Help! My system is very bright it hurts my ear


Anyone..help...Here is my system listed...I'm new to audio...cd is raysonic 128 with 2 amperex gold pin 2 EH (6922)...golden audio se40 with 6 of JJ 6l6gc..Macintosh c40 pre.amp..new Aragon 8008...n pair with quad 22l2..here is the hook up, I hook up golden audio to high n mid and hook up Aragon for base...I have tried different speaker like Gallo 3.1 n monitor s8i but still too bright..is just too bright...any help please?????  Oh..forgot the system is in living room with 20' ceiling, could it be acoustic issue or pair issue, tube, amp, speaker....help please?????
fatgosil

The very first thing you need to do is "simplify" your system. Conrad Johnson tube pre in your price range for a start, and a pair of tube monoblocks by PrimaLuna could be the start of your trip to paradise.


Enjoy the music.
What cables are you using?
When you clap your hands do you get a lot of Slap Echo. Looking at your components real quick nothing jumps out to me. Could be a lot of things but I'd start with your room. Get rid of the echo and see what happens.

Question with your speakers why you're bothering using two amps. Try using only one amp at a time and then try the other. If your room is hot it's really easy to overload the space if you're playing too loud. Cables and other tweaks will help but you have to fix the room first or you'll go crazy and spend unnecessary money.

Speaker placement has a lot to do as well so walk and stand around where you want or prefer your speakers to be and start talking loud and listen to your own voice. You'll be surprised how your voice changes; pick the spot that sounds more natural to you and start there. It takes a lot of work to get it right but you'll get there and learn a lot in the process. Stand with your back against the wall you have your speakers on and listen how your voice sounds chesty; as you walk off the wall your voice will become or sound more natural... get too far out in the room and your voice will get thin. Mark the spot that sounds best with a piece of tape. Now do the same thing on the side wall. You'll end up with an "X" on the floor. That will be a good spot to place your speakers and start making small adjustments.

Start with speakers shooting straight ahead with no toe in. Once you think you have it then mess with toeing the speakers in if needed. Now the fun part... you have to dial the location of your listening seat as well. It's kind of the same process but just work off the back wall centered between the speakers. If you can, never have your listening seat up against the back wall.

Once you get all this dial in; sit in your chair and have someone else walk down the sidewalls with a mirror and mark on the wall with a piece of tape where you see your tweeters. These are the areas you need to address with something to break up or absorb the reflection before it gets back to your ears. This is a lot of work but it works. It helps to have another person to assist to see where they think their voice works best too. Good Luck
I would start by connecting each amp full range to the speakers.  It could be the room but temporarilly eliminating the bi-amp config is where I would start.   I've used 6l6gc tubes and they never seemed bright, they are well balanced so I' d be suprised if that's the problem.

How does it sound with other sources?  Do you have a BluRay player you can use to troubleshoot?   

I have a tough room,  10' high tin ceiling, 6' windows, hardwood floor.... an area rug, and curtains went a long way to tame things.  A Velodyne sms 1subwoofer eq/crossover really was the trick to eliminate the boom around 40hz.   

Good luck
Wow, new to audio.....you jumped in with both feet. Good knowledge of tubes...
Some after market cable...but I also try my brothers Tara lab..but no luck
I have tried just used one amp at a time but still bright...oh, I just purchased a paired of psvane ct181 to replace 6922 to golden tube...but still no luck...have probably 50 hrs...is very nice on everything except the bright
I have a big glass table top behind my where I sat about a feet away...could that cause the issueissue
Definitely could be. Throw a blanket over it and see / hear what happens. If it's that close it's likely part of your problem.
I also hooked my sacd sony 9000 n tried but no luck...I listen to a lot vocal (pop), like the high pitch of female vocal really really hurts my ear...

If you're never taken the time to voice speaker and sitting placement in your room you should. 

Recordings have a lot to do with it as well. As your system improves and becomes more revealing you'll find most pop recordings are horrible and no matter what you do you cant fix what was done in the studio. 

