Tough question - Not Clear sound!


Tough question if I may …

After buying expensive kit ( Described on the end ) I find myself hearing a choked like sound.

Meaning : Not clear detailed sound.

The present Front speakers was used on my past kit , Then the sound was clear , So maybe the speakers are not to blame.

My Kit :

McIntosh MX123 A/V Pre.

McIntosh MC255 Power Amp

Speakers : Focal JMLab Electra 926

Center Speaker : Focal also.

Cables : All AudioQuest Made - Middle stage level. .

Power Cable to MC255 : AudioQuest Thunder High (Variable) Current Cable 1 m.

Power Cable to MX123 : AudioQuest NRG-Z3 ,1 m

Interconnects : AudioQuest Yukon XLR 2 M from Power Amp to Pre .

Speakers cables : AudioQuest Rocket 33

Power Guard : Furman Elite10Ei

ELITE-10Ei-front_page copy

At My home Electrical cabinet :

Overvoltage protection | Low-voltage supply | Class I with high-efficiency varistors PU 4 B

On the Mains cable before the Kit :

Another Varisator PUDS

Medium size Living Room 4X5 meters.

No Carpet , Ceramic Floor.

Sony OLED TV A80j 77’.

Any advice will be appreciated to make the sound more clearer .



Tile floor, hard walls and no curtains.
Are you sure the problem is not the room?


Thanks !
Don’t know …

That space with little damping also seems difficult to me.
What was the previous set that sounded “better”?
Does Toe-in help?

The set looks great to me.

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The Speakers is slightly faces the listener.
“previous set” was a Cyrus Audio Kit - An English Company.

Previous set :

“Space with little damping” Don’t fully understand. …

Hard, nonabsorbent finish surfaces, not much (that we can see) soft furniture, drapes, etc. I would think standing in that room, you could clap your hands and get substantial slap-echo.


I can’t speak to the exact models you have, but McIntosh electronics in general are known for having an extremely warm sound that some, including myself, would classify as “not clear sounding, not detailed” like you mention.

Many like this sound signature, obviously as it is a popular brand. I don’t, and for the same reasons you mention. On the spectrum of audio tonality, I find Mc way too far to the warm side. Just my opinion. Audio is very subjective. YMMV

Btw, it wouldn’t be your speakers that would be causing what you hear, which I guess you already knew bc your previous setup with those speakers was fine


Thanks !

A couple of possible contributors come to mind:

  • Current set up implies lots of reflective surfaces that can smear the “main image” coming from your speakers. Reflections from the TV, side wall and floor may be causing leading aural images from your speakers to hit you at several different times – each one just slightly later than the main image. That can and will muddy/smear the sound.

  • I don’t have any personal experience with the Furman kit you you have. That said, if you are plugging your amplifier(s) into the Furman, it might not be a good fit with your amp(s). Sometimes, power protectors/conditioners can “choke” an amplifier’s performance, resulting in a lack of dynamics that can be perceived as a certain dullness or lack of clarity.


  1. Try some diffusion and/or absorption on the wall(s) and floor to deal with the late, reflected sound you are likely hearing.
  2. With or without treating the reflections from the wall(s) and floor, try toeing in your speakers a bit to lessen the impact of the reflection of the wall (stage left).
  3. Try plugging the amp(s) directly into the wall instead of the Furman.
  4. When sitting down for some critical stereo listening, toss a heavy blanket over the TV to knock down some of the screen reflection of your stereo image.

Please let us know how the quest for better sound unfolds.

Good luck.

[Edit: PS, buy this book and keep it handy:

I have it and refer to it whenever I am messing around with my system to make sure I don’t wander away from important first principles of good set up.]


Thank you. In the near future I’ll try testing with other speakers - need to know what will match … ?

My setup also doesn’t like a power conditioner (point 3).
Especially for the power amplifier it is a no-go.

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Blumenhofer Acoustics maybe.
I heard them along with McIntosh.
That combination sounded good.
You need to try

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First thing I would do is reposition your speakers like they were in your previous set up, they had much more toe in.


Just sitting here looking at your system ( very nice, by the way ), this could be a stupid answer, but do you think you may have hooked up some of your cabling wrong when you got the new gear?


Thanks. Any answer will be appreciated. But No , From the Pre to power amp XLR’s , can’t connect wrong.

My experience (having EU Schuko power plugs) is that swapping phase and neutral (turn the plug 180 deg.) can make a difference, it can be cumbersome to find out which connection sounds best, first make sure you know which pin of your equipment is intended for phase connection, you need to do that for each piece that utilizes a ground pin in the power connection.

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Thanks. .
Forgot to say , The Power Amp directly connected to the Mains wall outlet.
All other gear - to the Furman power conditioner.

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In brief focus on what changed. Regarding the room my assumption is the room is the same prior to changing components. A couple of simple things to try, remove the power conditioner and see if things open up. Try a different speaker cable, AQ Rocket 88 may be holding things back. As others have suggested room treatment could improve the sound, but component changes are the likely reason for a difference in the sound. Just my opinion.

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I presume the centre and sub are not on?

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My kit is expensive to me , emotionally and financially .
Meaning , I need to protect it especialy from Mains surges and spikes.
The Furman (On all equipment beside the Power Amp ) is a protector.
Tried to order the McIntosh MPC500 But no supply in the near future because of covid-19 …
Iv’e also tested plugging the Pre directly to the wall , No improvement.