You may effect some drastic changes just by playing with the placement of your speakers. Isolation feet can have a big effect on the components, and certainly the acoustics of the room is a huge factor.
Since you have not spoken about any of these issues, you might lay them out for us Audiogoners to consider before making equipment suggestions.
Ax you really need to experiment with cabling & tweaks; I didn't used to believe in this either until I tried it. Bottom line: you really don't know what your existing equipment is capable of until you find the right cables & tweaks to make it sing. Get better components & then choke them through your same cables & you'll continue to experience unsatisfactory results.
You need to experiment with upgrade AC cords (no two sound the same so be prepared to try different cords on different components) also experiment with interconnects & speaker cable. Then move on to shelving, pods, cones, footers, etc.
Regarding the need for more gain: I don't understand what you're seeking without further explanation? You want more power; then a larger amp is in order?
Hi, Axspike. Don't be so modest, you have great gear! I recently gained bass response and impact by changing the tubes in my Blue Circle preamp and upgrading my entire cable set to Virtual Dynamics. This weekend I swapped in an NOS pair of VT-231s to replace some 6SN7 GTBs and got bigger, more extended bass. I was quite surprised. If you're using stock power cords, the Virtual Dynamics cords will definitely be a big improvement in all areas, not just in the bass. Funny thing is is that I wasn't even looking to improve bass, I was trying to improve other areas of my playback, and the bass got better as a byproduct.
Thanks for the replies. To answer a few questions- the rig is set up in a typical 14 x 14 living room with 9' ceilings, carpeted and the usual furniture. Speakers are about 7'-8' apart. The thing is jazz recordings sound great-I mean great. But when I put something wilder on like Clapton's "From the Cradle" it sounds hollow like so many other rock recordings. Those CD's sound great on my stock Ford-Bose system in my SUV, as does jazz.
By more gain I meant when I increase the gain on the Rogue it seems to get me closer to the mix for my ear. I have to say my hearing is not what it used to be. Years of construction equipment and in my younger years, front row witness to many many great concerts of the late 60's and early 70's, have finally started cashing checks. But having said that I am still not deef. I'm still convinced I know good from bad and better from good.
As far as cables go...UGH! that seems as bad as shopping for wallpaper. Where in God's name do you start and how much of a screwing can I expect to take? How do the electrons know what's a good cable and what's crap. I mean is the guy straped in the electric chair hooked up to Valhallas or 8 guage romex? I need help on this issue.
I could upgrade the Belles power cord I suppose and the Rega but why does jazz sound so good and not rock?
Thanks guys for listening. I'll take anymore input. This is fun.
Upgraded power cord would help, different IC's or speaker cables. Believe it or not a FIM #880 AC power receptacle could improve bass responce also.
Can I quote you??
"...is the guy straped in the electric chair hooked up to Valhallas or 8 guage romex?"
I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with any of your equipment to offer useful commentary.
Incidentally, my gut reaction isn't to send you cable-shopping. My gut reaction is to suggest you move your listening position up against the rear wall and see if that gives you adequate bass response. I suspect that your squarish room is giving you a bass suck-out at your listening position, and you can see if the bass is maybe hiding out elsewhere by listening up against the back wall.
Best of luck to you!
Ever thought of adding a subwoofer? A musical subwoofer that is.
Sounds to me like you are hoping to get the PSB's and the Belles HotRod to go above and beyond.
i myself have moved away from rock recordings due to the poor recording/mastering. it almost seems as if most rock recordings are mastered for a boombox or car audio system.
I have a similiar problem with recordings, some of my favorite rock albums suck on my system. When I had inexpensive solid state gear my rock collection sounded decent. I think the problem is the quality of the recording possibly and the fact that a highend system will reveal what is good and bad. When I audition gear in shops I usually bring a couple of favorite recordings and a couple that are not so hot and have found that they still suck on even the more expensive gear. Cable upgrades are not snakeoil and will help, also look into robert harley's book guide to high end audio, he gives a advice on room acoustics. I think I remember him saying a square room is the worst possible situation but you can have. Goodluck
If jazz sounds great but not rock, it's probably not the system but the recordings that are causing your consternation. "From the Cradle" is hardly a mastering wonder. (Not to brag, but I've heard EC do most of that material in a club, so I have some basis for comparison.)
I certainly wouldn't do anything that would mess up your jazz reproduction. Adding a sub might be the ticket, though your Silvers are no slouch. Rearranging the room could help, but if it's your living room that's probably a no-go.
Here's a radical suggestion: Get an equalizer. Bypass it for good jazz recordings, but tweak it a bit on other stuff to see if it improves things. (Purists will howl, but it's not their ears, now, is it?)
Power conditioner? From a guy who has his doubts about cables? C'mon, you know better than that!
I have a Rogue 66 with a Rogue 88 amp. I replaced all tubes with Mullards (preamp takes 2 12au7's). I can't believe the base. I may have to put back one of the nos Philips that Rogue puts in from the factory to get a little shimmer back in. What I am saying is try a couple of Mullards if you want base.
