Hello, I have quite a different experience with AQ Diamond interconnect cables. One of the aspects I seek in an audio system is its ambience, bloom and 3D. This is one thing about my system (ARC PH2/LS5II/DAC3II/VT130 and Maggie 3.3) that I really like. I could insert another preamp, e.g., the ARC LS2, and totally lose the magic of this system. And I have learned the same to be true for the cable that goes between the preamp and amp.
I can deal with some loss at the frequency extremes and the not-so-perfect imaging and ultra low resolution, but if piano notes do not have a natural decay or the same is true for saxaphone or female vocals, I really don't care about what else the sound has to offer me.
I too tried the AQ Diamond....and I tried the Transparent Ultra, Straighwire Virtuoso, SilverAudio Apassionata and NBS Master and Statement and Cardas Golden Cross. The AQ Diamond did one thing in my system that none of the other cables did....it totally wiped out the ambience and decay that I had worked so hard to achieve in my system. This was such a huge surprise for me as it was totally unexpected. Afterall, the AQ Diamond was a Stereophile recommended component! So much for that. And, I had a special XLR AQ Diamond ordered from a dealer just for the sake of my in-home cable shootout.
The critical link for me is from the line stage to the amp. The Ultra had a rolled off top end but otherwise was very musical. The Straightwire was incredibly bright but still the midrange bloom was intact. The SilverAudio gave just a slight sense of analytical sound, and it too lost some of the midrange magic, but not too badly, and its resolution was so incredible. The Cardas was a little too warm, lots of bloom but I too realized it was just too much of a good thing in the context of my system as the midrange was a bit too forward after hearing the others. The NBS Master was tried last and it blew away the competition. I had never heard of NBS until then but the local dealer told me to take this home and try it in the cable shootout as well. Like the AQ and SilverAudio, the NBS had the resolution in spades....but unlike these others, the NBS brought on a level of musicality (in the mids specifically) that the AQ could not even begin to touch. Wow, in the female vocals specifically, you could hear the harmonic richness in the voice like none of the other cables could do....it just came right out in the room. A most incredible experience. For such a cable-skeptic as I was at the time, I was a true believer in cable differences at that moment. Unfortunately the NBS was so darn expensive that I went ahead with a mixture of Cardas and SilverAudio in my system. I have since gone on with a great deal on NBS Statement in this link and wow, the difference this cable makes here is simply amazing.
I have learned that other links in my system, e.g., phono stage to line stage, are not very critical of cable changes in the sense of tonal differences. This does not make much sense and yet it is the case in my system. However, I found the SilverAudio to work well here due to its incredible resolution for the $$. The SIlverAudio clearly had the Cardas beat for resolution. I did not try the AQ Diamond in this link ..... only between the line and amp.
So here is yet a completely different viewpoint on the AQ Diamond. It only goes to show that you better not buy something based on someone else's comments because you might end up very disappointed.
So as Carl is very much a big fan of AQ, I myself think the NBS is the GREATEST cable I have so far heard. Its price is absolutely ridiculous and yet there are some good deals to be had on the used market. For an overall great cable value, I think this goes to the Cardas Golden Cross.
Indeed we disagree. I tried an NBS interconnect (KS 3), and did not like it much (it had many of the faults you describe for the "modified" Diamond that you tried). From what I've read of the Golden Cross, it made me not interested in it either. I still want to try Golden Reference, but to each his own. I would not say that, simply becuase someone has disagreed with me, that it somehow invalidates my feelings that people should try Diamond, which is what you seem to imply. Read the reviews at audioreview.com for this model (the above review is posted there also). Most are positive, and then there is one that thinks it somehow "sucks"...
I quite agree with Carl. I like the Diamonds for all the reasons Carl mentioned, and some reasons Carl mentioned and I did not prerviously consider.
Carl, great post! I agree. For the price, Diamond Rocks.
And.. I've found NBS to be a bit harsh in top end. I've heard it said on more than one occasion that NBS repackages Belden wire, adds some mesh, and a few $$$'s. 'nuff said.
Carl, any thoughts on AQ speaker cable? Particularly the Dragon or Sterling?
