It could be anything, but I wouldn't even think about doing any critical listening until you break the new pieces in for a few hundred hours. They're going to change. Wait and see if you like the way they sound after break-in.
B&W makes bright speakers, the arcam 65 is a bit laid back and was probably covering up for them. I think you have the right idea on the bass being more controlled or perhaps the brightness is just distracting you. I'd switch to speakers that match your amp or change amps again, I guess you found a bad combo. If you want to mess with the decor you could try room treatments, but don't expect much from break in. It's just a scam to keep you from returing an item while you still can. Electronical components don't have moving parts so they can't really 'break in', some amps are known to 'warm up' which makes sense since heat affects conductivity, but how this affects sound is beyond me. If it sounds bad now, it will probably sound bad later on.
Gotta blame the B&W tweeters. Balanced quite hot.
Sydney- My experiences, as Phild stated, have proved to me the necessity to allow components to "break-in". With all due respect to Perk, all of the vendor spec sheets that I've seen indicate that component drift or variation occurs more profoundly during the initial and then again near the end-of-life operation periods. Most of this is due to thermal effects, both steadystate and cyclic. Last I looked, electronic components were composed of quite a few resistors and capacitors, and tubes and/or transistors. I agree that if a component is "bad", that time will rarely repair it for you. However, the sound attributed to components does and will change over time, and predominately during the initial use period.
As for your system, was the integrated the only piece that you changed(are the ICs and/or speaker cable new?)? After the amp has been used for at least a week, you can then determine if you need to consider speaker placement tweaking (toe-in/tilt), some room treatment, or possibly try other wires to help shift the tonal balance to more of your liking. Take your time, and enjoy.
Thanks Perkadin. Which speakers do you recommend to mate with Arcam? I listen to rock, but detest brightness. I am in the market and have the B&W's on loan.
...or face the other possible that can happen: you can simply adopt to that brightness or tightness and say OK you were guys right, after 600 hours the system had opened and is no more bright!
Thanks jctubes. Any particularly warm interconnects you've got experience with? How about speaker cable? I guess I just expected more bass from the CDM7 NT. I actually auditioned the Dynaudio Audience 72 along with the MIT Terminator 4 speaker cable and was very pleased with the bass response. I was told that the CDM7 had even better bass, though I haven't tried them with the MIT cable, so I don't know if the bass extension was a result of the cable or the speaker.
Regardless of the tweeters, etc, I assume there would still be no bass.
Why are you running another integrated with a power amp?
Have you considered getting a real preamp (preferrably, but not necessarily one with tubes)? A good preamp would probably solve most of your issues.
Are you bi-amping? Many times this is why companies like Arcam have a matching amp for an integrated. Running a new integrated with a power amp (and also not bi-amping) is not really that much of an upgrade, mainly from the use of the integrated as your preamp, matching power amp or not.
Bi-amping with an integrated usually assumes the matching power amp is the same watt output as the integrated's amp.
I also agree with the break-in period, not only for the amplifier, but the speakers as well. Those kevlar drivers have a long break in period that your old amp may have been masking.
B&W speakers are not known for deep bass(as are most Brit speakers)...they are designed for classical in mind afterall...and the same could be said for Brit amps...they can be a bit lean for some applications...most Brit equipment is "all about the midrange"...still...there should be some semblance of bass present...even within their limitations...B&Ws dont strike me as overly "thin" sounding...they are considerably brighter sounding than Spendors,Proacs,Castles,etc...but these are "rolled off" in the highs...so the comparison is somewhat exaggerated....
ALso...if your B&Ws are on loan...and you detest brightness as you stated...going with a soft dome tweeter ala Spendors,Castles,Proacs,etc might be the ticket...although this will not solve your bass issue...if you really crave more bass...you will have to add a sub to just about any monitors to achieve it...or go with a floorstander...which is another set of trade offs all together....
ALso..to address your cable concerns...analog guys love Kimber cable for its warmth...and I have heard from fellow posters DH labs cable can be bright with the wrong equipment....I hope this helps...just for the record...B&W speakers seem to be getting "brighter" with every new generation....
You made no mention of your room or what you like to listen to by the way. See if you can find a Stereophile test CD and check your system's bass response. If the B&Ws are performing sorta close to spec then you really do not have a SYSTEM problem. Speakers are usually responsible for the bass performance. The amp can not create it if the speaker will not support the lower fundamentals. Alternatively borrow some Krell or Bryston amp/preamp combos and see what your system does then. Make sure everything is wired properly too.
Thank you all very much for your responses.
Ok, looking at your current equipment and needs I'd recommend the Wharfedale Pacific Evo 300. It's Bi-wireable so you can bi-amp, has a soft dome tweeter so no harsh brightness, and has tight defined bass. It's also a damn good looking speaker IMHO, and it's kevlar drivers and real wood veneer will resemble the B&W. You will give up some of the speed and details of the B&W, but I think the Wharfedale's smooth presentation will win you over. Check them out at IAGamerica.com
one last thing, if you do move to the wharfedale keep your DH labs silver cables, a bright cable will be a good fit with a laid back speaker like these.
Before you toss the B&W try hooking them up to a Classe CAP 101 or 151 integrated. I heard this very setup and there was plenty of bass but can't remember if it was too bright. Didn't seem that way to me at the time.
Read some reviews on Classe int. and I think you'll find they are voiced somewhat "dark" and with plenty of bass.
Is it possible to address this issue without knowing room dimensions, speaker placment, and listening position?