One speaker "louder" than the other?

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particleman
Stammgast
#1 erstellt: 30. Jan 2008, 08:01
I have been experiencing this problem with my Mordaunt Short Avant 906i speakers since its purchase a few months back. While it has always been there I did not have a chance to test it extensively until recently.

It sounds as though one speaker has more distinct and rich highs while the other is held back a bit. That is to say, cymbals and such stand out clearly in that speaker while they are less pronounced in the other. Now I do not have a keen enough sense of hearing to judge whether just the highs are restrained in the "bad" speaker or if it is just diminished volume. I am currently using the "balance" control and have it shifted about 20-25% of the way towards the left speaker (which is the problem one) to achieve a sort of centered image. So it is not that the highs are missing in this speaker, they do emerge when the balance knob gives it a bit more juice. Obviously for an obsessive-compulsive guy like me this is not an ideal solution because I am never content that I have it right -- I keep fidgeting with the balance knob because some movie sounds it is closer to the left speaker, then play some music and it is centered, etc. No peace of mind.

I have eliminated (I hope) the amp or room as a culprit. Previously the speaker cable was connected by banana cables at both amp and speaker end. So I switched cables at the amp end and found the "bad" speaker continued to sound lower even while connected to the other channel. With the balance knob turned fully to either channel it was clear one was louder at that setting than the other. (Note: a mono signal was used to test, i.e. CD track with "Mono Left" or "Mono Right" output selected).

Next I swapped the speakers physically, the bad speaker was on the right and now it is on the left. The problem continued in the same speaker. Finally, to eliminate possibility of a bad banana plug (which I connected myself) I got rid of them and used bare wire at the amp end. No change.

I should mention that for any sound without very rich highs, such as a newsreader speaking or such it does sound mostly centered. Only when there are panning effects or instruments placed squarely in left or right do I notice that they really shine in the good speaker but are indistinct in the bad one.

I have contacted the distributor of course and they are figuring it out but I thought to ask the question here as I am well aware that the knowledge and experience of members here stands head and shoulders above the rest. Also it would help me know if the solution offered to me by the manufacturer, dealer, etc. is the right one.

Would it be something like the crossover or such? The MS people wrote that it may not have been "broken in fully" but surely this cannot be after 3 months of use (granted it is used for only 0.5-1 hour every 3 days or so)? Another suggestion was excessive volume but I never run it above the 11 o'clock position for movies and music does not need it to go beyond 9 o'clock or so.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this. Any feedback would ease my mind and let me know what to do next regarding this.

Thanks very much.
Kamal
Stammgast
#2 erstellt: 30. Jan 2008, 17:38
Does appear to be a prob with the speaker, since you have eliminated the other possibilities.
Sine they are under warranty, just get them replaced( Could be the X over or the driver, theres no easy way to ascertain which-anyway, why bother?)
SDhawan
Stammgast
#3 erstellt: 30. Jan 2008, 19:24
I absolutely agree with Kamal. Just take both the speakers back to the dealer and "show" him the difference and demand replacement.

There seems to be a difference in impedence / efficiency of the two speakers.
bombaywalla
Stammgast
#4 erstellt: 31. Jan 2008, 00:18
M-S has pretty good QC but who is to say that they did not screw up?

From your post I gather that you have the speaker for 3 months. Correct?
You are noticing the issue only now? OR has the issue been there all along & you just decided to bring it up after 3 months of ownership? Think back to day 1/week 1/month 1 & try to recollect if this was an issue back then.

<< merely trying to get the info correct in my mind & I AM NOT MAKING ANY ACCUSATIONS. Just to be very clear. >>

Re. the speaker packaging - how was it? Were both speaker boxes factory sealed?
OR did one box look like it was opened before (maybe for a demo)?

I'm thinking along the lines of M-S: that both speakers broke-in differently.
If one speaker box was opened before what could have happened is that you got one broken-in speaker (demo) & one un-opened/brand new speaker (the dealer just gave you 2 speakers 'cuz that's all the stock he had at that time).

