Have you tried playing a commercially sourced CD thru the computer's CD-ROM? Also, do your MP3s sound okay when played in the car on the Rio player?
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Your speakers and amp should sound very nice, they both get great reviews. Check and make sure your speakers are wired in phase. Most computer sound cards sound really bad so you should not use your computers analog outs for music unless it has a very high quality sound card. Hook it up as a stand alone music system with your sony changer going into the nad and leave the computer and the mp3,s out of the picture for now. Put the speakers on something that brings them to ear level when you are seated and pull them out away from the wall about three feet and see how that sounds. Play one of the cds you bought at the store. If it still sounds real bad then something is wrong with your speakers or amp. Hope this helps
I'm currently using an onboard audio chipset, but before this I was using a Soundblaster AWE 64 and it sounded a little worse than what it currently is. I'll try hooking up the Sony deck tonight and see how it sounds. I'll also be sure to try moving the speakers away from a wall a couple of feet, and I'll check the phase as well.
Thanks for the responses.
Ok I tried everything I said in my previous post. The Sony CD changer sounded marginally better than my portable CD player, and still muffled. I did try hooking up some nice headphones into the amp though, and it sounded perfect. Not muffled at all, and the music seemed to have real depth, whereas when I turned my speakers back on they were muffled and a bit hollow. I figure that now the only things that could be the problem would be the speaker placement or the speaker wires. They are only cheap Monster Cables afterall, but shouldn't make the sound so much more drasticly worse. I moved the speakers about 2 feet away from the wall and spread then farther apart and I didn't notice much of a change. I even put them on the floor and didn't notice much of a change.
Just a shot in the dark, but what app are you playing the MP3 through? I'm assuming it's Winamp based on the original post. Does Winamp have a built in equalizer or tone controls? If so, how are they set?
How are the tone controls set in Windows? They're buried a few layers deep in the audio control panel. Getting to them takes hitting two "Advanced" buttons.
I agree with Stuartbranson. The cd-changer works ok, the amp works ok and the headphones produced a wonderfull sound. Ergo: speakers(placement) or speakercables. If you wired the speakers out of phase the sound would be muffled, but also lacking any bass response. Have you tried, as stated in one of the former replies, if the tweeters were working? Is it possible to lend another pair of speakers to try with your source and amp? I don't know why, but I got the feeling the problem is with the speakers itself..... Good luck anyway.
I made sure the speakers are in phase. I even switched one of them, and then both of them together and I didn't notice a difference. I am sure the tweeters are working correctly though because I can definately hear them, and when I use that "Wow!" Plugin for winamp they are clearly heard. But I don't like that I can't get good sound without using a plugin that changes the way things should sound naturally.
A small update:
I moved my speakers to a better configuration in my room so they were about 8' apart and 3' from the walls, and were standing on some other monitor speakers that I didn't have in use (the only things I could find for stands, and they were pretty solid anyway). I think it sounded quite a bit better than having them on my desk only about 2.5' apart and about 5" from the wall. It's still not excellent sounding to my ears though, and even that stupid WOW plugin makes the speakers sound even better.
The trouble is that the speakers are useless to me when they are sitting out in the middle of my room, because 99% of the time I am listening to music is when I'm on the computer, so they need to be here in front of me on the desk. Maybe if I got a wider desk I could place the speakers farther apart, but that really doesn't help get them further away from the wall...