Best floorstanding speakers for Cambridge CXA60 ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mc4, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Hi,

    I am trying to buy the best speakers I can afford, to match my new Cambridge CXA60 amp, but I am a little afraid because I read that this CXA60 has a bright sound and some care must be used in the speakers choice.

    As I can't test the speakers with my amp, I tried to get some info from several shops, unfortunately far from home and these are the options that they offer me for my budget and setup:

    1- Q Acoustic 3050i
    2- Wharfedale Diamond 240
    3- Monitor Audio Bronze 5

    My room has a floor of floor tile and measures 7 x 4 meters but use the Hi-Fi equipment in half the room... so almost 4 x 4 meters, and my setup is a Rega P3 turntable with a Goldring 1042 cartridge, a Rega "Fono MM Mk3" phono stage, a Cambridge CXA60 amp and I listen jazz music, classic music, and some of the greats from the 70/80 years, as Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Queen,...

    Right now, with my 30 years old Boose 4.2 Series II speakers, I got a weak sound, without force, with no low end, very disappointing… and when I turn the volume up, I get a very harsh and unpleasant sound (bright), not good at all, so I thought that maybe it is a problem of the speakers and I am trying to find solutions to replace them... although when I use my old CD player the sound is not bad, much more dynamic and full than with the Turntable...

    I really don't understand why I can't get the same type of sound with the Rega's TT :(

    What do you think that could be the problem of my setup?

    And what about the "marriage" of my Cambridge CXA60 amp and these 3 speaker options, saying that I have afraid to continue with bright, harsh and shrillness sound?

    Any other solution?

    Thanks ;)
     
  2. vrøvl

    vrøvl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    For the turntable, it sounds like it could be a problem with alignment. Or maybe the stylus has seen better days? Maybe you have a local Rega dealer that can take a look? (If you're as non-handy as I am.)

    For the speakers, those are some good choices. It's not a small room, so I would go with 6.5" woofers. Monitor Audio is great, but I'd try to get the Bronze 6 model... Or the new Monitor 300.

    I like the Q Ac's and the Wharfedales as well, but ideally I'd look for speakers that are a little easier to drive. Your Cambridge is great but it's not a powerhouse.

    The new Fyne Audio speakers are getting some great buzz, I think the F303 model would be great for you. 8 ohms and 91 dB sensitivity is quite ideal.
     
    mc4 likes this.
  3. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    I think that you are correct in looking to avoid a bad match between amp and speakers here. Also, the cartridge you have chosen is known to be a little bright in many systems, so you have that and the amp which can lead to some thinner sounding results. Also correct is the idea that the speakers are the oldest, least resolving part of the system and the one that replacement could yield better results in all areas.

    The most cost effective thing to do would simply be to replace the cartridge with a warmer sounding one. A Rega Elys 2 would be a shoe-in and not require any challenges to install due to it's 3 point mounting. A Shure M97xe is even more affordable and has a very warm sound. It will require proper alignment when installing as it has a standard 2 bolt mount that allows adjustment.

    Moving on to speakers, I would look for a rich sounding pair or one with deep bass. Getting a neutral sound with deep bass would be best and adding a sub might be the ultimate solution if your space allows that. Sometimes just a lack of good bass will cause the system to sound brighter than normal by contrast, ie just being a relative and subjective comparison. So that once good, deep bass is introduced, you might discover that the highs sound correct in that context. Some speakers that have good bass and can be accompanied by neutral or warmer highs are made by Tannoy, Castle, Spendor, and Dali. Plenty of others, but you really need to listen to what may be available more locally to hear what those other less common choices might be.
    -Bill
     
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  4. Fedot L

    Fedot L Forum Resident

    It doesn’t matter. Equipment treats acoustical and electrical SIGNALS, not music, speech, birds singing, street traffic sounds etc. etc. …
    Please check the nominal vertical tracking force and the strictly vertical position of the stylus in the cartridge seen “full-face”.
     
    mc4 likes this.
  5. Fedot L

    Fedot L Forum Resident

    It doesn’t matter. Equipment treats acoustical and electrical SIGNALS, not music, speech, birds singing, street traffic sounds etc. etc. …
    Please check the nominal vertical tracking force and the strictly vertical position of the stylus in the cartridge seen “full-face”.
    Not another, but an additional solution (a solution that is unconditional for me for many years):

