Strange you have listening fatigue with this set up. I don't see any components that stick out as a problem, although I am not all that familiar with the B&W speakers.
The Cardas wire is warm and low distortion, the Sony 777 Is supposed to be very good and I know for certain the Manley is good.
Given no other info, you might try a tube DAC with your Sony. I am trying the new Scott Nixon DAC and its tons smoother and more organic sounding than the analog output jacks from my Sony ES.
I guess you've tried the system with the Monster power conditioner removed?
I don't like that conditioner, but it can be a benefit if your power is in bad enough shape.
Could be set up problems. Do you have first reflection points under control? What have you done with toe in? Are you listening on speaker axis? You don't mention room conditions, size or location of speakers and listener position at all. Would listening with the speaker grills on help tame the highs?
You might also look at what you've got supporting your Manley. Possibly resonances affecting your tube integrated?Tubes tend to amplify resonances in addition to the signal. You might want to consider how much toe-in your B&W 805s have. Depending on your room, pointing the tweeter directly at the listening position might be too much, as Newbee alluded to. Good luck.
I think Cardas wire is boring to listen to and might lead to fatigue. Also I am not the biggest fan of the B&W sound, I think they can be dry and wooden, not the most expressive speaker. How are the tubes in the Manley? I really love the Stingray, it is a great piece...
I agree with Phil. IMO B&W's can be dry and border on bright. I did listen to the new diamond series by B&W and was very impressed. It did not sound like B&W, in a good way. Room treatments can help quite a bit. You might try a vinyl setup :). If it were me I would look at replacing the speakers, just my opinion. Good luck.
Yep, I was diving some 805's with tubed pre, amps, and vinyl through a tubed phono pre and still struggled a bit with the b&w's dry and edgy honesty. I was in a pretty hard room though.
The problem as Philjolet and Eldarado elude to is probably your B&W speakers. I have found them to fatiguing due to the upper frequencies.
I disagree that the Cardas are contributing to fatigue. They are incredibly laid back.
Vertigo, please explain what you mean by "listener's fatigue". What exactly are the symptoms? How far away is the listening position from the speakers? Are the speakers toed-in? Are you on the vertical access of the tweeter? Do you experience fatigue every time you listen or only occasionally? Does it occur during specific recordings, or at random? I don't think you've given anywhere near enough info to adequately address your question.
Someone named Vertigo asking about fatigue -- there's a joke in there somewhere.
Sorry to throw this in the mix . . . try vinyl.
Try toeing out the speakers a few degrees to where they are not firing directly at you. And maybe try a different CD player with a warmer sound.
Monster hts 2000 power bar/conditioner
What is your definition of listeners fatigue? My experience with listeners fatigue had to do with a very bright and edgy sound. I wanted to listen longer, but could not because the sound produced by my system gave me a headache. Replacing my speakers solved that problem, but then I found I was simply bored. I gave that system to my ex-girlfriend, and it is still up and going. I get the opportunity to listen to it when I baby-sit, and now I can discern that sound as being rather lush- Not unpleasant, but not very involving either. I would describe it as the perfect after hours babysitting tool! Little Nicholas hasnt got a chance! A nice meal of diced chicken and mushy squash, and then we are all set up for the rocking chair and a steady program of megadeath darkness and grief-all his parents favorite music. In a matter of minutes this sound -the only sound it produces, has nick slumped over and snoring. That could be a form of listeners fatigue too, I suppose, or just plain case of audiophile imposed child neglect. I am not sure. Diced chicken and dull music-sigh...hopefully he will forgive me. In your case, it might be helpful to describe what it is that listeners fatigue is to you. I have B&W cdnts now, and I have always thought Manley Stingray might be a decent pairing, if not a bit underpowered.
If the fatigue is caused by brightness, or edginess, the room may possibly be the culprit. Do you have many hard reflective surfaces in your room? Your individual components wouldn't normally produce a bright sound, but in a lively room it can certainly happen. Check out rivesaudio.com. It will help you make that determination.
Sell your cardas golden reference IC and replace it with the Cardas Golden Cross.
George Cardas himself will tell you his reference cable is ONLY meant to be used in set ups that are 'perfect' - i.e., no quetions about room, speakers, platforms, tubes, sources - and that his 'real world' cable is the golden cross. You would actually save $$ going in this direction, and back when i had cardas cables, i found this to be exactly true!
