Could it be my ears? my source? my cable? my.....I HATE SIBILANCE
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Wil

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Hi all, recently i upgraded my headphone amp to the chinese Cayin HA-1A. So far so good....My source is a Marantz CD63 SE and the interconnects are monster cable interlink 200.

I have a problem with this setup. Lately, everything i listened to seems to overly sibilant. The highs are ( imo ) gravely emphasised. The "SSSS" sound is killing my ears.

Thinking it was my rather old ICs, i decided to try to change to cheap ICs ( ED acoustics , lol i dont think ive heard of that before : P )

The sound remained the same! im rather in a fix now....Could it be the Spark Audio Cayin? its very, very new and has less then 10 hrs of burn-in. Could tube rolling help the problem? Or could anyone recommend a IC that does not carry extremely high treble energy? Im seriously confused here, as ive heard the Cayin amp is in fact not bright at all. I've heard it described as edging towads the dark side as well. I dont think it is my Marantz as when i used my dad's Rotel 1072 it sounded remarkably sibilant as well. ( I used my dad's AFA ARES ICs and it got even worse, the bass became very, very light( but tight ) and the highs got very shrill. )

Sign....i dont remember my sound being so ...so WRONG. Btw, my cans are Grado SR125s. Ive been telling myself its listening fatigue, and i hope im right....But there's one thing, im getting myself used Beyer DT880s soon, will that help the problem a little? I hooked up my PX200s to the amp and it sounded muddy and dark , but the thing is , i still noticed the Sibilance....I have no idea why, but it seems my ears are delibrately picking up the highs and it is irritating the hell out of me. Listening fatigue is sky high now. I cant enjoy my music but instead i try to tell myself to ignore the sibilance but it doesnt seem to help.

Heck, the volume pot is only at 8-9 o'lockish and the treble is still ear-piercing. Ive found out that by lowering the volume , the sibilance is reduced greatly, but at that volume, its not enjoyable at all....... On Joss stone's new album, i cant help but pick out all the "SSSS" sounds.....and on my once beloved Metal/ Alt/ Indie albums the clashing cymbals are nothing but a headache......the only thing i can bring myself to listen to is Classical and Jazz without vocals now......

Someone help!
 
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Wil

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dooo-dooo-doooo bump!
 
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Spent&Bent

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Hi wil, I have owned and listened a lot with the 125, since it produces about the most high end energy of any grado can, I recommend a tube change.
Try to find some darker sounding tubes, I don't think any cable swaps will counter the amount of brightness you have.

The tubes used in the cayin are not really that good anyway cheap china mfg tubes IIRC, swap them out asap.
Aside from getting rid of the brightness you will also gain a better midrange and bass response.
 
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Wil

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Thx for the response spent....however, being new to this tube thingy, i have no idea which tube is the input tubes and output tubes..Ive done abit of research and i think i will be changing the input tubes to Mullard CV4003 and CV4004 tubes while the output tubes to Ei Yugoslavia EL84 tubes.

Would this help?
 
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sacd lover

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First, the amp needs more time as well as the tubes. Getting the dt 880's wont help if sibilance issues continue. The dt 880's one most annoying flaw is to much sibilance; to me anyway. I didnt like the dt 880 with tubes at all for this reason; but it sounded great with a gilmore amp that didnt emphasize the problem. The tubes could be causing your problem as this is my frequent complaint when I get a poor tube set or tube match with an amp, but you need to give them both some time first. Darker sounding interconnects could help but you really need to try some out to be sure they really do help. After a good amount of playing time on the amp I would try some tubes first, then experiment (borrow) with interconnects, and if these fail to produce results maybe another headphone is the best option. The last possibility is you just may not like the amp.
 
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chillysalsa

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I don't have the amp, but you're best off playing around with the input tubes 12AX7 & 12AU7. There's tons of choices for you, the Mullards are great ones.

Are you certain the sibilance isn't on the recording? I'm using the 125 / RA-1 combo, and I find it only reveals sibilance if it's there in the first place - very unforgiving. You shouldn't have this problem you describe!
 
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elnero

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In my experience there can be a few factors that can cause an overemphasis on sibilance. As sacd_lover said it may just be more break-in is required. Some digital sources can play a part as well, it's usually described as digitalitis. I particularly found earlier CD players to be prone to an amount of harshness through the treble region.

Another factor is said to be power related. I can't give a definative explanation but I can give an example. I have one of the first PPX3's here and while it is a wonderful sounding amp I found some headphones to become slightly over sibilant. I just got the latest version of the PPX3 which has a bit more filtration in the power supply, new volume pot and also the Solen stage 1 upgrade. There doesn't seem to be even a trace of the problem with this amp. I can't say for sure what is actually cleaning things up though. It may or may not be the extra level of filtration but it could just as easily be the Solen's or the new Noble volume pot.
 
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Wil

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Im sure it isnt the recording, as everything from Joss Stone to killswitch engage to Janet Seidel to Anata to Outkast sounds overly sibiliant. i guess ill have to let the Amp run in further and change the tubes....hope that will change the sound *fingers crossed*
 
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