My stereo isn't doing it for me. Need advice


I have been trying to get a great sounding room for a while now and it still doesn't sound great or even good. I have a Prinaluna Dialogue 5 power amp and a Primaluna Prologue preamp. All with stock tubes so far. A Marantz c6005 CD player. Morrow mc3 interconnects and Kimber 8tc speaker cable. My speakers are Dynaudio x12's which sound the best in my room. I also have Dynaudio x32 speakers and a pair of KEF LS50 speakers. Also a REL T-5 subwoofer. My room is my office and is 9 x 11 with 8 Foot ceilings. Some acoustic stuff sounds great but the louder stuff not so much. I find I listen to music that sounds good rather than music I want to hear. Any suggestions on what I can change. I also bought a Class D Audio 200 watt per channel amplifier that makes everything sound even worse.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje1mdewmjqzmtusimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=a1a8330ec376d087d561e9445f5aaf3eda2ae7483c48270e22c3c3a0b73917e0&w=128dylanfan
I'm very interested about your problems. Few questions:

1. First when you said it sound not ok for you, which sound property you mean? High/mid/bass? Sound stage? Transparency? Dynamic and distortions?

2. If possible you can briefly describe musical genre that you are listening to

3. What's the music that sound good? What's the music you want to hear?

4. Between, I got the Class D Audio power amp too

5. Looking at your setup, subwoofer matching here could be the problem? Maybe, bass overemphasize than high/mid frequency?
Two things come to mind:

1. How are your speakers set up? Are the speakers on stands, close to the wall, out in the room, etc. Have you tried moving them around?

2. The CD6005 is not on par with your amplification ... your have $4500 in amplification paired with a $500 cd player. I would be thinking about seriously upgrading the CD player. For example, I have a Prima Luna Prologue 5 power amp (list 2k) paired with a Musical Fidelity CD PRE 24 (list 3k). They play nice together.

Question - what is not sounding right? Is it certain types of music?

Rich
You have beautiful equipment that, when set up properly, should sound
amazing. While the CD player is not on par with the balance of your system, I do
not think that is the root problem and I am a guy who believes the theory that
"source is king". The Marantz CD player you use is quite nice and, if
anything, it will only be guilty of rounding the rough edges of bad CD sound. I
think inserting a higher resolution player is not what will turn your experience
around.

You are not "connecting" with your system.

The proof that your system is amiss is evinced by the fact that you are turning to
music which is well-recorded rather than to music you like. That is a very bad
sign.

Your room is small but it's the exact same dimensions as mine and I get great
sound (sometimes). Explore better racks and/or speaker stands. Both are hugely
important. For equipment racks, look into Quadraspire and for speaker stands
look into Sound Anchors. I think both will pay dividends.

By the way, I see you like Bob Dylan. Bob's on Letterman show tonight as final
music guest.
You need a bigger room. With that gear, it will be tough to get good sound in a small room with similar dimensions.
Take music that you like to listen to and go out and demo equipment until you find something that will make you happy. In the mean time, don't spend another dime on your system.
Very small room and close to being square. I would try some acoustic treatments at the 1st reflection points.
Is it possible to do an experiment? Can you take your equipment and place them in a bigger room for a couple hours? If you find you like your system in a different room, then it's not the equipment. If you don't like it again, then you need to start eliminating/changing things
Have you tried NOT using the REL subwoofer? Since it's a very small room you could be overloading the room with bass. The Prima Luna might not be the best match for your trio of speakers. A leaner/faster sounding amp(Bryston 135-Krell 400ix-Primare 30/31) and faster(better) cables(Nordost/JPS)could clean up the mid/upper bass of your speakers.
Since music sounds good at lower volume and louder sounds worse, I think it's your room.
Room treatments and setup may help.

