Help me find it again

I need your collective advice.

I have reached a critical point. If I don't start enjoying my system again, I will give up and sell!

I listen to mostly rock and pop with some blues and jazz. A little large orchestra stuff. I grew up listening to the best jazz and rock and roll live at my father's bootleg clubs. I've sat at the piano and poured drinks for the count, twisted with Chubby and lived in "Salt Pork West Virginia". I played piano and hammond organ professionally for several years working everything from rock to jazz to blues to gospel. I know how music sounds. I know how it can move you.

I have been living with my current system for about 6 months. "Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but it just don't thrill me the way that it should."

The sound is very clean but lacks emotion. It has a thin low end. Sometimes sounds harsh in the high end. The mids are good. It sounds like crap on lots of recordings that were OK on less revealing systems.

Components: Audiomeca transport and DAC, Aloia pre-amp, Goldmund 28M amps, Piega C-40 speakers, Goldmund line treatment, Piega speaker cables, Audio Techne interconnects.

I already have dedicated lines.

I'm done with vinyl. Just too much work... My turntable and record cleaner will be on the gon soon.

Room is large (32 X 20 with vaulted ceilings that rise from 10 to 18 feet). The system is on the longer wall with the shorter height. I have thick rug and window treatments. The speakers are spaced 3.5 feet from the wall and 11 feet apart. Seating is 10 feet back from the speakers and 6 feet from the back wall.

I'm thinking I need to change the preamp (perhaps tubes), but I'm willing to consider almost any changes. My current economic situation might limit my options. Also, since I live in central NC, it is almost impossible to audition anything...
I'm not being flippant. Get back to your art. Turn off your system and practice for six months. Then,go back to your system with a fresh perspective.
Don't be so hard on yourself or more important your system I think we all hit a stonewall at some point in our quest for the Holy Grail , give your system a rest I went so far as boxing it up and listening to a Tivoli radio for a while we becoming hyper-critical in our listening and as our systems improve we reach a point where it just sounds like a radio no wow factor , at that point we start chasing our tail trying to bring back the excitement " no I don't watch Dr. Phil " that is human nature . When you set your system back up clean all the connections , relevel everything, tighten your rack and all the mundane things we take for granted you have a very fine system that many people could only admire from a distance when you set it back up with all the anticipation that develops give it a fair shot and most important remember it is the music that matters everything else is nuts and bolts and finally if that does not work for you asses your weakest link and try an upgrade before you give up that may give you the spark you are missing or as some of us find out the grass in our own backyard is not too bad Thanks John
Your components should sound good together on paper, but obviously this is not the case. Often the emotion in music starts at it foundation. I've never heard your speakers and electronics, but I was about ready to give up on my Revel Salons when I took another chance and biamped them. That's what they needed plenty of juice. So perhaps reevaluating speakers, then amps might be the ticket. If you like your speakers sound, a great pair of subwoofers might be the trick and I would look at either the REL subs or the Revel B-15 or their new high end sub.
I suggest first, experiment with speaker placement, and them some judicous wall treatments, I may also suggest investigation of for wall treatments, you can get a box of 2" wedge type tiles for the wall,(less than $100) and use them one at a time.

It sounds to me like you have two problems: digititus, and room problems. Don't forget to treat early reflections from the ceiling and floor, which is why I suggest a box of tiles, and try pushing the speakers back towards the wall for bass room gain.

Good luck.

Sell it all and buy a Naim system, did the trick for me.
I wish I had more familarity with your equipment, but I don't so FWIW, the problem you describe suggests to me that you should revisit your amp/speaker/room selection and interface.

My sense is that your room is too large for good bass reproduction from your speakers. One of the things you could try is to supplement your main speakers with subs.

Another thing to play with is speaker and listening locations (look at Rives web site or the Cardas method spelled out in a site on Audio Asylum for starting points). Are your speakers a spaced a bit far apart for good imaging and bass reinforcement.

