Audioquest Firebird Zero

I've tried several speaker cables over the past year; Shunyata Alpha and Sigma, Wireworld Silver Eclipse series 7, Audioquest Oak and Redwood, Audience Au24 SX, and I own Clarus Crimson speaker cables. I prefer the Clarus over all of the aforementioned speaker cables. I've had the Audioquest Firebird Zero speaker cables on loan for three days. My initial thoughts were everything is a little clearer through them compared to my Clarus Crimson. Not a night and day difference, but definitely clearer. The Clarus are slightly more 3-dimensional to my ears. My wife on the other hand just keeps saying the AQ sounds sharper, clearer, there are less impurities in the music. I'm not sure what she means by impurities, but she keeps repeating it. Maybe she means a darker background? My plan was to have a home audition of the Thunderbird Zero speaker cables, but they had banana plugs on the amplifier end and I can't use them. I took the Firebirds with the logic that if I can't hear a difference between them and my current cables I didn't need to have a home audition of the Thunderbirds. $14K for an eight foot pair of speaker cables is freaking crazy and sad! It would be easy for me to dismiss it  because there isn't a night and day difference, but once you hear the difference it's very hard to ignore. Financially I just can't justify spending $14K on speaker cables and hope to hear the AQ Thunderbirds sometime next week. Once again I'm reminded that absolutely everything makes a difference. For those that can easily afford $14K, $20K or more speaker cables I understand, because cables can be equivalent to a component change. Does it ever end?
According to Audioquest customer support and dealers, these new speaker cables from Garth Powell are a game changer just like the Storm series and new Z series power cables, which share the same noise rejection grounding tech. The results you heard seem consistent with that claim. The lower Folk Heros series are much more affordable, and they are built with the same technology, just thinner with fewer conductors. It'd be interesting if you were to get the Robin Hood Zero or William Tell Zero for home audition as well to see how they compare.
Relatively speaking I wouldn't say the Firebird Zero speaker cables are game changers simply because of their price.
Yeah, 14K is ludicrous, hell even the 4.5K for Thunderbird is ridiculous for a cable. I think the game changer comment was made relative to the previous Audioquest product offerings, rather than overall objective price/performance value, which would be hard to establish.

If you run efficient speakers with relatively low power requirements, the smaller gauge Folk Hero cables should be close in performance as the higher priced ones, which might boost the value.

I agree with with you that it's a game changer relative to the Oak and Redwood. I listened to both in my system and was underwhelmed. In that respect the Firebird Zero is definitely a step-up to my ears. I listen last night for a couple of hours and decided to keep my Clarus Crimson cables. There just isn't enough difference between the Firebird Zero and Clarus Crimso to justify the expenditure. 


I’ve demoed the Clarus Crimson vs AQ William Tell and I prefer the Clarus. The Clarus has a better soundstage and O/A sound though it cost a bit more. Next up will be the Nordost Frey2 and then the Nordost Heimdall 2.