Some people including myself (previous room) have had success setting the system up diagonally. IOW the rack between the speakers is in a corner, and behind you is the opposite corner.
Steve Deckert has a paper on it. I had similar issues, read the paper, set up diagonally and kept it that way until I moved into another room.

http://www.decware.com/paper14.htm
Been moving my speakers around. LP's sound pretty good. Just hooked up an Oracle Alexandria turntable. I do think my cd player is the weak link. I also have some framed concert posters on the side wall and behind me. Those must stay. I have the sub turned down pretty low.
The Dynaudio x12's sound better than the x32's in the room. I just wanted a fuller sound. Sound is thin to me.
Change your preamp tubes to Tungsram or RFT from Tubestore in Hamilton, Ontario.
You have to have a reference for what sounds good to you before you can attempt to replicate it.

Have you heard a system or systems that sounds really good? What were they? What did it sound like? That would be your reference. Could be at a show, dealer or another person's home.

You can't hit the bullseye until you know where the target is.

other than that, on paper, the Class D amps are probably a better match to the Dynaudio speakers. I do not know of any Dynaudios that are tube amp friendly.

Other speakers would likely do better with teh PL tube amp.

I'd get a good amp/speeaker pairing in place with speakers that best fit your likes and your room specifically and then tweak from there.

So there are various ways you can practically tackle the problem but its hard to say what the best way is until the target sound you are shooting for can be better described.
BTW I own Dynaudios and run them off a very good quality BEl Canto Class D amp and this is a very good match to work with.

I have also heard KEF ls50s in my system. Like Dynaudios, these are also not tube amp friendly speakers. THey sounded good with my 500 w/ch Class D amps also in a smaller room but very thin off a different 180 w/ch SS amp (not Class D) in a larger room. These are good speakers but small so they can only provide full sound in a room that is not too big.

So all your speakers are a match on paper to teh Class D amp, and are not tube amp friendly. SO best PERFORMANCE with Dynaudios and teh KEFs will be achieved with a high power Class D or similar SS amp.

Applying a sub to offload the low end would work towards the end of using these speakers with the tube amp.

You have the best chance of getting the best sound fastest by optimizing the performance of teh gear that will be working together. Once performance is optimized, ie all gear is a technical match, tehn you are in a position to tweak teh sound to your tastes in various ways from there.

BTW I have heard of several cases where people were sold Primaluna tube gear by dealers with no consideration to what speakers would be used. In all cases the tube amp was changed to a more suitable SS or Class D amp specifically to get to where people wanted.

Or you could go with higher efficiency easier to drive speakers like Tekton or ZU or Klipsch for example to match to the tube amp better.

If tyou keep the PL tube pre-amp, make sure the input impedance of the Class D or SS amp you use with it is 40Kohm or higher in order to assure a good match between higher output impedance tube pre-amp and SS amplifier. IMpedance matching like this is another key for optimizing performance as a stepping stone to getting the best sound possible via tweaking from there.
Before you go buying anything else, can you give a few examples of CDs you are listening to that sound bad? Just want to make sure you're not judging a lot of really good equipment against some really bad recordings. I was just listening to Benjamin Orr's (from The Cars) "The Lace" and it sounds like when they recorded it one of the engineers fell asleep at the board and accidentally shoved all the high frequency sliders to max. There are so many bad recordings, if a person judges good equipment with them it would be easy to think you've created a bad system or have a bad room when in fact neither is the case.
That's a tough room. You will probably never get any speakers to sing at more than a moderate volume. Anything beyond that and you are overloading the room and exciting bass nodes too.

You said that some acoustic stuff sounds great. I say live with what you've got until you can move into a decent sized room.

