and they like to call mono 'solo'
107 responses Add your response
Yes. SAME HERE, exactly. Funny. I came full circle too, long reply if interested. Took a while to find an approach. :)
All system dependent of course but there is a DIFFERENT SOUND to the AP cables too up and down the lower line too.
I tried the AP Crystal Solos a while back, thought "too much $" for Solos, and returned them - just like you. Four months later sold some unused gear, tried various combos of my Cardas Parsec (nice, copper), in combination with my Apature JJ (silver-over-copper) interconnects. Had many pairs of Cardas too over the years (MicroTwin, Hexlink, Golden Cross, Belden 8402, AQ), now own Parsec, tried Clear Cygnus recently), li synergy with current system when streaming with ladder DAC in lossless. Just could not get it right when doubling up on the two pairs of Parsec (DAC-to-Pre) and (Pre-to-Mono-Amps) was too much of a good thing, too rolled off, loss of sound stage and depth. I kept going back and pulling one pair of Parsec (nice for $) and re-inserting my Apature JJ with silver-over-copper between pre-to-amp (tad too much detail or glare, more forward) and loss of sound stage I suspected. I run tube amps and so with lots of NOS front-end tubes could not regain the depth of stage I was use to over decade. "Had to be my cables", and sure enough. Spoke to Tech Rob at AP. He explained more about he Crystal Solo, yes they are copper "different extrusion process".
GO BACK and TRY IT AGAIN!, dealer demo:
1) AP Copper Oval-In MiCRO interconnects (1M) inserted (test #1)
2) AP Solo Crystal Oval interconnects (1M) inserted (test #2)
Returned AP Copper Ovals (nice, musical, smooth, more veiled over), and bought the Crystal Solos (more open, bigger sound stage, more resolving) and giving them more time to settle in.
These AP cables provide a different tone and approach than any of my former Cardas. And, mixing is an option, so i am. Works well. Some say stay with like cables, I don't believe that any more. Each component has it's own internal wiring, and so I've learned to just try different ICs to figure out does/not work well.
Hybrid, mixed my Cardas on the front-end with AP on back-end between amp to preamp and now I’m getting a unique sound, Nice, not too detailed and not too milky smooth. Just about right for my system, amps, speakers, fine tune achieved. No more tube rolling! Done :)
For sure, and all Cardas sound different too. I've actually demo'd and owned a lot more Cardas than listed. Older series, Golden and Clear are very different lines. Some amazing cables with the right system (solid state or tube). Like you said, all "system dependent".
What electronics are you running and what Cardas did you own/try?
Rob at AP described the Big Silver as being a unique cable. Also noted it received Absolute Sound's 2018 Editors Choice award, fwiw. Noted as "not having harshness sometimes found in silver cables". The last (other brand) silver-over-copper ICs i tried had a glare, perhaps these don't, never tried them. Very expensive $. My local dealer sells all versions and he likes the silver ovals quite a bit.
on AP site:
"Constructed of pure silver over a stabilizing strand of oxygen-free copper, woven into our patented hollow oval geometry in an oval-coaxial configuration."
@decooney - Regarding that purported, ".... harshness sometimes found in silver cables"; I believe silver(especially monocrystalline), being the best conducting metal extant, reveals more of what it’s presented, good or bad. iow: It(the conductor/interconnect/cable) gets blamed for what it’s fed(construction/dielectric are important, of course). The Big Silver Oval is the first conductor I’ve owned, in the past few decades, that isn’t 100% silver. I’ve always enjoyed pristine & extended freq response(because of) and never had any glare/harshness, over those decades(despite) all that silver. If your sources and gain stages are smooth, so will be your presentation. For the price of admission; I don’t believe the performance of the AP BSO can be exceeded. Sounds as though you have ears(and a local dealer), that can be trusted. Happy listening!
