First, fantastic speakers - I owned the Avalon Eidolons for close to 10 years, and to me they represent the point of diminishing returns in speakers - you can spend a lot more, but not get all that much better. I powered them mostly with Cat JL-1s, but also with BAT VK-60 monos, an Ayre V-3, even some VTL TT-25s.
The Eidolons are revealing of upstream changes, and I think an upgrade in speaker cables would result in a notable positive change for your system. With that said, what is your budget for the cables? Depending on how much you are willing to spend, I think you might be better off upgrading the Rogue Cronos first. For example, since it seems you like the Ayon sound (given the CD-07s), the Ayon Spirit III might make a nice upgrade, and the new version with the KT-150s should be able to drive the Eidolons a little better. Assuming your are interested in tube integrateds, the VAC Avatar might be a great choice as well, depending on the size of your room and how loud you like to play music.
If you are focused on upgrading the speaker cables in particular, the best choice with the Eidolon in my experience, hands and feet down, was the Siltech Emperor (I am still kicking myself for selling those). I also had success with, for example, the Purist Aqueous Anniversary. Thus, guessing your budget to be in the $1500 range new (based on the reference to Homegrown Silver), I might recommend you try the Purist Aqueous Luminist or the Siltech Classic 330L. Both should be available for demo via thecableco.com so you can try them in your own system. If your budget extends up to $3k new, there are a number of other cables I could recommend.
Best of luck.
I have Eidolons and tried the anticables, but preferred the Audience SE speaker cables. Unfortunately the only way to really evaluate is to try many cables which can be costly. After numerous cable trials I was blown away with the Dspeaker 2.0 EQ "tone controls" which allowed tuning the system to my liking, somewhat regardless of cables used.
Vic, the answer to your first question is "yes". Cables matter. I don't have any experience with the HA or Gabriel cables. Though The Avalon Eidolons sound natural and coherent to my ears. If you wnat to continue with that theme, I can recommend either Jorma Unity and Jorma Origo cables depending on your budget. Origo is better than Unity and is more neutral in tonal balance. Unity is a bit warmer. Here
is a link fyi. You can check retail pricing on thecableco's website. Cheers.
@RZADO Thanks for your response. I was afraid someone was going to nudge my amp choice into upgrade mode.
What is it about your current cables that you like, which you describe as sounding "fine" and what attributes are you seeking that you would describe as "better?" I ask this simply to get an idea of where you are trying to take your system. I will say that I have found the Kimber Select series of cables to work very well in my systems. Also, I consider their 12TC to be a great bargain in speaker cables and is my recommendation for speaker cables unless one is wanting to move into the Select series. The 12TC cable uses their Hyper Pure copper which is the grade of copper used throughout my system. Among its attributes it provides an absolutely grainless sound. I have posted my thoughts on the various cables I've tried on my system page.
I am curious too, what tubes are you running in your Cronus Magnum?
Finally, a few months ago I installed into my system a Bryston AVR20 isolation transformer and love it. (Note, the Bryston isolation transformer products and the Torus Power isolation transformer products are the same thing - the original products produced in a collaborative effort, but now each company offers their own branded units). I have written my impressions of the AVR20 and will post to my system page but at the moment there is an issue with the Audiogon system preventing me from making updates. Once the issue is corrected I will post. For your power conditioning in lieu of the Power Plant you might want to consider one of the 15 amp versions. They are available in three variations: (1) the "IS" series has the isolation transformer only, (2) the Torus RM15 or Bryston BIT 15 includes surge protection, and (3) the AVR series adds automatic voltage regulation. Regardless of whether you see a particular model listed online, they will be made to order. For instance, I wanted to go with Bryston but didn't see an AVR20 listed on the Audio Advisor website, but the salesman there called Bryston and got me a price quote and the unit was made to order. The prices of the Torus Power and Bryston units are identical by the way. The relationship between between Plitron (makers of the units and the Torus Power brand) and Bryston remains very strong. Anyway, you might want to consider an RM15 or BIT15 for your system.
Thank you all for advice here — and yes, it did take me an unusual amount of time to get back to this thread.
@rzado ADO — I have come to the conclusion that although the Rogue is a great and wonderful bargain in an amp, it may not be the best for the Eidolons. ...Sheesh, what a great hobby, eh? Never bypass an opportunity to tweak your sound. ...I am now looking at a new amp, perhaps Ayon Audio Triton III. I can not say enough about my Ayon CD-07, that really sold me on Ayon.
@reynolds853 — I have had great success with PS Audio PowerPlants, and yes I did install one into this system in question. Happy with that and completely convinced (once again) that power isolation/regeneration is a key to great audio.
The Rogue is running:
4 x Tung Sol KT120
3 x RCA clear tops 12AU7A
2 x 12AX7 (not sure which tubes are in it right now...)
When I bought it second hand, the fellow who sold it to me gave me a mess of additional tubes to roll. Thats fun with this amp, plus the biasing is something every audiophile should do at some point).This is my first tube amp, and I was delighted (still am, it sounds great) but you know we congregate on audio forums for a reason: we ain't never satisfied for too long...
This system is in my living room, I have two other systems at home — those both use Parasound amps... which are dead dead —dead I say— quiet. The Rogue is not dead quiet, which has set me upon my course toward a black background in the tube world. Am I nuts? (Yes, because you can't hear any noise at normal listening levels, only when there is no signal and you stick your ear into the speaker...)
