Why does my system now have shrill top end.

The equipment in my system (listed below) has not changed but I now find on both CD and Vinyl a high end shrillness to the sound (treble is very harsh) that has become very annoying, especially at high volume levels. I have no idea why this happened all of a sudden.

Endevour E-3
Pass 30.8
Pass XP 20
Esoteric K01x
Linn LP12 (Ortofon Black cartridge)
Linn Linto Phono Preamp
PS Audio P5 (Amp plugged in directly to wall)
JL Audio F112 v2 sub
OCOS Speaker cable (15 feet)
Pass XLR interconnect (Preamp to Amp)
Harmonic Technology Cable Magic Link (not current version). RCA termination

Any ideas?
Ag insider logo xs@2xproacman
Do you live in an area where the changes in season affect relative humidity?
Yes but this issue started in the Summer and now it is Fall so change in humidity did not have any effect.
Yes, the humidity shift happens at about 45%.

Above that it is dissipative. static will bleed off.

Below that, it will begin to build. The effect is subtle but persistent, and worsens as the dryer it becomes.

It's not just the carrier as an issue it's the static.

The next possibility is a degrading of electrical connections, with regard to impedance at the interface, due to oxidation, contact quality degradation, etc.

Next, that some critical component or aspect is right on the ragged edge of being overly revealing and overly analytical. As combinations go, that is.

Anything with outboard power supplies and an umbilical connection to said power supply is especially vulnerable to contact degradation in the connecting umbilical. Check those connections. Reinsert, tighten, etc.
Thanks for the advice. I assume the ac cables do not degrade themselves.
Have you changed anything in your room? Added a coffee table, moved speakers, etc? Have you changed where you sit? 
Aging equipment (a cap has degraded) or a loose connection. 
The only thing that was changed in my house is that we put a new kitchen in. As the system is in the basement and I use the P5 except for the amp I cannot figure how that would have made a difference but stranger things have happened.

In regard to aging equipment all the electronics are less than 4 years old. Only old items are the speaker cables/interconnects/power cables.
The equipment in my system (listed below) has not changed but I now find on both CD and Vinyl a high end shrillness to the sound (treble is very harsh) that has become very annoying, especially at high volume levels.
On both channels?
Was this a sudden change, or a gradual change?
Sudden and on both channels. And does not change when I move around the room.
Room acoustics, power conditioning, warm up time.

If you have moved furniture around, removed absorbent materials this can definitely cause this. Another thing, leaving your equipment off for extended periods of time. Also, removal of a good power conditioner.

Lastly, new sources of AC noise in your home.
Did you damage your speakers? Playing too loud or clipping?
Not sure it would be room acoustics as there is no improvement as I walk around the room. The amp is plugged in directly to the wall and thus it is possible that ac noise is the cause but the issue is so pronounced and the P5 (only front end components plugged in) indicates a pretty decent sine wave and voltage that I tend to think not.

I would hate to think it is related to the Pass Amp as at 88 pounds it would not be fun to send back to dealer. 

Anything is possible but both would have to been damaged the same way and I don't play the music that loud. And, as I don't have any equivalent quality speakers to substitute I have no idea how to test this.
Consider putting noise filters on all the new equipment and lines in the new kitchen.

As well, the person who did the electrical system for the kitchen, may have altered your room’s connectivity to get the kitchen on line.

Consult with them.

those are probably the major potential culprits.

I’m guessing one of the new pieces of equipment in the given kitchen has a very dirty ’pulse power supply’ and is injecting noise into the AC which is impacting your sound space, electrically.

This can be quickly tested via shutting down the new kitchen at the AC power panel, then adding kitchen breakers back in, one by one, listening the whole while. If this is the case, the culprit outlet and associated kitchen gear will show itself. Lighting is also on this list. Especially CCFL’s and LED bulbs.

Best cheap tweak ever for audio shows:

BRING INCANDESCENT BULBS to the show and put them in the bulb sockets of the room, and turn them on.

the filaments of incandescent bulbs will knock down (partially absorb) the noise peaks of the dirty ac power on the given lines in the given hotel room.
If it's not the system, the room or environmental factors, then all that's left is you.  What's different about you since this has occurred?  Change in medications, different diet, exposure to loud noises, etc.?

But before worrying about that, I would disconnect and reconnect every system interconnect/cable.

Teo_Audio: All of the kitchen lights were changed to LED bulbs so maybe that is it. Would turning the light switches off take them out of the loop or do I need to shut the breaker off. There is also the Refrig ice maker and the electric ovens but they are rarely on when I am listening. Heated floors were installed but they are off in the summer. That's all that was changed.

If the P5 won't tackle this problem what if any alternatives are there, besides having the kitchen rewired which is not an alternative?

