AU24e Interconnects - but warmer

Hi Guys,

Wondering if anyone could assist on interconnect cable advice. I recently got some Audience Au24e interconnects (RCA) on Audiogon. Amazing levels of detail, openness and transparency, but with my listening (lots of female voices) it is just a bit too harsh on the upper mid / top end. Eveything else I love about this cable, but I can't live with it. I am using Paradigm Studio 100's v5 with a Marantz PM-15S2 Amp and SA-15S2 CDP. Speakers are quite forward in their character and I have wooden floors (hence needing some warmth). Any ideas on an interconenct that is a bit smoother (and max ~$400 second hand) but still gives good detail (which I love)? I was thinking something in the Cardas range (Microtwin - I have heard this is warm, but perhaps too?, Golden Cross etc?)

Thanks Guys!
Did you buy used cables? Perhaps they need a breakin period or just a couple of weeks to settle. If still too bright Crystal Clear Audio makes excellent cables in that price range but they do need a couple of weeks to break in and they sell on this site all the time. Good Luck and Happy Holidays.
Ridge Street Audio - Midnight Silver edition...Very similar in sound to the Poiema,but with a touch more sweetness...
Yes they were used cables and gave them a few weeks to settle before any critical listening, and unfortunately just a bit too bright for my set-up (but they are so close to the sound I am after)! Sure with the right gear (tubes) they would be amazing, but the solid state need a bit of taming.

I'll so some reading on the Crystal Clear and Ridge St cables, cheers guys. Happy holidays to you too!
Purist Audio Aqueous; Gabriel Gold Rapture - maybe.
I did not care for the AU24 in my stereo either they had a thin quality.

I second the Gabriel Gold, they have beautiful tone.

ymmv of course...
Your first instincts were correct on this matter. Get Cardas especially anything with Golden in the name. I am quite sincere they lend a rich tone to your sound and are warm. I would stay away from silver or anything crystal clear. Again I am being very sincere. I love my Cardas but could only afford them used. At $400 you will find it a challenge to get one of their top level cables but I would still try if I were you. My speakers are JM Lab Electras which are very clean and use metal tweeters these cables and tube amps absolutely transformed my sound into something incredible.
Check out Wywires, Alex will design to the specs of your system/preference. Worked for my Thiels.
I hesitate to answer this as I am a dealer for the product but VDH The First Ultimate will do what you want. In my case I am a dealer for it because I use it rather than the opposite; it is VERY close to Cardas at 1/3 the price. As a digital cable it is actually better; I was comparing a GR digital to the VDH just last night. I am a Cardas user myself; phono cable, GR speaker cables but all my ICs are VDH. They have a similar sound characteristic, very smooth but also detailed. I have found that many cable makers go overboard in search of detail, the result is that they have a very bright sound which is impressive on first hearing but quite tiring and not really accurate. Metal dome tweeters are especially sensitive to any trace of brightness; I eventually sold my Mini Utopias because I could not make the top end sound as I wanted it to. They are great speakers but just not to my taste; I find the Scanspeak soft domes to have an extended treble range but to be easier to listen to.
Tara labs cables would be a good choice. The air 1 is a pretty good sounding cable and right at your price range.
I found the Au24s to be harsh too with various electronics...lots of hype a decade or so back...but very disappointing to my ears...same thing with the speaker wires.

I say try Audio Art cables...the are very economical and (to me) very musical and natural...If you don't like them, you can return them... I now run nothing but AA interconnects...(FWIW: I'm not as fond of their speaker cables)
What speaker cables are you running?

Some folks are proponents of having a consistent cable/IC 'loom' from the same vendor.

That should also be factored into the search for overall system synergy.

Aren't the Marantz components known for being 'warm'-ish?
Are you running a bi-wire spk. cable to your spks? If so, try running a single cable to the low freq. spk. binding posts tend use the jumpers that came w/the spks. The reason I mention this, I had a touch of too much detail/treble w/my KRIX Synphonix Floorstanders using an internal bi-wire setup w/ Kimber 8VS. When I went to a single cable just to the low freq. posts, I noticed a little more warmth and slightly less detail. It what was needed. Just a thought.
Thanks for the suggestions guys, I have some reading and searching to do!

@Kotta RE Bi-wire, I am only running a single run, and have it connected to the high frequency terminals. I have ordered some decent jumpers and when they arrive will move it to the lower frequency terminal to see if this helps, and maybe just try it with the manufacturer jumper as suggested.

