I would get rid of the RS interconnects anything would be better choose one. Try kimber PBJ. Any Kimber stuff is good.
15 responses Add your response
Elizabeth makes some very good points and doing the things she suggested should all help.
Other considerations are that there is a very good possibility that the sibilance does exist in the recordings themselves and your system is simply showing you what is on those recordings. Also, different cables do sound different and some cables and certain combinations of cables (say interconnects/speaker cables or speaker cables/power cords) can sound more or less sibilant than others.
So being the somewhat frugal beast that I am, I would try different interconnects and/or speaker cables first (especially if I had them on hand). And if you don't have a good AC power conditioner in the system, I would get one... not only for better sound, but for protection against spikes and power surges.
The only culprit here is the power. You would need high quality power cords like a Transparent Audio Reference power link or a good Regenerator like a Pure power or a Monarchy. I have gone through this exact situation. Any attempt to cut down harshness through interconnect will only lead to coloration and softening of transients because the problem doesnt exists there and you are trying to forcibly cure it there. POWER POWER POWER !!!!
There was a thread on this the other day. Get rid of the Radio Shack ICs and get the free ones that come with your oldest and cheapest CD or DVD player. If it sounds worse you know that is the problem.. The other way to approach this is to buy a very high quality Cardas Golden eference IC and use those. That will almost certainly fix the problem but you will be out about $850 for a meter. Not the highest price in the world but not cheap. You should alsp get Dream Weaver Speaker Cables from Jen Labs I use the cheapest but the all copper braid is a great cable and the higher up you go the better. This will solve the problem but the price of admission here is fair considering all the labor but firmly up there.
Some good ideas so far, but one thing that has not been mentioned is jitter.
Mizuno - You said in the OP that your dac is being fed by the S/PDIF output from Sonos. Sonos' S/PDIF output has a high level of jitter. Jitter results in frequency modulation that is audible as harshness in the high frequencies, which is exactly what you are reporting. If your dac does not reclock, then you are probably hearing the results of jitter. What dac are you using?
what about the room (reflections), or the unforgiving nature of the integrated amp and /or speakers ?
i'm not saying it isn't a cable problem. the obvious solution is to try other cables.
you have not mentioned the brands you use for speaker or integrated amp.
perhaps a tube integrated in lieu of a ss ?
cables are less expensive, maybe, or as has been suggested , another dac, with a tube might be another thought.
The dac is a w4s dac1 with upgraded caps ( same as dac2) and the amp is the lfd ncse.
I indeed seem to mostly experience the harshness on older live recordings, rarely on more recent ones.
First with the dac break in the harshness arose , and little by little it seems to become less prOnounced. Am about 150h in the process.
Not sure if you're answering your own question or not with the comment you made above about the DAC breaking in "harshness arose .... seems to become less." - might want to contact W4S and see what they say about the breakin experience and possibly how their DAC "reacts" with the source you are feeding it with.
Do think, if nothing else, that you are short changing yourself in what music your are probably "not hearing or isn't being revealed" using the radioshack ICs and whatever comparable SCs you are using, as well as the quality of the cable between the "source" and the DAC.
I kind of agree with Facten's statement.
"Do think, if nothing else, that you are short changing yourself in what music your are probably "not hearing or isn't being revealed" using the radioshack ICs and whatever comparable SCs you are using, as well as the quality of the cable between the "source" and the DAC"
I know the biggest change in sound I've heard other than moving speakers around and changing to quality components was changing stock ICs better quality ICs. I got good results when I swapped out the thin stock ICs that came with my cable box that I was using from my preamp to amp to MAC UltraSilver + ICs. I didn't spend an insane amount of $ on these ICs. I'm sure if you even went from the stock ICs to something from Blue Jeans Cable or Monoprice you would hear an improvement.
I have to agree that there could be a few different things going on with the system, but that the IC really don't help. I have some Blue Jeans cables and I just did a demo with Hapa Breathe C cables, and holy crap was I impressed. Definitely spendy for my budget ($4-500) but they gave so much more detail in every range of the spectrum, and with absolutely zero harshness or glare. And that's saying something since I run Klipsch. If you're going to splurge on some new kit, they're worth checking out for sure.