ProAc Studio 140 too bright (?)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jenkovix, Oct 21, 2015.

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  1. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    ProAc Studio 140 too bright (?)
    [​IMG]by jenkovix » 20 Oct 2015 16:14

    Hi folks,

    I am in a hi-fi crisis. I have my ProAc Studio 140 floorstanders hooked up on my PrimaLuna Prologue 2 integrated tube amp. Both are lovely pieces of gear, plenty of five star reviews on the net. But I found the (high frequency) sound coming from the speakers very forward sounding, very bright, very tiring after 1 hour. Simply I can't bear it more. Then I turn it off and must have a break for at least one day and this is very sad. I tried many tricks such us: solid state amp, granite under the speakers, cheap thick copper loudspeaker wire, going back to single wiring, etc, etc and none of them worked.
    So practically I can't listen to music because of the listening fatigue comes very fast.
    There are some remarks on the web that with the 140s bright electronics should be avoided. But the PrimaLuna would be bright? I doubt that... I even rang ProAc in England and told them my problem and I was told that the speakers are absolutely flat they never heard this kind of remark back from the customers... They suspected the speaker cables and recommended brass cables and I tried them -> no joy.
    So here I am stuck with my system I don't know what to do. Tweak around more? Change the amp? Change the speakers?

    Please if you ever experienced anything like that give your thoughts

    Thanks in advance and regards
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015
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  2. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Senior Member

    Location:
    US
    Sell them.
     
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  3. Linger63

    Linger63 Forum Resident

    Location:
    AUSTRALIA
    Hi Jenkovix,


    The room has a big affect on SQ.

    Are you running floorboards?

    If so, it is likely that the brightness is room related......try a big rug, drapes......soft furnishings.

    If possible get some expert acoustic treatment advice.........a few hundred dollars could make ALL the difference.

    Also what source(s) are you using?......any silver I/C's or speaker cable in the system?

    Can you describe your listening position in relation to speaker positions and tweeter heights within the room?

    Does everything else sound good or are you maybe bass light?

    Lastly....does you PrimaLuna have a setting for "Triode" as most tube amps I have heard were not overly bright..

    Does it have 8 and 4 ohm taps and, if so, have you tried both?

    Read this..........maybe, due to current placement, your tweeters are "beaming"

    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/proac-studio-140-loudspeaker/

    If it does turn out to be amp related you could simply re bias and/or tube roll a solution.


    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
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  4. oregonalex

    oregonalex Forum Resident

    Possibly, but before you do, see if you could try them with a different amp then PrimaLuna. I have auditioned PrimaLuna Dialogue 2 and I did find it unbearably forward sounding.

    Also, you may want to fill in your gear profile - people will be able to help you better if you do.
     
  5. So... is that brightness an excess of upper mid-range or an excess of proper treble?

    I've auditioned the Studio 148s (my findings are in a thread that I posted last night) and found that treble was lacking but also that when vocalists sang "ee" as in "You and Meeee", the "e" sound was a bit piercing. Not eeeeasy on the ear.

    Gut feel is that this is speaker related or the web would be splattered with criticisms of your amp and you would also have observed this with the Proacs' predecessors.

    Does that make sense?
     
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  6. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    I would like to keep them because the bass and middle are so perfect at this price range that I can't imagine other speaker than this. Selling them would be the last thing to do.
     
  7. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    I've tried also replacing the PrimaLuna with some Heed Audio solid state gear. There was no change in the treble unfortunately.
     
  8. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    It is the treble only. The midrange is super-fine sweet. The ear-piercing phenomena comes mainly with female vocal (eeeeeee), trumpet (e.g. Miles Davis - Kind of blue), clarinet, etc.
     
  9. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    Have to say I'm in full agreement here.

    ProAc ain't cheap change. An hour a day, then you can't listen for a day afterwards apparently?

    While I'm slightly sceptical of the last point, speakers that are so bright you can barely use them need to go.

    Then get a home audition for your next set. Whatever they are. Personally, I think you may just be experiencing clarity, but they may also just be too tizzy.
    Either way, get shot of them.
     
