Hello I would very much appreciate some suggestions regards cables for my system. I am "new" to cables. I currently have clear day silver cables throughout. Power cable suggestions would also be appreciated. Thank you !! Rob
Linn LP12 Herron VTPH2 ARC Ref5se ARC Ref250se Wilson Sasha 1
AudioQuest is a fairly classic combination with ARC gear. At least Wild, ideally WEL. The power cords are also good and good value used (do not purchase new as there will be a new generation of AQ power cords coming out shortly). AQ also have great after sales service to reterminate cables, change lengths etc etc
folkfreak: Thank you for your recommendation, I will research AQ. Good to know they offer after sales service too, quite important.
sufentanil: Thank you for your comments. It is encouraging to hear ClearDay is well regarded. I am not unhappy with the system, I have put alot of focus on speakers and electronics, testing upgrading etc to get to where i am now, but i have not done any comparison testing with cables. I have no idea where i currently stand, so am curious. If clearday is a balanced match for my system I would not need to upgrade.
I should caveat that the recommendations I made will cost ten times as much as your current cables (and that's at prices in the second hand market). I do believe that the quality of equipment you have deserves exploring better cables however (as I have no experience with Clear Day I cannot say how they stack up against the typical top end choices). Personally I have about 30% of the cost of my system in cables but you have to be the final judge. Best thing is to work with a number of local dealers who will loan you cables to try in your system this way you can have several choices on hand for a direct comparison. Alternatively you can buy used and sell on ones you don't care for
folkfreak: Your caveat is understood and appreciated. Your comments are great as it gives me products to research and things to think about. I may do as you say and ask if a local dealer has some loan cables. Regards Rob
i use Shunyata Alpha HC power cords for my Ref 5se, Ref Phono 2se and Ref 110. I also use Shunyata Zitron interconnects and speaker cables. Until recently ARC used Shunyata in their demo room and at shows. Now they have begun to use Sane cables. Synergistic Research is also a very good match with ARC.
Try a Sunyata Zitron Alpha HC on your Ref 5se and you will be amazed at the difference it makes. It convinced me to replace all my power cords with Shunyata.
I would be very careful buying used cables as there are fakes around. You can call or email Shunyata with a serial number, type and length of cable. They are very helpful and will tell you if it is genuine.
Regarding fake cables. Yes they do exist but for those most part are fairly easy to spot. If you're offered a deal that is "too good to be true" (e.g. 10% of list price say) then its almost certainly a fake. Most used cables should sell at 25-40% of list (which is why you should always ask for a substantial discount if buying new). The exception are current spec models where 50-60% might be possible. Any manufacturer that uses serial numbers should be able to authenticate for you - for example I've had Nordost cables authenticated. Audioquest do not use serial numbers but you can identify details on their cables from back copies of their price books. They will authenticate a cable for you but only if they have it in person, and if its fake they'll destroy it ...
The other challenge in buying used is cables that have been cut down and re terminated. Any seller should disclose this and if done by the original manufacturer this should not affect value (beyond lack of packaging of course). If done by someone else who knows
Anyway I've bought and sold loads of expensive cables on the used market and never had any issues. Work with someone with good feedback, ask lots of questions, and ping this forum if you are not sure and you should be fine
Magic happens w/ ARC, Wilson speakers and Transparent cabling. Over the years, I have listened to this combo to outstanding results. The Transparent Reference, Reference XL or OPUS cables/cords will do your system very nicely.
All of my auditions took place at Audio Advice in Raleigh NC over 2012-2014. I cannot suggest enough to find your nearest Transparent dealer/retailer for a proper demo.
The ARC Ref5se is very special indeed and must connect w/ the best cabling that you can afford. I have had the listening pleasure of hearing it at Audio Advice connected to ARC and Bryston power amps. These systems had Transparent Reference or Reference XL and OPUS cabling systems complete. Results are astonishing to state the least. Seek out used or demo prices. Happy Listening!
