Best digital cable to audition?

Hi everyone. I am looking to audition some of the best digital cables out there and would like some recommendations. I've heard Transparent and thought very highly of it. Does anyone have other recommendations?

My current gear is the following...
Ayre V-3 amp
Krell Showcase Pre/Pro
Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures and VCC-1 Center Channel
Cardas Golden Cross I/C and Digital Lightning 15
Alpha Core MI 2 Speaker Cable
Marigo Labs Apparition 5.7
One of the finest in the world.
Here are two excellent cables at opposite ends of the spectrum. I own both.

Blue Jeans Digital cable $13.50
Blue Jeans

Purist Audio Digital Dominus $1520.00
XLO Limited Edition....balanced. Beautifully neutral....
Albert Porter choice is a good one but i will strongly recommand also a 1.5 M of virtual dyanmic NITE or if you can afford the new MASTER SERIE...
Long break in time but sound very good fresh out of the box and also a very good service by Rick....
hope this help!
Balanced Stereovox HDVX2.

I'm curious to know how the two cables you mention compare to each other. What are their threngths and weaknesses?
I second the Marigo 5.7. I had the Apparition 5.6, and it was easily the best digital cable I'd ever heard, besting MANY digital cables, including the Transparent Reference. I would think the 5.7 is even better.
I've enjoyed the Stealth Varidig Premiere and am beta testing the new Varidig Sextet...AES/EBU
I too am looking for a digital cable.

From what I have have read I am going to get one of the two following cables.
i2digtital cable of you have more money
Or the Stereovox HDXV for less money

Both share the same designer.

The Sterovox will off about 90% of the performace of the i2digital for a 1/3 of the price.

Also, take a read of this article. It says we should use a cable with the length of 1.5m. I tried it with my current digital cable and noticed a positive improvement with a longer cable.

Hello, to everyone on this thread. If Gfroman and Hooper would be nice enough to share their impressions of the sonic virtues of the Marigo 5.7 cable, it would greatly appreciated by me. I have always been curious about this cable and you guys have direct experience with it, so please share your thoughts. Thanks.


I'm curious to know how the two cables you mention compare to each other. What are their strengths and weaknesses?

Ketchup, I am using the Blue Jeans between my Sony 9000es and the Dolby DTS converter and frankly cannot hear any difference between it and the Purist on movies.

This of course is not a definitive test as my surround sound system is hardly state of the art. I am expecting the latest version tube DAC from Scott Nixon tomorrow and will give both cables a try with music.
Referring to the Marigo Apparition 5.7, it is a well built but very stiff 1.5meter cable. Bending the cable to fit your configuration is no problem however.
This cable seems to do what a digital cable should do, convey every bit of information from the DA to the transport without any digital hash, harshness, etc.
Assuming you have a first rate DA and transport, the 5.7 simply gets out of the way and lets their strengths shine through.
A disclaimer, since having a Marigo digital cable in my system since 1998 - I have become a distributor for their products. I am a devoted follower of Marigo Labs for sure!
Have I missed it but what kind of digital equipment have you got? Recently shopping for a 25' AES/EBU digital cable, I got prompt Paypal service on Mogami 3173 available here:

Drill down for pics and specs here:

With a suggested maximum length of 1,000 feet, 25 feet of 3173 does exactly what it should: it works like a charm. Digital coax may be more voodoo, but of the three real world AES/EBU choices, Belden, Canare and Mogami, it's a safe bet your CDs passed thru one of them on their way to you. The topper for me was that Mogami 3173 is the only one to address the long-run specific criteria.

I would be interested in hearing your comparison between the two cables.

XLO Limited Edition.This is undoubtedly one of the fastest, most coherent, detailed digital cables available. This cable will transform your digital front end. Highs are wonderfully transparent and bass is superbly tight, controlled and extended.
Audience Au24. Not perfect but perhaps the best all around digital cable on the market.
Yes the Au24 is a great cable.
However the Furutech Digi Ref III are a bit ahead on my system : more details, more dynamics, more air, they are also more expensive.
Check out the Omega Micro line of cables. They make some pretty impresssive sounding stuff. Very dynamic with excellent resolution.
Interesting observation Albert.

