I hate the sound of my new stereo sound system

S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,159 34 17
#21
I think the problem almost certainly is the speakers. I think that the OP has become a much more critical listener. I think the vast majority of males, but not females become accustomed to the sound of their systems and on the whole satisfied. There are some, and especially women, that become more and more dissatisfied with their systems to the point where they find them very irritating. Since I think this is especially true for women, I think it a definite factor in WAF and a definite reason why this hobby has such a male predominance even with a leveling taking place in so many other spheres.

I know you did an thorough review of those Klipsch speakers Shady, but you did identify what are in my view serious shortcomings.
First the listening window is far too narrow. There is much data to show that narrow dispersion is not a preferred characteristic of speakers. Its relatively narrow dispersion window will not endear them to many listeners.

I think your data shows that there is likely serious issues at crossover. That dip and deep null is I suspect an indication of serious phasing issues at crossover. I know the wisdom in many quarters has been that these issues are not serious. I vehemently, along with quite a few others believe these issues to be serious shortcomings.
This is compounded by the fact that in my view the crossover is at a terrible frequency. At 1750 Hz this is a region where many are highly sensitive to aberrations especially crossover issues. I avoid crossing over in this band at all costs. The crossover would have to be just about 100% perfect not to cause audible problems for many. This crossover as you can see from your data is far from perfect and I strongly suspect an audible issue.

So I suspect this OP is one of those individuals who requires speakers with a very smooth midband response including the off axis response.

Clearly your data show that these speakers are far from the worst, and have a lot of good attributes. However for some, and I think the OP is one, they fall short.

If you think this is a roundabout way is saying that I think the OP has expensive tastes, then I think that is a reasonable conclusion.
Given the description of what was bothering the OP, I don't think this to be the case. As I understand the problem, it seems to be weak bass and very sharp highs. That sounds like something somewhere is acting like a low-order high-pass filter. The Klipsch speakers are not weak on bass or sharp in treble. The treble is ever so slightly elevated, but it wouldn't be enough to bother all but the fussiest of listeners. It's not so bright as to be sibilant, and certainly nowhere near as severe as what the OP is describing. The OP also described this same thing happening to his last speakers which were JBLs. JBLs are not typically be voiced in such a way.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,744 16 25
#22
Given the description of what was bothering the OP, I don't think this to be the case. As I understand the problem, it seems to be weak bass and very sharp highs. That sounds like something somewhere is acting like a low-order high-pass filter. The Klipsch speakers are not weak on bass or sharp in treble. The treble is ever so slightly elevated, but it wouldn't be enough to bother all but the fussiest of listeners. It's not so bright as to be sibilant, and certainly nowhere near as severe as what the OP is describing. The OP also described this same thing happening to his last speakers which were JBLs. JBLs are not typically be voiced in such a way.
It is possible this is the reason.



The top line is from an audiogram of someone with normal hearing sensitivity.

The lower one is from an individual with hyperacusis. These individuals are very sensitive to excess of HF sounds. I think this may have a bearing on this issue. I alluded to sex differences in audio perception last night. Women do trend to have more sensitive hearing in the 4 KHz region, and trend towards the lower curve above rather than the upper. I do know that it is not just the looks of speakers that many women object to, but also their sound. I know my late mother in particular was very adverse to excess HF energy in speakers in her younger years. Back then there was no omni mic or REW. I'm certain my mother was totally allergic to any reproducer that even slightly had any HF band above the "parapet". I think that had an early and over riding influence on my approach to speaker design.

I know I have a degree of this. I can not tolerate any speaker with the slightest HF rise. In fact I can tolerate very, very few commercial speakers. I'm far more tolerant of a speaker with a slightly depresses HF than one with even the slightest rise.

I should try and seek out those Klipsch speakers and see if I have the same reaction as the OP.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,159 34 17
#23
It is possible this is the reason.



The top line is from an audiogram of someone with normal hearing sensitivity.

