I have the helix Altair and Antares in my system - they represent the first major IC change for me in the past 6+ years. Construction and fit n finish appear to be high quality - I was surprised to learn they are hand woven. The Altair has a similar voice to the Antares and lets just say the Antares is better in a 'more of the same' kind of way.
I just wrote comments on the Andromeda speaker cables in another thread
and will say the sonic character of the interconnects is v. similar. In a nutshell, harmonic nuance without obvious coloration, effortless timing and dynamics with excellent detail and air. Their speed reminds me of some of the flat ribbon types I heard a while back, but the Altair/Antares sound in no way 'thin' or analytic.
All the standard caveats apply - YMMV, best to try in your own system, etc. But yeah, I've taken a fancy to 'em.
I have the Anatares Helix IC's in my system as well as the Orion speaker cables. Absolutely love them. I went through an extensive process several months ago once I had decided to upgrade my MIT Oracle v1.1 speaker cables and IC's. The MIT's were just not a good match for my equipment. Anyway, I demoed in my room the Nordost Vahalla, Acoustic Zen Absolute, Silversmith Silver and Palladium, Harmonic Tech, etc. IMO, the Shunyata's give you the best of the silver/ribbons (immediacy, transparency, speed) and the network cables (tonal accuracy and realisitic weight).
I strongly endorse them and would suggest you give them a listen.
Hello Earflappin. Shunyatas new signal cables are very interesting products. Have you been able to compare shunyatas signal cables to Transparents top models (reference, XL, MM or even Opus)? best, Mika
I have the Antares interconnects in a system w. Transparent speaker cables. I will be comparing them to my old Transparent Reference (XL tech) interconnects shortly. I am waiting for them to finish breaking in. So far they seem incredibly neutral. Nothing more or less.
No, my high end dealer did not carry Transparent's top of the line models so I was not able to compare them in my bake-off. I know they are highly regarded. It will be interesting to get some feedback from Dgad on that score. All I can say is that I continue to be very happy with the Shunyata's.
I just compared the Shunyata Antares, to Transparent Reference w. XL tech as interconnects between a VTL 7.5 preamp & MB 750 amp. I used different CDs/SACDs for the comparison & did it by switching cables back & forth repeatedly. I am very familiar w. both cables but the Shunyata have about 100 hours on them, maybe more. The transparent were in my system for years & now have been sold to a friend. The comparison did more to prove similarities than differences. If you were to just say what percent difference they have between each other I would say they are maybe 30% different. They are both excellent cables and do some very special things.
The Transparent has more weight in the bass & more dimensionality to images. The treble is a little dry / brittle. The body of the instruments and the sense of space is well communicated. The sense of space of the recording is well communicated.
The Shunyata Antares has a tad more speed but just a tad. The treble is more natural and has a sweetness that compares to silver in many ways. The instruments are a little smaller and the bass is a little lean - but just a little.
On the whole I would say I prefer..... probably the next level up in Transparent w. the MM tech. I might not have noticed all of the benefits of the Shunyata cables in my system as my speaker cables are Transparent Reference XL w. MM tech. It might have limited certain aspects of the reproduction. My system is full range so I can hear full bass delineation etc.
As for Transparent, the newer line w. MM tech has improved treble and a more natural sound. Taking into account the differences between my MM tech speaker cables compared to the earlier versions I would expect the upper level Transparent to be very very good.
Now for the final question, just how do Siltech and Purist compare at the top end. After that I am done w. my shoot outs and settle on final choices. If you choose the Shunyata you get one of the world best cables, especially for the price. Transparent gets component specific at the upper levels. Something I don't like as it stops my endless merry go round of component switching, or at least complicates it. On a final note, I still feel power cables make more of a difference than interconnects. At least in my system.
I have now listened Shunyata's antares/orion cables few days in my system. I'm almost ready to buy them. They are great cables. They are really special in many things. Maybe the only thing that is bothering me is the bass. It is very fast and detailed, which are absolutely great things, but maybe little lean (as Dgad also noticed). But on the other hand, maybe shunyata is just offering more natural bass and other top cables I have used produce just unnaturally full bass. I don't know. What I do know is that shunyata offers bass that has more resolution and details than any other cable I have tried (Transparent, Siltech, Cardas, Analysis plus ..). Maybe it is the fastness and high resulution that causes the phenomenon that sounds of some bass instruments don't have that weight and dimensionality they ideally could have. Well, I still have 4 days time with antares/orion cables, so maybe I know more after that time.
But on the other hand, maybe shunyata is just offering more natural bass and other top cables I have used produce just unnaturally full bass.
