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Old 09-11-2019, 05:21 PM
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robinmtns robinmtns is offline
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Default Would MC501s Rescue My Sound Quality?

Hi again. I've recently moved to a new house (and new country but thats a different story). By the time I left Colorado, I had my system dialed in pretty well, and was enjoying about the best sound I've ever had.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT
Unlike wood construction in the US, here in France construction is mostly cement block walls and cement floors. The space is also different with very tall ceiling sloping up to an open loft. Distance front to back wall is 11m/37ft and side to side 4.5m/15ft. Equipment is same but C2200 is now running on 230v and MC275 is on a step-down/iso transformer. I used to listen in near field and now my listening place is 6m/20ft from the speakers.

AND THIS HAPPENED
When I first fired up the system it sounded AWFUL! Strident, echoey, jumbled, incoherent with 0 soundstage. As it played longer it sounded better, maybe it didn't like the container voyage? But then leveled off at so-so SQ at best. Now have makeshift room treatments at first reflections and front/back walls and they're helping. But still only the beginnings of a soundstage/imaging and generally the sound does not fill the room. My speakers are Spendor S100s that are known for their rich sound, with a great mid bass, running 13" woofers. In this room they are sounding thin.

SO MY QUESTION
Is solid state power needed? I have been doing some research on this and I'm intrigued. To put a bogey out there, lets say I'd replace my MC275 with a pair of MC501s. If I were to take as gospel all that I've read about the 501s they will: not lose the tonality of a tube amp; create a killer soundstage; fill the room; restore the bass/mid bass and eradicate the thin sound. Now, it's been a few years since I've been a serious listener to a solid state amp, and maybe transistor amp technology has improved leaps and bounds. But I gotta say I'm skeptical.

WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR EXPERIENCES
If you have made the same amp change, or if you have heard a familiar system before and after the same or similar amp change please share what you heard. It would help me a lot. You just could help me avoid making a big mistake that I'll regret for a long time.

Thanks!!
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Last edited by robinmtns; 09-11-2019 at 05:30 PM. Reason: clean up wording
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:46 PM
PeterMusic PeterMusic is online now
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That's a big room and a big change on the power supply--no surprise you need a fundamental rethink. Once you understand the power situation, I would try a 2nd MC275 and a subwoofer or two first. There's no free lunch at this level--the 501s will have better kick, but not the same tube signature.

Stepping back from the gear question for a moment. Do you have a good local dealer? Does he have loaner systems and/or a 7 day return policy? If yes to both, I would ask his thoughts on the room and potential solutions. Then listen first in store, then at home, and return if it does not meet expectations.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2019, 09:42 PM
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I don’t have any experience with the 275/501 upgrade, but I did go from 601s to 1.25s a while back. The difference was unbelievable. A ton more space in the music, both vinyl and digital. I’m not familiar with the speakers you have but I have Stella Utopia EMs and they seem to love power. So, if your speakers get off on more power it would be worth checking out.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:14 PM
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Rob - that's quite a move! Wow.

When we moved from Minneapolis to Salida, CO a few years ago it took a lot of time and a lot of pick and shovel work to get everything sounding the way I liked it.

You've been tweaking your Colorado system to prefection probably over years and years. It will take time and effort to get your new home sounding good - so don't despair!


"When I first fired up the system it sounded AWFUL! Strident, echoey, jumbled, incoherent with 0 soundstage."

The statement above sounds like its all room related. You've made a massive room change - from stick and drywall construcution to masonry/cement block. You've gone from nearfield to reverberant field.

Reasonably sized (not overly small) stick and drywall rooms in the US that are carpeted and furnished normally are already pretty well balanced acoustically - so you can often treat first reflection points and get a great sounding result.

But you are in a completely differnet situation now with much less absorption, probably tile floors, limitied window coverings, masonry ceilings.

So I would not run out and get new electronics until you've sorted your room.

Also you are sitting 20' back in an 37' long room - right in a big bass suckout. So your meaty Spendors will sound weak where you are sitting.

One thing to try right away is to set up your system on the long walls if WAF will allow. See how that sounds. Experiment from there. If that doesn't work, try moving your speakers 1/3 of the way into the room and your listening area 2/3 of the way into the room. Get a little closer to the nearfield experience you had before.

Walk around your room and clap your hands loudly. What do you hear? If your speakers are near a boundary, move them out into the room. Have somone start in a corner and talk to you. Then have them move out into the room side to side and front to back. Find the areas where they sound natural. Move your speaker there.

These are just a few tricks to try so you can better understand your room. If you find the C 2200 meters near 0 dB or above a lot of the time, then you can consider higher powered or solid state amps.

I own an MC 275V and have owned MC 601's, and had them in the same system at the same time. The MC 601's are probably close to the MC 501's - maybe a little brighter from what I remember. Anyway there is not a night and day difference between them, The 501's will get a lot louder than the MC 275, deeper bass, less midrange magic. I kept the MC 275 and sold the MC 601's.

One other question - what is the rating of the stepdown transformer you are using? 1 kW would be a good place to start to ensure you have good peak current flow into the amp.