Bomarc is on to something. I recently sold my solid state CJ line stage pre as I am reconfiguring my main system. I replaced the CJ with an old Hafler 100 pre that had been sitting in storage for years.
Eureka! I had the same nagging problem with my system --- sounded great with jazz, orchestral, acoustic, and vocal material, but SUCKED the life out of rock. In fact, I had stopped listening to my rock collection over the years precisely because of this. The Hafler, with its tone controls, has made it so I can listen to rock again, and I love it! Now I'm not going to lie, the Hafler is nowhere near as detailed, the soundstage is not as well defined, and it is a noisy little bugger, but ahhhh, the glorious BASS response.
I am going to grab an old Adcom 565 pre that has tone controls and is actually pretty decent sounding, and I'm going to use the system with it primarily for rock. I am lucky to have a second Magneplanar/Roksan-based system that I will listen to jazz, acoustic, etc. on.
Please do yourself a favor and consider tone controls at least as seriously as you consider cables and other tweaks. I know that this advice will be looked down upon by many of the pointy-headed audiophiles that lurk here, but what will it hurt to experiment? Musical Fidelity makes/made such a device called the X-tone. You've nothing to lose by bucking the audiophile orthodoxy and giving tone controls a try.
yay Doc: let's hear it for Tone Controls!
I bought a $10K list Accuphase preamp for, among other reasons, Tone Controls! And for late nights when everyone else in the house is sleeping, it even has 3-stages of Loudness Compensation. All of that extra circuitry has an internal bypass feature; 95% of the time I use it bypassed anyway. But when you have marginal source material that desparately needs some Eq then who cares about absolute purity?
I'm sure I'm going to be way off the subject. But cables do make a difference regardless of wether or not they will give you more bass. Trust me on this one! I am a system tech for a " very " large broadband company. And if there is one thing we have found out the hard way. Different cables do different things.
But it's not just cables this applies to but just about anything. Try putting 87 octane gas in a 69 Plymouth Road Runner with a 426 hemi engine and see how it runs. For that matter try jumping this beast at -20 with cheap K-Mart jumper cables as opposed to the higher priced, higher quality auto parts jumpers. I'll bet you will want the high priced jumpers by the time your done.
Try running your average street tire on a Nascar race car, and see how well the car holds the track. Is high-end audio any different? I once had a friend who told me her boom box sounded as good as any other audio gear. Surprise! Surprise!
I cannot see why people are willing to spend big bucks on high-end audio, because they obviously believe that audio gear can " make a difference " But then they want to use bottom of the line cheap cables. If cables don't make a difference then why not just go to a Target store and buy some of the $4.99 audio/video cables and be done with it? In fact that would be a good comparison ( unless of course that is what your using ) go get a pair at Target, and A/B them and see for yourself.
just my 2 cents worth......
Bravo, Bomarc! You've just solved my problem too.
Not that i've ever used it as such, but one of my preamps has a special circuit just for hooking up an external processor of some sorts. It is labled "tone send" and is simply a dedicated "loop" for hooking up an equalizer, etc... The designer built a "straight wire with gain" and then left the option up to you as to how much "tone control" you wanted to pay for. He also gave you the ability to switch in and out at the push of a button.
I have to admit that i've been using the tone controls on my pre / processor in my HT system when listening to music on it. It does make for an added touch on some poorly recorded discs. Cranking up the bass just a tad helps to fill out some of these "soul-less" and "sterile" digital recordings. Sean
My KEF speakers used to sound drab in the lower frequencies. After all, the manufacturer's specs rate it to only go down to 50hz.
However, I've done some tweaking, and I am no longer missing the mid to low bass. I am only missing super low bass and the air that only a large driver would move in the lowest frequencies.
1. Isolate the amplifier.
-Get it jacked up from the floor or stand, whatever you have it on right now. Some recommend spikes, points, pods or platforms. I use a phonebook.
2. Get a good powercord for the amp and cd player.
-Upgrading the amp's powercord is a must in your scenario.
3. Bi-wire your speaker cables if you haven't done so already.
-I no longer need to do this after I upgraded powercables.
4. Adjust speaker placement.
-Large drivers needs space around the cabinet to produce lower bass.
I am reading all of these posts with scrutiny. There are many different opinions that lead me to believe there is no "Oracle" on this subject. From a simple matter of rock recordings just suck to an installing an equalizer or some other tone device. I am struck however by the split camps over cables. Years back, before there were lots of mid to highend audio makers, McIntosh and Crown were the big boys on the block. I don't recall any of their amps, pre amps, tuners, receivers, whatever, ever ever ever having "power cord upgrades" And their specs were, and in some cases, still are, the Gold Standard. I'm not suggesting arguing about Mac stuff as the best, I'm merely implying that with irrefutable specs with basic, basic power cords, who can make the arguement for power cord upgrades. As far as speaker cables, I'm not sure. I run big ass monster cables that are not what the true audiophile would consider great but I'm willing to listen to the arguement. I don't think the hemi analogy is accurate. You could always skip the cables and push start that pig. I've read numerous threads about speaker cables and I swear to God some of these guys really knock me out. You just can't make up some of the things they believe! I will try moving the speakers. I will try a pair of speaker cables that an Audiogon member has been so kind to loan me for a test drive. Who knows maybe pigs fly. If that yields nothing then I may spring for an EQ. Any thoughts on what type or brand. I've hemorraged enough money on this system for my socio-economic class, so make it a value for the money.