I own a 4 ft pair of Dragon+, and may write a review of it sometime. It is quite nice. I haven't owned any other AQ speaker cables, other than Type 6, which was not comparable iperformance or value, to Kimber 8TC. I am auctioning a Music Metre silver cable which is a good value, in my opinion.
Have any of you folks with these "hi-dollar" cables ever "burned" them on a Mobie or Cable Cooker ? I'm curious as to the before / after results if this did occur. Sean
I use Diamond X3's throughout my system, as well as AQ Dragin SE cables. Burn-in on a Mobie was a godsend. No contest. Brand new Diamonds were cold and harsh. A week on a Mobie gets you to what Carl is describing. Yes, you can get there by playing music, but it will take many hours and, in my case, cost you mor ein the long run on vacuum tube wear.
I use Diamond X3's throughout my system, as well as AQ Dragin SE cables. Burn-in on a Mobie was a godsend. No contest. Brand new Diamonds were cold and harsh. A week on a Mobie gets you to what Carl is describing. Yes, you can get there by playing music, but it will take many hours and, in my caset you more in the long run on vacuum tube wear. Interestingly, I just auditioned a pair of Nordost QF in place of my Diamonds between CD player and line stage. In my system, the QF were quite nice in terms of soundstaging and placement of instruments in the soundstage, very detailed and very fast, but a touch lean. They also exaggerated sibilants somewhat. However, nothing to sneeza at for sure. At parity price, I could definitely live with them...but I would not spend the x-tra money to "upgrade".
Carl, did you say, or, did I miss what you were using for spkr cables, that would figure into the big picture, right?
I agree with you about AudioQuest Diamond, Carl. One of my favorite cables. You are definitely correct about the great value of the previous generation AQ products. I use AudioQuest Midnight as my subwoofer cable, and it is better(in my system) than most of what else I can buy these days. And, the price is a steal. The previous AQ cables have fallen out of favor for the reason of familiarity. People feel a certain sense of pride in owning a brand "less well known" by mid-fi people. There is a certain cache in that, pride of ownership. In the meantime, excellent cables from AudioQuest, Kimber(old generation), StraightWire, etc. are available for an absolute song. The best interconnects I have come across(for performance in my system/tastes) are the AQ silver cables, Coincident CST, HomeGrown Audio Silver Lace, and Silver Audio products. Others I try simply do not measure up. And they ALWAYS cost more. Often, MUCH, MUCH more. I cannot comment on the new line of AudioQuest, as my experience with them is limited. But, from what I HAVE heard, the sound did not seem very much(if at all) different. Have they used the reason of new cosmetics/connectors(along with "new and improved" wire) to try to justify the MASSIVE price increase they have leveled on us?
Carl and all, have any of you tried the Bear Labs "Silver Lightning" interconnect? If so how does it compare?
Great post Carl, as usual we disagree. I tend to side with John's comments on the Diamond. In my system Quattro Fil is easily preferable. I also think that the Caradas Golden Cross is a very nice cable. Carl, didn't you try Vantage Audio cables? What did you think of those?
Thank-you Carl, great post. It doesn't matter if I agree or not, or anyone else for that matter. What you did was give an excellant discription or the Diamonds vs. alot of common cables and a review of what each did. I can conclude alot from this and try the cables that match my systems strengths. Again thank-you, a great example of who a review should be. J.D.
JD, thank you very much for your compliment! For speaker cable, I used a variety of them over the two year period, including Dragon+. I've not tried Silver Audio, although I've considered it. As I mention above, I did try quite a few other interconnects besides the ones mentioned. Some of these include Silversmith, Vantage, Siltech, and Magnan. The Diamond beat all of those as well...
Hi Carl; welcome back to Agon, and a nice post about Audiotruth Diamond ICs and others. BTW, Agon now lets us use paragraph breaks-- a nice improvement IMO. Cheers. Craig.
I had no way of knowing...it was pasted from a place where there were no breaks. I'm not back to stay, by any means, so you may toast to that...
Carl_eber, Quit saying you are not going to stay around and then keep making more inane comments. Just leave, please. I've heard about you from my Dad. So far, everything he said is true.