One set of cables sold, another purchased, and an extra $100 in your pocket later, and you will be one (maybe large) step closer to your goal!
Buyers remorse. You are thinking about all the fun you could be having if you had spent money differently.
Buy a Bose and a motorcycle.
Anything in-between speakers? Throw a blanket over it.
you have a great system. but sometimes different is better.
The Monster Power will not cause fatigue, thats a stupid statement, so many people here throw Monster comments around like BOSE, and most have never had any real experience with it.....just stupid
My hunch would be the following:
o If the B&W 805's are monitors, you're already looking at an unbalanced or presentation weighted toward the highs. Consider either a set of full-range speakers and/or adding a subwoofer. Addressing this area could be a signifanct contribution to correcting your problem.
o Don't underestimate the significant contributions properly located speakers can make.
o Experiment with other line conditioners, ics, and speaker cables.
o Try removing all hard-surfaced furnishings and wall decorations from the room including leather chairs/sofas, end-tables, lamps, pictures, etc.
The list is near endless. But addressing one or more of the above could provide startling improvements.
What is the Manley rated for? The B7W's like a lot of juice to bring the base in.
You are probably midranging yourself to death. B&W, tube equipment, Cardas all have reputations for great midrange, but a bit laid-back sounding. You might need more excitement at the frequency extremes. If your rolling off the ends, you might be turning the volumne up to make up for the lack of excitement, and the loudness might be causing the fatigue. Maybe some of the tubes are weak, which would also contribute to this. This is just a suggestion, as I'm not familiar with all your components.
If it were me I would switch to a pair of Martin Logan
Quest Z's which would sound incredible with the VTL Stingray.Also a VPI Table would also improve your ears greatly.
None of the prior posts focused on your amplifier.
Try a Conrad Johnson CAV-50 instead of the Manley. It is an EL-34 based tube integrated which may be better match for your speakers and CDP.
Try some DIY room treatments before you start changing your gear.
i'm NOT assuming anything here :-) & I think Onhwy61 & Timf are on the correct path:- Vertigo, what's your definition of listener's fatigue? & what symptoms are your experiencing? The suggestions depend on your answer.
(I did own the B&W DM604S2 for 3 yrs & I know that they are not very discriminating speakers compared to the N-series. Never-the-less I never experienced listener's fatigue. I did, however, experience "white cheek" syndrome from sitting in my chair listening too long. LOL!
I have another friend here who owns N803s driven by a SA-250 Mk4. here, too, no listener's fatigue & I've been over to his for extended periods of time).
Hi everyone. Thanks for all the responses.
My room is 12'8"x16'11". The speakers are toed in so that the speakers shoot just past my ears. I am about 7 feet away. I have not tried it without the monster power bar and i dont know if that would cause fatigue. I have tried toeing out as well, with or without grilles, without success.
By fatigue i mean a sore , light burning sensation just behind or at my ear drums after say about an hour of listening it seems to start. I keep listenening because i want to listen to more but then regret it later when my ear has a very faint ringing and slight temporary loss of higher frequency hearing (due to light ringing). I listen at "medium" levels...that is...its not blaring loud. I would say at medium loud so as to open up whats in the music. This is between the 10-12 o clock on the stingray dial in triode mode.
I have not treated the first reflections. I have carpet and an average amount of furniture in the room. The ceiling is 8 feet high.
I like the tubes in the manley(not that i have alot of experience with tubes)...but would be curious to try some others down the road.
I experience the fatigue almost always if i listen long enough. Of course some cds are worse than others and can bring it about faster. Maybe more so with rock. I would like to be able to listen for up to 4 hrs if i want.
I dont know what a vertical axis is so i cant comment maybe someone can explain. I am in an equidesant triangle with the tweeters at ear height.
Nothing between the speakers.
The manley is 25 watts in triode and 50 watts in ultralinear. The 25 can get the speakers plenty loud.
No, i dont have a sub but can more bottom end eliminate the problem?
I dont think i'm "rolling off" cause of the cardas's and turning up the volume cause of that. I have not heard that cardas's roll off at lower volumes. I dont think that is it. In terms of the overall perspective i like where the whole sytem places me...ie with classical , about 5 rows and with studio rock or country right in the studio.
