I need help from GMA Europa owners

I'm hoping one of the many Europa owners on this forum can help. After A/B-ing between between Thiel CS1.6's and Europa's, I've decided to keep the Europas -- but I'm having one problem with their sound.

While the Thiels have a remarkable clarity and purity with female voices, the Europas have a slight bit of a haze. The clarity seems to be missing a bit. I'm not sure if it's a bit of distortion, simply the nature of the speakers, or something else.

I'm feeding the speakers from a Musical Fidelity 3.2 CD and Musical Fidelity A308 integrated, through Virtual Dynamics Nite cables. The Europas are sitting atop homemade MDF stands with a sand-filled rectangular center column.

Maybe its the stands, maybe its just the sound of the Europas (they have a soft dome tweeter vs. the Thiel's hard dome). I don't know.

Any insights you Europa owners can offer would be much appreciated. I love the speakers with the exception of the slightly hazy top end. I hoping someone else may have had a similar experience.

Thanks in advance for your help.
How many hours do you have on the Europas?

I used to own the Europa's, and would agree that the highs were not the most extended I had heard. Fantastic all-around speakers, though.

I used to have Virtual Dynamics Audition cables. While the Nite series is several steps up from the Auditions, I remember the Auditions as being somewhat of a darker, richer, fuller sounding cable. Roy recommends Audio Magic silver ribbon cables, which are very neutral and revealing, particularly for the high end. Nordost also comes to mind. Based on what I can recollect of the Virtual Dynamics cables, a cable change may help. To be clear, I think very highly of Rick Schulz's cables, the Nites just might not be the best match for the Europa's.

Other than that, I would also agree with Kclone... Give the Europa's around 200 hours of break-in, and you will find that both ends of the frequency range will open up. These speakers just continue to get better with time.

Those are some fine speakers you have, and a fine system as well! Hope you get to enjoy it fully.

Happy listening,
I would question the hours you have on them as well.

I went from Epos M12's to Europa's. When I went to the Europa's I had the same impression as you. As they only had about 75 hours on them, I continued burning them in and getting to know their characteristics. I don't know exactly when it happened but any reservations I initially had completely disappeared, leaving me with a pair of wonderfully musical speakers.

Give them some time (200-300 hours), I think you will be suprised like I was.

Thanks for the responses so far. I put about 150 hours on them before I began listening. Roy says he put about 90 on them before sending them to me. If he really did, then there's over 200.

Ewha, you may be right about the cables. But I have found the nites to very revealing with the Thiels, so I was assuming they weren't the issue. Maybe, what I'm hearing is just in the nature of the speaker, but since I like them in so many other ways, I'm hoping I can clear it up.

Any thoughs about stands, could this be the issue?

Thanks again for the feedback.

You'll get many different suggestions on stands, I've tried only one, so I'm not claiming it to be the best... I use the Osiris stand, super sturdy, heavy one piece construction (not "bolt together"), fillable, great looking and reasonably priced. They seem to match dimensionally perfect with the Europas. Mine are filled with steel shot. Stand + speaker weigh over 125 pounds each. E-mail me for a good source.
I have experience both with the Europas, which I currently use for HT, and the 1.6's, which I had in my main system for a while nearly two years ago. They are both great speakers, no question. I might describe the Europas as having a "rounder" sound than the Thiels, which I might describe as more "incisive." Is this what you are hearing?
Hi Rich- glad to hear you like the Europas.
Mdf stands, even with sand filling, have a "fuzzy" resonance in the particles of the wood themselves. A stethoscope would reveal this as stimulated by tones in the AM radio/nasal voice range.

If you are going to keep the stands for a while, then consider placing a thin sheet of firm rubber-gasket material from the hardware store (in the plumbing dept) between the Europa and the stand. The Europa's marble cabinet does still have resonances in that tone range, but at a much lower level than a wooden cabinet. The rubber sheet should minimize the transfer of those "marble particle" vibrations into the mdf, yet be rigid enough that the cabinet does not wiggle on bass notes (which would also blur the image). Again, a stethoscope tells you a lot.

