From my experiences, I wouldn't say that copper is better, but different. Copper tends to be warmer and richer, while silver tends to be more revealing and transparent. I prefer the sound of copper myself, but I've heard silver sound good in some systems, mostly tube systems.
I'd stick with copper. When I owned a Bryston amp, I always preferred the sound of my system wired with copper.
Yes, they are too bright for my taste.
Try Kimber Select 1010 (or newer 1011) as a cost-comparable high-quality copper offering from the same manufacturer. Same "staging" characteristics as many other Kimbers, but smoother (copper) and less zingy than the KCAG. Also way better than the "hero", which is really a forgettable cable in my opinion.
The Select 1010 or 1011 would be a way to try copper sound in a direct comparable without changing the soundstage positioning and characteristics much - I've owned both (long since went to 1010's and don't miss the KCAGs one bit) Both have the same "house" presentation in terms of soundstage depth + positioning, but the edge is different, with the Select 1010/11 being softer and a bit fuller. I have used both with tube and SS. I also use Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval ICs - again same rough price range, and a bit softer than the Kimbers, but a little less robust in the nether regions.
It depends on the gear with which they are being used. You know all the synergy @#%&* that people talk about, well this is one of the few times it's really true.
Thanks for the advice !!!!!!!!!
Kimber's silver cabling to me sounds bright. All the Adcom preamp's that i've ever heard are bright. Most Bryston amps, especially the older versions, are on the bright side too. Hopefully, you're not running metal dome tweeters...
Having said that, not all silver is bright, nor is all copper "warmer" and "softer". It really depends on several different variables. As a general rule though and after looking at the components within your system, i would think that you would be safer using a copper based cable than you would a silver based model. Sean
I would upgrade your Adcom pre to a tube pre. Problem solved. Don't use cables as band aids, the Adcom is probably your demon. The KCAG was very nice when I owned it.
I think it's a synery thing, I've used KCAG with tubes and found it to be wonderfully open sounding and not at all bright. However with ss amps, particularly more medium-priced stuff, it might be bright or simply too revealing. I don't think you can say the cable is intrinscaly bright however.
KCAG + Bryston + Adcom will equal bright sound. I tried a few silver Kimbers and never cared for them in my system either. I have loved my MIT T2 cables most.
Good silver often gets the "bright" rap because it is typically more transparent than copper from the midrange up, and reveals grain and other shortcomings in mediocre upstream components that copper won't reveal. It also tends to take a lot longer to break in, and can sound thin and shrill until it fully comes around.
I have run Kimber Select 1030 IC's and 3038 speaker cables for the last four years. The "Black Pearl" silver conductor in those products takes a full 1,000 hours to completely break in. They didn't sound fully right until they had logged those hours, but then everything was really right. While I was having two stereo amps converted to monoblocks, I had my old Bryston 4B-ST in my system for about a month with the 1030 and 3038 cabling. Sounded incredible. I never knew the amp was that good. My guess is that the Bryston is not your problem.
I do not have experience with Kimber's KCAG, but my guess is that it may not be fully broken in or is laying bare the truth about your Adcom preamp (which are very fine preamps at their price points -- I owned one -- but FM Acoustics, etc., they ain't). Try to put another 500 hours (three weeks of 24/7) on the KCAG with a break-in track, and if that doesn't fix it, try Cardas Golden Cross.
They might not be the best fit for your comp. I had kcag and kctg, even with tubes in the pre they could get fatiguing at times. Why not try to mix some copper in like Cardas upstream.
Silver Wire is just not a good application for Mid-Fi solid state electronics. It is that simple.
Raquel: i have used silver cabling that NEVER "broke in" i.e. it always sounded thin, bright, glaring, etc... resulting in a lack of listening enjoyment, loss of PRAT and a giant increase in listening fatigue. I thought like you did at first i.e. that it needed more break in time. I've placed cables like this on my burner and then listened to them at various intervals of burning. They still sounded like hell. Some of these were after THOUSANDS of hours on a cable burner, which stresses an interconnect far harder than any amount of actual use in a system will ever do. I did some cabling for SIX MONTHS on a burner, but it was still the same. The only reason that i let this cable go this long as i had read soooooo many "rave reviews" about it that i couldn't believe how bad it sounded. I talked to a few other guys on the net, whose listening skills and opinions i trust, and they had shared identical experiences with this cabling. As such, i knew i was not alone in my thoughts / experiences with this cabling and sold it. Luckily, primarily due to all of those "rave reviews", i had no problem getting my money back out of it.
Then again, i've also used silver that i never new was silver. It simply sounded marvelously transparent and full bodied, making me think it was simply a most excellent copper cable. I didn't know it was silver until i pulled it apart to see what made it "tick" and why it was such a good sounding cable. Needless to say, i was quite shocked to find silver conductors, not copper cabling inside.
