I upgraded from Cross to Golden Cross speaker cables several years ago after doing an in-home audition of the Golden Cross. My recollection is that, sonically, they are very similar in overall character. The principal difference was one of increased refinement (don't know how selse to put it--better resolution, perhaps). Not cheap, but it was enough of an improvement in things I care about that I decided to go for it. You might want to check out the Golden Reference, too. I don't have any excperience with it, but... My opinion on the balanced vs. unbalanced thing, and I do not speak from a whole lot of experience, is that components with true balanced circuitry seem sound better if you use balanced interconnects, sometimes *much* better. And this is true even for short runs of interconnect. In my system, going to balanced interconnects between Levinson No. 39 and Pass X-150 (sometimes Adcom GFP-750 in between) made a tremendous improvement in resolution and bass "weight." The change was so significant---I had not been hearing my components at their best--that I wonder how and why the high-end reviewing community does not push harder on this point. With some components, I think running them unbalanced is a sure way to cripple your system. This has been my experience. Curious to know what others have learned.
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