Proac 2.5's-something not quite right- ideas?

Ok Audiogoners I've just recently required a pair of Proac Response 2.5's.
My system is Ayre CX-7,Ayre AX-7-using custom made balanced interconnect (tried Cardas Golden Ref.happy with this)and Vantage Marina Speaker cable(bi-wire)-my old speakers were Proac Studio 150's.
My sound before was excellent-worked with my wide musical tastes,subtle and detailed when required and enough oomph when playing Rock or Electronica.
Typically I though my speakers were the weak link and have always wanted to hear/own 2.5's.

What I am hearing with the 2.5's is a jump in scale of presentation and more air/detail around instruments,on certain recordings it sounds really great on others something is missing,the smoothness and clarity I associate with the Proac sound.
The second problem is the scale of the bass,it may just take adjusting to and whilst it doesn't sound overpowering in terms of the overall recording (vocals/details etc. are still there)it really does seem too much for home listening-more like a gig or club experience.
If I put the 150's back in,the bottom line is they sound more musical overall.

I don't believe it's my room which is large-18 feet wide by some 30 plus feet long-I have 3m high ceiling -whilst speaker placement makes a slight difference (I've been messing about with that)it is not a major influence on the general effects.
I've also tried ceramic tiles on my carpet with the speakers on top-again not a major difference.
Everything in my system has been checked-the speakers are set up per instruction and the replacement effect of the 150's proves nothing is amiss imho.

I have several theories as to what might be wrong-the only previous owner only listened to Jazz and Classical and not at as loud levels as I do-the speakers have not been used in the last two years.
So if run in/break in is a factor (I've only got about 8 hours on them)can I expect the missing resolution to come into focus?
Can I expect the bass driver to change?- since perhaps it has never been fully tested with fast/deep modern bass.
Does my increased listening volume mean more break in was required anyway?

My biggest fear is the scale of the 2.5's is not to my taste and that they are so revealing that I am hearing a grain in some recordings that I didn't hear before.

I've read enough about these speakers to know some how I'm not getting what I should and I instictively know on many of the tracks and CD's I'm playing that I am not getting the enjoyment I was before despite some more space and detail.

Nothing helpful to add, Ben, but I'll be following this thread with interest since I am running Studio 150s and plan on someday moving to Responses as well (other upgrades to make first). Light the way!
Interesting experience, Ben.

I own three different ProAcs [Tab 50 Sig, then Response 1SC, and now Response 2.5] that I've kept as I upgraded.

I've never heard the Studio series, but I suspect what you're hearing could be the difference between the Studio and Response series. I'm not talking better or worse, just different. The three speakers I own, have what I would call a "family" sound. Moving from smallest monitor to current floorstander, the main differences I heard was a slight decrease in speed accompanied by a fuller frequency presentation. I just did a rough comparison of all three a couple weeks ago, and I felt the differences were noticeable but pretty small.

What you're describing seems to be a much greater difference in tonal balance and presentation than anything I've experienced with my ProAcs. Therefore, I think it could be the difference between the two lines because they do use different drivers and crossovers. However, I'm not sure how the cabinet designs compare.

Also, I've found my speakers to respond greatly to different upstream components. I think that the ProAc Response speakers respond more positively to warmer than neutral tube amplification. I think some of this has to do with the tweeter which can be revealing and some of it may be due to the way they're voiced.

It could just be that you've grown accustomed to your Sutdio 150s and love the way they sound. Although more expensive, the Response may just be different from what you're used to.

Unfortuanely, if you know what you like in a sonic presentation, changing speakers might necessitate a change in another area of your system.

Good luck, and let us know what works!
Neither of you guys think the fact my speakers have been lying cold for two years (the seller obviously checked them before shipping them)has any effect?
No, sitting around has not hurt them.

The response 2.5 is not a flat power or amplitude response speaker and the minimal crossover makes the 2.5 subject to a highly variable playback by not addressing the break up mode of the Carbon Fibre woofer as you have discovered. The harder you push the worse they get. Proacs are very incomplete speakers that require you to be very careful about placement and wall reflections.

It is the reason why so many people have to resort to low powered tube amplification to try to take the power response hump out of the midrange. I would look at the tremendous amount of
information on the DIY 2.5's to fix what is wrong with your 2.5's.

