A bit too bright - mellower speaker shortlist

So given my 252/SCDR/NDS/PS555/300DR/300PS is too bright for my tastes with the Focal Sopra 1s, what would be a shortlist of speakers that would be punchy and dynamic but take a bit of the the bright edge off the sound? The idea would be I could play Rush Tom Sawyer reasonably loud without wincing and running from the room.

Ideally these would be standmounters up to £10k including stands but thin towers might also work. I’d obviously go on a listening odyssey, but it would be great to have a list to work from. Room is a smallish 4.5m x 5m.

An evening’s listen might start in a relaxed mood with Gillian Welch (Time the Revelator), move on to Grant Green Idle Moments, Brad Mehldau Art of the Trio Vol. III , the Andante from Bachs’ Italian Concerto played by Angela Hewitt, then step up a gear with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Little Wing, Rush Tom Sawyer and Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti (all played at 10pm on the volume control) before cocoa and bed.

When I think of mellow speakers I invariably think Spendor… especially with acoustic and vocal music…


12 o’clock could be considered to be really loud. If you’ve able to endure a prolonged session at that volume I’m wondering whether you have succumb to fatigue? Have you always found your configuration to sound bright or is it that certain recordings come across as bright taking into consideration that the Sopra 1’s are easy to drive in the context of your system? :relaxed:

Depends on speaker efficiency, and listening distance…

I would have thought that the Sopra 1’s were easy to drive taking into consideration that the OP has a 300DR :relaxed:

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I was being a bit facetious when I mentioned 12pm on the volume control, although I used to use the original system at this level from time to time with no fatigue - just great clarity - probably to the detriment of my ears. Brightness is apparent even at relatively low volumes with the new system, to the extent I don’t play rock music like the tracks listed above much at all, and when I do I find it unpleasant.

I have heard the Sopra 1’s in the context of Statement level amps and there was no apparent brightness from my experience. I would like to reiterate, have you always found your system to sound bright or is it confined to certain recordings that have an inherent brightness? :relaxed:

I’ve edited the original post from 12pm volume control setting to 10pm to remove the facetiousness which didn’t come across.

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My original system which was the same except for NDX/XPS and 300 non-DR with Sopra 1s was never bright on any music.

Even 10 o’clock can become loud and fatiguing, how long have you endured this undesirable situation? :relaxed:

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Ever since I upgraded the NDX/XPS to NDS/555PS and DR-upgraded the 300.

For your information I own both the NDX and the NDS and I do not find the latter to be bright but rather a reflection of the source material that is being replayed. Are you suggesting that the introduction of the NDS was the cause of the brightness or even the recent addition of a 300DR? :relaxed:

It was either the NDS/555PS upgrade or the DR upgrade on the 300 (or both), since everything else stayed exactly the same.

To be honest, I’m not convinced that either contributed to the brightness. How long have you felt this way? From the very first day? :relaxed:

My “A bit too bright” thread explains some more.

I’ve read that thread but I’m sure sure how to help you because I’m not convinced that your problems started with an introduction of an NDS or 300DR :relaxed:

From the first day I turned the system on. It has had hundreds of hours’ use (I use it for TV sound as well as music listening) so I don’t think it’s a burn-in issue.

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To be honest, I have not mentioned anything about burn-in and I am not sure why you have decided to bring it up (taking into consideration that you seemed to enjoy it for several hundreds of hours before suddenly not liking your system for reasons unknown to me) :relaxed:

Sorry, me making an assumption.

Dynaudio Heritage Special / Contour 20

Sorry to hear about the problem. It appears that not all upgrades will guarantee good results as the 300DR and/or NDS/555ps have tilted the balance to brightness.

Good luck.