If I'm doing my math correctly: you have about 10-11 hrs/month on them i.e. 30-35 hrs on them total. That's very close to zero for breaking-in a speaker!
To break-in the woofer/midbass surrounds you'll have to play from drum tracks at fairly loud levels 90-95dB SPL at 9-10' listening chair to give those surrounds a work-out.
You could also wire 1 speaker out-of-phase, bring them as close to each other face-to-face without actually letting them touch. Then pass a music signal thru your system. Not much volume of sound will come out as 1 speaker is out-of-phase with the other but the speakers will get a very good work-out.

Visually do all the drivers look identical? No holes in them?

Are all the drivers screwed in tight? Touch a screw-driver to all drivers in the "bad" speaker & ensure that you cannot tighten the screws any further. The intention is to merely check that the screws are tight & it is not to actually turn the screw, OK?
<< if the screws are loose, ask the dealer to fix that OR ask M-S to let you know how tightly screwed in they are supposed to be. Do not mess with this unless you know for you could bend the frame of the driver if you strong-arm it too much. >>

Is the speaker binding post panel separately screwed in at the rear? If yes, check the tightness of those screws too.

That's all the things I can think of right now.
particleman
Stammgast
#5 erstellt: 31. Jan 2008, 07:52
Kamal, SDhawan, bombaywalla

Thank you all for your most helpful replies :hail. My mind is now more at ease since I am getting a better grip on the problem.

@Kamal, SDhawan: Thanks, I too would prefer a replacement as I do not like the idea of a "repaired" speaker either but there is a catch -- these are not brand new but demo speakers. They were first given to AV Max magazine for a review and photo shoot. I do not know where they went next -- I assume they may have been auditioned by other folks briefly. Anyhow I will see if replacement is an option.

@bombaywalla: Thank you for such a comprehensive reply. I did not think the tone of your reply was accusatory at all -- I understand you are being very thorough, and truly appreciate the help.

As mentioned above, these are not brand new but speakers but "demo" pieces that I got a good discount for. Yes, I have owned them for 3 months and did not really notice the problem very much in the first few days. I was possibly too happy to finally have a close-to-decent setup to notice. After the first week I did notice a bit of incongruity between the speakers but wasn't very sure as I told myself that it couldn't be. I recall experimenting with speaker positions then as something wasn't right. Also the speaker cable I received for free with the speakers wasn't up to the mark - I thought maybe it was contributing to the problem as well.

Finally in the middle of December, I was fortunate to receive speaker cables and interconnects very kindly provided by Viren Bakhshi. Wow, what a difference they made! Sadly for me, they then shone a bright spotlight on the problem. The difference was more readily apparent then. Now, it isn't a stark difference in volume but the soundstage is a bit shifted towards the good speaker - more apparent to a long-term user than a new listener.

Since I have a friend at Infomedia, I arranged to speak to Mr. Swapnil Raje from AV Max who told me that they did not detect any problems during the review -- but the actual reviewer was not available then and he kindly offered to get back to me with his review notes. This only perplexed me further - so the problem kicked in after it left them?!

Yes by your calculations (which are uncannily accurate, btw) I may have just 30 or so hours on them so far. Here I do not have the option of playing anything loud and not enough cable for them to stand face-to-face (they are on either side of a wall unit, slightly forward) so I did not do any formal breaking in.

There are no visible screws holding the driver in place:
http://www.avland.co.uk/ms/ms906a/906lrg.jpg (the holes you see in the pic hold the grill). From their illustration it looks like it is behind the rubber surround:
http://www.avland.co.uk/ms/avandriver2lrg.jpg
...but I did not wish to tamper with it.

No holes or damage to the two mid/woofers. The tweeter is behind a grill and harder to inspect. Studied it with a flashlight - no sign of damage. The binding post panel is held securely - that is, there was no travel when I inserted the screwdriver - and so I left it alone.

If the problem is one speaker being less "broken-in" than the other then do you think the problem will work itself out in the long run? If MS are unable to resolve the problem then I hope that after a certain period of time they will even out if I have understood you correctly.

Whenever I have the chance I will try to do a sort of breaking in and report back here with the changes.

