Audioquest vs Acoustic Zen


Have you compared both of these brands and if so, what differences did you encounter between them? Thanks.
mkash3
I actually did just compare these two brands, for speaker cables. I was using a pair of Acoustic Zen Hologram II and a friend strongly recommended trying the Audioquest Gibraltar which he was enjoying immensely. Since I found a good price on them from Music Direct (closeout sale), with a 30 day money back guarantee, I thought "why not"? So in went the Gibraltar's. Compared to the Hologram II's, the AQ cables were clearer and more extended in the high's. I wouldn't call them bright, but I'm sure that they could sound bright with some gear. The AQ cables also presented a more immediate soundstage, not as forward as some cables I've heard, but a bit too forward for my taste. In comparison, the AZ cables sounded more laid back soundstage, with a fuller and more musical tonality. Again, the AZ is not the warmest cable that I've ever heard, but I'm sure that it could sound too warm with some gear.

In the end, I sent the Gibraltar cables back to Music Direct for the refund. They were very good cables, much better than the old pair of AQ Midnight 3 speaker cables that I keep around as backups, but in my system, in my opinion, the Acoustic Zen cables sounded more natural, more musical, whereas the Audioquest cables sounded like very good hi-fi. As always, YMMV.
I agree with Jmcgrogan2. The Acoustic Zen cables are more natural or musical.
I haven't had Audioquest in my system but have had AZ speaker cables and interconnects in my system for years and have compared to several others but the AZs always stay (haven't had the megabuck cables in my system though). I would echo the other sentiments of the AZ cables sounding natural and musical, but I'm very sensitive to loss of detail and unlike many others they do a good job with that too despite being "musical." Good all-around cables with something for everyone is how I'd sum them up. Best of luck.
I just placed into my system (only 20 minutes ago) an AZ Absolute Copper XLR (from pre to amps) and with a quick 24 hr burn-in they are beautifully musical. There's lots of detail and they soundstage wonderfully.....will give them 5-7 days and then place back my Purist Proteus Provectus and let all know what I think.

(Dealer disclaimer)
Thanks Sksos1. Dealer disclaimer for what? AZ? PAD? Both?
@ sksos1, Hi steve, I look forward to what your impressions are too!, cheers.
Been a PAD dealer for many, many years, just became an AZ dealer a few months back using Crescendo speakers and thought I'd give their cables a try. Glad I did!

(Dealer disclaimer)
@ jmcgrogan2, Hi, John meet steve Klein of vibraplane audio isolation air controlled pliths, also known as sound of silence., cheers.
AZ Absolute Copper interconnect fan here. Tried a pair on my CDP and then replaced all of my interconnects with them. I have Hologram II speaker cables going to my AZ Crescendo's. Magic with keeping everything AZ.
Any updates Steve?
Jmcgrogan2 send me a private e-mail and I'll tell you what I've found. I think you will be surprised at my findings!

(Dealer disclaimer)
Absolute copper are terrific. Natural warmth, more detail, better bass, lower noise floor in my setup. Tried Absolutes, Matrix 2, Reference 2 and these are the best.
I also have the Absolute Copper and it's the best cable I've tried in my system! Organic and natural sounding...
I use AZ Absolute. Compared them to a few others and AZ always stay.
@ Sksos1
I just placed into my system (only 20 minutes ago) an AZ Absolute Copper XLR (from pre to amps) and with a quick 24 hr burn-in they are beautifully musical. There's lots of detail and they soundstage wonderfully.....will give them 5-7 days and then place back my Purist Proteus Provectus and let all know what I think.
Ok. looks like you probably have your impressions ready for us.
I for one am very interested to hear the Comparison of the PAD Prteus Provectus IC Comapared to the AZ Absolute Copper IC. Will you let us all know your thoughts ?
Grey9hound....yes I have come to a conclusion but it's based on MY SYSTEM so it would be unfair to announce which was a winner. If you e-mail me privately I'd be more than happy to tell you what I heard.