Another vote for Shunyata pcs and interconnects which I use and ARC used in its sound rooms (along with Sainline) when they could more readily use Wilson speakers. Now that ARC is part of World of McIntosh which also owns Sonus Faber, guess whose speakers are in the sound room? I have also experimented with Sainline pcs and found them to be excellent. Shunyata and Chris Sain provide excellent and responsive customer service. Note that ARC lately has taken to using Shunyata pcs and Transparent interconnects with Sonus Faber. I have also used Stealth, Audioquest WEL, Nordost, Kimber and MIT. All are slightly different flavors. The only brand listed above that I do not like with ARC and Wilson is Nordost. But that's just my humble opinion.
gpgr4blu: Thank you, very interesting. Seems Shunyata PCs are popular, do you recommend a particular model where value is best?
Other Cables: I am also curious about some of the manufacturers you mention. AQ and Nordost. Interesting to hear you didnt like the Nordost so much with ARC & Wilson. Do you have a favourite for the Wilson/ ARC combo? I take it you have ended up with Shunyata all round?
Would you imagine a big step up from something like Clear Day silver cables to AQ WEL, Shunyata etc.. ?
dlcockrum: Thank you for that. I have heard of Synergistic Research but not looked into it, ill do some reading. Can i ask which model in their range you find best value? May i ask which transparent model you have been happy with? Rob
Transparent Audio cables would be my recommendation. I have an ARC Ref 2 SE phono into a CJ pre and Cary amps with WA Maxx3's. Love the combo and the musicality of the cables. Anything Reference level or above is highly recommended.
For power cords I am using Audioquest. NRG10's, NRG100's plus one NRG1000. Ihave found them far superior t Shunyaa offerings. But for my Oppo player I find a $400 JPS digital power cord works far superior to the udioquest offerings. As far as interconnects I am using MG Audio Designs latest offerings. Both Arnie Nudell and Paul McGowan use them for their own personal systems. They both claim them to be superior to the current top rated competition. And they cost $1500 for a one meter length of their top of the line offerings. and, if you are in my current financial situation, the price for a half meter pair is $900. Not having the competitin for comparison, I can say that they are truly superior to the prior Audioquest $1800 Niagara's, plus my current Audience pair of 24AUse model-their previous top of the line. Although I am not a member, supposidly members of the Colorado Audio Society also concur with these findings. I am also using their speaker wires as well. That is another story. But for the money, I do not believe that anything else offered today can not come close to competing with MG Audio Design for the money.. Whether they can actually compete, let alone surpass, say the wires that Michael Fremer or Johnathan are currently using I cannot say. But again, for the money MG Audio Design cannot be equalled. Let alone approached.
Re: Synergistic, I have several generations of their power cords, from the original Master Coupler to four gens of their "active shielding" series power cords ("X", "X2", Tesla, and Element CTS) and their Tesla Apex XLR ICs and Precision Reference speaker cables. I find their active shielding products to be magical at "blowing out the walls" of the listening room (allowing massive perceived space limited only by the recording), especially after having fellow-member Michael Spallone perform his inexpensive MPC mod.
The "SE" versions of the Tesla and the entire Element series have interchangeable tuning modules for each cable/cord that I find very useful in tweaking the upper frequencies to get maximum open-ness and air and eliminate glare and stridency. Those are the sweet spot for me and can be bought used at reasonable (to me) prices.
I have not tried SR’s latest Atmosphere line.
My Transparent Audio cables are their Reference XL XLR IC’s between my DAC and preamp in my computer-audio front end. Very good cables; balanced, well-integrated and musical with excellent open-ness and detail. Very expensive and TA is constantly offering owners "upgrades" that I find to be unreasonably priced considering the initial cost of the cables.
I strongly recommend that you hear any cables in your system and in your room before buying (or with a return provision) vs hearing in a dealer showroom setting with unfamiliar equipment and room, thus my earlier caution.