Lastly, it appears all of your stuff is fairly high end - nothing wrong with that in itself, but much high end stuff is voiced lean to emphasize detail. Could you have too much of a good thing? Personally I have selected very neutral full range speakers which I power with slightly warm tube amps and I use three different sources, one neutral, and two warm (CD and LP). For old CD's or poorly recorded CD's I use the warm CD system, for new production I use the newer CDP.

Just something to think about - don't give up yet!
I'd play with speaker positioning. Move them out another 6 inches from the back wall and closer together by a foot to 18 inches. This should inprove your bass dramatically. A better bottom end will smooth your highs.
I've heard the Piega C-40s and they sound pretty much like you described - very detailed and somewhat thin sounding. I think you would be happier with warmer sounding speakers. Your electronics are quite good. I don't think you need to do anything there. You could also probably do better than the Audio Tekne ICs.

Try speakers from Vienna Acoustics, Vandersteen, Soliloquy, Aerial, Avalon, and Sonus Faber. All of these are available for audition in a day trip from central NC. I live in VA and know your problem. You just have to be willing to travel a bit. Robert Taylor (Taylor House) in Sherrills Ford, NC is a good dealer. Audio Art in Richmond,VA is another. JS Audio in Bethesda, MD and Gifted Listener in Centerville, VA are a little further away, but also worth the trip.
Newbee is obviously NOT a "newbee" as he consistently offers insightful responses.

As a side note, Stereophile just reviewed a pair of Piega's. Their basic suggestion was that these were nice sounding speakers, but not for anyone wanting a fuller, richer sound with deep bass extension. Given the size of your room, this would really come across as a "double whammy" in terms of a lack of body, bass weight and prat.

To cut to the chase, start off with a pair of Goertz MI-2's for speaker cable and try reconfiguring the speakers for a more even tonal balance. Goertz speaker cables tend to let the music flow in a very smooth and rhythmic manner. On top of that, Goertz offers in-home trials, so you've got nothing to lose. If that doesn't get you what you are looking for, time to check into a good quality sealed, isobarik or transmission line sub OR replace the speakers with something that has some "heft" to it. Just don't confuse bloated bass response with a lack of definition for incresed bass weight and extension. Otherwise, you'll be on the opposite side of the fence. Sean
I'm with Sean and Newbie on the subs. Like Sean said, transmission line designs are the way to go. Might I suggest the Buggtussel Tegmentum subwoofer. It should give you the live rythmic pulse you crave and then some. I also agree the better bass will probably deemphasize the harshness you are experiencing. Absorption or diffusion at the first reflection points can help with this also.
Try a pair of Avantgarde Horns if your budget will reach. Unos or Duos would fill your room with sound. I have my Duos with an old Meridian 206B, Verdier tube preamp and Quad II monoblocs. My room is aso about 35ft by 18 ft with high 12 ft ceilings. Must say my vinyl is better (Platine verdier, Schroeder model 2 and Allaerts MC1B). The Duos were the best upgrade ever - better than my Platine - truly astonishing and very easy to drive.
Lots of great advice. Speaker cable, as mentioned by Sean, can make a huge differnce -- especially for the thin high end. Try MIT as well (Joe Abrams is a good person with whom to work) -- free trial. Subs are a good idea with a room that big. I went the big ass speaker route myself and that works too, but subs are lower costing alternatives that can work quite well. As usual, Newbee raises some good points as well. By the way, I've found that outboard DACs (I use Perpetual Tech) can also make a very significant difference. The latest Bound for Sound has some good advice in that arena. Good luck. By the way, if you are ever in the Charlotte area, look me up.
Try differrent cables,MIT and transparent,Audioquest,
probably copper instead of silver,tuning a system it
takes time, very frustrating at times,but the reward
is worth it,I almost gave up on my system, a year ago,
because of the same reason you have.I realise the source
is the problem,So I went to tube cdp.Problem solve.
Sell your Piega !!

