Carl hears through Diamond

This all silver interconnect features the following:...........................Thick silver RCA connectors, far superior to all others that are not silver, IMO. They're also small in outside diameter, so they fit on female recepticles that are spaced close together on audio equipment, UNLIKE THE CARDAS SILVER RCA CONNECTORS! And the fit is always tight, again unlike the Cardas ones. DIAMOND HAS ALL-SILVER CONDUCTORS. "HYPERLITZ", "FUNCTIONALLY PERFECT SILVER", "SPREAD SPECTRUM TECHNOLOGY", "TRIPLE BALANCED", and even uses teflon and polysterene dielectric foam air tubes to separate the conductors.............................THE SOUND.....compared to the competition:........................If you want a new, all silver Audioquest interconnect today, you have to buy Amazon for $2000! I would have compared Amazon to Diamond, if anyone ever demoed Amazon...they don't seem to these days.................................MY SYSTEM CONTEXT: I bought this AudioTruth Diamond from Bob Bantz at Elusive Disc in Spring 1999. I used Diamond for two years with both digital and analog frontends in my system. I have both solid state and tube power amplifiers. Speakers are both panel and cone types, and the listening was done in two different rooms in my house, and also on Sennheiser HD600 headphones with a tube headphone amp. One room is a concrete basement with 4200 cubic feet volume, the other is upstairs with less than one third that volume. In either room, I used an array of acoustic treatments. I strongly disagree with those audiophiles who choose not to use treatments, and feel that their approach is invalid. An untreated room is not a listening room, it's just that simple..................................With the help of Paul and Suzanne at The Cable Company, a few other dealers and even manufacturers, I did manage to compare my Diamond x3 to many, many interconnects in the last two years (they aren't all listed here). Quite a few of these costed much more than Diamond. Forgive me for spoiling the ending, but....I FOUND DIAMOND X3 TO BE THE MOST NEUTRAL ALL-SILVER INTERCONNECT, BAR NONE!...........................................It was worlds beyond something like the very popular (and perhaps overhyped?) Harmonic Technology Pro Silway 2 (that HT has a very hollow upper midrange and a boomy bass). This particular comparison lasted 3 months (the Silway had about 1200 hours on it when I was finished), and I want to thank my good friend, Stewart Ono at Audio Directions in Hawaii, for his generosity on that one! The Silway's upper bass was more dynamic than Diamond's, but it lacked low bass and any sort of pitch definition. Everytime I used it, I was reminded of a "boom, boom" car stereo...even with the headphones..............................Diamond was more tonally neutral than the new Acoustic Zen Silver Matrix, and matched its presentation of dynamic contrasts. They both are fairly smooth and grain free, but the Acoustic Zen could get quite chalky in the low midrange, and certainly did not articulate enough of a feeling of musical timing in the bass range, compared to Diamond. The treble was similar in both cables, perhaps the Acoustic Zen was smoother in some of the treble range, and rougher in other parts. That was close...but the overall performance wasn't very close. That low mid, and even some upper bass congestion, really held the Acoustic Zen back...............................AudioTruth Lapis x3 had a hollow tonal quality in the midrange, similar to what the HT Pro Silway 2 had...DIAMOND HAD NONE OF THIS! Lapis is perhaps still superior to Pro Silway, though. It was definitely faster, and had clearer air in the soundstage. The extreme treble, above 10 kHz, was the only strongsuit of the HT Pro Silway, it was both smoother and more extended than Lapis's. I realize those two statements might seem to conflict, but I stand by them..................................Cardas Neutral Reference was very colored, sluggish in the bass, and NOT tonally neutral when compared to Diamond. The NR had decent dynamics and a nice "round" quality in the upper bass and low mids, but that was it. I would have liked to compare Cardas Golden Reference to Diamond, but no dealers ever seem to demo this particular cable................................Even the almighty NORDOST QUATTRO FIL is missing some punch in the upper bass and low midrange, and much of the dynamic envelope in the treble, that Diamond has. Symbols of all sorts, brushed, struck, clapped...they all sounded distant and just plain asleep with the Nordost. Quattro Fil was a tad deeper and faster in the bass below 60 