Yes, it's a balancing act. I currently have Golden Cross, Golden Reference and Clear Reflection speaker cable in house. There are things to like about all of them, and I wish I could combine the strengths of them all.
To me, Cross and Golden Cross have never seemed overtly warm and rich, and sound more broadly neutral than Golden Reference. They soundstage bigger, but lack the weight and authority of Golden Reference.
@mikey8811, I know what you mean that the high frequencies of Golden Reference can seem hard, and I haven't embraced the interconnect or power cable, which are more obviously voiced. I have used the speaker cable long term in combination with Golden Presence interconnects and Cross or Golden Cross power.
We all have a Platonic ideal in our heads of how a stereo should sound, which may or may not be the absolute sound or high fidelity, but some iteration that gives us pleasure.
I am also a long time Cardas user. I never really cottoned on to the Golden Reference interconnects or speaker cables, preferring the Golden Cross instead. I always though the highs of the Golden Reference were bit hard on brass instruments. I did use a Golden Reference power cord though.
I have switched to a mix of Clear Reflection and Clear Beyond and @readargos was right - I still miss the midrange bump of the Golden series. If there are any tweaks or any cables that have the openness, separation and natural highs of the current series with the midrange bump of the previous Golden series, count me in. Clear Reflection goes some way there but still isn’t a drop in replacement as @readargos noted.
I am a long-time Cardas user and have used Golden Reference Speaker as my home reference for 2-3 years, so I well appreciate the weight that cable brings. I bought a Clear Reflection Speaker to replace it. It has very similar voicing, but it a little more open and clear, and I think, more dynamic. I also think it's more linear into the low bass, whereas Golden Reference has a bit of a bass bump.
The problem when you start switching things around - if you're happy with the sound of the system - is that small changes can sometimes lead to many hours and dollars re-tweaking and fine-tuning to get back to where you started, only better. So even Clear Reflection, which is supposedly just a "Cleared-out" version of Gold Ref, is not exactly a drop-in replacement.
Other cables that appeal to Cardas users are already mentioned by other users in this thread, including Audience and Purist Audio. I don't have any experience with those lines in my system, however, so cannot offer a direct comparison.
Footnote: Since every set of ears and sound wave decoding brain, set of components, room and personal preference is different, results and opoinions will vary from person to person. Your experience is foremost. Unless you are very familiar with the sound prodced by a lot of component and room configurations, new anything has to be tried in your system in your room. There is no best! Only preferences and opions, mine based on my experience and still only based on my preferences. Only yours really counts. Good luck.
Another recommendation for Purist Audio Design Dominus.Over the years I've tried many cables, several in the Purist line and of those I've tried, Dominus Luminist is my top pick for very natural, lightning fast, full bodied bass. It was so striking to my ear (and emotional impact to my body) that it seemed like I'd gotten my electronics to reach deeper and more natural. I fact, so much so, my whole loom is now Dominus Luminist. Taken some time and $, but I am a happy camper and still discovering things in the mid and deep bass I'd never heard before. (Oh, and the clear attack, schimmer and decay on jazz cymbals . . .) My ears and the way my brain decodes audio waves have experienced nothing better.
I've owned Merlin VSM for years, I agree they can be somewhat lean. I'm not sure you can do better than Cardas GR with these speakers. I've used, Kimber Bifocal XL's and Purist Audio Design Dominus on other speakers, both have a prominent bass. I've found mods to both speakers and BAM to have a positive effect. BAM mods include Duelund VSF, Texas Components naked vishay resistors, larger capacity power supply caps-Nichicon Muse 220uf 100v, discrete power supply regulators, EBL 600mah batteries. These mods gave a much fuller, natural, unforced sound, greater transparency and resolution added bonus. Short of all mods, the Nichicon Muse, Duelund caps and batteries will effect bass most greatly. The larger capacity Muse will require a larger enclosure. I also use the Duelund VSF in speaker crossover board. Short of mods, I've found a sympathetic amp, 845 SET's are perfect for the Merlins in my estimation. Full bass and enough power for the moderately efficient Merlins. Sympathetic front end components can also help with bass. Certain power cords with your amp could also be helpful.