Proac completely under-utilized the potential of these drivers. Carefully picking from the DIY 2.5 info will substantially upgrade your speakers sound and make them more flexible.
Ben, I forgot about that, that could definitely be a contributing factor. As difficult as it is, you might not know until after 2-4 weeks of break in..
I have seen those DIY sites when I was considering building a 2.5 clone and not buying the real thing. It's amazing the areas people saw for possible improvements. Quite a dedicated group of people.

I recently acquired a demo Ayre AX-7 to match the existing Ayre CX-7 in our system, replacing a LFD Mistral integrated amp in a dedicated 2-channel audio setup. In addition, I am upgrading speakers from Proac Tablette 50 Signature monitors (one of the best bookshelf speakers I have ever my opinion, far superior to the 1SCs) to the new Proac Response D15 floorstanding speakers. One thing I have discovered as I have transitioned the AX-7 into my system and demoed the D15s, the Ayre/Proac setup is significantly impacted by interconnects and speaker cable. I would encourage you to call someone at Ayre (Michael is a great resource well as Charles Hansen) and see what they suggest. Your solution might be as simple as switching out interconnects and speaker cable. The Cardas Cross balanced interconnect (running balanced from AX-7 to CX-7) have produced excellent sonic results in my system. I am currently auditioning speaker cable and have been impressed with the results from the Audioquest CV-4 + DBS. In addition, I plan to demo speaker cable from Tara Labs, as well as probably a few more cables in the next few weeks.

Good luck and keep us informed on how you resolve this issue with your system. The 2.5s are marvelous but tend to be finicky to room placement and associated gear/cables.
Some interesting theories-I'll list them all here since some have been mailed off list and this info. may be of use now and in the future to others.

1.STUDIO SERIES Vs RESPONSE-one Audiogoner auditioned the Studio 200's against the 2.5's and preferred the Studio's.
He found them warmer-I can relate to that to an extent but I still hear a grain in some recordings I wouldn't expect with Proacs although the 2.5's sound fantastic on some recordings (primarily acoustic jazz,vocals etc)they are not at this stage as robust or enjoyable as the 150's.
It could well just be a matter of taste.

2.BREAK IN-again I've had the advice that lying cold so long the speakers simply need broken in again-I truly hope it is this one although my flat does not lend itself to the usual reverse polarity/duvet blasting it out method.
I'll need to be patient something I'm not known for.

3.PLACEMENT-my set up is perhaps not ideal however I've tried really given the Proac's room to breathe and not found a major difference-I'll try again and get back with the info.

4.CABLING-my set up before really didn't show major difference on interconnects-my Vantage speaker cables were certainly better than the Audioquest Midnight 3 I had before.
Perhaps not my system is more prone to be affected by this-I'll try to experiment here.

5.CINEMATIC SYSTEMS THEORY-I can relate to his theory on the choice of tube amplification to temper the thump as he calls it.Whilst the DIY project may well have thrown up some great info-this is not a route for me personally-it'll simply be easier to go back to the 150's.

Anyway away for another blast at them and see where I stand today.
Audiophiles and especially those who market to them love to sweep one of the most important foundations of modern science under the rug: Occam's Razor. "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem" - loosely paraphrased as, "the simplest explanation is by far the most likely explanation."

The 2.5's are different, possibly because of issues that CINEMATIC SYSTEMS points out, and you may not like them. If you keep listening, there will be "break-in". But what will break in is not the woofers, or your ears, but your brain. After a while it will adjust somewhat to neutralize the 2.5's attributes to what it "expects" and you will find them less of a problem.

I've had many speakers, and I can tell you that a change of speakers always requires a mental adjustment period because our brains interpret a sudden change to be "wrong". So you have to force you brain to "accept" the new speakers first. The right thing to do is use the 2.5's for a few weeks and THEN do scientific A/B testing. At that point you might listen to the Studios and think Yuck! or you might realize the 2.5's are just not to your taste. But the idea of jumping into a random tweaking binge right away is bad advice.