The lower one is from an individual with hyperacusis. These individuals are very sensitive to excess of HF sounds. I think this may have a bearing on this issue. I alluded to sex differences in audio perception last night. Women do trend to have more sensitive hearing in the 4 KHz region, and trend towards the lower curve above rather than the upper. I do know that it is not just the looks of speakers that many women object to, but also their sound. I know my late mother in particular was very adverse to excess HF energy in speakers in her younger years. Back then there was no omni mic or REW. I'm certain my mother was totally allergic to any reproducer that even slightly had any HF band above the "parapet". I think that had an early and over riding influence on my approach to speaker design.

I know I have a degree of this. I can not tolerate any speaker with the slightest HF rise. In fact I can tolerate very, very few commercial speakers. I'm far more tolerant of a speaker with a slightly depresses HF than one with even the slightest rise.

I should try and seek out those Klipsch speakers and see if I have the same reaction as the OP.
Unfortunately, more speakers seem to have a slight rise in treble than not, but many times just listening at an off-axis angle can bring some relief. I do have a slight preference for a warmer sound to a hotter sound myself, but a slightly hot treble doesn't both me too much. What bothers me is when a speaker gets majorly sibilant. Once you start hearing those S and T sounds pop, you can't unhear it, and you notice it every time it happens. That seems to happen when a speaker has too much treble around 3kHz to 6kHz.

I think you would like the speakers I have under review right now. Voicing is with slightly reduced treble compared to the rest of the range. Very easy speakers to listen to.
 
hemiram

hemiram

Full Audioholic
Ratings
61
#24
The high end seems to be a problem for me too. I hate the sound of a lot of speakers and prefer a "mild" high end. My HK system in my car annoys the hell out of me. Almost perfect bass, the mids are ok, but the treble end is grating and the 3 band "EQ" is not enough to take care of it without killing off the high end totally or affecting the midrange too much. I loved the JL dash speakers in my old car, and I think I'm going to roll the dice and see if the car stereo place can put 3 of those in the dash, or if they don't fit, the Infinity's that I know for sure do, and see what happens. Putting those JL's in made me love the sound of my old car (less the bad, sloppy bass) when I put them in to replace the stock BA dash speakers.I lost a tiny bit of SPL, but that wasn't a problem.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,744 16 25
#25
Unfortunately, more speakers seem to have a slight rise in treble than not, but many times just listening at an off-axis angle can bring some relief. I do have a slight preference for a warmer sound to a hotter sound myself, but a slightly hot treble doesn't both me too much. What bothers me is when a speaker gets majorly sibilant. Once you start hearing those S and T sounds pop, you can't unhear it, and you notice it every time it happens. That seems to happen when a speaker has too much treble around 3kHz to 6kHz.

I think you would like the speakers I have under review right now. Voicing is with slightly reduced treble compared to the rest of the range. Very easy speakers to listen to.
Shady, do you usually do this test when evaluating speakers?

Do you listen to the speakers in another room with the doors open?

Gilbert Briggs founder of Wharfedale raised this issue. Back then we did not know why, but he pointed out that good speakers maintain tonal balance listening through open doors in an adjacent room. Of course the reason is that you eliminate any direct sound from the speaker.

I was reminded of this going into the kitchen listening to a string quartet on Performance Today to get and eat lunch. The tonal balance did not change and it sounded like instrumentalist playing in the adjacent room out of sight. This is actually the acid test or correct polar response.

I wonder if you did that with those Klipsch speakers? Speakers that fail this test can reliably be considered as duds, and will never actually sound very good.

If you did not do this, then I wonder if the OP could with his and report back.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,159 34 17
#26
Shady, do you usually do this test when evaluating speakers?

Do you listen to the speakers in another room with the doors open?

Gilbert Briggs founder of Wharfedale raised this issue. Back then we did not know why, but he pointed out that good speakers maintain tonal balance listening through open doors in an adjacent room. Of course the reason is that you eliminate any direct sound from the speaker.

I was reminded of this going into the kitchen listening to a string quartet on Performance Today to get and eat lunch. The tonal balance did not change and it sounded like instrumentalist playing in the adjacent room out of sight. This is actually the acid test or correct polar response.

