Regrettably your A19 has 'lost' the tone controls that the A18 offered. A bit of tweak on the treble control would probably have solved this issue.
Just been skipping through your Marantz NA7004 instructions and found a function call 'M-DAX'. It is there to help make up for deficiencies in compressed formats.
However, it tries to compensate for 'rolled off treble'...
"M-DAX (Marantz Dynamic Audio Expander) processing to 'optimise' data-reduced audio sources such as MP3 and AAC files. This is said to compensate for the high-frequency roll-off in such files, and has a three-position selector." (From TechRadar review.)
Have you checked this setting to ensure it is switched off?
I don't know if you aleady have it switched off (or whether you play a lot of compressed content) but it could be worth checking just to make sure.
Another finding of Malcolm Steward's Techradar review was to do with the difference in performance between the NA7004's analogue outputs and digital output...
"Listening to the unit through its analogue connection gives results that often seem warm and gentle in character, although rather inconsistent, varying from one album to another. Some appear shouty and unrefined by contrast. Bass, though, seems stodgy and overblown.
The cure for these ills is bypassing the analogue outputs and feeding a digital signal straight to a DAC. The presentation immediately improves dramatically – the NA7004 becoming far more even-handed in the way it presents tracks and is more consistently balanced across all its inputs"
It might be a cheaper option (than to keep swapping speakers) to try it's digital output into a seperate DAC.
Maybe the problem is really with the NA7004's analogue output and not the speakers.
The bass problems described above (stodgy, overblown) also seem to tally with your comment about the R100's bass in your original post ("and preferably taut bass, as that is another annoyance with the R100's"). And maybe the problem with the treble is not that it needs 'rolling off' but that it needs to be better.
Can your Arcam dealer lend you an irDAC maybe?
If Chebby's posts don't help, try the Spendor A3 or A5. If they're not smooth enough, look out for an older pair of S5e. When we got those in, I had to walk up to the speaker and put my ear to the tweeter to see if it was working...
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Vinyl now available in store!
Chebby - I know what you're saying, and I had considered getting an Arcam Irdac....however, I also know that many people say the difference between DACS (in this case, the NA7004 one and the Arcam Irdac), or CD players etc is so miniscule, that any difference is pretty much inaudible.
Furthermore, would feeding the NA7004 into a separate DAC even work? I.e. people also say that clock speeds need to match, or some other technical speak. If they do not, then the external DAC would essentially be bypassed in any event. But I have no idea, as I'm technologically stupid.
Arcam A19 - Kef R100's - Marantz NA7004
I am still struggling with treble...or rather, spending far too much time focusing on it when listening to music. Try as I might, I just can't shake the feeling that it intrudes too much and detracts from the overall enjoyment. The times I enjoy listening to my system the most, are on the treble-shy tracks, the mid-range heavy ones. This really shows the strengths (to my ears) of the arcam a19 and kef r100 speakers, which beautifully place and articulate the various strands of the mids and upper bass tones.
And don't get me wrong, the Kef R100's are still a significant improvement over the Kef Q300's and the Epos Epic 2 speakers I used to have. The transition from mids to highs is much smoother, and the overall quality of the treble is better too. But still...it grates, after months of trying to 'live with them'. I also appreciate that there are much much brighter and less refined speakers out there, but then I guess it is all relative.
Perhaps I am just oversensitive to it, but it has certainly got me wondering whether I am simply listening to the wrong speakers. Maybe more modern, revealing ones just aren't for me, even if they are technically 'better' in many ways.
So...I was wondering if anyone could recommend some speakers, prefferably bookshelves, which posess more rolled off treble, but still have a lovely midrange (and preferably taut bass, as that is another annoyance with the R100's. If I can't find anything suitable, I think I am just going to sell the whole system - I never had any of these problems when I owned a cheap micro system for years!!
Have you had your hearing tested recently? It might be worth a check up to see if your ears are fine.
That aside, what about simply turning down the treble on the amp? (Edit: I see that your amp has no tone controls)
If these result in no improvement or highlighting of a problem and you feel that you need to spend some money, for taught bass and less harsh treble, my recommendation would be to try a pair of active speakers. These can be driven by the preamp section of your Arcam.