There are a lot of reasons why systems sound shrill. Especially as the volume is turned past moderate levels. But one reason that is not even on audiophiles’ radar is the dreaded Morphic fields. You know, the things behind Morphic Message Foils, the clever clock, and why telephone books are bad for the sound. After addressing all the usual suspects the distortion is still there! 😧 You see, folks, things are worse than anyone suspect. Much worse. Let the hand-wringing and denials begin.
 LED bulbs is likely

turn them off and see if that fixes things - if not, post exactly what type they are (built in or replacement screw in type)
Also if the LED lights in the kitchen are on a dimmer switch that's a big culprit of AC line noise.
I don’t know what the capacitance per unit length of OCOS speaker cable is, but given that your cable is fairly long and given also that OCOS is a somewhat unconventional design a possibility that occurs to me is that its capacitance might be causing an ultrasonic oscillation in your amplifier. And perhaps the condition is sufficiently marginal that minor aging effects or perhaps even a change in AC line voltage have put it over the edge.

If so, the volume dependency you mentioned might result from the speakers being stressed to a greater degree when an oscillation and a high volume audio signal are both present.

So I would suggest trying different speaker cables, whenever that may become practicable.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

Oooh, dimmers can definitely make trouble.
I recall other threads on this subject.
Since this occurred after the kitchen upgrade, I have a sneaking suspicion that the electrical work has something to do with the sudden change in your stereo.
Perhaps Almarg will chime in....
Speak of the devil...
Thanks everyone for the responses. I will try turning the kitchen lights off tonight and see if that makes a difference.
Post removed 

Not sure it would be room acoustics as there is no improvement as I walk around the room.

That only works for bass modes. Room acoustics is more than that.

In particular, I’m talking your room’s overall power response. How quickly the top end decays. If it is lingering longer, or reflecting more, it will give the exact issues you describe. So, again, did you move furniture, curtains, etc around? If no, then that’s not likely, but still there is a free experiment you can do.

Throw some blankets or pillows on the floor, especially between and behind the speakers. Experiment. This may not be your issue, but it’s free.

dimmer bad

does it have an all the way OFF detent on it?

dimmers work by 'chopping' up the voltage - this creates a lot of high freq. noise on the line (maybe radiated RFI too)

if setting it all the way down - whether you feel a detent in the knob or not - doesn't solve the problem then either power the lights on a different circuit from the stereo or get rid of them or use an isolation transformer on your system (often a good idea anyway)

if the detent Off doesn't work and you don't need those lights on when listening (i.e. you have another light source), then you can wire in an old-timey (off is off) light switch ahead of the dimmer circuit

Erik’s ideas are all good, but this happened suddenly w/out any room changes...

so do them after finding & fixing the cause of the sudden glare onset
one last thing remove and re- install all your cables as the connections will degrade over time due to corrosion. simply remove them and put them back on looking also for any build up of corrosion and remove if needed.
I havd been personally working on 2 specific areas to address digital  if you have a player, or dac the cable  possibly warmer meatier. My cables are all set totally happy with the Unique Verastarr cables.  I have a different type of Loudspeaker that gives you options for example in open baffle  I can put whatever 
Brand components in the cross over I currently have a 1 big Clarity 
Capacitor for the midrange. Duelund just came out with a less expensive version 
Of their top Cast cap except with a smaller Aluminum case vs 
The Big paper case hd JAM cap. Sonicy this cap feeds directly just the mid range in the Voxativ driver . This eliminates all excessive CD brightness from bad recorded digital. The  $400+ dollars for 2 caps sounds like a lot of money  but far cheaper then s stack of fuses csbles or a component -and a huge dividend in warmth depth and musicality .their new 
Silver wax oil .01  bypass caps put in amps,preamp digital is another worth wild venturefor less thrn s good fuse each.the new Duelund Jam capacitors. 
You will be hearing a Lot more on these one of the best in the World by far the biggest impact . They do take some 400 hours .
I am just letting play got 3 weeks straight.Shoot for at least             5-10 %capacitor value to use Minimum, more if you have small values and room .3.3uf is max size on Jam caps they pack a punch.

Having all the fuses and cables in the right direction helps a bunch with that sour and harsh sound. Harshness is one of the traits of incorrect direction. Too bad most power cord manufacturers don't subscribe to the idea of directionality. Oh, well, so it goes.
Post removed 
Plus one for electrical issues in your new kitchen.  I would try listening to your system with the new kitchen fully operational as a baseline, then try:

1. Turning off all kitchen lights - listen
2. Turning off all breakers to your new kitchen (if possible) - listen
3. Try plugging your amp into P5 with all kitchen electrical devices on including the lights - listen, then repeat 1. & 2. above with amp plugged into P5.

This should tell you if something in the kitchen is the culprit, and if power conditioning is helpful.  If you do not already, you may want to put your system on a dedicated AC supply line(s) and breaker(s), especially if as has been mentioned it now shares a line with the kitchen or some other potentially offending circuits as a result of the new construction.

My main system is on a dedicated 10 gauge supply line with its own 30amp breaker.  I have a dimmer in the listening room (with incandescent bulbs), but it is on a different circuit.  Amp plugged directly into wall with no direct filtering (but do have a conditioner plugged into the same socket for sources) and system is dead quiet, treble never sounded better.

