I am using a pair of Acoustic Zen matrix reference ics between my cd and integrated and am very happy with the sound. I bought a demo pair 2-3 years ago for $300. I have seen them used for $200. I had mine upgraded to the mkII, the sound cleaned up a bit. I would look for a mkII over a mkI.
I highly recommend Jena Labs Trio Plus Ultras, a great find in high end audio if you ask me. I've tried many cables around the $300 mark and these are the best.
I, too, own a First Sound Presence Deluxe preamp, and I once owned a
McCormack DNA-2 Platinum Rev. A+. I've posted this ad nauseum, but
I'd suggest trying Audience Au24. I recently also tried some Cardas
Golden Cross and thought they sounded superb.
I agree with Tvad. I currently own a McMormack DNA-2 Rev A and would agree with his recommendation on the Au24 cables. Used, they they be right in your ballpark.
Au24 is an outstanding cable. Easy to pick up a broken in pair via Audiogon.
Venhaus Pulsar should be considered as well, but know going in, they take a long time to break in.
I would also consider used Luminous Audio Technologies top of the line copper IC, Synchestra Reference. One of the best I have heard.
PS - Design is more important than the materials, whether OCC, OFC, etc.
Damn, Matty, I was hoping nobody would think of Luminous since I have a "wanted" posting for a 1.5 to 2 M balanced pair of IC's. I have one pair and they sound great in my system, so I am looking for a second pair to replace my Golden Reference (which are also good, just different sounding). BTW, Bob Crump has posted the signatures are the best copper IC he has heard. Do you know the difference between the Signature and Reference balanced? I know the reference has upgraded RCA's but I am not sure of the difference in the balanced cables.
I'll go ahead and jump ahead to the end of this thread, save you some reading time, and suggest that you try every copper cable under $300. Now get started!
Best? In my 3 years of surfing the net looking at audio related stuff, I have found that there is no such thing, but you already knew that didn't you? :)
The point at which I cried uncle was with either Signal Cable's or Heartland Cable's Belden 89259-based audio interconnects. Really, the only difference between the two is that Heartland (Dan) uses Eichmann Bullet Plugs and Signal Cable (Frank) uses Scosche Platinum RCA's. At about $50 per meter, one can hardly go wrong, especially as both guys are absolutley fantastic.
I bought a pair of Z squared Copperheads, and am in the process of finishing up the break in period now. I use them between my Supratek and the AN Soro SE Phono. I really like this cable. I've gone back to all copper cables, and this is one stellar performer for the money.
Give them a shot. If for no other reason than:
WE WILL COMPARE THIS CABLE TO ANY ALL COPPER AVAILABLE. TAKE OUR CHALLENGE- Buy a set and compare them. Use them for 30 days. If you don't think these are superior, return them for a full refund (less S&H).
The true story of copper is that it is universally utilized as an electrical conductor. Why? Because it's readily available, inexpensive, easy to manufacture and it conducts electricity very readily. The electricity coming out of you wall plug was conducted there most likely by Romex 12ga. solid core copper electrical wire. Why we suddenly need to spend hundreds of dollars on a powercord to get the electricity from the wall socket to the audio equipment is a bit beyond me. As for your interconnects, their only job is to carry a low level audio signal from point A to point B without screwing it up. You'd think that would be something that could be accomplished easily and cheaply, wouldn't you??
For what its worth, here's my opinion. I have tried AudioQuest, Acoustic Research, Tara Labs RSCs, Kimber PBJs, Kimber Silver Streaks, Silver Audio Hyacinths and Silver Bullet 6.0s and have found that none come even close to Analysis Plus Copper Oval interconnects. The Analysis Plus cables are superior to all the others in clarity, extension, dynamic slam and overall purity of sound. Go to the Analysis Plus website to read their technical description of the cables and give them a try. Inserting the Copper Ovals has completely stopped me on the cable 'upgrade path." And, they're reasonably priced. I also highly recommend their power cords. I suggest that you give them a try. Good luck in your search.
One more to add to the list: Cardas Neutral Reference. My other two favorite copper cables are AU24 and Luminous Synchestra Signatures, already mentioned. All of these sound very similar to each other in the mid-band. The Cardas is a little warmer in the midbass than the other two. The Luminous has the best soundstage. Depending on the rest of your system, the AU24 and Luminous may sound slightly rolled off in the extreme highs, but in a lot of SS systems this can be a good thing.
Sigh. Another Best Q.
If you like copper (like me), and like Au24 skinny wire ONO cast copper (like me), but dislike the new retail pricing of same, and want to save some money...
Yup, Chimera for me too and I've tried plenty...
Shasta & Rgd,
Do you own only the interconnect or speaker cables as well? I ask, since I'm very interested in Chimera's speaker cables, but I've looked in vain for any user feedback on the speaker cables. Many people applaud the ICs, but little is said of the speaker cables. Thanks.
No speaker cables as my system location (distance from my rack to my speakers) precludes me from using Dennis' speaker cables. Dennis will build you a long length if desired but advises that shorter lengths are preferable. Maybe if I ever get a chance to move the amp closer I will try his offerings.
Palasr- IC's only, here. Quite preliminary at that, about two weeks before the preamp went to the Great Northern territory for rework.
I'm also interested in the Chimera SC's. I'd see if Dennis has a demo set; if not he works with a MBG. Outstanding construction, BTW.
I too am a big fan of Chimera and Dennis. I use the ics throughout my system and am very happy with them.
Thanks for the responses folks. Perhaps in the new year, when the Xmas depletion has been tamed, I'll try a set of the Chimera speaker cables and report my findings(I'd love to hear a set of the Jena Labs, but alas, they are way out of my price range for a set of wires - I'd rather sink that cash into more software or a new table and arm). Good listening,