Auditioning some Newform 645's which I love. However, as they have broken in, I have begun to notice quite a bit of sibilance which is driving me crazy. It is especially bad with my digital cable, but I first noticed it on Lyle Lovett's new CD which is a great recording. Any comments on what is causing the problem and potential cures would be most appreciated. System: Rotel 991, Rogue 66, MSB Link DAC, Newform R645's and Maggie 1.6's. Thanks, Mike
Following is an excerpt from the site: I suggest reading the whole section on negative feedback. Perhaps you are getting excesive sibilance because of the amp, not the speakers... """" Negative feedback is the process of taking a portion of the output, electrically inverting it, and then feeding it back to the input. The purpose of negative feedback is to flatten the frequency response, reduce harmonic distortion, lower the output impedance, and also to reduce the effects of "parasitic oscillation" that can occur when parts of the circuitry cause an induced current to flow in other circuits where it is not wanted. However, too much negative feedback can sometimes be used to produce an artificially low harmonic distortion specification. Second order harmonics will be reduced, but fifth order harmonics will increase, and this odd ordered distortion is much more noticeable than the original second order distortion. A tell tale sign of too much negative feedback is an excess of sibilance in the human voice (the "s" is exaggerated)."
Lyle Lovett's "Step Inside This House" CD does indeed have a sibilance problem. In other regards it is a very good-sounding recording but I've noticed really objectionable sibilance with that particular recording, especially on disc 2. The problem isn't there on his other CD's, at least with my equipment.
A certain amount of sibilance is to be expected in better and revealing systems because it is something that naturally occurs with many artists, sometimes the engineers cover it and sometimes they don't. I have heard it many times at live performances both in small clubs and large venues and it is not always at the fault of the PA system or sound engineers. Some artists just never master the use of their tongue and teeth. Many people develop sibilance with the adoption of dental plates or false teeth, some people come by it naturally and some people actually go out of their way to acquire this swishy lispy sound in their regular speaking voice. Although I enjoy listening to Diana Krall, she still has along way to go in regard to her S's. A system without any sibilance is also a system without spittle and lip licks, as part of the information on the recording is not reaching your ears. If too much "is" too much then you may try removing the DAC and running the Rotel straight as I have found the Link DAC to be rather crisp or trying a soft but still detailed analog IC like HT Truthlink's or perhaps a different digital IC.
Thanks for all the good input guys. I do believe it is the highly efficient Newforms that are revealing the problem which could be with my amp and digital front end, which while nice budget pieces, probably tend toward the "etched" side. I guess this is the typical high end goose chase. Get a really good new component and realize all the shortcomings of lesser equipment you were happy with before. Can anyone offer me a very cheap tweak that will totally solve the problem? Like Vibrapods and a brick on my preamp? Something tells me this won't be this easy! Mike
Zen: What is your transport and also your cables? Sorry, I thought that the Rotel was your player. Also, I beleive that Doug at this site had or has the Newform's. Doug?
no, i don't have newforms - i'm holding out for a custom pair w/accuton midwoofs replacing the scan-speak revelator midwoofs - these ceramic drivers are even *faster* than the scan-speaks, & i tink they'll mate that much better w/the newforms' electrostatic tweeter.

regarding sibilance, i also find it to be recording-dependent, but i definitely agree that it can get worse as a systems' resolution increases - especially a speakers' resolution. i also think it's partially a product of digital sound. my analog set-up seems less-afflicted... prior to getting a tubed preamp, i had to run my cd-player thru a z-man ase, in order to be able to even listen to digital. but, w/the rogue 66 pre, i'm surprised there isn't the same synergy i found.

perhaps timvis is right - too much negative feedback on yer amp - perhaps the mfr can tell ya how much (if any) there is in the design. my electrocompaniet amps don't seem to have this problem... :>) rotel lists a 991 amp *and* a 991 cd-player - which unit is yours, zenaudio, & what's the other piece?

perhaps also sfar is right, & this recording is particularly bad in this respect. i don't have this specific recording, but i should get it & see - i have just about all lyle lovetts' other albums, & i've seen him live several times, so it would be interesting to hear - i don't think lyle has a sibilance problem normally... i think he has one of the best voices around, ackshully, and great lyrics to boot! ;~)


I belive the DAC and 991 are good products but in your system you require a better source.Suggest you try out a few new sources and see what happens.The rest of your stuff is very nice. You might want to try a different interconnect.
Thanks again guys. A little more info. I have the 991 amp (200WpC), a Pioneer 414 and an older Sony ES 5 disc carousel both hooked to the Link DAC 1. Obviously this is budget digital gear which could be the culprit. Some stations on my digital cable tv sound horrible, others decent, DVD's sound great. I sold my TT when I bought the Rogue since I have the remote version which has no phono. IC's are Sonic Euphorias from Jeffssoundvalues and the DAC is connected with a Tekline digital and an MSB optical I believe. I think I need a better digital source and a better amp. I was considering going with the hotrodded MSB, but also need to look at the Bel Canto, Perpetual, and EVS. Any amps out there with a thwacking bottom end but smooth on top? Mike
The BAT VK-200 (100 wpc) has slammin' bass, and is probably the warmest solid state amp on the market. It definitely "smooths out" frequencies in the "sibilant range" at the price of a slight loss of detail. I may be selling mine soon. If you live in the NYC area (I live in Hoboken), come on over to have a listen. I also have a couple of other amps to compare it to. Steve 201 217-6686