Good luck!

Unfortunately the problem is getting stranger. When I turn off all the kitchen lights and play a few songs that are very harsh and then turn them back on their is no difference. But, I plugged the Pass amp into the P5 instead of directly into the Wall and all the Bass was sucked out, as if the speakers were out of phase (they are not). Now this certainly makes no sense. Makes me wonder if the Amp is the issue. Have a five channel amp in my surround system that I will switch with the Pass to see if there is any difference in the harshness (and now bass).

Thanks for all your comments.

Is the P5 set to output a pure sine wave, or is it set to one of the MultiWave choices? If the latter, which as I understand it flatten the peaks of the P5’s output waveform (in other words, the MultiWave modes intentionally distort the AC in certain ways), I would suggest that you see what happens with the pure sine wave mode.

Also, it would be interesting to know what the P5’s status screen shows for input and output voltages, and input and output distortion.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

Tried both multiwave and sine wave. No difference in bass (slight difference in sound stage). Output waveform is clean with low THD (versus input which is noisy).
Next up, the absolute polarity thing. Or the Cable Directionality thing. Or the fuse directionality thing. Otherwise it looks like we’re back to them old Morphic fields back home. Waves of...information!

"When you control the mail you control...INFORMATION." - Newman

There are no standards for absolute polarity. - audiophile axiom

When you plugged your amp into the P5, did it do anything for the harshness?
Do you leave your front end equipment on all the time or turn it off when not in use?  Warmup could be in play.  Is this for both LP and Digital playback?  

Second on Almargs comment about the OCOS Speaker Cable - 15 feet is a long cable - try a set of Canare 4S11 they are pretty inexpensive and a great value.

Best of Luck

Post removed 


You discovered why snake oil (fancy cables etc) works - it all starts with faulty equipment and goes exponentially from there....

Is it possible the P5 is the problem? Not because he plugged the amp into the P5. I doubt is any Pass amp would liked being plugged into a power conditioner.

When the OP is using the P5 for the front equipment could the P5, because of some  internal problem, be causing the sound problem?

I didn't read any OP responses where he tried removing the P5 from the chain. I would try that. Even so far as unplugging the P5 from the AC mains outlet.


When the kitchen was remodeled did the electrician add any new circuits from the electrical panel to the kitchen? If yes he might have moved existing branch circuit wiring around inside the electrical panel, just physically moving wires with his hands when installing the new branch circuit wiring inside the electrical panel enclosure. Just the side to side moving of solid core branch circuit conductors around inside of an electrical panel can change the wire to branch circuit breaker terminal tightness connection. 

proacman OP21 posts11-28-2017 8:15am

Unfortunately the problem is getting stranger. When I turn off all the kitchen lights and play a few songs that are very harsh and then turn them back on their is no difference. But, I plugged the Pass amp into the P5 instead of directly into the Wall and all the Bass was sucked out, as if the speakers were out of phase (they are not). Now this certainly makes no sense. Makes me wonder if the Amp is the issue. Have a five channel amp in my surround system that I will switch with the Pass to see if there is any difference in the harshness (and now bass).


Please, please, please, do try the other amp before kosst amojan has a total meltdown and kicks the dog.

Kosst, I assume that I was not included among those to whom your last comment was addressed, even though it mentioned cables.  But to further clarify my comment about the OCOS cable (and Peter, thanks for the second): As you may be aware there are a few speaker cables which have ultra-high capacitance, such as Goertz and the old Polk Cobra cables. When used without a Zobel network, and especially when used with solid state amplifiers, those have been known to cause ringing and/or oscillations, and in some cases oscillations which have even resulted in severe damage to the amplifier.

After doing some research I have not been able to find an indication of the capacitance per unit length of OCOS, but it is an unconventional coaxial design having an extremely low "characteristic impedance" of about 8 ohms. That suggests a strong possibility that its capacitance is very high.

On the other hand, I would expect that the not especially extended 100 kHz bandwidth of the amp, and the relatively modest amount of feedback I believe it uses, lessen its susceptibility to that kind of effect. But it should be easy enough to rule this possibility in or out, perhaps even by using Home Depot or Radio Shack wire for purposes of the experiment, if the OP doesn’t have any other cables of suitable length on hand.

Your suggestions about the amp are of course also good ones, IMO.

-- Al

Moderators please remove all the insulting posts, perhaps kosst_amojan himself, from this site. He continuously insults and brings down the enjoyment and civility of this once fine audiogon community. This cannot continue without many of the long time and civil members opting out of these forums. 
I second what @jea48 said: check, or have your electrician check, the connections in the panel. Not just on the circuit feeding your system, but every connection: hot, neutral and ground for every breaker. You may even consider reseating all the breakers. (Please stay far away from the lines coming in from outside. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, please hire an electrician or ask lots of questions)
I know that loose connections can add significant noise to the electrical system.

Definitely try the amp swap too. Give us more data points!

Good luck!
Please don't kick any dogs, no matter how frustrating this gets.
Post removed