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MattJ
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System problem or ear problem?

Apologies for the re-post, somehow my account got deleted(?).

Hi folks. I apologize for the long post, but I am flummoxed with the sound of my system. It sounds very dull, like it's being rolled off above 5Khz or so. It's very noticeable with bells and cymbals. Snares and toms also seem to have no attack. Low-mids and bass sound excellent, and dynamic range is fantastic. There is sound at the tweeters, so it's not dead drivers.

My system was a Carver CT17 pre-tuner going to a Rotel RB1050 stereo amp feeding a pair of Klipsch SF3 towers, and a Hsu VTF2 mk5 sub. Sound was always clear until just a few months ago. Most of the system is fairly old (late 1990's to early 2000's, with the exception of the Hsu, which I got a little over a year ago). So I thought maybe time for an upgrade.

So I recently got a Schiit Saga S and Vidar, and a new set of Klipsch R620F towers. Still using the Hsu sub. I also replaced all the interconnects and speaker wires, including FMod 100hz high pass filters for the towers (which work great BTW). Also added a coax cable ground hum filter at the wall outlet to get rid of a slight hum, which also worked great. The system is dead silent now, even with an ear right up to the tweeters - nothing. So there was a noticeable improvement in the sound, with better detail.

Except in the highs. >(

Baffled as to what might be causing this, although I do have to add that I am a drummer in my 50's, favoring the Bruford/Copeland high pitched drum tunings. Maybe my hearing is going, but it seems like I hear high frequencies fine everywhere else. I have tried disconnecting the sub, the ground loop filter, and taking out the high pass filters, to rule them out. But the dullness persists.

What else, system-wise, might I be missing that could affect the sound like that? Your knowledge would be appreciated.

Tim Link
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Dullness in the highs

It would be good to get a measurement from the tweeters with REW and a calibrated microphone. This would at least give us a starting point to see if there is a problem with the frequency response. Do you still have the old speakers? If so you could try them and see if maybe they just have a different sound signature. The Carver pre-amp had tone controls and hologram settings so if you aren't certain that any of those were engaged that might have something to do with it as well. Finally I'll note that I have perceived a dryer, perhaps duller sound with newer amps that measure very low in noise and distortion compared to older amp/pre-amp combinations. I didn't get to measure but both of us who were listening thought we heard it and it seemed to persist no matter how we adjusted the volume. We were also surprised that we both seemed to find the older equipment more engaging to listen to. The new amp was a topping and the old was a Halfer with some ancient pre-amp. It also had tone controls but I thought we checked to make sure they were bypassed.

MattJ
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Thanks for the comment Tim. I

Thanks for the comment Tim. I don't have access to a calibrated mic, but I have used a Stereophile Test CD I have to test midrange and up. According to the disc, I can still hear to at least 10Khz or so, and with the Klipsch speakers crossover at around 2Khz, the tweeter is certainly working. I do still have the old SF3's, and they are more dull sounding on top than the new ones. On the Carver I never used either the Holography setting or the tone controls. That's interesting you found something similar with newer electronics, especially the Topping - that thing has really good specs. But this seems too rolled off to be something an engineer would allow in production.

Nikola Tesla
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MattJ wrote:
MattJ wrote:

Thanks for the comment Tim. I don't have access to a calibrated mic, but I have used a Stereophile Test CD I have to test midrange and up. According to the disc, I can still hear to at least 10Khz or so, and with the Klipsch speakers crossover at around 2Khz, the tweeter is certainly working. I do still have the old SF3's, and they are more dull sounding on top than the new ones. On the Carver I never used either the Holography setting or the tone controls. That's interesting you found something similar with newer electronics, especially the Topping - that thing has really good specs. But this seems too rolled off to be something an engineer would allow in production.

Matt, do you have any kind of mic at all? If so, compare the RTA graphs of a pink noise signal picked up by the microphone vs. the original line-level signal. This is a quick way to determine whether or not there is a problem with your speakers. Due to room reflections etc, there will always be some variation between the two graphs, but if the mic signal shows a severe drop in the treble region of the graph compared to the line-level signal, you have a speaker problem.

If you don't have a mic at all, there are phone apps available for download from the Play Store that use the mic(s) built into your mobile. Some of them include RTA screens. Although accuracy may suffer, it will be good enough to help diagnose your loss of the high end.

MattJ
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Thanks for the info!

I do have a Sound Analyzer app on my Android, but it's accuracy is questionable. I used that along with the Stereophile test CD. Ironically, using 1khz tone at 70db as reference, it has generally showed high frequency increase of about 6db up to about 12khz. However, when listening to music, it shows a decrease of about 6db from about 3khz on up. Maybe music doesn't have that much energy above 3khz? WTF lol. I am clueless as how to interpret this. I am also replacing my old surge suppressors, so maybe that might unlock some air above 8khz or so?

Matt221b
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Sources?

You basically have had two different Pre., Amp, and speaker systems and still have the same problem? It has to be something common to both systems. What source(s) are you using? Is the problem the same with them all? Can you try a new source. Even a phone or tablet with headphone to RCA cable would work.

MattJ
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Same with all

My sources are CD, TV, and IPod, either direct or through a Wi-Fi receiver. I am sadly starting to come to the conclusion that it is my ears - except when I play drums, I can hear the brilliance of my cymbals, and when I use my noise reducing earphones to play along with music, I can hear high frequencies clearly through that. Unfortunately, I do not have any close-by audiophile friends, and my fiancee is an Iraq war vet who's hearing is definitely worse than mine lol. Very frustrating not being sure where the problem is.

hunain0349
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Ear Related Problems

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geoffkait
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Who knows? It could be

Who knows? It could be anything.

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