mystery muffled mids


I have a year-old setup I enjoy very much. B&W D3 805s and Hegel H590. Sound is really great. Imagining fantastic. every second with it is pleasure until I try to play classic rock. Anything by Led Zeppelin sounds like someone has smushed the sound and it lost the mid range, imagining disappears. I tried playing louder but live with too many people around to be able to do that constantly. And it did not improve anything noticably. 
I normally stream from Tidal via Audirvana. Anything by Bill Frisell, for instance, sounds phenomenal. You feel you can grab the instrument from the air. I mention this since he uses similar instruments to Zeppelin. Bowie's stuff sounds awful, as does Queen. I know they should sound better. Kind of Blue is fantastic. Gaucho, Sea Change, Elephunk, Wildfloflowers, Know what I mean? -- all great. To a friend, I said that this means bad recordings sound bad. The friend said that's not it. what do you say? How can I improve the sound? thank you in advance.
petar3
Do you have another pair of speakers that you can swap?  
Thanks for your response. i do. didn’t think of it. they are not in the same league, however, as the 805s. what would be my conclusion though if sound is better for rnr but worse for other music?

For diagnosis, If you are using them with a sub, turn them off. 

Otherwise, try plugging the ports.

Do either of these acts improve the balance?
Two things come to mind. First is the source, Led Zep LPs sound OK but not that great not sure about Tidal, etc. Those records were mixed down on studio horn systems and when you turn it up to 11 using big horns it rocks the house. 
I suggested trying different speakers as a process of elimination. It would rule out other potential sources. 
following suggestions here, i tried another pair of speakers. it's definitely not the speakers. Thanks! 
Your description sounds like your bass is overwhelming the soundstage. Sounds like room interaction bass problem. Speaker placement 
could you elaborate what makes you think bass is an issue? And why it would impact only some music but not others? thanks!
I forgot to put that I have a sub, B&W ASW610. 
Anything by Bill Frisell, for instance, sounds phenomenal. You feel you can grab the instrument from the air. I mention this since he uses similar instruments to Zeppelin. Bowie's stuff sounds awful, as does Queen. I know they should sound better. Kind of Blue is fantastic. Gaucho, Sea Change, Elephunk, Wildfloflowers, Know what I mean? -- all great. To a friend, I said that this means bad recordings sound bad. The friend said that's not it. what do you say? How can I improve the sound? 
Any of a number of ways. But that's not the question now, is it? You clearly have great sound already-
Anything by Bill Frisell, for instance, sounds phenomenal. You feel you can grab the instrument from the air. 
To think you have a system that can do this, but yet it has something so strangely wrong it cannot do it with Zeppelin, is just nuts. You even have the answer already, and yet no one here can see it. Why am I not surprised?

Technically, it is not the recording. To understand what is going on you have to really know and think about all the various steps involved between the performance in the studio and your playing it at home.  

The only way to say for sure it is the recording is to have the master tape. Never gonna happen. Next will be a copy printed at the time. With Zeppelin that will be a vinyl record.  

We know the Zep was really well recorded because, well look:  https://better-records.com/products/ledze3_2104?_pos=3&_sid=3c678aa90&_ss=r  You simply do not get anyone paying $800 for muffled mids. Tom gets big money for these for one reason and one reason alone: they sound freaking fabulous! (I know, I have several.) 

Yours sounds muffled. It's not the recording. What, then?  

Original Master tapes represent a tremendous investment no one wants to risk, so right away they start making copies. These copies almost always are what is used to make the records and CDs we buy. They can be any generation, any quality. Then too the care taken in making the pressing can vary widely.   

If you are streaming Zep guess what? They bought a crap file, probably made from a crap copy of a copy of a copy of a master tape. Something like that. Last thing in the world it has anything to do with is your system. Everyone here should know this. Jeez Louise! 

MC appears to be correct that it's likely a crappy file through streaming. I would try an LP or CD source of the same music and see whether you still get muffled mids.
Buy a CD of Zep I, II, or III and see how it sounds. It should be decent, good for it's day. 
will try cd and record if I can find it. thanks!
If you must use Zeppelin as the reference, the only releases to use are the 2014 Jimmy Page remasters or the original flat transfer CDs, circa 1986, 87.
High quality records will be costly.

There are other remastered CDs through the years which are bright sounding but these should not be used as reference.

EKR - Retro Rock through TuneIn Radio is reasonable with AAC - 128 kbps. Currently playing the Immigrant Song. Not bad at all, although I prefer listening to my own sources.
What speaker cables are you using?
To quote Herb Reichert " all speakers are not for all music "
Interesting that it happens with more than Zeppelin. MC makes a good point, and I assume his conclusion applies to the other bad recordings you mention. 
Some address this with a Loki equalizer. Sometimes that works. 
Hey OP - can you clarify is it just LZ or pretty much all classic rock. MC’s theory might be right if it’s just LZ but if it’s all/most/ a significant portion of classic rock then his theory doesn’t work. I know MC has a strong bias against streaming and that often seems to cloud his judgement.  Also if this was the issue wouldn’t everyone streaming from Tidal experience this problem?
I had a similar issue recently though it wasn't with classic rock - rather it was just with certain recordings. After looking at interconnect issues and tightening my speaker drivers to no avail I finally realized the DAC I was using, in certain instances, was putting out too much voltage for my pre-amp to handle. Instead of using full output from my DAC I turned it down (randomly to 83/100) and the problem was solved. Not sure if this could be your issue as well. 
i played Black Sabath first album, no issues at all. Deep Purple sounds a bit thin. will try others. thanks again, everyone, for helping me with this. 
Try a pair of Cornwalls. People on this forum say they are great rock speakers. Oh, you also listen to classical ? Well then you need multiple speakers. About 4 sets and you'll be okay.