Shakey
Thanks for all the help. Going to change out the CD player first and see what happens. Been considering Ascend speakers and Tekton. Had Klipsch Forte's with a previous system and the sounded okay but too bright.
I don't think the CDP is the main culprit. Room acoustics, amp/speaker synergy and cable synergy should be the focus. Ascend and Tekton are not an upgrade(possible downgrade)from your current speakers. I've heard Vienna Acoustic speakers(Haydn SE?) sound excellent with Prima Luna gear. Another monitor option(have not demoed)is the Coincident Triumph Extreme 2 which is made for tube gear and is claimed to have accurate bass under 50hz.
Dylan...you are going in the absolute wrong direction with a speaker change. That is not the prob. It's the room and/or racks.
After you discover that the CD player isn't the problem, might as well throw a pair of Lansche 8.2 speakers in that room, fill in any remaining space with stuffed animals, and start praying.
My experience mirrors Shakey's advise. If this room is dedicated to audio you might try a nearfield set up (for example a 6' triangle) where the speakers are well out into the room. At moderate levels this could sound quite nice.

The alternative I chose when I faced your problem was to use quality headphones and a dedicated headphone amplifier. Then you can get a recliner, close the door, and literally shut out the world! :-)
Unlike most of the other posters, I do not know what your problem is. But I do know how to fix it.

I agree do not change anything until you have optimized what you have.

I have a 12X12 sunroom with cathedral ceilings that is my acoustically challenged room. My gear sounds fantastic in my other rooms larger and similar size, but that one was always a tough challenge acoustically. Its small but very lively with windows on 3 sides and reflective tile floors over a vibration prone modern suspended plywood floor.

I finally solved it and have it sounding spot on with small monitors positioned just a few inches off the floor with slight upward tilt using short and inexpensive Isoacoustic brand stands available on Amazon.

There was always too much or too little bass in this room not matter what I tried. Floorstanders, monitors on stands at ear level mostly.

The Isoacoustic stands were the key. They enable bass reinforcment from the floor from teh smaller Triangle Titus monitors but keep it clean by isolating the speakers from interacting with teh floor rather than coupling to it, as is usually the case with most floorstanders or monitors on stands.

Now that room is one of my best with perfect full articulate bass and all the rest in spades.

The key was getting the bass under control by isolating teh speakers from interacting with the floor using teh Isoacoustic stands.

OPs case may be similar or different, don't know. But thought there enough similarity to throw this seldom discussed and relatively inexpensive tweak option out there.
Tough room. D/C the sub. Then experiment with speaker position. Some panel treatment will help with high frequencies but very difficult to control room modes. I've had a small room in the past. I would rather have good headphones than wrestle with it again.
I will echo the advice from Sebrof. I was forced to move in to a 12X12 room and after a few months of God awful sound I found the Decware paper Sebrof mentioned. The results were revelatory and I now have wonderful sound with a three dimensional soundstage to die for. Still can't go too loud. That ain't happening in a small room no matter how well treated it is.
You have some very fine equipment in a challenging room. The preponderance of advice from the forum has been to address that room. You decide to change your cdp or speakers, WTF?
My experience with high end audio suggest that the size and dimensions of your room has a lot to do with your perspective on how your equipment is performing. A 9x11 room with the 8ft ceiling will never allow the propagation of really deep bass fundamentals. Along with that your reflection points almost assures that there will be standing wave problems. Having said that, however, there are remedies... which range from room correction software products to sophisticated tweaks which have been thoroughly discussed in previous threads. Bottom line is that, with the exception of your CD player, your choice of HiFi gear should get you a long way toward satisfying sound. I would leave your equipment alone and work on room acoustics before making other changes.
The preponderance of advice from the forum has been to address that room. You decide to change your cdp or speakers, WTF?
WTF indeed.
At least he's not changing out cables ;)
You have power issues.
1:Dyaudio's are generally low in sensitivity and may need a more powerful amp when playing louder.

2: CD player is not up to snuff

3: Cables not up to snuff either. Kimber 8TC is a good starter cable without the resolution of some of the better cables out there, I would also suspect the Morrow. The ew series 7 Wireworld cables are fantastic.

4: Power conditioning can make a huge difference also power cords.

The last thing I would change is the speakers the Dynaudio's are very good so are the Kef LS 50.

