminal box on the back. Unscrew the leads at the bass terminal (lower) and connect them to the upper post. Run one set of speaker wires to the upper post. The bi-wire jumper does not work well on that speaker- nor does bi-wiring. I would take a look at the Kimber brand of cabling to use with that speaker. I only tried the Nordost Red Dawn interconnect. That had a strange sound in the highs and the bass was incredibly powerful. Try a lowly pair of PBJ and some 8TC.
good luck
Naim gear is often preferred for rock because of its drive (prat). You might consider a demo of the Naim CD5i CD player.
That's a strange combination you have going on there, too dark and hard. Usually it's dark and soft or bright and hard. All I can figure is the Cardas is the dark and the Krell is the hard. Going to the Nordost should eliminate the dark, which would mean you're looking for a softer cd player? Again, I would go one step at a time, replace the Cardas and AQ with the Nordost and report back. If it still sounds too hard, I'd try a Classe CDP-1 cd player. I had one a couple years ago and it was smooth and punchy. You should be able to get one for well under a kilobuck.

Bob aka Reb: I was referring to the newer series of Classe' amps. The 15 that you mention was closer in design to that of the original DR ( which stood for David Reich ) series. The DR's were probably the best sounding Classe' amps in my opinion. Given the closer design / sonics of the 15 to the DR series than to their modern day products, i bet that it is a pretty solid performer.

As to your comments suggesting Kimber cabling goes, my Father was also using PBJ's in his previous installation with his stock Legacy's. Once again, similarities in installation via trial and error seem to run parallel here.

As far as the 8TC's go, that too would probably work but it is a far more neutral sounding cable to me than comparably priced Nordost. Sonically, the 8TC will introduce more "air" into the equation as compared to the AQ's that Dave has right now, but it will still retain a good portion of the bass weight. In this case, i don't think that keeping the bass and just adding a bit of "air" and "openness" is going to be enough. On the other hand, Nordost speaker cables instantly introduce "added brilliance" while at the same time reducing bass, which would seem more appropriate. I like your way of thinking though : )

Dave: Bob aka Reb1208 is the one that suggested single wiring, not i. I simply expounded on his suggestion.

Your thoughts about Using Nordost speaker cabling may help as i've always found it to sound very "lean and quick". It will surely reduce the amount of bass weight involved. Then again, you are back into introducing one colouration to tame another. Do you want to keep feeding this vicious cycle or take steps to get off the ferris wheel now and possibly come out dollars and sonic performance ahead?

Two more questions for Dave:

1) Are these new speakers purchased from Legacy or one of their dealers or did you buy them used?

2) How long of a run of cabling do you have from your amp to your speakers?

Once I get my cables changed out and get a CD player, I'm going to do that and run single cable. When the time comes, I might send you an email if thats OK to make sure I do it right.
That's what I meant in my original post when I said "if you can believe that" about being dark sounding with the hard "in your face" mids. I know they usually dont go together, but thats what I'm hearing time after time.
By, the way, i'm not Rock only. Love to listen to Poco,Heartsfield,
James Taylor, LRB, type music as well as some Tony Bennett,
Sinatra, Big Band (Ted Heath doing Miller is sweet). I might try that CD player you suggested also. I guess there are no Theta Miles fans reading this? I know getting rid of that ML331 is going to benefit too. Thanks to all for the input, except for one. After I make some of the suggested changes I'll report back. Sure is fun though!
I bought the speakers used from someone close by who purchased them new 2 yrs. ago. He also had a control knob installed in back of each but Im not sure what its for. Plus the 4 switches also makes things more confusing trying to find the best position for each, but until I fix the other stuff, the switches and which position is the least of my problem. I do switch the rear tweeter on which helps a little.
I have about 4 to 5 ft. between amp and speakers.
Sorry to Reb1208 about the misquote.
Dave: You really should find out what all the switches do. The potential sonic differences might be quite a bit when properly configured. Dudleston typically includes some type of switching for the "warmth" region, which may help lean out the upper bass a bit. It is also possible that you may have the tweeters attenuated too.