I wonder if you did that with those Klipsch speakers? Speakers that fail this test can reliably be considered as duds, and will never actually sound very good.

If you did not do this, then I wonder if the OP could with his and report back.
I haven't run that kind of test. I can see that speakers with a smooth power response or smooth directivity index ought to do well in that kind of test though.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,744 16 25
#27
I haven't run that kind of test. I can see that speakers with a smooth power response or smooth directivity index ought to do well in that kind of test though.
Yes, I consider it a vital test. All my speakers have to pass that test. I regard it an essential part of the assessment of every speaker and one all my speaker s have to pass and handily.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,170 11 6
#28
Do you listen to the speakers in another room with the doors open?
I never thought of it as a formal speaker test, but I do this as well.

I stumbled over it when comparing some older and newer DIY 2-way speakers which I normally keep upstairs in the bedroom. I noticed it only because I went back downstairs to get more CDs, and when I came back I listened in the hallway outside the bedroom. These were Dennis Murphy design 2-ways, the CAOW1 and the MB27, and both sounded right whether I was in or out of the bedroom.

I keep my tower speakers downstairs in a family room that adjoins a kitchen. They're divided only by a half-high wall, so I never thought about the family room and kitchen as separate rooms.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,667 10 17
#29
Sounds like you tried tweaking everything but the probable source of your dissatisfaction - the speakers. Klipsch are known for having a brighter sound to some ears and I believe that's what you're hearing as harshness. Speakers. If you want a system that really does it for you, you have to start with the speakers. I would suggest getting out and listening to some different brands. Maybe something without horn tweeters, for example.

Once you get your speakers sorted out, that's when you take a look at the electronics.
 
hemiram

hemiram

Full Audioholic
Ratings
61
#30
On my old setup, I preferred the sound of it when I was down the hall from it. Until I treated the room, I couldn't tolerate it watching TV or a movie for very long. Some of those foam 1'X1' squares on the wall behind my front and on the side walls cured it and it actually sounded pretty decent. It was a Yamaha RX-v659 running six SVS bookshelf speakers along with an SVS center and an old Sony subwoofer.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,759 9 1
#31
Its pluged in via neo oyaide d+ usb cable. Sound is sharp, vocals attacking my ear.
So you are plugging that USB-B end to the S-801's aynchronous USB port right? Just want to be sure that you are already taking advantage of the ESS Sabre ES9010K2M DAC that is not top notch but very decent.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
160 13 7
#33
Unfortunately, more speakers seem to have a slight rise in treble than not, but many times just listening at an off-axis angle can bring some relief. I do have a slight preference for a warmer sound to a hotter sound myself, but a slightly hot treble doesn't both me too much. What bothers me is when a speaker gets majorly sibilant. Once you start hearing those S and T sounds pop, you can't unhear it, and you notice it every time it happens. That seems to happen when a speaker has too much treble around 3kHz to 6kHz.

I think you would like the speakers I have under review right now. Voicing is with slightly reduced treble compared to the rest of the range. Very easy speakers to listen to.
What happened to the old "treble" nob from back in the day?
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
#34
Just a casual observance from the peanut gallery: how many OP's come to AH to complain about some purchase or "upgrade" they just made that didn't really upgrade anything? Then, a lot of people have to guess as to why because there won't be any measurements or specifics other than the upgrade didn't measure up.

I feel for the OP because spending hard earned bucks to end up with something less than he had before is a tough break. One of the great strengths of AH is giving potential buyers good advice on how to approach an upgrade so it is truly an upgrade. I wish more folks would ask before they spend. Sigh.

I know its a cliche, but, Klipsch and harsh tend to go together. I know these speakers may not have any of that old harshness, but, the the stereotype does fit this situation.
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
160 13 7
#35
Just a casual observance from the peanut gallery: how many OP's come to AH to complain about some purchase or "upgrade" they just made that didn't really upgrade anything? Then, a lot of people have to guess as to why because there won't be any measurements or specifics other than the upgrade didn't measure up.

