How can I solve the harshness of my system's sound

Here is my system:
>Paradigm Sutdio 100V2
>Monster Audio spk cable
>Odyessy Stratus Amp
>Transparent Link 200 interconnect
>Hafler DH110 pre
>Arcus CD72 CD player
>Sony turntable w/ Grado cartridge
What can I do to solve harshness in the high end. I have had the problem also with my previous Power amp and CD player and when I had the system at a different location with a different shaped room. I don't know if the problem is the speakers, or are they simply revealing the limitationa of the Hafler pre, or is it something else?
I would definitely upgrade the speaker cable. Even something like Audioquest Midnight (~$200) would make a big difference.
I have not heard those speakers.
Perhaps your speakers are reflecting your system. I have the Paradiam Reference Studio 100v2 speakers and do not find them harsh in my system. They were a bit bright with my first preamp, a Music Fidelity A3CR. But I got a used BAT VK3i (off Audiogon) and the brightness went away. (The interconnects are Blue Heavens, the speaker cables are Kimber 8TC bi-wired, the amp is a Marsh a400s, and the source is a Sony C333ES (SACD) combined with an ML36 DAC for the redbook CDs.) I have no experience with the rest of your system, but the 100v2's in my system are excellent. Having auditioned many speakers in the $1k to $4k range, I found the 100v2's to be a true bargain.
Power conditioning might make a substantial difference.
I had a Hafler pre-amp and it was grainy and constricted. It was old (DH101 I think).
Do you primarily notice this problem with only the CD or does your TT give you the same appr effect ? Given the fact that you are using a Grado, i would venture to say that it is primarily a CD based problem.

As to the comment about changing speaker cables, most Monster designs tend to roll off high frequency information. While changing to something else might increase system resolution and reduce some of the high frequency grain, i fear that it would also increase high frequency content. Obviously, this would end up making things even worse.

My next guess / suggestion is that the problem is probably related to your preamp. You stated that you've had this same situation with different amps and sources, so the only active component ( other than speakers ) is the preamp. The fact that this preamp dates back to over 20 years ago tells me that it is probably in need of a major tune-up or replacement. Most SS gear from that time period tends to sound hard, smeary and bright. Combine that with a metal domed tweeter and you may never get rid of the problem.

While there are ways to "band aid" the situation by changing cables, placing felt rings around the tweeters, etc.., i would check into trying another preamp if at all possible. Hopefully, you have an audiophile friend or dealer nearby that would be able to accomodate you. Sean
Sell it all and start from scratch.
A simple and cheap fix you might want to try.
Check out a used Adcom GFP-565.
Great phono section, detailed yet mellow and under 200.00 used all over the place.
I would replace the speaker cables for set of Harmonic Tech Pro Plus 11, since probabbly your speakers have metallic tweeters. Secondly, if there are additonal funds, buy a tube preamp. Good luck.
Cardas Golden Cross interconnects may be just the ticket for you. They have a warm lush sound with plenty of detail. They are reasonably priced used.
I'd lose that Hafler preamp real quick for a BAT VK3i.
Debsal's got it right, and I'll second the opinion.

I have to agree with Sean and any one else who pointed a finger at the Hafler pre. I strongly disagree with anyone suggesting cable changes to solve this problem. You could probably spend the rest of your life and thousands of dollars on different cables over the years to fix this, and if you change a component later, you might be buying cables again. I use cables to "fine tune", not FIX. The Hafler I tried in my system back in '82 was very nasal, and a poor soundstage. I didn't like it at all. Tom
I agree with Trich, cables are nothing more than fine tuning a system. I've owned quite a few paradigms and have to say a tube pre does them justice. It works excellent with the highs. Anthem has the Pre 2L available on agon for about 650. Well worth checking into.
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Cford, are you using transparent IC's between both the cd to pre and from the pre to power amp ?