A group of us audio nuts tested a half dozen digital cables. All but one sounded the same to all ears. That one is the Virtual Dynamics Masters. It was definitely better. All the others couldn't be told apart, including the three wire stuff you get with every cheap DVD player.

Since then, the VD has been making the rounds throughout our audio club, vanquishing all comers. That is, until it met the Audio Note digital. Dang those guys do things right. And, the AN cost half the VD.
Kimber AGDL.
Anybody have experience with the Harmonix HS-102, RCA or XLR?
There are 2 Audio Note companies, 1 Japanese and 1 English. Could you describe the Audio Note cable you were using? English or Japanese, model number and terminations? Thanks!
I believe the AN digital was English, knowing what store it was sourced from. It was terminated in AN silver. I think that may have made a difference. You can get these silver terminals from Parts Express for about $35. One of the cords it was tested against was my own Home Grown.
I2Digital X-60

How did the cable shoot out go?
And what do you think of the tube DAC?

Ndeslions- for half the cost of one of your Furutech Digi Ref IIIs, you can upgrade your RCS PSU and get more details, more dynamics, more air, then any cable can provide.

Mr.Porter- I looked at your system, where do you use/need a digital cable?

If you're only running at 44.1K, there's lots of good digital cables, for 96/192k,I like Audience Au24 AES cable. With Audience's 30 day money back policy, they're definately worth a try.
kana813, between the Sony and Scott Nixon tube DAC and between the Sony and DTS decoder before going into my Aesthetix.

Thanks for the info.

Now that you're using the Dali speakers, it would be interesting to get your feedback on Peter's new LyngdorfAudio digital line.
"Ndeslions- for half the cost of one of your Furutech Digi Ref IIIs, you can upgrade your RCS PSU and get more details, more dynamics, more air, then any cable can provide."

My RCS will be upgraded soon too.
The tops in my actual experience are Nordost Valhalla, PAD Dominus and Kharma Grand Reference. All very expensive but well worth the money if found used.

Next level down are AZ MC2 and Nordost Silver Shadow. Close on their tail are the iX2 Digital and a raving bargain is the Better Cables Silver Serpent digital.

Hope this helps. Foregoing based on my personal experiences.

i know this has had to have been discussed before, but can someone tell me how one digital cable could transfer 1's and 0's better than another ? thanks

My understanding is a digital cables impedance, inductance, total length, internal reflectance and quality of terminations all play a role in its ability to preserve data.

Lots of discussion here at Audiogon on the subject, including the concept of maintaining 75 ohms as that is supposed to be the standard.

Then there is the issue of whether the DAC and transport are TRUE 75 ohm and would benefit from that exact termination.

Connectors play a role, with BNC type claiming to be "the" 75 ohm standard. In response, Canare built an RCA version that is reported to be just as accurate.

So as usual, the answer is not easy and why many of us choose to audition various cable to determine what works.
Readster, I'm no expert on this subject but there are no ones or zeros. That's just a concept. In reality there are electrical or light signals. Those electrical and light signals can be affected by any number of things. Even some fiber optics sound different in my experience.
I just got a Stereovox HDVX cable. Its still breaking in, but so far I am liking it.

I auditioned the Marigo Labs Apparition 5.6 vs the Transparent and, in my system, I liked the Transparent better.
Being a transmission lines for high-frequency digital signals (megahertz range), all digital cables must first meet the "minimum" requirement of a 75-Ohm impedance. Some expensive digital cables unfortunately do not even meet this simple standard and most consumers have no way of knowing that.

Having the correct 75-Ohm impedance alone is of course no guaranty of a perfect signal transmission. As Albertporter already mentioned, connectors, termination, length, etc., could also affect the signals.

I am lucky enough to have a friend, a EE who worked in data transmission and has the equipment to measure the basic performance of digital cables. He showed me on his scope signal problems caused by impedance mismatch and reflections in the cables. The test signals became distorted with overshoots and other ugly noise spikes. This is not acceptable, especially from cables costing upward of $500. He did some simple things to the the connectors/terminations, and suddenly the test signal emerged perfectly undistorted. Listening tests with and without the fix confirmed the clear sound improvement.

And these are only problems that we understand pretty well. Engineering variable, however, are rarely fully defined and understood. There are often hidden parameters that we failed to account for at first, second, or even third pass.

