Comments on interconnect cables


I have owned my Harmonic Technology Magic Link 2 interconnect XLR cables since 2007 so it is time for an interconnect cable upgrade. One option, of course, is the Harmonic Technology Magic Link 3 interconnect cables ($900). See:

http://www.harmonictech.com/2013/11/magic-link-interconnects/

My dealer is suggesting something in the Shunyata Research’s line.

Several people seem to like the Darwin Truth Interconnect cables as described below:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?rcabl&1404488168&read&keyw&zzdarwin=truth

The IC cables will go from my Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC to my Luxman L-590ax integrated amplifier.

Does anyone have any suggestions on the above cables or other cables I should consider? My budget is around $1,000.
hgeifman
What are your listening preferences - what type of music do you listen to?

Do you attend live performances as a reference when evaluating your system's performance?

Is your system set up to recreate the recording as it was performed? Is it optimized for frequency response?

Most people don't ask these questions yet these issues are critical when considering equipment.

Many audiophiles don't have their system set up to recreate the performance - the image and dimensionality of the performers playing in the room.

Speakers set up against a wall with a high vertical equipment rack in between the speakers, while possibly getting high WAF ratings, compromises that systems' performance.

Making recommendations (wire or other components) for such systems is difficult because fidelity (how well a recorded performance is recreated) isn't a criteria used to gauge performance. Or, if it is - the ability of the system to do so is limited at best.

I hope I'm not sounding like I'm on a rant. I'm an engineer, and if you ask for help from a qualified person (me or anyone else asking for suggestions) - these are prerequisite issues that must be addressed before a recommendation can be offered.
Time Portal Reference XLR are one in that price range that did well with me.
good luck
Wireworld uses OCC copper (like HT) but wraps it in some super new material to
"give you more music".
They are reasonably priced and well reviewed.
I replaced my Pro-9 with Eclipse 7 and really like them.
Call "Buff" at Liquid Hi-Fi (Charlotte, NC) for great service.
I auditioned a pair of Magic Link IIs when looking for ICs. I ended up preferring WyWires over them as the WyWires (to my ears/brain/system/room) were far better balanced across the freq. spectrum and far more natural sounding (timbre, tone, especially piano, cymbals, and muted trumpet). Just my $.02.
I had the HT myself and they were OK. I wouldn't spend $900 on them. If you would consider a different brand, you may want to consider a pair of AQ Columbia. I feel that its a much better sounding cable.

"02-27-15: Dweller
Wireworld uses OCC copper (like HT) but wraps it in some super new material to"

Unless nothing has changed with WW, they use stranded copper, where HT uses solid core. If you have a system that gives you enough detail to hear the differences between cables like this, I think you would easily here that those 2 cables will not sound alike. No guarantee of course, but its a likely outcome.
Tjassoc: Thanks for asking those great questions. I listen to classical, jazz, blues, country and new age recordings and streaming (uncompressed Tidal and Pandora). I listen to live music at San Francisco Symphony Hall and Freight & Salvage (amplified and un-amplified Jazz, Folk, etc). I also listen to music at various San Francisco Theaters.

My system was tuned by my local retailer to capture "the image and dimensionality of the performers playing in the room”as much as possible. My Sonus Faber Olympic II Speakers are slightly away from the wall and to the left and right of my fireplace. My equipment rack is on the left side of my living room. The IC cable goes from my Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC to my Luxman L-590ax amplifier. I have a MAC Laptop connected to the Ayre QB-9 DAC using the Synergistic Research Active SE USB Cable (powered). CD's were ripped to my LaCie 3TB d2 USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Series Hard Drive (AIFF Format).

Several people have listened to my system and felt it sounded excellent.

Since my Harmonic technology Magic Link Two IC is 7 years old, I thought it might be time for an improvement. I am asking this question but might decide to keep my HT Magic Link 2 IC's. I am in research mode and in no hurry to make a decision. To be honest, it is more fun to just listen to the music. Thanks again for your input.
I'm pretty sure Wireworld uses rectangular solid-core conductors in its ICs and Speaker cables.
I don't believe I said the Wireworld and HT speaker cables sound alike (but both do sound like music).
All XLR/RCA ICs in my system are HT Magic-I which I don't feel compelled to replace.
And, rest assured, my system reproduces any detail available in the source.
"Many audiophiles don't have their system set up to recreate the performance - the image and dimensionality of the performers playing in the room."