If you get a nasty ping when you clap your hands then you need to work on your room first.
Thanks,,,,I have notice some lousy recording cd that I have too...I will play with ur advice...everything sounds good except the high pitch it just killing me.......thanks for all the input...oh..my friend was telling to swap out c40 n replace with a tube pre.amp...but I don't think that is the problem, cause borrowed my brother c41 but no luck....
Did your speakers come with grill covers? Are they in place? If your speakers making your ears bleed, try taping a hanky over your tweeters and report back.
If you're plugging your amps into any cheap power / computer strips pull those out. Plug your amps directly into the wall. If you are by chance using computer type power strips don't plug any of your gear into them; get rid of them. Also if you have all this gear on a shared circuit with lights or what ever else that doesn't help. If amps aren't  being feed well they can sound a little lean and if you're really pushing them it becomes worse. Dedicated circuits  make a huge difference and a hospital grade Hubbell receptacle makes a nice difference and they're affordable.

These types of tweaks help a lot but I still bet your room needs the attention first. 
I have a monster cable conditioner n a Belkin pf31...I plug both amp into the monster conditioner...I have tried switch out n plug in wall, but still...n also tried switch them all around...but power reading at at about 120...

I have a monster cable conditioner n a Belkin pf31...I plug both amp into the monster conditioner...I have tried switch out n plug in wall, but still...n also tried switch them all around...but power reading at at about 120...

I'm also tried to look for a decent cable to match my system...any advice...thanks
I agree with losing the biamp for now; simplify your system and use one amp until you stop the offending brightness.
 
Then address treating your room for best sound. Can you answer these questions, please...
- What are the dimensions of the room? We only know that it's a high ceiling.
- Do you have carpeting or bare floors?
- Do you have bare walls? You'll need to have wall hangings or furniture against the walls so that sound waves don't bounce around.
- How far away from the speakers is your listening position?
- Have you done any reading about how to use acoustic room treatments?
What is the floor material in your room? If your’e playing your music to decent or moderate levels and your room is very reflective or lively no cables, or putting a tissue over the tweeter is going to fix things. I’d try only one of your amps and plug it directly into the wall not using the Monster. As someone earlier I think mentioned, you need to simplify things. It will be easier to solve your problem with less going on.

If you have purchased any of your equipment from a local store ask if someone there would visit your home to hear it first hand. Most experienced audio salespeople know how to set a system up properly.

If you want to rule out its not your gear but your room, set it up in another part of the home in a smaller room with lower ceilings if possible. A large room with 20ft tall parrallel walls is going to be a bear to control. I don’t have even be there to have an idea how it must sound. You need to deaden the room, reduce the slap echo and have furniture such as bookcases up against the walls to break up the reflections; read up on standing waves. If you have a hard surfaced floor throw down a nice heavy rug between your speakers and you. If you have a big glass coffee table in between you and the speakers you need to cover that while listening.

If you have this big room with tall ceilings and you’re a minimalists / contemporary dweller with a sparse finished room that’s not helping you. Just guessing on your room here. The point is, that room needs objects and absorbent materials to control room modes. Get your hand clap to have less echo and ping in your room and you’ll be happier. Think how it sounds when you clap outdoors. That’s your reference. Good luck.
I have wood vaulted (timber frame) ceilings in my home theatre room 17' high 24'x28'  it has two sofas, a projection and 5-1 set up it has been a challenge to tame the highs.I would bet the bulk of your problem in placement and room acoustics.imo

Fatgosil, I’m not sure if you are realizing that a passive biamp arrangement, which is what you appear to be describing, will not provide proper tonal balance unless the gains of the two amplifiers are equal or close to it, or if differences in their gains are somehow compensated for externally to the amps.

I couldn’t find a gain spec on the SE-40, and in the absence of a spec there is no reason to assume it is similar to the gain of the 8008.