By far the best way to evaluate speaker preference is side-by-side, (blind preferably) A/B testing - which you need a friend or a wife to help you with, in addition to a speaker switch of some sort. In addition you have to be very careful about even slight differences in relative volume levels between the A and B speakers (due to different efficiencies) influencing your judgment. But it's the ONLY way to avoid the placebo effect of assuming the more expensive, highly recommended component is better.

I can tell you one thing - what you've "read" about the 2.5's means close to Zero for you, personally. The reviewers out there (pro's and Audiogoners) are good writers and excellent at subtle self-promotion, but they don't hear anything that you don't. They are masters of manipulating you and each other with The Emperor's New Speakers.

Opalchip-cracking post and how does this fit in for an update.

I hadn't listened to anything since yesterday but left the speakers running for about 4 hours last night.

Does break in take place?-I dunno I keep an open mind but I do know straight out their boxes they took more power from my amp to drive-this changed over the first day's listening which was Friday.

Today however things have really started to fall into place-that missing resolution, warmth,Factor X call it what you will- has certainly appeared.
It's as if the seperation in the music now seems better held together.

What sounded grainy before now sounds clearer.
What sounded good before now sounds very good indeed.
The overpowering thump with mid-bass in particular sounds more controlled,as does the bass in general.

The detail is excellent and perhaps the limitations of certain recordings still cause a bit of disappointment however this is in the context of even being impressed by other cuts on the same album (Check out Custard Pie by Led Zep on Physical Graffiti and see if the following track The Rover justs sounds better recorded).

Most importantly today is the first listening session where I've got caught up in the music-it'll be interesting to see how this unfolds.
Yesterday was interesting because I threw some more different music into the mix with no further running in of the speakers.

The day befores listening was nearly all material I'd previously heard on the 2.5's.

Yesterday I heard some of the same traits that bothered me before-it does seem to depend on the type of recordings-well recorded stuff with space in the mix sounds superb but sometimes more complex rougher recordings does throw in some grain,the thump effect seemed to bother me more also.

At this stage I would probably agree I'm just adjusting to the 2.5's presentation.
Running in the speakers by force is just not feasable for me at this stage but I have to say I feel a lot closer to these speakers than I did at first.
I have never heard the 2.5 but I have heard the 1.5 with the least expensive Naim electronics and frankly I have never been more impressed with a speaker. Someday I will own them. I would have to concur that one of several things is happening (1)perhaps you don't like them, I believe this to be the least likely (2)system synergy, perhaps Ayre and Proac don't work well together, I think this to be the second least likely (3)Break in, contrary to what some folks believe it does exist (4)a cable change (interconnects, speaker wire, or both). (5)I believe that the size of your room is a factor. The Proac's that I heard I would consider to be speaker for a more intimate environment. Your room requires a lot of sound to fill it up.
Artk-I think you are potentially right on most of the factors except the Ayre/Proac relationship (it has worked for me very well for a couple of years and on a lot of things the 2.5's totally sing)and the 2.5's filling my room-no problem there either.

I think the other three are very possible in any given combination.
(5)I believe that the size of your room is a factor.

"The response 2.5 is not a flat power or amplitude response speaker and the minimal crossover makes the 2.5 subject to a highly variable playback by not addressing the break up mode of the Carbon Fibre woofer as you have discovered. The harder you push the worse they get."

Get an SPL meter or better yet get ETF 5.0 and see what the problem is before you spend a small fortune on guessing and stressing.

Once you have the facts you'll be able to make a better decision about how you can tune the system in. And you can share those facts with the rest of you can help us help you.
Cinematic Systems-I don't think I need a meter.
I understand the level I need to play my music to enjoy it and I don't think a meter can help with that.

Maybe the louder you play the Proacs the worse they get but it's not a factor that I can relate to at the moment.

At this still very early stage I would go with this factor at the moment.
A different presentation with certain music due to increased detail and layers in the mix which perhaps I am mistaking or have mistaken for grain-the more I listen the more I am convinced the holographic presentation of these speakers is leading to the confusion on what I expect to hear based on listening to one system for nigh on two years without change.
I have also tended to worry about a small number of recordings that have bugged me rather than enjoying the obvious improvements on the vast majority I have played.

I keep an open mind with any of the others factors but have to say over the last two nights only picking recordings that I consider impressive I have been delighted with the 2.5's presentation.

