Where's My Bass?

Actually, I don't like a lot of bass; I listen mostly to chamber music, acoustic jazz and folk. But my Audio Physic Tempo III's are putting out almost nothing. These speakers are by nature light on bass, but mine seem lighter than others I've heard. Otherwise the speakers sound absolutely marvellous, and I'm extremely reluctant to go to a sub (many frustrating past experiences)

I've tried various cd transports/players and a few cables. Should I move on to the preamp and amp? Is there anything in my current gear that jumps out as a potential weak link?

Thanks all.

Current set-up: Musical Hall MMF used as cd trans; MSB Link III DAC; Audio Research LS-7 pre; Pass Aleph amp; Harmonic Tech interconnects; Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cable.
What's the room like? Are your speakers near sliding glass windows? These will reinforce mids and highs, but leak bass badly. Do you have a good balance or absorption and diffusion material in the room? Sometimes bass sounds lacking simply because you are comparing it to the mids and highs that are not being absorbed enough relative to the bass. In this case the bass is where it should be and you really need to attenuate the other frequencies to bring everything back into balance. I would recommend graphing a response curve of the speakers in the room to determine the severity of the problem: ie do you have a bass sink at a small bandwidth, or is it low all around. If you've heard these speakers in a good set up where the bass sounds appropriate it would be useful (but possibly impractical) to measure the response under those conditions.
Should i or shouldn't i ??? Let me put on my dancing shoes rather than my "stomping boots" : )

Please keep in mind that these are strictly my opinions and worth slightly less than what you paid for them.

The MSB DAC's are somewhat leaner and brighter sounding.

Audio Research is known for being a "non-tubelike" tube product. That is, they do not have the full bodied bloom that many tube products offer. Instead, many of their products tend to emphasize a slightly leaner sound. Changing tubes may be able to alter this to a notable extent.

The Aleph series of amps have very sweet sounding midrange but lack bass impact.

The Analysis Plus Oval 9's produced a very lean and tizzy tonal balance in the systems that i tried them in.

I can't comment on the Harm Tech cables as i've never used them. I do know of a few people that have changed to other cables and stated that they found the Harm Tech's to be somewhat lean sounding or lacking warmth afterward.

As you noted, the Audio Physic's line is not known for being "powerful" sounding or having a lot of bottom end.

With that in mind, every product that you've mentioned that i've had experience with come across as being "light" in bass response. Obviously, others will have varying opinions and thoughts on the subject. I'm sure that under the circumstances that they used each of these components / brand names, their observations were probably quite valid. Some components can display the characteristics of a chameleon i.e. they change colors as their environment is altered. That is why "system synergy" is discussed so often here and on other audio forums. Sean
Good post sean...
I have an LS-7 and lacked bass prior to switching the tubes.. of course, I am an Upscale audio fan..
I went with new old stock tubes.. and the bass improved significantly... Also, When I changed my cart from a mm to a garrott k2 mc the bass cleaned up and was incredible..
And I am using a simple 2 way monitor with 8 inch drivers and 1 inch tweeters...
Good luck,
I let a 4 lb.18" smallmouth go a couple of weeks ago, could it have been yours?
1. The HT pro silways and magic links are an excellent cable. (at least for some systems) Especially for the money. If you have their Truthlinks, I don't know.

The Analysis Plus Oval 9's were the strangest speaker cable I've ever heard in my system. I had lost all bass definition. The AP 12's were even much better than the AP 9's in my system.

All other cables I tried made only little differences at the micro- level. But those AP 9's were terrible and I had tried them on 2 seperate occassions (about 3 months apart).

Obviously, not every cable works well in every system.

You might want to consider some Harmonic Tech Pro 9 speaker cables. For one thing, it never hurts to stick with the same manufacturer for all cabling. I have all Harmonic Tech and thoroughly enjoy them.

2. Next, I'd look toward room acoustics and speaker positioning.

Typically the further from the back wall the better for soundstaging, etc., but too far out and you will lose some of the bass emphasis. You want the speakers away from the back and side walls but too far out and you'll experiences a weakening of the bass.