Possibly four 3/16" balls of BluTack between speaker and stand instead would be fine, squished out with the speaker's and your body weight. But you'd find after a few weeks, the BluTack has entered the pores of the mdf- it rips out a big chunk when you try to remove the speaker. Seal the stand-top with a semi-gloss or gloss, paint/polyurethane to prevent this penetration.

Next, examine the way any cones/spikes are mounted under your stands' bases. Most cones/spikes are attached to, or simply setting under, the bottom skin of that mdf platform. Thus, the vibration in the mdf particles BETWEEN the upper and lower skins of that base will be a weak link. Bolt those cones/spikes through to the upper side of the mdf platform- with a nut on top. This clamps those two skins together, minimizing that "shear mode" vibration between the two skins. This shearing, btw, is a front-to-rear mode, so a fuzziness to the image, in the depth dimension, would not be surprising.

After all that, look at new cables- usually the interconnects from the CD player first. The rest of your gear is certainly worth keeping for a long time. This is not a slam against your existing cables- I haven't heard them. But most interconnect cables are pretty fuzzy I find. The ones which are not, I'd be happy to suggest privately.

Hope this helps!

Best regards,
Roy Johnson
Green Mountain Audio
Stands for monitors are a fundemental extension of your speaker and can make or break the quality of the sound. I stronly suggest you check out the audiopoints.com website. They have two speaker stands that are absolutely phenomenal. I own their top of the line, and while, pricey, they deliver, (VERY) big time. Their little brother is also wonderful. If you think your Europas sound good now, wait 'til you place them upon the Sistrum Mini Monitor Platforms. I canned my Revel M20 stands in a flash after listening to the Sistrum. Although the less expensive model may still be a bit pricey, considering the $$ for your Europas, they are still worth the investement. Remember, your Europas are temporary. The stands will stay with you for a lifetime if you stay the monitor route. You, may just want to move up to the Revel M20s, the Jmlab MIcro Utopia Bes or, better yet, the Caravelles. Starsound has a money back gurantee. Can't beat that with a stick. You won't send them back. peace, warren
Warren, you are getting a bit tiresome with your Starsound and anti-Europa rap. Just a friendly comment to consider.
Drubin, "anti-Europa rap?" Come on big guy. I'm recommending stands for your Europas. Stands that are going to make your speakers sing. What's negative about that? Just because I mentioned a few other, more musical, speakers, you get all bent? Come on. I love the way the Europas sound. I do. I just prefer a hellava lot of monitors more. That's all. Sure the other monitors cost more. So? Lighten up. If moving up to a Jm lab Micro Be or Revel M20 is a diss to you: get real. Just something to look forward to, one day. The Caravelle line, was just a tease. Can't have a thin skin on the 'gon. Hey, we're audiophools. Let's enjoy...peace, warren
Dan, didn't I make you an offer a ways back (March, I believe) because you said that you were coming into (or was that a maybe) the Big Apple, to come over to my place and listen to the Caravelles? Never heard from you. I thought that was an audiophoolishly friendly offer. No pressure, just some easy listening.
Thanks for all the responses to my thread so far. Here's a couple of comments:

That's a good thought about the 1.6's simply being more incisive. I've grown accustomed to the sound Thiels, which are very detailed and extended, but a bit thin and austere. It may be that I'm finding the Europas a more well rounded speaker, hence the highs are standing out less. I should spend more time just listening.

But for the record please lighten up on Warren. I found his comment fully appropriate. He didn't bash the Europas, he simply recommended stands and some other speakers.

I should also note that I'm a huge fan of Starsound. I have Audiopoints under my electronics and Thiels and I built a rack to Starsounds specs using brass rods and Audiopoints. I have found they clean up the sound a lot. Somewhat suprisingly, today I was switching cones around trying different things on the Europas. I replaced the Audiopoints under my CD with Mapleshade cones. Big difference, the Audiopoints did much more to clean up the sound.