I realize that you have tried using at least one of the amps by itself and still perceived brightness, but it is very conceivable that multiple factors are contributing to the problem, including gain differences between the amps. So as Lowrider and others have suggested I would do any further troubleshooting using just one of the amps running full range. And try each of them if you already haven’t, and use whichever sounds less bright. Which one will sound less bright depends in part on the relation between the output impedance of the amp and how the impedance of the speaker varies over the frequency range, and I can’t say which amp that would point to because I couldn’t find an impedance curve for the speaker.

Also, to be sure that something simple isn’t being overlooked, have you removed the jumpers from the speaker terminals when you have been using the two amps?

Regards,
-- Al

Al is right on.
Biamp REALLY sucks. 
Use single Aragon first and see what happens. I don't think that Golden Tube will be good enough for Galos.
Gud Luk

Simplify to a Bel Canto C5i integrated amp. Can be had used here when they come up for under $1000 (the price of less than a handful of audiofile fuses). SOTA at its price point and smooth as silk. Your ears and bank account will thank you. Has everything needed for analog, digital and phono in one tiny unassuming and great sounding box.

My C5i works great in this regard with my Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkII speakers which can also have an edge some might find too hard in many cases. I’ve heard the Quads, Monitor audio and Gallos and think it would be an exceptional and easy and affordable pairing to fix the problem and perhaps even sound better than ever in the end with any of those.
Mapman may be right.  I, however, have a very bright room poker room in our sub-basement:  low ceilings, slate floor over concrete, and horrible slap echo.  It is a very bright room.  DEQX after installing half a dozen sound traps was the only answer.
Thanks a lot guys...that us a lot of excellent input...I will try a little at a time as time permits n some time to digest all input...u guys are great...to map man...is the bel canton c5i really that great???
To low rider...yup, living sucks...is 20x60 n carpet...concrete with laminate floor n one glass table top n a big mirror at end of living room...I know it suck...
@fatgosil, there are ways to improve the acoustics of your room. Use several throw rugs in your listening area, or an oriental rug.
You need wall-hangings, or better yet, some acoustic panels for sound absorption.
Don't try to fill the entire room with sound. If you haven't already, create a living space close to your system. How far away is your current listening area from the speakers?

Take a look at the Virtual Systems section and see how other members have treated their rooms. Those with systems in the living room (myself included), use rugs, drapes or curtains, plants, bookshelves to absorb standing waves which include mid and high frequencies. I have a tapestry hanging on the wall behind me and it helped reduce the brightness from my system.
Do you have a source other than your CD player, such as a tuner or TT? You have a good CDP, but Amperex tubes can have an "edge" or sound bright with some CDs.

Also, if the gain of the CDP is too high for the preamp, it will sound bright.

@almarg,
Al, the Input Sensitivity of the Macintosh c40 preamp is 250mV (at the time of 2.5V Output power) (50mV IHF).
Input impedance is 22kohm. Interconnects are unknown.
How does this match with a CDP having an Output of 2.2 Volts?
Al, the Input Sensitivity of the Macintosh c40 preamp is 250mV (at the time of 2.5V Output power) (50mV IHF).
Input impedance is 22kohm. Interconnects are unknown.
How does this match with a CDP having an Output of 2.2 Volts?
Thanks for pointing that out, Lowrider. Its significance, though, is just that the OP is probably having to use the volume control at fairly low settings within its range (at least with the Aragon amp, when used singly), but at settings that I suspect are not unreasonably low.

The 250mv and 2.5v numbers mean that with the volume control at max the preamp’s output will be 10x greater than its input, which is a gain of 20 db. That is significantly more gain than is generally ideal for use with most digital sources, but given the average sensitivity of the Aragon amp (1.68 volts input for full power), and its 200W rating into 8 ohms, and the medium sensitivity of the speakers (89 db, 6 ohm impedance), and the fact that the system is described as being in a living room with a 20 foot ceiling (meaning that the room is probably fairly large), would seem likely to be within reason. As I indicated earlier, though, I couldn’t find specs on the SE-40 amp.

