Speaker shootout update; aggressive treble eliminating some (fairly?)


I've been trying out speakers in a complicated shoot out, both bookshelves and towers — all in my home with my gear. I'm looking for speakers obtainable up to about $4k but could go up (or down) a bit if the right thing came along.

Basic facts: All speakers were run in at least 100 hours. Room is 27 x 14 x 6.5 ceilings. Powering with all QS tubes, 60w, NOS, tube R2R dac, and decent cables. No terrible reflection points; room not overly live or dampened. REL R 328 sub available but I did most listening without it.

Recent auditions, type:

Klipsch RP 600-M (budget singleton of the group)
Fritz Rev Carbon 7 mk II (bookshelf, 2 way, soft dome)
Focal 936 (tower, 3 way, inverted metal)
Martin Logan Motion 60s XTi (tower, 3 way, AMT)

Coming soon:

Salk SS 6M (bookshelf, 2 way, beryllium)
Dynaudio Evoke 30's (tower, 3 way, soft dome)

Let me speak just to the problems, rather than what was good about the speakers. So far, I've found the Klipsch, Focal, and especially the Martin Logans were all too bright — forward, aggressive, "turn it down" treble.

The ML's were the most impossible to tame and hardest to listen to on more tracks. (I did a lot of hanging of towels and other dampeners and other soft things to try to see if I could bring them to heel. I varied the recordings used. Changed cables/wires. No luck.)

The Focals were occasionally too bright; their bigger problem was a bit too much energy in my small listening space. They were better when I plugged their ports with socks.

I'm looking forward to how the next two speakers sound. The Dynaudio towers, I notice, are 10 inches shorter and half the weight of the other towers; not sure what that might mean, but it could just be right size for my space. I'm looking forward to seeing if the Salks bring more detail to the treble without also being too rolled off or harsh.

Hearing is very personal for physiological and taste reasons. However, if anyone has any thoughts about why I might be experiencing some of the phenomena I am (harsh treble, especially) based on my room or gear, etc., that might help me understand factors I'm not fully appreciating. Thanks.


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@jhills
...remind me a bit of the smaller 1.7 Maggies (that I am using now) with a bit more base energy but with the same deep, broad stage.

Good to know. The Maggie 1.7.., the other one I recall a few members here on Agon with QS mono tube amps were running like @hilde45 has. Never heard them in a smaller room. Once tried 3.6 Maggies on demo in a wide/short space. They were way too big for that room, did not work well that way.. 1.7 would be fun to try with the QS Mono 60s or 120s. Do you run your 1.7s with SS or tube amp(s)?
@terry9 I'll get back to you about the room dimensions, but it has weird pockets and spaces. (I posted the diagram a few back.)

@jhills Yes, I'm giving them a good chance (the Salks) and the Harbeths sound great but hard to get a pair to audition.
I hope you find the SS 6Ms acceptable.
I’ve had my Salk SS 6M’s now for about 6 weeks now and I love them as they are everything and more than I’d hoped for, to say nothing about the exceptional Salk fit and finish.

 

Salk  StreamPlayer (Roon), Yggdrasil DAC, Macintosh MC-240 (re-caped) with modern tubes including 7581’s.

 

My listening room is 21’ x 23’ with a vaulted ceiling ranging from 9’ to 13’.

 

The SS 6M are setting on 22” Sound Anchors.

 

After much listening and experimenting I ended up with the SS 6Ms centered on the 21’ wall 28” from the wall, and 9’apart.

 

My listening position is 9’ from each speaker.


@pelletfan Thanks for your post. So far so good, but I’m going to put them through their paces. 
Your suggestion of a stand is SUPER helpful. 
ONCE UPON A TIME I had a pair oof B&W-801 Matrix speakers (upgraded). I had always thought the tweeters sounded a little "hot" especially on CD's as they were 1st coming out in droves. I had an excellent Levinson amp (23.5's) and I was pretty happy anyway with the sound. But then after I sold the speakers to a friend I heard them driven by Pass Aleph 1.2 mono blocks. Of course they were $14K and all that, but all of the sudden the B&W's sounded astonishingly good, smooth and as delicious as a chocolate malt. Just an example of how good the speakers really were all along. But I wonder if and when you were able to hear an audition at a dealer where you "knew" right then and there this is what you were after (with the cd's you brought in yourself)? Then you make a careful note of everything they were using along with the room, etc. Since your hearing is obviously very good, you should be able to find what is right and not so right about your own set-up. It may take some time (and unfortunately money) to find equipment that gets you closer faster to your personal goal. BTW, I replaced my B&W's with Eggleston Andra's and never looked back, but they weren't cheap and it took a lot of time for me to be able to to make the changes I wanted, including different amplifiers (Levinson 33H's- wonderful amps).