When it all sounds a bit rubbish

Maybe it’s me and events of recent months I don’t know, I know my mood is low currently, but my system just seems to be sounding terribly harsh recently.

In other threads there are discussions of how to enlighten those unfamiliar with quality playback or how those upgrades which are initially wonderful start to become normal and we look to add something again at a later date.

Sometimes I feel as though I’d like to wipe the slate clean, get rid of all exisiting kit and start afresh despite having invested tens of thousands on various things in the last 30 years.

As many systems seem to evolve through upgrades there is surely a danger we hold onto old equipment as we upgrade specific compoents often in isolation.

Maybe it’s the weather, sometimes I love the sound of my system, other times I think it sounds very average indeed.


My Atom feels the same. I hardly listen to it these days mainly using Headphones and my RME dac as primary listening and my other headphone systems when chilling. Maybe our hearing is changing I don’t know but I much prefer the sound via cans , Shane the Atoms headphone amp is so aneamic.

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I think we all go through that stage. I just step away from the system and do something else. It’s not the system, it’s me just not in the mood to engage. I’ll come back to it another day and all is well again.

It’s pretty normal stuff so don’t worry. Recognising that we have more off days than the Hi-Fi is a good cure for upgraditus/ fiddling :slightly_smiling_face:


Mood is everything. Some days my system sounds as flat as a pancake. On other days, it’s the best sounding system in the world.


I think the biggest variable is “us”.

Mental and physical states constantly vary. I remember “biorhhythms” being a popular topic in the 1970s. I actually believe in this without there necessarily being empirical evidence.

Notwithstanding my entire amplification set up needing servicing (indeed it is due back this afternoon along with new Chord Epic din to xlr cables), it still sounded pretty decent. At other times I just could not get comfortable in my chair, I could not find anything I wanted to listen to etc etc.

The same with my car, my food and so on.

Although it is the human condition to want what is on “the other side of the hill”, one’s mental and physical states have a manifest bearing on our appreciation of our environment.


What I find a little odd is that over the years listening to music would normally cheer me up if I’m ever feeling fed up or annoyed with something, it’s not currently doing that.

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Agreed, most of the changes any one hears in a system are down to this if you ask me. Suns gone away and it’s just been pouring and grey for days. Doesn’t make me a happy camper, especially since I just spent a fortune on some nice new garden furniture I can’t use.

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Try giving the system a spring clean.

Turn the system off.

Check the racks all OK

Turn the plugs off if they are switched.

Unplug everything, turn the sockets on/off 20 times (if you have switches), repeatedly unplug and plug 20 times to clean the sockets.

Re check system cables so are all laid out properly.

Turn it all back on and leave it for ten minutes to stabilise.

If it doesn’t help go back to the forum and curse the fool that suggested all this. That might cheer you up a bit anyway.

Can’t see your set up but if you have Naim boxes are they due a service?


Good suggestion - a spring clean and general tidy up may well help as the listening room is rather more cluttered than normal currently.

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Just don’t plug the hoover into the same mains block as the hi-fi.

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This thread is rather the antithesis to the Does it last? thread!

I seem to be unusual in that I don’t think I have ever found my system to sound ‘off’, other than with some poorly recordings.

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I can’t say I’ve ever really had this. I certainly can tell if the system sounds off due to something and I am convinced my system sounds different depending on the humidity in doors.

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It’s to do with how our electricity is being generated. Not much is now made by large rotary generators, much more is now via PV or wind turbines that is then “switched” / inverted to what sort of looks like 3 sine waves offset by 120 degrees. All noisey by comparison to the traditional 500 and 660Mw sets of a few years ago. A lot to s even stored in batteries and again switched to AC. But not the smooth AC that you’d want to feed your Naim power supplies.


I always thought the old coal generated power gave a blacker background to my music :grinning:



You can search for other threads on harsh sound. With Naim, as well as the power supply, it could be Burndies and interconnects touching each other/floors/walls etc.

You miss out on a lot of the fun if you don’t own Naim.

Whats your set up?

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Oil fired better for that special inky blackness that seems to be popular in advertising at the moment


Hi Alley_Cat, I tend to feel like that about the system when it needs a service. I listen to it less frequently and for much shorter intervals before going off to do something else. Finally, I wonder what is wrong with the whole system before the penny drops.

A factory service later and music joy resumes.

Best regards, BF


Wind - Airy. Hydro - Increased liquidity. Solar - Can lead to brightness and as for Nuclear…


Don’t go Nuclear. Richard will have to close down the thread.

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