Thanks for your ideas. I will muck around with the stands as you suggest. I may also try some Osiris or Parts Express metal stands to eliminate the MDF problem.

I'll be writing a review on the Europas soon. But I do want to note they are fantasitic speakers. To my ears they easily out perform Nautilus 805's, Thiel 1.6's, Revel M20's and Tyler Acoustics Reference Monitors, all of which I've had in my home in the last year. Not bad, since all these cost over twice as much as the Europas. This thread was to help me tweak the sound to make them even better.

Thanks again for the posts. Any more thoughts anyone? Keep them coming.

Thanks- let me know if particular cones under the Europas do any good. Always curious.

The Europa marble is quite thick at the bottom, and it would be easy enough to put in four (three?) dimples with a drill bit (1/8" diameter probably) to locate the tips if the cones point upwards. If tips are down, eventually stick the cones to the bottom of Europas with Scotch 3M very thin double-sided tape (thin like Scotch tape).

Y`all have a good weekend. And you're right- there's little reason pick too hard on Warren.
Warren, your once again becoming aggravating. You admit never hearing the Europa's, but yet you claim them to be inferior. There are people in THIS FORUM that say no matter what happens in the future, they will ALWAYS keep their Europa's. For you to predict "the europa's are temporary" is assnine at best. Give it a rest.
I'm a 'recreational' post reader on the Europas.(I'm a floor-stander guy/ no ax either way) I think any thread with nothing but "all raves" ends up sounding like an informercial. ---
Just seeing Roy's comments here makes me jealous. I see few mfgs. helping owners get more from their product.
As the 'recreational reader'; I think picking on Warrenh puts the spotlight on the attacker.
Songwriter, relax big guy. who said (since my statement way back) that I haven't heard the Europas?
take a chill pill and enjoy your speakers.... and stop picking on me....peace, once again, warren
Songwiter, as the guy who started this thread I feel a need to comment.

What is your beef with Warren. His posts on this thread are fully appropriate. I raised the issue of stands and he commented about Starsound stands. He also mentioned some speakers I might try. I took his comment about my Europas being temporary to mean when I upgrade, the stands will be keepers. It is not unreasonable for him to assume that I will upgrade the speakers at some point -- I probably will.

For god's sake, the guy loves and is passionate about his gear. It's great that he shares his experiences. When he says his Caravelles are the greatest, no one assumes he has listened to every monitor out there -- he's just speaking from the heart. I, for one, appreciate the time he takes to share experiences. He has me interested in the Caravelle, but I'm not about to buy them on his word alone.

If you've heard his thoughts before, skip over this posts. Lots of other people might be hearing his opinions for the first time.

I'm gonna have to disagree with Warrenh, although I always like his enthusiasm. MY GMA EUROPAS ARE THE BEST MONITORS IN THE UNIVERSE! THEY ARE AWESOME! If you wish to dispute this fact, I am sorry, but I am too busy listening to them to argue with you. Enjoy your inferior speakers, if that's even possible!

Just kidding, guys. Everyone have a nice Memorial day.

