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post #1 of 22 Old 02-25-2011, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently upgraded all of my Interconnects and Speaker cables and am now having some sibilance issues that weren't there prior to upgrading.

I know the obvious answer is it's the cables, which it probably is. What's bothering me is that the sibilance is only heard on certain SACD's. When I throw on Diana Krall When I Look in Your Eyes I hear a sibilance on almost every 's'. When I put in a Alison Krauss SACD I get nothing. Everything is clear and smooth.

I guess my question is how the heck do I get rid of it, is this going to be a permanent thing? Is it likely go away after the cables have had ample time to burn in?

I'm running Vandersteen Model 3's, Marantz SC-11S1 preamp, McIntosh MC2200 amp, and a Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J SACD player. My cables are all Audio Art Cable.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 04:34 AM
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this ought to be fun...

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post #3 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 04:53 AM
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I bet you're cables are touching the ground... High resolution cables absolutely require to be raised at least an inch off the floor so that the magnetic dialetrics doesn't interfere with the electro high frequency current, something like this usually does the job: http://www.stereophile.com/content/my-cable-elevators-1 This is especially true on car pets, which have a lot of high end static energy.

I would also make sure to demagnetize all my cds. They're are ways to do it manually, but they usually require quite a bit of labour and with today's techmology, there's no reason you have to go through alll that... Also, if you don't really know what your doing, you could end up magnetettizing your cds... So I suggest something like the RD3 http://www.gcaudio.com/cgi-bin/store...uct.cgi?id=190 . Works with all formats, very convenient! I bet you've never heard Diana truly sing without all the magnetix getting in the way... Six out of seven of my wives can easily hear the difference! The seventh is deaf as a bat but damn she's hot for a midget...

Magic rocks can help too... Just have to find them... Some people say they don't exist, maybe they don't, in their minds...
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post #4 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 05:59 AM
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^^
LOL
this could be fun indeed

OK - seriously, the poster really does need some good advice & not spend more money on voodoo

ThePaperGuy -

Why sibilance is in Krall and not in Krauss is due to the recording and your room acoustics, not your cables. You have an expensive & revealing system, especially the Vandies. Krall may have been closed-miked when it was recorded, to emphasize her breathy vocals, capturing her alluring midrange so it emphasizes S's. Alison may have been miked further back since she has a naturally hi pitched voice so the engineers didn't want to over-emphasize her hi frequencies. Your Vandies may be revealing these things that lower quality speakers may mask.

And this is made more apparent to your ears because of room acoustics. Do you have windows or lots of glass in the room? Is the floor hardwood or some other reflective surface? Room dimensions, large open room or stuffed with furniture and carpeting? Vaulted ceilings?

Have you ever looked at your room acoustics & room treatments, instead of spending gobs of money on exotic cables?

Sorry, but most of us do tried & true objective things to our systems to improve the sound. And do not accept that hi-priced exotic cables will audibly make any difference. We trust our ears and the science.

I've been there myself with hi-priced speaker cables - didn't do a thing but I wanted to believe they did because I spent a lot of money on them.

Truth is there is no evidence, other than what the exotic cable companies advertise, that a cable will do what you are describing, PaperGuy. I have dealt with sibilance & excess beaming of female vocals for many years.

If you are not well-versed on room acoustics & acoustic treatments, do yourself a favor and do some reading on them.

There are numerous companies, ranging from in-house consultants to selling products for DIY'er, who are experts in this field and can help you with your problem. Here's just 3:

http://www.realtraps.com/info.htm
http://www.gikacoustics.com/
http://www.readyacoustics.com/

I have personally dealt with Glenn at GIK. You can email or talk to their room consultant, Bryan Pape, describe your problem, room layout and he'll advise you what to try & their placement. In my case, some of his advice didn't even involve their products.

Ethan Winer at Real Traps is also tops in the field, very active in this and other forums and will give you "sound" advice. Ethan has articles, videos describing room issues like resonance, comb filtering, bass problems and you can hear for yourself the differences absorption & diffusion products make.

Here's a forum devoted to acoustics where you ask questions & experts like Ethan can provide recommendations

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/rives/bbs.html

You are free to spend a small fortune on cables & tricks & never come close to solving your problem. Instead, you can spend a whole lot less money on some reasonably priced or down-right cheap wall panels & traps, place them in the right spots, maybe tweak your speaker locations, use an area rug in the right place and be a lot happier with the results.....instead of chasing products which won't make any audible difference. Anyone in the home theater & hi-end audio business knows the value of room treatments.