Hz, but lacked a lot of the slam and weight Diamond has through the whole bass range, in my experience...made the bass lack the fullness/weight of real acoustic musical intstruments, and even reduced their size somewhat. The QF's midrange is decidedly resolute, creamy, warm, and uncolored (especially female voice)...but essentially everything in the upper midrange had a tendency to project forward, while the presence range immediately above seemed to null out. In my two years with Diamond, the midrange never drew undue attention to itself, the way QF's did. I am sort of a "midrange junkie"'s perhaps the hardest to get that last degree of "dial in" in a system. Exotic midrange speaker drivers fascinate me, but I suspect that the Nordost Quattro Fil is not designed for any system that "ruthlessly" reveals midrange dynamics, but might be perfectly at home in "cool" balanced systems. It did have a very low listener fatigue factor over longer listening sessions. Quattro Fil costs twice what Diamond sold for, yet Diamond always beat it for me in the weeks I compared it...go figure...................................Soundstage depth, the solidity of instruments as projected in three dimensional space, and the macro dynamic contrast of Diamond...have only been bettered by MIT interconnects costing MORE than Diamond. And of course, they lack the transient attack and extension at the frequency extremes, of Diamond. With my Krell amplifier, Diamond could draw attention to the attack transient, and also definitely made me hear a "solid state" quality in instrument timbres. But with MIT interconnects and a silver speaker cable, I could coax the Krell to sound more like a tube amp in my system, than even a VTL tube amp I heard with some esl speakers in someone elses system. I even tried the Diamond in this system, and the sound turned very "hi fi". The interconnect that the Diamond replaced here was Klyne Dragonfly Wings. We listened to both digital and analog thru the Diamond in this system. I concluded that either the system or the setup, was bright, and not neutral. The speakers had a "presence" control that affected the treble frequency response. I asked to lower this, but he only lowered it a little. So, maybe allowing a bright system to sound bright, probably isn't a transgression on the part of the Diamond..................................Diamond's soundstage width has not been bettered by any other interconnect. Additionally, that quality of "the separation of instruments in the soundstage" has only been equaled by Pure Note Signature and the VERY expensive Purist Audio Design Proteus. The Proteus achieved some of this because it was bright (i.e., NOT neutral), but I understand these can be tailored to the individual system. And for $2500, that's a handy thing, to be sure. The Proteus certainly had very low distortion, and the quality of instrument timbres shone through. However, I found that I only really liked it in combination with PAD Colossus used downstream from it. Colossus was a clear but dark/warm sounding cable in my system (the amp here was a Rogue model 88 tube amp)..............................If you have all solid state equipment that is also BRIGHT or revealing, I feel that you don't need "neutral" cables, and especially NOT any solid silver ones. BUT, if the solid state equipment has proved neutral and harmonically rich, then Diamond should let the speed, dynamics, and air through unimpeded...........................AND IF YOU HAVE TUBE EQUIPMENT, the Diamond x3 is just thrilling! The midrange is almost creamy, yet transparent as Zeiss lens glass. The treble is extended, and balances smoothness, with attack and snap. The bass is fast and deep, yet will allow you to hear "tube bass" without bloating and smearing it...............................In my opinion, DIAMOND IS THE BEST VALUE IN SILVER INTERCONNECTS THAT THERE HAS BEEN, AND PERHAPS WILL BE. I cannot imagine that Amazon is radically superior, or even an equal value for money (a hotly debated topic in this hobby...and what a waste of time it is to debate it, since we don't all earn the same amount).............................Try AudioTruth Diamond x3 sometime; it will be intoxicating. The experience will assuage both those who want to get the most bang for their buck out of their systems, and also those who simply have the need to get to the music on the recording and enjoy it. I usually want both...
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!

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 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 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?