Thank you all very much for your time and interest.
bombaywalla
Stammgast
#6 erstellt: 31. Jan 2008, 15:48

particleman schrieb:

Since I have a friend at Infomedia, I arranged to speak to Mr. Swapnil Raje from AV Max who told me that they did not detect any problems during the review -- but the actual reviewer was not available then and he kindly offered to get back to me with his review notes. This only perplexed me further - so the problem kicked in after it left them?!


it's hard to say.
when one is a reviewer assessing a product, one has a different mindset. One is looking to find the good & the bad of the product & unless something is blatantly wrong, the reviewer is unlikely to find it. Plus, the reviewer might not have the unit for a long time. Maybe a few days?

2nd thing could be that they are depending on aural memory esp the person you spoke to.
Also, how many people would confess that yes there was a problem w/ the unit?? At this stage it would make them look like fools, no?



particleman schrieb:

If the problem is one speaker being less "broken-in" than the other then do you think the problem will work itself out in the long run? If MS are unable to resolve the problem then I hope that after a certain period of time they will even out if I have understood you correctly.

Whenever I have the chance I will try to do a sort of breaking in and report back here with the changes.

Thank you all very much for your time and interest.


yes, if its a break-in problem, it should even out in the long run.
You must have contacted M-S by now?
eric_clapton
Hat sich gelöscht
#7 erstellt: 31. Jan 2008, 17:51
some additional possibilities:

1. Blown tweeter
2. Dying tweeter
3. Crossover capacitor gone out of tolerance due to stress, heat, bad manufacturing, or a combination

Don't discount the additional possibility that which you identify as the 'bad' speaker may actually be the one which the manufacturer intended as the correct tonal balance. Compare with some references.

A replacement is the only solution, or a very, very experienced tech. Demo units will have replacement issues.

You may try equalisation of some form. The phase differences introduced by an equaliser will be minimal compared to the difference you are facing in terms of timber from the two speakers.

An old trick to reduce the top end response is to use a handkerchief across the speaker with the brighter response, then use the volume and tone controls to even it out. However, these are not long-term solutions.

Your best hope is that it's a break-in issue, but I'm not sure that's particularly likely.

The driver is actually mounted to the front baffle behind that metal/lic pseudo-baffle. There should be some bolts you can remove, and maybe apply heat to soften the glue holding the two front layers together. I would not advise it if you have not attempted it before, though.

If I was you, I would count it as bad luck, and have the dealer sell and fit for you a matched tweeter pair into the speakers (so you are assured that they match). Since you have already wrangled a discount for the demo pair your ability to negotiate may decrease, but you should be able to get it done at a parts + minimal labour fee.
Manek
Inventar
#8 erstellt: 04. Feb 2008, 14:00
You may have got a speaker which may not be a matched pair. But i wonder if there is so much of a difference between two pairs of speakers. Serial numbers behind them in a running order or identical ?

If there is so much difference between the two I dont think burning in may do much about it....but that is my humble opinion.

Go back to the dealer and have him rectify the faulty product. I'm sure there was a warranty of sorts, ebven on a demo product ? If so get a replacement tweeter, try before you pay and take the speaker home.

Manek.
Arj
Inventar
#9 erstellt: 12. Feb 2008, 12:06
What happened finally did they agree to fix it ?
particleman
Stammgast
#10 erstellt: 16. Feb 2008, 13:38
I have contacted the Indian distributor/dealer regarding this problem. Thankfully they have assured me that it will be resolved to my satisfaction. Now I am just waiting for them to act.

@bombaywalla:
You are right, the problem reveals itself only to either a very keen (not me) or a long-term listener (me). I understand they had the unit for 5 days or less -- I can certainly see how it could have been missed. Have been playing it for longer now and no change, sadly. Perhaps not a break-in issue after all?

@eric_clapton
Thanks very much - some excellent points for me to consider! Yes, I did consider that the "good" speaker may be sibilant and I may have mistaken it for more articulate. I hope to compare it with another pair if this can be managed. I do not think I am competent enough to take it apart so I will attempt the glue trick but thanks for telling me about it. As they have not ruled out replacement as a possible resolution I will try to push for that.