You should probably contact the previous owner and / or Legacy technical support to see exactly what options the switching provides. If the knob on the back was a custom feature that the previous owner had installed, that may be something that only they can help you with.

As a side note, Legacy used to use telephone wiring going from all of the circuitry on the crossover board to the switches on the rear panel. While some think that this isn't a big deal, in some cases, all of the signal for that driver(s) has to pass through that cable with no other path for the sound to complete that circuit. On top of that, the woofers were wired with 18 gauge. The only place that heavy ( 12 gauge ) wiring was using was from the binding posts to the crossover boards themselves. Nothing like feeding 10 - 14 gauge speaker wire into a cabinet plumbed with 18 - 24 gauge wiring.

As far as converting from four binding posts down to two binding posts, i know that audiogon member "Darrylhifi" did the same thing with his Signature III's. He said it was quite simple i.e. a matter of moving a few wires attached to ring terminals using common tools. The earlier designs were actually soldered in place, making this more difficult.

If you don't mind Dave, i'm going to drop you an email. I've got something that i want to discuss that may save you some time and money. Sean
I purchased a Classe CDP-1 new when it came out in 1995. Kept it for 5yrs. Wish I did not sell it. I like the sound of 1990's digital much better than the soft sounding stuff made today.

I am sorry to say- I just sold a Naim CD5/Flatcap2. The sound was too distant with closed in ambience. Not a good player for electronic/rock music. IME

About AQ speaker wire and solid core copper in general. This will give a more pronounced midrange/midbass. The highs are sweet but lack sparkle and air. The only solid core copper I have heard that I could live with is Tara Labs.

Sean, I have owned the DR-15 and Model 15. The main difference is the model 15 has better bass and is more dynamic. The Model 15 is a David Reich design with an output stage tweaked by Glenn Grue to make it sound more aggressive and alive. The Classe of today (CA series) is more refined/polite/controlled and comes off leaner-brighter
I never heard their Omega models/technology but these I am told are fantastic.
I own The Signature III and have experienced hard dark sound which I was able to eliminate. Some of the possibities.

1/Acoustiz Zen speaker cables sounded very hard on my system. I have no idea why, Im sure others have tried them with success.

2/Over tightening the binding posts. Sometimes if you over tighten them the nuts inside the speaker posts become loose.
You can pretty much tell by if the outside posts move at all . If they do ,you have to open the back plate and tighten them from the inside. This is very easy to do.

3/Your interconnects and speaker cables cannot be touching any power cords ANYWHERE.

As Ive said I own Them, Ive heard it, and Ive eliminated it. Let us know ! Good Luck.
Reb1208, you can go home again. Look for a Classe CDP-1 to come back up for sale. IMHO, you can't beat them for under $1K.

Daveheine, sorry, I'm not a real Theta fan. I know they have there fans out there. They are dynamic, but a bit edgy sounding for my tastes. That doesn't mean it's not for you though.

More I think about it, my money is on number 2 !
I think some Alpha-core Goertz interconnect and speaker wire will open it up for you. Easier than trading everything in.
Here you go Daveheine, an even less expensive way to get started rocking:

I don't know the seller.

John, That address pulled up an expired listing. Did you find a turntable you liked by browsing through that section?

I just pulled it up, it's sold. It was a Rega P25 w/ RB-600 arm for $650. Great inexpensive table for beginners. Great price too.

If your still checking this thread, I'd like to get an idea of what price range it would take to get close to the best out of my albums in terms of a table, arm, and cartridge.
Would somewhere around $ 1,500 get me there. I'm not up on
what name tables and arms to look for. How good is VPI?

$1500 will definitely get you there. Check out these reviews at Stereophile.

Rega P25

VPI Scout

I would save a few bucks by buyin the 'table/arm used, but I highly recommend a new cartridge. This is a fantastic cartridge, IMHO it can't be beat for under $500.

Dynavector 10X5

I think the Scout is warmer with better bass, but the Rega is a good 'table and costs less in case you just want to get your feet wet.

I was a die hard Zepplin fan growing up. I lost my zest for them in the digital age. Vinyl has re-kindled my enjoyment of them. There's something magical about Physical Graffiti spinning on that 'table.