If you weren't there when the recording was made, how do you know if you're setup is better than anyone else’s?
zd542: We did the best we could based on my equipment, room, etc. Of course, it is not perfect. No home audio system can match the sound of a live performance.
Except for the bose 901.
Waste of money......spend your money elsewhere.........or roll your own and be done with it.
It appears from your system description photos that the length required for this cable is fairly short, probably around 1 meter. Keep in mind that the relatively short length, the fact that the interface is balanced, and the fairly low output impedance of the QB9 will all work in the direction of reducing sensitivity to cable differences.

My suspicion is that you might be pleasantly surprised with the results you would get by spending $80 on a pair of Mogami Gold Studio.

Another factor which may contribute to Mogami being a suitable choice is the proximity of the cable to the laptop in your system. Mogami Gold Studio is known for providing excellent noise rejection, and the electrical noise radiated by the laptop and/or its power supply could conceivably be significant at that close distance.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
Purist wonderful cable great sound.
You should consider Zen Wave Audio D4 interconnects. I find them similar to Siltech G6 Forbes Lake, only even more natural sounding. The D4 are the best I've used, allowing me to sell the much costlier Siltechs. FWIW, I still own a pair of HT Magic Link II cables as spares. The D4 are in a different league.
"02-27-15: Dweller
I'm pretty sure Wireworld uses rectangular solid-core conductors in its ICs and Speaker cables."

You're thinking of Tara. RSC is they're design.
Thank you very much for your comments above. I appreciate everyones comments and suggestions. In summary, one person said to "keep what I have", another said "waste of money", another person asked for more information and I received other posts suggesting difference cables (Wireworld, WyWires, AQ Columbia, Harmonic Technology, Time Portal Reference, Mogami Gold Studio, Purists, Zen Wave Audio D4, Darwin Cables, etc).

One Audio member "highly recommended the Darwin Trust interconnect cables". In addition, someone else reported “Darwin Trust IC’s gets his highest recommendation for audiophiles with an above average cable budget, who are tired of pseudo science and cables whose price seems to have no relation to the cost of manufacturing or production”. Someone said “he actually first used his Darwin Trust with the Ayre QB-9 DAC (I have the DSD DAC version) and it blew him away”.

This is amazing (and, yes, is normal for our hobby). It seems everyone I ask about interconnect cables recommends a different product. Of course, everyone has a different opinion, system, room setup and other feelings. Are the Darwin Truth IC's really that good? Darwin Cables reports “in every instance his clients rave about soundstage, micro details, natural dynamics, subterranean lows and delicate, sweet highs. He is also an owner of the Ayre DAC. Yes, he says "Darwin Truth Cables really are that good! We look different because we are different, delivering the purest, most transparent and neutral signal in the business. Most owners report a night and day difference. Every one tells us they hear things they never heard before on recordings they thought they knew well”.

1) Does anyone else have any comments on Darwin Truth Interconnect cables?

2) Does anyone have any comments on the Harmonic Technology Magic Link 3 XLR cable OR the new Harmonic Technology Armour Link 3 XLR cable?

So what am I going to do? I do not know. To be honest, I am gathering information on my income taxes so the interconnect cable decision is temporary on hold. As I said before, I am in no hurry to make a decision. Beside, it is more fun to sit back and listen to music.
You make valid points, but you have to expect this type of thing when you ask about cables. Not only do different people like different cables, you also have to figure what one's motivations are for making the recommendation. You would think its just about sound quality, but that's not always the case. You also need to be able to factor in someones belief system when they recommend cables. For example, some people feel that cables make little to no difference in SQ, so they'll recommend an inexpensive, well made, basic cable, and tell you that its as good as anything on the market. While they may believe this, others may feel different, and have actual experiences that would be different. Some shoot for price points, while others go after a certain design or materials used. The important thing to keep in mind, is that much of this may not be apparent when they give you a recommendation. Though in order for the recommendation to have value, you really need to know the full logic behind ones choice, and not simply the choice itself.

