Q Acoustics 3050i - improving stereo performance

dannyarcher

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Hi all,
I have the Q Acoustics 3050i as fronts as part of a home theater setup.
While the setup is excellent for movies (and my primary use-case being movies and gaming) -- I find the towers to be lacking in their stereo performance, in my setup.
(Spotify connect -> Denon 1400H -> 3050i)

The sound seems harsh on the high frequencies to the point that it causes listening fatigue after some time.
So, I'm wondering how to improve the stereo performance from these towers?

I have to mention that my listening room had problems with flutter echo and so I did put absorbers on the front wall and on the ceiling. The sound had phenomenally improved after placing these (especially on dialogue and bass in HT)

I'm using a Amazon basics speaker wire, bare, connecting the towers and my AVR.
Today, I tried amazon basics banana plugs, and the sound seems even more harsher!

What seems to be going wrong? Is there any way to rolloff the high frequency and get smooth sound?
Any inputs greatly appreciated.
 
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dannyarcher

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For music maybe you can try getting a Marantz PM6006 in the used market, they have a rolled off signature and sound smooth & warm. I enjoyed the pairing with the Concept 20.
Thanks for the suggestion. Would definitely want to try this. On the lookout for a used Marantz amp.

I'm also considering changing my speaker cables from Amazon Basics to Belden 8477 to see if it's going to make a change.
 

square_wave

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One of my friends recently picked up these speakers and has set them with a rega brio and a blusound node2i source. This is not at all a harsh speaker. A big deciding factor for speaker selection for this friend was lack of harshness. I certainly think something else is causing the problem. Experiment with room acoustics in case you have big issues there. Definitely change the amazon basics cables to something better. My friend picked up these wonderful cables from sound foundations. Amazing sound. Belden is also good. Also check if your source is okay. That is the number one source for harshness. I suppose you are using the dac inside the denon avr, right ? Try and borrow and dac / cd player from someone and check if that is the culprit.
 
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OM_2K19

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Any better if you play FLAC files? Spotify uses lossy AAC codes that manipulate the high-frequency notes to save bandwidth.
 

dannyarcher

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Update:
  • I've checked my speaker wiring and found a couple of loose connections with dust! I cut the exposed wire and re-did the connections.
  • I also changed the crossover on my towers from 80Hz to 100Hz. And, started listening music in 2.1 mode (using sub to handle some LF, as mentioned in this article: https://www.themasterswitch.com/q-acoustics-3050i-review)
The harshness is now gone! The soundstage opened up! Can't believe what small changes can do to an audio system.
I'll now try changing the cables to Belden and see what it does to the sound.
 

dannyarcher

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One of my friends recently picked up these speakers and has set them with a rega brio and a blusound node2i source. This is not at all a harsh speaker. A big deciding factor for speaker selection for this friend was lack of harshness. I certainly think something else is causing the problem. Experiment with room acoustics in case you have big issues there. Definitely change the amazon basics cables to something better. My friend picked up these wonderful cables from sound foundations. Amazing sound. Belden is also good. Also check if your source is okay. That is the number one source for harshness. I suppose you are using the dac inside the denon avr, right ? Try and borrow and dac / cd player from someone and check if that is the culprit.
Nice to hear that your friend had chosen this particularly for the lack of harshness. (Which I also experienced when I was demoing!)

I think, in terms of acoustics -- I did what I could to my living room.
I'll try out a DAC and see if that changes things w.r.t this.

And, would you happen to know which specific cable that your friend picked up from Soundfoundations?

Thank you for these suggestions. Much appreciated.
 

dannyarcher

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Any better if you play FLAC files? Spotify uses lossy AAC codes that manipulate the high-frequency notes to save bandwidth.
FLAC is definitely better than Spotify. But, there was still harshness. It seems that was because of improper cable wiring and dust. Redid the wiring and now they sound pretty good.
 

OM_2K19

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FLAC is definitely better than Spotify. But, there was still harshness. It seems that was because of improper cable wiring and dust. Redid the wiring and now they sound pretty good.
Cool, glad to know that you figured this out.
 

[email protected]

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Thanks for the suggestion. Would definitely want to try this. On the lookout for a used Marantz amp.

I'm also considering changing my speaker cables from Amazon Basics to Belden 8477 to see if it's going to make a change.

It’s not going to make any difference at least anything night and day. What was suggested earlier is correct. Your speakers need a stereo amplifier to sing for music.
 

fLUX

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Update:
  • I've checked my speaker wiring and found a couple of loose connections with dust! I cut the exposed wire and re-did the connections.
  • I also changed the crossover on my towers from 80Hz to 100Hz. And, started listening music in 2.1 mode (using sub to handle some LF, as mentioned in this article: https://www.themasterswitch.com/q-acoustics-3050i-review)
The harshness is now gone! The soundstage opened up! Can't believe what small changes can do to an audio system.
I'll now try changing the cables to Belden and see what it does to the sound.