Not sure which IC cable AP/Rob was referring to but said they have one with copper mains and a separate 3rd silver lead that gives yet another blend. Agree about source components. And,garbage in, garbage out too. I for one listen to a lot of old imperfect recordings, flaws and all. Playing the same blissful perfectly recorded tracks over too many times drives my wife nuts after testing ends. Back to music. LOL.
For years I ran some of the forgiving Cardas Golden Cross cables to help mask some of these bad recordings (with solid state gear) at a loss of the true sound stage, inner detail, and musicality now heard on some of the higher res remastered recordings. After 40+ years with SS gear (no more), past five years settled on a tube DAC, tube pre, tube mono blocks for part of it, and recently trying the Analysis Plus Crystal Solos between Pre-to-Amp has allowed the truth to come through as-is (good or bad). A nice balance so far. The 16-bit tube "ladder" DAC with the right interconnect cables has been interesting and super helpful too (tunable with tubes too), no longer listening to components and now listening to "music" again. Now the good cables allow one to hear what was always there, just had to let it come through :)
@decooney - "Now the good cables allow one to hear what was always there, just had to let it come through :)" Absolutely! Sounds as though we both value good sound staging. It’s surprising, that even in comparing some of those, "good cables", things can be left behind. ie: After some reading on the Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 7 interconnects, I thought I’d try a pair, to upgrade from Silver Audio Hyacinths(a few years back) . I’d enjoyed those(feeding my main amps), for almost a decade, by then. More defined(I could listen further into the mix), but- my sound stage narrowed, by about 5-6’. Before sending the audition pair back to The Cable Company(to allow further comparison), I ordered Synergistic’s Tesla Apex interconnects(their best, below bank-breaking, then). The same beautiful rendition as the Eclipse pair, BUT- my sound stage was back, in all it’s spaciousness. Ambient information seems some of the easiest, to be misplaced/distorted/destroyed, in any stage of our systems. ps: YEP- gotta love those tubes!
Rodman99999, no apology necessary! You were still on topic in my mind. I enjoy your input on various threads! Thanks!
I’ve always heard a difference in cables but when you start getting into some really great sounding cables, it’s probably hard to go back (I wouldn’t know yet, because I’m not going back!)
I agree that ambient detail and retrieval are coming through more clearly for me now as well. What I love is how I noticed music flows together now and is easier to follow. The bass is there in full effect and is well defined. I actually purchased these cables instead of a nice sub because what these cables did overall for my system far exceeded what a sub did. The highs are there... and for me, most importantly, the soundstage and holographic imaging just reels me in. It’s actually hard to finish a post because the music commands my attention. I love it, and I love these cables!
Nice. With 35hrs+ on the AP Crystal Solo interconnects so far, going back and re-listening to many mid 1970s songs I've heard hundreds of times. Hearing nice tones, keyboards, guitars, piano is more natural, some added layering with nuances surfacing way out in the sound stage. Nice easy listening at low volume level is a bonus!
@b_limo I just found a used pair of the Solo Crystal Oval 8 that will arrive in a few days.What inspired me is while trying this and that to get my new dac integrated into my system,I put my old AP Solo Crystal ic back in between pre and amp and Damn!Exactly what it needed.I knew that beautiful timbre I used to enjoy was being masked by something.It's an xlr cable so I ordered adapters so I could experiment with it and a couple of others in my 'old but good' accessories box.The result was totally unexpected.I was just looking for a clue of what my next step would be - warmer?airyer?leaner?switch out tubes?etc....
Anyway I think I hear more detail buried in there screaming to be released so I'll update next week.And thank you for posting your experience.It helped nudge me in the right direction.
Just received the speaker cables today and ran the system for around 4 hours before listening.My initial impression is the sound is on the warm dark side,somewhat veiled,but with layer upon layer of detail.Everything is there but without sharply defined edges,velvety.The bass is outstanding! Way too soon for a final opinion but right now my hope is that they will open up just a bit more as they settle in.I really like them!