Best regards,
-- Al


Thanks for the reply, Al. This difference in gain shows that the OP's passive biamp is not an optimal setup. All the more reason to use one amp during this troubleshooting process as you stated earlier.
Regarding Bel Canto c5i, I would just say it is very good, quite top notch, as I described and might solve the problem in a fairly straightforward manner.

I've been listening to my second system in our family room that it is in more than ever since acquiring it in fall of last year.  It was a demo unit from a dealer here on Agon and cost <$1000 which is a steal for all you get.  

It is a true digital amplifier ie analog inputs are converted to digital internally and processed similar to straight digital inputs.   Amplifier is recent generation Class D Icepower which enables the output from a small package.    

Its only limitation I would cite is it is only 60 watts but that  is enough to drive most speakers very well to good volume.   It does very well with my Dynaudios which are notorious power and current loving speakers.   Very smooth and non fatiguing with those which is not necessarily the case with all good quality amps that are up to the task.

Can't go wrong to try IMHO if putting out the cash needed is not a problem.

I also run 500w/ch Bel CAnto ref1000m amps in my main bigger system.   I added the c5i based on my satisfaction with those prior.
Lot of good ideas here, but I would start with $20. I use the trick in my system for exactly this purpose.

Buy a cheap component to act as a filter to attenuate high frequencies, known to techies as a low pass filter. Fortunately, these are readily available as plug and play components, if you know where to look.

What you have to do is pervert a cheap signal isolation transformer, which is cheap because it rolls off the high frequencies, to use as a filter. You want it precisely because of this "defect", which would be a problem in many systems - but that’s the whole point in yours. The fact that it also works to isolate ground faults is just a bonus. I use really cheap transformers ($20 for a stereo pair - the ones I use are called 1st Source GL-100 Ground Loop Isolator - and - heresy alert - it’s for car audio) to tame the brightness of my digital front end (and no, it's not a cheap one). They come with RCA connectors, so they just insert between components, with or without interconnect.

You can daisy chain them for added effect.

Cables are another very good way to tune a system. What tends to cost money in cabling is good transmission of the treble information, which is exactly what you don’t want. So cheaper is probably more effective IN YOUR SYSTEM.

What you want, for your system, are high capacitance cables (thin coax) for interconnect, and low capacitance well-separated conductors for the speakers. That specification comes directly from Maxwell’s Equations - it’s physics, not opinion. Cheaper is probably better IN YOUR SYSTEM.

You might also try some carpeting or fabric wall hangings. I use two Persian carpets on the walls - decorative and effective.

Finally, you may be hearing the electronics. One possibility is the nasty brightness of cheap capacitors in the signal path, especially electrolytics, especially if they have been subjected to a hot environment. That requires surgery on your components, but is well worth it. I have no stock electronics anywhere in my system, other than the cartridge. But that’s a more extreme solution. Try the cheap tricks first.

Your preamp has 5 band tone controls.  What effect do they have on your situation?
terry, don’t you think it would be better to find the root cause of the problem, rather than apply band-aids or work-arounds?

  @onhwy61, good question.
@fatgosil , are you aware of these tone controls and how to use them?
Hello Lowrider.

I think that the very best thing is to get the OP quickly and cheaply to a good place, where he is motivated to find the root cause. I certainly agree that the root cause is the big prize, but it may also be a big challenge.

Should have mentioned above: the best place to insert the signal isolation transformers is on the amplifier input. That removes any nasties upchain, no matter what their origin. If sound improves, and it almost certainly will, then the transformers can be moved to the CD output. If the sound remains the same, the problem is the digital source, and the OP should seriously consider an alternative, like analogue.