I would be inclined to stick the AVI DM5s, Quested S6 and S7 and Neumann KH120 on your hit list.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Goat I just came across your earlier post back in March which I link here for others to read which may help them assess your problem: http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/my-thoughts-on-the-arcam-a19-epos-epic-2-combination?page=2
So it seems you were having problems with the Kef Q300s? but then switched to Arcam A19 and Epos Epics and everything was fine for a while but the you started having treble problems, then you moved house and changed the speakers to Kef R100s and everything seemed fine but now we are back to square 1? It could be verious things, could be the amp, Ive heard a few people say its bright top end on certain music, it could be the metal tweeters causing listening fatigue, it could be you listening too closely, I know once you have heard something it is hard to not notice it.
My concern is you have changed items and been happy but then hit problems later on, so doing demos is that going to help? My experience of Epos is the treble is a bit forward, noticed that on jazz cymbals, I did not find that on the Kefs. Maybe tone controls may help?
If i was you I would buy my self a used graphic equalizer off ebay, they have quite a few for around £50.
You can connect it up to your arcam amp using the tape loop, so you can switch it in or out of circuit depending on the music you are playing.
>use it to gently roll off the high treble, see how it sounds to you.
Remember to only use the cut and not the boost on the equalizer, otherwise you can quickly overdrive your ampeven at low volumes.
HiFi. Arcam cd92,a85,p85 bi-amping Ma rx6, kimber silver streak & 8tc cables and r/a mains.
A/V. panasonic plasma, sony av amp. mordaunt short premier, rel q150 sub.
FWIW. IMO. The Active route is not the way to go if you want a smooth sound with a rolled off treble. I also think a system should innately have the sound that you're looking for, without having to resort to measures to tailor it.......but it's only my opinion and there is more than one way to skin a cat.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
FWIW. IMO. The Active route is not the way to go if you want a smooth sound with a rolled off treble.
Why do you think that?
I've run through this thread three times so if I've missed this then appos. Have tried listening to them set up off axis , this may , just may , shift your goal posts. I would like to think that you have ?.
You can't have it both ways......either Active speakers are much more accurate and neutral, or these active crossovers are not all they're cracked up to be.
I'm not sure recording studios would be queuing up to get nice smooth sounding active monitors with a rolled of treble (not great for looking deeply into a track)...it kind of defeats the purpose.
If you go the "Active Hifi Route", things tend to get very expensive, and the choice narrows dramatically......and the ones I've heard, certainly don't have a rolled off treble.
Arcam A19 with R100s sound quite smooth to my ears, so in this particular case, we are talking something with a golden midrange and a very smooth treble.....whereas Active speakers tend to give a clean and detailed presentation, often tipping a little into the analytical (which is the design brief for many).
NB. I am not being anti Active, but pro what I think is likely to meet the OP's needs / taste. eg A Unison Research "Simply Italy" Tube amp + Audio Note speakers is the sort of sound I think he is after, which is the antithesis of an Active set-up. In otherwards, it's about giving suggestions that IMO, have the greatest chance of success.
NB. I am not being anti Active, but pro what I think is likely to meet the OP's needs / taste. eg A Unison Research "Simply Italy" Tube amp + Audio Note speakers is the sort of sound I think he is after,
Indeed Cno. Lets face it listening to music should be a pleasure not a ruddy chore. Ok some folks get pleasure from the analytical, in yer mush presentation (gawd knows why but each to their own). But I think the OP has realised that this 'modern' presentation isnt really for him. Perhaps he should get out there and have a word with his local dealer ,explain his likes and dislikes , and try out some different set ups. Taking a stab at just changing his amp or speakers isnt the way to go , unless he can get either/or on a prolonged home dem.
Cno, this could be an interesting one.
I know the OP is talking about rolled off high frequencies but we really have no real idea where in the range the problems lie, so this is not a specific answer but a more general one.
I many designs the tweeter is 'rolled off' quite slowly, Epos being a prime example for instance, so it is still outputing significant output well below it's nominal crossover point. At these frequencies the tweeter is no longer linear so much of what it produces is quite heavily distorted and these distortions are heard as higher frequencies, giving the treble a bright, somewhat wearing quality.
This is part of the problems with 2 way designs, getting the tweeter to go low enough to take over from the bass/mid unit before it starts to break up, it is always a tricky call for the designer.
In active designs the crossover slope is often much higher 24db/octave being quite common so that, an octave below the nominal crossover frequency the tweeter is recieving far less signal than it's passive counterpart. Distortion is much reduced as the signal is lower anyway and the tweeter may not be driven as far into it's non linear range, so distortion is reduced still further.
So in this respect, and if tweeter non linearity is the issue, actives are usually superior.
Dons tin hat and awaiting incoming.......
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
Incoming and waaaay off topic. Howard Popeck is still in the game Dave afaiaa.
As you were fellas.
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