This is my thread, why don't you leave?
Carl, I have near identical sonic experience with the Quattro-fils. Nordost have now launched the (more ruinous) Valhala. For the record (& if you have the time/patience, etc) could you give these a go, too. The local dealer is trying hard to sell them to me (not that I can afford them now). Also, any experience with bearlabs (someone else asked the same question).
Thanks from me too, for sharing your experience....
Hey Carl, I've found you still have quite a following. I've received negitive votes just for liking your post. Oh well, at the risk of more negitive voting, it's nice to have you back! J.D.
Carl, I am sorry for being an ass. I just couldn't help it, what with being my father's son and all. Will someone please send me some hate mail now? I'm tired of waiting for it; me so needy!
SOS: Just wrap yourself in plastic and call it "Christo" (that should take care of it), but please refrain from posting.
SOS: PS: Make that "Pink" plastic.
Carl, Gregm, et al., I asked about Bear Labs (Silver Lighting Interconnects), I got no response other than an –1,-1,. I guess I’ll never understand what is behind the back stabbing. I have no idea who or how I offended someone. If you don’t like the Silver Lighting Interconnect than say so in a post so others can read and learn. When you leave negative numbers you leave others wondering what the problem is?
The direction I was headed in was as follows: I think the Maple Shade Double Helix is a good value and sound. I really like the Silver Audio 4.0’s, the Hyacinth and best of all the Appassinata. To my surprise I tried the Bear Lab Silver Lighting and it is far superior to the interconnects I mentioned in this paragraph. I have never heard the Diamond, which is why I asked my original question a dozen or so posts earlier.
Lak, I agree. I've been lurking around here for a while, and I must say that this Carl guy seems to have his following; not of supporters, but of bashers. It's so unjustified! I've read many of his posts amongst the 500 or so threads he participated in a while back, and it seems to me that he was right about 95% of the things he discussed, and yet there were people on here who would fervently disagree, and then make it personal. To all of those pests, I say f#*& off! He's the real deal, and you're all just a bunch of old deaf-geezer-has-beens!
Lak, I got good sonic synergy using both, IC and speaker cables from bearlabs. I compared them to Nordost (quattro fil /spm ref speaker cable) and Siltech Gold (#?? / again, both IC & speaker) and Symphonic Line "ref" (again, full set). I repeat, in MY system, the bearlabs combo had the LEAST sonic character; the difference was more marked with the speaker cables than the ICs. I had these sets for a week...
Listened to classical, voice and full orchestra, and also used Chesky's listening tests (where the intro gives sonic info on the track that follows).
So, pls don't be mislead: music I know and listen to live, tests conducted for 1 week (maybe a bit short),
MY system, CDs I know (wasn't present during recording, remastering, etc...) having listened through MY system mainly (other systems, sporadically)...
I am using AQ D3 and love it. I just purchased a 1m Cardas GR, which I have not received yet. It should be interesting....
Good to hear from you again.
Gregm, I understand what you are saying. I can demo a product on my 100% tube system and have it sound very good, then use the same product on my 100% solid state system and not care for it as much, (or vice-versa) or dislike it. I have not had the opportunity of trying the Nordost or Silteck line. I have been told that the Bear Lab products take 100 hours or more to break in.
Carl, thanks for such a comprehensive & intelligent review of AQ Diamond, et al. It takes considerable time, effort & discernment to focus so thoroughly on that many cables. I have often wondered about AQ Diamond. Perhaps I will try a used pair. The difference in opinion in this thread merely shows how people hear differently & how system-dependent a cable's sound can be. Don't leave again, Carl, just stop yourself from responding to the barbs from those who dislike you. We who are regular thread-readers know you can more than defend yourself. I, for one, would much prefer to read about your audio knowledge than the tongue-lashing exchanges between members. Welcome back.
Further unaccounted for minus points... this is getting frustrating, to state the least. A bit like getting a bad mark in school without an explanatin. For goodness sake, let's ALL give intelligible communication a go. A SILENT minus won't help me do any better...
All we're talking about is experience with cables -- or am I wrong?