My system is all tubed like decooneys so there's always tubes and tweaks to get things in balance:-)
re: AP Crystal Solo Oval copper interconnects, update #2, pair #2.
A note and question to other AP Crystal Solo owners, thanks:
Just picked up a 2nd 1.5M pair of the Crystal Solo ICs to (test not mixing brands/types) to run identical cables between tube DAC to tube preamp and Preamp to tube Amps - end to end, all Solos. Removed my Cardas Parsec ICs which I like and they have their own sound/tone, decent at a lower price point, and maybe I'm just use to their particular tone having owned many Cardas ICs past 25+ years. This writeup is premature, no doubt - just capturing thoughts.
I can say I'm not yet use to the sound of the the recently new AP Crystal Solo ICs when run end-to-end. It's actually quite a bit different from what I even recall demoing Cardas Clear Cygnus which had an open and detailed (more neutral sound) compared to my older Cardas from the Cross lines which had a warmer and more veiled over sound which worked great for my brighter SS amps and not as well with my tube gear. Back to AP Solos... sorry, trying to rationalize this new sound with when doubling up with all AP solos; not broken in yet, fwiw.
With AP Crystal Solos ICs I immediately noticed an even larger and deeper sound stage adding in the 2nd pair in-line, more detail and texture, with maybe a tad less fullness at first compared to my Cardas Parsec which are well broken in. The AP Crystal Solos (both pairs) maybe have 60 hours on them max. Running two pairs, there is no hiding anything. What goes in is what comes out (good or bad), almost to the degree it's as if I'm hearing things i've NEVER heard before on any of my prior amps or 20+ interconnects I've tested before. It's clear all of my prior cables were leaving something on the table, and the AP Crystal Solos don't or not a lot. It's one of those IMO "watch out what you ask for" situations, or maybe I'm truly more use to a softer more veiled over sound. Another way to look at it is it sounds a lot better when I let my tube preamp and amps really warm up for 2+ hours, smooths out a tad more to compensate a bit I guess, for now.
While these are still settling in, relaxing, whatever happens letting them play (~up to 300hrs ???) is kind of frustrating and intriguing to see IF anything really changes (at all) once I get to 100-150-300hrs.
I'm not sure I really needed the 2nd pair, and intermixing brands was working well previously for my particular system. Now with all AP Solos end to end, it's as if I have a completey different sound to multiple components, and hearing something quite different now as my particular system is highly sensitive to IC changes, for good or bad. :) They sound quite a bit different from the AP cable one level below. These are way more open and transparent, have the dielectric same as the upper end silvers have as I understand it now.
Comparing the first 2 hours to hour 35-60 does sound a wee bit smoother now, maybe. The sound I'd characterize compared to my former smoother or neutral test ICs is this with AP Crystal Solo ICs:
Early Changes noticed at 35-60 hours:
-Larger sound stage (tall and wide too)
-Deeper sound stage (pushed back some more)
-Added layering (overtones,...reverb-ish harmonics?)
-Added detail at top, mids (not overly harsh though)
-Everything is faster, top to bottom (tight bass too)
-Change of tone(s); piano, guitar, voices are scary clear
-Cleaner and more open (for better or worse)
-Guitars have more grain, grunge, twang
-Familiar songs do sound different (wasn't expecting this)
-Hearing things I've never heard before in songs
300HRS ??? Break-In, Burn-In, Setting, Really?
I'm really curious to know impatiently WHAT actually changes with the sound after such a long break-in period.
-Does it become more open or smoother?
-What changes after the full 300hrs, if anything?