Obviously, not all silver is created equally. Sean
I don't disagree with anything you wrote.
And you'll note that my remarks referred to "good silver" (whatever that is).
I think there are some myths out there about silver. Six-nines copper is actually more expensive. A lot of silver does sound awful. One prominent high-end designer, who does not care for silver, claims that it "rings".
I know that I love my Kimber Select silver. It sounds natural, open, and anything but bright.
If you would be so kind as to e-mail me to identify the silver cable with the "rave reviews" that no amount of cooking could fix, I'd be much obliged!
Raquel's Kimber Select uses a different silver (Black Pearl) than the KCAG, and is a totally different geometry and design.
The KCAG has been called bright for all the years it is has been in production. It probably works in systems where the speakers and/or the tube electronics have a rolled off and soft treble.
Mine sounds bright. Sony tae9000 es preamp & bryston Amps. I'm changing to optical.
Well I reburned the KCAGs with a cable cooker for one week. Sound is much better. Smoother and detailed but not near so bright. I am keeping them!! Mike
Blueranger: Glad that "burning in" the cabling worked for you and we've got another "convert" to the group of believers. Out of curiosity, how much actual playing time ( time in your system ) did you have on these cables prior to burning? Sean
I had these cables about 16 months. I hurriedly burnt them in for a day or 2 on cable cooker. I played my system 20-30 hours a week. 7-9 days on cable cooker last month helped. They do not have as much zing an zip but still retain all the detail. These are keepers in my system. Mike
Blueranger: Thanks for the response. The reason that i asked is that it has been my experience that interconnects that have been in use for even many years can benefit from a thorough "cooking" on a good cable burner. As such, it would seem that your results support my previous experiences. Glad that there was a difference and that you found it beneficial. Sean
Okay, Sean, are there any recommendations for a decent cooker?
i have just put a KCAG into my set up and straight from the box it might be described as bright but not as bright as Red Dawn. it is unfair to judge it before burn in which will be at least 100 hours before I pronounce again.
It's really funny to see all the discussions on how cables sound. There is no such thing as cable XYZ "sounds this or that". It depends on your system. 20 years of cable auditions also tell me that the most expensive cable is hardly the perfect choice. So try and find out and by all means don't buy cables based on rave reviews! And yes, burn in is necessary in any case. Kimber says that typically 200 hours in the system should bring you to 95%+ performance.
KCAG is bright to my ears.
With that combo of amp/pre almost anything coming out of it will sound bright. You need a warm cable not a silver cable like the KCAG. I'm sorry but I don't have any suggestions on warm cables.
I am running pretty high end stuff and I have a mix of copper and kcag. I use kcag off my carry 303/300 cd because it is a bit brigher but also use hero and copper else where to for other componment that are brigher to tone them down. Just depends wht you like. I would say they are a very trasparent cable and more comes through which makes them sound bright. So yes they can be considered brigher than copper. Given your system I would stay with copper just because it is silver doesn't necesserly make it better for your system.
In a word...yes Kimber silver does sound brighter than it should. I didn't like it in my system. Cables should add as little as possible and should not be used as tone controls.
Update I went with all silver select in my system sounds good but not great. However I would avoid kimber these days, my new selects came in totally beat up looked like a used cable. Went back to kimber 3 times and they did not to this day fix them right, I gave up and got tired paying for shipping. There are other better cables for the price out there. Kimber has gotten to full of them selves these days and has not improved the product in years.
It's a complete misnomer that pure silver wire is bright. I run Kimber KCAG from my phono pre to main pre. I also run Siltec MC4-80 (pure Silver) to my power amps. They are neutral and very revealing...not bright. If they were, I'm sure my Wilson Watt/Puppies would tell me so. YMMV
Further I would add that I also use pure silver speaker cables (Siltech LS-180). I feel that those who experience the tonal balance turning bright when using silver cables in their system are experiencing impedance resistence issues related to differing cables and or components.
As a cable manufacturer, My experience tells me that cable geometry is a bigger determinant of perceived brightness, which is a way of agreeing with you Rockitman, but with different words.
However, copper and silver have different characteristic sounds with copper adding a thickness to the upper bass and lower mids, which tends to make the sound warmer but muddier than silver. If you design a cable that sounds balanced with copper, and substitute silver, the muddy accentuation of mid-low frequencies goes away and the silver introduces it own resonant problems in the lower treble. The resulting cable may sound too lean and bright.
The challenges for a cable designer are therefore quite different when using copper than when using silver, and a reasonably balanced result is possible with both of them.
My company never uses copper as copper cannot achieve as low a noise floor as silver or gold. What we do find is that there are several ways of combining different metals (in our case silver, gold and platinum) that can significantly diminish the characteristic sounds of the individual metals. Many others still get excellent results by just using geometry to balance out the characteristic sound of the metals. It is all in the implementation, and judging cables by the metal used is mostly meaningless.