Sssssserious sibilance - help!

Dear all,

Current rig is NDS/555dr into 52/Sc and newly dr’d 300. All on Isoblue with hiline powerlines and otherwise standard cables. 52sc is pots 8 and all serviced in last 3 years. I’ve had this set for a good 4 years so no huge changes other than the dr.

System has been sublime as I have let the 300 run in for the last 5 weeks or so, I have enjoyed the dr effect from day one and could hear it improve over time. This week I have tried splitting my Isoblue into 2 stacks and trying some fraim glass. I have paid attention to cable dressing, burndy de stressing, checking speaker cable and mains connections. However a nasty sibilance has invaded the soundstage. What I’m trying to describe is a “broken” sound when it comes to vocals, not really a matter of fine tuning. Other aspects of sq remain as expected. I have isolated the server, NDS and hiline from the equation - no problems there. I have inspected the 52 burndy, no particular stress there. Now I’m hoping it might settle down after a few days, but I don’t recall the system ever sounding so wrong even from cold.

Any ideas would be appreciated…

And if you remove the glass?

Yes I have taken the glass out and no difference, I suspected hiline but same effect with lavender cable. I also tried a chord mojo into the 52 but it gives the exact same issue.

Do you have the PSUs & power amp on the same side as the wall sockets? In my case, I have brain on the left and brawn on the right as the wall sockets are to the right of the stack. That way all mains cables are kept well away from sources & pre. Also, ensure the usual care is taken on cable dressing, e.g. Burndys not touching walls, interconnects are hanging loosely and not touching floor or near Burndys.

Hi Bongoman,
Yes I had configured the two stacks exactly as you describe. In desperation I have now reverted to a single tower with 52 on top (exactly how I have had it for some years due to furnishings). Still exactly the same, really awful sibilance to the point of being unlistenable. I have double checked the power lines, but they are exactly as before, all into dedicated mains via unswitched sockets. I’ll add that both channels are the same, it’s not a speaker issue.

I wonder if anyone has experience of a broken Burndy or din-xlr offending in the same way? Or worse still could I have somehow broken the 52 in moving it, seems highly unlikely.

Have you excluded the possibility of damage to the speakers tweeters?

I was going to ask the same question - though unless you have had something like a switch-on surge e.g. when turning things back on after moving them, causing a loud pop or thump from the speakers, or unless this occurred directly after playing abnormally loud, I would not expect both speakers to be affected, so these considerations would help determine if that is a likely explanation. (And if only one channel, a quick swap over of speaker cables at the power amp would confirm if the speaker or elsewhere.)

It’s probably going to be a process of elimination to sort out the offending item but you mention that your journey so far with the DR’d 300 has been sublime. However, it could be the first trough in the amp burn-in process? I can remember my 500DR sounding flat, then with over-blown bass, then able to cut glass. This, in combination with disturbing a well settled system, could be your problem? I’d keep the brains and brawn split, remove any glass and allow to settle for at least 3 weeks. Then see what you think.

sibilance at low or loud volume?

@Dozey & IB,

I have just dropped in a pair of AudioEngine P2 from my office, with exactly the same sound, so i’m convinced it is not a speaker issue, thankfully (I have Neat XL6 which I love).

I guess I can hope that the 300dr is not yet fully there, I thought it was after about 5 weeks. I would describe the sound as a bit glassy - the overall picture is so transparent that glassy is perhaps unfair, but the Sssssssses give the game away. I’m using Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue as a reference, an album I have enjoyed for years and know well. Initially I thought the cisco was to blame but same sound is exhibited via USB and also via Chord Mojo with any digital source. As the 300 is just back from Naim, I am suspecting the 52/SC.

I’ll do another search on 300dr run-in. If anyone else experienced similar, I would really appreciate your comments.

Really bad sibilance at any volume, even way down low, it is so obvious. It really sounds like the Ssssses go on forever with female vocals.

Years ago I had a Burndy issue that was the cause of a sssimilar problem. A new (S/H) one sorted it.


It would be very useful to try the speakers with a different amp and source, just to exclude problems to the tweeters

The better and more resolving you make your system, the more radical the effects of burn in. In my system I recently implemented several Sean Jacob’s DC3 power supplies along the network stream. I found the very best way to monitor burn-in are the announcements on Swiss Radio Classics. One of the final effects during burn-in, at 6 to 7 weeks was the sudden appearance of substantial sibilance, at a level I would consider to be distortion. The good news is that once the sibilance resolves its replaced by beautiful, sparkling , extended treble. But in my system, after the sibilance came a bass hump which sounded like a room node. But finally, like a chrysalis emerging the final SQ has been stunningly good. Hopefully the same will happen with your PS

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I simpathise with your problem
I have been fighting a sudden onslaught of sibilance since Xmas last year.
I have NDS with xpsdr into 252dr into 250dr so not a million miles away from your setup

I have tried different interconnects / a Hugo instead of NDS …headphone instead of speakers … taking the naim powerlines on and off (to original mains cables)… taking the hiline on and off (to original cable) … rebuilding the fraim from scratch…moving the speakers… changing to WiFi and wired…and many many more things…
The silly thing is …on certain tracks it still all sounds amazing…but on others …mainly female but some male vocals …it’s awful
Please keep up your efforts and keep us informed as I am living the hell at the moment…

One thing not often mentioned in these threads is whether it is the receiver that is ‘on the blink’ and not the HiFi…

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Sounds like you should try a different burndy to see if it is a cable problem.

Your experience sounds similar to mine. I’m just giving the system a workout with Kraftwerk at volume - everything sounds very good except the Ssses, I can clearly hear more detail, low level resolution and bass articulation than before I had the Dr upgrade. It would be a coincidence if the 300 was having an off period at the exact time I decided to strip the rack down, but who knows.

Good point - there are many times when the sound is off, flat and lifeless - I blame the mains and just walk away - but I think it is more likely mood, stress and other distractions which mean you are never going to get the magic at every sitting. But this sibilance is sssssomething else I’m afraid!

My fraim rebuilding actually made a nice difference in sound quality…quite noticeable…but sadly no difference to the sibilance…
I too wonder if my mains has gone off somehow …but short of a regenerator…not recommend by naim …how do you address it