Mkilpi, this is the conclusion I've come to. With the Atma-Sphere MA-1s running Shunyata power cords, Andromeda spkr cables, and Antares IC from the preamp, the bass is neither lean nor boomy, bloomy, or smeary. For classical, try the 'wolf hunting' bass line that opens the second movement of Sibelius' Second Symphony with Barbirolli on Chesky. Or listen to the massive bass drum whacks at the end of Shostakovich's 'Festive Overture'. Air moves. The fundamental is the there, the harmonics(!) are there, the quick dampening of the drum by the percussionist is there. I wonder if what we may think of as weight is a smearing of harmonics - the more weight the more tonally undifferentiated the bass?
After extensive listening to the Shunyata cables I came to the conclusion that while initially they seem to be "lean" on the bass side, that really they are producing an accurate sonic picture of the original event. In other words, I believe most other cables overweight the bass (kind of like a built in loudness switch).
I tried the previous Shunyata interconnects and Speaker cables.
Even with all their glowing reviews and my being a proud owner of Shunyata Hydra 8 and 2 and the Annaconda Alpha power cords ,I thought then they sounded lean.
Descibe how you will about the bass line being lean or full. To me, the bass is the foundation. It should be neither lean or boomy.
A boomy bass or a lean sounding bass will ruin the feeling.
Try not to convince yourself it is a more natural sound. It may or may not be , it comes down to what you prefer.
This is a most interesting thread. I stumbled across it.
I owned the Andromeda speaker cable and the King Cobra V2 power cords, and now own Python Helix and Taipan Helix, and my reaction to them is that the bass is less forceful and weighty, too. I'm not sure I would agree that "accurate" bass is lean. A standup bass is NOT lean, and if every recording of a standup bass is lean, the component producing it is wrong, plain and simple.
I have owned Shunyatas for years, and I like them, but, objectively speaking, I find the weight in the lower octaves to be a factor in ALL components sounding what is called "neutral." Usually, this means that "lean" is more neutral, in which case Nordost wins the race. This isn't how I hear it in real life, and I hear cellos up close, I hear pianos up close, I hear symphony orchestras at least 6 times a year. Without a real-life reference, it is easy to convince oneself that a component is accurate. However, as any musician knows, the midbass is the foundation (NOT the low bass -- ever) of the orchestra. I like my Shunyatas, but they have clearly moved in the wrong direction in the midbass and maybe even the upper bass/lower midrange, although they are inarguably more linear than the older ranges, which sucked out the upper midrange, but had positively concussive bass. the older range looked like this:
-------/\------------v, with the "/\" being the mid/upper bass and the "v" being the dip in the upper midrange. The current line looks like this:
------------- but it is also (arguably) less forceful (dynamically speaking) in the mid/upper bass. Linear? Perhaps. True to Life? Ummmmmmmm, I don't think it's quite there yet. Not unless the cello I hear in real life is "inaccurate."
The bass being lean, means that it sounds lighter, with less presense than the Transparent. A string bass sounds smaller and further back in the room. To be honest, bass is the foundation of music and the Shunyata cables just miss at this point of break in. IMO the Shunyata will need probably another 200 hours of break in. At that point I will compare again. Also, most cables do not have the bass of a Transparent so the comparison is one of extremes.
Garebear here......and I am the one who started this post nearly 5 months ago. I listened to the Shunyata Antares and in my opinion....where very ''thin'' sounding cables. They just did not sound true to life...don't get me wrong Shunyata makes great stuff..but the Antares just did not do it for me. I own an originl Hydra, 4 Anaconda power cords but my ic's and soon to be speaker cables will be and are now currently Synergistic Absolute and Designer's Reference cords. ( I bought the Synergistic ) They have the musical presence that the Shunyata's lacked.....rumor has it that Shunyata is coming out with a phase two of the Antares that addresses the thin sound. So, hang on and see what comes of this change.
Oh, I forgot to address a question posted by Mkilpi to dgad about the Transparents vs. The Shunyatas. I have both. I like both, but the Transparent clearly has more midbass energy -- and weight -- than the Shunyata. I have the Shunyata Gemini speaker cable and I like it, but, but, but. At one point, I owned the Andromeda. Now THAT cable has considerable midbass weight, although I must mention that, at that point, all the power cords were King Cobra V2s, and Black Mamabas and the interconnect was Nordost Quattro Fils (some might call it a mismatch: I wouldn't have). Even before I Put in the King Cobras, though, the Andromeda CLEARLY had more weight to the sound. Should have never sold that speaker cable....good stuff, great dynamic range AND contrasts, very quiet. The Transparent is very quiet too, and I have the MM stuff, which is how I became aware that the Shunyata (mostly the Gemini) started a trend toward less midbass. I wish Shunyata would put that darn midbass weight back in there, even if it does cause the sound to be slightly "dark" which personally, I didn't notice to any great degree. But still (ramble, ramble, ramble), the Transparent is clearly a weightier sound. (I'm still going to buy Andromeda speaker cable the next time I see some for sale on Audiogon, though. I REALLY liked that stuff).
Has anyone in this thread tried the Orion Shunyata speaker cable (their current top of the line) or is this thread just about interconnects?