I have no problem with his enthusiasm for his speakers. I think it's great to spread the word about hi-fi products that may be less known throughout the audio world. I also agree stands make a world of difference. What bothers me about Warren are his comments like "The Europa's are temporary, but the stands are permanent" or "The Green Mountain Europa wouldn't last one round with my Caravelles" He has no basis for those comments. He generally makes those statements, then appologises for them in a later post. His opinion is just that,his opinion. Not everyone shares his opinion. GMA owners rave about the sound of the Europa's. Pretty much everyone thats heard them has great things to say about them. I don't mind him raving about his speakers. What I DO mind are his condescending comments about a product that has arguably as many glowing posts as any speaker made today.
I stand by my comment. Whenever Europas come up in the forums, Warren chimes in with a dig at them. That's what I object to.
Hey songwriter, I made that boxing comment several months ago, concerning the Caravelles and the Europas. It still owns you, huh? I'm that powerful? Come on, my man let it go. Do you really think that if I posted my feelings about the Caravelles after an AB comparison with the Europas, you wouldn't find something wrong with that, or with a direct comparison with the Revel M20s? Sure you would. One day you'll get your turn to listen to the Caravelles. And you know what? You'll like the Europas more. Well, at least for the $$. Why do you think I would never bother to give my listening experiences re: the Europas? I've grown tiresome? Give me a break...
"If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary" Just a little wisdom...
Putting adhesive tape on a device that was designed to be direct coupled, such as an Audiopoint will greatly reduce its effectiveness.Tom
It's good to see you on the 'Gon again Roy!
Warren, you see.......your so vain that you don't realise when your being condescending( or perhaps your ALWAYS condescending). Your comment "owns me"? Hardly. Your comment disgusts me. I was merely trying to point out to someone who has not had the, er, priveledge, of reading your previous "anti-Europa" posts. Profess all the purple prowse you like upon your Caravelles. I'm fine with that. But your negative comments about the Europa's (however subtle you may think they are) don't set well with me. And anyone here who thinks Mr. Warren is NOT being condescending, all one need do is look at how he addresses the rest of us here. I do believe "audiophools" is his preferred label for the rest of us. As condescending as this label is, i'm CERTIAN Warren, when pressed, will make lite of it. Make no mistake, Warren thinks we are all "fools". I did get one positive comment from this post. I do think i'll ignore Warren's posts from this point forward.
Thanks Scott.

Tom- the Audiopoint cones may be designed to be "direct coupled", but that may not be the requirement for the system in which they are to be tried. The tape I mentioned is very thin- just a few thousands inch of adhesive, only. You think this interface would be a big issue, compared to the problem at hand? This is a 40+ lb cabinet on top of that thin layer, driven by a 6" woofer.

I postulated direct coupling could be part of the problem, with what to listen for, pro and con. Do you have a suggestion for Richs, and what he might listen for, when trying a particular 'device'?

Couple more ideas for Richs: Consider cleaning the contacts of your cables and jacks, even the digital ones. Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol- the kind without added lanolin, with a cotton swab and pipe cleaners, should be enough to knock off the sulphurs and other compounds deposited in a house which cooks, where people breathe, etc. However, use it sparingly, as it contains water. Shut down all the power if you are feeling particularly sloppy. The next better stuff would be Caig De-Ox-It, thru PartsExpress.com.

Some of what you are hearing could certainly be the soft dome vs. hard dome, but I don't think that's the entire answer. The Europa's foam grill obscures some of the clarity, adding an overall haze, from blunting leading edges, and smearing out trailing edges. This may be part of what you are hearing, especially if you're used to hearing the Thiels without their cloth grills.

By removing the Europa's foam grill, the tweeter is too loud by .5dB, audible after 10+ CDs. We would send 2 tweeters measuring 0.5dB softer. But then the speakers would be slightly dull with the grills back in place... let me know.

See if all the screws are snug, including the three 2mm Allen bolts near the dome of the tweeter (don't put a lot of torque on those). Note the two different-size screws around the woofer.

Any chance the tweeters half fried? I've done that here.

Do the speakers need to finish breaking in?

Remember that fuzz or haze is a broadband problem, not a single-frequency resonance. Some 'solutions' induce single-tone resonances, like placing metal cones under a CD player (heard on a few notes in the right-hand of the piano).

Hope you can get some resolution to this (out of this?).