I have no intention at this stage of changing anything else until I am sure I have lived with these speakers and given them some hours being pushed.
When I am at that stage I may consider other options and hopefully then any money spent or changes made will be made out of greed for more improvement rather than believing change of cables etc. is going to fix a fundamental problem for me.Although at this stage I'm hoping there won't be one and I'm optimistic I'm in the early stages of a long happy relationship.
"Cinematic Systems-I don't think I need a meter.
I understand the level I need to play my music to enjoy it and I don't think a meter can help with that."

Is that your final answer?

Clearly you don't understand what the meter is for, but hey I was just trying to help you with your issue.

But it looks like you're breaking nicely. :)
Hello Ben
I have been following this thread with interest as a former
owner of Proac 2.5's, I usually dont get involved, but here goes.

I bought my pair brand new in 03 from a bay area dealer, and was able to follow them thru the break-in process, they were very good right out of the cartons, and gradually
"matured" over time,and of course, the overall presentation improved as well. The only way to break them in of course is to play them, especially if you can get them up from a cantor to a gallop for a while, while staying within your amps limitations of course, dont push them hard tho.

I have listened to them in three differant sized rooms, the largest being simular to yours except 18'x18'. They
work well in a large room, except the low end of course
loses it's stature as the square footage increases.

The 2.5's also like to be out in the room, away from the
rear wall, they even sound great well away from the rear
wall. I also suggest, that you "toe up" the front end by
adjusting the spikes to where the front of the speakers
is about 1/2-3/4" higher than the back. That will improve the overall presentation,imaging, soudstaging, etc....

What I find interesting is your comment about the scale of
bass, givin the size of your room, the bass output should be more on the inadiquate side, and not the "club experiance" Haveing owned them myself and knowing how they
sound, it sounds like you prefer a lean sound to your music.

Have you tried useing the port bungs? That's one thing that
might bring you closer to the response you like. The 2.5's
are a fuller sounding speaker than the studio, and the bungs will dampen the bass output. These should have come
with the speakers.

One last thing I wanted to add, the 2.5's do have a slight
grain to them. It's more apparent with well recorded music.
I especcially noticed this when I purchased a pair of Totem
Mani II's and compared the two speakers.

For what it's worth, the Mani's embarresed my beloved Proacs. No grain, beautifully open and clear, well defined bass, the bass response from the 2.5' is anything but well defined. The Proacs sound great untill they are compared to a more refined speaker, thats why I am now a former owner.

I guess again the reason I stated the club like experience is down to the recordings-I have a few where the bass and mid-bass is just seriously in your face.

The reason I think is simple the tracks were recorded like that but the difference from the 150's to the 2.5's on this is very big.
Charliee, What electronics are you using? I think the "grain" you heard from your 2.5's was from somewhere else in your system. The Proac is a more revealing speaker than the Totem.
Theta Dreadnaught amp, Supratek Syrah pre amp, VPI Aeries
table with Graham arm and Shelter 501 cart., Cary 306/200 cd
player. 4 runs of Harmonic Tech. Pro 9 speaker cable, Ridge
Street Audio interconnects, etc...

The Mani II's are easily more resolveing than the 2.5's. When I put a pair of W.E. 350b's in the Syrah the Totems really showed their stuff.

I am not trying to put down the Proacs, I loved those speakers, thats why I bought a brand new pair. I intended to keep them for a long long time. But when I compared the two,
it was no contest, I took the loss on the Proacs, and kept
the Mani II's.

Getting back to Ben's ProAc's. Your room does not compare to Charliee's. Your room is 18x30 with high ceilings vs 18x18. You have considerably more cubic feet. Just because you are getting the volume you need does not speak to the amount of loss your experiencing. I really do believe that the room is the issue. The ProAc/Totem discussion was interesting. ProAc's are one of the finest speakers I've ever heard especially mated with Naim gear. I haven't the pleasure of hearing Totem's, I will now make it my business to.
Artk-logically why would the loss matter in the room when I was using smaller speakers before?
That doesn't make sense to all.

I may be wrong but I think Opalchip was really on the money with his assessment.

Perhaps the speakers have run in a little but I'm no longer hearing the differences I remember-the mid-bass and bass thump no longer seems as strong.....I do believe as Opalchip predicted my brain has adjusted.