    Insertion into your system of a good quality graphic equalizer (at least 10-bands, +/-12 dB, with its lowest slider at not higher than 31 Hz). Be careful to not boost to extreme the lowest (25…31 Hz) and the highest (16 kHz, 8 kHz) frequencies bands at high listening levels, to avoid LSs and/or even hearing damage.
     
    mc4 likes this.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Never heard those Bose speakers. If they are that old, might need maintenance. If you are thinking of buying new speakers, I would not get anything unless the return policy is rock solid, so you can send them back if you don't like them.

    I have a Goldring 1042 and run Wharfedale 10.2 speakers with a different Cambridge integrated (45 wpc). I don't find the sound thin, overly bright, or harsh at all.

    If your cartridge is not set up right or has too many hours on the stylus (1000+) then that could be an issue.
     
    mc4 likes this.
  7. Fedot L

    Fedot L Forum Resident

    Fully agree.

    I watched a photo of the stylus of your cartridge. Is it “D42”?
    Then its profile of contact with the groove is one of the finest:
    gyger stylus - Google Search :
    and shouldn’t cause any serious audible distortion.

    Strictly, the “tracing distortion” is a fundamental, unremovable distortion of gramophone records reproduction (both mechanical and laser). But the human sensitivity to this is very individual.

    And the more perfect the contact profile of the stylus the better.
     
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  8. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    1-I do not have any perception because, unfortunately, I never had a chance to listen a CXA60 amp with the MA Bronze 5 , just read that in some reviews in other forums, like this one...
    2-By "bright" I think that they pretend to say "not warm", shining, agressive sound... just what I ear in some tracks with my Boose speakers...

    For what I read in every speakers and amps reviews, and for my understanding, it has a lot with speakers choice, some have a more "warm" sound and are better with "bright" amps, some are more "bright" and are better with "warm" amps...
     
  9. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Hi, initially I thought that it could be an alignment problem as I do not use a 3 screws Rega cartridge, but a Goldring 1042, and tried to realign it with the Rega provided card and then with the "Rega Baerwald alignment protractor v.2".
    This Baerwald protractor moves the cartridge from the Rega position, but I didn't notice differences in the sound.
    Is there any better protractor for the Rega P3 RB330 arm?

    The stylus is almost new, is clean, so that should not be the problem...
     
  10. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    I don't really know what is happening with my Boose speakers...

    Yesterday I tried a new Denon DL 110 cartridge from a friend and as it a high output MC I had to turn the volume knob a little higher, maybe a 7/10 and then I got lots of vibrations and resonance in the right speaker. I had to turn the volume down to 5 so the resonance disappears.

    It was the first time I notice that resonance, as I never pushed the volume so high.

    Tried to understand what was happening, I thought that it maybe I could have switched the cables in the right speaker and swapped them (red to black) and the resonance immediately disappears and the sound became warmer and full...

    Solution found. It was a problem of swapped/wrong connections... NO!

    I couldn't believe that I made this rookie mistake so I removed the amp from his shelf and looked at the connections and they were correct. No mistake!

    So, my right speaker makes resonance when connected correctly and works well when I swap the cables. How could it be?

    Also tried with a 1.5V battery to see if the cables somehow are twisted in the middle or so, but when I applied the positive pole to the red, the woofer went out, as it should, but had to switch the cables in the amp to eliminate the resonance and get more low end...

    It was like the output of the amp has the connections swapped.

    Could this happen? Or there is another explanation to this speaker work better with the cables switched?
     
  11. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Everything is correct, the VTF is about 1.75 g, measured with a scale, and the vertical position also good
     
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  12. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    No problem with the stylus, is almost new, bought a few months ago, maybe 300 hours of use.
     