I spent 19 yrs chasing sibilance & extra reverb of hi-pitched female vocals with Magnepans in front of a large window. Bryan Pape led me to the answer this January - 2 judiciously placed diffusers & some additional corner traps. Female vocals like Patricia Barber when she hits the hi notes are now tolerable, clear with minimal resonance. They don't beam at me like they used to.

Thousand dollar cables wouldn't have done squat

Steve
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post #5 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePaperGuy View Post

I recently upgraded all of my Interconnects and Speaker cables and am now having some sibilance issues that weren't there prior to upgrading.

Sibillance is always due to too much response in the range from about 3.5 KHz to 11 KHz. The counterpoint is that with too little response in this range, music lacks crispness and definition. So, there is a narrow path to walk.

Quote:


What's bothering me is that the sibilance is only heard on certain SACD's. When I throw on Diana Krall When I Look in Your Eyes I hear a sibilance on almost every 's'. When I put in a Alison Krauss SACD I get nothing. Everything is clear and smooth.

Recordings can vary in terms of their response in this range, so depending on your system, some may sound too sibillant and some may sound right, and others mack lack that nice sense of crispness and snap.

Quote:


I know the obvious answer is it's the cables, which it probably is.

More likely than the cables themselves being radically different is the possibility that you either fixed a wiring error when you hooked up the new cables or added a new wiring error. Recheck your work. A speaker cable with the plus and minus wires reversed can cause this probleem.

Another possibility is that there was corrosion on some connectors that got scraped away when you removed the old cables and installed the new ones.

Quote:


I guess my question is how the heck do I get rid of it, is this going to be a permanent thing? Is it likely go away after the cables have had ample time to burn in?

While there is such a thing as broken cables there is no such thing as cable break in.

There is such a thing as a period of heightened awareness of your system's sound following an upgrade project.
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 07:35 AM
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^^
I'm not debating

I accept that out of phase +- wiring error can negatively effect freq response and removing corrosion could also effect sound.

I also accept that heightened awareness, getting used to the way new gear sounds, is a big factor.

He should try everything you suggest, but in the end, if he has done nothing to address the room itself, looking at improving the room's freq response with fiberglass wall panels & traps, then it's well worth the effort. It's based on accepted acoustic principles that work & it's cheap!

Steve
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post #7 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Sibillance is always due to too much response in the range from about 3.5 KHz to 11 KHz. The counterpoint is that with too little response in this range, music lacks crispness and definition. So, there is a narrow path to walk.

Recordings can vary in terms of their response in this range, so depending on your system, some may sound too sibillant and some may sound right, and others mack lack that nice sense of crispness and snap.

Fits my experience in every respect, and my room is fairly well-treated with appropriate absorption/diffusion. What I do, because I can, is to find and carefully notch the offending frequency band and save the FR curve for use only on recordings which exhibit this problem. My strictly amateur suspicion is that some mastering engineers don't adequately de-ess the track for some close-mic'ed vocals.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 07:53 AM
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Sibilance may have different sources. Cables are not one of them.

1. It is totally possible that the problem is with source recording.
2. Less likely issue is DAC in your player.
3. And the least likely problem is amplifiers. They may produce parasitic generation under certain conditions. But considering quality of components, I wouldn't expect it to happen.

Cables may influence the last reason I explained above, but only if your components have obvious design errors.
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 08:09 AM
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Maybe the problem is not the cables but something else and the timing is simply a coincidence. Maybe you have fluid in your ears? I recently had a cold that got into my ears and it caused me to have to turn the treble down to listen to music. Also I could not hear as much bass.
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 08:16 AM
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Cables? NO, missing spit shield in the recording studio? probably
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmologist View Post

Cables? NO, missing spit shield in the recording studio? probably

that's pretty funny

Steve
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post #12 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

What I do, because I can, is to find and carefully notch the offending frequency band and save the FR curve for use only on recordings which exhibit this problem. My strictly amateur suspicion is that some mastering engineers don't adequately de-ess the track for some close-mic'ed vocals.

You're using some form of EQ for this. The Marantz preamp has no built-in room correction EQ so he'd have to buy an outboard processor, like DEQX, TACT, or standalone Audyssey. The cheapest DEQX is $2000 & Audyssey is $2500 + the calibration kit or hire dealer to do the calibration.

All could help but all cost nice chunk of change. Or get a vintage graphic/parametric EQ'r off ebay Or a cheap Behringer dig EQ.

I completely agree with your 2nd point.

Steve
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post #13 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you to those who offered actual possible solutions to my problem.

I have a hardwood floor with no rug or other covering on it and bare walls. It's a living room so we do have couches and a table but that's about it. I guess my next step is to look into purchasing or making some room treatments.

