extreme ear fatigue with new yamaha MSP5

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by EEEECHUTA, Apr 18, 2005.



    i recently purchased a pair of MSP5A's. now i was so excited to finally have a pair of decent monitors, as before i was using a very consumer-oriented Klipsch Promedia 2.1.

    However, it has only been the second day and I don't even want to listen to them anymore.

    When I first powered them on what struck the most was the incredible clarity especially at the high end. I could hear the hihat lines in many tracks with stunning precision, and several hidden details in songs came out.

    However, I noticed that only after 5 minutes, I was not very eager to continue listening. I wanted to take a break. I kept telling myself that it was just a coincidnece, but after several tries, i always felt the same thing. I just couldn't listen to them for more than 10 minutes without feeling... annoyed, tired... also strangely I found it very difficult to "zone out" and focus on the music like I usually do.

    This morning, with a fresh ear, I noticed the more i turned down the right speaker, the better it sounded. In fact, it seems that I prefer everything that comes out of the left speaker. Coincidentally, my right ear seems to be far more aggravated than the left.

    I then did a couple of tests of playing a mono track and then soloing either speaker. I found that there was a subtle but noticeable difference. One speaker sounded more 'tame" and precise, the other sounded a bit louder and rather "noisy" - it had little focus and I would have difficulty getting any kind of sonic image out of it.

    I am somewhat positive that they are not sounding the same. Also when I opened both speakers, I noticed that one speaker was left in the ON switch and the volume knob had been turned up halfway, whereas the other one was left in the OFF switch and the volume knob was at zero. Which leads to believe that one of them was either refurbished or not at the very least, not exactly brand new.

    Could this be a plausible explanation for the ear fatigue? Or I am just imagining things when the real problem lies elsewhere?
  2. Antho

    Antho Guest

    three words: take them back!


    i've been considering taking them back but i am wondering whether it's just my ears playing tricks on me. one thing is for certain after two days i can't stand the sound. i cannot pinpoint exactly what is wrong but my ears get annoyed, and basically I just want to turn them off. monitoring through a pair of cheap $15 headphones is like 50 times more pleasurable. maybe i just can't stand all those aggressive high frequencies.

    thing is, the msp5's have been highly rated by pretty much everybody. sigh.
  4. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Try swapping the speakers to the other sides to make sure it's not a problem somewhere else in the signal path. It might have been there all along without you being aware of it because of the coloration of the Klipsch's. I'm curious, have you remixed anything on the Yamahas or just been listenening to things you did before? It's worth starting from scratch on something.
  5. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Sep 24, 2004
    If you don't even want to listen to music through the Yamaha's, then there's no reason to keep them unless they are valuable as a second source. I have an old pair of ns-10's and they also hurt a bit to listen too but at least they make me work hard on the mix.

    I don't use the ns-10's for the majority of the time, I prefer Tannoys. They are very soft on the ears and I can listen all day long to them. My point is, can you use the msp5's as a secondary monitor and find a more gentle main near-field?

    I would explore this path at least once before sending the Yamaha's back.



    thanks everyone for the rplies.

    after much diagnosing, I had identified the problem
    the speaker cables.

    i really want to kill the store that made them (midimall in taipei). a while ago i bought a mixer and mic from them, i needed cable so they sold me "handmade" cables. i should've known something was fishy about the handicraft when the XLR cable was apparently "reversed", forcing me to go back there and have them apologize and fix it.

    the cables i used to hook up the speakers were part of the set that i bought at that time. i noticed that the heads were loose and they just looked of shoddy quality. i swapped them with another set, and immediately everything was cured. the right speaker didn't sound "strange" anymore. ear fatigue immediately vanished. now i know why these MSP5's are so awesome. they sound AMAZING now. i am listening to all the music that aggravated my ears and it all sounds great!!!!
  7. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    I wonder if one of the speaker cables was phase reversed....
  8. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    Glad to hear the problem is fixed. Sometimes it is the small things.

    I have a pair of MSP5-s as well. They can be a bit "tiring" in the top in my experience as well. To me it is a sign of working at a bit too high level. In my experience they are very ruthless in showing when the mix is not quite there yet. A really good mix though shines through them.

  9. dabhoys

    dabhoys Guest

    I'm glad you sorted out the problem. I'm hoping to pick up a set over the summer :) as a stepping stone till I can afford some Genelecs..


    i think that would probably explain it. these cables were amateurly made. with the "bad" set of cables, I noticed that:

    the left speaker alone sounded very correct
    the right speaker alone also sounded correct but undescribably unpleasant

    and if both were turned on together, the stereo image was just.. well. AWFUL. in fact when i turned down the right speaker, it seemed that everything started to correct itself. it almost led to believe that somehow these speakers just sounded terrible in stereo. inexplicably i would only want to listen to the left speaker.

    but now in hindsight i noticed that with the bad set of cables, turning down the right speaker didnt' seem to decrease the overall volume as much as i would expect. once i fixed this problem, turning down one speaker actually reduces the overall volume. this would indicate some kind of acoustic phase cancellation, if i'm not mistaken.

    i have been listening to the MSP5's now for 3 hours straight, and my ears are pleased. i suppose the high end is somewhat hyped but i find it very bearable. what i DIDN'T find bearable, was (most likely) having one speaker phase reversed. it's really odd becuase you don't initially pick up anything wrong with the sound, but it's VERY aggravating! i guess the best test of having a phase reversed cable is to lower the volume of one speaker and see if the overall volume decreases significantly (correct) as it should or whether things seem to just "clear up" (phase cancellation problem).
  11. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    I was going to say, I have those same promedias hooked up to my xbox, and the sound from them is pretty harsh. lots of high end, so I couldn't figure the Yamaha's would be any worse...
  12. jamiey

    jamiey Guest

    I think the fact that most other speakers are hyped in the bass creates the "bright" impressions when listening to the MSP5s. (No pun intended - or is there one?)
  13. killersoundz

    killersoundz Guest

    Ahhh, I'm actually quite dissappointed that you figured it out yourself because I was eager to quickly tell you what was wrong. I'm not familiar with these monitors, but I assumed they are self powered right? I was going to suggest if they werent, to make sure you have both speakers hooked up right from the power amp, or else you'll have phase issues. Negative to negative, positive to positive, should be common knowledge from hooking up home stereos. If you reverse one, you'll be out of phase, and it will literally be annoying to listen to. If both are reversed, then the speakers just wont sound full and you can quickly tell, atleast I can. But yeah, the signal (XLR) cable being reversed will have the same effect.

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