Speaker glare...help

I have a small room 15-15'(yea I know but you do what you have to)..running a pair of Focal mini uptopias/rel storm3 powered w/ a pass labs X150.5 and jadis jpl..arcam 36...virtual dymanics cable....Im getting what appears to be a speaker glare in the 10-15 range or possibly distortion,I belive its not distortion..Ive tried numerous different speaker placements,seating postions,wall panels,different players,different tubes in jadis..anyone out there with ideas before I throw money to wind..thanks,D
Consider the full bodied Cardas Golden Cross cables. Full bass and midrange with a controlled top end.
I vote for better cables too, let us know what happens. I use Cardas NR myself w/all Classe setup.
The focal’s will be more apt to reveal this particular issue then perhaps other speakers. Trying warmer cabling as suggested is a good idea as is looking at your AC delivery, (think Oyaide GX or R1's in your case). Also room treatment at all first reflection points, back wall, ceiling etc…But because of your smallish room and perhaps you are more sensitive at particular freqs. You may end up looking at a speaker that is a little kinder in the treble.
You've got good equipment. I think that you need to find a Sumiko dealer to have Master Set done to properly place your speakers. In your small room you may also need room treatment, but start with the set. A proper set will get the speakers working together and almost eliminate intermodulation distortion. In my system I was able to listen at much higher levels while the bass seemed like it was coming from speakers twice as large as before. Yet the midrange was clearer and imaging larger and deeper.

It's worth every penny. No cable is going to fix this.

Maybe change the CD player, as well...
With reference to Plato's suggestion about changing the CD player, try the $1.99 "The Black Hole" CD mat to reduce the glare while enhancing overall performance. This is made by Herbiesaudiolab.com
Click on "CD mat," and from that page click on "reviews/comments" to read about one of the least costly items ever made to upgrade digital playback.
It acts in many systems as a virtual equalizer reducing the perception of accentuated treble and glare "by reducing microphonic vibrations at the disc/clamp interface."
Noisy AC is a common cause. Experiment with power conditioning and digital isolation first.
I had a similar issue with my setup (Mezzos). The Utopia tweeters can be a little unforgiving, but once I treated my room with ASC pcad panels, the glare/ringing went away.
thanks for the input but ive tried all the above,was hoping for the miracle answer,lol..Ive run Cardas golden cross and didnt like the results at all(too muddy)..also tried a different player with same results.. real trap panels I have..and im running all power through Richard Greys..im thinking its the Focals ..thanks
With a room of your size I would 'have' to totally damp the wall behind the speakers to stop virtually all reflections off that wall. I would 'like' a one inch or thicker heavy carpet-wall to wall & floor to ceiling. It is extreme, but to determine the possibilty, you could experiment using a queen size bed mattress placed against the wall vertically behind your speakers against the wall. (I hope your floor is carpeted). I'm not suggesting this as a cure for speaker distortion just a basic element for decent 'high end' sound from a room your size. The arrival of reflected sound -no matter where you place your speaker, or where you sit, in a room your size mandates room treatment. The benefit will very noticeable & worthwhile regardless of 'speaker glare'.
I hope this helps. Happy New Year! Pete
12-30-07: Missioncoonery said:
"thanks for the input but ive tried all the above,was hoping for the miracle answer,lol.."

Who did your Sumiko Master Set? I'm really surprised it didn't cure your problem, particularly when combined with your room treatments.

The Master Set IS a miracle answer. Properly done it'll take your system to a much higher plain than any more money spent on equipment.

One way to fix your problem is to completely treat the room with "effective" bass traps, nothing less than 4" thick will do. Treat all 4 corners and the ceiling/wall boundaries as well. The wall behind the speakers would be best treated with bass traps as well. Don't completely cover any surface or you will "deaden" the room too much.
Two bass traps behind the listening position will also help.
You should end up with 10 traps in the room when finished. I have 12 traps (from Real Traps) in a room almost the same size as yours and it really sounds good.
What CD players did you try?

Not to doubt you, but almost all "glare" type issues start with sibilance from poor CDPs. Tweaks and cables (at best) are just bandaids and you will end up wasting your money if you expect a cheap solution like that.

Unless you've tried EmmLabs, DCS, Wadia, Esoteric or something like that, then you really haven't determined whether it's your CDP or not. Unlike speakers and analog devices, there are very few digital manufacturers creating TRUE reference level products.

The cheapest option I think you can try is maybe a DAC like the Benchmark with 30 day trial.

It could be room related, but room issues are very distinct and obvious compared to equipment related issues. Trust your instincts and I bet you can tell whether it's a room issue or not. I'm betting not.
01-04-08: Labtec said:
"What CD players did you try?
It could be room related, but room issues are very distinct and obvious compared to equipment related issues. Trust your instincts and I bet you can tell whether it's a room issue or not. I'm betting not."