So as a consumer chosing a digital cable, the first thing is to get absolute assurance of a 75-Ohm impedance. Then, find out about the quality of the connectors and terminations. If these issues are resolved, you would have avoided the first-order problems. Your ears will do the rest. It's pointless to try a digital cable that's are not even 75 Ohm.

Sometimes I wished that there were stricter regulations for digital cables, for example a 75-Ohm label like food nutiritional-fact label, based on actual measurements, not just wishful thinking. It would not be a guaranty of great sound, but it's a good start.
Sorry to be so slow in responding, the Scott Nixon DAC is a substantial improvement over the stock Sony 9000es, which probably comes as no surprise to anyone here.

The Scott Nixon may require additional break in as it seems to improve with each additional hour. I suspect changes are due to the outboard (toroidal) power supply and internal caps but perhaps the DAC chip as well. The tube supplied with the Nixon is basic and I have yet to try a NOS in it's place to see what that does.

Right now it's running with the cheap Blue Jeans digital cable from the Sony and Purist Venustas (Nixon analog outs) to my Aesthetix Callisto.

Very nice digital, particularly considering it's $575.00 price tag. It performs as well as some $10K players I've had in my system, so I will probably keep it.

I will try a shoot out between the Blue Jeans digital and Purist digital in the next week or so, but I'm inclined to stay with the Blue Jeans if for no other reason than matching investment with the rest of my digital.

If I could justify an Audio Note or other cool DAC, that would be a different matter.
I also recently auditioned the Synergistic Designers' Reference and Absolute Reference digital cables. I felt that both were better than the Marigo 5.6 on my system. They both provided a better soundstage and more air. The Absolute Reference was quite a bit better than the Designers' Reference. It it one of the best digital cables I have heard, but at a price tag of $2,000 it better be.
Stealth Varidig Sextet!! No other digital cable achieves the musical reality as the Sextet does.
"Stealth Varidig Sextet!! No other digital cable achieves the musical reality as the Sextet does."

Kuzibri - Does your your transport and dac have transformers on the digital outputs/inputs? If so, do you know what brand they're using?
Kuzibri, I would agree to a great extent with your praise of the Varidig Sextet, I would just word it as the most musical/organic cable I have auditioned so far. I just posted a review on the Sextet last week here on the GON stating that I believe it really offers a qualitative shift towards analog ease and musicality compared to any other digital cable I have ever heard. I just don't like to call any piece the "BEST" in the world because their are many different flavors along with personnal taste and system synergy. However, anyone looking to audition a reference level digital cable, and doesnot include the Sextet in their audition process is making a big mistake, I believe in both our opinions.
Try Kondo KSL-LPD, does many things very well.
I am still a believer in Acoustic Zen
Unclejeff, I also admire the work of Mr. Robert Lee, the rest my system is cabled with Acoustic Zen, including his new reference the Absolute, the AZ E=ZEN2 is a wonderful sounding digital cable and very reasonable priced, but don't be a "true believer" the Stealth Sextet is on another level sonicly compared to the AZ cable. So, maybe you would audition the two cables in your system and then let us know what you think then.
In my opinion the Stealth Varidigit Sextet and the Cerious Technologies digital cable are the best presently available. The CT is substantially cheaper.
Where does the Nordost Valhalla digital cable fit into this?
I never had a Nordost digital, but both the Stealth and CT are better than the Siltech Golden Ridge and I am told the Golden Eagle.
Disclaimer: I am a Stealth distributor

The Sextet is sold with a full money back 30 day audition period and to date no purchaser has returned the cable to me for a refund. Many of them were Nordost, Siltech, Stereovox, and XLO owners. In a highly competitive marketplace, it is indeed a very fine product.

I use a Valhalla digicable (XLR) between a CEC TL-1X and a Dodson 218 DAC. IMS, it surpassed both the PAD Dominus and the Kharma Grand Reference, both of which I found to be a bit reticent, but not by much in either case; just enough to cause me to switch. I have not heard the Stealth Sextet.

I recently tried the Triad Acoustics Golden Pinnacle series and was very impressed. They have a patented EAM (Electron Alignment Matrix) technology (I know it sounds hoaky) that separates the frequencies into "designated carrier constructs." Whatever it does, it sounds AWESOME! They are not cheap ($489 retail), but definintely worth it. No -- seriously, I would try Radio Shack.