Alternative to AZ Matrix

I have the Silver Audio Appassionata IC (Amp>Preamp) and the AZ Matrix (Cdp>Preamp. The problem is with the Matrix (new ver.) I have some bass and midrange boominess. With the Silver Audio 4.0 replacing the Matrix, the boominess goes away, and I get a great highly detailed and airy sound. I like it a lot, but that combo is very unforgiving of lesser CDs.

Is there another IC that might be voiced between the 4.0 and the Matrix? I also have a suspicion that this might be a systems matching issue. Here's the rest of the system:

Quicksilver Mini Mono
LW-1 Passive Pre
AH! Njoe Tjoeb 4000
Cardas Neutral Ref speaker cable
It seems odd that you have boominess, I would not have expected to hear that. I have a couple thoughts:

First try some different footers under your cd and/or pre-amp. Try putting a small 2-3 lbs weight, brass or lead on different areas of your components.

If those extremely cheap options fail to clear up the problem then some experimenting is needed. Question; Are the AZ matrix reference of matrix silver? Did you try switching the cables, AZ on amp/pre-amp?Othwerwise maybe the discontinued Silver Audio 6.0

I suspect one of the cheap options will work. My experience is the AZ Matrix Reference and the Silver Matrix are great bargain products and compete with much more expensive product. The Silver Audio is too bright for my system, so it may be masking other problems in your lower end, I'm not in a position to say. One cable that performed very well in the areas of concern is the discontinued Trinity. This was made from one copper, one silver and one gold strand. They come up every now and then for about $500. If you try everything else and can't solve it write me, we could work out a trial of the Trinity.

One more thought, the Cardas is a darker cable wich may be good with the bright silver cables but with a less bright cable it could cause the boominess.
The Acoustic Matrix I tired was very natural on the low end and throughout the spectrum

I auditioned SIlver Audio Hyacynth and it was very bright/bleached in my system, I loved it's revealing nature, but it put an etchy top end on everything. Then again my pre-amp at the time was brighter than what I have now.

cables are very system dependent

also don't overtigheten cable lugs, that can impede on the sound end (brighter or bassier)

swap out the cables, and also try some cable contact lubricator, can't remember the brand but I have good results with it (will check at home - ambrosia audio sold me this (see their website))



Get rid of the cardas speaker cable, and fast !
Thanks everyone--there's some great tweaks I need to try. As for the Cardas Neutral Ref speaker wire, Can you explain a bit?
I had a similar situation when I initially plugged the Matrix Refs into my system. Try the Matrix Refs in the pre to amp connection instead of from the CDP to pre--that may help a lot. If sound is still overly fat you should try a pair of Silver Refs that may be more appropriate for your system(I'm pretty sure AZ offers a 30-day money-back guarantee). I use Silver Refs from CDP to pre and Matrix Refs from pre to amp, which produces the best combination of natural upper-frequency detail, midrange fullness, and bass control in my system. Since we had similar experiences with the Matrix Refs this may end up being a nice combination in your system too(mixing AZ and Silver Audio cables may be causing problems too). Best of luck.

Sorry I was in a rush withthe last post. I find the Cardas Cables to be overly warm and slow, on friend explained it well when he said it was like cement in a garden hose. You speakers and Passive pre are quite neutral and the AZ ic certainly is pretty good but I feel like you are suffering from a bad combination between a tubby cd player with a slightly tubby amp with very tubby speaker cable. If I were to keep all the components and only change the wire than I would go with something very fast and neutral like 47 labs OTA cable kit and use iit throughout. It is $600 and makes three pairs of ic's and plenty of speaker cable, it is a little onorthodox in design but once you get past that it is sensational. After that I would keep an eye out for a good cd player, there aren't a lot of great options right now but it would be worth auditioning some in your system to get an idea of how much the Tjoeb is causing some of your problems.

Have Fun

I did try the Matrix in both positions. I may have to try the Silver Ref eventually.


Thanks for the great post. That's the first time I've seen the Cardas Neutral Ref. described as dark, and you're right about my whole system being tubby. I have a mean suspicion that my cdp is holding the system back.

I'm also considering the Satori speaker cable, or perhaps a silver cable.
Trying different cd players will definately be an eye opener. The satori is a good all around cable and a good deal when available used.

I found the AZ Matrix(Copper) to have exactly the same characteristics. Slight lower-midrange boost and a little boominess on the lowend....These may have not been the latest versions of the cable. Very nice people to deal with at AZ...took them back, and offered to do some custom tweaks to the cable. Never took them up on it because I found something that suited me in the meantime.

Good luck....
Here are a few thoughts that might help and won't cost much.

First I have the LW-1 pre (w/DACT attenuator) and AZ Matrix Ref interconnects between LW-1 and power amp (McCormack DNA-1 r/a-gold). I don't currently hear boominess per se, but I have in the past heard the bass to be a little loose...I've always attributed that to my Vandy 3A sigs though. Here are a couple things I believe helped.

Thought #1 (isolation): A local audio buddy had me over and we were listening to his system and we pulled out a trio of DH Squares (by Golden Sound) that had been under his DAC. Suddenly and to my amazement, the bass became bloated and loose. I thought I understood the importance of isolation, but the difference here floored me. He has a decent rack, cones, lead shot, etc. He couldn't put the squares back quick enough. Since that experience I have added two sets of squares (6 in all) to my DAC and transport (w/o cones). It has tightened things up a lot. List price of these are $10 each. I'd recommend trying a set under different components. BTW, I'm using a polycrystal rack and still hear the differences. The bass gets tighter and more defined with an overall relaxed, natural sound. I have two more sets on order to try under my amp and LW-1.

Thought #2 (CD polish): Another thing to try regarding your comment on some CD's sounding unforgiving is Vivid from I was using the Mikro Smooth from Mapleshade to clean my CDs. The same buddy gave me a little Auric Illuminator to try and there were improvements. Then he tried the Vivid and "had" to send me home with a little to try. I now use it on all CDs with excellent results. Again, I sat listening in disbelief. Kinda felt like a newbie...switching cables for the first time. Doesn't even sound like "digital". BTW, I did try some car polish (Zaino - great stuff) but didn't do much for the CDs. Price is $65 shipped when purchased direct with a money back guarantee. A must try!

Thought #3 (A/C receptacles): To smooth things out, try a single FIM receptacle...$60. See IME, this is an accurate review.

Regarding speaker cables, I use the AZ Satori's and while I haven't tried other ones since I retired my AQ's (too short in new setup), I can recommend them with confidence.

Power cords...'nuf said.

Here is my system for reference only:

Enjoy and good luck!

-- Greg

YMMV, IME, IMS, etc.