(Dealer disclaimer)
Tell us based on your system. Everyone here gives their opinions based on their system. You posted on the forum on this thread that you would let us all know. There really isn't any need to be private about it.
I am sure everyone following this thread would like to hear.
We all use these forums to gain some knowledge and insight about Audio gear by other peoples opinions. So yes we realize it is not with our gear, BUT it is still very helpful.
Thank You for doing the Comparison. By letting us know your thoughts ,it will give us all an idea which one might be right for us.
In MY SYSTEM the PAD Proteus Provectus was head and shoulders above the AZ Hologram II speaker cables. More air, more weight, better top to bottom integration and the soundstage was deep and wide. The AZ sc did not have any life or PRAT compared to the PAD cable.
The AZ Absolute Copper XLR ic was superior to the PAD Proteus Provectus ic from pre-amp (a VRE-1b) to amps (Atmasphere M60's. The AZ was cleaner sounding and you heard more details, the top end was more extended. The soundstage with the PAD was larger and the bass went a bit deeper but there was a mist to everything, it was like listening in a rain forest compared to the clean and fresh AZ ic.
So there you have it one from each camp came out ahead in MY SYSTEM.
Interesting Steve, thanks for the comparison. I do realize that this is just in your system, and to your tastes, but it's interesting nonetheless.
I'm not really surprised that $8K speaker cables bettered $1.2K speaker cables, though I guess I am mildly surprised to see that $1.5K interconnects bettered $3.6K interconnects. Do you know if Robert Lee has any plans to release an Absolute Copper version of his speaker cables?
Wow. That is interesting. The only cable that i have tried from AZ was their Satori Speaker cables . I'll just say that i like the Audioquest Gibraltar Speaker cables better, which is what i am now using.It has been more than a year since i tried the Satoris ,so i can't really remember exactly the Differences.
I see you do not have your system listed . It would be interesting to know that info.
Thanks Again
Dennis, Steve did say that he is using McCormack's VRE-1b preamp and Atmasphere's M60 amps in his thread on 2/12. I also believe he mentioned earlier that he was using Acoustic Zen Crescendo speakers on 1/23. Though I don't recall him mentioning sources.

The fact that you preferred the Audioquest Gibraltar over the AZ speaker cables, while I preferred the AZ over the Gibraltar's just shows how much of this cable and system matching is synergy related as well as personal tastes related. Just like Sksos1 did not like the Parasound CDP, while Calvinj is enjoying it immensely. You just cannot predict how one component or cable will function in another system, or suit another person's personal tastes.
well said John, I agree!
Hi Steve, I would like to know myself if Robert Lee is going to release a absolute copper speaker cable?
You will have to ask Mr Lee himself. I'm currently just listening to my system and enjoying the muzic and that's what this is all about.
02-13-14: Sksos1
You will have to ask Mr Lee himself. I'm currently just listening to my system and enjoying the muzic and that's what this is all about.

I'll take that as a sign that you are not carrying Acoustic Zen cables. Enjoy the muzic. ;)
Not the case, I carry both AZ and PAD.

(Dealer disclaimer)
I've just compared the AQ Black Mamba II (cheaper version of the King Cobra) with the AZ WOW! interconnect and it was a no contest, the WOW was superior. The AQ sounded more distant, the AZ more upfront with good dispersion. It reminded me of being in the first or second row and had excellent width.
The AQ (by AudioAdvisor) Black Mamba II may have similarities in construction to the King Cobra but it sounds 100% different. The Black Mamba is fast and lean with good imaging whereas the King Cobra was slow and ponderous with fat mushy bass. No contest here. Even the Monster M1000i was superior to it. I dumped the KC and kept the BM II.
Thanks for the correction, Theduke. I think many confuse BM II as a cheaper clone of the King Cobra. Makes me wonder if the Diamondback is a better option that BM II.
The King Cobra and Diamondback are old cables which are not
being produced anymore. The new AQ interconnects use a lot more
airtubes. What makes them a lot more open and faster in timing.
Try to audition the new ones!