Cardas Neutral Ref vs Harmonic Tech Pro 9 Plus

Was wondering if anyone out there has owned both of these cables and if so which was the preference & why. Music playback consists of Ayre K-3x preamp to Threshold T-200 to Aerial 10T speakers. Same setup for HT through the Cal 2500 SSP. All current interconnects are Cardas golden cross. Any and all feedback appreciated as well as any suggestions for future considerations....need 10 foot minimum and used price target of less than $1,500.


Was considering the Golden Cross - why are you switching to the Neutral Ref? Just curious.
Mattkimb96, I can't speak for the Cardas, but I've experienced a number of cables before my present ones.

I've owned my Aerial 10T's for over 3 years now. My last two speaker cables were the Harmonic Tech Pro 9 Plus and prior to that were the Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun dual runs. Both were designed by the same engineer who now owns Acoustic Zen.

At that time I found both of those cables to be near identical in character and both could be considered a good buy overall.

However, about 18 months ago, I purchased Audience Au24 cables and it was easily the most significant cable upgrade I've ever experienced.

I also went from the Harmonic Tech Pro Silway IIs and Magic Link Ones to the Pure Note epsilon reference XLR ics. This was a step up from the HT's. Not long ago, I auditioned some Au24 XLR ics and the difference was very significant.

Overall, it's pretty amazing what the Au24s do for the bass as well as eliminate or minimize glare and hash at the high frequencies. A very quiet, yet dynamic and pristine cable.

I can compare the Au24 speaker cables to the Audio Tekne speaker cables which I also owned. The AT's are certainly more expensive, yet the Au24 is near identical in sonic characteristics. And several have rated the AT's among the 4 best cables made.

Also easily within the budget you've alotted. Especially used.

tried both and went the cardas netural speaker cables..they are by far one of the best products i have ever had "in my system".(btw, the az satori was too rolled off at the extremes for my taste)

havent had much luck with the cardas ic's ( went with the straightwire crescendo ic's)but the neutral reference is the most best speaker cable i have ever had on my alon ii's which are very,very picky.( pse hl-1 pre, pse studio v mono amps, marantz sa-8260)

if you are looking for a speaker cable that doesnt add or subtract, all it does is just present what is there,...very true to the original signal.then you might want to audtion them.

i would consider them to be "THE" starting point of any one looking for a truly neutral "speaker cable". from there you can deceide if you want to go warmer or brighter.

hope that helps,

I am with Mikesinger on this one. I too like the Neutral Reference speaker cable. They really show off the clarity, separation in instruments, timbre and decay with my Alon V's (with all Circe drivers). I have them hooked up as a full run to the LF and a second, internal bi-wired, run to the MF and HF posts. The bass is well damped, deep, and not at all boomy. My guess would be there are other cables that provide more "perceived" bass, and maybe some that provide somewhat more dynamic bass, but all-in-all the NR is a very neutral sounding, high quality speaker cable. I am using all Cardas Golden Reference IC's. If the Cardas speaker cables are anything like their IC's, I suspect a little more body and dynamic bass from the Golden Reference compared to the NR. I did not like the Golden Cross IC's as I thought they "choked" and/or "veiled" the sound a bit in my system. I also thought the NR IC's (although ok) sounded a bit thin compared to the greater richness and dynamics of the Golden Reference IC's. I haven't been able to compare the GR speaker cables directly with my NR, due to my longish (5M) tri-wired run and bugetary constraints. However we are planning to move next year and I will end up with a better configured listening room where I can try wires of shorter length. If I could try any wires it would probably be the AU24, Golden Reference, and maybe Purist Audio or a few others. However, I am pretty happy with the Neutral Reference as things are now.

Am keeping the Cardas gold inter-connects, it's the speaker cable I am looking to decide on....thanks to Mitch2 and Mike for the feedback on the Cardas Neutral as well as Stehno's input on the Audience AU 24 speaker cable. I have found a used set of Cardas Neutral Reference cables on this site and will have them next week. Stehno, I will also keep my eye out for a used bi-wire set of the AU 24's, as you note has intrigued me given you are running the same Aerial's I am. One of the things I like best about Audiogon is that it provides an avenue to sample a variety of cables and sell back the ones that don't marry up with your current equipment. Thanks to each of you for your feedback and I'll get back and post my thoughts on the Neutral Ref's once I've had a chance to hear them for a week or so.
I've come to a similar conclusion as Mitch2 above regarding Cardas. I like Neutral Ref for speaker cables, and for part of the IC's (preamp to amp), but prefer at least one run of Golden Ref IC's in the system (usually CDP to preamp), in order to provide some richness/bloom. Despite Cardas claims that length doesn't matter, keeping the cable runs as short as possible sounds best to me (even with balanced ICs). Wouldn't consider any other Cardas besides these.... and I agree Golden Cross is way too veiled and sluggish.