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  10. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Same combination here - ProLogue Two amp and Studio 140 mkII speakers. Are yours the original (mkI) 140s? Don't know how different they are if so. Either way I don't experience an overly-bright sound at all.

    The amp is pretty forward-sounding, and fulsome, but if anything on the slightly warmer side of neutral. The 140s aren't shy in the treble department but, to me, it's in an open, clear way with nothing forced or OTT about it. And I really don't like bright sounding gear so would have rejected them if so. I've tried the ProAcs with the PL2, my previous Cambridge 840A, and also demoed them with a Nait XS - none of which made them sound that way.

    That said, compared to other speakers the ProAcs might sound bright in an un-rolled-off kinda fashion, and they might not suit some tastes (or indeed 'bright' amps). Certainly more treble detail than my previous speakers (Castle Howard S1), but again in a good way.

    I can and do listen to them for hour after hour with no fatigue.... including Miles Davis!

    Sorry that's not your experience though...

    As above consider the room; and I'd also ask what was your previous gear or other frame of reference for this bright sound? I'd at least try/borrow/demo some other speakers in your home for comparison before getting rid of them - perhaps research some known to have a smoothed-out treble as such.
     
  11. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    No Triode mode on the Pl2, as you can get on some other PrimaLuna amps.

    It does have both - good point. I use 4. Far more coherent and solid than 8, which sounds flat and airy by comparison.
     
  12. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    Hi Shivermetimbers,

    I am glad you are here. I've read your post "PrimaLuna Prologue 2 - first impressions." And you have no complaint about bright ProAc Studio 140 (you have mk II I have mk I). I am running on 8 ohm taps as the nominal impedance of the speakers are 8 ohms. I'll try the 4 maybe this is the solution?? I'll keep you posted. Thanks!
     
  13. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I had the ProAc Studio 110's with a Primaluna Prologue 2...it was a mercilessly bright setup. I hated it. As an aside, when I returned the Prologue 2 to the dealer she was mad as hell. She stated that she had 100% of the Prologue 2's returned...that included one bought by an employee of hers. I really like the Prologue 1, but the 2, not so much. A tech friend of mine told me that he believed that the autobias circuit was biased too hot. Also when I spoke to the ProAc distributor here in the states he had much the same comments as ProAc in England...in the end I gave the dealer back the whole lot and settled with an all Rega setup for a couple of years.
     
  14. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    At last somebody who has similar experiences :)
    It is getting complicated... The PrimaLuna Prologue 1 hasEL34s the 2 has KT88s. Both amps as far as I know almost identical the differences in the circuit are very small. Maybe my autobias is too high and/or shiny KT88s?
     
  15. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Yeah try the 4 ohm taps - I much preferred them. Let us know what you find.

    It is a bit baffling how people can have such varying views and experiences of the same product/s (referring to comments above), but hey we all have different rooms, ears, brains, and tastes...
     
  16. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I tried the amp with EL34's...no go. Remember, I never lived with the ProLogue 1...it may have been as bad as the 2 over time. I will never know. One thing I do know, no more Prima Luna and I would be very careful before buying ProAc's again.
     
  17. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Let me add that the distributor told me that the the ProAc Studio range of that time was voiced on Audio Research amps.
     
  18. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    The main difference between the 1 and 2 (I've read) is the valves and also upgraded capacitors and diodes.
     
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  19. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Interestingly I have heard nothing but good feedback about the Prologue 2 from the UK. I had a friend on another forum, long ago, who had and loved the Prologue 2. Perhaps there is some difference.
     
  20. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    What was it about the PL2 in particular that you didn't take to? Not to defend it just interested!

    I was just going to say, before you wrote your 2nd inserted quote, that they do indeed seem to get universal praise on this side of the pond. Can't see why there would be a difference but hey. Talking to a nice guy from Watford Valves (large valve store) the other week and he said of all the dozens of amps and brands he's tried they remain a constant favourite. He also said they 're voiced similarly to Audio Research, which you refer to (but I've never heard one).
     
