hard 's'

Hi everyone...

I wonder if anyone has any ideas about what could be going on with my system. I own a pair of Neat Mystiques which are being run by a Unison Research Unico (stock). Speaker cable is Ecosse. CD source is Rotel RCD 971 ...right now my Link DAC III is being repaired (for the fourth freakin time!!!), interconnects are old MIT's (soon to be replaced) and coax cable is kimber D90 (at least i THINK that's what the model is)...own a cheap Panasonic dvd player - dvd RV31...

here's the deal:

I'm getting really hard 's' sounds when i sit in the listening area - bad sibilance. Sometimes it just makes the music sound more 'crisp' and 'airy', but more often than not, it's out of hand. It's VERY bad when i use the Rotel on its own, but it's not as bad when i'm using the Panasonic DVD player to play my cd's (and overall, it seems to sound better than the Rotel on its own without the DAC, which i find kind of odd).

off axis (eg when i'm walking around the room), the system sounds good - good prat and air. But i reiterate - in the listening position, it just gets too 'hard' sounding on the 'S's. I don't recall how bad / good it is with the dac in place b/c it's been in the repair shop for almost 3 months...

Any ideas? Any thoughts?

Also, to anyone who's owned Neats, any ideas how to deepen the soundstage (the seem very flat- like a wall of sound)

thanks in advance and my apologies for the poorly written post - too tired and sick to be clear and concise at the moment :S

Re 'ssss' have you addressed proper set up issues, including damping 1st reflection points and speaker toe in (or not)? Re depth of image, do you have your speakers well aout into the room, or are they close to the wall?
I agree with Newbee. If it sounds OK outside the listening position, you're probably getting too many reflections at the listening position. It might help if you described your set-up: size of room, locations of speakers, location of listening position, absorptive materials. Even toeing in the speakers or keeping them pointed straight ahead could make a differenc.

Generally, things sound best with the speakers inside the room and good absorption at the first reflection points (i.e., next to the speakers on the walls, in front of the speakers on the floor) and good absorption both behind the speakers and behind the listener. Too much is just as bad as not enough (nobody wants a dead sounding room), so start light and build it up. First reflection points are the most critical so start there.
If being off axis sounds good then adjusting toe in is your first priority. I am not familiar with your speakers but some sound better pointed directly at you, some straight ahead, and most somewhere in between.

Try them at both extremes first (straight ahead then straight at you) just to get an idea and then play with them until you find the sweet spot.

Adjusting the tilt of the speakers will also have an impact. If you can't find a toe in that gives you good imaging and best tonal balance, adjust toe in for best imaging and then play with the tilt.

I think that damping the first refelection points is a bogus issue and won't affect what you describe.
Thanks for your responses so far, everyone.

I've played around with positioning quite a bit. If i toe the speakers out more, there is a lack of focus in the middle and the image seems overly 'spread out'. When I toe them in more, the image just collapses (for lack of a better way of putting it).

BTW - I mentioned 'hard s' earlier... in addition to that, there seems to be a bit of grain in the treble (failed to mention that previously).

Also, for those who are wondering...

room is 11x14
speakers are on the long wall
left speaker is about five feet from side wall...right speaker is about 4 feet from sidewall... both are just over 2 feet away from rear wall (room limitations).
spaced about 6.5 feet apart centre to centre

could it be a mis-match of equipment or cabling? note: i went from audioquest type 4 to ecosse speaker cables and the difference was significant. Much tighter bass and much more open and airy highs - but is the cable perhaps the culprit?

my main fear is that it's a characteristic of these particular speakers which cannot be avoided.
Very rarely, the "s" (sibilance) is caused by bad /dirty I/C & spkr cable connections. Try cleaning these if you haven't.
I;d be surprised if it were inherent to yr tweets...
The source could also be the culprit.Too much negative feedback used in the design can cause sibilance . Maybe some impedance issues between the cd player's outputs and the preamp section's inputs. Have you ever considered some form of buffer between the two? If your getting grain..the first two places to look IMHO are the source and then the amplifier.

If you have an audiophile friend that could loan you some alternative equipment. It maybe easier to locate the problem.

Good luck
You probably have flutter echo. High end gear (most of the new stuff) doesn't suffer from basic problems like that.

Your room is probably bright because of too many reflection. Welcome to acoustic hell.

do you mean to say you 'wouldn't be surprised if it were inherent to my tweeters'?