Listen to goldengreek51 . He is correct .Analysis Plus' Big Silver Oval speaker cables deliver what you desire . Your speakers are rated -7dB @ 35Hz ,so you will not get more power out of them , but their full impulse response will be revealed for the first time .
Read AP's tech info and understand why NASA chose this cable for it's ability to pass a high current square wave . Music is all about dynamic impulse , the energy in the sound . Their patented geometry is Why they are better . You are after a more dynamic bass and this will do it . Their Silver Oval Two is lower priced and was good enough for me and might be for you , too . They are better than the 12 gauge Anticables I used before to my Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S's . Minus 3 dB @ 35 Hz . FWIW https://www.analysis-plus.com/product/home-audio/speaker-cables/silver-oval-two/ Their largest vendor sells below retail on eBay , which is where I bought mine . Custom lengths can be done also . They make Pro Audio cables of all kinds as well .
I dunno.. snake oil or not.. I think If u really want to believe something (in this case bass enhancing cables) enhances ur experience, by all means dive right In! The power of the human mind is quite extraordinary!
Yes High Fidelity Cables and their magnetic technology is Very love w distortion,Accuracy,from highs to the deepest Bass. is Night and Day better then Any Cardas Cable .it is stunning in some respects.the magnetic line condition8ng is the best I have even heard . I bought the lesser expensive model Helix Pro-1 . that in itself is exceptional .
I agree with @don_c55 about the bass performance of Cardas GC speaker cables, which I found to better even their GR cables in the bass - yes, I owned both at the same time. I thought the sweet spot at that time was GR ICs and GC SCs.
dumbeat: "There is not a slightest doubt that the Cards GR is fuller in the low mid and bottom and is more detailed and upfront in the mid. And i mean by A LOT!! its not a super fine detail, its like a different speaker altogether" So what are you suggesting? we stop pointlessly spending money upgrading speakers instead start spending $$$ on copper wires to get better sound??? Sorry - i pass. I take it you did not look inside your speakers... I forgot to mention capacitors and resistors on the crossover board are not wired by anything more than 18ga wires...I don’t dispute personal experience though. People hear different sounds and see different things sometimes. Especially if they want to see them :) Sorry could not help it! Good luck with your quest anyway!
Interesting thread, especially with OP's lifelong music production career, and IMO,
PROOF, every tweak is an altered reality, imagined or perceived, emotionally preferred.
Measurements: techniques exist to generate control source frequencies, send to a cable, measure the output from the cable, any alterations at 10 feet, 30 feet lengths? Into this crossover, reactive? Crossover to this driver? .... Endless ...
I inherited my Horns and 15" woofers (made in 1956) in 1973. The first time I opened them up, I was shocked to see the tiny wires connecting the input terminal to the crossovers, tiny solid cord bell wires also to/from the Presence and Brilliance controls. It gave me a perspective about cables for sure.
Getting there, distances, time alignment, perceived differences, ???
When younger, reading, listening, yapping, I chose to believe the theory of multi strand, small solid core wires, individually insulated, like old bell wire, like the wiring inside those speakers. Short runs: I used 4 wire tel cable. Longer runs, 8 wire Cat 5 cable (current). Something about the time alignment of signals on the periphery of the wire compared to the center of the strand, multi strands not insulated from each other ...., thinner better ... I chose to believe it, stopped reading about cables ...
My preferred altered reality: tubes, horns, iron law large woofers.
... I've got vintage Gershman Avant Garde RX-20, which have ample bass - but I wanted it to be more tuneful and well-defined. So I added a pair of PS Audio Xstream Statement SC Power Cords (one onto the CD a vintage Marantz SA-8001, and one into the JOB INT), and made my own speaker cables from 12g Solid Core Copper wire, and am using the bare ended and biwired... I now have ample well-defined tuneful bass. Listen to the CD 'SO' by Peter Gabriel, and the 'JUPITER' CD from 'Stadium Arcadium' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers - these both have really good bass to compare your system with...
