Different results may ocur with different gear, that said, I was using a Cardas GR IC and tried an Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference IC from CD to integrated and prefered the AZ.
6 responses Add your response
You should really audition the Stealth M-21 special. I've compared it with Cardas Golden reference, AZ Matrix MKII, AZ silver reference, Audio Note AN-Vx Vz, NBS... by far this is the most musical in my system and in my other friend's system too. I place it between CD player and preamp. 30 days free trial. You should really talk to Serguei from Stealth Audio.
Cardas Golden reference -- dull
AZ Matrix MKII -- lack of good detail, poor low freq response
AZ silver reference -- good detail, punchy, poor low frequency response
Audio Note Vx -- musical, a little constraint in upper mid but still better than Cardas and AZ.
Vz -- musical, bigger sound, slight colder and brighter
Stealth M-21 special -- good detail, punchy, excellent bass control, very musical, big wide and deep sound stage.
Nothing negative to say about M-21 special.
This is not the same as the regular M-21. This was made under my special request.
I was happy with the AZ Silver Ref II between my DAC and transport until I tried the Pure Note Epsilon Ref. They were similar but the PNs were the clear winner, tighter mid and lower bass, and also had more air. A little less expensive doesn't hurt either. I plan to have PNs all-around.
I've never tried the Cardas Golden Ref, but I find S23chang's findings on the AZ Matrix II to be spot on. Totally not right in my system.
Had the Audience for a little less than a month and found them very dry and univolving. I like their PCs though.