I like my balanced Signal Cables (30').
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Try a run of balanced ''pro'' cable, available at your local music gear store. I recently bought a 15 foot pair of balanced Digiflex microphone cable, just to try it, around $40 Canadian. It's still in my system, and isn't coming out. Sounds GREAT, neutral top to bottom. Replaced a pair of AZ WOW's, don't miss them at all. Admittedly, I was surprised....
Might work for you, who knows ? The investment is small enough to take the chance.
Neutral? Cardas Neutral Reference are famous for it. And Stereophile says they sound better than their twice the price Golden Reference. I have a 1m pair of NR XLR in like new condition listed on an audio web site, and Half.com, for $200 ($500 new).
Neutral IS where its at. They are my perferred cable all round. Except speaker. But only because I got my hands on a pair of AQ (all silver) Dragons. Whew. They sound like you connected the speakers directly to the amp, or something like that. But I could never pay 'normal' price for them(new $2500-2800).
Thats sounds like a great idea Mike. My friend runs a recording studio/music store here in my town, so I can try a pair anytime.
Thanks for the input Homedesign, I have been looking at that cable here on A'gon.
Its a real shame I dont have a fistful of 'em so I could A/B til my heart and ears are content.
Check out the following sources:
www.fatwyr.com Great list of used cables. Also fantastic service. Will customize.
www.audioparts.com Never underestimate Stu Wein's products. Ask him and he will built it.
www.a2Zcables.com Very organized web page. Won't give advise over the telephone but claims to be very responsive to Emails.
One cable that I like that I think is often overlooked is the Tara Labs Reference Gen 2. They can be picked up on Audiogon for $125-$200.00. I bought a demo pair from a dealer for $200.00. It may be that they just fit best in my system configuration, but I tried them against the Signal Cable balanced, Kimber Select KS1111, Tara Labs Air 3, and a few others. I thought the Gen 2s were the most tone correct, and had a fuller sound to them, especially extension in the mids and highs. I thought they were also more full and tone correct even compared to their own Air 3s which s a more expensive cable. And again, thought they had better mid and high extension than the $550.00 Kimber Cables. But for $49.00, the Signal Cable sounded pretty darn good. Pretty subjective review here but I think it depends a lot on your system and other cabling. The best sound out of all the cables for me was the Tara cables from Source to preamp, and Kimber from Preamp to AMP. Some strange synergy existed there.
I have "stepped up" a few times the last few years with XLR ICs. Currently I use NBS Statement which are ridiculously expensive but at 20-25% retail cost...when I found them, they were a huge improvement to my system over the already excellent Cardas Golden Cross which I had been using for a couple years. Before the Cardas, I used SilverAudio Silver Bullet 6 cables and these were an outstanding value. I see these on the used market here in the $100 range. Check out www.silveraudio.com. The owner, Max, is a very nice guy.
One thing I have learned is that some links in the system are very critical to cable changes and other links can be very subtle until a certain component comes a long and makes cable differences very dramatic. The line stage to amp has been for me the most sensitive link so I have tried many many brands here to find out what worked well with my ARC, and BAT and Counterpoint gear along the way. The phono stage to line stage really made very little difference in cable changes. For the longest time with an ARC PH2 to LS5, I tried so many cables here and the differences were very hard to hear if they existed at all. Only when I put in an Aesthetix Io and then wow, the NBS magic came through. But until then, believe it or not, a $50 Belden XLR cable was mighty fine for this link. It may sound strange to have multiple thousand $$ cable in one link of the system and then $50 elsewhere, but for me, it worked well at that time.
Incidentally, I do not use these Beldens anymore and so if you'd like me to send these to you .... for free, let me know. I also have a pair of the SilverBullet 6's around here some place that I could ship to you to try if you'd like.
As for some of the sites mentioned above, fatwyre, etc., nothing against these businesses, but you can get a far better value through so many private audiogon members. Try these out at the great used prices and if they do not fit, sell them off again. Just browse through IC cables here and there are plenty to keep you busy reading and researching. You really do need to try several to find one that fits best with your components. And what you seek is very different than the rest of us.
Another vote for Signal Cable, I must admit they are exceptional for the price, thanks for your input Triumph.
I have never listened to a silver IC, Copper only. I read that they are somewhat more airy, or open on the top, but sometimes weak on the bottom. I might just buy some just to give 'em a listen. For $65.00 shipped, at audiopartsinc.com, thats a steal.
You couldnt be more right, Mbreeze2, I didnt even think about Tara Labs, I did when shopping for speaker cable, but not ICs, they manufacture quality products.
Thats a heck of an offer John. I might just take you up on that. You hit the proverbial nail on the head... SYSTEM, SYSTEM, SYSTEM, its so dependent on not just that, but the ears of the beholder as well. Thanks so much for info on your evaluation, and selection of cables, that helps a ton.
I have looked at the Cobalt website. I have a Cobalt digital coax cable, it works well. I have been considering a Cobalt component video cable, but thats another story. Thanks Sogood51.
I see another thread, here in cables, about the best cable purchase. Several folks voted for Pure Note. Some even said they bested the mighty Valhalla. Any thoughts? Pure Note has a sale on currently, 33% off website orders. This is out of budget, but, maybe they will scratch my persistent upgrade itch. What am I saying, its the itch thats half the fun. I just need a second job.
All right I know no one mentioned them but.....Harmonic Technology Pro-silway mkIII, they sound really good...although a little out of budget at $350.00
What do you guys think about these?
In my system they sound tight and articulate with bass, very nuetral and involving with the mids, and surprisingly, since this is a hybrid silver/copper IC, very detailed and airy without too much brightness on the top.