((((Initially I listened to the PL100s on axis -- with each speaker firing straight at me. Like that, there was too much higher-frequency energy and, depending on the source material, the PL100s edged toward brightness. After that, I tried them far off-axis; however, when I went too far off-axis, the speakers sounded dull. This drastic shift has mostly to do with the ribbon tweeter."
The only caveat comes in the mid range, which can sound somewhat lean in the vocal range, with an overall balance that rises toward the treble. The PL100 will probably sound forward to some, so definitely try before you buy. The PL100 is a top-drawer performer with luxury appeal, and it hides nothing.
Amps wont make a huge difference but will help some.
with the words above like drastic wider spacing may help but read between the lines.
If adjusting the Rotel"s Bass/ treble doesn't help.
You may well want to listen first the next next time in your home with the speakers
one of the amps that have zero feedback design may help you play music and has a balanced XLR input the Ayre AX7..
Metal drivers / Hi Mass tend to be great in the bass but cant move fast enough and end up slow in the Mid band where most of the music is
and where we are able to hear the best.
If after all fails and you throw in the towels try listening to The Vandersteen Treo CT it works well with most all amps, offers 4 unique drivers time aligned and pistonic/faster to the frequencies they are reproducing which IMO results in a more coherent satisfying listening experience.
Not sure how you can fix the ribbon tweeter. Ribbons suffer from compression and distortion as you increase SPL. True to form for that style transducer, the ribbon appears to be severely distorting and compressing at modest levels.
Worse there is a problem with the woofer. It is breaking up at 2KHz which will be clearly audible as distortion and huge distortion spikes evident on the measurements. Also the woofer is a cheap design that cannot play even modest SPL before significant compression. This speaker will only only sound good at low volumes and will sound dull and harsh when pushed. No amplifier is going to fix it.
Sorry to tell it like it is but how else can I be if any assistance (what point would there be to spend $1400 on an amp when the speaker is your problem) BTW I also don’t like B&W because of their poor design but your previous B&W speakers were much better than the PL-100.
If you can move on then you will be far happier. ATC SCM 19 would be a step up from the B&W if you are looking for a stand mount.
I think there are two main reasons for the perceived brightness. Reason number one is speaker set-up. 95% of audio enthusiasts don't take the time to learn proper speaker set-up and methodically find the sweet spot. Read Jim Smith's book Get Better Sound for the methodology. And some don't even try in order to appease the wife.
The second reason is the Rotel digital amp. Class D is getting better and better but a five year old Rotel design is not a good match for the Monitor speaker which will expose every bad tendency of the Rotel. You need a warmer sounding A/B solid state amp. In your price range, I hesitate to recommend a tube amp unless you can find a deal on a used PrimaLuna or Pathos or Manley or similar.
Everyone must junk their inferior Thiels, B&Ws, Monitor Audios, well, actually all speakers, and buy ATC speakers according to The King of Nonsense.
Oh yeah, and you must listen to rock at ear-splitting SPLs too. That’s the only barometer of a great speaker after all. You won’t be able to hear a lick (just like The King!) after much of that so it’s all good.
I have the following for sale with many great reviews. Audio Refinement / YBA gear has that warm yet defined sound you are looking for:
Will sell and ship all 3 AR components (int amp, tuner and cd) plus remote for $1075.
Speakers and stands are for local sale only.
Thanks for all your suggestions! Keep them coming :)
Could you make your top 3 list of (integrated) amplifier that can produce a deep soundstage with pinpoint imaging?
XLR/ balanced inputs is what I am looking for.
From what I heard these are:
1. Pass Labs
Your thought or other brands for the above?;)