Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman
It's hard to say why your system is bright. I have been there. I have spent money to improve sound, then been dissapointed.
I have done tons of reading the last three years. Probably 100's of hours. I have read from audiophile types, engineers and pro reviewers.
My view is as follows.
Electronics are designed to produce take their input and produce an output that's as close to the input as possible (with one exception I will address in a minute.)
CD players, DVD players etc. send a perfect digital copy to a receiver. A receiver can produce an excellent analog signal from that digital signal. They interpolate between the data points from the PCM, and produce a clean noise free output. The concept of DACs sounding different confuses me as their specs are so excellent.
Once the signal clears the DAC and associated op amp it goes through a lot of components. Routing chips for zone assignments, volume control chip, etc.
When they measure the pre out (often using a direct mode,) they measure very well.
I don't expect stuff like the zone routing chip to change frequency response. They will likely add some noise, but this is minimal according to what I know.
Then you get to the amp. The amp's job again is to amplify the signal and not change it's frequency makeup. Distortion can add various harmonics. But again, amps tend to measure very well. They measure very flat, with low THD+N.
So brightness, and by brightness I mean some incorrect frequency response, should not be a huge problem in properly operating electronics, at least according to everything I am reading.
If the amp is clipping enough, it can sound badly, or course. There's an annoying effect you get when you increase volume past a certain point. I have been told this is likely the receiver clipping.
Receivers now have room correction. This could be good or bad. It can't fix all room problems. And YPAO has shown be that it's bass management does not make the best choices, IMO. So room corection, could make things worse, I guess as well as better.
Speakers don't have flat response. Not even. If you look at measurements, they have pretty clear non linearties especially at the crossover.
Even worse is your room. It will have crazy response swings. For example, while playing a test tone once, I noticed it was pretty quiet compared to other tones in the same band. I moved my ear slightly and the tone got much louder. I made measurements with my SPL meter, and I think I saw close to a 10 dB swing in SPL just moving the SPL meter around a few feet!
So room response is the worst potential enemy. Talk about non linearity!
Electronics, on the other hand are really well behaved when compared to rooms and speakers.
So brightness maybe should not be first blamed on electronics?