I have compared the Golden Cross to the Diamond. I prefered the Diamond, but almost all of my system is Audioquest. The Golden Cross was a little less detailed, but not dramatically--in some systems it might be prefered. Both of these cables imaged superbly and were very well balanced. I have not listened to the Golden Reference, but understand that it is considerably better than the Golden Cross.
The Audioquest Diamond is not in the same league with Cardas Golden Reference. Every time I got a new Golden Reference, I moved the Diamond to a less important position, and there was a significant improvement in smoothness and detail.
Mgottlieb, With some copper cables, there is a somewhat euphonic warming of the sound. WHat I love about silver is a lack of seemingly un-natural (but sometimes nice sounding, depending on the components) warmth. THe Diamond is very neutral , in my system, at least, which is CD based, and all tube. I am not looking for a tone control fix, but am interested in the Golden Reference as another excellent interconnect, which, might sound better in my system. WHat specifically, did you like about the Cardas GR that the Diamond didn't do for you, and also, which Diamond did you have?
I compared the Cardas GR to Diamond Extreme and the Cardas was a bit nicer (smoother, warmer, as much detail). But the used diamond extreme won for the cost factor. Apples to apples, compare Cardas GR with the AQ Anaconda -- I prefer the Anaconda.
Had Diamond X3 and Golden Reference at one point, could not figure out why GR sounds so muddy and constraint. Diamond seems to open up the sound and details quite a bit in my system, overall more musical. I also hear more depth and dimension. I have heard rumor Golden Cross is actually better than Golden Reference.
Please excuse me for introducing another cable to this discussion: Goertz Sapphire (flat & silver).
My system is presently wired all Cardas; it's also tube and CD based.
However, auditioning a Sapphire in place of my Golden Ref between CD and preamp yielded a wider soundstage, more detail and fullness of sound.--Marc
Don't remember which Diamond it is, and I'd have to pull out at least one component to get at it, if it even says on the cable. Box is also inaccessible. I've been happier with the Cardas Golden Reference, Neutral Reference, Straightwire Crescendo and NBS Monitor 0 I've used at one time or other since. I thought the Diamond sounded something like the Monster Sigma Retro I tried about the same period--clear, not offensive in any way, but lacking in any special strengths, and kind of recessed in the midrange. There are huge differences between Golden Reference and Crescendo, for example, but I liked them both, so it's not just a question of tonal preference. Diamond just did nothing much for my system, and I thought it was way overpriced.
Oh, yeah, what did I like about the GR? Sorry, that is what you wanted to know, after all. Yes, GR is a somewhat warm cable, and yes, my system is all solid state--Pass X-ONO and X-1, Classe CAM-350's, dCS/Levinson digital. But the warmth is not at the expense of the highs, which are clear and extended, although not emphasized. The GR and Monitor 0 seem to flesh out the lower midrange so cellos sound the way they do in a concert hall, something lacking in a lot of cables, at least in my system. And that included the Diamond.
THANKS LOTS GUYS. I APPRECIATE THE INFO
J k, you bring up an interesting alternative with the AQ Anaconda. What did you find to be it's strengths over the GR (Cardas)? Anything you felt the GR did better?
Anaconda has more openness than the Cardas GR with less coloring (in my system).