So, I love the feel of tubes, and the Rogue is a great intro to this world. What next?
I think you have reached the right decision. The Ayon Audio Triton III should be a significant upgrade, and I certainly recommend you demo it if you have the opportunity (although you may need to run in pentode to really drive the Eidolons). However, at that price (I believe the Ayon is $11k retail), there are three other options I would recommend you consider.
First, for solid state, the Symphonic Line Kraftwerk and Kraftquelle integrated amps are exceptional pieces, will be dead quiet, and are very good pairings with the Avalons. Second, also solid state, and reflecting your preference for Parasound, the JC-1 amps would also make a very good pairing with the Avalons, coupled with an appropriate preamp. Finally, if you want a call it quits, "end of the line" system, get a used CAT amp and preamp (which you can get for ~$7-11k used), and you are done - I have literally spent triple that price of that setup (i.e., Avalon and CATs) and not equaled the performance.
Best of luck.
@rzado The price of the Ayon Audio Triton III (pristine demo unit) was "too good to pass up"...
Vicweast - I hear you, and the Ayon is still a great choice; I am sure you will enjoy the combo. Let us know how it works out; just watch out for your back when you pick it up - its pretty dang heavy.
Well, yesterday the FedEx truck came. The Ayon Triton III box weighed 133 pounds. I had help from the FedEx guy in getting the box into the front hall but from there...
It has been cold here and once I managed to lift the amp out of the box (when lifting it, its an ungainly monster that is back-side heavy) I let the electronics acclimate to the house for several hours. I also made a high-end zip-wire set of speaker cables and hooked it up to a set of nice but sacrificial Energy speakers. (I'm going to try to keep my Avalons from blowing up with new gear.) After the right amount of anticipation: The switch was flipped!
I am quite happy with the initial results, so much that it only took another two hours to replace the Rogue amp with the Ayon!
OK, so now things sound great ...mids and highs are well articulated and in triode mode sound very well defined and airy. Bass is big, very big on big bass tracks.
I am running AntiCables Level 3 ref from the amp to the speakers. These cables are solid copper (shotgun approach w/2 12 AWG conductors for each + and - per side).
The Rogue amp did not produce this amount of bass, but with the exact same setup, the Ayon Triton III produces lots of bass. I have a limited ability to pull the speakers forward from the back wall (to reduce the bass) and when I do it alleviates the amount. ...But cables may help also.
What do you think about an approach using silver per the tempo electric/vinyl tourist "Big Twist" recipe? For my cable length that would mean two 12 AWG silver conductors per side, each in an oversized Teflon jacket, terminated bare on both ends. The price is great for this versus a Cardas circus or similar ilk "maintain the Mercedes for 3 years" cost.
Congratulations on the Triton. I replaced my Rogue 99Magnum preamp/M180 mono block system with a Triton 1 a few years ago and have been very happy.
Regarding your speakers, are they on isolation spikes? If not, that would help at least to tighten up the bass. I am not familiar with your speaker cables but I have found Kimber 12TC to be a good cable that has good extension but is not too warm.
@reynolds853 Hi there. The spikes is a good point, as I deliberately have avoided them: I will try that now, thanks.
The Triton III integrated actually sounds far better than my post indicated. I think that my prior experience was not compatible with the tubes in question. In reading up on KT88s in triode mode, I think I am hearing something I was not ready for when I responded. I now like the bass!
I will continue to survey triode & pentode modes via a range of familiar music. This is a pretty major change for my listening experience. (Its not a hobby, eh ... more like an adventure.)
I'm glad to hear that the amp is sounding better than even your post indicated! I think getting the speakers off the floor will definitely help. I agree too that it is indeed an adventure.
I occasionally switch over to pentode, say for some symphonic pieces, but for the music to which I listen to the most (jazz and small ensembles) I return to triode. Remember though that unlike the Rogue amps the Triton cannot be switched between modes while it is turned on. This is because it is a minimalist design and does not have the circuitry to permit that.
Feel free to email me as your journey with this amp continues, I'll be interested to hear how it is going.
Congrats on your Tritton III. I have my Tritton III powering the Dynaudio C4 and get excellent results as well.
Thanks all for comments and your many interesting points ...which I have been working through as I can. Here is an update on where I am and what I am thinking as a tourist in these here parts...
I was not prepared to be so surprised by this amp. It has reset my understanding of reproduced music. It is one thing to hear a great setup somewhere else, but once you spend a few hours listening to gear you have the time to come to a much clearer understanding. There are two standouts in the past week or so. First, the detail and sound stage are clear and well defined beyond my previous personal experience. Second, I have (over about 2 days) gotten to understand that the bass really is there, it just wasn't coming out anywhere as well as with the Ayon and the KT88s ...which seem to be very friendly in the bass and lower mids.
I visited PS Audio in Boulder this past August 2015 and listened to Paul's Infinity IRS 5 speakers powered by PS Audio monos. Yes, it sounded great but my point is that you really get to understand a system by listening to it over time and tinkering with placement and components. My experience doing that with my previous systems did not prepare me for the leap I have just made. Its a big jump up from the Rogue (still love that amp, but...)