Hi Rob: As you can see, there are many different opinions re cables and many are dependent upon listener preference, the other components in the system and the room. Also, there can be a significant difference between a manufacturer’s different cable lines. Look to what people with your system components use. Wilson Audio promotes Transparent almost exclusively. I have never used a Transparent cable in house as I found their higher end lines to be significantly better than their mid level lines and did not want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on cables. So, after a full Stealth system, and then a Stealth/Kimber combo, I switched to all Shunyata including pcs and power conditioning. The Zitron generation (now being phased out) is extraordinarily good for the money and much better than the prior Shunyata Aeros line which I first saw in ARC’s listening room and I purchased years ago. But I still use an Audioquest WEL cable between turntable (VPI HRX rim drive w/ Lyra Atlas) and ARC Ref 40 as Shunyata did not make such a cable at the time. I have no desire to switch that cable out. The balance of my system is ARC Ref 150 (w KT 150s) and Wilson Sashas---soon to be Alexia 2s and Spectral cd player which is designed with M.I.T. cables which I purchased for that position in my system. Without wiring my system with comparable Audioquest or Transparent, I cannot actually say which is best---but I will say that ALL cables, like components, have a "house sound". In that regard, I find the Shunyata Zitron cables to be very transparent but also very balanced. Nordost, in almost all systems in which I have heard them with Wilson speakers, sound very fast but IMHO lose some heft (sound a bit bleached) in the midrange and emphasize the leading edge of notes. Of course, others listeners might find all other cables too slow and find the Nordost more transparent. A new contender I am told by a trusted friend is the Synergistic Research Atmosphere line--although he has none of my components in his system. One way to deal with it is to borrow, say, 3 looms from The Cable Company and compare in your system. I did that years ago with Audience cables which I liked but not as much as the Stealth cables I was using at the time. Good luck.
All my Transparent cables are from the MM2 series. Interconnects are a mix of Reference XL and Reference MM2. Speaker cables are Reference MM2 (one step below opus). Turntable is a Grand Prix Audio Monaco. Pre- CJ Premier 16, amps Cary 805 Anniversary edition. Wilson speakers are really good with many types of amps. They are very efficient in terms of power handling. My SET amps are only 50wpc but run the Maxx 3's really well. Transparent Audio's impedance matching really helps in getting the best out of your components. This is especially true in helping amps drive speakers. Also Wilson uses Transparent cabling in the internal wiring of their speakers. I've had many brands including AQ, Harmonic, SR, Nordost in my system, but found that TA brings the best synergy. I do have to mention that I have power products by Synergistic Research in my system including powe cables and a power cell conditioner which I really love. Hope this helps.
Re mixing cables -- sure. Never assume that one manufacturer is best for all the different applications. For example Transparent make great digital cables but I've never really liked their interconnects. Likewise for speaker cable i did a head to head of Odin 1, WEL and Galileo LE and chose the latter. For power cords I tend to Synergistic, particularly as having invested in a transporter I can power and tune them to suit. Once you find a manufacturer that works for you in a particular application you tend to stick with it.
Also if you have a local hand-made manufacturer who will lend you something to play with that can be great as well -- for example Marigo is just across the river for me and I love trying out Ron's cables that can be real giant killers.
Nice system. With ARC / Wilson, I have heard some nice synergy with Kubala Sosna cables (Emotion or Elation). WEL Signature is, as others have mentioned above, a very typical pairing. While I have not heard these particular pairings, Purist (Dominus or better) and Siltech might be good choices as well.
For power cords, I love Tara Cobalt, but also have had success with Purist and Siltech.
However, to address the elephant in the room (as folkfreak alluded to above) - what is your budget? For example, a full loom of WEL Signature at retail price would pretty much be a significant percentage of the total cost of your system - based on the system configuration you outline above, 3 ICs, a phono cable, 3 PCs, and speaker cables would cost ~$70k.
