Musical Fidelity and Sonus Grand Piano too bright.

Hi All,

I'm finding that this set-up is a little on the bright side (acoustic guitar especially). Sometimes I get ear fatiuge. Everything is all burned in. I've had all the equipment for over one year.

I'm considering changing all the electronics, but not sure where to start. I'm looking for SS stuff with a tube-like sound. My price range would be something comparable to the MF stuff. My only contraint is that my new electronics must have an HT bypass.

My system consists of the following:
1)Sonus Grand Piano Home (not Domus);Walls & Solo
2)Musical Fidelity A308 Integrated
3)MF A3.24 DAC
4)Synergistic Alpha Quad Interconnects and Speaker Cables.


Get rid of the speakers, they are the problem.

Sell them off and find yourself a nice pair of Electa Amator I's and you're back in business without having to change your theater speakers.

Recently I solved this problem with similar components...MF electronics and Spendor problem ended up being isolation. I tried Vibrapod's cheapest pad and it took the edge right off. Prior I was switching from CD to Vinyl just to stay listening, but I can easily go all night on digital now. Just a thought...
In addition to (NOT instead of) isolation, you MAY (or may not) want to try the Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers. For me, an EXCELLENT tweak, at least with my previous speakers (Paradigm Studio 100 V3's). With the Paradigms, these gave BOTH more detail AND more smoothness on the high end, PLUS the bass was noticably deeper and tighter.

{{{{{ NOTE: I haven't had the time to A/B the Intuitive Design Summits with and without them, so I've left them in place since the get-go with the Summits, and the system sounds astonishingly wonderful beyond all possible belief (although that's mostly due to the Summits, the Dodson, and the Odyssey Extreme monoblock amps and preamps).}}}}}

Another great thing I found: The Dodson 217 Mark II D DAC. Phenomenal improvement. Even more so than the Dakioms, I'm pretty sure, but also WAAAYYY more money (but worth every penny). The 218 is said to be even better.

Don't give up. I had the same problem with my old system and it's.....GONE!

Try new speaker cables like the Transparent Music Wave Plus (current MM version or previous version). The MF electronics are a little bright and the Synergistics may be highlighting the issue. The Synergistics are good cables, just not the right match for the MF amp.

If the speakers can be bi-wired and you are using the stock copper plates between the tweeter and woofer inputs, try using better jumper cables between the inputs. Transparent also make some good ones.

Chadlesko has a good point about isolation. The heavy gauge aluminum chassis of the MF has a high resonance frequency that could make the highs brighter. Using the Audioquest Sorbothane feet or the Black Diamond Racing Cones could help.
I've heard the Grand Pianos with an Audio Research 100.2 and Transparent cabling and liked it very well indeed. The MF electronics are probably not ideally matched to the treble of the speakers.
I agree - the MF 308 is on the bright side. Newer MF is a little darker and doesn't have that bightness anymore. I have never heard a pair of SF speakers sound bright so I don't think they are the problem. I would suggest trying a McIntosh MA6500. Arthur
I thought about doing some sort of isolation. This might be the most cost effective altnerative. Also want to add that I'm using the MF x10v3 Tube Buffer between the DAC and transport (old CD player), so my system just might need a little tweeking.
I have the same system and the treble is a realy big problem. The problem is the amplifier. I´ve heard whith a copland, a plinius and the treeble was smooth. I´m choosing a new amplifier.
So far no one has mentioned the room possibility as a problem. If you did not have this brightness problem before in the same room but with different equipment then maybe it is the speakers or components. But, I have found any given set up to sound incredibly different in different rooms. Often if the sound is too bright, you can tame the room with some simple changes to the room (Absorption panels at the reflection points) as well as toe-in changes to the speakers. I have heard the SF speakers you have and found them not to be bright at all. So if it is not the room, then perhaps the electronics...which I have not heard.
Thanks for the thoughtful and experienced response, Jimmy. It's the electronics - if you've heard them you'd know that that series of MF are quite bright and take careful matching with speakers.