If you get a good power amplifier not class D with the Prima preamp you would get a nice improvement.
"Bottom line is that, with the exception of your CD player, your choice of HiFi gear should get you a long way toward satisfying sound."

Why wouldn't you factor in the CD player? It doesn't make sense to leave it out.
Dump everything now!!
A confounding thread, to say the least. As others have said, unless you can articulate/identify the desired destination other than "fuller sound", which is rather ambiguous, you cannot get there from here.

OP- you've got terrific components in a somewhat challenging room. Someone else suggested nearfield listening which removes much of the room from the equation.

Sometimes it pays to simply listen to the music rather than to the gear. Cable this, CDP that, etc....

Good luck.
Yeah, so you don't have the best CDP, but that doesn't enter into this sound problem.
I agree that you should try listening in a near-field setup before buying new gear.

Set your listening position about 6 to 7 ft. from speakers. Start by positioning each speaker close to the side walls, then move them incrementally closer toward the center of the room. You'll eventually reach the sweet spot for soundstaging. Then try with and w/o subwoofer. This setup will help remove the effect the room has on the sound.

You may not want to live with a near-field setup, but by doing this first, you'll get a closer representation of the synergy of your system. You might find that your amp and speakers are a good match.
Well wonder of wonders. A friend of mine who deals in vintage audio got in a pair of Sound Anchor speaker stands 24 inches high. I picked those up this afternoon and then moved my speakers out closer to me for a more near field listening. Sounds much better. Still given my tiny room not much else can be done but This sure helps. My Primaluna sounds great like this. I can live with the cd player for now. Thanks Lindisfarne for the Sound Anchor recommendation.
Dylanfan: You can post a video link of your setup, then it will be at least some clear picture to members for help, for me I'm pretty simple guy, near field computer setup, with accurate imaging, with sweet spot setup and moderate volume, you can enjoy music more. If you wanna have party sound right, I guess we need to have proper acoustic management as fellow members suggested here, also mastering of audio track is another important matter to consider, very bias and confuse for all these, my sweet spot setup:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpEHq2VpNCI
"1:Dyaudio's are generally low in sensitivity and may need a more powerful amp when playing louder.

2: CD player is not up to snuff

3: Cables not up to snuff either. Kimber 8TC is a good starter cable without the resolution of some of the better cables out there, I would also suspect the Morrow. The ew series 7 Wireworld cables are fantastic.

4: Power conditioning can make a huge difference also power cords.

The last thing I would change is the speakers the Dynaudio's are very good so are the Kef LS 50.

If you get a good power amplifier not class D with the Prima preamp you would get a nice improvement."

He could do all of that and it would still sound like crap when you consider the room is about the size of a walk in closet.

Shakey
So how is nearfield sounding at different volumes and with various music genres?
SOund Anchor are nice stands.

If those are sounding good 24" off the ground, the Isoacoustics I mentioned might be worth a try. These are less expensive pro stands and very effective but are short stands designed to be used with pro studio monitors. Can be used on floor, desk wherever needed. Three sizes available. One of those would likely fit the smaller Dynaudios or ls50s.

Which speaker are you talking about now that you are hearing better results with different stands and nearfield? The Dynaudios, KEFs or both?
http://www.amazon.com/IsoAcoustics-1004209-ISO-L8R155-Medium-Pair/dp/B008GOP79G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432133841&sr=8-1&keywords=isoacoustics

If you need a pair of inexpensive but effective isolating speaker stands for smaller speakers in a small room, you probably cannot go wrong with these. They were one of the most unique and effective tweaks ever for me in my wife's small and acoustically challenged 12X12 sunroom.
Sound Anchors also makes equipment stands. I have one built custom for my preamp and turntable, each sitting on an anti-vibration platform; it has 4 shelves so the CDP is taken care of as well. I've run it this way for years. It was a nice improvement.
It would seem that even a cursory reading of the responses indicates that you have a room that is your main problem. The speaker/room interface is, BY FAR, the most important arbiter of good sound quality.