Honestly, I hadn't noticed any sort of sibilance in the Diana Krall recording until last night. The only thing I changed was cables, therefore my assumption that it was probably the cables. I even put the speakers back to their exact same position after installing the new cables.
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 11:37 AM
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What you're hearing is a pretty good description of early reflections in the room which tend to effect mids and highs the most. Absent any EQ or room treatments, you're shooting in the dark here.

The better the audio gear, the more critical are things like placement and room treatments. Wall treatments, rugs on the floor in critical locations, and bringing the speakers out as far away from walls as possible will all make big differences.
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post #15 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmologist View Post

Cables? NO, missing spit shield in the recording studio? probably

The polite name is "Pop filter", and they are essentially acoustically transparent. In fact the original one is said to have been a nylon stocking stretched over a embroidery hoop. They also have *no* effect on sibillance.

Popping is a low frequency issue that relates to air velocity.

Sibillance in live sound and recording is one of those unhappy combinations of influences that just happen. The vocalist is a major source, as some people have more sibillance in their voice, and some have less and some go one way or the other depending. Lots of vocal microphones have a presence peak in the 5-9 KHz range and that can make things worse. Some studio monitors tend to emphasize sibillance and that can be a good thing because then said studio turns out a lot less recordings with sibillance. And of course room acoustics, whether in the listening room or the studio can also be part of the problem.
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post


The better the audio gear, the more critical are things like placement and room treatments.

That's arguable. For example, speakers with well controlled directivity (hard to do without spending lots of money) are generally less affected by room acoustics than cheap ones that are generally deficient in this area.

Quote:


Wall treatments, rugs on the floor in critical locations, and bringing the speakers out as far away from walls as possible will all make big differences.

agreed.
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

What you're hearing is a pretty good description of early reflections in the room which tend to effect mids and highs the most. Absent any EQ or room treatments, you're shooting in the dark here....Wall treatments, rugs on the floor in critical locations, and bringing the speakers out as far away from walls as possible will all make big differences.

especially with bare hardwood floors & bare walls.
sibilance or no, putting more absorption in the room probably help a lot.

Steve
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post #18 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePaperGuy View Post

Thank you to those who offered actual possible solutions to my problem.

I have a hardwood floor with no rug or other covering on it and bare walls. It's a living room so we do have couches and a table but that's about it. I guess my next step is to look into purchasing or making some room treatments.

Honestly, I hadn't noticed any sort of sibilance in the Diana Krall recording until last night. The only thing I changed was cables, therefore my assumption that it was probably the cables. I even put the speakers back to their exact same position after installing the new cables.

PaperGuy, just ignore the BS of the anti-cable crowd.

However, what many here are saying about your bare walls and floor, is true. And you should seriously look at addressing that with some type of absorption (Throw rug on the floor, absorption panels at first and second reflection points). After that, another consideration is looking at the distance of your speakers from any room boundaries. I don't know your layout, but sometimes if your speakers are too close to a side wall, you can get some major colorations from those boundaries. Also, as several have said, sibilance is just inherant in some recordings, and taming it may be impossible (in those particular recordings). I don't have the specific Diana Krall piece you're talking about, but the three Diana Krall CD's that I do have, don't seem to have any appearant sibilance issues. Another thing that is easily overlooked is your listening chair. If it has a high back, and/or is made of a hard, reflective material such as leather, you might try placing a throw, or small blanket over the back. This will cut down on some very distructive comb filtering effects from the back of the chair right behind your ears. Items like throws, and area rugs, are easily avialable and cheap. So it should be easy for you to experiment, before investing money in more costly items like commercial acoustical panels.

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post #19 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 01:38 PM
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"The polite name is "Pop filter", and they are essentially acoustically transparent. In fact the original one is said to have been a nylon stocking stretched over a embroidery hoop. They also have *no* effect on sibilance."

Not SUPPOSED to but depending on the material used they do. Some studios have several types and depending on the perform3er may use 2.

One performer that I know of is so juicy AND accentuates the "S" sound like a demented valley girl. Remember the line in "Blazing Saddles" with the chorus "girls" sounding like steam escaping?
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 01:40 PM
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All those who do not use cables, raise your hands.
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post #21 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 01:43 PM
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I recommend listening to the recording on a set of proper reference headphones:

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/reference_earphones.htm

And decide what the recording should sound like before you decide what your speakers should sound like. And no, you don't need to burn in or upgrade the cable on the headphones.
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-26-2011, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmologist View Post

One performer that I know of is so juicy AND accentuates the "S" sound like a demented valley girl.

Katie Melua is one such artist.

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