Whats wrong?

Can anyone tell me whats wrong with my system? I play all my music from my computer which has an Audigy sound card, and then there is a Yamaha EQ-70 10 band equalizer, and a Parasound HCA-750 power amp driving Magnepan MMGs. I have some cheap Acoustic Research interconnects, and 18 gauge speaker wire which is also Acoustic Research. I'm just not happy with the sound, the performance is not as magical as I thought it would be with upgrading to MMGs from Bose 201s. Can anyone tell me what to do?
Several factors could be at play here.

First of all, i don't think that anyone here would consider a computer cd / dvd rom drive and sound card mounted inside of a tower to be a good digital source. Others that are more familiar with such an installation have commented on the complete lack of "audiophile qualities". I'm specifically talking about having a high noise floor or lack of black background, poor soundstage and imaging, lack of dynamics, etc...

The next thing is that most EQ's are not looked upon as being "good" in terms of accurate musical reproduction. They can introduce noise, phase shifts, limited bandwidth, etc... This is not to mention that one can end up with a VERY un-natural tonal balance if you are not careful.

The next thing is that the Parasound amp that you have may not be that well suited to driving your Maggies. From what i can recall, the smaller Parasound amps were both bright and lacking in bottom end. This would become even more noticeable as impedance was dropped. From what i can recall, the little Maggies are already lean and they do present a low impedance to the amp.

As far as the Maggies go, these can require quite a bit of trial and error in terms of placement. Much of what you hear has to do with room acoustics, where the speakers are situated at and how they load into the room and your seated listening position. Obviously, this is something that you can experiment with to a great degree without spending any money what so ever.

As far as your cables go, they are probably not helping the situation any. While these could be changed to somewhat band-aid the situation, i think that i would work on all of the other aspects and worry about this further down the road.

As you have found out, there is more to assembling an enjoyable "hi-fi" than just buying and connecting components. Careful thought and some trial and error will always be involved in setting up a system, regardless of the amount of money spent. With that in mind, it sounds like you have a classic case of "system mismatch" from the info that you've provided. There are several ways to go about correcting this, but most all of it involves replacing or removing gear from your signal chain. Sean
Everything is wrong!
1-scrap the equalizer
2-get at least mediocre cables/interconnects. 12-14 gague for the speaker cable.
3-anything will sound better than the bose; however, the maggies are quite hard to make sound great. They have a very narrow sweet spot compared to the bose and really have no bottom end. You will have to be very careful where you place them to get good imaging and decent bass.
4-Get a pre-amp. It is ok to use the computer as a source, but a pre-amp and a nice (yet inexpensive) dvd player will make a world of difference. Computer gear simply is not made to audiophile quality. It is much better for compressed music like mp3s.
5-Finally, your amp is ok. You just may need to supplement the system with a sub if you aren't getting any bass.
Well I applaud your upgrade from Bose to Maggies!!!!!!!!!
That move in itself indates there is hope for you yet! ;-)

Anway, no matter what anyone says, EQs are evil in 2 channel music systems. A music system should not need an EQ to adjust sound quality. Scrap it!

Also, I would suggest the following:

1 - Get a dedicated CD player. Computers just do not compete with them. Plus you have all the fan noise associated with a computer (unless you have silent fans).

2 - Get a more powerful higher current amp/integrated amp. More power will drive those Maggies better. Lots of options out there, it all depends on your budget.

3 - Upgrade you cables.

I would indicate a budget, and I can give you more detailed advice.

Thanks for the replies.

