file Essentially No Bass through my Triton 1's/PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium

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RS1506 Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19882
I am befuddled that my newly acquired PL Dialogue Premium (only 1000 hours on the 12AU7's, 140 hours on the EL34's) cannot reproduce any bass frequencies (except a very muddied kick bass range) through my beloved Triton 1's! I have reached out to the PO as well as PrimaLuna, but thought I'd reach out to the GE community as well. I have copy/pasted my email to the PO below so I don't have to repeat my description of my experience to date to save time. I apologize in advance for my long-windedness, but I do not want to leave anything important out as this means a significant investment for me that, at this point, I am wondering if I made a mistake and should have stuck with my Marantz and just cleaned up my power with the PS Audio P3 I purchased as well.
Thank you all in advance for you help.
atb
Gus

Hi xxxx

I need your help. My initial listening sessions for your PLD was great. Wonderful detail in the mids and highs, expanded soundstage. All the great reasons for buying a PrimaLuna.

However, my first session was with rock/pop rock albums such as the beatles and led zeppelin. I did notice that although there was plenty of kick bass drum, the actual bass notes didn't seem to be as crisp and detailed as they were through my Solid State Marantz. Although powerful enough to rumble my chest, everything in the bass realm seemed muddied, undefined....I chalked it up to my just getting used to a tube amp. So I walked away from my first session happy that I made a great choice.

But then I listened to a 45rpm high-quality pressing of Peter, Paul and Mary's debut album. Paul plays an upright bass exclusively throughout the album, and it was basically completely missing. One one selection, Bamboo, where Paul plays constant root/5th/octave notes, I only heard occasional overtones. Even with a pair of non-audiphile Bose noise cancelling headphones that I am using now, I can hear his bass clearly on this youtube link:



But there was virtually nothing coming through my triton 1's at all. There is no kick drum in this song, so not even that was present to give me some sort of bass support. I was crushed... for me, it's all about the bass, which is why I chose the triton 1's. I know they can produce these bass lines and I have heard as much with the Marantz.
With the Marantz, I heard every note as well as the occasional growl of the string vibrating against the fretboard, as it does when playing an electric fretless bass (I'm a bassist and I play electric fretted 5 string and fretless 4 string Warwick basses). Much to my unhappy surprise, I was dumbfounded that my new PLD couldn't reproduce the mid and upper bass frequencies that the marantz had no problem handling. I walked away from that session worried I made a big mistake.

So last night I tried again. this time with artists that use upright basses and electric basses that are prominent in the music.

The first was Diana Krall's Wallflower (CD) where she covers many contemporary songs. As she is primarily a Jazz musician, her band consists of an upright bassist. Sadly, all but the lowest (kick drum range) notes were missing. Oddly, the lowest notes of the bowed stringed instruments came through clearer but still seemed muddy compared to the Marantz.

Finally, Art Garfunkles Disney girls on the Breakaway album wasn't much better.



Although present, it was thin and barely audible. Even through the Bose headphones I'm listening to now, I can hear the bass clearly. The bassist uses the whole fretboard, sliding to high notes then retreating back to the lower register. On the PLD, I could only really hear the lowest notes, but again, they were muddied and lacked detail.

I am hopeful you can help me determine what the fix will be. From all of the stellar reviews I have read about the Dialogue and Prologue, I expected Solid state detail tempered with the warmth of tube amplification. Could it be the 12AU7 preamp and/or driver tubes have lost their effectiveness after 1000 hours and need replacement? Or is this the reason you chose to replace the EL34's after 140 hours of use?

I am confident I made a good purchase. There must be a good reason for the complete lack of bass... I am hopeful this can be resolved without spending hundreds of dollars in new tubes, but if that's the fix, then I will do so, albeit a bit grudgingly. :(
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WayneWilmeth Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19907
Gus, I am sure you must have checked all your connections and the dial on the Triton Ones bass?
Obviously something is wrong. Very hard to trouble shoot from so far away.
So, for now, let me just say I am rooting for you!!!!
One of the things that would be great about having an extra set of tubes, as I recommended, is that you can always rule out tube problems by changing them out.
Let us know what happens, I am sure you will win!!!!
Have fun with it, this is supposed to be a happy hobby!!!! Ha ha
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
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ArthurDaniels Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19919
Gus,

A couple of thoughts:

1. Are the blue bass lights on the T1s lit?

2. Do you have another audio amplifier? If so, try it out to confirm that the T1s and your connections are not the issue.

3. Vary the LFE level controls on the T1s to see if they have an effect on the bass.

4. If everything is working, consider making a line level connection from your new tube amp directly to the T1s LFE inputs to add extra bass. You should notice considerable increase in bass response.

Best,

Art
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ArthurDaniels Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19920
Hi Again Gus,

One more idea to try.

Download some test tones at various frequencies, including low bass tones. Play them through your system with various settings to see what might be happening. You should be able to readily find such tones as free downloads on the web.

Best,

Art
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RS1506 Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19921
Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the well wishes. With the help of the PO and Craig Hoffman from Upscale Audio, we figured it out.

1. First and foremost, the quality of the Art Garfunkel cd is atrocioius.. typical 80's garbage...minimal bass (even when we fixed everything) and horribly harsh all around. I listened to it for a while after fixing the system and actually winced in discomfort a few times. My ears are still ringing. All other LP's and CD's are fine. I found a sealed, near mint LP of the same recording for $22 on ebay so bought at as it is a fav or my Mrs. and me. Came out just before we started dating.

2. Craig suggested backing down the sub level control on the T1's. Made a great improvement in the "muddiness". Didn't realize how the PLD was punching up the bass frequencies. FYI for those who may find themselves in the same scenario: My left speaker, which is very near a corner but has an Acoustic Research Bass trap there floor to ceiling, went from 1 oclock to 11 o'clock. The right channel, which is not in a corner, went from 2 o'clock to 12 oclock. Perfect bass response. Used the Stereophile test cd and Victor Wooten's Show of hands to verify... amazing punch, clarity and depth.

3. The biggest change: Going from the 8ohm taps to the 4 ohm taps. I was a bit worried this could hurt the PLD, but not the case. They are engineered and designed to be able to do this safely. In UL mode there are only about 34w being send out at full tilt, which I never approach.

4. As a test, I plugged the T1's and PLD directly into the wall, bypassing the PS Audio P3. Horrible! My black background was gone and there was audible noise between tracks. All was well when I put the P3 back into the system. Max draw according to the wattmeter at reasonable listening levels: 225 watts. The PLD isn't even breathing hard.

My only minor nit picky complaint is the EL34 power tubes, while wonderfully clear and smooth on most music selections, can be a bit too bright. If I had a midrange control I would turn that down a bit, but can't do this with a reference integrated tube amp the the PL. Perhaps a quad of Gold Lion KT88's? Also, I expect the upright bass should be more defined, especially during those wonderful moments when the bassist allows the string to buzz ever so slight, causing a slight growl. I hear that rarely now, if at all. But it maybe also the genre, which I am learning to appreciate slowly.

Thanks again for your support Wayne. Appreciated. Chalk one up for a new Toober! :)
Best,
Gus
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Moderator Posted 1 year 11 months ago
#19924
We are hearing more reports lately of considerable sonic improvements using the 4 Ohm taps on amplifiers with options for different impedance speaker output taps.
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