looking for advice on bookshelf speakers


I am a audiophile who suffers frequent headaches. I still try and listen to music daily . I am only able to listen for an hour at a time. My current speakers are Paradigm Studio Reference 40 v2's . The treble is the hardest part for my listening sessions. Can people tell me of a good monitor that has mild treble . Maybe laid back is a good term for what i am looking for.I will be buying used with a budget of say $1,000 to $1500. If you know of any, that would be a great help. Also maybe a certain integrated amp would have a more pleasing sound ? Thank you !
maplegrovemusic
Look for something with a silk dome sweeter. I use Tyler Acoustics speakers myself. Good luck.
Go with soft dome tweeters. Stay away from a metal dome.
I would go an NAD or Cambridge audio amp with perhaps Wharfedale speakers. I personally love Dynaudio speakers, and though they have silk dome tweets, they can be a little treble happy. However, if you pair Dyn's with Cambridge Audio integrateds or the NAD's you should do much better. But Dyn's can be pricey, and Wharfedales are kicking butt lately.
For cabling I'd recommend Audioquest Diamondback or Cardas 300B. Both are transparent yet easy on the ears as are the source components mentioned above. If you go Wharfedale 10.1 speakers for about $350 that just got RAVE reviews, you could perhaps get the other components/cables as well. Just some thoughts. Take care/good luck...Brian.
I came down with meningitis following a spine fusion surgery six years ago and one of the after effects is a sensitivity to higher pitches and higher frequencies.

Speakers that have worked for me: Rega Aras (now RS1s), Ascend Acoustics Sierras 1, and Opera Plateas (the Opera Seconda is the closest current model). I currently have a pair of Totem Mites in a bedroom system which after a year I have mixed feelings about. I find that I can not listen to them for more than an hour. Energy RC10s and Wharfedale 9.2 worked for awhile, but not in the long run. B&W speakers, across the board, seem to annoy me.

I find tubes more pleasing than solid state, so the Prima Luna amps are the cornerstones of my system.

Rich



Wow. I feel sorry for you guys/gals. I hope hat you can find something that is pleasing to listen to.
For speakers, go with something from Harbeth or Spendor, paired with a tube integrated from Cayin or Jolida. Should be able to pull this off for $2,500.
Perhaps a receiver or amp with treble and bass controls might help?
Try a towel over the tweeter adding or subtracting layers first. You may not need new speakers.
I'm another who doesn't tolerate over emphasized high frequencies very well. The suggestion of finding a monitor with a soft dome tweeter is a starting point but not always the answer.
I recently purchased a pair of Dynaudio 1.3SEs which use a soft dome tweeter but I found I kept turning the volume down. They really bothered my ears. Oddly enough, I'm currently listening to the Dynaudio Focus 110s and seriously keep turning them up. Go figure.
What I have found is a good speaker makes me want to turn the volume up. Not because the speakers don't sound good at low volume, but because they sound so good I just want to hear more.
My favorite monitors are the Soliloquy 5.0s. They sound very right with no listener fatigue. Another speaker I enjoy is the Snell J-7. They are about the same size as your Paradigms. Extremely detailed and clean without being harsh on the ear. I believe their clean sound is what keeps them from sounding harsh.
BTW, I used to own the Studio 60v.2.
Thanks to everyone so far . Some great points. There is a Dynaudio retailer here in MN. I will be checking them out. Also will be looking into a tubed integrated as suggested.

Just before looking to see how this thread was coming along i had an idea about replacing the tweeters on the paradigms with the silk dome tweets and started a thread in the tech talk dept to see if that would be a possibility.

I really like the mids and bass response of the paradigms. A new pair of silk tweete are around $90 from partsexpress. That would be a huge money saver if they are compatible.
I'm sensitive to high frequencies as well. Aerial 5's, Spendor and Harbeth are may favourites - you might also consider Cardas cabling. Not sure what your are using now, brands like Kimber, Nordost and Audience can brighten up a system to the point of pain sensitivity.

The Paradigms are definitely on the lean/bright side of things. Not surprised you are having a problem.

Integrated amps from Exposure and Rega would suit you, if you head in that direction. Tubes obviously are another alternative.

I'm using Cardas cables, tube integrated and Harbeths. Lots of detail with absolutely no fatigue.
I am using Kimber Kable Hero interconnects. MIT AVT 1 speaker cable. I have a PSE studio 2 amp and PSE studio l linestage . along with a NAD integrated and a Van Alstine omega 3 amp . I will be selling all of those to fund a new/used integratd .

Meiwan , what line of the cardas products do you recommend ? my comfort level for price is :$100-300 for speaker cables and up to $200 for ic's (used prices).It's funny you mention exposure, as last night i was also recommended that brand from a guy i bought a NAD piece from.
Cardas Neutral Reference would suit. Might be just slightly over your price point.

Cross would be your price point used. Depending on the amp/speaker combo, you might find it a little too full bodied, or maybe just right????