Nice to hear that you managed to overcome the issue without major changes to the system. I would suggest to go ahead with belden cable. If you manage to get a group buy for 50 or more metres ( I believe that's the minimum quantity) it's quiet cheap , about 160-200/meter.

I changed my wires to Belden 8477, they did bring noticeable changes in terms of tighter LF and smoother treble. @Prodigy who was using 12 awg Amazon basics also found the belden to positively impact the sound.
 

dannyarcher

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Nice to hear that you managed to overcome the issue without major changes to the system. I would suggest to go ahead with belden cable. If you manage to get a group buy for 50 or more metres ( I believe that's the minimum quantity) it's quiet cheap , about 160-200/meter.

I changed my wires to Belden 8477, they did bring noticeable changes in terms of tighter LF and smoother treble. @Prodigy who was using 12 awg Amazon basics also found the belden to positively impact the sound.
Thanks for the inputs, @fLUX
I did get a Belden cable of 3mtrs from Cinetekk, Chennai. They shipped immediately.

I'm going to change the cable tomorrow and see what it does.

Cheers.
 

Prodigy

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Thanks for the inputs, @fLUX
I did get a Belden cable of 3mtrs from Cinetekk, Chennai. They shipped immediately.

I'm going to change the cable tomorrow and see what it does.

Cheers.
Hi @dannyarcher ,
Yes, they can definitely bring in some noticeable difference for sure. I moved from Amazon Basics 12AWG OFC’s to the Belden 8477 and the difference was instantly noticeable with HF & LF. Especially the HF getting more smoother and LF turned out to be bit more punchier.
 

square_wave

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Nice to hear that your friend had chosen this particularly for the lack of harshness. (Which I also experienced when I was demoing!)

I think, in terms of acoustics -- I did what I could to my living room.
I'll try out a DAC and see if that changes things w.r.t this.

And, would you happen to know which specific cable that your friend picked up from Soundfoundations?

Thank you for these suggestions. Much appreciated.
That cable is not on their website. Ping Magma on the site. It is a custom cable he makes. You can refer me in case he has forgotten.
 

dannyarcher

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Folks, (cc: @fLUX, @Prodigy)
I've changed the cable from Amazon basics 16AWG to Belden 8477, after some painstaking efforts of cutting the cable and stripping it.

And.. there is a significant difference! The treble is so so good. The bass is a tad tighter. Overall, the soundstage seems very clean.
I haven't heard this level of detail from my speakers before, in music.

I used to wonder what difference a cable would do.. but, this change has gotten me converted.
I have to say that amazon basics 16AWG cable is very inferior compared to the Belden!
 

dannyarcher

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Also, I was wondering if it's okay to set my AVR to 4 Ohm impedance setting. All the Q Acoustics speakers I have are rated at:
  • Average Impedance: 6 Ohm
  • Minimum Impedance: 4 Ohm
So, the 4 Ohm setting should increase the power output of the AVR and help in driving these better?
Is there any risk in doing this?
 
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Nitin K

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Also, I was wondering if it's okay to set my AVR to 4 Ohm impedance setting. All the Q Acoustics speakers I have are rated at:
  • Average Impedance: 6 Ohm
  • Minimum Impedance: 4 Ohm
So, the 4 Ohm setting should increase the power output of the AVR and help in driving these better?
Is there any risk in doing this ?
From what I have read, impedance is not constant depending on the frequencies. Hence it is better to leave the impedance setting on the amp at default 8 ohms. Don't keep it at 4 ohms as you may experience clipping from the amp.

It is explained nicely in the above link.

 
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dannyarcher

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Update:
I was browsing audiosciencereview and happened to see this thread: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-pairing-for-the-2-0-stereo.15004/post-471575

The only thing that I understood from that thread is that there is a dip in the frequency around 1.5kHz - 3kHz. And, while I do not have Roon and any Parametric EQ, I know that there is a manual EQ mode on Audyssey

So, I did the following change:
  1. Turned off Audyssey on my AVR. Stereophonic separation is lovely! (My room has acoustic panels on the front wall and ceiling, fyi)
  2. Turned on Manual EQ for L & R, Increased the the '2kHz' band to 3db. The sound seems better than earlier. Still considering if the Manual EQ is a good way to refine the sound further. For a few songs, I like it without the Manual EQ, while some music sounds livelier with the manual EQ. Will experiment further and share.

I know using the AVR and that too the EQ on it might not be ideal.
I really really want to use a stereo amp see what these towers can do. :)
 
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