@Manek
Yikes, I didn't think of that! I looked at the back and noted down the serial number - one is MN-A906i-BK-xxxxxx44 and the other is MN-A906i-BK-xxxxxx40. I guess they are from different pairs then? Curiouser and curiouser.

@Arj
They are being quite nice about it (as I expected - I am very happy with their service otherwise) and have said replacement is an option if need be. I am confident they will resolve it -- now it is just a matter of them taking action. Hope it happens soon and I get begin enjoying my music again.

Thank you all for your valuable inputs - I have a better grasp of the problem now. I will update this thread when the MS folks take action.
particleman
Stammgast
#11 erstellt: 19. Apr 2008, 05:31
A final update to say that it turns out it was my room after all -- one speaker to close to a corner. After padding the corner with foam cushions, the balance is much better.

(Further update: I also replaced the metal bars connecting hf-lf with a 8cm section of Lyrita Audio speaker cable (same as for speakers). Better imaging now - it was the cheap bars that were an impediment. I have connected the single cables to the HF terminals - I hope this is alright - previously I'd connected to LF terminals.)

Many thanks to all of you for your advice.

(I have since discovered that I would be happier with a good pair of standmounts than this floorstander which is too much for my room, but that's another matter...)


[Beitrag von particleman am 19. Apr 2008, 07:43 bearbeitet]
Kamal
Stammgast
#12 erstellt: 19. Apr 2008, 16:59
Since the terminals are shorted it would'nt matter where you connect the speaker cable.
Congrats, & I do hope youare now able to focus on the music i/o the problem.
particleman
Stammgast
#13 erstellt: 19. Apr 2008, 18:40

Kamal schrieb:
Since the terminals are shorted it would'nt matter where you connect the speaker cable.
Congrats, & I do hope youare now able to focus on the music i/o the problem.


Thanks, Kamalji. Yes, I can now focus on and enjoy the music for a change. Replacing the bars with speaker wire opened up the midrange a bit as well so I am happy now.
Amp_Nut
Inventar
#14 erstellt: 20. Apr 2008, 14:56
If replacing a metal bar shorting link ( a couple of cms long ) with speaker cable made an audible difference, I would suggest that you "Suck It & see" regarding which option sounds better... connecting the speaker cable to the HF or the LF terminals...

Electrically, both options are 'correct.'

Choose the one that sounds better to your ears.


[Beitrag von Amp_Nut am 20. Apr 2008, 14:56 bearbeitet]
Arj
Inventar
#15 erstellt: 20. Apr 2008, 18:12
third option is connecting one to LF and other to HF..one reviewer actually recommended that.
particleman
Stammgast
#16 erstellt: 21. Apr 2008, 04:25

Amp_Nut schrieb:
If replacing a metal bar shorting link ( a couple of cms long ) with speaker cable made an audible difference, I would suggest that you "Suck It & see" regarding which option sounds better... connecting the speaker cable to the HF or the LF terminals...

Electrically, both options are 'correct.'

Choose the one that sounds better to your ears.


I tried this out last night -- it should've made no difference but when connected to LF the bass seemed to be a tad better. I guess its due to rather poor internal wiring (not surprised considering these are budget speakers). I have now put it back on LF. Thanks.
particleman
Stammgast
#17 erstellt: 21. Apr 2008, 04:28

Arj schrieb:
third option is connecting one to LF and other to HF..one reviewer actually recommended that.


Hey, that's an excellent idea. This evening I'll try it out -- positive connected to HF, negative connected to LF. Should be interesting, thanks.
Amp_Nut
Inventar
#18 erstellt: 21. Apr 2008, 05:57
Arj... and interesting option I never thought of !

particleman: in case you have more cable that can be used for speakers ( Not Necessarily the same that you are currently using ), explore Bi-wiring

Bi-Wiring runs separate cables from Each Speaker's HF and LF Units. These 2 wires are shorted at the amplifier Speaker terminals for that Channel.

