RC audio has excellent sound for the money. They're just not that well known. I had them before I moved to all MIT cable.
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Acoustic Zen Silver Reference ($898)and Satori speaker cables($598).I never thought I would say this as I have changed ICs and speaker cables at least 5 times in the last year and my feedback here on Audiogon will show that. This cables from Robert Lee's Acoustic Zen IC's just blew everybody away,that includes, AQ Amazon,AQ Clear SE,Transparent Reference,Kimber Select 1130,and Nordost SPM and Quattro Fil (yes, I said Quattro Fil). In terms of transparency,treble extension,soundstaging(the quattro fil maybe at par)and bass control this cables are the best I heard yet on my system (all SS,EMC1,Krell KRC3 and FPB 200 and Thiel 3.6). This cables are pretty much underpriced I should say considering the performance they are capable of.
Not to offend anybody but this is what I heard and observed on my system.
I really enjoy my Clearview Golden Helix cables from the boys at Mapleshade. mapleshaderecords.com $85 for 8', 30-day money back. In/for MY system, I prefer them to my MIT and XLO Ultra Type 6 cables that are now collecting some expensive dust, (as they age and await my next upgrade and a possible reprieve.) Good luck, Charlie
Charlie,Im looking to upgrade my double run of Tara Phase 2 space and time.$85 for 8 feet? is that right? Can you tell me the cost of the others and what this inexpensive cable does better? Im always looking for a bargain! Im going to audition some Kimber 8TC soon and want to get the best bang for the buck.BTW the monster kitten shows no signs of mellowing out!!!
Hey, David. (1)There is a complete description of their wires and interconnects at the mapleshade website. You should check it out. This was one of those rare accidents that was a pleasant surprise. I was looking for an inexpensive longer wire to experiment with widening my speaker placement, as my XLO's are only 6'. I was going to try the Kimber 4PR as a well reviewed inexpensive wire when I ran across this Golden Helix wire in the Mapleshade catalogue. I knew they had been doing their own wiring for recording, saw the 30-day money back, and ordered them. These wires are so tiny you would not believe it. When I hooked them up, they were, as best I can describe without a thesaurus, more "dynamic" than the XLO even without being broken in. It really brought a smile to my face. Of course, that is in my system, you might hate them. But hey, at ONE pound, your shipping costs are negligable to send them back! I highly recommend you try them. (2)I think you should threaten your kitty with a trip to the Vet, that often works. (Sometimes you have to drive by a clinic, or better yet pull in the parking lot, to show you mean business.) Charlie
Since Stealth has already come up, maybe I won't be hammered for throwing in my impressions. Full disclosure: I know the designer, so assume a bias if you wish. I used to make cables like homegrown's, with relatively thick silver, and thought they were pretty nice. I used Kimber AGSS too, and made KCAG clones, as well as "time-aligned" attempts, with solid core wire combined with longer AGSS. When I heard my first Stealth cables, I gave up my cable-making career in a hurry, though I loved, and still love, being a DIY type. If there's any truth in Malcolm O. Hawksford's "The Essex Echo", a huge number of cable manufacturers are using wire that's MUCH too thick to make a really good cable. Stealth, and some other makers--Cardas, for one--don't make this mistake, and in a good system, their cables will show their superiority. In lesser systems, inferior cables may not show up as such. Something else needs to be improved first.
Recently received DH Labs TC-14 to bi-wire my Kestrels. Was using AQ 4TC. Immediately better soundstage, air, and, well, reality. Vivaldi flute concerto in D(Chesky cd 78)not more but better growl from the double bass and a greater feeling of a moving air column from the flute. Being a trombone player and having played the fugue from the Brahm's first a million times, I went straight to that; the sonority from Szell and the Cleveland as well as Haitink wuth the Concertgebouw (Columbia and Philips, respectively, hardly audiophile labels)was, well, more sonorous. If you're cheap like me, you should give them a shot.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Harmonic Tech cables which can be had in the 200-300 range used on this site. I'm currently using ProSilway MK2 XLR's and the Pro-11 speaker cable, and both have made huge differences in the sound over similarly priced transparent and audioquest cables I was originally using.