Songwriter (this is my last stab at this) I'm not knocking the Europas. They are for the money, (even, for, more money) a great speaker. Is that clear now. I recommended (Sistrum stands) which I believe will help them sound better than you've ever heard them. A couple of others hear Starsound, Sistrum and they gag. Whattayagonna do. I'm excited about what I own and love. I am blessed with a confident pair of tympanics. Very hard to disuade my ears from what I hear, but am always willing to listen, and have, on various ocassions, changed my mine. I was set, etched in stone, excited out of my mine, about purchasing the JmlabsMico Bes. Listened to them for an hour and freaked out. Best darn monitor (easily) these ears had ever heard. Money wasn't a factor purchasing these babies. Maybe a little wife pressure. Then I heard the Caravelles. Reluctantly. Well, you know which I chose. I'm teachable and don't take myself so serious. This is a great hobby and we all love our stuff. OK the boxing comment was unfair. It's over, and I made amends for it. Move on big guy. You enjoy yours and I will enjoy mine. I'll never say the Caravelles are better speakers than the Europas. I'll say I prefer them MUCH! more. Fair enough? Have a nice weekend. It's beautiful here, in Point Lookout and I'm going to have a great day. You do the same.
What we have here are hi rez speakers sitting upon low rez devices.. Sand is a storage medium, lead is a storage medium, rubber is a storage medium, mdf is a storage medium, adhesive compounds are storage mediums, all types of speaker cabinet materials are storage mediums. All of the previous impede the flow, to some extent, some small some large,the transmission of energy. If you have a speaker, even one with a high mass enclosure it is to all a benefit, to direct away and to provide a pathway for resonant energy, excess energy, unused energy to be sped to ground. In no way do you want to slow down the exit of this noise nor give it a place to accumulate and a chance to be stored and then discharged along with the intended signal. If you are to use Audiopoints the speaker needs to sit upon the flat surface of the cone with the point facing down upon the resting surface.. If the resting surface is wood, glass or acrylic then there needs to be placed between the point tip and the surface a APCD coupling disc. This disc seems to clarify the surface coupling area and increases the focus and speed of the speaker..I have been using these techniques for some years, long before I became a dealer for Starsound..Tom
Thanks Tom-
I'm not sure that I follow you on two points:

How is either sand, lead or rubber a storage medium? They each turn HF vibrations into heat. Since stored heat can never be reconstituted as coherent energy, i.e., as signal (as a ringing), these materials cannot store this HF energy as vibrations. Am I missing something?

Also, to me, Energy "sped to ground" means turning it into heat. Is that what you mean by getting the noise to exit?

Sorry I need the clarification, but audio vocabuluaries are still developing for all of us.

Since I'm asking
What is an APCD?

What do you hear happen if points are up instead of down?

Roy take a visit to Audiopoints.com I have been using their products since 93' and have recently become a dealer.The points and platforms truly make a profound audible improvement. Brent Riehl of Starsound designs products that seem to present a direction for vibration to flow to and thru..My words..What results is a much cleaner sound,more natural more dynamic with greater focus and a much larger stage ,again my words..Unlike the use of lead or rubber materials which seem to kill the dynamics soften the focus and reduce the stage. My words and my personal experiments. An Apcd disc is shown on the Audiopoints web page/Starsound page and is a surface protective device and much more. I have found the discs in some cases improve the coupling and the sound when using Audiopoints or a Sistrum platform on some surfaces or with very light weight components, 5 lbs or so.. my Melos preamp is a prime example. Tom
Thanks to all the responses to my humble request for help.

Roy, thanks for all your thoughtful posts. The fact that you are taking so much time to help a customer speaks loads about your commitment.

As to a few of your thoughts. My connections are clean; not only used Deoxit, but also treated all connection with that SST silver stuff from Walker Audio. Tweeters are not loose. I did move the speakers from my MDF stand to a 50 lb cement pedestal and noticed some slight improvement. Tried some brass cones I had lying around with no improvement (these weren't Audiopoints -- which have worked for me under other speakers.) I don't think the tweeters are damaged, unless damage could manifest itself very subtly.

It may well be that the sound of the Europas are just a bit softer than the Thiels. While I do like the resolution of the Thiels, on many recordings they are just too hard and thin sounding. Hence, my switch to the Europas. I may still try some metal stands (several folks have suggested Osiris), though I am loath to drop a bunch of money and not see improvement.

Then again, maybe I will just sit back and relax, and wait for those new speakers of yours.