I would describe the sound as slightly edgy in the highs. The cardas ic comment was interesting. golden cross?
I will treat the first reflections sometime soon down the road...so that might be part of it. I have always wondered about the 805's but am still suspending jugdement. Maybe they are too edgy in the treble.....? I am sure alot of people have blamed them when it could have been a room or component problem.
I do have a vinyl set up but it occurs with that too. I did not mention the set up because it seemed to happen with either format.
I know the cav 50 is more euphonic and romantic than the stingray and was aware of that but in the end i wanted some of that but something more atuned for rock, though i'm sure the cav does well at that too.
Well its nice to know that there are others with the nautilus's that dont experience fatigue. That is encouraging to me. I want to keep them and make them work if i can. I used to have a classe cap 80 and the upgrade to the stingray brought a whole bunch more sweetness to the 805's but something is still there...With the recent addition of the stingray it has really taken the music to a very exciting level for me. It made me feel like i was finally starting to "arrive" and for the first time made me feel like all my work was worth it cause this thing is sounding unbelievably good. I was starting to be amazed by what i could hear. It was like live music, almost.
If people have some other suggestions that would be good, along with how long/loud they can listen for without experiencing fatigue that would be very interesting to me. I have tried to answer everyone's question , i hope i didnt miss any. thanks john.
I think you need to seek medical attention. Listening fatigue is usaully a mental state, but you seem to actually be experiencing physical symptoms. Also, you should get a sound pressure meter and check how loud you are actually a level you are actually listening.
I would take Onhwy61's advice seriously. Other than an overwhelming mid-upper register (say, ~2-6kHz) that is tiring, the physical malaise you experience shouldn't be there. UNLESS of course, you listen really loud (and 10-12 on the volume can be pretty loud). Keep to average levels of ~78-80db spl max.
Do you have any light switch dimmers or flourescent lighting in or around your listening room? No one is going to hear 30k or 40khz but it will give you a headache and ringing ears in a short time. At the very least try and get a SPL meter and see if you have any ultra high freqs bombarding you. Also try and put some cheap out of the box IC's and zip cord just as an experiment, but use it everywhere. Try the free and cheap first. Good luck.
Vertigo, that would be waaaay too much toe-in for me. Try aiming your speakers at a point behind the listening position that is equal to the distance from the listening position to the speakers (7 feet behind the listener, in your case). If there is enough room between the side walls and your speakers that first reflection aren't a problem, I would try aiming them at a distance twice that far behind the listening position. I realize toe-in is really subjective and depends on room, speaker, gear, etc., but that amount of toe-in would drive me insane...not to mention that pointing the speakers directly at the listener's ear destroys soundstaging in a very substantial way. Try changing the toe-in combined with using something handy like towels or rugs for taming first reflection points and see how it sounds. At least it's easy and cheap! Hope that helps.
you are damaging your ears and it is irreversable...
xxx I think you need to seek medical attention. Listening fatigue is usaully a mental state xxx
Yes the sympton is physical. It is tinnitus or tinnititus , however its spelt. It is not boredom or irritation or something emotional as a result of listening to music.
....But if the higher frequencies are bright doesnt that "fry" your ears with prolonged listening? Isnt it a sliding scale. "Perfect treble" is sweet and enjoyable and probably more tolerable at certain volume than a less perfect treble at the same decibal level.... but nevertheless even perfect treble if played at very loud levels will make your ears ring.
No, no light switch dimmers.
xxxx you are damaging your ears and it is irreversable... xxxxx
yes i know. I did have a hearing test about 3 weeks ago cause i was worried and she said my hearing tested normal.
About toe in and set up i used the forum advice and set up example in the following thread
The xa777es is really good, probably more neutral than it is romantic and maybe the golden cross ic will warm things up and help a bit. How many hours can you guys listen for without any bad effects? 2, 4, 6?