I think once you get to a certain size wire gage all the rest is $$$. What I have found is the components in my amps are made to a manufacturing tolerance that allows audible difference in output. I have also measured many speaker drivers and there is variance there too. Everything has a manufacturing tolerance and those capacitors in your amps for instance are probably no better than 5% +- and probably 10%. So two amps from the same company made on the very same day can and do sound a bit different because when you add all the tolererance deviance up you have different output. They call it tolerance stack up and as long as it does not exceed a certain level they will sell it to you. This will effect sound volume and bass and treble output channel to channel and if you are bi-amping as I am there is a difference from the left channel to the right channel amp output. I have two amps and a two way two channel system so there are six components with different tolerance output to be integrated for best sound.
To balance the difference in your speaker drivers, your amp output and room acoustics I use a Xilica xp3060. It will allow you to compensate for unbalance and bass and treble and pretty much anything else. Above and beyond correcting these the Xilica will also allow you to flavor output to taste as well. You can save specific EQ settings for various types of music you play and recall them when you want for your current music of choice. You can also time align drivers. I figure the vast majority of all the cables sold are solutions looking for a problem and that problem is you keeping your money. Do a room EQ and find out how the acoustics of the room effect your speakers. There is a lot going on and until you get to the point where you can actually start to analyze what you are doing and correct what you have to work with cables wont amount to a hill of beans. Why throw bits and pieces at something when you can do this and analyze each step along the way to see if it works. Room Equalizer Wizard or REW which is free + one calibrated measuring mike from UMike and one laptop and you can begin to learn how to determine what your problems really are. It’s not simple set and forget if you want the best possible sound from what you have unfortunately and the very last thing I would worry about is cables.
OK- So i got that 99% Copper 10g wire. Hooked it up, placed the 2 speakers one next to the other, sent identical signal to both and with my DAW remote toggled between them. And yes, i flipped the wire between them to make sure its not the actual speaker or position. Same result in both tests. So no doubt about the cable.
There is not a slightest doubt that the Cards GR is fuller in the low mid and bottom and is more detailed and upfront in the mid. And i mean by A LOT!! its not a super fine detail, its like a different speaker altogether.
So for the ones who still doubt this- Sorry to be the bearer of expensive news, but wire makes a HUGE difference, on a level of an equalizer, no less...
At least for me the question is never to be asked again.
Now i need to find 2m GR wire instead of my 1m GR that is too short and will have to go.
Really love the Cards GR. Warm yet detailed. Fits my taste.
There’s a guy on here that if you tell him your amp and speakers he’ll tell ya what size of automotive jumper cable to use. Sorry... I had to throw that in.
I’ve not heard the upper Cardas but I’m sure they are very nice and like any cable it’s personal preference. Reading above it seems likes there’s a mix of IC’s and speaker cable from others; is it speaker cable recommendations you are inquiring about? I get great, tight bass with WyWires Cables. I’ve moved all over the place from copper, to silver, to hybrids and ended back with all copper. Check out WyWires. Very open organic sound that doesn’t keep me thinking about wires.
Side note: Adding Vicoustic Multifuser DC2 - 6 pack behind/between my speakers has done more WOW than any cable upgrade I’ve ever done; which tightened everything up and literally made my speakers disappear.
I had no luck at all with Cardas. Colleen tried to help, but every cardas cable was grainy, indistinct, with what seemed like diminished dynamics. The more money,(up the Cardas ladder) the better, but Cardas just didn't work in my system.
Funny you would say that i should see it, as by chance i own a recording studio and been doing this for 32 years..;-)
However, when creating recordings you utilize correction gear all day long to create the recording, be it microphones, Equalizers, Compressors/Limiters, effects and what not. You use them to get the sound YOU want to hear.
In a listening environment you attempt to play back the Recording as faithfully as possible. Totally different paradigm.
ANY recorded material is already a MANIPULATED representation of nature by definition.
A listening room is meant to FAITHFULLY reproduce the Recorded material.