However putting the 150's back in will be interesting and I may do that once I've lived with the 2.5's a tad more.

At this stage my gut reaction is that the 2.5's are better than the 150's-scale and detail but perhaps (and that is just a perhaps) that they haven't quite lived up to my expectations.
Ben, I've never heard the Studio Series. What you're describing seems to be more a slight difference in flavor rather than a revelatory improvement.

Do you anticipate any tweaks or future component changes to compensate for the new presentation?
Gunbei-I'm holding off changing anything at the moment as I still don't feel 100% sure of how I feel about the 2.5's-in real terms I've spent quite a short time with them.
I do believe I am very likely to stick with my components.

It's been a confusing journey so far but whilst I've been confused slightly in the past (not to this extent by a major system change for a while)I do believe in time I will be sure of how I feel.

Certainly one Audiogoner found the Studio series warmer.

I do to some extent regret posting so soon on this but it may be a worthwhile experience to share.
Ben, I had 2.5's for a couple of years. There was much to love about them, but I always craved greater clarity and resolution, and always found the bass, while powerful, was too one-note.
Hey ... just by chance passed this thread (searching the net for some info about ScanSpeak 18w8542 - used in ProAc studio 100 ) ... but reading your xperiences i want to tell that it is my xperience that you dont get the same overall sound from the Studio series as from the Response series ... the Studio's are much more neutral/monitor alike. I really like the Studio series very much, - close to the best i know in their way of reproducing ... and ... allthough big respect for the work done ... i could not live with the Response series without using a loooots of energy to find players and amps that would mach.
But ... since you talked about an upgrade of the Studio sound i can only recomend that you listen to ProAc's Future series, - when i listened to it i experienced the same overall sound as from the Studioes just that it was much bigger ... test it if you get a chance ..
All the best ...
Bjarne C ... Copenhagen
I have been talking with number of people.I have never been to England. I was told there rooms are rather small. And proacs are made in England.And that proacs like smaller to midsize rooms.Proac 3.8 can be put in lager rooms. I use Audio Research CD1 cd player, classe ssp25 preamp and classe ca400.Proac 1.5 speakers. Kimber Kable XLR,interconnects and Kimber Kable biwire speaker cable.
An update where I am with the speakers now a few weeks down the line.

Firstly as I stated above, a little patience on my part would have been prudent because it does take a little time to take in and live with changes in your system.

I believe now the 2.5's are better than the 150's but I have to say the Studio 150's are a speaker I could have lived with and aren't as far off the 2.5's as I expected them to be.

I believe the clarity issue actually now to be a volume issue.I believe I wasn't playing the 2.5's loud enough-part of the reason for this is the numerical readout on the AX-7 which I think throws a visual distraction into the equation and the other is the scale of sound from the 2.5's-presenting such a bigger soundstage probably made me nervous to listen to them at the right levels. I've also moved in the last 10 months which makes me a little nervous about annoying the neighbours-I stay in a tenement flat(apartment).

Yes the bass is on a scale I'm not used too but the speakers are either running in or I'm adjusting to the sound because it doesn't irk me as much as it did and sounds more balanced.

The key moment came when I put the 150's back in and let them run in for a couple of days (I was auditioning them for a potential buyer-who bought them)-some of the differences I thought I had heard (more tuneful controlled bass,more clarity) weren't in fact there-I had by this time adjusted the volume slightly when listening to the 2.5's.

There are other aspects to consider I do believe the positioning of my speakers could be better but it is a little awkward with my room set up.
Over the next week or so I am going to put my system back on Audiogon.

Thanks very much to everyone who posted on this I found quite a few of the comments useful and insightful.
You're warming up to the 2.5s, that's great news Ben!

Also, be aware that your seating distance will play a big role in the perceived bass response. It could be that the Studio 150s and Response 2.5s require different distances from the listener to produce similar bass response.

My speakers are roughly 2 meters or 6.6 feet apart, and I sit about that far from them. I use a rolling chair and I find that if I back up the bass increases. Too far and it becomes unnatural.

I like the distance I'm currently using which may be considered nearfield. The bass while not as extended seems to have better tone, and the nearfield imaging is intoxicating.

Have fun!