So now, at this point, you're probably thinking this is hopeless. But there is one way you could do this, and that's my way. My way is the best way. lol. I by my cables from a place called The Cable Company. (www.fatwyre.com) What makes this place so good is that they have demo units of all the cables they sell. And their inventory is huge. They're the largest cable dealer in the world. They will most likely have a demo unit of every cable mentioned in this discussion, to send you all at once, so that you can try them all and make the best decision. $900 is a lot of money for a piece of cable. Might as well get the right one.
Zd542: Thanks for the suggestion. I contacted The Cable Company and am waiting for them to respond.
http://www.chimeralabs.com/chimera_labs_audio_cables_audio_interconnects_speaker_cables.html
Hgeifman,
In the hopes that you haven't bought your ICs yet, do yourself a solid and try out the Darwin Ascension Plus that they have on sale now for $595 ($200 off). I just got mine and I'm keeping them.

I already have the standard Darwin silver ICs and these Ascensions are a big step up in performance. I don't think you need to go all the way to the Truth to get what you desire in an IC. They are so much more coherent, cleaner and musical that they will satisfy the pickiest of tastes.

Lots of claims are made but only you can decide and they have a 30 day return guarantee so you can't go wrong. You will end up keeping these, I promise. :-)

All the best,
Nonoise
Since everyone is providing advice and recommendations, I might as well chime in. I have read about the Tempo Electric cables for years and have slowly switched a few of my Neotech IC's over to the Tempo Electric from the amp to the preamp. The difference between the solid core Neotech and Tempo Electric IC's were not drastic as one reason I selected this particular Neotech previously was due to its very low capacitance. When played against other cables such as HMS, Nordost, and Audience, the Neotech had that sense of "aura" with articulated impression on the brass and cymbals, and excellent bass and upper frequency characteristics. Step into the Tempo Electric...pure silver, aka solid core, with silver WBT's. Though the measured capacitance of the silver Tempo Electric IC may slightly be higher than the very low capacitance of the Neotech, this is probably offset by the very low capacitance of the silver WBT's that come with the Tempo Electric, making the overall capacitance about the same. Anyway, the sound difference was more in the depth of how the individual instruments and vocals are presented. I was previously focused on Nordost and other pricey cables for their electrical characteristics concerning capacitance, especially if you run longer IC' like I do from my preamp to amps, about 5 meters (15 feet). For shorter lengths, capacitance may not be a big deal, buy worry about resistance issues anywhere in your system when you can get cables that are relatively low in capacitance, either short or long lengths. I am highly recommending the Tempo Electric cables due to their equipping the cables with silver WBT's. I would check them out while you do research..they offer balanced and Furutech carbon XLR options.
http://www.tempoelectric.com/cables.htm
No business relationship with either Neotech or Tempo Electric, just a highly satisfied audio enthusiast.
As stated here, many ideas and more expensive is not necessarily better.
Good luck
Audioquest4life, you're not being true to your name!! :^)


"Audioquest4life, you're not being true to your name!! :^)"

You are correct. I should take my own advice and be happy with what I have; however, being the ever curios "and have to mod this" homosapian that I am, I guess curiosity and experimenting is in my blood, for life, hence my moniker...based on the amount of intellect and technical feedback provided in this forum, I also believe that I may not be the only one that feels that way either:). I feel the same sense as if I am in Corvette or ZO6 forum, funny how two different hobbies are somewhat related regarding our desires to always test the limits and experiment. Tha last mod I made for my Z06 was a Callaway blower, which could have bought me some nice cables:)

I appreciate this hobby as well as the other and enjoy the knowledge gained from all of the other members. Enjoy the ride, you never know when it's going to end.
Hg - take a look at KLE Innovations products

They're pretty plain looking, but if it's performance you are after - these will
make you very happy

If you are looking for a neutral performance with clean, crisp details, superb
dynamics and a cavernous image that is extremely focussed, you will love
them.

I've tried most of their lineup and currently own the gZero20 IC's and the
gZero6 speaker cables - both excellent.

The gZero6 and gZero10 are exceptional performers also - I started with the
gZero6's

I compared the gZero3's to a pair of Silver Kimber balanced IC's at $1200 on a
very nice $50k system and the gZero3's came out ahead in all aspects of their
performance.

Thing is, you don't need a $50k system to notice the improvements they bring
to the performance - my system is around $14k , but these cables make it
sound like $50k-ish :-)

Take a look at the KLE Innovations web site for lots of great reviews

Regards
The Darwin cable testimonials duplicate how I would describe my own results with
Reality Cables from Gregg Straley.
At $285 for XLR you get to enjoy bragging rights, along with having money left over to spend on the music.