If your ears are ringing, you have bigger problems than deciding which format to listen to. I recommend seeing a doctor, and laying off listening to any system for a while.
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What are your cables? None of the three components you mentioned are particularily known to be bright. However, all Maggies tend to show any harshness in the system. Also, the Maggies have no bass! when you have no bass, the highs catch more attention, so that can add to the sense of brightness. Lastly, Maggies are EXTREMELY picky as far as distance from back wall, which effects the midbass and bass response. You might try moving them forwards and backwards, to see if you can increase the midrange and midbass, which will certainly help put the highs into better proportion.
Both prior suggestions are noteworthy and other possibilities are yet to be explored.You mention about the sacd format.If you have one of these players as I once had,then from extensive researching of many posts and audio reviews,one needs to burn the player in for 500 hours for each of the 2 formats for the optimum in sonic satisfaction.If you play at a very loud listening level,then this will add to your problem,as well as will the acoutic nature of your room.
As a content owner of a Linn Genki I can assure you it is not the CD player. The problem likely lies primarily with the room (the forgotten component), or perhaps with the cables. Or, as the astute Mr. Eber notes, you may have the condition known as 'tinnitus audiophilia,' which is unfortunately almost always fatal (to your bank account!)
Thanks for the feedback. I didn't mention, the wires are analysis plus oval9 speaker, and cardas cross interconnect. The room is 18X24, and the speakers are 5' from the rear wall. I starting to think that it is a combination of CDs being bright and since the sound is so clean maybe playing it too loud to here the lower level details of the recording.
Audiolover might be on to something. I was also experiencing brightness from my loudspeakers (SF Guarneri's) and beginning to worry about cables, etc. But..to get eh best soundstage/imaging, I have te speakers almost 5 feet our from the back wall and ~ 3.5 ft out from the sides. Although he SFG's can in theory go down to ~ 45 Hx "in room", in this configuration the sound pressure was beginning to drop at ~ 60Hz, and was down a full 14 dB at 40 Hz. The result? I was cranking up the volume to hear the bass, and the speakers were naturally sounding VERY shrill! Well..just added a REL Strata III, and managed to bring the bass response to within 5 dB of reference from 30 Hz on up. Guess what? Not only do I now get bass..but the speakers no longer sound bright, the soundstage is huge, etc., etc. So...get a sub-woofer (after seeing a doctor about the ringing in your ears!). I have no experience with other subs, but the Strate III at $ 1295 was a revelation and extremely flexible/easy to integrate.
After recently changing tubes in my DAC there was a sudden increase in shrillness and glare. Of course, my first inclination was to blame the new tubes even though they were supposed to be an upgrade. Turned out the culprit *was* the tube change. It brought out a great deal more clarity at the higher frequencies which made the lack of room treatment obvious. Adding some sound absorbtion directly behind the speakers at the front wall cleared things up tremendously. Try stacking pillows there and at the point of first reflection on the side walls. It just may fix the problem!
Fpeel brings up a good point re: tubes. I hadn't changed the tubes (6 6922s) in my pre-amp for a year+ and my system was starting to give me headaches. I changed tubes, broke them in, and all was well. It really did make a huge difference, but tube wear creeps up on you so slowly that sometimes you forget about it. I note you have a Mesa Baron amp. How are its tubes? Maybe a different brand/type of tube etc. Good Luck. Craig
What type of output tubes does your Baron have? They ship with 5881(6L6), EL34, or KT99. Of these, only the KT99 would have any propensity towards brightness. If you have one of the other tubes, I would say the problem is your room(and I don't think you listen in a vault) or you. If you have KT99, you could try a switch to KT88, this will help. But it sounds like you are VERY sensitive to this brightness, if so try EL34.
In addition to interconnects & power cabling, what about your AC power? I had excess brightness (& some grungies) which was resolved with power conditioning. Now have two Chang Lightspeeds (a 3200 & a 9900 Amp, per dealer's recommendation) which do not limit current transients, as some other systems do. Or go whole-hog & try the PS Audio.
Thanks everyone. I tried the room tweaks and couldn't believe the effect it had. I have a 9' sliding door on the right wall by my speakers and a huge mirror on the wall behind them. Putting a sheet over the mirror and closing the sliding door blinds and putting the absorbing side of two room tunes out and in front of the door helped a lot. I was amazed that it would make that big of a difference.