I also agree with gpgrblu's recommendation above that you give The Cable Company a shot. While there is a modest fee (a percentage of the total cost of the cable, which is credited to any purchase), you can try all different sorts of cable in your systems. I once did a shootout with some high end ICs, and they had no issue sending me $20k worth of cables at a time to compare against each other.
I think the order of benefit for a cable change is system dependent. If your system is resolving, everything matters but to different degrees.
In my system, I find that an interconnect change is most impacting.
I would say power cords the least, so long as you have clean power and have settled on the power cords for your distributor, power amp and maybe preamp. I say this from recent experience. After doing the above, I sold all my source power cords and went back to the generic zip cords that came with the sources. The sound improved in some areas and wasn't detrimental in others save for the "tone" control aspect of the higher end power cords I had on the sources.
You havn't stated what type of cables you are using. XLR's or RCA? Single shotgun or double Shotgun for S/C?
What is your budget?
I have no experience with Clear Day cables, they do have a good rep. on Audiogon. It appears you are reasonably happy with them but like most of us curious about the Cable "maze". Personally I have heard only minimal improvements between XLR cables but significant improvements between RCA's. XLR's IME are much better value because of this and I run them where possible. Can you run two different Speaker Cables from Power Amps to Speakers? I have had good results doing this.
I have experienced your Pre and Power Amps into Sasha 2's and they are very good. My suggestion, depending on your budget, is that they are deserving of a better T/T than an LP12. Well Tempered Versalex, Sota, VPI will be a big improvement over the LP12, and I'd personally feel that would be money better spent.
If you don't have upgraded Power Cables then yes definitely upgrade them and also upgrade Power (dedicated lines, conditioners etc.) if you havn't done so yet.
initforthemusic: Thank you. Agree with your comments.
RCA from phono to pre. (It would be nice if the Herron was balanced) XLR from pre to amps. Speaker cables are single as the Sasha only has a single pair of binding posts. (guess i could double up on them?). I have PS Audio AC10 & AC12 but am curious about others.
I must say i have been looking at the Linn and wondering how a VPI (perhaps Classic 4) or SOTA Cosmos would compare. I just had the Linn upgraded too...
Do you thinj the SOTA Cosmos would be a noticeable improvement from LP12?
Hi Rob, I have owned most of the equipment you have except I use a REF75 amp and now have Sasha 2s. Stick with Transparent. They wire Wilson speakers with it at the factory and Dave Wilson uses it almost exclusively at the factory, on the road (at shows) and in his own systems. (he uses various combos of ARC, VTL and D'Agostino equipment) I know this as I do work for a Wilson and Transparent dealer and have been to the factory in Provo and have seen what they use. If new is too pricey, they have a certified preowned program that can get you into MM2 cables at a good price and even have them tweeked properly for your equipment if required. Your dealer can ck and see. Brad is no longer there as one fellow mentioned, but Bob M. there is a good guy. Also, keep your LP12, just talk to your Linn dealer about the various upgrades available for it. Unless yours is already "maxxed out", there's always some way to make it sound better! Good luck and happy listening! Tom
@walkingman Thank you ! I have decided to try to purchase Ref mm2 range. XLR, RCA and Speaker cables. The certified pre-owned program sounds good, i assume i have to go through a dealer? Actually i think you mention that. Linn is nice but i am curious. I am not maxxed out as yet, getting the EKOS & Radikal is not cheap and has made me consider other tables. Regards Rob
Saine Line Systems out of Minneapolis makes incredible reference level AC cables. They are not inexpensive ($3500), but make a sonic improvement equivalent to a pre-amp upgrade. Audio Research uses these cables in their sonic design department. I recently purchased them for my Audio Research Ref 5se, Phono ref 2se and Reference CD9. The Dramatic improvement in depth of the sound stage immediately drew me in. Highly detailed and separated, Music sounds live vs simply good audio.