Well, FWIW, I have mild tinitus and I can't abide any irregularity or excessive brightness in my audio. This has driven me to pay close attention to eliminating these problems. The result is I can listen for hours w/out difficulty. In fact in tuning my system as I have, it invites listening at loud level just because the extra volume can expose more detail and draw you further into the music, without 'hardening' the upper frequencies. And in my room with my stuff, I have excellent soundstaging including depth of image, a hallmark of good resolution so I'm not just rolling off the high end to get a dullish result. Its really about removing or reducing distortions from room/set up and your equipment.
I have done this by using tubes in all my equipment except my tuner so I can tailor components output to fit my needs. It is just amazing the difference tubes can make, its not minor at all. I'm not suggesting that the tubes in your Manley are your problem, not at all! In fact it could be something a simple as the output taps you are using on your Manley.
Interestingly, I recently acquired some efficient speakers with a nominal impedence of 4 ohms, a minimum impedence of 3.5 ohms which sound much better off the 8 ohm taps on 4 different amps. Who would have thought! Took me a couple of months to figure that out - I was blaming everything else for a problem that this change solved.
Re tubes for example, I tried a pair of tubes in the input stage of an amp. The tubes initially sounded full and detailed, until I played a recorder track on a test disc. A tough instrument. In its highest registers it caused a resonance in the tube which caused a very unpleasant (unlistenable) band of distortion. When I listened more closely I could hear this distortion to a much lesser degree on normal highs from music other than a recorder and it was just unplesant, but much harder to identify. Put in a different tube - resonance and unpleasant sound gone. Don't write off the effect the different tubes can make for the better or worse.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your amp and your speakers are a good match. Once again, considering my amps which range from 35 to 160 wts, the 35 watt amp is competent on paper to drive my speakers, however at loud levels (90+ db's) the upper mids and highs harden up and it becomes unpleasant. Not a problem in the 80+db range. Not a problem with my other amps.
Another thing to consider - its easy to overdrive a room the size of yours. If your equipment is the source of your problem you should hear the problems at medium volumes. If you only hear the problems at high levels you could well be overdriving your room - you have those high frequencies endlessly bouncing around. Room treatments can help with that problem to some degree.
Lastly, humor me for a minute. Try crossing the axis of your speakers well in front of your listening position and see what happens. Some interesting things go on when you do this, not all of them bad! You can get a more focused center image, a wider sweet spot, and minimal first reflections from the side wall.
Just some food for thought. Hope it might help you a bit.
I'm with Goinbroke. Too much toe in. Try none and work in from there. Many speakers are designed and voiced for no toe in, and it is only used to ameliorate side wall issues when room treatments are not an option.
Have you tried to bi-wire the speakers with a different bi-wire speaker cable instead of running single with jumpers?
I have N803 and they are pretty bad when used with single run sp cable. I tried with different single run and bi-wire sp cable and with speakers on single run sp cable, I get tired really quick. I since have them bi-wired and no problems. I think B&Ws like to be bi-wired, regardless of the model. The jumpers they include with their speakers are nothing to write home about either. Also I have my speakers toed in so that tweete axis meets about 1 foot in front of me. I also listen near field, so that may be an option as well. FWIW. good luck
Yes, that is what i remember learning a long time ago but just forgot about. I was reading up on the bi wire sinlge strand debate and had decided from what i gleaned that bi wiring was the better way. I think i'll do that. Can you hear an audible difference or is it that you can just listen longer. It is very possible that the difference is inaudible and unfatiguing.Good tip. Your speakers point to a space one foot in front of you? Really. Hmmm. Interesting. I think i will bi wire sometime soon. I have gone to a doctor who now is sending me to specialist to check my ears. What a kaffufle! I hope i'm ok.
Hope you're OK man! It'd be a shame if the speakers did it to you... but I don't think so. Here is what I think about bi-wiring the B&Ws N803(I know you have the 805, but I think it applies). First thing that I notice when listenning with a single run is fatigue. What happpens with B&Ws, they just midrange like MOFOs when run with single sp. cable. It brings the midrange to a point where it is undigestable. My ears hurt. I immediately switched to bi-wire and it's a totally different sound now. Fatigue is gone and speakers just sound right. Much smoother throughout the whole spectrum. After you get checked out by your doc, and I really hope you're OK, is to go to the store where you usually buy your hi-end stuff, or at least where they know you, and get them to give you for home audition, some bi-wire sp cable. Make suer you get something good though, I'd say at least Monster M2.4s. B&Ws like a big fat speaker cable with as less of resistance as possible. I went to Stereo Exchange in NYC few months ago and listened to a system that consisted of McIntosh Integrated amp(I think it was like $6000 or something), Arcam FMJ CD33 player and B&W N805 speakers. Dude, I have the N803 and I did not know that the N805 can sound that frigging good!!! All was wired by Monster M1000 ic and Monster M2.4s bi-wire Speaker cable. I know the sales guy there since I bought a lot from them, they let me listen to whatever I want and as loud as I want to. I was in that room for almost 45 minutes, had no fatigue. But anyway, please let us know how this works out for you, most importantely your ears!!! Best of luck.
