It might be helpful if you would list the cables you are currently using and be specific (brand and model).
Also, concerning the,
speaker - is it a combined bi-wire cable or two separate runs
digital interconnect - its length
Regarding the DAC, do you know what brand the tube is, and have you tried a different one?
I had a buddy with similar problem, he changed all his IC's to just copper MAC Velvets, cheap and helped a lot.
It would help to know what speaker wires as well as IC's that you are using now.
If they are of the stranded variety I suggest you try some solid core.
However, IMO, you should list what tubes you are using in your DAC and Hybrid amp. There are still some reasonbly priced tubes out there that are less shrill and warmer than others. It may be cheaper, or the desired results better, than changing out the wire.
Yours is an interesting predicament.
I have a similar hearing issue and have a two word answer that will solve your cabling requirements - Acoustic Revive. If this does not work, it is your equipment, not your cables
There are cables which can tame brightness. They are all copper no silver plating and the copper is made by this specific company with a lot of Golden this and thats as a hint, since we are trying to be objective. Also as a tubophile I can tell you the British tubes usually but not allways deliver a softer sound at the top of there frequency cut offs. All Copper lots of dielectric and European Tubes thats all you need to do after changing the rest of your gear. (just kidding...well er.. maybe..)
Given your price constraints, I'd try buying a used, middle of the road price-wise audioquest digital cable. See if that doesn't help before proceeding with expensive tubes. Your other components seem adequate. Digital is the fastest still-evolving arena but having heard a CAL, I don't think that's your problem. Cables do matter, especially when they're bad. Today's cables are better, especially digital. Then, turn it down. You don't want to be working on tinnitus.
Another thought....maybe the Martin Logan's are the problem, in that most electrostatic type speakers do need to be a bit "cranked" to sound good, not so hot at low volumes, so you've been developing hearing problems by, again, listening too loudly. If you've already got hearing problems you need to be headed in this direction (lower volumes) anyway. Try a more efficient speaker (borrow one) like a Tannoy, Living Voice, Reference 3MM De Capo, even Meadowlark Shearwater to see if that doesn't help.
Thanks again. I already listen at relatively low volumes and always have, especially given the type of music that I mostly listen to. Coincidentally, that is the precise advice given to me today by my local dealer and advisor. He said that trying to solve the issues re my hyperacusis by any other means than a reduction of volume, might not be a realistic goal.
I agree that the ML's could be a contributing cause primarily because of the diminishing impedance attending increasingly higher frequencies. For a while I was advertising a desire to trade them for more efficient ones but got little response.
I auditioned a pair of Canalis Anima bookshelf speakers with my Rogue Audio amp 5 weeks ago and was extremely impressed. With a $3200 price tag, though, they are a bit outside of my financial comfort zone right now, although I will probably buy a pair when I can. In the meantime I researched and purchased a pair of Jamo Concert Eights as a temporary fill in. They are much more efficient and also impressive. Listening to these at low volumes works very well; the detail is wonderful and the base is tight, tight.
I guess what I'm saying is that I agree with you and wish I had gotten/listened to this line of advice before I spent so much time and effort trying to solve the problem by throwing more components and accessories into my system. BTW, I bought the Odysseys 14 years ago which was before the development of my tinnitus / hyperacusis problem and I very much enjoyed them for many years.
Try some 12 gauge MN mains cable. Don't nick the copper when stripping the sheath. Change the 2 12AX7 tubes in your CAL DAC for JJ ECC83S. Leave the whole lot on overnight to bed in.
It'll cost you $30.
Thanks, all of you. I'll try to answer your questions as follows: the tubes in the CAL DAC are 12AX7's and the coax and interconnects are Straight Wire, all of which are 1 meter long and I have ordered a Canare cable at the advice of one member. I will be trying different tubes, Noromance, and have ordered the EECC83S's as well.
The speaker wires to the Odysseys have separate conductors and are wound terminating with bi-wire spades at the speakers. The ones to the Jamos consist of paired 18 gauge Radio Shack wound speaker wires. I doubled the 18's because they didn't have anything larger and with this configuration I could bi-wire if I decided to do so. . I'm not defending this approach but I was in a hurry to A/B compare the two speakers to see if the problem was similar in the more efficient Jamo Concert Eights; it is. For this experiment, btw, I used an Adcom speaker selector which I have left in the system for, at least, temporary use.
Even though I have the same issue with these more efficient bookshelf speakers, from a listening standpoint, they are better at presenting detail and tight bass at the lower volumes at which I'm now forced to listen. They remain connected at this point for my general listening.
I apologize if I seem a bit disconnected in my explanations but I started another very similar thread regarding a related issue and I'm overlapping some of the conversations.
First I agree on tubes for Cal Alpha. JJECC88's have a nice warm tone. If you can afford it, the 'gold pin' edition is probably worth the extra $10. Works for me. :-)
Re Canare wire - I used this for quite a few years. I recently decided to try BJ's 10ga Belden cable, a single wire cable, and I found in my system its sound was much clearer/cleaner than the Canare 4s11. It is not brighter in any respect than the Canare but it seemed to remove a layer of grundge that had become apparent in my system. It's cheaper too if you care to experiment.
Out of curiosity, have you explored room/speaker set up options? I found that paying close attention to set up issues, including toe in and side wall reflections paid huge dividends.
I have owned several Piega speakers; I believe the ribbon tweeter could be an interesting approach for you. It does not BEAM it dissipates...very smooth. Just something worth thinking about. When I heard the Gallo Reference speakers, I got a similar sensation: smooth.
I don't have a technical explanation to guide you, nor do I expect all technical specs reflect the sound of the speaker cables. I can tell,you I have been going nuts for the past year in my own personal shoot out.
I JUST sold a pair of van den Hul D-352 Hybrid cables that may be what you are looking for. Many might say silver coated or silver cables are claimed to be bright the VDH were absolutely NOT yet retained the detail of the music and had a warm, solid low end which might pair well with the Martin Logans.
I used a pair of DH Labs (on loan from The Cable Company) (no affiliation) which were silver coated and were very bright to the extent I played about two songs before disconnecting.
The VDH were a little laid back for my Spendors but still a terrific cable. I'm still using some of their ICs in my system.
Jambalaya, you only played two songs on the DH Labs before disconnecting them? Did you allow time for the cables to settle in with some playing time beforehand?
I did not give them a chance to settle in. The construction was really first rate and I had heard a lot of positives about them.
Maybe I didn't give them a fair shot but knowing my ear and tastes, I've gotten pretty good at first impressions. Another way to look at it might be that the high end was perfect but they didn't offer the bass support I was looking for.
I had some Acoustic Zen Satori for awhile and while they had the bass support, but they didn't give me the mids and high end balance that seemed pleasing.....to me.
The new Tara Labs seem to provide everything I've been looking for at a proportional price to my speakers and system.
I had DH Labs Revelation and didn't like them one bit. In my system they sounded hard, brittle, and pushed everything to the front of the soundstage. Agree about the construction. though; they had some really nice locking RCA connections.
Disclaimers: in my system, in my room, with my ears, yada
yada, all cables (power, interconnects, speaker, digital)
can change the presentation. I don't have any scientific
arguments except to share that all the following that I've
tried are NOT bright in the treble:
power: Wireworld and Neotech (both OCC copper)
interconnect: Neotech (OCC copper again), Audio Sensibility
Statement Silver (OCC silver) and Audience AU24E (more OCC
speaker: Black Cat Lectraline (solid core silver), Audience
AU24E and Acoustic Zen Satori (yet more OCC copper!)
soooo...in my general experience...OCC copper is very much