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.


I have got to do the lower end comparison. I bought the Thunderbird zero and replaced it Clarus Aqua. Its the same deal.  I have a new Level of clarity. I am hearing deeper sounds. New vibrations off the interments. ive lost breath and bloom. Bob Dylan's harmonica is a bit sharp. I would like to try the crimson. or change out some RCAs to get some breath back. There is something about the aq that is fun to listen to. I dont think its better. It really is preference.  i felt like I was close to perfection and now i have opened a whole new can of worms.. 
This is a rhetorical question, but how much is the AQ Thunderbird zero compared to the Clarus Aqua?

Thank You for keeping the Cable/ Power Cord  torch burning my Audiophile friend.

Happy Listening!

I've said over and over there are no absolutes in audio, only preferences. In addition, I consistently say, that cables are system dependent and if possible always listen to a cable in your system prior to purchase. Stay with the AQ Thunderbird if that's what you prefer.

Thanks. I view cables as the icing on the cake. Finding the right cables is a very tedious process. There are just too many cable options and it can be overwhelming.  
I'm getting either the William Tell or Robin Hood bi wire's tomorrow. I have Vandersteen Quatro's, Ayre AX5/20 and The Memory Player server and DAC (most current model, the DAC is their prototype and will keep getting upgrades and a new cabinet soon).  

I just told my AQ Castlerock cables tonight.  I heard the Tells on a larger Vandy system a few weeks ago and the Hood on a lesser system.  Both were killer and a major upgrade over the older AQ speaker cables.  Garth is a great guy and to me one of the top cable/cord designers going.  

I have heard most of the speaker cables on the market over the last year or so.  For my ear I just enjoy the AQ neutrality.  I've never felt they lacked in '3D' sound.  I can say that you need to spend some time with them to truly appreciate what they are doing in the system.  

I too enjoy the Clarus Crimson.  Perfito's nephew owns The Stereo Shop in Hartford, CT and of course they sell the Tributary's as well as the Clarus lines.  You can't go wrong with either cable.  Just great choices and we all win out.  Thanks for sharing info guys.  
I ordered the William Tell bi wire combo for my Vandersteen Quatro's, Ayre AX5/20 and The Memory Player server/DAC.  I can't wait to get them into the system.  I've heard them a few times now and feel they are a GREAT value (seriously) at this price range for speaker cables.  The Robin Hood's sounded incredible, but the price difference was the same as moving up to a new component.  That's RARE in cables, but it's how I feel. 

What are other's thoughts on the new AQ series speaker cables? 
We had a lot of discussions lately with Audioquest about the use of the Zero with bridges. I have done thousands of tests with cables in over 20 years of time now. I have tested single wires vs bi-wire compared to each other a lot. In most situations, the bi-wire works a lot better compared to the single wire with most bi-wire loudspeakers.

We sold this year several new Zero+Bass of the new Folk and mythical creatures series. The combination of these two is far superior compared to only the Zero version. We sell the most expensive Audioquest loudspeaker cables in the Netherlands. We never sold any single wire cables to any owner with bi-wire loudspeakers.

I use the Firebird Zero+Bass combination with my Monitor Audio Pl-500, This is of a different planet. And creates new reference standards in audio.

We recently started to sell Audioquest cables in the US to new clients from the US as well. We hear from all these people how much more knowledge we have regarding all the differences in detail of all Audioquest cables compared to US dealers.

Soon new clients will place reviews of their experiences with our insight and knowledge regarding audio.
Next month Audioquest Europe will visit me for a demo. We will prove and show how much more details, dynamics, and layers we can get out of every single Audioquest cable.

A new client of ours from New York will soon put a review about his experiences with how we work. And he will explain how much more we can get out of each cable and component.

We are a company that have spent thousands of hours in research in both sound&vision in over 20 years of time. In the last 4 years, we have done a lot of research regarding electricity. And we have done research in Elektro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism. Always together with the best experts in these areas in the world.

This gives us now a huge advantage in insight and knowledge regarding both sound&vision. We can prove over and over again how much more details, dynamics, and layers we can get out of each cable and component.

In the last few weeks I am surprised how little insight and knowledge there is in the US regarding electricity. These are clients with systems of over 200.000 dollars. We adapt not only electricity. We go so much further into details. We use the best conditioners in the world.

