Alpha Core copper versions are clear and fast - go great with my Quads and my Martin logans. Good price call the Cable Company.
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I have Quad ESL 63's and have used Audio Magic Spellcaster, Stealth Premier and Stealth Ultimate Ribbon, in that order. The sound got better as I moved through these three models. Disclosure: I know the Stealth designer, so may have a bias. Others have also found the UR to go best with electrostats.
Try the Mapleshade Double Golden Helix cables. They must be used in minumum of an 8' length due to their design and are somewhat fragile, but if they are anything like the Double Helix digital cable that I just installed they will be a dream come true for electrostatics. Extremely musical but with fine detail. $280.00 with a 30 day return policy for an 8' pair. The cables are based on the same design used in the Omega Mikro line, but are much less expensive. I cannot use them now because my speaker cable runs are too long with my current setup, but will definately check them out when I come up with a better/closer arrangement for my equipment. They also make a budget version that is under $100.00 for an 8' pair. Danvetc, another member here has the speaker cables (not certain which model) and may be able to add hands on info.
I'm driving my ML SL3s with 2 pairs of Kimber 8TC from a McCormack DNA 1/B. The cables were originally chosen as the best sounding with my previous amp/speakers (McCormack DNA 0.5/Mirage 1090i) but as I have incrementally upgraded the system I've never felt the need to go out and recheck the cables with each upgrade. Sounds just fine!
There are three things you want to look at in cabling for electrostats. First, you want a very coherent cable - one that takes into account the "skin effect". An electrostat can resolve extreme nuance, so you want to preserve the timing of the signal (with most speakers, this isn't a significant consideration). Second, you want a cable with very low inductance. That means no twisted wires. You see, because electrostats have a very low impedance at high frequencies (like 1 ohm or so), they are very sensitive to series inductance in the speaker wire. It only takes a little inductance to roll things off just a bit, and sudddenly you've lost some of the air and bloom your electrostats are capable of. The third thing you want is a cable with a neutral or warm tonal balance, as opposed to one that's a bit on the bright or thin side. If you want specifics, look for some used Magnan Signatures - you might find a pair in your price range. Next choice would be Magnan Reference, a bit over your price range new but right there used, if you can find it. Goertz or Analysis Plus Oval Nines also are very good with electrostats. With the JoLida, you might could get away with Nordost cabling - it can sound thin in some systems. Avoid cabling with networks (MIT, Transparent). If you're interested in the Magnan or Analysis Plus drop me a line - I'm a dealer for these brands. The only speakers I sell are electrostats, by the way.
If you like the Audioquest Crystal you might look at one of their higher end cables. Short lengths in the previous AudioTruth line are readily available used. There are some cautions: Argent can be very good, but is a little shy in the bass and can be a little to bright, but with tubes it could be a very good combination. Clear is one of my favorites, great bass, great clarity. It might be a little more than $400 for a 5 foot run used--it would be close I think.
Ahhh, a thread I can really relate to. I have CLS's and have decided to audition the Alpha Core Goertz in my system. After talking directly to the designer, I decided to try their silver IC's and the MI2 Veracity (copper) cable. The white papers on this design are very intersting and strongly suggest that these cables actually offer performance advantages with esl's. The price is very, very reasonable. I'm going to order as soon as I can decide on lengths and will report back if the thread is alive. I have heard good things about GutWire and will audition these as well. Currently using AQ Lapis & Midnight, which work well. Always looking for "more", trying to get the full potential out of electrostatics.
Omega Micro goes $700/8ft minimum used & is sometimes busted up because too fragile. You'll never find a Magnan Sig & if you do its out of your price parameters ($1600 retail/$900 used). Dont waste your time with Nordost: easier resale, but it defeats the purpose/s of your tubed rig to thin out upper mid harmonics. Go with Goertz Copper, as stated above several times, and you'll be happy for a long awhile. Extremely good value. If you'll allow a tangent, consider next the IC. There are better IC's out there for tube setups, and particularly the one you have going. NBS is hideously expensive, but people are dumping it right now & some decent deals on lower end stuff. I saw a King Serpent II (not I) RCA tredding water at $325/4ft. NBS is heaven on space, harmonics, voice, nuance - all the stuff you love. Keep it in mind down the road. Also, with the ribbon cables, keep them elevated off the floor; nothing fancy, just something relatively non-conductive as a tressle. Also, last, try a few Vibrapods under the CD. Good luck.
Thanks for all the great info and suggestions. I think I'm leaning towards either the Magnan Reference, the Oval 9 or the Goertz. Has anyone compared these in their system? Also, one final question- would I be better off with a copper or a silver cable (I've noticed the Oval silver and Goertz AG cables around my price range)?
I am using the following on my 63's: Analysis Plus Silver Oval Speaker Cable - 8ft. Pair($500)500 . This was after using doubled up Kimber 4VS for year. We settled on these after lengthy comparison to the Kimber Monocles..it came down to slightly lush vs slightly "dry"? and the Analysis')dry won the vote. supporting system for reference: Van Alstine tube pre-amp, Van Alstine SS amp...driven by Ah! Tube CD player and VPI 19 MK iii with Sumiko BP Special. The quads do reveal everything....