I have two ideas for upgrading:
1. use the digital out from my computer to a DAC
2. buy a dvd/cd player
In both cases I would use a tube preamp, and stick with the parasound for now. I already have a subwoofer so bass is not a problem, and I WILL get rid of the EQ. Which idea should I go with?
If you sort your system out (not sure your choice of source will ever sound that great) your speaker upgrade will be stunning. 86 the EQ and get a decent preamp for starters.
If you sort your system out (not sure your choice of source will ever sound that great) your speaker upgrade will be stunning. 86 the EQ and get a decent preamp for starters.
use the digital out, make sure your S.card is 24/96, get a 24/96 DAC. Sell yur parasound, and buy some other brand, parasound can be okay to stay if you dont have much money change your cables to better one, at least not the one which is made in Taiwan. Take away the EQ and try to see if you hear more stuffs. speakers... you like bass? if you do, then these speakers dont belong to you... you like mid and soundstage depth? then they are fine...
best sound card Creative 24/96 5.1 channel platinum something... I forgot, $200 and change... a lot of output and it's in the front, easier to play around
You cant expect decent sound from a computer...and I hate to be blunt...but your system is only as good as your source...dont try to cut corners...you can pick up a used Rega planet for around $300...some dh labs cable for $100...and a NAD c370 intergrated for around $500...this may seem like alot...but with decent speakers...such as the baby mags..."garbage in/garbage out" is an understatement...also...the MMGs are really designed for small rooms... the sweetspot is already pretty narrow...and smaller Mags have little vertical dispersion and limited bass...but even with these drawbacks...when set up correctly...their strenghts....transparency,imaging,detail,speed,etc...will far outweigh their limitations....
ALso..dont play mp3s...these sound worse than am radio
The amplifier, in my opinion, should be changed. My experience with the MMG is that they are like all other maggies. Requiring tons of power. There is bass available. But even for those little guys, they would like 300 plus watts. That's probably a little excessive, but won't hurt anything. The earlier Parasounds were bright, as Sean mentioned. If you do a little research, I think you'll be surprised how little you have to put into your system to make it come around. Especially buying used.
I ditto all of what Phasecorrect suggested abpve, and also agree that the smaller Parasounds where very bright and brittle up top. On conventional speakers even the smaller Parasounds would always pump out very good bass for their power rating, and also sounded much better at low levels due to a high class-A bias. However, with inefficient and reactive Maggies, I'm sure it could very well be a different story. Have fun upgrading!
Pay attention to the above comments about speaker placement. It's critical with dipole speakers. I also agree with the comments that the Yamaha EQ should be put aside. Quality cables are critical and they don't have to cost alot. Tributaries offers several very reasonably priced products.

What I disagree with are the several comments about getting rid of the computer as your source component. If properly implemented a computer with a high quality outboard DAC can sonically compete with any freestanding CD player at any price. Other than the DAC, the two keys are the soundcard and ripping the music to your hard disk. You'll need to get software that accurately rips your CDs at full 16 bit/44.1kHz resolution. Hard disk space is relatively cheap such that you can store approximately 170 CDs at full resolution on a 120Gb HD. You'll also need software that allows you to organize your music for easy access as playlists. I'm an Apple person, but I'm told that there are readily available Wintel oriented software that can accomplish these tasks. I'm not familiar with your Audigy card, but hopefully it has a coax digital output and doesn't employ any sample rate conversion on its outputs. As long as it puts out a stable and accurate clock signal, it should work well with any outboard DAC.

Once setup in this manner, you'll have instant access to all of your music collection and the ability to easily burn compilation discs. Good luck!
The output for a signal level for a pre amp is not the signal out (amplitude) of the soundcard. This voltage designed for cheap 5 channel amp speakers! Diamond cut audio sells better sound cards. Your card is all hype (marketing)
Not a dealer..read about this in pc gamer!!
Lawbadman, upgrade your speaker cables to something halfway decent. 18 ga. is a little on the thin side. From my experience, try Winamp, free download, as your audio source control for your music. This has a 10 band eq in it and volume control, so you can put your eq aside. Playing mp3s from your computer is not a bad idea, I even tried it myself with some success using an old receiver, sub and speakers. It worked ok, but the source has to be changed. One last thing is interconnects, I used a cheap mini-jack to rca to tap of the sound card on my computer to the receiver. If you can find a better one, try it out if you can. For your speakers, I have no idea what MMg's are, so take whatever is suggested to you. Good Luck