We use tools and also modifications to minimalize electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism. We do this by each individual aspect. It will blow your mind how much further we are in knowledge and insight.

In the last years, I spent all my time in research. With one goal to create new reference standards in both sound&vision. We did research on stereo, surround, and vision. Because we want to outperform in each area.

Someone needs to get over themself, but that's for another thread.  

PLEASE let's keep this on topic.

to the Clarus guys. I really liked the Crimson, but for my system, in my house, the William Tell smoked the Crimson in all respects.  
Audio is all about facts. And facts will always show and prove the truth. The thing I love most regarding audio is the fact that each human will always prefer and choose that sound and stage what creates the highest level of emotion.


The biggest limitation regarding Audioquest is the fact that almost all users have only access to a limit level of the whole quality it could give and create. When you do audio by Tru-Fi the truth becomes a different one than it is in your limited Trial&error world and truth.

The Trial&error world proves on facts and sound and stage that different aspects of sound are always missing. And we can prove this for each individual human over and over again. We see that each person directly understand it with their own music.

When we let new clients experience the music they know very well by all aspects of sound. Even at the first sing they understand and feel how much better it is. And this can even be explained very easily on facts over and over again.

Our new clients in the US have let us know that many people play directly into the wall. We have not even one client who does not use a conditioner. I told them that in the US most do not even use them. They were amazed and could not even believe that this was true.


Each audio system that is able to reveal all aspects of sound will be preferred and experienced by each person as so more intense and emotional. Because there are a reason and even a truth why people want to change their system all the time.


The question is; what does this have to with Audioquest?

The answer is; EVERYTHING

And you know why? Very simple trial&error will give you access to only a limited level of emotion. When you use an Audioquest cable in a trial&error system, this system will prove by facts and by sound and stage that the cables have no access to all the different aspects of sound.


AUDIO will always be about a shootout and comparison. We see that each individual person will always react the same when we compare a Tru-Fi system with any trial&error system.

Each recording owns details and different aspects of the music. So everyone understands that you need a system for this that is able to reveal all these details and layers. All different aspects of sound can independently influence human emotion during listening.

We can show and prove by sound and stage that Audioquest cables can reveal all those different aspects of sound.

But........there is one thing needed? You will need a system that will give you access to all these different aspects/properties of sound. And now comes the real and most important problem. Most audio products can not reveal all the different aspects of sound. Because they lack different aspects/properties of sound. And what is missing never can be added after.

All our clients have a different truth and perspective on the use of Audioquest cables by Tru-Fi. Now we started with different US clients, they will write reviews about what these differences are and do with their system.

So you will understand how different and more effective Audioquest cables can become when you use them by Tru-Fi. Our new clients are even prepared to share this with you. Visit them and experience it yourself.

Audioquest has reached a totally new level in the world of audio cables. I have done thousands of tests with cables in over 20 years of time. And never found a brand or even cable that has so little compression as these new Audioquest cables have.

You can not even compare all the Audioquest series before with the new Folk and Mythical Creatures series. I never tested any brand that made these huge steps. Audioquest may thank God that they hired Garth.

But there is one important thing that needs to be mentioned. We see that most people have not done a lot of tests as we did in over 20 years of time. So many people buy a Zero cable and they will use bridges. This is proof of how little they all know about loudspeaker cables.

When we compare each new Audioquest Folk or Mythical Creatures series between Zero and Zero+Bass the differences could not even be bigger. In a Tru-Fi system where you will always have access to all aspects of sound, the differences are even bigger compared to the trial&error world.

The Tru-Fi world will always have a huge 3-dimensional holographic stage. Where both voices and instruments are being experienced intimate and palpable in front of you.

So what does it do when you use a Zero instead of a Zero+Bass together in the Tru-Fi world?

The answer is A LOT,

It makes the stage smaller and gives the voices and instruments a less intimate and palpable individual focus of voices and instruments.

In the Tru-Fi world, we have access to diversity in height. This means we can reveal very clear the differences between the height of voices and instruments. We call it the High-End ++ property. And what it does to the human emotion is stunning.

When you go back to only a Zero the diversity in height becomes less apparent. It is like you go back in precision.

Audioquest developed for the first time a cable only for the low frequencies and one for the mid/high frequencies. And mannnn this makes a different world.

What is the thing we like and love most in the Tru-Fi world about the Folk and Mythical Creatures series?