You should see all of the generic wire your precious music goes through before getting to the recording medium. None of it is audiophile approved. As humans we all want to believe in attaining acoustic perfection. Believe me, I have tried more cables, gear and speakers than most to that end. I BELIEVE that there is no perfect combination for everyone. I run Beldon 10awg to my woofers and a composite of 4 x 14awg , Audioquest cable to make up 11awg to my tweeters. I couldn't reliably hear the difference between these and comparable gauge $15K wires from Audioquest and Analysis Plus. My co-workers accuse me of hearing things that they don't hear as well. I had Salon 2's and now have JBL M2s. I hear differences in cables, but nothing is earth-shatteringly different. Don't obsess about this stuff. Experiment a lot, because it is worth the effort for that last nth degree and it is fun! "Don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see". This saying has served me well in life.
I’ve got Revel Salon 2 speakers (22k/pair retail). It’s generally accepted those are one of the best speakers money can buy. My search for cables ended when i looked inside of those. The cables between external connectors and crossover are about 18ga, not even sure they are pure copper. And those are big speakers, i think there may be 3ft of cables inside. On top of that, there are pretty lousy connectors on the crossover board and kind of a small switch regulating hi-freq response.
Sorry to say, but the Merlin is anything but this thing you describe. the wiring and connectors are on another level. Really sorry to hear that this is what you got for 22k...
I addition, it is true the signal is as good as the weakest line, however, the more weak links you add, the more degradation you get. So its accumulative, not binary.
So i think your Philosophy is void, im afraid.
However i DID order that lousy wire you suggested, just to see and put an end to this once and for all(at least for myself...)
Great info Y’all! Thanks so much for contributing. I ordered the cheap ass InstallGear 10 Gauge OFC in order to A/B on the spot and put this thing to rest. If the $30 it cost can set me free, ill take my wife on a vacation with all that left over money and then some!!
I've got Revel Salon 2 speakers (22k/pair retail). It's generally accepted those are one of the best speakers money can buy. My search for cables ended when i looked inside of those. The cables between external connectors and crossover are about 18ga, not even sure they are pure copper. And those are big speakers, i think there may be 3ft of cables inside. On top of that, there are pretty lousy connectors on the crossover board and kind of a small switch regulating hi-freq response. You could have a horse leg thick cable from your amplifier to the speakers but it does not change the internal cables, they are still cheap 18ga. I also tried a few different cables - i can hear the difference in between very cheap ones and good ones (especially bass), BUT generally all good ones sound similar on a good system. Mostly every good pure copper cable (5-12ga) *should* sound the same if the length is less that 20ft. If the length is shorter the difference should be even smaller.
If you hear something else - your system is bad/unbalanced and you are compensating for something else. Please note i am not disputing you hear the difference, but i tried a thing or two and I know there is no magic there, all physics perfectly holds.
The cable you bought from amazon might have been a cheap one, and 16ga is NOT something i would connect my speakers with. I suggest you start from InstallGear 10 Gauge OFC - you should not hear any difference from 'brand' cables, if you do please throw you 'brand' cables into a rubbish bin. Do you really think a cable of 5ft can make such a difference when you have another 3ft of 18ga inside the speaker? I can post photos of the insides of my Salon 2's if anyone has any doubts.
You might even consider an older pair of cables from PS Audio, their Xstream Statement, you can still find them used at reasonable prices and I run them between preamp and amps but use Cardas Golden Cross everywhere else, they do have similar qualities as that sweet spot of lower midrange down to the upper bass is where they both seem to excell. Enjoy the music
I needed some wire for the Nines and the Ohm Sound Cylinders. So I bought a spool of RCA 14 ga zip cord (all copper). NLA at the Depot. So far sounds real good! I'm using 6 ft pieces to connect from amp to speakers.
@roberjerman Tried for the sake of it the Speaker Wire Amazon sells under their own Brand... Probably your standard run of the mill speaker wire, 16AWG.
What can i tell you? Thin nasal and without any depth and body. This is a good example for people who still don’t believe cable makes a difference. I too did not want to believe it, but unfortunately physics does not adhere to what i want or don’t want to believe (on this entry level of physics at least..,..;)
At any event- we all hear differently or don’t hear at all. I don’t even start comparing my musical/inteval/harmony hearing with some insane classical pianist’s. Its personal talent/sensitivity mixed with practice,YMMV...