High End system sounding Terrible????

Hi. I invested quit a bit of dough in my system and I'm disatisfied to say the least. I have an Arcam AVR-300, Arcam CD-73, and a NAD DVD player with Energy C-3's for my mains and Energy C-C1 Centre. Movies sound fine but when playing music the sound is overly bright (harsh), and bass lacking. The sound is also kind of lifeless, not very involving. I had an old 30 watt/CH Rotel from the 80's that I enjoyed much more for music through the C-3s. Could it be bad speaker matching.I bought the amp new from Creative Audio and even if it's not broke in shouldn't sound this bad.Can someone please help...
I don't know about the specific components you mention, but, when I hear that someone is unhappy with the sound of home theater gear playing music, I usually suspect the HT receiver. These things are amazingly complex and have to provide multiple channels of amplification, so something has to be compromised or they would cost a fortune. Often, the volume control is what is compromised severely. Even two channel potentiometers that do a good job cost a fortune -- think of what it would cost to do seven channels correctly (I know someone in the HT business that thinks that one has to spend near $14,000 on a processor to get decent volume controls in multichannel gear). I know more than a few people that watch video using two-channel gear rather than deal with inferior multichannel equipment.
I went through the same situation with even higher priced gear and unfortunately with the same dissappointing results for two channel music. I did the same also hooking up and old marantz receiver that showed everything the Home Theater gear was lacking for music. I have a TV and the 5000 dollar onkyo home theater receiver and a dvd player seperate now and my kids use it and I spent far less on a good two channel system and if I want to watch a movie or TV myself I do it through this and am quite happy with it. Larryi makes some very valid points. The arcam is a decent amp but is a little bright and the energy speakers are a little bright as well( for my tastes ) , so you could be rite that the two don,t fit well together but in the end unless you spend ridiculous amounts of money it will be hard to have a system to do both well. At least with results that will keep you happy enough to not always be looking to better or change. Thats the reason I for the most part gave up on Home Theater and the beleif I could be satisfied for both music and movies with the same system. A friend of mine added a nice tubed pre-amp using the processor loop to integrate it with home theater and it certainly did give hime great two channel music but the cost was quite high conscidering the equipment he already had. Cheers
My advice, use a 2 channel rig for movies and music.
Ty for your time and advice. I tried playing music through the NAD DVD instead and the music sounds great in CD direct mode from the AVR. This doesn't make sense considering the Arcam CD 73 should better it for music playback.
I bought the cd player used and can't help wonder if the DAC might have been replaced with an inferior one since the chips can be removed and upgraded. I hate to think this way but will have to get some info on how to determine this.
I'm hoping maybe the CD 73 needs more burn in time. From what I read they can sound pretty dry and lifeless before burn in.
Anymore comments would be greatly appreciated.Ty...
"My advice, use a 2 channel rig for movies and music."

That is what I do. Surround sound is more trouble than its worth to me. I like the best sound and to keep it simple as possible.

I use a vintage Yamaha CR-640 2 channel receiver I picked up for a lark on ebay in my 2 channel A/V second system for TV, CD, DVD and phono sources and couldn't be happier.
Have you checked your sub configuration? You may be getting the lows with movies but not in 2 ch stereo.

Good one - that was my thought immediately. Nothing below 80 HZ would sound as was described - it is an easy mistake to make.
I second Mapman.
i am not a fan of arcam and nad, having auditioned some nad pieces and arcam pieces. perhaps, it is one or all of the electronic components that may be contributing to the spectral balance that upsets you.
Many years ago when I started the journey, I was using NAD amp and CD player in a two-channel system and liked the sound; when I upgraded from NAD to Arcam amp and CD player, I noticed more resolution as well as dynamic, however, the sound became very bright; and I have been on the upgrade path ever since.
I think your first bet is to follow the advice of onemug. Oftentimes, the set between HT receiver and sub limits the sub's output to x.1st channel, and in 2ch, it is left out, which will, as Shadorne notes, produce an imbalance like what you seem to be hearing.
i went out and started with ok rotel 1098 decided i dont like the 5.1 sound thinking about keeping rotel pre and just do 2 chan through it sound fair hooked to 1095 amp hooked up amp to accuphase v200 circa 1987 the sound is nite and day try simple hook up good luck
I second all the great feedback you've received above. Check out the SUB and speaker configuration in the AVR300. The 'direct' mode sounds best as has been pointed out above. In addition (I owned an AVR300 shortly after it went on the market), I found the ARCAM sound to be very dynamic and resolving but far too bright as several people have pointed out above. I found it necessary to go into the System Trims/Adjustments menu and trim the overall Treble setting for the AVR300 by -2db. This improved both HT and 2-channel to the point where I could listen to it as my speakers at the time had ribbon super-tweeters and the 0db setting on the AVR300 resulted in ear fatigue to say the least.

If you want a more natural sounding HT surr/proc, try Sherbourn PT-7010a (a steal a low price), Outlaw, Anthem (D2) or Classe SSP-300 and SSP-600.

The best overall route as others have said is to have a separate 2-channel pre-amp for your music listening.
Have you considered a 2 channel tube buffer/preamp
I also have the Arcam 300 and Marantz CD, Panasonic DVD, with Monitor audio speakers. The Fi isn't Hi enough to be Hi end. I have a 2 channel system for music.