If you like, i have a set of cables that you can try until you can take the necessary steps to correct the system imbalance. It will not "correct" the situation but may make it a lot more livable until you can "do the right thing" : ) If you are interested, drop me an email. Sean
Transparent cable is part of the problem not part of the solution.
I agree with replacing the pre, hafler is quiet grainy on the highs. However you didn't say how much money you want to spend to correct the problem. A tube pre would definitely help your problem.

The Acurus cd player can be bright in the " wrong " system. Monster cables ( in my opinion ) suck! So anything would be an upgrade over these, Kimber, Audioquest, Nordst, etc. Their are a number of cheap interconnects that would help a little, but they would indeed only be a bandaid.
I agree with replacing the preamp. Try something dark like the BAT 3i.
Replace the Hafler pre-their are the worst.
The Paradigms do have aluminum dome tweeters but reviewers have unanimously agreed that they are NOT harsh or grainy with either tubes or SS. I think you need to look upstream from there.

Power conditioning
Replace that Monster Cable with at least Powerline (if you prefer to stay with Monster)
Experiment with interconnects & upgrade AC cords
How can you recommend a "dark" sounding preamp or "warm" cable. You fix a coloration by removing it, not covering it up with an opposing one.
Find neutral components that work well together and you will have a satisfying system, one that isn't buried in colorations and "fixes".

My feelings exactly! That's what I was trying to say in my last post on this thread. Find equipent that sounds good even with the cheapest cables, and then fine tune with quality cables. When your cable to connect a component to another exceeds the cost of the component you are connecting, something is wrong. And we are all contributing to it. I mean seriously, a $20,000.00 pair of speaker cables???? I'm sorry, I'm getting a bit side tracked by Bob bundus' post, which I hope you don't take seriously. Putting a hemi in a Hundai isn't a great idea either. Tom
I'm sorry to ask, but do you replace nails in your tires with screws? Nothing personal... Tom
I'm sorry to see that Mr. Tom Trich, while having nothing useful to contribute here, yet insists on belittling those who are knowledgeable & experienced & have *been there* & *done that* with great success. Yes this is personal Tom; try going back to start. Your derogatory ramblings do not belong here.
oh jeepers, not more hurt feeling in the land of hifi.
The Haflers I have owned are great for a commercial install because they were built very well and will last forever, where other preamps will cook. (I personally know of several ancient cheap Hafler pres running faithfully right now. 15 - 20 years in service 24/7 at a museum display is nothing to flip your nose at.)

Not taking any sides....

But, I agree with the idea that a piece of gear should not depend on cables to "fix" its issues. Changing the sound does not automatically mean making it better.
Taking a system that makes your ears bleed with harsh grain and trying to "smooth it" by wasting money on cabling is not the answer.
I think in trying to tune a system cabling is a very useful tool however. "Tuning" is not "fixing" as previously posted.
Finding a constant in your auditions is one of the rules I find many 'philes not adhering to. How many times have you heard someone say something like, "I just got my new amp and I love it....the dealer gave me a set of silver 5k IC's with it to try out...."
This scenario kills the purpose of trying out new equipment.

To try an experiment that may prove this to you, take all of your gear and place about 4 CD's on top of each component. Listen to a familiar tune. Remove the CD's. Listen again. Put the CD's back. You might find that it actually changes your system. I was blown away when a NAIM dealer did that to me when I asked him about cabling differences. What you have done is changed it. Has it improved?

A company trying to tout its product is not going to use a power cord that will make the component sound like dirt.

For the record, anyone who thinks Krell, Naim....etc is going to compromise on a power cord that will cost them 5.00 in manufacturing, is delusional.
It is a big business, but I will spend all that power cord money I save on software. :>)

There is one thing that keeps coming up. Your preamp. I would find a dealer that will allow you to audition some pre's in your home and try them out. (With the same cable that you presently use.)
So Bob, if I understand you correctly, your advise based on personal experience and wisdom is; to make a poor sounding componet sound good, change interconnects and power cables? Interesting, I thought you were being sarcastic since most responses on this thread agree with my thinking. Sorry, I didn't understand you were serious. My crack on your tire fix was meant tongue in cheek, playing off what I thought was the sarcasim of your post. Tom