Thank you for posting @decooney .I have no answers but I'm very interested in your impressions.I'm still letting my speaker cables and one ic break in.I'm hoping the sound opens up more but if not maybe a second ic (what brand to choose?) will do the trick.I'm hearing many details and layers but somehow at the same time it's a little too dark and polite.
re: What brand/design/type to choose is personal taste IMO, depending on what you want to accomplish. I was in your shoes in a similar fashion. I knew my older cables from my former SS amps were soft (on purpose) and smooth but veiled over. I concluded this after trying some well known clear/open cables on demo with my current tube gear. The difference was not insignificant. I tend to favor a more lush sound but not at major expense of sound stage, clarity and depth. Maybe wanting my cake and eat it too -or- simply to find something "in between", 1/2 way - wishful thinking, maybe or maybe not. I kept reading about the the AP Crystal Solos after trying the regular ovals. Crystal Solo Ic Pair #1 worked well when placed at the source and paired with a softer cable downstream. However, I kept wondering if I was losing some sound stage or clarity as a result of having a mixed-matched pair of different types. Wanted to try two pairs of the same type. Sure enough. Everything seems to come at a compromise on my system one way or the other.
As to your Question, yes, I did go with a 2nd pair of Analysis Plus Crystal Solo 1.5M interconnects to run between my tube preamp to tube mono amplifiers. At first they were almost too open, too clear, too clean but was told to be patient, let them relax, settle (in theory). Now in to the 2nd week they are plenty open but softening up a tad but only after I’m running the gear nice and warm 4+ hours. Not sure if I’ll part with my former Cardas Parsec, as I can swap them back in for an even softer sound with a 60 second swap. So far, liking the 2nd pair of AP Crystal Solos for my tube system. Its definitely worth trying the same or mixing and matching as an experiment, YMMV. Good Luck. Feel free to send a PM on Agon if needed.
@decooney I think we have similar tastes.I like a lush and organic sound also.I feel I'm 95%of the way to my goal of an organic detailed sound.I'm going to try a Teo gc junior next week and see what happens.If that's too over the top euphonic then something more detailed and neutral,maybe something from High Fidelity.Analysis Plus Silver Apex sounds intriguing but $$$!It's against my thrifty midwestern mindset to invest that much in wire but it may be inevitable:-)
re: Break-in / Burn-in of new or used AP Crystal Solo Interconnects.
I had to check myself and wishful thinking. A colleague just picked up a set of used AP Solos ICs too. He said his were a tad bright at first, and they started to settle after some play time. And, I just found a post by a member on AudioAsylum who's experience was identical to mine and yours (even with already-broken in cables). I could see a new set needing some cable relax time but was not quite onboard at first with used AP cables needing a setting in period. I do know on many of my former Cardas they seemed to benefit after just sitting and relaxing for 2-3 weeks as in less tension after being coiled up for a while. Still comparing the APs as time runs on.
You know,I've always felt 25 hours was enough time for a component,cable,or tube to show most of it's final sound then improve in small increments.I was so wrong.The paper in the box with the Crystal Solo 8 cables said 300 hours for final break in.I'm taking their word for it.Some will claim that it's simply becoming acclimated to the sound but that's not what's happening at all.I keep the sound very low and only listen for about an hour each day,always something different.Every few days I have a couple of specific tracks that I listen to see what's changed or not.After the leap in SQ after 50 hours I've been mesmerized by how clear percussion nuances are becoming.I can almost see the drum kits.
The Teo ics are in route but they're not going in until these APs are fully settled in.I had no faith and got ahead of myself.I'll have to check that thread at AA.Thanks!