  21. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Please tell us what speakers you were using before the 140s so we have some kind of point of reference; if what you had before and the 140s are not radically different, then it is a matter of setup and/or equipment compatibility, but, if what you had is actually a much less bright speaker, the answer might mean changing speakers.

    With any kind of problem with a new component, particularly speakers, the first thing to address is speaker placement/setup. It is NOT the case that you can plop the new speaker down in the same spot and expect to get decent sound. You will have to do a lot of experimentation with moving the speaker around to find the right location. When brightness is a particular issue, it is extremely important to get the right amount of toe-in; some speakers sound excessively bright if pointed directly at the listener, some are actually brighter sounding slightly off axis. Some speakers will sound bright if too much sound is bouncing off a nearby wall or coffee table in front of the speaker. These are all things that one has to experiment with to see if a change helps. The amount of tilt backwards also affects brightness so experiment with the rake angle of the speaker and/or the height of the speaker. Proper room placement, toe-in, rake angle are probably the most important factors in getting decent sound out of a new pair of speakers.

    The next most important factor, to me, is room treatment. You don't have to go crazy with acoustic treatment; some very modest changes can deliver terrific results. Start with experimenting by putting up blankets on large flat wall surfaces to absorb some of the high frequencies bouncing off walls. The permanent solution might be something as unobtrusive as a decorative wall hanging. Large potted plants can also work well to scatter sound and reduce room problems. As mentioned before, a very large hard surface, like a coffee table directly in front of the listener can be a source of high frequency hardness; the new speaker might have a high frequency dispersion pattern that makes the coffee table a bigger problem than was the case with the prior speaker. You can experiment by removing the table or covering it with a blanket. The permanent solution might be as simple as covering the surface with more objects (e.g., magazines) to break up the reflection from the table.

    Another "free" alteration you could try is putting a thin piece of fabric in front of the tweeter to tame its output--any such partial obstruction will attenuate the highest frequencies the most so it may not adversely affect the midrange that you like on the speaker.

    I am not that familiar with the Prologue 2 so I don't know if you have an issue with the amp. My very general observation is that I don't like KT88s--they tend to sound quite hard and brittle to me. I believe Prima Luna amps are designed to be very flexible, so you could try alternatives like EL34s or KT66 (but of course first check the manual or the manufacturer on compatibility of these tube types). Note too, that within any given types of tubes, there is considerable variability in sound from brand to brand and different vintages. Also, consider experimenting with the small signal tubes as well; they make a big difference in the sound.

    Good luck.
     
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  22. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Gosh, let me count the ways!...lol.

    The presentation lack interest and involvement. Good detail and poor timing. Unrelentingly bright and it didn't matter what tubes (or speakers for that matter) I used. What I did like was the phono stage I had installed. I have heard countless AR amps and they vary quite a bit in sound. That said, I've heard none that reminded me of what I heard from the Prologue 2. I really wanted to love that amp, just didn't happen. If I were looking at a tube amp now, within a reasonable budget (my reasonable = under 3k for an integrated) Line Magnetic and MasterSound would be high on my list.
     
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  23. jenkovix

    jenkovix Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Europe, Hungary
    I started with JPW ML510 and than JPW ML-810. Both are them with very smooth treble drivers no sign of harshness at all. Zero.
    After those I got the ProAc 140 and my trouble begun. At the moment the are almost paralell with the side walls. If they are toed in towards the listening position it is even worse. The room is already threated with carpets on the floor, back wall, even with acoustic foams on the side walls. Maybe it is far away from perferct but I've done a bit.
     
  24. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    If you tried Heed and had the same problem.... it's the speakers.

    They're perhaps too big for your room. And Proac is known for being...... detailed.
     
  25. konut

    konut Prodigious Member. Thank you.

    Location:
    Whatcom County, WA
    The kind of problem you describe, 1 particular frequency in the tweeter dominating, may be caused by failure of a notch filter in the crossover network. That can be caused by a cold solder joint, failure of a resister, or a bad batch of resisters. Is there a tech in your area who could check this?
     
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