AQ Water XLR or Yukon XLR - DAC to Preamp- sound comparisons


Hi all,

I have an opportunity to upgrade from my Yukon XLR that I just purchased to the AQ Water XLR interconnects that are connected to my Oppo 105D dac to my Marantz preamp. I find the Yukons are good but I think the Waters will provide that extra smoothness and detail in the bass, clarity and even more openess. The Yukons are a nice interconnect as well and I found at first there was a brightness and midrange harshness  that was not so pleasing to my ears and the bass was a bit more laid back but having them in my system for over a week they seem to be breaking in and the sound is not as harsh and it seems to have settled in and the sound is clear and refined. I also have an AQ Monsoon power cable hooked up to my preamp as well and perhaps that is helping as well with the presentation of the sound I am describing. I am using AQ Water XLRs from my preamp to power amp as well.

I want to know does anyone have any experience with either one of these interconnects hooked up from dac to preamp? What are your experiences in having either one of these cables hooked up from your dac to preamp? Has anyone tried the Yukons in their system and then went with the Waters or vice versa? Since my Marantz preamp is a warm sounding preamp would the Waters cause the sound to be overly warm cause I have them hooked up to my preamp and power amp and perhaps the Yukons provide that balance with the blend of highs and midrange forwardness to my Waters I have from my preamp to power amp? On a side note if it matters but I will be upgrading to the Blizzard power cable for my preamp very soon. 

I would like to keep this to Yukons and Waters as I have no intentions right now to move up the line for now or try other brands. Thanks in advance and appreciate your thoughts.

2007audioman
2007audioman
I had Mackensie's and moved to Water. It was an improvement-mostly in clarity and improved imagining.
I would recommend just going with the WEL's, if you can stomach the price.- I know I will when I find a set for sale used.
Bob
Thanks gdnrbob. I understand those WELs are very revealing interconnects for sure. Right now my budget is only for the Waters. I found Mackenzies were nice but slightly a little warmer then I thought but still had a nice bass to it and warm midrange. Highs were a bit laid back compared to the Yukons. The Mackenzie XLRs I have are hooked up to my power amps to do Atmos duty and that should be enough as its only ambience sound I figured. I did try them out though just to see what sound they could give on my dac to preamp. 

 If I am interpreting your post right you are suggesting to get the best interconnect and perhaps that will happen sooner than later if I can get a good price on a pair. I have asked my dealer to go ahead and order the Water XLRs shortly after writing this message but I figured it cant get any worse and can only add to the sound over the Yukons. Whether its incremental will still be an improvement that I should be able to discern from the price point and I can live with it. Having both Waters from dac to preamp and preamp to my power amp will provide more consistency in sound.

Thanks a lot for your response. I really appreciate it.

2007audioman
Hi all,

It would still be nice to hear from a forum member who has this setup. If you have this setup AQ Waters from your dac to preamp and AQ Waters from your preamp to power amp or receiver would be great to hear from you and let me know the sound you get from your setup? Do you plan on going up further in the AQ line and why? Maybe you already have gone up further and what line did you move up too and the improvements you are hearing by going up in the Element series line? Thanks all.

2007audioman
Have you checked out the Red River XLRs? They're cheaper but they're one of the very few Audioquest products which use gold connectors. If AQ used gold XLR/RCA connectors on their top of the line products, I'd be all over them.

I replaced the factory-terminated silver spades on my Rocket 44 cables with AQ's 5000 series gold spades and couldn't believe the difference it made.
Hi mkash3. Thanks for your response. No I never checked out the Red River XLRs. My dealer suggested to not go below the Mackenzie XLR interconnects when I converted to XLR from RCA so I went with his advice. I use an AQ Gibraltor speaker cable for my main front left and right speakers that have the gold connectors on them. They sound good too although my surround and surround backs have the AQ Suregrip 300 silver connectors and they sound good as well. I may eventually go all silver and will be upgrading my speaker cables at some point in time. Thanks again for your response.

2007audioman
Water is on onothe league is way better than Yukon , TMRaudio usually have them used .
Post removed 
Hi jayctoy. Do you use AQ Water in your system? XLR or RCA? Do you have them hooked up from a DAC to a Receiver or Preamp? If so, can you provide some detail on what you hear in your system if you do use the Waters? It would be much appreciated.

2007audioman.
I have water xlr's from dac to preamp and preamp to amps. I never had any other ic's with this gear to compare but the waters are great and give me what I need until I can afford the fires or the wel's. 
 Actually I'm gonna replace all the AQ in my system with another brand, why should we use them being the only manufacturer to have the dbs packs? 
I think AQ came up with a gimmick with the dbs system, and just can't erase all the BS they've fed us over the years. I mean how can they now build cables without the dbs? 
I have Mckenzies for headphone amp , they are very good.   Use Water between amp and preamp.   Paid 200 for a brand new pair because owner needed longer length.  They are very quiet.   Sound more open than the MIT and Transparent they replaced.   I will never buy a cable with a zobel diode ....really dull sounding compared to non "filter" type IC
Hi oddiofyl..that’s a great price for the XLR Water IC’s. Yes I agree with you that the Waters are very quiet sounding. I am awaiting for a 1.5m Water XLR from my DAC to Preamp that should be arriving at my dealers ready for pick up any day now.  I’m using a 1.5m Yukon right now but decided to go Water instead so my dealer will take back the Yukon and charge me the difference. I never heard MIT or Transparent cables so I can’t comment on them. Glad you found the right cables for your system. It’s all about the synergy so I have read..keep on enjoying the music. This hobby is addictive eh? Thanks for your comment oddiofyl.

2007audioman
DBS is alive and well. Vandersteen shares the patent w Low of Audioquest. Vandersteen and AQ build cables and amps with 128 v DBS….because it works.

I have Fire from phono to preamp and Water from Pre to amp in Casa Pacifica system.

https://systems.audiogon.com/users/tomic601

A mix of Eagle Eye, Niagara, and Wild Blue Yonder in my Reference system.

i think you will enjoy the Water, very musical, not HiFi. Let us know how it goes !,,,,

Jim