jtcf706 posts09-25-2019 8:41pm
I'm stupidly still trying to figure out why the AP Crystal Copper Solos (OCC) sound so much more open and deeper sound stage compared to the (OFC) Copper oval ones just below them. The Cardas Clear Cygnus were similar but $300 more a pair, ouch. Tried both Oval Ones and Crystal Solos from AP. The Solos are much more detailed and transparent than the cable one below it, and an engineer at AP told me the it's not just the design layout and "dialectic" but it's also the type of ultra pure "extruded copper used in the Solo". I saw a photo of the broken grain in OFC vs. OCC, quite different. OCC looks like is 90% solid with little fractures. OFC is all little bits and pieces in under a microscope view. Maybe thats part of it. IMO, the Crystal Solos sound a bit closer to silver interconnects than other OFC copper (or) in comparison to many other high grade copper cables I've demoed, tried, or owned. A buddy with triode amps and a major tube roller called me after running his recently acquired Solos this past week and told me he really likes them "a lot". He is now going back and re-rolling tubes in his amps, preamps, and more just to really hear the added benefit of the AP Crystal Solos - and he is a total anti-cable guy who only bought studio grade Belden, Mogami, Morrows prior. Not now, another AP convert. Works well in some systems and maybe not others. He noticed a rewarding difference too. One pair is really good in my system. Two pairs end-end-end I'm still getting use to it or maybe more burn-in and settling time is required. It's almost too open and transparent at times, if that makes sense. Not sure yet.. got some 100+ hours to go I guess. Keep us updated on your progress over time too.
Cables are a fascinating puzzle.If you take four cables (for instance) that are structured exactly the same and measure exactly the same,the only difference being the grade of copper used - they will sound completely different from one another.Nobody really knows why for sure.It doesn't make our journey easier:-)
I think I understand what you mean about too open and transparent.At a certain point it can start to lose tone and timbre and become overly airy?Not enough "meat on the bones" ?
I don't enjoy these long break in periods but I'm enjoying the conversation and comparisons on this thread.My brother is stopping by on Friday and since he has SS components he will take the Teo cables home and break them in for me quickly.Yes!He's been wanting to try my old Rogue preamp so I'll send him home with that too.He's bringing his very old Klipcsh Hereseys to see how they sound with tubes.Should be fun.
Back on topic,the speaker cables are sounding a little clearer every day.Last night I listened to Breaking Silence - Janis Ian and discovered an entire layer of background instrumentation that was never there before.The vocals were just spooky,I could hear the air rushing from her mouth.
Yes, exactly on both counts. With another week on my ICs I notice a little bit more bottom end starting to come through, slightly. Damn, maybe it really does take 200-300hrs for APs to settle in, ugh.
Yes, and 100% thumbs up on tube gear with Herseys. No doubt.
A buddy (with prior systems and limited space now) has spent the past five years optimizing his amps, sources, 6SN7 input & 6L6 output tubes, caps and cabling - fine tuning around the Herseys.
The Heresys were fun to listen to!This pair were manufacured in 1977.Great midrange but no detail on top,just hash.We figured new parts inside are needed,and some tweaking too.My brother was very impressed how the tubes made them come alive.
I'm resigned to waiting for these things as long as it takes.They already sound so much better than the Clear Days or Black Cat.But I'm with you,impatient to try a couple of other things to squeeze out the last bit of performance possible.
@jtcf 718 postsUPDATE#3:
Was away this past week, let the AP Crystal Solos just sit, not playing, all systems off - left both pairs installed (recent new pair 1m, used pair 1.5M). This morning I let me tube gear, tube DAC warm up for 1.5hrs and start playing at 2-2.5 hours, just streaming some regular play lists. Well... as it turns out, as I'm playing all sorts of different lossless tracks, just streaming on Tidal Hi-Fi and normally about 50% of it can be kind of harsh to my ears, even with a 16bit ladder tube DAC. Not today. Woah...what's going on....And, right on the heels of purchasing a pair of TJFM 6SN7 input tubes last night for my preamp, to see if my NOS Sylvanias are too bright with my tube preamp. They were not too bright until I tried these AP Solos the first time before letting them relax and settle in. So, back to listening this morning after some warmup. I notice something is definitely different and not sure why.
So, I start running through all sorts of different play lists thinking I'm just hitting well recorded tracks... then, start looking for tracks I know are normally harsh with older/bad recordings... I keep thinking its my ears or something else. Nope. For whatever friggin' voodoo magic reason, it's starting to sound plush, fuller, and just how the AP tech described could happen. He told me it would "smooth out some more, just give it time". Now I'm not even sure I need the TJFM input tubes, kinda sounding good as-is. My buddy is now only 1 week into his AP Solo ICs. I messaged him to be patient and give then a few more weeks to relax, settle, whatever it is - it does change after they've been played or sitting relaxed for 2-3+ weeks undisturbed, and YMMV. Very odd, unexpected, and improved!
