Just throwing this out there, but have you thought about getting into vinyl at all ? Most of those recordings that you hear now ( guess you have them on cd) wont sound near as bad on vinyl, and will actually have more of a warm sound to them.
There is plenty of info in the forums here regarding vinyl setups on a budget, so it might be something worth looking into.
I am sure other members will add their input also......
flat response..wide bandwidth...
I would go another way, the Klipsch speakers really come alive with a tube integrated amp. Consider the ONIX or perhaps a Jolida 302. The Onkyo is a fine amp that is a bad match to your speakers.
Classic vintage speakers from the 70s (JBL, Advent, KLH to name a few) tend to tame bad recordings without sucking the life out of them. I actually prefer to listen to poor-to-mediocre sounding classic rock and soul records on my modest vintage system rather than my modern "audiophile" system.
What Klipsch speakers do you have? In my opinion, the classic series from Klipsch (Heresey etc) sound better than later models. In any event, I agree that you should look into Jolida's integrated unit and keep the Kilpsch. I hear the Onix is good too. However, the best suggestion is to get into vinyl if you want to avoid the fatigue.
Epicure 20+ are really nice with older recordings ... air spring tweeters are pretty forgiving
OHM Walsh speakers will bring out the best in most recordings, including those that are deficient to start.
Doubtless, anything good will cure any current ills further upstream.
So I tend to agree with the nod to another power source like the 'int' mentinoed previously.
Another thought I have is perhaps an easier speaker to listen to/with. Something in the 84db - 86db range. Some older Phase Techs could work well and what I use in another rig to listen to just such things with myself.
The PC series is the one to look into.
Then too, there are headphones... for much less too.
Have you tied the dashboard speaker out of a '74 Buick?
Epicure 20's.. love em! GOOD LUCK trying to find a pair!
I would say the EARLY original Advent speaker.. very easy to listen to, definitely NOT "tipped up"... easy to drive, nice bass, alot of them still around on ebay, and cheap!
I would suggest older Spendors, at that price range, maybe the sp1's, I had a pair of SP1/2e's and they made everything sound good and give a bit of a buffer on the less then perfect recordings.
I may receive death threats for this, but you might consider inserting an equalizer into your system. I would assume the Onkyo amp has a tape loop, making this possible. I have a Behringer T1951 parametric EQ on a tape loop. As long as a recording is listenable, I leave it out of the signal chain. But for those times when my taste in music and the record producer's lack thereof are in conflict, a slight reduction in the brightness range, 4-8kHz, coupled with a very subtle boost below 60Hz can often make the recording listenable, if not hifi.
My Behringer is a good choice, but I am not sure it is still in production. It also has a steep learning curve because of its flexibility. Check musician retailers like Guitar Center for availability. A less complicated route would be to pick up a graphic EQ on a site like this or that other auction site. I would look for at least ten bands per channel (12 or 14 is better), electronic level controls (these are not as subject to dust and wear-and-tear as mechanical sliders are), and the ability to store several curves in memory. The brands I like when looking at used consumer EQ units are Kenwood (I own a GE-7020 for recording), ADC, BSR and DBX. There are plenty available, just make sure you get one in top condition, as these companies aren't really around anymore to supply parts for repair (I had to replace both an ADC and a Kenwood that went bad on me). If you shop carefully, you should be able to spend less than $100, perhaps much less, for a good EQ. Get decent cables (you'll need two pairs), and you're all set.
In addition to Jaybo's response , I would echo the tube suggestion , as many as you can do ie. amp , preamp and CDP .
A second addition would be a speaker change to something with a soft dome tweeter and a big bass driver . Also , two 7in. drivers are not as good as a single 10in. driver .
Of course the driver size will depend on the size of your room . And the box will be wider than the new designs of today that use the multiple smaller driver array for better looks . This is the reason that the older speakers , suggested above , look like kegerators !
These changes have made many of my CD's go from the 'For Sale' stack back into the 'Listening' stack !
Good luck .
JBL L100 or 4311,4312. Many rock recordings in the sixties and seventies were mastered on these. You also don't need much power to drive these.
Just give your CD's and tapes and records to me.
Them you could come over and listen to them
on my stereo! It ROCKS!
What about the early, good version, of the Realistic Mach one's? Those, with a good el34 tube integrated, like an older ASL or even a NAD 3020A or a classic Sansui AU717, the Rock would sound punchy and great with those,just a thought.
Thanks for the suggestions. I thought about getting a tube amp but I've been told it's not good to leave the power on all the time, which I do often. I have a turntable but most of my listening is with flacs through a modded soundcard. EQ does help, but turning down the high freq's loses a lot of the music.
The OHM Walsh or Spendors sounds like a possibility. I'm not sure about really old speakers because of the degradation of parts over time. Big speakers wouldn't work well in my small apartment. The heresy's I have are ok, but the sounds seems to blend together, I'd like to have more separation.
Yes , you do not want to leave a tubed device on all of the time . It will wear out the tubes prematurally .
Why do you 'tend' to do that ? Memory ?
Another alternative would be to try some non-tubed DAC's . You might find one that would allow you to tailer/color the output to your desires . Sort of like the tubes would do .
Good luck .
Because I use the amp for the PC, music and movies. Sometimes I forget to turn it off because I'm using it all the time.
Basically I'm just looking for speakers for my apartment that don't have to be loud to sound good, and make bad metal recordings sound pretty good. Like the Grado phones. Metal heads love Grado.
Another unorthodox (in 'audiophile' circles) suggestion: B&O Beolab Penta, an early pair (Penta I) can probably be had for your budget. I've owned a couple of different pairs and lived with them in apartments . . . and for rock, metal, and punk, they will do exactly what you're after.
The bass response is full and warm but not boomy, but slightly gritty in a way that fits this music well -- the bass has some adjustability as well. The Penta I's lack a bit of sparkle for classical and jazz, but really bring a sizzly rock/punk recording into nice focus. They crank up really well . . . but also hold together at low volumes.
Oh and they look cool, hold their value well, are relatively insensitve to room placement, and have pretty decent monoblock power-amps built in. RCA out from your preamp (or variable out from CD, DAC, or phonostage) is all that's required.
I saw and ad for a pair of Phase Technology PC80's someone is selling locally for $100. Blindjim recommended those. I might also try to find some old Advents, I know they come up for sale often here.
I'd rather be patient and buy locally to save on shipping, but buying that way I won't be able to get brands like Spendor and OHM Walsh, unless I wait a really long time.
Speakers are not gonna solve your problem.A bad recording is a bad recording,that's just the way it is.Just my opinion.
I think that it depends on what is making it a "bad recording" .
If it is recorded hot , tizzy on the top end with a lot of sssssssss's and zzzzzz's , then my suggestions above will help .
If the recording is compressed , soundslike it is coming from the other room with no highs or lows , then nothing will help .
And simply going to a remastered version of a bad recording is not always the answer either . I have found some to be just as bad as the original .
Agree with Saki that in most all cases a tizzy top end can be tamed with an appropriate system setup.
A good setup may help to make recordings that are dynamic range or frequency response challenged still sound very listenable and enjoyable, but within those limitations.
I've found out recently that even old 78s played back on common inexpensive 70's era 78 RPM compatible ceramic cartridge tables can be very listenable. The microdynamics in fact can be quite exceptional and compensate for the fact that there is not a lot of overall dynamic or frequency range compared to more modern recordings.