Any takers on ST cable rave AR HT 130

I have just purchased several of the HT 130 and am interested in feedback any of you have had. I am using two pairs currently one from my SACD 1000 Phillips into a Rowland Concentra II and one from a VPI Aries JMW10. My initial impressions are that this is a very good cable, but not as good as top-flight Cardas Neutral Reference, Nordost, etc. I would describe this cable as very warm, full, but lacking in top frequency air and extension. This is just initial listening feedback however. Unfortunately, this cable is now discontinued and will be replaced. You will be searching for remnants if you try to find them as I did. had about 300 pairs when I staarted the order, and I got the last 3 pairs 1 day later, and they were demo/return pairs. Thanks, Jeff
I've never heard this cable - and have no plans to - but I was struck by something about ST's article and the way it was promoted: As I recall, there was a teaser blurb on the issue cover implying there was a positive review inside of a great bargain cable, but Sam's actual words amounted to nothing more than a brief mention, with no actual description of his impressions of the cable's sound included. Most of his three or so paragraphs were devoted, I believe, to chatter about his sources on this 'find', how cheap it was (BTW, quite of few of the cable makers offer some kind of very-low-priced model or models, all of which seem never to be reviewed in the mags), how the manufacturer says it's constructed, blah blah blah...not a word to the best of my knowledge about how it in fact *sounded*, other than to state something to the effect of how it was of course not going to compete with the best of the best. Now, I'm sure Sam has nothing to do with what gets put on the cover, but really, what a pathetic excuse for both a 'review' and especially for a cover teaser. Yet another unfortunate indicator of the direction things have taken at Sterophile, and it could have easily been otherwise - normally, I would applaud any attempts to legitimately review bottom-of-the-line gear every once in a while (and frankly, when it comes to bottom-budget IC's, the primary comparision should be to the giveaway wire that's included with mass-market and mid-fi CDP's).
I bought a few pairs of Acoustic Research Pro Series HT130, Pro Series II PR130 and HT130C, and Master Series MS230 interconnects. All 3 ft in length. $10 to $25 on E-Bay (AuctionStorm at the time). They are great for the money in an otherwise bright, lean, or neutral sounding system (Bryston SP1 preamp, Bryston 9BST amp, and Infinity Prelude MTS speakers). They warm things up and have good bass, strong lower midrange, smooth midrange, low noise... more analog sounding. Highly recommended for connecting sources (CD, tuner) to preamps in budget, mid-priced systems, and the right high-end system (that has fast transients, tight response, high bandwidth). Well made cables.

The biggest difference between the three AR ICs is in the upper midrange and treble. HT130 is warmest with loss of microdynamics and airiness (most filtering) good for a bright sounding system. PR130 is slightly warm with flatter highs (treble) and tighter bass. MS230 is warm, sweet, and smooth with sparkling percussion. They are all better sounding than Monster Interlink 400 and 300 ($40 and $30).

Kimber Hero ($150) is better overall, but is raspy/noisy on vocals (upper midrange). Van den Hul D-102 III is best in my system and has outstanding midrange, except for loss of attack on notes (noticable on piano) and an added sense of reverb. The AR ICs maintain the attack. MS230 reminded me of the sound of Siltech G ? series ICs and Van den Hul D-102 III. At $250 to $400 per pair, Siltech are not the best value in my system. In that regard, the MS230 ($60 list) and Van den Hul D-102 III ($120 list) are bargains.

6 ft lengths are available as HT131, PR131, and MS231. 12 ft lengths are available as HT132, PR132, and MS232.

Try them. At these prices, you have little to lose.
I have not tried AR ICs between preamp and amp... there low level signals and noise are more prevalent... prefer to run balanced XLR cables (Van den Hul D-102 III) there. ARs are not available in XLR balanced configuration, although one could change the connectors since there are three conductors (two wires and a shield).
Congrats JMF - you just did what Stereophile did not: actually review these cables.

BTW, since you like the vdH product, you may be interested in trying if you get the chance their unique all-carbon The First Ultimate. It's single-ended only and suitable just for shorter, line-level cable runs and cannot be used into most tubed amps, but it has the best-preserved attack of any IC I've tried, as well as the most open HF response and least sense of added reverb (a quality that's missing from most discussions of wire sound - kudos for recognizing the phenomenon). The coaxial design contributes no warmth though, for better or worse (I like the uneditorialized response).

For moderately longer runs, balanced runs, using into tubed amps, or low-level runs (or anywhere environmental RFI/EMI is of high concern), you can get almost the same sound with vdH's carbon-conductored, metal-shielded The Second, a twisted-pair design. Both are now being sold quite reasonably (though not in the range of the AR's or of course D102) by European dealers via Audiogon. I recommend The First Ultimate in under-2m runs between unbalanced line-level sources and preamps, and The Second from preamps to amps or between true-balanced sources and preamps (both these cables also make superior digital interconnects, a topic about which more can be read on vdH's website).