The fact that we can create a superior level in the end result for a lot less money. When we use a cheaper Zero+Bass version for the same money as one Zero cable then effectiveness becomes even higher.

Even the William Tell Zero+Bass outperformed the Redwood in Bi-wire easily. The Redwood uses even 30% pure silver. But the Zer0+Bass can even reveal more details in the high frequencies compared to the Redwood. I never have seen this before.

People with Tru-Fi systems spend a lot more money on Audioquest cables compared to all trial&error people. Based on the fact that we have access to all 8 aspects of sound. We will let our clients speak for themselves so you will get an idea of why they experience Audioquest cables so different compared to trial&error users.

For those who know audio and build their systems properly, they need to realize that this Tru-Fi stuff is 100% marketing.  Nearly every dealer I know will listen to tons of gear on a consistent basis to make sure they know what sounds best as a system.  

As these threads aren't trying to be commercials, all I need to say is that my WT's are so new that they aren't even close to being burned in.  I'm in amazement as I listen to them.  I've had so many top cables as I've stated and nothing is even close.  Even my wife commented this morning on how amazing these are.  I didn't tell her I installed new cables yesterday, but she noticed right away.  She started using terms like better definition, bass=deeper with more snap.  She just sat and listened with me for a spell.  I then told her what the difference was and she was amazed.  I hide all my cables with silk plants etc.., so there was no way she noticed the new ones.  

I've spoken to Garth at length about his measurements etc.., but we still need to listen to see what sounds best to us as we all hear differently.  
Since when does trial&error have a real foundation?

Tell us ctsooner what your foundation is in your choices? And how you make your decisions regarding audio

Voices and instruments sound as they sound in reality. They even have a shape and a proportion. So the perfect system would be that system that is able to reproduce how it sounded when it was recorded.

So this has nothing to do with any kind of personal nonsense. The emotion only can be found in the music. No component can create more or even extra emotion to the music.

There are only a few loudspeakers, components and even cables that can reveal all aspects of sound. But........most are not able to reveal all those different aspects of sound. This has 100% nothing to do with personal taste. No human being will prefer and choose a system that is incomplete compared to any system that is able to reveal all the aspects of sound. Your emotion will always overrule any incomplete audio system compared to the one that can let you perceive all the different aspects of sound.

Tru-Fi means True Fidelity. And has no commercial purpose or meaning. It stands for all the different aspects/properties sound owns. This has nothing to do with any kind of personal taste. We are just simply talking about facts. Sound and stage can show us all the different aspects the music possesses.

This is why we invite Audioquest. To show and proof that the way they make decisions for their demo systems is incomplete regarding the aspects of sound. We can easily proof by sound and stage which ones are missing.

Tru-Fi systems are so much more accurate, that it even becomes easy for all people to hear and perceive what those different aspects are of music and sound.

When you add those aspects of sound which are missing to an audio system, we can even show that all Audioquest cables become a lot more effective. This is why all Tru-Fi owners think a lot different about Audioquest cables. So we will let them speak what those differences are......

Talking about facts. Women have a better-developed hearing compared to men. have a lot more interest in audio equipment. In all those years I was often amazed at how good some women could hear and name all the differences of sound during a shootout.

I have my Sopra 2's hooked up with William Tell Zero cables. I am very happy with the combination. I'm sure that my McIntosh C47 preamp and MC462 amp have something to do with the sound quality as well. 
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Burn in is going well.  It's fun to hear the subtle differences as they burn. I'm so glad to have gotten these.  Just amazing.
It needs at least 600 hours. We know this because we use a professional measurement system for the acoustic. When we compare the Audioquest cables between 400 hours burning in vs 600 hours the dynamics go deeper and wel also hear more details and layering.
Bo, you aren't the only one who knows audio and cables etc...  I also know from my own two ears that it even gets better up til over 1000 hours.  Garth will tell you the same thing if you ask him.  

What you fail to also understand is that some folks won't hear as big a difference if their system isn't up to speed.  I know that you and only you will use your patented system to put together the BEST components that you measure.  Even if we all hear differently, your system will be the best ever. I think that sums up nearly every post you make on AG, so that's the bench mark.

Back to the real thread.