My speaker cable is the AU24 and I'll be hanging on to that one. Yes I believed Marantz to have a warm character too, hence the AU24e interconnects. But I think my room is partly to blame, but I have done all I can (rug, heavy curtains) without taking over the downstairs of my place. Plus, the metal tweeter on the Paradigm Studio's (metal tweeter, quite a forward speaker) probably also contributes. But overall, very happy with the speakers.

@Philjolet - Agreed, however I did have a chance to hear the AU24e's in a much warmer system (Quad 606 and Kef's) and they sounded a lot better and quite neutral, but the AU24's really aren't suitable for forward / bright electronics and speakers at all.

@Mechans: Last night I did have a chance to borrow some v.old Cardas 300-B Microtwin's (which are a heap better than the current model) and they added some real warmth! Very musical cables, but I did lose some detail and soundstage, but I could live with it, (however they weren't for sale!).
I agree on the upper mids on the Au24. Thus my interest in Tg Audio - with its killer bass and bass staging (a real weakness in the Au24), it is not as tipped up as the Au24, better stage... better with larger ensembles... BUT I would also recommend looking into Telwire as another option. But I love the TG Audio's stage and hall info myself... side note, the TG sent all my Cardas Golden Ref packing here.

Another thing, the power cables you use on your source and amp can keep the sound you love, and dial back the upper mid thing... I use isolation to get the stage I want, and power cables to help dial in their tone (with out jacking the stage up). So I would also look into maybe keeping the Au24 (for cost reasons) look into AC cords. Just give the Ac cords a couple of weeks to break in if new, and a few days if used, before really deciding one way or the other.
From my experience try

older AU24's
or Morrow MA2's
Interconnects are not tone controls.
In your case I tend to agree with Ebm. If I were you I'd try adding a rug with thick padding to see if that helps or change the speakers (by the way, are you listening with the grills on as Paradigm recommends?). But that's me.

If you're intent on keeping the Paradigms and toning them down I think the Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference could fit the bill very nicely and fall well within your price range. The original Matrix Reference was fuller/richer sounding with softer treble but still good detail, and the Matrix Reference II is still very colorful but with more detail in the treble range so a little brighter sounding but still not bright. They seem to have a good market here so you can try them and probably sell them fairly easily at little/no loss if they don't work out. Best of luck.
Cheers guys. I have been playing around with a few different sets of IC's that I borrowed from friends over the weekend and it has made such a difference! I was able to do some a/b comparisons which highlighted how bright the Audience AU24e's are in my system. But each room / system is unique as I tried them in other set-up (Quad & Kef's) where they sounded great and very neutral. From all the comps done, I can say with confidence that the AU24e's are NOT warm, they are on the brighter side (but I still wouldn't say they are "bright"). For fun and as a benchmarking exercise, I put in some silver Nordost Red Dawns and they were unbelievably bright in my system. They really favour the top end and are light on the bass. Great for a system that is too warm however, really added life to the Quad set-up.

Happily, some IC's that I listened to (Cardas, Purist Audio) added the right amount of warmth to my system and removed the harshness from female vocals. I'm confident I will find the right balance of detail / warmth with all the suggestions given.

For others out there considering changing speakers / equipment if you aren't quite happy with your sound, start with IC's, can't believe the difference they made in my case! Even if an interconnect is meant to be "neutral" or "warm", try something else and hopefully you find something that works. This may take me a few months, but its a fun exercise.

I know that my room is a big contributor (not much dampening, highly reflective) so warmer IC's are a must. I would love to treat the room but this isn't practical (as its also the living room and I already got a rug) so in this case I needed to tune the system for the room, and not the other way around.

Cheers all!
yes yes. I am a tuner too. I don't swap speakers or components on a continual quest. I can get "the sound" I seek with cables. I'll swap them out for variety too!

The Au24e's are not bright - they are more neutral then the stock Au24 (which I have as a speaker cable and IC from CD to PRE) I have an e' from the Pre to my SS Amp.
The "e" is just more revealing of your equipment upstream.
Try throwing in a Nordost cable (Red Dawn, Baldur etc..) and see if you hear the same issue.
R. Levi likes WyWires better than the Au's. I've not heard the Au's but do own the WyWires. I agree with R. Levi - best ICs under $1k. No harshness here, and much cleaner/clearer than Cardas Golden Cross.
With the Studio 100 speakers you are always going to have some degree of brightness, recommend the Cardas Golden reference or Golden Cross cables