I feel for the OP because spending hard earned bucks to end up with something less than he had before is a tough break. One of the great strengths of AH is giving potential buyers good advice on how to approach an upgrade so it is truly an upgrade. I wish more folks would ask before they spend. Sigh.

I know its a cliche, but, Klipsch and harsh tend to go together. I know these speakers may not have any of that old harshness, but, the the stereotype does fit this situation.
In this hobby it happens quite a lot. Over the years it has happened to me. Sometimes these matters come down to taste. For example, I've never been sold on Klipsch speakers, due to the horn tweeters, I don't like my high frequencies in a funnel. However many enthusiast love them, so it must be a matter of taste or preference. For example, there are people that love Goldenears Tritons, when I listened to some at nearby hi-fi stores, I thought they sounded harsh, at least the model I listened to.
 
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AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
8,216 23 6
#36
Can't argue with how "sensitive" someone's hearing/sensory is.

Some of us are more critical of certain brands. It could be related to our sensory variations. It could be bias. It could be different setups.

There's plenty of brand bashing of Klipsch, Polk, DefTech, GoldenEar, B&W, Wilson, Zu, Tekton, etc.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,327 12 15
#37
And here we are again, talking among ourselves- the OP seems to have left.

To Grx- is it possible to try it with different speakers?
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
#38
For example, I've never been sold on Klipsch speakers, due to the horn tweeters, I don't like my high frequencies in a funnel.
Some of us are more critical of certain brands. It could be related to our sensory variations. It could be bias. It could be different setups.
There's plenty of brand bashing of Klipsch, Polk, DefTech, GoldenEar, B&W, Wilson, Zu, Tekton, etc.
I owned Klipsch for over a decade in my 5.1 hometheater setup. I had the whole enchilada from the surrounds to the LCR to the subwoofers. For what I spent and for what I got in return, it was a fair trade. Good value. When I built/bought my new house with my little dedicated music room I set them up in there as a 2.1 system. They were still good, but, fatiguing and just not "great". I wanted this ever elusive upgrade and I wanted to get to the magical point of diminishing returns on investment but not go over the edge.

Now that I'm on the other side and happy as a clam with my new non-Klipsch stuff, I have to really really bite my tongue and not fall in to the Klipsch bashing mode. It so easy to bash, especially Klipsch for some reason. They make a fine product. Great value for the money. They fit the needs of 100,000's of consumers every year. Yet, that horn tweeter earns them bashing on every forum from NYC to LA. Like you said, its easy to be critical. Especially when you've upgraded passed them. But, dollar for dollar, they provide solid value to a lot of folks.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,999 21 47
#39
I owned Klipsch for over a decade in my 5.1 hometheater setup. I had the whole enchilada from the surrounds to the LCR to the subwoofers. For what I spent and for what I got in return, it was a fair trade. Good value. When I built/bought my new house with my little dedicated music room I set them up in there as a 2.1 system. They were still good, but, fatiguing and just not "great". I wanted this ever elusive upgrade and I wanted to get to the magical point of diminishing returns on investment but not go over the edge.

Now that I'm on the other side and happy as a clam with my new non-Klipsch stuff, I have to really really bite my tongue and not fall in to the Klipsch bashing mode. It so easy to bash, especially Klipsch for some reason. They make a fine product. Great value for the money. They fit the needs of 100,000's of consumers every year. Yet, that horn tweeter earns them bashing on every forum from NYC to LA. Like you said, its easy to be critical. Especially when you've upgraded passed them. But, dollar for dollar, they provide solid value to a lot of folks.
Then there are Klipsch horn differences within the brand. Something like the old heritage line vs the home theater line can be quite different....
 
Auditor55

Auditor55

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
160 13 7
#40
Can't argue with how "sensitive" someone's hearing/sensory is.

Some of us are more critical of certain brands. It could be related to our sensory variations. It could be bias. It could be different setups.

There's plenty of brand bashing of Klipsch, Polk, DefTech, GoldenEar, B&W, Wilson, Zu, Tekton, etc.
I actually like B&W, I think they sound good, they have a sweet sound to them.
 

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