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  13. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Despite I notice an improvement in the overall sound when I swapped the right speaker cables, so I can turn the volume higher and get a fuller sound, when I moved the volume knob to my normal position, 4/10, the sound becomes again thinner, weak, with no low end, it seems that I only have mids and highs, what is very unpleasant :(
    Maybe I need a more sensitive pair of speakers, that could deliver more bass at low volume levels.
    Also don't understand the behavior of the right speaker, it may even be a problem of the right channel of the CXA60... must try with other speakers...
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    patient_ot likes this.
  14. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    You likely have a problem with speaker placement and turntable placement. When at high levels, and with the speaker wiring in correct relative phase, you can have acoustic feedback issues with resonance of furniture, the dustcover, etc. When you changed the polarity of one speaker lead, you effectively cancelled some of the bass energy, and so rid yourself of a room mode issue and so the reduction in resonance and feedback. Not surprisingly, it'll sound thin at low levels when connected like this. Swapping back to normal phase will restore some of the bass at low levels and again create resonance at high levels.

    The solution is to get speakers that sound better to solve your first complaint of poor overall sound quality, move the speakers to a position where they interact better with the room, and place the turntable on a surface that does not resonate so. That should solve most all of your troubles. If not, try another cartridge first to get a smoother, warmer tone. If that is still not enough, you'll need to look into alternative amplifiers as well. One would think the amplifier would be the last source of trouble unless it was especially poor quality. Amps are usually the last link in the chain to be concerned with.
    -Bill
     
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  15. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Today I managed to test a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 5 with my setup.
    My conclusions:
    Really better than my old Boose 4.2 series II, with a fuller sound, more middle tones, but I think that it's not enough for my expectations.
    Comparing with what I had, I noticed that with the Boose I only have lows and highs, but as the Bronze 5 has a smaller woofer I noticed also a little lack in the low end.
    Also my room is a little bigger for these "small" floorstanding speakers and I have to think in the bigger sisters like the Bronze 6 or Wharfedale 240...
    Pity that I can't test them :(
     
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  16. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    Whatever you do, get rid of those Bose speakers. They have cone tweeters that aren’t fit for a transistor AM radio.

    (One more thing, they’re spelled Bose, not Boose).
     
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  17. Archguy

    Archguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond VA
    I recommend room treatments. Rugs, tapestries, books, upholstered furniture, pillows, panels.
     
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  18. vrøvl

    vrøvl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    Yes, 5.5 inch woofers are for small rooms :)
    How about 8 inch? Here in Norway (the most expensive country in the world) the Wharfedale 250s are on closeout, going for the same price as the Bronze 5s... Maybe you can find a similar deal closer to you?
     
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  19. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Thanks for the correction ;)
     
  20. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Personally I would start by questioning the premise that's driving your decision. How does an (integrated) amp with a published frequency response of <5Hz– 60kHz +/-1dB end up with a "bright sound" label? There are a lot of other factors that affect how the entire system / room will sound that are coming into play that fall far outside that essentially flat frequency response. I doubt very much that the integrated amp is the culprit of any auditory crime being committed (assuming it is not malfunctioning / in need of servicing.)

    Jeff
     
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  21. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    The "What Hi-Fi" reviews state precisely that:

    "The CXA60 needs careful partnering..."
    "The CXA60’s presentation is slightly forward..."
    "Just make sure you don’t partner the amp with any bright-sounding speakers, as they could easily provoke that forward, excitable treble..."

    And it is not only this magazine that says that, I read several others saying the same, and as I already have the opportunity to listen the CXA60 with two different pairs of speakers unfortunately I can confirm that, at least in the conditions I have at home...

    mc4
     
  22. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Do you mean this review?

    It's a little "thin" as far as reviews go, but I don't see any mention of those characteristics.

    I've got no skin in this game. I just find it odd that a "sounds bright" label could be attached to an amp with such a flat frequency response, and that that label would be the driver behind the choice for a new set of tower speakers. Actually I find it more amazing than odd.

    Jeff
     
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  23. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    Jeff, that one and specially the one they have comparing the CXA60 with the Rega Brio R
     
  24. mc4

    mc4 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Matosinhos
    [​IMG]
     
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  25. Hifi Kenny

    Hifi Kenny Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    I demoed the AX60 with Dali Opticon 6s and liked the amp.Based on the OP's 3 current options and probable budget, the Dali Spektor 6 would be worth considering. The Mission LX4 is another possibility.
     
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