Cables for CAT JL2 - is Purist non-silver enough?

The prevailing wisdom (including from Ken Stevens) is that silver cables don't match well with CAT amps. I've heard that the new Purist cables (maybe the old ones too) like the Aqueous Anniv. sound nothing like stereotypical silver. Does anybody have experience using Purist with CAT gear or have other recommendations for ICs and speaker cables? Apparently many people use Transparent - I was advised by a knowlegeable person that they didn't think a network cable on a CAT was a great idea. Seems like there are some CAT afficionados out there, I was hoping someone had done serious experimenting.
System is Calypso, Modwright 3910, Shahinian Obelisk, analog soon.
Are you sure the Purist Aniv. are silver???? I think they are a combination of different metals.......... Then again I haven't done a lot of reading on the new Purist stuff. I have Purist Venustas throughout my system and really like the sound......... Can't say how they would work with CAT stuff though.

Agone member Jfox has a CAT/Purist combination if I remember right....... Maybe he will chime in....... In the end, my advise would be to do a cable lend from the Cable Co. to see what works best for you first hand.

I have a CAT SL1 Ultimate pre, and I think I know where the fear of silver comes from. The CATs are very revealing, as you know, and often what is revealed is all the high requency hash. Silver cables tend to reveal more of the high frequency stuff too, and so the combination of the two can be a little frightening. Some silver cables are not very well balanced as well, and the problem gets worse. In my system, I use my own cables, which use a blend of metals, including a high proportion of silver, and sound just about right. I also own Siltech SQ 88 and SQ 110-- to my ear, they are one of the best sounding cables around-- not neutral, but really good and definately worth a try. They are a blend of gold and silver. I also like Cardas Golden Reference for a slightly warmer sound. Cardas gets a bad rap sometimes, for sounding mushy or soft, but the trick with their cables is to plug them in and leave them alone, and to let them break in for a good long time. It makes a big difference. If you keep moving them around, you'll never hear their true characteristics. The reason? Each tiny strand of copper that goes into their cable is insulated, so there is quite a bit of dialectric static or charge to discharge. Everytime you move the cable, say, plug in a different cable, you upset the dialectric charge balance (or whatever we call it). Anywy, if you treat the Cadras cables well, they will sound detailed and smooth.

As far as I know, there aren't any electrical issues with CAT and silver cables-- like impedance or capacitance.

Try some Siltech. I think you'll be amazed.

Hope this helps,

Ciao Audio
Thanks Chris and Mark. When I talked with Ken Stevens, his objection to silver was that it rings and he thought it wasn't as musical as copper. But I guess the application is important as is the material. Acoustice Zen Matrix Reference was another recommendation (not from Ken). I know CAT has demo'd with Virtual Dynamics but I was told that you really need to cable your whole system with VD to realize the benefits - a single IC won't get you much. But it's all heresay to me at this point because I haven't tried them.
If you go to the Purist website and download the PDF catalog which includes all specifications for each cable they make, you will see that all of their interconnects use a silver/gold alloy + copper in all their ICs -- even the least expensive models. No pure silver or silver-clad copper is used, which can sometimes cause the brightness or high frequency grain often attributed to silver.

Alloys also have another advantage. They are much less sucseptable to corrosion/oxidation at the conductor/dielectric interface.

Only a handful of manufacturers use proprietary alloys for their conductors. Magnan (bronze,) Purist, Van den Hul (I think) Siltech (I think) and maybe a couple of others. In any case, this represents a high material cost to the manufacturer since it is a custom material produced in (relatively) small quantity.

I use all Purist, and if you look at my system components, you might think it would sound bright or analytical, but it doesn't.
Hello - As a CAT JL-3 owner with a lot of Purist cables in my system, I can share some observations here. And with you being an owner of the Calypso, there will be parallels as I own the Io/Callisto.

I have written much here on cable shootouts and listening sessions, with NBS vs. Kubala-Sosna vs. Purist, etc. And I contributed to the thread on the Aqueous Anniv (AA) cables as well. The AA IC worked pretty good here but the AA speaker cable was just way too colored in the system which uses SoundLab A1 speakers. The Purist Opis spkr cable was a super match (very good value) here with the one AA XLR cable between Io and Callisto and otherwise all-Dominus cabling.

First off - the power cables. A day does not go by on this site without someone posting an opinion in a power cable thread - "if the component had been designed correctly, there would be no need to use a hyped-up expensive power cable". It's pretty hard to take such a person seriously as these amps are at the top of the power amp mountain or darn close when it comes to power supply design. And yet, they benefit greatly from any number of power cables over those in the $100 or less range. And the performance of these amps continues to rise with much more expensive power cables.

The JL-2 like the JL-3's require a robust power cable. These amps draw major amounts of current from the line, especially at power on. Any kind of current limiting with a less-capable power cable will be evident with the need to turn up the bias pot on the amp to achieve the recommended bias value (37). This is also evident when the amp is not on a dedicated line; they really need their own circuit ... and preferably 30A. Cranking up the bias setting to compensate for this does not change the fact that the amps will clearly be performing at much less their capability; dynamic compression will be heard immediately at high levels.