Thanks to one and all for your replies. Any other thoughts are welcomed.
One thing you're absolutely right about, Ax: None of us is the Oracle (who, it turns out, was constantly high, so maybe some Agoners may have more in common with her than they think!). You gotta make your own way. Others will tell you to be openminded, but I'll put in a good word for your healthy sense of skepticism. Best of luck.
All but blind, in his chambered hole, gropes for worms, the four clawed mole.
All but blind in the evening sky, the hooded bat, twirls softly by.
All but blind, in the buring day, the barn owl blunders, on her way.
And blind as are, these three to me, so blind to someone I must be.
Walter De La Mare ( 1873 )
Far out man
Dave's not here.
Cheech and Chong (1973)
But I catch your drift...I think
Hi Axspike. I've only been hardcore into the audiophile lifestyle for a little over two years. The first year and a half I toiled with cables and cords and never got the noticeable results I had read many others had attained. However, over the last year I have experienced positive and sometimes even amazing results with cable/cord upgrades. The most shocking realization was that a power cord could make a night and day difference in the sound.
But, in order for me to finally realize an improvement in sound, I think it all boils down to a lot of maybes. Maybe I had such positive results with power cords because the juice running throughtout my apartment is so dirty. Maybe it's because over the course of upgrading, the better components I've purchased benefit more from good cables and cords. Maybe it just happens that I stumbled on a component/cable combo with great synergy to my ears. And maybe I've become so obsessed with attaining the absolute sound, that I've become just like those goofy bastards who believe they can hear spirits talking in a cemetary, so if a cricket farts they think long lost aunt Bertha is talking to them. Maybe...
Depending on what you expect to hear and what you hear seems to be the issue. Bass response is a result of low freq. soundwaves moving in and around the sound spectrum. The Human ear typicllay hears bass at a distance of 4-6 ft from the source. Now the question is have you had your hearing test recently to ensure that these types of freq. can be heard. Try placing a radial arm saw close to the source and listen for tones.. Other thyan that it seems that others on this thread have provided some excellent ideas. What would I know.. I'm your litte brother
What's this about moles clawing for worms and Dave not being here? I thought this was a site devoted to the discussion of women's underwear.
Can't you people stay on topic?
Your complaint and, shall we say, skepticism are well founded. I think you have all the right feedback, so let me try and simplify it. Rock recordings are typically mastered differently than jazz or classical. They tend to be compressed (remember AM radio) and not very dynamic. CDs are not all created equal. Car stereos, no matter how expensive or what brand, need to compensate for road noise; hence, bright and boomy. And, you do have tone controls in the car. But, I still would not use it as a comparison. A square room is an interesting animal. Play with placement and possibly even relocating a piece or two of upholstered furniture. Hey, become an acoustical designer for the day. Maybe you need two speaker locations -- one for listen and one off to the side for when you are not listening. Moving them is a pain, but may be the answer. Your equipment is fine. Belles has always made nice amps, but it may be mismatched with the Rouge or, dare I say, your cables. Reconsider your tubes. Have you tried the amp with a passive device instead of your Rouge? I am not saying dump either but rather isolate some of the equipment to help diagnose the situation. I left the best for last. Wires do make a difference, but you do not need to mortgage your grandchildren. I used a very nice and affordable wire from Sweden. DH Labs and Mapleshade have good product, as do 25 others. The DIY Belden wires give good sound. Stan Warren's daughter makes some killer cables and very affordable. So, as much as you may want to avoid this journey, it is worth the effort. If you have a good relationship with a dealer or two, go back and ask what they have floating around that they do not use (sell) anymore or even just start borrowing. You have reached the point where you can make a mistake out of frustration. Take it a little at a time and have patience.
Thanks Cellorover for the common sense approach. I thought the Belles and the Rogue were a good match which is why I was a bit disappointed with some cds. I beginning to believe that what you and some others have said, and what my compromised ears have been telling me. Rock recordings when put through good equipment, suck. Your right about auto systems. I compensate to the max to get it where I like it. With my home system there is no compensation. I hadn't thought of that difference.
I bought the Belles first then the Rogue. I tried for awhile to buy a Belles 20A pre but they were too new and too pricey. I looked for demos but they were few and still pricey. Has anyone auditioned a Belles 20A and could offer a comparision between it and the Rogue?
On cables, it looks as if I'm heading for the "in search of the lost cord" journey. I will try placements and cords and see what evolves. I'll try a new thread about the Belles 20A and see where it goes.
And while were on the subject of ladies underwear, anybody seen mine?