I now have 300 hours and counting and it's getting so much better.  The dynamics are just insane and the depth of the sound stage is not longer truncated in the rear.  I'm blown away by the quality of bass my system is now exhibiting.  These cables are nothing short of sensational.  I had Odin's in two months ago and they were nothing even close to what I'm hearing now.  Same with the Transparent and MIT's (forget which model's but they were both in the 10k 8' run range).  Friend brought them over to audition.  
@ctsooner Congrats on the new cable. How do the William Tells compare to the Robin Hoods? What are the biggest differences and similarities?
I'm talking about only the copper versions.  The Hood/silver are better (smoother, dynamics, detail etc) than my copper Tell's.  The Tell vs Hood offer the same things over the Hood's.  You have to really look at the price difference and your equipment costs to really see if the Tell is worth the move up. 

I have had both in my system and the Tell's were THAT much better in everything.  Many lines of cables will give you a bit better (lower noise floor/detail, dynamics yada yada) as you move up.  I feel that with the new AQ line, they have given you a much larger gap between cables as you move up.  They just get out of the way of the music more and more as you go to the next line in both power cords and speaker cables.  

I don't fully understand all the Garth has done with these two lines, but they talk on the site about all of it.  I can honestly say that going with a legit two cable, bi wire where there is a special cable just for the bass was a GAME CHANGER in MY system.  It was worth more to my ears than getting a better integrated amp.  It was not incremental.  even my non audio friends and wife heard a tremendous difference.  They didn't care, but they heard it and I never told my wife that I changed cables.  She did the same thing with the Hurricanes when I got them and never said a word.  She just asked what I changed since the speakers and boxes looked the same to her.  

Thank You for the continued update on your cables/system.

Happy Listening!
I was doing a lot of work behind my system a few months ago and having MS, I can't do the heavy lifting etc, so I had a friend hook up my Laufer Technique Server/DAC with my new AQ Hurricane cord.  I was in shock at how great the change was. I already shared that on so many threads.  I've had the top cords from most companies in the system over the last year or so adn the Hurricane was best and it's not that close in most cases.

I was blown away by the sound of my system.  Just happy.  Well, I had to make another change in Dec and noticed that the interconnects were the Niagara balanced I used to own.  I am about to put them on the market and wasn't able to find them, but forgot about it.  

Wouldn't you know, he never hooked up the AQ WEL's balanced that I use.  I installed the WEL's, but the fuses on my Ayre AX5/20 blew so I had to wait to get them back.  I have been burning in the system for about a month now.  I haven't had a chance to listen much for many reasons, but today I'm listening.  

HOLY CRAP Batman!!!  If anyone else's Vandersteen Quatro's sound this good, I have to hear them.  As many of you know, I have heard a lot of top end gear and continue to do so.  There is a lot of hyped gear that isn't all that.  There are a lot of pieces that are great values and there are very very few pieces that are worth the price that list over 50k.  This is my own opinion based on my own ears.

That said, this system is sick good and I'm getting the CAD grounding unit that will lower the noise floor even more.  I know what it does to any price system and to me, it's a MUST.  Johnny Rutan at Audio Connection in NJ let me hear it on a few pieces and it is a game changer for about 1900.00.  I just called him to order mine. It's a must if you can afford one.  He's the only dealer I know of, but I'm sure there are others.

In any case, with the WEL everything is better.  Lower noise floor, smoother, but my dynamic.  Micro and macro dynamics are just off the charts.  The sound stage has snapped into place like most 30k plus speakers.  I know the Hurricane's cost a bit and the new William Tell speaker cables aren't cheap.  I only have the Niagara 1000, so I know I can do better there too, but not sure I will though.  

Had to share how awesome the new AQ stuff is.  Garth is a freaking genius. 
I totally understand your enthusiasm @ctsooner . But I don’t think Garth is involved with AQ interconnects yet. Just power, ac cords, and two top tiers of speaker cables (from mythical heroes and up)
Thyname, you may very well be right, but I was told by someone at AQ that it was Garth heading the team that's re designing their interconnects.  Either way, they are updating the line and Garth has really transformed AQ in a positive way.  Even friends who didn't like AQ before, are loving the new stuff.  
Hi @ctsooner I totally agree on Garth's stuff. I only have some Hurricane power cords, and William Tell bi-wire combo speaker cables, and they are top notch for sure. Planning to get a Firebird power cord to try, although they are so expensive, and need to find an awesome deal to get one.
We have similar cords/cables, lol.  I have heard the Dragon and nearly went that route when I purchased my cords.  I was buying three and one had to be a 2m so there wasn't anyway I was going that route, lol.  I still need to cords for my Vandersteen speakers as they are active.  I was also holding out hope that Garth would come out with a new outlet for the wall.  I love the top Furetech as I heard it against the others and it was no contest.It's still amazing to me how that can affect the sound so much too.


