Thet depends on your equipment. The Cardas is a warmer cord, the NBS is extremely revealing (on the bright side). If your equipment is good enough the NBS might be great, otherwise I'd go with the Cardas.
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I am a user of NBS Signature II interconnects and had also owned NBS King Serpent II interconnects . I personally find NBS on the bright side, but not harsh or unpleasant. They have a big mid-bass and are EXTREMELY dynamic. They are a little rolled off in the extreme highs and deep bass. They can be a little rough and unrefined but I personally like the Signature for the upper midrange lift it gives to female vocals, the bloom it gives to well-recorded piano and the bite it gives to horns all which my Pass Aleph 4 can use. I have never heard the Cardas Golden Reference interconnects or speaker cable, but I did once own the Cardas Golden Cross interconnects which I found so dark and undynamic that it was unusable. I have heard that the Golden Reference was much more neutral. A friend of mine, who has the Golden Reference on loan from a dealer, has used them to tame the highs on an extremely bright sounding CD player. This suggests that the Golden Reference is still on the dark side, but then again, I have no personal experience. I know the NBS Signature interconnect to be one of the better, if not one of the best cables around and I doubt the Golden Reference is one of the worst. Which one to use, if either, will depend on the characteristics of your system and what you would like to change about those characteristics in order to improve the sound. Perhaps you could re-post with the equipment and speakers with which you are intending to match these cables?
Gmorris, I think Rayhall discribed my experience to a tee! I tried the Signature for a week and as Rayhall discribed on the bright side, but not harsh or unpleasant. I found them very enjoyable but not a big enough gain from my Audio Tekna to justify the cost. Again the better the equipement I believe the better these cables will perform. Again I'm not saying these are bad, not at all, I hope you understand that. J.D.
I have recently switched most of my system from Cardas Golden Reference to NBS Monitor 0, and think they are both very fine, but not all that different. The Golden Reference only seem warm in comparison to thinner sounding cables, but in fact if you listen closely to the highs and upper midrange, there isn't much that isn't getting through. The Monitor 0 has amazing heft and impact in the lower midrange and midbass, and may be a bit more transparent in the upper midrange, but they are not all that much different in overall character. I still have Golden Reference phono cable and a balanced length between the SACD player and preamp, and don't plan to change. Whether the NBS is worth the extra $ depends on the deal you get and your level of craziness.
Another much more moderate cable which you might try is the old, now discontinued, JPS Superconductor. This cable is very neutral and compares well with some very expensive cables which I have tried. My experience with the $1500 + cables is that I haven't yet found one which is clearly better than all or many of the moderately priced ones for all applications. I haven't tried everything, since I am cheap and won't pay those megabuck prices for the cables with the huge reputations (and price tags). The most I'll pay is about $700 for an interconnect. It seems to me that there are good cables at every price point from $70 to $3000 and that no cable is perfectly neutral or does everything well. Most importantly, you cannot drop any cable, no matter how good the reputation, in any system and expect to get the best sound possible. As far as pricing goes, you may or you may not get more for your money as you buy more expensive cable.
I have tried both for interconnects and think my NBS Statements are so much more revealing and dynamic than the Cardas. I certainly would not describe the Statements as bright. I think they are very neutral. I'm using NBS Professional speaker cables and have found them to be the best of many brands. (With Proceed preamp, Pass Aleph 4 power amp, and Revel Studios. You will not be disappointed with NBS cables if you can afford them.
Thanks for all your contribution to my inquiry. It is just that I have found it difficult to decide, my observation of the two is...
Cardas Golden Reference sounds netural but not cold - in fact it is able to retain the warmth sound I have had experienced in the Golden Cross without the bloated bass! Mid-range has a nice body to the sound. The only thing about the GR is that it does not go as deep as the NBS.
NBS Signature III improves on the highs of the previous model ie Sig II and has plenty of bass definition. However, what I miss is the mid-range warmth which the GR has.
My setup is a wadia driving a jeff rowland model 10 directly using GR interconnect.