Rich, I'd start at the source. And I don't mean components (although you don't list your associate gear, amp, player etc..) Start with recordings. I assume you listen to CD's? Some of them are highly compressed.
9 responses Add your response
OK, thanks for your comments so far. Here's the rest of my system: Musical Fidelity(MF)M3 Int. Amp (250 wpc), MF 3DCD, VPI Scoutmaster TT, EAR 834P Phono Stage, Synergistic Research X2 Interconnects and X2 Speaker wire.
If I play a well mixed and mastered disk (anything by Steve Hoffman) it sounds great. Almost anything new is on the bright or harsh side. LPs sound fine. Do I need an equalizer to compensate for bad recordings?
First of all, you have a very nice system. However, you Musical Fidelity Integrated is probably not be the best match for the JM Labs. If you are going to keep those speakers I would strongly suggest you consider selling the MF Int Amp and getting a Tube Integrated Amplifier like a Cary SLI-80, a VAC Super Avatar, or something in that realm.
On a good system, bad recordings do sound like bad recordings though and good ones of course sound great. The addition of the Tube amp though will add some needed "Bloom" and sweetness and should correct what is bothering you.
I'd disagree with any drastic changes suggested (changing of an amp etc). You apparently have revealing system and/or room. Masking it, it would be just as good as covering your speakers with blanket. Start with the room treatment. You can find a lot of good info on the web, for nice and effective DIY panels to tame the reflections.
Even though I love to hear a good tube based system, PLEASE keep your Musical Fidelity.
Up today I heard a lot of good int'amps - Audio Analogue, Lavardin, Primare, Sugden, etc. but I will always stay with MF (my first was a X-50, then an A3, now it's an A5) because no other sounds so complete being simultaneously smooth and powerful.
I am sure there will be a lot of possible solutions to your problem before having to consider an amp-change!
I'm currently considering the upgrade of my front speakers and I had already decided to go for the Micro Utopia Be's. Now that I've seen the Electra's 1027 Be I'm really unsure.
I didn't have the chance yet to hear either of them, so if anyone did that comparison, please do share your opinion.
I have two parallel installations both Focal-JMLab based.
One for pure audio: consisting of Focal's Electra 906 speakers, cabelled with "DPA Black Sixteen" to an integrated amp "Musical Fidelity A5" fed by a CD player "Arcam CD92T" (will soon be changed for a MF A5 CD) through "DPA Black Slink" interconnects.
One for home-cinema: Rotel DVD Player RDV-1092, Surround Proc/PreAmp RSP-1068, 5-Ch Amp RMB-1075 and speakers Cobalt Center, Caché 400 in-wall for side-effects and Cobalt 806 on Atacama Stands for rear-effects. Cabelling: 3prs interconnects Ixos 103, 1pr Ixos 115AV, 1pr QED SR75 w/WBT endings, QED Original for effects and QED XT-400 for center.