I currently bi-wire my speakers, with different cables for LF & HF.
particleman
Stammgast
#19 erstellt: 21. Apr 2008, 10:58

Amp_Nut schrieb:
particleman: in case you have more cable that can be used for speakers ( Not Necessarily the same that you are currently using ), explore Bi-wiring


My idea to replace the bars with cable was inspired by the biwiring concept. I theorised that perhaps the benefit people see after biwiring may have more to do with the less conductive bar being replaced by high quality cable rather than anything else. Of course, the key difference is that I am not bypassing the hf-lf bridge. I would like to try biwiring but can't at the moment for a number of reasons. The biggest one being that my amp sits at the centre of a large wall unit made from teak that is pretty difficult to move if I am to make changes to the cables running behind it.

But I do want to try it at some point. I am looking forward to trying the hf-lf tweak suggested by Arj. I will report my findings tomorrow.
Arj
Inventar
#20 erstellt: 21. Apr 2008, 23:29
Biwiring is different as it is *supposed* to give different signal path for the tweeter and different one for the woofer and it different to the jumper option.
of course it works differently for different speakers.
My old speakers (JMR Twins) although 2 way i terms of drivers actually had 2 crossovers as it had 2 sets of winding with 2 crossover points for the woofer and a third crssover for the tweeter/woofer and hence ,apparently (?) showed improvements with the option 3 i mentioned above..
particleman
Stammgast
#21 erstellt: 23. Apr 2008, 10:52
About connecting + to HF and - to LF -- well, I tried it and have to say that there was a difference. To me, it does sound more balanced with equal amounts of bass and treble but this could well be a placebo effect (in the case of these particular speakers since they are just entry-level variety). But I don't mind since we know how important even the psychological factor is -- especially for an OCD like me. The overall sound is improving steadily and I'm quite happy with the tweaks so far, especially your HF-LF suggestion.

Embarrassing but the biggest breakthrough was discovering that a glass-top table in the centre of the room was causing reflections. Once moved out of the way things really improved. On the other hand, my family is growing weary of the steady disappearance of furniture from the living room. Up next...demolishing the wall unit so the speakers can come closer and away from the corner! Who needs a TV anyway?

Arj, how I wish your JMR twins were up for sale before I bought these speakers...
Kamal
Stammgast
#22 erstellt: 23. Apr 2008, 18:40
Particleman wrote-

especially for an OCD like me

??
Why did you write that, PM ?
particleman
Stammgast
#23 erstellt: 25. Apr 2008, 14:00

Kamal schrieb:
Particleman wrote-

especially for an OCD like me

??
Why did you write that, PM ?


I wasn't joking, I do have a very mild form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). If I tap my right foot a number of times unintentionally, I need to do the same with my left. Walking across a tiled floor with alternating white and black tiles, I need to be sure that for every black tile I step on with my right foot, I step on a white tile with my left. But its not out of control like TV's "Monk" character. So in this case if someone tells me one channel is louder than the other the "seed" is planted in my mind and it is very difficult for me to accept that the sound is in fact balanced. It is something I can't put out of my mind - it affects all other activities as well. Only after rigorous tests am I now convinced that both speakers are fine.

Arj, thanks again for the tip - the HF-LF thing has really worked well!
Kamal
Stammgast
#24 erstellt: 25. Apr 2008, 14:55

particleman schrieb:

Kamal schrieb:
Particleman wrote-

especially for an OCD like me

??
Why did you write that, PM ?


I wasn't joking, I do have a very mild form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). If I tap my right foot a number of times unintentionally, I need to do the same with my left. Walking across a tiled floor with alternating white and black tiles, I need to be sure that for every black tile I step on with my right foot, I step on a white tile with my left. But its not out of control like TV's "Monk" character. So in this case if someone tells me one channel is louder than the other the "seed" is planted in my mind and it is very difficult for me to accept that the sound is in fact balanced. It is something I can't put out of my mind - it affects all other activities as well. Only after rigorous tests am I now convinced that both speakers are fine.

Arj, thanks again for the tip - the HF-LF thing has really worked well!

Oh!
Take care & , all the best.
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