3. I understand that Pass makes some pretty good amps but I'm not that familiar with the Aleph. Isn't that one of their older and smaller amps? If so, then you may want to consider upgrading the amp.

before you spend any money, you should really play around with placement in the room. If you have not experimented with all of the options, you could be amazed at the differences in tonal balance that even a few inches can make. I've know too many people that spiral into the upgrade path looking for certain sonic signatures in new equipment/cable when all they really needed to do was move their listening chair up agains the back wall...
If you are going to have your seat against the back wall, you better do something to treat the wall behind you. Either that or forget about strong imaging. Then again, i would rather have something that was tonally pleasing than be able to "see" into the recording. Sean
If you don't have the P1000 power supply for the MSB DAC, you are missing a lot of bass. I recently got a P1000 for my MSB and the difference was immediate and obvious. All of a sudden, the bass we there.
I agree with all the above. Also, by itself, this may not be enough, but you might try one or more power cords. It worked for my originally lean sounding system.
They suck on bass, but have great midrange, and that is where the music lives
Eleonida, you have not mentioned what powercords in your system. But i agree with Mrowlands that powercord has a big influence on low/high frequency extensions especially the one connected to the source gear like cd player or dac. It may be worthwhile to spend some time to free-audition powerchords if they are available in your area.
From my experience - pc of thicker gauge copper conductor (AWG11 or 9)generally provides the "warmth" and lowers the bass extension, very apparent in the case of floorstander speakers. And smaller copper or silver plated conductors with teflon insulation provides high frequency "airiness" and apparent hf extension. Even for an electric techy, i don't quite fully understand the exact measurement of these properties. They are definitely NOT due to the current carrying capacity because source gear current demands are extremely small. It might have something to do with the larger conductor surface capacitance & cable twist inductance, type of insulation material, forming natural repeating LC networks along the whole length of the pc which somehow filter the brightness-causing artifacts out of the power supply. So when a salesman states that a longer pc sounds "smoother", he got a point right there from his experience, but not able to offer any scientific explanation. Anyway he probably has an entire sample stock of pc's at his disposal to try out and made that conclusion.

With the above observation learnt, i have recently reconstructed two pieces of pc's from a fellow audiophile's discards. They were "bright" sounding API 313's which has silver coated conductors. After dismantling API to recovered all the materials, added a single 7-strand pvc insulated copper wire (AWG 18 i think) each for line & neutral, woven in the style of a very reputable brand of pc, which i will not name here.

I'm now auditioning these two diy'ed hybrid pc's. The result is quite astounding. They have a refined hi-end sound compared to the original API 313's and they perform very well in the power monoblocs at the moment. However they sound too heavy in the bass (i have over compensated!) at the cd player position.

Sorry to have rambled on this diy stuff. But this is my $0.02 "missing bass" point i wish to make. Enjoy!

I have found that tonal balance in a high end system can be a fine line to walk and one change like a tube or a wire will switch the balance the other way around to being too warm or bass heavy. Hang in there you are may be closer than you think.
Without knowing the (1) amp power rating, it's hard to identify why your set up is lacking of bass. Besides those, the (2)room size, (3)position of speaker are the two most important factors that directly affect the bass response. Cables, tubes, are minor contribution to the lack of bass compared to the (1),(2), and (3)variable above.
Thanks all; some terrific suggestions. I have experimented quite a bit with placement, mostly to quiet the highs. The speakers aren't at all sharp. The sound is laid-back and airy, and the reflection issues seem pretty minimal. There is a large pair of french doors that are difficult, but my wife vetoed my suggestion to cover them in black felt! The rating of the amp is only 30 watts, but the Pass is class A. Also, in experiementing a little this week I noticed that in the next room over the bass isn't bad: in other words you can hear/feel the low freq. vibrations. So it does seem to be a balance issue (though the MSB power supply has tempted me before).

The Harmonic Techs are the truthlinks; the only upgraded power cords are Cardas Quadlinks on the amp and transport.
While your components may be contributing to a lack of bass, I agree that room placement and the room, itself, can have the greatest effect on bass response. I have heard your Audio Physic Tempo III's at my dealer, and while I agree they are not known to have nor were they designed to have great bass response, they certainly produce more than you are hearing. A lack of bass can often be the result of low-frequency cancellations due to speaker placement relative to your seating position. This is probably why you mentioned that in the next room over, the bass isn't bad. Where your seating position is may be where low-frequency cancellations are occurring. If the direct bass response wave is meeting the reflected bass response wave at the position where you are seated, the reflected bass response could be nulling the direct bass response. It's essential to try to have the reflected sound not interfere with the direct sound.

I have a cousin who bought Avalon Eidelon speakers which exhibited great bass extension in the dealer's showroom. I told him not to expect much in his home since his listening room was too small for this speaker. Luckily for him, he and his wife are soon moving into a larger home. Sure enough, in his 10' x 14' room, the Eidelons produced very little bass. We read the Audio Physics website and discovered that where he was sitting and the geometry of his listening setup was almost exactly where cancellations of low-frequency imformation were occurring. He also has a large picture window behind his head which accentuates the high frequencies and makes the tonal balance tilted up in the higher frequencies. I also recommend that you browse the Audio Physics website at www.immedia.com for speaker placement information.