Oh...also, in your room it might be different with toe in. I said about a foot in front of me but I did check and they just cross in front of my face, not a foot, but may be 3-4 inches in front of me. But you know you have to experiment. And the funny thing is, when you move the speakers, the cables get moved as well, right? That is what you also have to consider - after you move the speakers, have them play for about 45 minutes to an hour before you evaluate them again. I noticed in my system that's the case - speaker cables need their time to come back to life again. May be that sounds crazy, but just what I observed in my system.
from the manual for N805... same as on my manual for N803. They recommend shotgun bi-wire cable. Which I think is the way to go. Check it out.
"All connections should be made with the
equipment switched off. There are 2 pairs of terminals at the back of the speaker to permit bi-wiring. The lower
pair feed the bass/midrange drive unit and the upper pair feed the tweeter. The terminals are insulated to prevent any likelihood of electrical shock, even when the speakers are used with the highest powered amplifiers, and accept a variety of cable termination to suit most applications.
Bi-wiring is the preferred method of connection and involves the use of separate cables from the amplifier to each pair of terminals. The separation of the signal paths improves the resolution of lowlevel detail and allows the user to optimise the type of cable to the frequency range of use.
Should you not want to bi-wire, perhaps
during the initial set-up procedure or
because you do not want to see a
multitude of cables in the room, short
cables are provided to link both positive
and both negative speaker terminals
When using the links, insert the spade into
the slot in the side of one terminal and the
crimped pin into the round side hole in the
other. There is enough clearance to insert a
spade connector from the amplifier into the
same terminal as the crimped pin.
Ensure each positive terminal on the
speaker (coloured red) is connected to the
positive output terminal of the amplifier and
negative (coloured black) to negative.
Incorrect connection can result in poor
imaging and loss of bass.
When bi-wiring, do not use the linking
cables. Take extra care with the polarity of
the connections as incorrect connection
can also impair the frequency response
through the bass-midrange crossover and,
if the links are left in place, may cause
damage to the amplifier by shorting its
"improves low level detail" what is low level detail? I mean it seems self explanatory. I do find myself wanting to turn up the volume because at levels which are probably more comfortable i only get certain parts of the musical presentation. It is as though there are things I just know are there because i am familiar with a track or cd but am not hearing them at the level i am listening at, so i turn it up. Turning it up seems the only way to get at that info. Now i know that a good test for any system and especially an amp is its ability to present the whole frequency range at any volume or at least low volume. In other words it will play quite quietly and still give you the whole spectrum and maintain the integrity of the musical presentation. That is what i've gleaned from the internet and have come to accept as true. It could be wrong but i dont think so. So, anyways what i'm saying is i that i do think that the symptoms you describe are there in my system and that I'm turning it up too loud to get "everything" out. But not just that but bi wiring could get rid of at least some of the listening problems i have. IF you were able to change all that by bi wiring than that is what i'll need to do too. I am taking a huge break right now from listening, so everything will have to wait a while. thanks for the follow ups.The b&w story was great! Yes the 805's are pretty amazing when they're done right. They sound absolutely amazing to me but i have this problem. If anything is there downfall it would be there ability to match up, since they seem to be very specific about what they want. Is my understanding of low level detail correct?