IMO cables and room treatments should be used as a final tweak for a system and not a remedy for characteristics of the components themselves. If not, get ready to spend a LOT of money on silly gadgets and snake oil in your quest.
GHunter - there's more to it than what you say. The point not to adjust your room to the equipment (and forget about cables - I never mentioned them) I agree with and am not advocating.
Most importantly, my point is that if you have a crappy room, going around trying to solve its problems (especially in the highs) by replacing numerous pieces of expensive equipment is not the right answer either.
Lastly, taming highs with things like damping, whether curtains or relatively inexpensive retail products, is not snake oil and is backed by simple science.
My point is simply that you have no experience with the equipment in question and are too quick to suggest an overly simple solution to a well-known issue.
Ghunter - 99% chance of room problems, the MF piece is fine. Room acoustics are WAY more real than audiophile amp-inherent brightness.
I thought it was common knowledge that damping at the first and second reflection points was (nearly) mandatory, unless one has a rather large room. I doubt that that has changed, regardless of equipment. HP, whose room I have been in, has damping at the first and second reflection points ALL the time -- and this is in his main room, with the AGR speakers.
Electronics simply sound brightER in a non-damped room; they WILL sound bright, period, if they ARE bright,unless the partnering electronics have a droop in the treble.
I've used Tube Traps since 1986, as well as RPG reflectors, and I can't imagine any room less than 15' wide not needing reflection at the first (and second!) reflection points. To NOT be doing this is throwing money away: one is simply hearing the room, not the equipment at its best
GHunter - thank you for clarifying your response. Yes, I do not have any experience with that equipment. And I have had electronics that sounded really awful.
The poster (tghooper) mentions nothing about his room, so I couldn't know if he has his SF speakers in a gymnasium or an overly-damped 'English Library' with books, fireplace, persian rugs and smoking jacket to boot.
That said, after owning those terrible amplifiers I had (which I won't mention), and having what I considered a good room, I switched to a smoother amp (McIntosh) and it made all the difference in the world.
There are a lot of shades of gray in this hobby.
When I bought my Sonu Faber Grans Piano (Original)

I heard them through the Musical Fidelity 308 with a Naim CD5. The cabling for the speaker was the Cardas Golden Cross. No brightsound at all, that why I bough the Sonus Faber on the spot.
I am a big fan of SF and have owned several of thier speakers. I have concluded this: For a warm and soothing as the SF line is, the orignal GPs are bright.

I too would get seriosuly listener fatigue and it did not stop until I got rid of the GPs.

Good luck, John

What is true for me may not be for you.....
After some trials and tribulations, I changed pretty much all of the components (except for the speakers and speaker wires). Here's an updated list. Of course this may change in the next few months too and is still a work in progress. I hate this disease...
1)Cary SLP98L
2)Cary 308
3)Conrad Johnson MFA2250A
4)Audience interconnects
5)Vibrapods & Vibrapod cones

I forgot to mention in my earlier posting that my system is in the family room which has about 25 ft. ceilings and extends into the kithen. It's a big room. Also has leather furniture and glass coffee tables. I have learned one important thing in my quest to improve on my old system. The best electronics in the world cannot compensate for bad room acoustics. This is something that I'm going to have to live with, unless we move to another house.

The current system is a step up from what I had but it's still a tad bit bright.

My next change will be to get new speaker wires. I know that the Synergistics is not the perfect match, but I needed a 20 feet pair, so I bought these since they were reasonably priced. I may try Transparent. I also tried Audience, but found no improvment.

Another change is to go with an amp that is more "laid back". The CJ is a tab bit in your face. I bought this amp after reading that it has "tube like" qualities. But I found that this claim was somewhat true. I think a tube would not be a good fit since my room too big and the base would be too mussy. Any recommedations???