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Johnny7, could you describe your current setup? Typically in a ss system the source of brightness is the mismatching of components or dirty AC power. Try substituting different ICs and speaker cables into your system, and audition some aftermarket AC cords or power conditioners. Good luck and happy listening!
i like my electrocompaniet amps. and i'm not saying this yust cuz i have one for sale! ;~) it's only f/s cuz i found a matched stereo pair that i can run wertically bi-amped.
that said, mgs is correct - yer system's brightness may be due to other components - especialy if ya listen primarily to cd.
Bright systems are often a function, in part, of bright rooms. Acoustic damping/diffusion could help a lot, especially sidewalls at the point of first reflection. I agree also that cleaner AC will really open up the upper-mids by removing grain and hash. You might try cables, too. I've found solid core copper to be the warmest type.
Since you didn't indicate what budget you have, I can suggest to you the following ss amps: McCormack DNA-0.5 or DNA-1.0, Classe CA-10 and Plinius SA-100II. These amps have enough muscle to drive almost any speakers out there and have a warm presentation AS WELL as being transparent/detailed. As for the brightness factor, it really boils down to one component or a combination of different things (as mentioned earlier). Although, some people have indicated that a room has as much play in bright-sounding systems as the components themselves, then again, if the whole synergy of the system is INHERENTLY bright, then room manipulation could only help so much.
Very few modern quality SS amps are bright sounding, the single biggest cause of treble problems in a CD based system is you DAC, getting a quality DAC with smooth filtering will do more than anything else to give you a smooth clean relaxed treble.
ICs, power cords, and AC conditioning are next source of treble problems. Proper matching will remove distortion
and tonal imbalances. I prefer copper cables for their more natural tonal balance.
Finally your pre-amp, amp do have some influence on preceived warmth. Class A and Mosfet SS are warmer sounding
than bi-polar output stage designs, but this is just in general. For instance Sam Tellig recently reviewed and liked the warm sound of the Belles Hot Rod amp, which is a mosfet design and contrasted that with McCormack and Musical
Fidelity which are both bi-polar output.
Both Muse and Belles are mosfet SS amps, not sure what the Conrad Johnson SS are but they are usually rated as warm by reviewers. I have owned mosfet amps in the past, but now have bi-polar SS amp with good DAC and proper cables/AC conditioning and enjoy detail and quickness along with smooth relaxed treble.
Johnny7, this is a classic example of needing to be careful as far as the language used to describe the sound of a system and the potential solution to the perceived problem. You say that your system is bright and you want to warm it up. The opposite of bright is dark and the opposite of warm is cold. Can we assume that your system sounds cold to you? If yes, that may have nothing to do with brightness as far as I'm concerned. I have owned components that were dark but cold sounding; conversely I have had components that were bright but actually quite warm sounding. My suggestion to you is to make sure that what you object to in the sound of your system is not harshness rather than brightness. The most common suggestion in your case is to add a tube amp, but many tube amps in my experience sound "brighter" than some solid state amps. They do however tend to be softer sounding and more forgiving of harshness elsewhere in the system. Perhaps a complete description of the evolution of my amp ownwership and perceived sound characteristics will help. First amp owned: Hafler200(ss)somewhat bright, dry, cold, a little harsh. -- B&KST140(ss) much warmer, softer, dark, slightly dry -- PS Audio200 (ss) VERY cold, uninvolving, somewhat bright -- BEL1001(ss)much brighter, tense, smoothest (lack of harshness) yet -- Berning 2100(tube) brightest yet, most detailed yet, NOT cold, very dynamic -- Manley Reference200 monos (tube) just right!. Remember that this was all in the context of my system. Good luck and regards.
Thank ypu all for the replies regarding warm sounding SS power amps.
I do not currently own a high end system.However,I am planning to put one together.
I have done some listening and will continue to do more.
I would like to get the opinion of someone experienced in
separate components other than a salesperson.
Your replies have been very helpful.
To respond to something that Megasam stated, Bi-polar amps are typically known for having better bass response than Mosfets when properly designed. As such, one would think that they would sound "warmer" but that is typically not the case. Mosfets are typically "softer" sounding to start off with and, as is the case in most "mass produced" electronics, the lack of gain matching in Bi-polar output devices can tend to make them sound hard or bright. Lack of "gain matching" in bi-polar based amps is why most of the SS "muscle amps" of the 1970's and early 80's sounded so "transistor" even though many of them were capable of excellent bass response. Sean