I'm not an expert, but I think you understand it correctly. Could you please keep me posted on what happens. I am just curious what will be the solution for you. thanks
Just a follow up to this old thread. I recently bi wired the 805's with some plain speaker wire.( I sold my cardas wire ). This helped take out some of harshness in the treble to my surprise. Anyone reading this who has bw's should bi wire them and follow just what the manufacturer recommends. Another thing is the stingray coupled with the metal tweeters on the 805 i have read by an interviewer that this could in fact cause brightness. This also could be a contributing cause. Also i think the concrete stands are highmass which can be a good thing but one thing they dont do is dampen. I think since the 805's have threads in the bottom of their cabinets that they were meant to be coupled to a stand to transfer resonances and have them damped. I think heavy stands filled with sand and coupled to the speaker is the best situation. The blu tac i was using was probably too thick as well (the size of a pinball ) This i think isolated the speaker. A very very thin layer of blu tac would be better so that energy can transer to the stand but in the case of concrete even then there wont be much dampening. All this might effect imaging but perhaps this might be another possible culprit for the fatigue i was experiencing. A cardas golden reference interconnect helped too , as my diy interconnect i suspect, is a bit forward and harsh. Also i have logged another 150 hrs on the speakers which saw a more tonally balanced sound emerge. The woofers on these things are so rigid and well built that i would bet there are even more breaking in thresholds ahead if you have the patience to wait for them.
Summarizing: likely culprits:
not bi wired, manley / metal tweeter bad combo, poor speaker mounting, bright interconnect, speaker not fully broken in, turning up volume too loud to try to compensate exaccerbated the problem and symptoms
Good to hear you were able to tame the brightness a little. I found that using Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun speaker cables and Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference Mk.II interconnects in my system took my N803s to another level completely. Very smooth sound, no brightness, no fatigue. Also, I added EchoBusters Corners behind the speakers and that helps a lot as well. Biwiring the B&Ws is the way to go. What you may also consider is another set of tubes for the Manley. I would suggest contacting Kevin at Upscale Audio. He would be able to give you an advise on what tubes to use to get all the detail without harshness. Anyway, good to see the follow up.
of course it is Larry. Welcome B&W bashers to this thread
Larryken is not bashing. His comments are accurate and quite correct. I agree 100%.
the most important component is 'you'. 'mindset' is more often than not what causes fatigue.
Vertigo, by the way, I think you should put the tweeter grilles back on. These tweeters are designed to be used with the grilles on, otherwise, I think the dispersion of high frequencies may not be what B&W intended. Just my opinion. I think they also mention it in the manual. Besides, this may even improve the sound even further.
First, your mindset does not create listener fatigue in 99% of the cases. That is caused by incorrect or mismatched components most likely the speaker/amp/wire combination.
Second, tweeter grille covers will make, at best, a negligible difference.
Yes, I did have the tweeter grilles on as well. This didnt make much of a noticable difference. I recently had them on a pair of osiris stands and placed blu tac the size of dimes on top of the stands. This helped drain the energy through to the stands and down into the floor. The osiris stands I filled with sand. This kind of mounting made a more than subtle improvment to the soundstage and provided a better defined bass. Good stands really can bring out all the subtle spacial cues that makes things sound more like real music. Things like the subtle stress or strain and emotion from a vocalist where you make can make emotional distinctions or feel their emotion behind the passage of music theyre trying to express. This has opened my eyes to the importance of tweaking after you've got good components together. With all this the 805's never sounded better but nevertheless I still had the amp/spkr combo to think about. I have sold the 805's and am looking at some merlin tsm mm's. I cant say whether the 805's are bright or not. I guess each listener will have to decide for themselves. I could never get them to work so that I could listen as long as I wanted and have my ears feel as though I had done no listening at all. Does that mean they are bright? I still have to answer no because listening is a system thing. I thought the 805 in my system sounded great and they did. Listening was great. The fatigue wasnt immediately apparent. Everything felt fine it was just the afterward part. Before them i had the 602 S3's. Those were great too but same thing. System or them? dont know. Sometimes its synergy...Maybe everyone who finds these speakers bright have the same listening tastes or have something similar about theyre actual ears that dont mix. In conclusion , if theyre guilty of anything, if they are to be called unforgiving it is maybe not so much the sound they produce but rather theyre unforgiving in the way the match with other equipment. Not bright just fussy. Form your own conclusion from your own experience. Perhaps theyre aristocrats who refuse to marry with peasants? Dont let this thread deter you from buying them or trying them out for yourself. Try them and decide for yourself.