I respectfully disagree.

You need to get the room right before you start throwing money at equipment. Midrange glare is an indicator of less than ideal speaker placement. Room treatment comes after speaker placement. You can't even begin to get the treatments in the right place until you get the speakers driving together and the most serious bass nodes and antinodes handled by placement. Residual issues are handled with treatments and the last thing is equipment.

I have not heard the Focal home audio speakers, but have read a lot about them and my brother-in-law auditioned them. I do have Focals in my car.

They seem to be love or hate type speakers. The glare you talk about is really apparent in my car. I am probably going to replace the tweeters with something else. I have tried pretty everything else I can think off.

I did find that MAC palladium ICs helped some in the car. I also have them in my home system. They make the high end more "musical". I bought them based on two reviewers, and for once they both got it right. Of course swapping out ICs to find the right combo gets pretty expensive. And MAC has a pretty steep restocking fee for the palladiums. They are fairly fragile apparently. I was lucky, I found used ones.
im thinking its the Focals ..

From Chart 3 - Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise for Mini Utopia - the metal tweeter may be misbehaving at 9 Khz (looks like it resonates at 18 Khz). Since this is probably not musically related it may add an audible brilliance or sheen or air to some sounds (only 20 db down from main signal or about 10% distortion). This distortion is probably in the frequency range for cymbals or higher (what you hear after the cymbal is struck)...it may also be inaudible to you (most adults cannot hear much if anything above 16 Khz anyway)

If this is what you are hearing as "glare" then it probably is the speakers. Otherwise it is unlikely to be the speakers but could be the recording or type of music you like.
Hi everyone

A'gon member DCstep stated:

" Midrange glare is an indicator of less than ideal speaker placement. Room treatment comes after speaker placement."

I believe I'm getting listener fatigue due to mid-range glare in my listening room. I'm trying to fix the problem methodically now and am trying to gather info before I go nuts. Now does speaker height also fall under speaker placement? Does the height of the mid-range/tweeter affect gmid-range glare? Currently right now I have a pair of KEF Q-90s raised 10" so that the Uni-Q driver is right at my ear level. I'm wondering if I go to a shorter stand if that would help with the glare. I'm trying to price a stand made of maple or myrtle wood with brass footers. The stand w/ brass footers would be about 4-5" high which would drop the Uni-Q mid range about 5-6" below my ears when I'm listening.

All speaker glare I've experienced (and since resolved) in my system seemed to have to do with cabling, ICs and SCs.
Hi Rockadanny

Thanks for chiming in. I'm in the midst of breaking in new SCs (Zu Missions) and trying them soon to combat the mid-range glare I'm getting hit with. I've gone through a bunch of different ICs and I'm happy with the current set I have. If the new SCs don't work I'll be back to the drawing board.
It may be coming from noisy AC try some maestro outlets, these just might be the best your ever try !..
Hello Hifisoundguy

Thanks for your input as well. I saved your previous e-mails to me regarding the Maestro outlets and I look @ your Maestro thread periodically. This glare issue I've been having is definitely making me take a look at everything in my system. This may be wrong but the power part of it I'm going to have to address last as it will be very time consuming and expensive for me to handle. (Addition of 2 individual 20 amp circuits, cost of the audiophile outlets, and a laundry list of other electrical issues).

I'm hoping some room treatments, speaker cable change and speaker stand tweaks help with the glare first.
Room correction?
Hey Unsound

By Room correction do you mean adding types of treatment (Sonex pads, Real Traps or similar) or getting something equipped with Audyssey?

Doing analysis on my room and adding treatments is next on my things to handle. I'm going to try a speaker cable change then a speaker stand change. I'm trying to do a cheaper version of the Mapleshade bases.

As for Audyssey Room correction I hadn't thought of that. I have seen that term in other forums but never looked into it. I always thought Audyssey was for HT set-ups. I'll add that to my list but that would require me to go to different equipment and I'm not ready to part with all my gear yet.

Thanks again for chiming in.
Audyssey, TacT, etc..You don't have to part with all your gear.

Thanks for the lead with TacT and other similar products. I'm checking around and researching a preamp that will work for me but man oh man those TacT preamps are expensive (at least for me). I've got to save some $.


Thanks for the heads up with the Symposium Acoustics platforms. I'm going to contact them to see what of their offerings will work best for me. My preamp is a McCormack TLC-1 Deluxe and it already has the four "soft shoes" attached for damping chassis vibrations on the bottom of it. I always thought that was enough. When I had music playing I didn't feel the TLC-1 Deluxe vibrating at all.
This Audiogon, check the used market. Substantial discounts abound. Do be careful though. Some of the older products might not be still supported by the manufacturer.