'lateral' move - help

Here's my situation:

I started with a HT. Nakamichi AV10 receiver, NHT 2.5i mains, NHT VS2.4 centre, NHT 1.3a rears. Rotel rcd971 transport, MSB link DACIII half nelson.

Wanted better sound for music. HT is secondary.
Decided to go from HT to strictly two-channel. Sold the Nak. Bought a Unison Rearch Unico. Smoother sound, yes. More detailed? not really. Airy? AGain, not really.

I figured it must be my speakers. Sold em all. Bought a pair of StudioLab Reference 1's - MUCH different speaker than the NHT's...NHT = 1" metal tweeter, 6.5" inch midbass, 8" woofer. StudioLab Ref 1's - 3/4" soft dome tweeter, 4.5" bass driver.

When auditioning the StudioLabs in the store, they were being driven by a Jolida 30w/ch hybrid (JD301?) and source was a cambridge cd player. Not the most serious stuff, but 'good' gear.

With this gear, the sound of the StudioLabs was very open and airy - breathy, even. Very fast, crisp and clean. They lacked the ultimate in bass, but that's the price i was willing to pay for that type of higher fidelity sound. Ordered a pair. Just got em yesterday. Thought I would be infinitely pleased.

Now the sad part. I do realize that speakers in general need breaking in. And i know how significant this break in can be. But, I'm just not getting the clarity and airiness that i'm looking for. Further, there is a room resonance at a certain bass frequency...the room loads at that frequency and the bass becomes boomy and one note-y. This is most noticeable with dance music. I attribute this strictly to the room, which i KNOW to be very poor acoustically.

The fact of the matter is, I thought these speakers would significantly outperform my old NHT's in terms of airiness, clarity and dimensionality. I was wrong.

Is it possible that once the new speakers are fully broken in, the sense of 'air' will present itself? Or should i resign myself to the possible fact that the speakers are just not a good match for what is running them? Or is it possible that my room, in conjunction with the 'bass loading' characteristic has a way of 'killing the airiness' of a speaker?

Also, would changing tubes in the Unico help at all?

I'm not sure what to do or where to go at this point. I lost a lot of money in selling my old gear, and frankly, i'm not happy about it.

Cables are Audioquest type 4 and interconnects are MIT terminator 2???...digital cable from transport to dac is Kimber D60 silver.

The room is about 11.5 x 14, system on the long wall (has to be) Hardwood floor. Area carpet. Wall carpet. At times, there's a bed that extends into the room (which definitely interferes with the imaging), although this bed is put into couch form when listening critically.

any ideas at what i'm lacking to get this 'air'?

You just got the speakers yesterday? Don't even think about this stuff 'til you've got at least a couple of weeks' worth of regular use on them. Try putting a CD on repeat or using a tuner and leave them playing music while you're out of the house, if you can, to speed break-in. Come back to the thread after the speakers have over 100 hours on them and give us an update.
thanks, Zaikesman,

It's relieving, to a degree, that you so quickly and adamantly state that I should have more patience and allow break-in, which leads me to believe that there could be significant change.

My head's not throbbing as much now... :)

Yes, well, I can't of course promise you that the speakers will improve greatly, or that you'll ultimately like them - just that they *will* change, and that it's way too early to know yet. Take an aspirin and call us next month. :-)
if you do anything get a darn bass trap-build a jon risch one or buy one asap, with what you describe it may be a mojor problem with a simple fix
Per the Bass hump, of course, you can never get perfect sound in a bad room, but some careful moving will minimize the bass problems. Try listening to one speaker at a time, in an assemetrical room, chances are, it is coming from one speaker. Try Left and right until you find the speaker causing the boom, then move it until it sounds better, then position the other speaker as necessary, then listen to only that speaker, get it right, adjust the first speaker- hey no one said is was easy...

As far as I can suggest otherwise, I had the SR-1 Unison Research integrated amp. Basically the same thing, but it looks TONS more "Italian" than the Unico. Good sound, really good for the money.

I've heard the Cambridge described as "airy", and they seem to be great for fairly inexpensive CD players. That might be some of the difference.
I doubt that the Roted with outboard DAC is worse, though, but probably different.

Please, No offense at this comment, but you didn't mention Interconnects, which can really, really affect sound. I used Topaz and Opal in the Old line, and you should be able to get these cheap used. Opal was a really, really awesome cable. Smooth, Airy, and fast, with good bass. Topaz was a bit fuzzier by comparison. Viper in the new line is Better than Opal. I'm using Python currently. While I am a loyal Audioquest user, the type 4 is really, really bad. Now, I still have my pair of type 4, so don't get mad, it was my first "real" set of speaker cables, but it's time to get those out of there.

I went from type 4 to Indigo (better, but not night and day, to the Midnight (nice sounding cable, and you can find it rather cheap now- it uses the good copper in Audioquest's now discontinued line) Be sure to get the latest, I think it is Midnight III, but not sure. From there I went to SA-40, which is an all silver cable. Expensive but awesome.

Anyway, since you've come this far, I'd really consider trying some better cables.

As far as Audioquest is concerned, the FPC (functionally perfect copper), and FPC 6 (99.9999% pure copper) is great sounding, and was used in their top end old cables-Midnight, Clear, Sterling, etc. NOW they use PSC (perfect surface copper)in their better cables, and they also raised the prices.

But, I've used the type 4, and there is not much air that will get through there.

Anyway, just my $0.02, good luck, and don't "loose" hope.
The posts about speaker location and room treatment are potentially valuable, but I'd still break-in the speakers first before investing a lot time with set-up, since you don't want to have to do it over again after the speakers have changed their sound. If you've ever noticed in magazine reviews, reviewers will often place new speakers in a second system and feed them a continuous signal for a couple of weeks prior to attempting to set them up for serious auditioning. Limit your variables to one thing at a time - first things first - and definitely don't rush to 'upgrade' or change any other system components or wires until the speakers are done breaking-in, as you run the risk of throwing your money even further in the wrong direction, *especially* if you wind up still not liking these speakers, in which case it will highly questionable whether it is wise to begin trying to compensate for their sound through other sysytem changes.

That question will need careful evaluation should that scenario come to pass, but it simply cannot be predictably or profitably addressed before the new speakers are A) thoroughly broken-in, and B) gotten used-to via extensive auditioning after condition "A" has been satisfied. Rushing into additional issues prematurely would be the surest way to compound the problem and stray further afield.
where do i find the plans for a decent bass trap? what works? what doesn't? I would want to build one that's relatively straightforward to build.

I need one that's relatively small...my room's already cramped as it is, which was one of the reasons i switched from my NHT's the the StudioLabs (which, btw, are beginning to open up...WOOHOOO!!)
Also...you are never going to get deep bass out of a 4.5 inch cone...even the best small speakers in the world have this common problem...especially with electronic music that demands it...that is the trade off when one upgrades to a more musical monitor...the improvement in transparency,coherency, and involvement should become more apparent very soon...good luck...