One note for Songwriter. I just don't get it. I don't see Warren as condesending in slightest. I see "audiophool" as a partly self-depricating joke -- a way to poke fun at this somewhat foolish hobby. As someone said a few posts ago, your comments put the spotlight on the attacker. Let it go and enjoy your speakers.
I've always considered the top end of Thiel models I've heard (casually) to be a problem. The first thing I'd look for in a prospective speaker is something softer at the top, so this quality in the Europas compared to the Thiels would be a selling point. But that's just my preference.
Richs. of course you don't get it. You've come in to pitch the 9th inning......but you weren't here for the previous 8 innings. Warren is a guy who e-mailed me time after time until he got enough "ammo", if you will, to attack the product this thread is about in this forum. How could you understand? As time goes on, you'll know and understand the "real" Warren.
Ditto songwriter!

Richs, do a search.
I tried the sistrum speaker stands and found them to be a big improvement under my monitors. Really opened up the stage and imaging improved. highend and bass also improved for the better. What was a really nice addition, was the increase in dynamics. Sistrum will offer a 30 day money back, plus refund half of the shipping back if you don't agree. You really have nothing to lose, except time, and having fun checking out a new audio product. Try them and let me know what you think. You can email me if you would like. regards, scott
I've had great experiences with Audiopoints. Have them under my CD and amp, and made a component rack to Robert's specs with Audiopoints and brass rods. The problem with the Sistums for my speakers is stability. I have a kid and pets, and they could be bumped into. I'm considering finding metal stands from Parts Express or elsewhere and fitting them with Audiopoints. Not as good as a Sistrum I'm sure, but moving in that direction. Thanks for your thoughts.
Spoke to Robert over at Starsound, and he told me that they are going to exhibit at two shows in the Fall. The Chicago Audio Society in September, and the Rocky Mountain show in Denver in October. Finally they'll be out there for people to hear their electronics and speakers. It'll be here before you know it. Will be very exciting. Since I know, already, what the audiophools, who attend those shows are going to (as far as the Caravelles and Sistrum are concerned) hear; it is very exciting. Looking forward to hearing the buzz....
Interesting...the top end of the Europas varies considerably according to who you talk to...some consider them very revealing...others claim the are mellow(like the original poster)...alot of this is very recording and equipment dependent...as a GMA owner...the Europas are not the last word in detail or "sparkle"...however...hard to find something more musical or enjoyable than these in their price range...enjoy
I found that the Europa's to be very revealing of interconecting cables. I agree with the recording's and related equipment comments. I find many, if not most speakers add "something" or "take away" something from many recordings. I find the Europa's to be "pitch on" accurate....something I cannot say about most speakers. Their remarkable ability to let the sound of the instrument or voice be heard, with all the complex harmonics and nuances is truly amazing for the price. Most good speakers allow you to determine that your listening to an accoustic guitar. I find, as a guitarist, with the Europa's you can tell it's an accoustic, nylon strings and plucked with a finger, not a pick. I can easily hear the difference between a Martin's big bottom end and the more resonant graphite guitars built here on Maui that I hear almost daily. Vocals are the same. The emotion comes thru on this speaker so well it gives me chills at times. I'm enjoying re-discovering my music collection PLUS tons of new music that I just never connected with prior to buying the Europa's. Lets hear it for Roy for providing us with a remarkable speaker at an even more remarkable price!
Mahalo Nui Loa Roy (Thank you very much)
I'll chip in to the thread:

The Europas are some of the finest monitors regardless of price.
You should hear the buzz the Harmonic Precision Caravelles made at the Las Vegas show this past weekend. Almost as big a buzz as they did at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. See, the cream always comes to the top. Watch 6moons.com. I believe Srajan is going to review them next month. He freaked out when he heard them at the RMAF. peace, warren

Well, the Caravelles did it again at the Vegas show. Lots of sound and talk about and concerning these babies. Go figure. Must be something to these little jems.
Hey guys, I'm truly sorry for the overkill. I didn't realize that I had posted before on this. It's just that I spoke to an audiophool, who gave me some info, that flipped my flooter, about the show. My fingers were moving faster than my eyes. peace,warren