Thank You for the update on your gear. What is the CAD? How does it integrate/work?

Another +vote for the AYRE AX-5 Twenty integrated amp.

Happy Listening!

Sorry, been off the board a bit this week.  It's a grounding device.  Call Rutan about how it works etc....  He's one of a couple of dealers in the US for it.  There were a few of us in the store and he was able to plug it in and pull it out during the demo's as it's a passive device.  He showed it on the DAC and integrated (pre side) adn then only DAC and then only pre....  We were all blown away and heard the same thing and it was immediate.  

As much as I love Johnny, I also like a lot of other dealers, but he's one of a few selling it.  It's Audio Connection in Verona, NJ.  
You need to understand when you can use silver in power cords. I own a Dragon HC on my subwoofer. But I would never use it on my Gryphon power amp. Due to the 100% fact that silver works negatively when you judge audio on all 8 aspects/properties on power amps. The harmonics are essential for emotion in music.

When you use silver power cables for sources, power amps, preamps, and power supplies, you will influence the layering in sound a lot. I use Wel Signature xlr interconnects. But they work a lot differently compared to how power cables work.

I also use the Fire Zero+Bass version. Audioquest does not use 100% silver in their most expensive loudspeakers cables anymore. I understand why (due to thousands of hours in the research of cables in over 21 years of time) they use copper as well.

In 2021 new Audioquest interconnects will come!

WEL and Wild Blue Yonder are discontinued, Fire is now top of line IC.
i have Wild Blue in my Ref system with a Niagara, and Fire in 2nd system. Hopefully AQ will develop replacements...
WEL will not be discontinued is my understanding. In fact it’s going up $250 per pr on Feb 28. WBY is history. I suppose a new breakthrough technology has been found after 40 or so years. I/we are so blind to audio manipulation. I know there’s no possible breakthrough but still want to try something new like a fool. IMO 

I don't see any info on the CAD grounding unit that you have referred to on the Audioquest website. Can you point me in the right direction as to price and configuration?

@ozzy ,
I was with ctsooner at Audioconnection when Johnny demoed the CAD unit. Subtle, but noticable change- blacker background, more detail coming through. I should get one, too.
In any case, just call Johnny directly. He will set you up.
Here is the website:

I have done many tests on audio cables in over 21 years of time. And sold many brands you all know. The current Audioquest power cables, Mythical Creatures, and Folks Heroes series are a huge step up in cables. They all have a lot less compression than other brands.

In all these 21 years of time, I never auditioned a brand in cables who made such a big step forward compared to the former series of the same brand. This year Audioquest will focus on the more affordable loudspeaker cables. The interconnects will come after that. I am sure they will a big step as they proved with the new power cables and loudspeaker cables.
I will definitely buy the Interconnects designed by Garth. Whenever they come out. I will wait patiently 
I also did test different ground cable products. The problem is that most people can not judge audio on all aspects/properties of sound. When you test ground cables on all aspects of sound, you will find out that it does not improve all aspects of sound.

This is why at this moment I do use and sell these products. They all showed a loss in a 3-dimensional stage. This is unacceptable when you judge at a 'High-end' level. It showed too much emphasis like many cable brands also reveal.

Creating a different sound is very easy in audio. But people forget that you need to be able to judge on 8 different aspects of sound at 1/10 of a second. Humans can perceive between 1 and 3 different aspects of sound at the same time. This is why they make the wrong decisions!
The Wel and all other pure silver cables of Audioquest all have a long inburn period. The Wel took about 23 days 24 hours a day before they were able to give the highest level. Silver needs a longer time to burn in compared to copper.

But through research, we found out that even after 800 hours we could measure an improved level of sound and stage. We could hear more details, layers and also improved low frequencies.

With the latest Monitor Audio Gold series, we had again the same experiences. We did measure at 400 hours, 800 hours and after 1000 hours. And again we had a clear improvement in low, mid and high frequencies.

People have no idea how long burn-in periods are of cables and components.