The Exposure 3010s2 is very nice - lots of body and texture. Not particularly 'airy', but certainly easy on the ears.
How about a full range driver with no tweeter?
I really like the mids and bass response of the paradigms. A new pair of silk tweete are around $90 from partsexpress. That would be a huge money saver if they are compatible.
Well that may work but I really doubt it. I say that because crossovers and cabinets are voiced to the drivers.
I recently purchased a pair of Dynaudio 1.3SEs which use a soft dome tweeter but I found I kept turning the volume down. They really bothered my ears. Oddly enough, I'm currently listening to the Dynaudio Focus 110s and seriously keep turning them up. Go figure.
What I have found is a good speaker makes me want to turn the volume up. Not because the speakers don't sound good at low volume, but because they sound so good I just want to hear more.
Timrhu Wow your the first person I ever heard that prefers the sound of a lower line in the Dynaudio product lineup.
As a Dyn owner I agree that turning them up because you want more. With the new focus series out there is a good possibility the dealer may have some good pricing on used.

I'm driving my C1's with an Octave V70SE tube integrated (great synergy). With most tube integrated/amps you can swap out different brands and types of tubes to change the sound without having to buy new electronics. That being said I will admit some tubes can cost as much as some would spend on electronics. A couple of things to think about before making the plunge into tubes. You want something that easily allows you to adjust the bias or auto bias (note with auto bias you may be limited on the number of different types of tubes you can use). Second would be a good protection circuitry because tubes will fail and when they do you don't want it to take out other parts.

Good luck and have a safe and happy New Year
A simple option to smooth and lessen treble energy, without the pain of experimenting with costly component changes, is an equalizer. It may not be audiophile accepted, but who cares if it helps you listen. You might check out dbx models readily available at chain guitar/musician stores. Simple, cheap, and effective.
full bodied

Atlas interconnects equator mk2 or atlas titan (if you can find) presents full bodied sound with grain free highs.
Dynaudio Contour S1.4. Extremely smooth. Fritz Carbon 7, also smooth.
proac 1SC's will do the trick, used, of course.
At low to medium volume levels, I find the sound of my Jolida 102B driving Totem Model One Signatures to be very musical, dynamic, and nonfatiguing. In fact, one of the few criticisms of the Model Ones in numerous reviews was a little reticence in the high end. As I've mentioned in prior posts, don't let the relatively low power of the Jolida deter you. Generally speaking, I've found tubes to provide a mellower, more engaging musicality, particularly when compared to less expensive solid state. Of course, I've upgraded tubes and cabling to further improve the sound.
Timrhu Wow your the first person I ever heard that prefers the sound of a lower line in the Dynaudio product lineup.
As a Dyn owner I agree that turning them up because you want more. With the new focus series out there is a good possibility the dealer may have some good pricing on used.
Xti16

It surprised me just how little I liked the 1.3SEs as I had high expectations. Got a good deal on the 110s so I thought I'd try them and resell them if they didn't work. I do enjoy them though, makes me want to look into the 140s.
Although I don't think my wife would care, the price of the C1s is more than I care to spend. I have considered the S1.4s but was turned off by the 1.3 experience. It isn't the first time I have preferred a lower model in a speaker line-up though.

IMO swapping the tweeter sounds like a bad idea unless you just like experimenting. It would greatly reduce the value of the Paradigms if you wanted to sell them.
Timrhu I've never listened to the focus line because the day I heard the C1's that was exactly the sound I wanted and I didn't want to price justify anything. It was a matter of coming up with the $$$$$$$$$$'s. Got them about 3 weeks later. Anyhow since then I upgraded to the Signatures. Believe it or not they are even clearer sounding. They also sound better at lower volumes but not sure if they play as loud (long story). If you get a chance check out the new focus (supposed to be extremely close sounding to the contours).
I second the Dynaudio.
As mentioned above, the Fritz Carbon 7's would be a good choice in your situation. Audition them if you can.
These test results show a resonance that will irritate some people. I had to leave the room they were in, when I heard them. The one may be right above 20kHz, but is heard by myself, and a young couple (newlywed?) that ordered them without hearing them. This husband and wife couple was trying to find a solution for these speakers they bought, and couldn't listen to. When a metal tweeter does this, some people just can't tolerate it. Link to measurements the couple had.
[http://www.stereophile.com/content/paradigm-reference-studio-60-v5-loudspeaker-measurements] Another model here.[http://www.stereophile.com/content/paradigm-reference-studio20-loudspeaker-measurements]
So...Maplegrovemusic, what did you finally do?
I'm also sensitive to edgy highs, and I also commend the Carbon 7s. Since Dyn's are getting mentioned here, I'll go out on a limb and say I prefer the Carbon's to the much more expensive C-1s. But the Carbons are a bit above the OPs stated pricepoint.

If the speakers are actually going to be in "bookshelf" application, and not free field on stands, I recommend Northcreek, which are designed for cramped placement, and have smooth highs.

John
Nothing yet . I will hear the dynaudio and Spendor in a month or two.The harbeths intrigue me also .
Someone mentioned single-driver speakers above and made me think of Glow Audio. You might look into their speakers (glow-audio.com). At an Axpona show a couple of years ago, I was amazed at the shrillness and glare of most of the systems on exhibit. Then I walked into the Glow Audio room and found blessed relief from their small, semi-spherical speakers playing with the Glow Audio subwoofer. They sounded very natural, without a hint of glare. And they're VERY affordable. Of course, you'll need a sub, and Glow's is very affordable, too. I've been thinking of picking up a pair myself.
-Bob
Harbeths.. Really the best choice
The Rega R1 Loudspeaker - A New Budget Reference

http://www.stereotimes.com/speak121305.shtml