Pls excuse me, Carl, for straying off the subject.
Carl, your post has that Wild Turkey and raw ether flavor
;-) I heartily agree with your assessment of AQ Diamond. I would not bite when this stuff was $1,000/meter, but am happy, and amazed, at today's prices on the used market. Truly one of the best IC values out there. I have gotten my best results with combinations of Diamond and Emerald in my system. Emerald seems to be a a little tough to find, however.
Jim, FYI it isnt Wild Turkey and Ether, Carl is an Absinthe man....Just an update to the thread. I got my Cardas Golden Reference 1m cable. Totally different sound than Diamond. Not sure which I'll be keeping, as I'm stepping out of the "hobby" end of this sport, and getting an integrated amp, and I'll only need 1 pair of $$$$ ICs.
However, before I sold off the main system, I tried 1 pair of Diamondx3 with 1 pair of Cardas Golden Reference, and let me tell you all, this is the best I have heard. I cant imagine a more complementary pairing of interconnects. All the things that Diamond does spectacularly well, minus the somewhat cool sound, and also minus the horrible sound on poor recordings. Maybe the Cardas is a bit warmer than real life, but the Diamond is definately a bit cooler than reality. IF anyone has the opportunity, try this combo.
(incedentally, I DO have a 1m pair of Diamondx3 for sale, but you'll have to find it yourselves.....HINT .........
Must be that Absinthe Carl sent me via DHL, they'll take ANYTHING.
How do the different Diamonds sound. Compare Diamond against x2, verses x3. Are non x2,x3 Diamonds cables still a viable solution?
I have no idea how those compare. Send them to me, and I'll tell you what I hear. I'm supposed to be getting more interconnects to try now, so I'll post my thoughts on them here as well. Cardas GR is supposed to be one of them...but it might all go bust for all I know. I've been trying for over a year to get them...
I'm hoping to blast the neighborhood next weekend with my ElectroVoice/Eminence system, and my Sunfire subwoofer. I'm wanting to try putting it in the end of this 10 foot long, 18 inch diameter drain pipe of my brother's (butting the back of it up against our brick porch to help seal that end). I think it will be loud and deep sounding, but I'm afraid it might also be too "one note" sounding for my taste, even in this "system" context. We'll see...You can never have enough bass outdoors, playing rock music...I'll be using my ART equalizer to help smooth out this "non-flat" project system.
Eminence has this new 2 inch exit, phenolic diaphragm based, 3 inch voice coil compression driver that I wish I could try (goes to 18 kHz, unheard of for phenolic?), but it'd be major mods to my cabinets, would require an active crossover, and I just can't afford it right now anyway.
The last time I had my EV/Eminence cabinets outside, it was very satisfying. It did maybe 90dB music peaks at 85 feet...but what would be cool is 90dB peaks at 150 feet!!
Carl: "The Monkees" are not really considered to be R&R (please try something else this year:-).
Carl's subwoofer cannon; or, the Sunfire bazooka. Is that why the military called them SUB-machine guns? How many dBs will you have peaking at 10ft for the stage divers? Sounds like a very extreme project.
At 10 ft? I'll measure, and report. My guess is peaks of maybe only 107 dB at 10 feet, per side, so that would be 110 or more for both channels. Perhaps the Sunfire "cannon" will be more, but I'm hoping not to really push it, cause I don't want to blow the thing up, or shatter the box! I'm sure the pipe will hold up fine though...we were thinking of setting off some cherry bombs in it too, heh heh!!
It is outdoors, but it's only my 250 wpc amp into 8 ohms driving the l-r speakers. The ideal amps for this system would probably be a pair of Crown K2, bridged mono, since the EVX-150A handles 1000 watts rms into 8 ohms. (I could then use my Krell's "meager" 250 watts to power the high frequency drivers, with an active crossover). I can't afford to do this yet, and have the inclination to spend my money on what I spend the most time listening to anyway.
Each EVX-150A thermally limits at 130 dB at one meter (above 60 Hz, and depending on the enclosure), so at 10 feet, music peak output at the thermal limit of each one is probably limited to maybe 115? It'd take more than 1000 watts (into 8 ohms) of clean amplifier power per channel to get there, and I've spent all my money on expensive audio cables lately...lol!