Going from the NBS power cables to the Kubala-Sosna cables made it very clear that more dynamic capability was available with these amps. Whereas power cables in the front-end significantly affected tonality and low-level details, with the amps, the power cable changes always affected dynamic contrasts first and foremost. This is the CAT strength and so it is no surprise such differences are clear with PC changes. And when I tried Purist Dominus PCs here, the dynamic contrasts were even more explosive ... absolutely unbelievable. The Dominus has a way of doing this compared to all other PCs I have tried here, but with the amps this is where the Dominus domination in this regard was very clear.

The tonality of the Dominus PC here also showed the trademark low-end extension and added midrange textures. Never was there any edginess or fatigue with either the Dominus B or Ferox PCs.

Concerning the speaker cables, I stated the Opis was a wonderful match with the rest of the system. Never did it call attention to itself in a subtractive manner like the Venustas often does nor in an additive manner as did the AA. In my system, speaker cables continue to be in third place behind ICs, then PCs, when it comes to making major sonic differences. The AA spkr cable was probably the biggest spkr cable difference I have ever heard in my system and it was not a good fit.

I did also try an older pair of SilverAudio Symphony48 spkr cables and they worked quite well. They lack the clarity of the Opis by quite a margin, but their tonality was surprisingly good with no brightness nor fatigue.

And finally ICs - I used a 25' MIT 350 EVO RCA from the Callisto to the CATs for 8-10 months before I ultimately switched to a 30' Dominus fluid RCA. The MIT worked mighty well here except it had somewhat of a polite and lean midrange and not the extension in the bass. But there was never any fatigue or brightness to this cable whatsoever as it was more subtractive in nature. When I had a chance to hear the Kubala-Sosna Emotion 30' RCA here, this had refinements all over the place to the MIT....especially more tonally coherent and resolving. But the MIT was a pretty good cable in how it captures the dimensionality in the music. So much for the theory that a networked cable will not work well with the CAT!

The Dominus IC over the K-S Emotion here was a trade-off of strengths - ultimate tonal coherency and black background of the KS vs. that Dominus low-end and dynamic punch as well as the midrange textures once again.

The CAT amps as well as the Aesthetix preamp work incredibly well with the Purist cables coming in and going out. If the Dominus is a bit over your budget, mixing and matching the AA, Venustas and Opis might just be the ticket.

John - that's really helpful, thanks a lot. I have a dedicated circuit but it's 15a. Ken Stevens thought it would suffice, I may upgrade it to 30a. I have an Aqueous Anniv power cord and was considering getting a 3m AA rca from a Wavestream Kinetics phono to the Calypso and a 1m AA rca from Calypso to amp. Not sure about CDP to pre - I could use Poiema!!! or Jena Symphony or Stealth PGS Gold if I didn't want to invest in more Purist. The Dominus is more than I can afford and I was told the AA IC is better than the more expensive Venustas, at least for my application. Currently have Auditorium 23 speaker cables which I like but I don't know how the Opis would compare. Based on your experience I would hesitate to plop for AA speaker cables unless I could demo them first. There are some KS Fascination SCs here - they're a lot less than the Emotion, I wonder if they are a good value? Thanks everyone for your responses.

I use the Cat ultimate and JL-2. I use Virtual Dynamics throughout and I'm extemely happy with them. A couple of points to add. 1) I agree that the transparency and dynamics of CAT equipment really let through what the cable is capable, or not capable, of 2) A complete sytem of VD cables sounds best. More on point 2. VD cables are so good that they will completely exemplify their strengths when used toghether. In other words, when used in a mixed system, the other cable will likely hold back the true strengths of the VD cables. However, it is wrong to assume that VD cables do not sound good in a mixed system. I went that path. And each addition of VD cables bettered the previous cable and improved the system overall. I went from front end PC's to IC's to speaker cables. I highly recommend Virtual Dynamics with CAT or ANY gear. They are very neutral and beuatiful sounding. Like CAT gear, they make most other cables sound broken...vieled and flat.

I have a CAT Signature MKIII and a pair of JL1s. I don't have the money some of you guys have to throw at cables, but I have tried some silver cables and didn't like them much. I still use Magnan Vi improved. The sound is real good.
Hi Samcclark

I borrowed Stereovox cable (silver) to try in my system and the result was great (That was older Stereovox series cable with special connectors). My system is Avalon Eidolon. ARC Ref3, CAT JL2. When I put NBS Statement Extreme (just one interconnect) I lost separation of instruments, soundstage to some extend and transperency, but obtained more euphoric musicality. My friend had different opinion on that when he put NBS Statement Extreme in his Kharma/Tenor/Stereovox system. He thought that NBS improved his system performance.
I'm trying to organize a test with Purist Audio Dominus. Dominus has superb reputation and I wonder what it can do to my system.
In regard to power cable on CAT JL2 I had best result with Elrod EPS-3 Signature so far. I also tried NBS Serpent and Shunyata Python Alpha.