The folks who are advising that you run around throwing equipment at your problem are way off base. Adding an AC power conditioner isn't gonna do jack sh!t for you. And neither will expensive speaker cables and over-priced AC cables.

You *must* improve your speaker/room interface. The best ways to do this are:

1) Carefully "tuning" of the room/speakers to eliminate early reflection points and peaks/nulls caused by standing waves.

2) Employing the use of "room correction" software (RCS). Surely you've heard of Audyssey, Dirac, Trinnov and other such systems? If not, time to get on Google and start getting educated. The better RCS systems can do an astonishing job of taming problem room/speaker interfaces.

In fact, your best bet is to combine 1 and 2 above. Read up on how to "tame" your room with acoustic treatments and employ the tricks learned there. Then get an RCS system and spend a coupla days or so dialing in the room using the RCS.

I flat guaran-damn-tee you that if you do these two things your system will sound *worlds* better!! And the knowledge you gain from this exercise will allow you to setup any future system much more quickly, easily, and accurately.

Feel free to contact me off-list if you'd like some help or advice....

-RW-
I guessing he's using 2 legs of the electricity which will destroy the sound, make sure only 1 leg is used.
"05-20-15: Coli
I guessing he's using 2 legs of the electricity which will destroy the sound, make sure only 1 leg is used."

I assume that's a joke.

"05-20-15: Rlwainwright
It would seem that even a cursory reading of the responses indicates that you have a room that is your main problem. The speaker/room interface is, BY FAR, the most important arbiter of good sound quality."

That's not always the case. What's most important will vary from person to person. For me, there are other qualitites that to be more important then the room to speaker interface.
No that is not a joke, first hand experience. No amount of equipment change could solve it. And it was not the room either.
+1 for the fact that about 50% of Agon posters I have interacted with over the last ten years responded to this post within one day.
+2 for the "room is the problem"
+3 for the stuffed animals suggestion.
+4 for the near field listening suggestion. I have my office system set up near field with monitor speakers on the diagonal near the corner in a smaller room with a sub and it is spooky good, even at (relatively) high volume. My equipment is half as good as Dylan's. In another problem room (too lively) setting monitor speakers up on the floor solved the glassy sound. Isolate with wooden plinth may help further.

Mapman. Just have to say one of the best systems I ever heard for synergy was Primaluna One integrated plus Dynaudio 52SE with vinyl front end. To each their own.

in
Very small room and close to being square. I would try some acoustic treatments at the 1st reflection points.
Is it possible to do an experiment? Can you take your equipment and place them in a bigger room for a couple hours? If you find you like your system in a different room, then it's not the equipment. If you don't like it again, then you need to start eliminating/changing things
I'm not an electrician, but I thought you had to have 2 legs in order for your AC to work properly. I had one leg go out in my house a few months ago and nothing worked. It was a nightmare. Maybe we're not talking about the same thing?
a hindu sage was confronted by a man who said his meager budget forced him to live above a noisy garage and he had trouble meditating, the sage asked his students to submit a solution. they all got it wrong. finally the sage said to the man in question....MOVE.
Another thing to try is to put the speaker into the corner, right against the wall.
I read the Decware paper linked above by Sebrof and myriad of other "how to" articles and am still lost. I already had Room Tune products in recommended ceiling and corner spots. But when I added acoustic panels at first and second reflection points and behind my listening position, my sound became lifeless and boring. IMHO I over treated my room. But did I? I thought I treated the room correctly. Is it just a matter of getting used to the new sound?
And for a room with an 8' ceiling are 2'x4' panels to be placed midway on the wall or on the lower half or upper half of the wall? I apologize for such basic questions.
Have you listened to your equipment through earphones?
+1 to Stringreen's suggestion. A good way to find out if the system ahead of the speakers is at fault.