System sounds bright (going for neutral/reference tuning)

Hi All,

I’ve currently got a system I use for referencing music and it sounds a bit bright sometimes and know this isn’t the quality of some recordings.

The current system is computer based. The computer and all audio components are plugged in with Wireworld Electra 7 power cables, that plug into an IFI PowerStation Conditoner and every power product uses QSA Yellow Fuses in the right direction.

Audio chain
PC > 2m Wireworld Starlight 8 > Topping U90 Reclocker > 0.7m Harmonic Technologies OFC Magic HDMI > Topping D90 DAC > 0.5m DH Labs Air Matrix Cryo XLRs > Topping A90 Discrete Amplifer > Audeze LCD-X/Adam A7X

So far i’ve tested a different USB cable which is the Analysis Plus Pure Silver which makes the balance even worse.

I am looking to retain the same amount of sound stage and detail or increase it whilst fixing the tonality.

At the moment, the only USB cables I have in mind are the Curious Evolved and Audioquest Coffee.

For the XLR Cables, i’m looking at OCC grade copper as the minimum requirement, air dielectric, and higher quality connectors than Neutrik. The only options I can think of at the moment are Curious XLR and Analysis Plus Crystal Apex.

Would anyone be able to recommend the next steps, comment on the mentioned products or name any other products that could assist me in my sound goal?

I look forward to hearing from you guys.

Thanks for reading,

Knowing your speakers and speaker cable would help. I’m not familiar with your electronics so my suggestion is just that. I had both the Curious and Curios Evolved USB cables and did not care for either. Thin sounding with an over emphasis on leading edge and transients in my system. They ran from an Innuos ZENith MK3 to a PSA DSD Mk 1. I changed to Wire World Platinum Starlight 7 (WWPS7 USB) problem solved. The WWPS7 is supposedly a step up. As I am content with the WWPS7 I have not upgraded.

Someone would have to be intimately familiar with everything in your chain to answer your question.
I would suggest you pick what you think might be the weakest link and start there.

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I am not sure that any cable uses silver conductor will tame “brightness”. But a decicated streamer for sure will improve brightness than a PC.

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It will be a matter of picking the correct streamer, within one’s budget, but stepping up from a PC streamer could result in a significant improvement. Not familiar with the Topping D90 DAC hard to say if it is part of the concern as well. Same for the Topping A90 amplifier, it’s a hard call not being familiar with the Topping house sound.

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I’ve heard that Topping DAC. Of course hearing in an unfamiliar system is not a fair way to judge, but I found what I heard to be a bit analytical.

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Many thanks for your recommendation, I currently use this setup to monitor music in DAWs for music mastering so I won’t be able to move from my PC as the file source in this case.

Topping Audio more or less go for a perfect neutrality sound which is one of the main brands for mastering music. Due to this sound, if a cable doesn’t have the right balance it will make the setup sound like it has a bit of edge to it.

Hi Tony,

You would be correct in that regard, its meant to be tuned in a cold way so mastering engineers can point out flaws in tracks to correct.

The problem is getting the right balance on this setup to make it sound neutral. I’ve gotten closer with the recent change to a Wireworld USB but its still a bit off so i’m thinking the XLRs may be the next bet.

I use my PC for mastering music and editing WAV files in DAWs. In this case I won’t be able to move from my PC.

I do agree that Silver wasn’t the best choice but managed to get 40% off on them a long time ago so I thought it would be best to snag them.

I confirmed with Silver Sonic and they considered the Air Matrix Cryos the most neutral sounding out of their lineup so I based the purchase on that information alone.

Just a thought if you wish to warm things up a bit, try a pair of Cardas Clear or Clear Beyond ICs. Not knowing your budget it is difficult to make meaningful suggestions.

No worries, many thanks for the suggestion.

I’m trying to keep the budget in a $1200 range so with the XLRs i’m interested in so far its hard to find the traits i’m looking for.

Where are your speakers located in relation to items/walls close by? Are your speakers aimed directly at you? Aimed 3 feet behind the listening chair? Straight ahead?
The 1st thing to try is less toe-in, and is free to try.
If adjusting for less toe-in does not work, you might want to look into Cardas Cross hdmi cable and Cardas Parsec XLR

Hi Ron,

Not a problem, I mainly use headphones for this setup as its for mastering music based on frequency response.

I use the Audeze LCD-X which is aimed at Music Makers and some Hifi Enthusiasts due to its translation between headphones and speakers.


I should have been more specific in my post, I do use speakers but they aren’t currently the main units used in my setup.

This setup is for picking out flaws in music to correct for clients so I tend to use a pair of Audeze LCD-X/LCD-4Z headphones for their Translation qualities that allow music to be converted to speakers seamlessly.

Those are nice headphones. I would research the Cardas cables, specifically their Parsec XLR or Clear Reflection XLR. Those particular cables in their line are known for a warmer sound

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Here you go:

Cardas Clear XLR

These and change out the Harmonic Technologies OFC Magic HDMI for the WWPS7 or WWPS8 HDMI. You’ll get closer to your goal.

I have an AQ Coffee HDMI (not USB), and it does not sound warm. Luca really likes the Pink Faun USB because it sounds fuller and musical. But I don’t have personal experience with it.

The one item that gave me the most “analog” sounding in the streaming chain is a SoTM Cat7 Lan Isolator for my ethernet connection.

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These suggestions look great!

I’ve heard a lot of commotion about the Tubulus Concentus HDMI cable and wondered if you also had any thoughts on this cable vs the WWPS7/WWPS8 Cables?

I would personally try to borrow either a different DAC or Amp. Chasing cables at this point isn’t going to buy you much. Given the choice I would start with the DAC. You can find used DAC’s like the Benchmark DAC3 HGC, Schiit Yggdrasil, RME ADI-2 DAC FS, and the Chord Electronics Qutest for very good prices.

Thanks for letting me know about the AQ Coffee.

I stumbled across the Pink Faun brand recently, and was wondering what people thought about the digital cables; thanks for mentioning that cable as a suggestion.

I’m wondering if there are any other cheaper options than this cable that can get me a similar result.

I’ve bumped into a couple of other brands such as Ricable, Tubulus and Revelation Audio Labs for digital cables. Do you happen to have any experience with these brands or know anyone else who could comment on this?