Thanks for keeping us posted on your experience with them! I’ve been following the thread and its awesome to see you guys having the same results as me. I absolutely love these cables. I really am still shocked at what these speaker cables did for me. The “honeymoon” phase is not going away.
These are the real deal for sure. Something else surprising is that the rest of my system isn’t at the same caliber as these cables yet my system is completely benefitting from these speaker cables. I love the inner detail, the unraveling of music, the naturalness and flow. The bass and imaging are icing on the cake.
Just awesome awesome cables. Worth every penny that I paid 😁
I thought I could only have one pair of AP Solo ICs max in the system, but after both pairs have been played beyond 100hrs and settled in more, both pairs are staying for sure. I guess the instructions (if read :) indicate up to ~300 hours of burn in time. I guess I want to believe that now. Wow, it’s not voodoo, it’s real I guess. Time has really favored these cables.
Same as you, correct, the imaging is really good and what’s blowing me away is the separation of instruments and sounds. Nothing is blurred or blended together like most if not all of my former copper cables and including my former silver-over-copper interconnects. All system dependent of course but really noticeable in my setup. It’s a pretty neat discovery to make so late in the game I guess. :)
I’ve never noticed cables sounding different by letting them rest as well. I noticed that myself over the past week or two as I’m not running music through my system daily anymore.
I thought my system sounded better but was chalking it up to me taking a break from listening to music 4-5 hours a day and now it’s only an hour or two in the evenings.
Before when I was listening for 4-5 hours a day my system was on 24/7 for 2-3 weeks...
@jtcf720 posts"tension released after being coiled up and then sitting for 2-3 weeks in the same position" is one explanation I received years ago from another cable mfg. As in, it flows more evenly once tension is gone and the cable strands are all relaxed. That’s 3 for 3. Either its true or we are all crazy wishful thinkers, haha.
Anyone that’s paid an iota of attention to Physics or Cosmology, from modern Astronomy or Astrophysics to Quantum Mechanics, knows: there are much harder to explain/more bazaar things, going on all around us, than the phenomena we observe, regarding our sound systems. A plethora of theorems and theories, but- so few categorically proven facts. The more we’ve measured/discovered/uncovered/learned, the more we’ve realized how little we understand. I’m still waiting, for one of these, "Science" spouting, nay-saying posers, to provide something besides Newtonian-based blather, to disprove what those of us that have been experimenting, listening and experiencing, know to be true. End of rant.
Update#4: After my updates to a friend who is a very practical and reasonably skeptical audio colleague broke down and bought a pair of AP Crystal Solo 1m interconnects for his triode amp system with horn speakers. He too experienced the overly open and bright sound first few days. Then, notified me and said it started smoothing out some after the first 3-4 days, and changing again (good to bad to good again) after 2 weeks. Today he confirmed they are "keepers" for him too. However, we agreed - change one thing and it can cause one to look at fine tuning in other areas too.
Now both of us agree we are hearing "things" we've never heard before in old recordings we've listened to many times prior using other (non-OCC) OFC copper or silver over copper interconnects.
As a result, both of us are revisiting front-end input signal tubes (again) with our tube preamps to see what we can discover now that our interconnect cables have opened a new door. Good fun.
6SN7 tubes on preamp. Two signal/input tubes and two driver tubes. A quad of N7s. Cary SLP-98 with F1 type of mods, caps, hexfreds. Now using Sylvania vintage 6SN7GT Black plates. Just ordered a set of TJ Fullmusic to try for fun, to hoard and save off the Sylvanias if possible.
12AU7 signal/input and 12AT7 driver tubes on each amp. Using Mullard vintage M8136 and CV4024 in these spots.