I agree that the Coincident is very good for the money. Even better in my system is the fairly unknown and low cost Vantage Audio Siver Marina interconnect. They offer a 45 day money back guarantee to audition them. They are however not the match of Nordost Quattro Fil (which is 5x as expensive.) I currently own Coincident, Tara Mst Gen 2, AQ Diamond, Quattro Fil, Harmonic Tech Pro Silway 2 and the Vantage interconnects. I would rate the Vantage as the best value of the bunch. Try as many as you can in your system.
I also think the Coincident cables are one of the best values out there. I absolutely love the pair I use. Best copper cables I have had in my system, bar none. If it were not for the success I have had with silver in my system(HomeGrown Audio's new Silve Lace), I would just use the Coincident and call it a day. My system has tubes, and I have found silver to be better than copper. But, for those who have not had a good match with silver, definitely go with Coincident.
If you are willing to make your own cables, this one may be the best sound for the buck (by a wide margin). Procure some belden 1701A cat5 data cable (this is their best cat5 : pure teflon dielectric, perfect bonded coductor pairs, extremely consistent capacitance for any length). Take apart the outer jacket exposing the inner teflon bonded conuctors. Configure eight bonded pairs (two full original 1701A cables worth), tightly heat shrink all 8 pairs in Canare shrink tubing, then strip each bonded wire's insulator, connect the solid color wires together for positive , the banded color coductors for negative. Amazingly, this works just as well for both speaker and interconnect cables. ( For the final touch, you can also psuedo chryo freeze the cables with dry ice in a sealed styrofoam container, placed overnight in your freezer. This adds a bit of smoothness to their overall sound..i.e., more analog sounding) The sound of this cable has beat the following cables in comparison tests: Transparent,Music meter, Wire world, Monster's best and XLO. This is saying something since the overall construction cost is less than $3.00 per foot. (I should note that this design was a serious effort, that involved 18 audiophiles and 3 high end audio designers, over a two year period)
Just finished comparing the new Homegrown Audio Silver Lace against my Coincident CST IC's. Wow!!! I had thought that there was nothing better but I was wrong. The Silver Lace was significantly more transparent sounding. The CST did have marginally better bass reach but the difference wasn't significant. The Homegrown cables still aren't broken-in yet so I expect the bass to improve with time. I can't believe the Silver Lace only sells for $189. It's a bargain especially with free shipping and no sales tax.
Granite Audio #470 silver ic's are incredibly transparent and fast. They let the signal through. You can call Don and set up a trial and get a price. As good as the Harmonic tech pro silwayII was, I kept the granite, feeling it truer to the signal. Beware, it will not candy coat the incoming signal, but you will hear all the music.
You can buy Belden from Tech America. Everyone that attempts to build this cable, please note the following: Do not consider constructing the cat5 cable with more than 8 pairs of conductors, this is critical to the wires' performance. These conductors are very small (24 gauge), but the 8 pair conductor design is the best of any variations.(Many people think that a good cable needs to have lots and lots of copper, so they try bundle 12,16 and even 20 pairs of conductors. Unfortunately, these configurations sound pretty awful). When you hear how good the bass and dynamics are with the 8 conductor pair configuration, you will scratch your head to why many commercially available cables are so damn big and heavy. Additionally, the wires need a minimum of 80 hours of break-in before you make any serious comparisons with other cables.
You seem to be coming up with all kinds of "budget buys" lately. What lengths work best for this cable ? What about the RCA's used ??? Specific Solder ??? I have to wonder what the actual impedance of this cable is ??? A digital signal is basically an RF based signal where SWR becomes far more critical than at audio frequencies. As it is, the parallel connections for this wire result in what would be equivalent to appr. an 18 gauge wire. I have used this for speaker cable before and it results in an overly thin sound while lacking bass impact and dynamics. This would be like trying to use Kimber PBJ as speaker cables. Sean >