Also, I'm not even sure the Crown K2's way above average damping factor of 3000 would be enough to sound "tight", at such coil-melting power input levels! The EV's certainly aren't speced to have an ultra long linear excursion (I bought these in 1994), but then, no woofer used in sound reinforcement has a long linear excursion (save for the 18 inch Aurasounds...now called "Seismic Systems"...and they're an awesome 1.5 inches linear, peak to peak!!) Pro Sound companies generally horn load their "subwoofers" in "w-bins", etc., to get more output from less cone excursion. They're interested in maximum output for minimum power input, at minimum expense, with minimum space and weight. If the woofers are producing highish harmonic distortion, they generally don't seem to care much, so long as the output is there. (IMO, the most interesting "concert sound" subs have been the "Servodrive" ones, which use servo motors to drive two cones into a 14 foot long folded horn...I've seen them, but never heard them up close...they were widely used in the 1980's and early 90's by many large touring acts such as Michael Jackson's "Bad" tour; Alabama's June Jam; U2's Zooropa tour; and Def Leppard's Hysteria tour.
ServoDrive claimed extremely low harmonic distortion (only 1% at full ouput, 140 dB at 30 feet at 30 Hz, with four cabinets arrayed), but apparently (and I'm guessing) many touring sound companies have found that the ServDrive's IM distortion was high (and maybe that bass IM distortion is more audible than bass harmonic distortion), and this blunted bass transients too much...Plus, they did have to replace the rubber belts that drove the cones fairly often, or so I gather. I'd still like to own some one day, muh hah hah hah!!
The horn drivers in these of mine now, are Eminence 1 inch exit, they're 16 ohms, and handle 40 watts rms into 16 ohms. They'll play loud, but certainly not 130 dB/1 meter (have a 100 dB sensitivity). The horn is small, only 6 by 9 inches, 40 x 90 degree dispersion, and is a "constant directivity" type. I'd like to replace them with that new Eminence 2 inch exit driver, on a 20 inch Renkus Heinz horn, use an active crossover, and maybe augment with the best ring-radiating super tweeter I can find (perhaps JBL's). Anyways, that approach might be cheaper and/or better than buying those legendary Pioneer TAD drivers...
I hardly ever use this EV/Eminence system...my brother and I built the cabinets 12 years ago (they've had several different drivers since then)...It needs graphic equalization to approach flatness, and even then it's a bit too colored to do comparisons of highend audio cables...nudge, nudge!
Hey, Hey, David, that's funny!! I was thinking more along the lines of Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Kiss, ACDC, Def Leppard, Yes, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Police, John Mellencamp, Billy Idol, Madonna, Seal, Sarah McLachlin, and lots more...may not have time for them all, heh heh!! RECKON WHAT THE NEIGHBORS MILES AWAY, WOULD THINK OF MILES DAVIS' "KIND OF BLUE" set to fireworks? heh heh heh...
Carl: Why not Tchaikovski 1812 overture for openers -- to help activate the neighbouring counties.
Re: cables. If opportunity arises could you give (burned-in) bearlabs a go too?
Send me yours...Yes, the 1812 Overture would be good too, but I'd probably blow everything playing it, heh he!!
Good point, but -- I live half-way round the world, unfortunately!
Carl,as you know I live in Western NY and you are "down yaunder" Still,as I have to work the weekend you are planning this auditory assault,please try to keep it down after 10pm.You know how bass travels and I would hate to have to call the cops on my good bud! Hey,I just had an idea! Put your sister-in-law in the cannon and see if you can get her airborn!!! ha,ha!
I think it is funny, we all get mad when some punk kid with a "bass machine" goes by on the street, but when we are trying to create a "Hi-Fi bass machine" it is a different story. What's up Carl! as you know I life in NY also but am a little younger then david so let it rip to around 11:00-11:30 then turn up the Miles Davis, but if I here you at midnight I'm reporting you to the police! Just kidding! Let us know how you make out and if the police stop or not, hahahaha.