What is your room like? Are the walls hard like panelling, or are they wall board. Do you have lots of glass picture frames, windows etc? Is the room void of furniture? Is the room square or rectangle? Do you have carpets, hardwood or, cement floors?
All of these are a good source of brightness, soften up the room for starters, read all you can about acoustics and room treatment/speaker placement.
Hope this helps.
While you are awaiting a more comprehensive solution, please try the $7.95 Herbie's Audio Lab Grungebuster2 CD mat when you play CD's. For this microscopic price, the bright, harsh edge may be tamed enough to let you relax until other ideas can be considered for system/room tuning.
Herbie's proprietary isolation feet beneath your equipment and speakers may further help, again, very modestly priced, and returnable if not working for you.
The effect of absorbing micro and macro vibrations throughout a system can sometimes manifest as relief from what troubles you about the sound, as well as making other aspects of your sound get better. The extremely long 90 day trial period is enough time to be sure of what you hear, even as you make any changes suggested by other Audiogon members.
Dac or eq is not going to do. Get that sony as far away as possilbe and dont use it as at transport.use it to play background music outside.
Large room, tall cathedral ceilings, carpeted, large picture windows.
Throw some Vibrapods underneath your cd player tha'll help big time...............
I know that Sony and it isn't the greatest but it definately isn't bright or harsh in any way (I now have a 333ES). Same for deHavilland. I think your amps are the problem and I would recommend you try changing them out with something else before using any bandaids. The British press had the same comment as you about the NuForces (reference 9s).
details about setup:
as a general rule.. consider a dac or a different source...
Drapes are best on a large picture window. Carpet is good, start by not having the audio rack in the middle of the speakers, have it between the first and second reflection points. Find these points after you try the 1/3rd or 1/5th room set up method. (Have speakers and listening chair 1/3 or 1/5th of the way in the room) You can even combine the measurements,speakers 1/3rd and chair 1/5 of the way in the room. Sit in your listening position and have a friend run a mirror along the wall at speaker height, have them stop and mark the wall when you see the same side speaker. The second reflection point is when you see the opposite speaker ie. mirror is on the left wall and you now see the right speaker.
Hang a small (2'x4') rug on the wall covering the mid point of these areas. You can get a cheap thick bath rug at Target or Kmart for a couple of bucks, also garage sales are good as well for oriental style ones. GIK sells a fantastic room absorber for $50 or so per, the 2" thick one is perfect for reflection points, but don't buy anything until you determine this is your problem. This will tell you if your room is bright or dull. These are by no means the end all, be all of room treatment but it is a good affordable way to start, if you hear no difference then investigate equipment changes, I usually change one item at a time, trying to avoid the old too many variables syndrome.
Sony CDP's are bright and dry.....garbage in, garbage out. I'd suggest a different cdp.
The Sony is okay, but need a decent 16 bit filterless dac for sure, I have heard them on several sony transports that are used in hi-end machines, Krell etc... Go for DAC-AH, audiomirror, I think someone called Scott nixon has something as well.. all relatively good pricing.. Now beyond that sure room acoustics are always a good investment, but its also very hit or miss for what you are trying to correct...
Nuforce Amps well so that I do not catch too much flak for this I will keep it brief, Dry & a little Raw in my opinion.. for the money I see the appeal, but you could possibly do better if you find the right amp to work with your speakers, nuforce may not be that amp for you, but might be for someone else's speakers if you know what I mean.
Thanks everyone for taking the time.
it's interesting. nobody has endorsed an equalizer. why ?
i have heard equalization used at ces to eliminate balances in frequency response.
selecting a slope starting at 3k and looking at each octave thereafter up to 24k, might ameliorate the situation.
it's not a panacea but it might be a palliative.
every component in a system including cable is definitely have some affect to the sound, your speaker is the major component that decide how your system will sound, beside speaker, pre amp is the component that have most influence on the sound. i see that you had a tube pre amp in your system ,even i havent heard that preamp, i would suggest that you try to change tube in your preamp to see how it work and it is the cheap and easy way to do, just my opinion, good luck and enjoy your music
One way is to do just that, keep your components on all the time, they will be much more musical as it takes upwards of an hour for many devices to truly "warm up" if they are shut off for a while.
Second area I would look at is your Sony CD...it could be tamed with some warm cables like Cardas Golden Cross, but why waste the money when players that sound much better than the Sony are now available for less than $1000?
Back in the day I owned equalizers by both MXR and Luxman. I remembered they made a difference but didn't as much as one bought better equipment. Zar
Have a few beers. That usually takes the edge off! Seriously, I had tube amps that sounded bright with two different speaker manufactures and it was my speaker cables. Actually, I think it really is a mismatch between your amp and speakers but you can fix this with cables. Start swapping.
I think this mismatch is due to a tough load from the speakers. I admit I have no experience with SP, but you should take a look at the impedence curve from any reviews if they exist. Average impedence is irrelevant; if the curve dips low, say 3 ohms at any frequency point (usually on the lower frequency side), tubes seem to sound hard/bright. I don't know why this is so, but matching tube amps to speakers is tough regardless of what the manufactuers say.
I have VTL 300 Deluxes tube amps which are supposed to me tough monsters but they are finicky with speakers. Real finicky and the first thing to go is not the bass as most would say, but a hard/bright sound. You think you have this hobby figured out and then......
Turn it on & let it play. I hate trick questions.
"it's interesting. nobody has endorsed an equalizer. why ?"
In my case an equalizer constricted the soundstage, even when in the bypass mode. I had it modified such that the bypass mode now emulates a hard wire connection, and the soundstage degradation is no longer audible for me--IF the equalizer is in the bypass mode. I'm told (by Duane, a dealer friend of mine) that the only equalizer that didn't degrade the sound was the Cello by Levinson, but it was priced at 14,000 dollars.
your electronics may be spectrally unbalanced and unforgiving of poorly recorded source material.
i ahd the dehavilland in my system and sent it back. i did not perceive a tube like sound.
the nuforce is solid state and also not very kind in the treble range.
you could try anti resonant devices under components designed to "soften", such as furniture foam, sorbothane, sound fusion sound boosters.
you could try changing ac c9ords for your amp and pre. you could try line conditioners and other filter devices.
but, unfortunately, short of changing your electronics (i'm not familiar with your speaker), only an equalizer will create the results you desire. try 'em you may like one of them.
Use the Irrational, But Efficacious disk from Ayre Accoustics. You will be pleasanatly impressed.
add a Class A amplifier, sure to delight, warm up your room, add ambiance, air, etc. As we ALL know anything BUT pure Class A is $hite!