Tom
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Last edited by W9TR; 09-11-2019 at 11:16 PM.
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  #5  
Old 09-12-2019, 08:28 AM
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Acoustic panels might help as well with your issues.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:06 AM
Msegal Msegal is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9TR View Post
Rob - that's quite a move! Wow.

When we moved from Minneapolis to Salida, CO a few years ago it took a lot of time and a lot of pick and shovel work to get everything sounding the way I liked it.

You've been tweaking your Colorado system to prefection probably over years and years. It will take time and effort to get your new home sounding good - so don't despair!


"When I first fired up the system it sounded AWFUL! Strident, echoey, jumbled, incoherent with 0 soundstage."

The statement above sounds like its all room related. You've made a massive room change - from stick and drywall construcution to masonry/cement block. You've gone from nearfield to reverberant field.

Reasonably sized (not overly small) stick and drywall rooms in the US that are carpeted and furnished normally are already pretty well balanced acoustically - so you can often treat first reflection points and get a great sounding result.

But you are in a completely differnet situation now with much less absorption, probably tile floors, limitied window coverings, masonry ceilings.

So I would not run out and get new electronics until you've sorted your room.

Also you are sitting 20' back in an 37' long room - right in a big bass suckout. So your meaty Spendors will sound weak where you are sitting.

One thing to try right away is to set up your system on the long walls if WAF will allow. See how that sounds. Experiment from there. If that doesn't work, try moving your speakers 1/3 of the way into the room and your listening area 2/3 of the way into the room. Get a little closer to the nearfield experience you had before.

Walk around your room and clap your hands loudly. What do you hear? If your speakers are near a boundary, move them out into the room. Have somone start in a corner and talk to you. Then have them move out into the room side to side and front to back. Find the areas where they sound natural. Move your speaker there.

These are just a few tricks to try so you can better understand your room. If you find the C 2200 meters near 0 dB or above a lot of the time, then you can consider higher powered or solid state amps.

I own an MC 275V and have owned MC 601's, and had them in the same system at the same time. The MC 601's are probably close to the MC 501's - maybe a little brighter from what I remember. Anyway there is not a night and day difference between them, The 501's will get a lot louder than the MC 275, deeper bass, less midrange magic. I kept the MC 275 and sold the MC 601's.

One other question - what is the rating of the stepdown transformer you are using? 1 kW would be a good place to start to ensure you have good peak current flow into the amp.

Tom


Great response.
Itís most certainly related to room acoustics.

A local dealer may be able to assist with proper abatement options.

Electronics are easier to change but are unlikely to provide the improvement you desire.

Mike S.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:04 AM
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Even though I am a dyed in the wool MC501 fanboy who experienced just what an upgrade to that awesome amplifier will do for sound quality, I really think what you have here is an acoustics problem.

Time to soften the room a bit. There are some really good threads here on room treatments. jdandy has a good one that is well worth reading.

Good luck!
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:28 AM
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Yeah, I donít believe at all itís your gear.

My hunch, itís the room and the power. The system needs to settle in with the new power being fed to it and maybe, maybe you need to look at some type of conditioner.

Equally important is the room change as others mentioned, an adjustment or an addition of an absorption here and a reflection there will be of great benefit, IMO

Big move by the way, enjoy your new surroundings!
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2019, 07:17 PM
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robinmtns robinmtns is offline
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Default Thanks. And you guys are right.

I was just able to check back on this thread and want to thank all who replied. And was pleased to see there is (for the most part) a consensus. It is helpful to get me focused on the priority issue, which is the room. I think I knew that but was in denial. Equipment change is so seductive because it's an easy way out. As Tom said, I HAVE been tweaking my system to perfection for years. And now to think of climbing that long road again... well I didn't even want to think about it.

But helped by your reality check, I've begun talking with GIK (the acoustic treatment folks) again to get a diagnosis of what the room is doing to the sound quality. I've located first and second reflection points on the walls (the ceiling's too high to get to). After improvising some absorption at those points, on the wall behind the listening position and on the front wall, I am now getting a glimmer of space and depth, but no real soundstage.

And the strident upper midrange is still there. I think this is where PeterMusic and Love of Music might be onto something. You both mentioned the change in power and I do have a hunch thats a factor. The way the system seemed to go thru break in all over again was really something to hear. And made me wonder if it needs to "re-groove" for 50Hz or something. And Tom you asked about size of transformer. I now have a 1.2kw tranny but before that I was using a 2.5kw one. I think the step down transformer is adequate, but the 230v going in might be of variable quality, or voltage.

So I think getting back to good sound is gonna take awhile. But hey, I'm retired and this in one of my favorite things to do, so I just gotta remember to enjoy the journey. If I learn anything interesting along the way, or do end up changing equipment after the room is sorted, I'll be sure to check back in and share it with y'all. Thanks again!
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Old 09-15-2019, 04:01 PM
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Don't forget to check reflections that may be coming off the floor as well.

Good luck and have a good time chasing down your acoustic setup!
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