Good luck
I think we all experience it. For the last spell of it, I found that my music had lost its flow. It took two source changes and a balanced power unit to restore a lively flow of music that has coherence. Now if I can find the right amp, I will be all set. I chose my DAC and transport because they were musical, not analytical. Perhaps, a change like this would get you on your way.
Just a couple of ideas. 1) Move your speakers closer to the wall to reinforce the bass/fundamentals. 2) Try a tube preamp. 3) Audition different speaker cables and interconnects. I would recommend Acoustic Zen and Cardas but there are many others. Call to setup the audition. 4) Consider different speakers. 5) Maybe something with your front-end, while Audiomeca is very nice a lot of people say that it is rather polite and soft. That may not be the right digital gear for a rocker and bluesman.

More feedback from you on how you pieced together your system would be useful. I am curious to know the order in which you purchased your components.
I agree about changing your speakers. Avanteguarde are emotionally involving but they do have horn colorations and you may not like living with that either.
Vienna Acoustics, Aerial Acoustics, or Vandersteen as others have suggested are good alternatives.
how the hell could anybody suggest sell your piegas..... you guys must be totally crazy.... this is one of the best speakers out there... unless you have heard piega do even try to suggest something like that...

like others said give them real good juice and get a room accoustics guy in there.... that will be your best.... your gut instinct drove you to piega... so that sound you love everything else can go... stay with the piega... if it has not happened yet...
Just my two penneth for what it's worth....I was at exactly the same place as you are at with your system (albeit, my components are very different than yours)....I was on the verge of packing it all up and selling it on AG. I've posted a few threads in the past, basically moaning and groaning about having to drag my Maggie 3.6's around the room trying to get a 'good sound'. Well, as a last ditched attempt, before giving up, I bought a Tact RCS 2.0 - Room correction preamp. They are a steal direct from the m/f at $1500, with a two week return policy, so you have nothing to loose.
It slots easily between your transport and DAC, and setup is a complete breeze, though time consuming. I can't say that I've completely nailed the right tonal balance for me, but I've been able to warm up the sound of the 3.6's, roll off a little treble harshness, extend the bass a little and remove soom of the peaks and troughs on the frequency repsonse curve in my room. Bass is now consistent, midrange is warmer, there is no loss of detail that I can detect, and I'm a lot happier about the system.
The only downside is that it is a bit tweaky, you find yourself switching in different frequency repsonse curves to suit a particular CD's tonal balance, so it is a little distracting at times. However, I think this 'tweak factor' is probably just 'newness' and that the novelty will wear off and I can get back to enjoying music.
Highly recommended component in my humble opinion.
I guess to find it again you would have to look in the right place. Easier said than done. Still, would it be too far off base to say it sounds like you are a person who really loves music? Maybe this is the part of your system that is failing you right now. Maybe you have gotten all from your collection of recordings that you are going to get for the present. I mean, it terms of content more than sound quality. Maybe a little time invested in expanding your collection would be time well spent? For myself, I find that when I am being "hypercritical" of my system it is usually true that I am also being hypercritical of a great deal more going on in my life. Of course, this may not be you.
i think timf is on right track.i believe you have to love what you are listening to more than how well it is that does not connect with you at some level, even on a boombox, probably wouldn't on any system.i have spent a lot of money on my system,mainly in search for clarity and resolution,just to try and hear what the musicians are doing.maybe because i am one myself.still believe music must br first.just an opinion.
hi, i can relate to your problem, i bought piega c 10 ltds , aloia ands etc. Had a real hard time getting these to sound less bright with more bass. First your piega needs much more power to make them function right, 2nd, try placing speakers on the long wall atleast 9 feet apart in the nearfield listening position with your couch and head against rear wall for max bass, which means you would have to bring the speakers 5-6 feet from back wall, which should soften the brightness and give you a more open stage and better image. i really think this will solve your problem. best of luck