Maybe 4 rooms too.

+1 for island
What speaker cables are you using?
Stop. Just stop. 
@gmercer - don't know if you're just trolling, but I will explain why I asked in case you are actually just ignorant, and also for the sake of the OP and others in this thread. The OP has a great amp and speakers, truly excellent stuff in fact. He/she does not need to change those, at least for the sake of quality. Changes in his/her price range would mostly be a lateral move, at best. Tidal, although not as good as Qobuz, should not inherently have "bad mids." So, by process of elimination, there are a few variables left that could be causing the OP's issues: speaker cables, power issues (bad power coming into house/room, limiting/missing power filter or conditioner, etc.), or room interactions (no ICs, so not a consideration). For simplicities sake I asked only about the speaker cables.
OP, as I said, that list was for your sake, too. I would also consider the stand, isolation, and/or coupling you have for your speakers. If you just have your speakers sitting on a stand or shelf, without coupling them to a good stand or alternatively isolating them from the stand, then this could be your issue. Without isolation or coupling, your speakers will audibly vibrate on their placed surface, often times muddling up the mids, especially. This makes sense that you notice it more with rock, because the mid/bass driver will be moving more, and causing more vibration. GL
Depends on which LZ recording you are talking about. Some are pretty good, some are horrible. Makes a difference.

Oz



petar, I am not sure what "muffled mids" means. If there is a peak centered on 300 Hz you will get "muddy" or "thick" midrange. If there is a dip centered at 5000 Hz you will get dull midrange. Both issues can be the result of room acoustics and/or speaker issues. I doubt it would be elsewhere in the system. Speaker issues can include amplifier matching problems. The only sure way to figure this out is to get a calibrated mic and a frequency response measurement program. Then you will be able to see the problem and determine if room treat, speaker adjustment etc. are working. Another way to deal with it is a room control unit. It will come with the mic and measurement program and the ability to EQ your system digitally without any ill effect. This is a great unit, https://www.deqx.com/products/hdp-5/  DEQX also makes a less expensive unit that will also do everything you need. Once you have your system corrected everything will sound better.

daveman2
57 posts
04-28-2021 12:39am
@gmercer - don't know if you're just trolling, but I will explain why I asked in case you are actually just ignorant, and also for the sake of the OP and others in this thread. The OP has a great amp and speakers, truly excellent stuff in fact. He/she does not need to change those, at least for the sake of quality. Changes in his/her price range would mostly be a lateral move, at best. Tidal, although not as good as Qobuz, should not inherently have "bad mids." So, by process of elimination, there are a few variables left that could be causing the OP's issues: speaker cables, power issues (bad power coming into house/room, limiting/missing power filter or conditioner, etc.), or room interactions (no ICs, so not a consideration). For simplicities sake I asked only about the speaker cables.
STOP ALREADY!!

He's getting great sound from other files and sources. So its NOT the damn cables!!!

Sheesh!! 

I guess for you, you change out cables every time a streamed file sounds bad.....
Another easy way to isolate the problem is to get a trial version of Qobuz and play the same LZ songs for comparison. While it's not always the case, I've noticed that certain songs sound better on Qobuz.
The Stereophile speaker measurements show about a 5db dip throughout a lot of the mid range. That could be some of it. 
Also I like the idea of doing a Quobuz trial. 
It is the b&w speakers holding you back they are volume and dynamic limited because of crossover and driver coil saturation you need to switch to a different speaker and your system will come alive.
I'm done with these forums. I don't ever see respectful discussion, but rather prideful lunacy. Good luck filtering through all the BS. My parting gift - https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/3-ingredients-to-a-healthy-audio-community
You didn’t mention which format. I have a pressing of Led Zeppelin 2 that sounds as you described. I have LZ 2 on cd and it sounds nice. There may have been a weak run of vinyl at one time. Just my personal observations. I’m pretty much a vinyl loyalist so the album really was a bummer. 
@iseland, +1...but one runs the risk of a listening space starting to look like a dealers' showroom....or like you 'do review'....;)
thank you to everyone who responded. With due respect, I do wish that some posters read the whole post. Problem is that some music sounds great as it should but some does not and the question is, among other things, why such difference. I am now investigating the source and will try cd, records, and alternative streaming application. I tried another set of speakers -- the same result, some music sounds great but not LZ. I did try LZ first album (tidal, deluxe edition) and it sounded OK. Actually, quite good.  
I'd buy a zeppelin record from better records as mentioned. Tom's prices are a bit nuts, but you get what you pay for. Most later reissues, especially US pressings, sound terrible. 
@petar3,

I meant no disrespect with my comment. It was just based on a lot of classic rock is pretty midrange centric. Not a lot of lows or high highs so if there is a dip in that range I was thinking it may sound a little muted. To be honest though I’ve only ever gotten Zepplin to sound descent, not great.