Audio Note AN-vZ interconnects and Audio Note AN-SPx speaker cables. Nothing much to look at but sounds very liquid without any sonic signature.
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In my opinion, there are no absolutely neutral cables. You cannot transfer audio signal from one place to another without altering it somehow. What you really need is a cable who's signature is neutral enough, that you are not bothered by the bias. Starting from that goal, I would try Purist Audio Design's products. Either the Proteous or Dominus, depending on what you can afford. Both of these cables are state of the art, and are my personal favorites. Will you get other excellent suggestions? You bet, and depending on what "bias" is your favorite, or least objectionable, the answers could be better than mine.
If your budget allows, try the Nirvana S-X cable ($1295). I bought it before the Stereophile review last issue. Everything stated in the review is true. Steve Creamer at Nirvana has over 200K in test equipment. Chesky Records use Nirvana exclusively. Nirvana also has a nuetral cable called the SL which is about half the cost as the S-X. I compare HT Prosilway, Audioquest Anaconda, and Siltek silver (maybe G200) and nothing compares.
From my experience, I seem agree with Stereophile's assessment of Audioquest. They seem to sound midway between the "soft" cables like MIT(see a LOT of Krell people with these...) & Monster, and the "forward" cables Straightwire, Wireworld, Kimber. Maybe you should try. Look at the ones between their cheap stuff, and the real expensive ones. That being said, I really don't use Audioquest, I have one cable in one of my systems.
Tough luck finding these 'neutral' cables. They simply do not exist. All cables carry various resistance/capacitance/inductance more or less and some with less shielding than others or none at all. All these factors make a cable its own sonic signature. The name of the game is to find the right cables to match your system synergy.
All of the above responses are excellent. The idea of keeping the cables (inc. speaker cables) short is correct. I have been lucky enough to have many of the most well thought of brands and models. My experience leads to the Nordost Quattrofil's as being the most neutral...system to system. However, perhaps, the interconnect cable that gave the most pleasure in listening, was the Wireworld Gold Eclipse III. If it was the most accurate or not, is up to many opinions.....however, if you listen to Jazz and female vocale (such as Diana Krall, etc.) the Gold Eclipse III will provide nearly sensual pleasure.
AlbertPorter is dead on, re "neutrality"!...............I'm trying a one meter Gold Eclipse III RCA interconnect right now, besides VERY many others. With either my tube power amplifier, or tubed headphone amplifier, I feel that it is very smooth, so much so that the treble range takes on (mostly) the same character, no matter which recording. All the other cables I'm trying don't do this. However, the GE3 is perhaps the least fatigueing silver interconnect I've ever heard (even though the treble range is still the slightest bit forward). It is a "very nice" cable, definitely worth the used price, IMO..................One thing I'm finding is that it is almost impossible to get that "tube midrange" that I'm after with a silver interconnect (my amp is NOT a 300B, or 2A3). However, this "midrange" CAN be had with my silver speaker cable (Dragon plus), provided the interconnect is copper...or perhaps gold..............Cardas makes "neutral reference" cables, and my experience with them has been that they are neither "neutral", nor a "reference". However, the name supposedly implies a consistent character, with regard to "no matter what length, they 'sound the same'". I have no idea whether this is true. It could be, I suppose, at least in a practical sense.
I would strongly recommend the Discovery Essence cables. For the price there are no cables less than $5000 that can compare!!! They are as neutral as they get,puts you that closer to the real thing. At about $1100 for the 1 meter , they're a bargain. You won't see many on the used market, because they're keepers and one of the best kept secrets in this crazy high priced premium cable market .
Carl, you can get pure copper(4 nines, I recall), not brass(advertised) RCA's from a brand Kimon Bellas repesents in the US, AXON. They are gold plated, and VERY cheap. They've been on my short list, but I just have yet to see if they make a worthwhile difference. Check him out, or one of his distributors. As you're also a speaker builder, you probably already know where to find these guys. If not, let me know, and I'll pass on the info.
Thanks Tre, yes, I'm familiar with them. I thought all of those inexpensive connectors were mostly brass. Are your sure they aren't just copper plated, and then nickel/gold plated, over brass? I thought they were. I've emailed Kimon before, and his price to do Leap design is twice what perhaps the most prominant designer's in the world, is. Of course, that's if that one has time...which he really doesn't.
I have been trying cables for about six months. Nordost, audio magic, discovery, goertz, jps, silver audio, siltch, synergistic research, tara, cardas, analysis plus, harmonic technology, and nirvana. The nirvana sounds the best so far. At first I didn't like it but that turned out to be problems elsewhere in my system. As an example, my tube amp can run in pentode, 2/3 pentode 1/3 triode, 1/3 pentode 2/3 triode, or all triode. Anything but all triode sounded terrible. I read Robert Harley's review in TAS of the Avalon speakers and he mentioned that the NBS cables allow you to hear diffenent notes simultaneously and I thought it would be nice to hear that. The nirvanas were the first to let me hear that.
I too, have been trying many cables for six months. I've not tried the Nirvana, and plan to try that NBS Monitor 3 interconnect with my pentode/triode tube amp, besides my Krell. I've been hearing different instruments playing the same notes simultaneously for a while, but there are different degrees of this with different cables...besides how much of the dynamic envelop you're willing to sacrifice, to get there. I've had Robert Harley's older reference interconnects for a while (MIT 350 EVO), and still prefer them to everything else, more or less. I'm trying different speaker cables also, but can't afford the MIT Oracle right now. It'd mean two different ones also, one for the tube amp, one for the Krell, so that's really out of the question.