For example, my current analogue brightness problem is a big challenge. I am finding that two resonances were destructively interfering in my analogue front end, and when I removed one of them, detail improved, but the sound became unacceptably bright. Am currently dealing with selectively damping each one, so that I get back to an acceptable level of brightness while retaining the increased detail. I followed my own advice (above), and changed capacitors and loading resistors to reduce brightness, which was quick and cheap, because my electronics are home brew. For what it's worth, I now realize that the two interfering resonances were affecting tracking, or introducing distortion which sounded like mistracking - don't know which yet.
Try some inexpensive cables - both interconnects and speaker wire.  Definitely no silver.  Not sure what dac(s) your equipment has but to me, ESS dac chips sound more bright than Burr Brown chips.   
fatgisil ...

I hate to say this, but your problem may be with your ears. I had friend who had the same problem and every time the volume was raised above a very low level, it hurt his ears. If I were you, I'd go to a doctor who specializes in hearing/ear problems and get yourself checked out, then go from there. 

OP
Try a pair of VB1s from Spatial Audio.  There is a free evaluation period so no risk.  You can just send them back if the don't help.  
Also, tilt your speakers up a few degrees.  Easy to do and worth a try.

I didn’t read all the posts...

Perhaps these components are not working well with each other...

Tame the room...many products available.. A few traps go along way.

Get rid of the monster conditioner....will more than likely hurt the sound - I made that mistake as well.

I am very happy with Shunyata power products.

I would suggest Cardas Golden Cross cables...probably one of the warmest cable out there. BUT Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t try to force my system into something it’s not.

Building a system takes patience...trail and error.

I would chose one piece like speakers or an amp that you really like and then try components that work well with that choice.

Good Luck !!!

I concur w/ this panel. There are some very good suggestions here.
Many times tube systems invert the signal. Try swapping the speaker hook up by changing the positive to negative on both speakers to correct the polarity to an even number. See if that helps the sound.

I would highly suggest you replace that high end cable you probably paid to much for and replace it with Canare.  It has the ability to leave the detail and remove a considerable amount of brightness.  One system has Mogami, and my old Swans M1 (HiVi F5 with Planar Tweeter) speakers loves it, but my new DIY speakers (HiVi F5, with a Fountek ribbon seem way too bright with the Mogami (one of the truest interconnect cable you can buy).  I moved it to my other system with Canare, and the brightness disappeared but the detail did not.  In the past, I just bought good cable and didn't think about the affect, but now I pay close attention to what I use.
Audiolad, I agree that Canare makes excellent cables, and use it myself (StarQuad). But I think that it's too neutral for the OP - what is it, about 200 pF per metre? I think that the OP needs more than that, like a box store interconnect, and a selected (but still cheap) speaker wire.
Room treatments are a big plus but just in case no one has made this suggestion,  adjust the crossover frequency and LFE in puts through your pre amp. Personally I'm a tweaker running the same audio / video file until I get it right. You may find that helpful. 
Unfortunately, most of the advice you've received is idiotic. You need to start with the basics. Show us the frequency response of your system!!! Get a CD that has a pink noise track on it. (i.e. Stereophile test CD). Got an iPhone? Get the app called "analyzer" for $14 bucks. Then show us what your system response looks like at the listening position in response  to pink noise. It's just stupid to recommend a solution to your problem without making the correct diagnosis. A frequency response is the first place to start. 
I'll vote w/ugamotz...quantify the problem first, Then apply solutions.  Some of the previous suggestions will be potentially applicable, But a little practical knowledge up front will minimize chasing 'audio gremlins' of a more subtle nature...begin at the beginning...*S*


Oregonpapa might be right... have your ears checked first.
Second step would be: find all the blankets, towels etc. you can find and cover every hard reflective surface in your listening room to see how much your room interacts unfavourably with your set.
Good luck!

It's the Quads.   Several reviews I read said they were bright...here's one from Techradar..."At the same time, though, there's no denying this speaker also has a brightness that's rather less welcome. Expensive models with advanced tweeters and costly crossover components often get away with this, but the 22L2 isn't one of these, and while the treble provides plenty of fine detail, it also sounds rather insistent."