Grover Huffman GH RCA ZX+ cables vs...

At the $200/pair price point new or used, how does GH ZX+ cables compare to others like Greg Straley Reality cables, Gabriel gold (GG) revelation/raptures and alike...

I am looking for a cable that is neutral, and does not act as a filter in any way to highlight a certain portion of the music. From top to bottom it must allow the source material to come through..
I just switched my excellent XLR ICs to ZX. They are the fastest, most uniformly transparent and dynamic cables I've had, and I've had dozens of well known models in the "under $1000" class. A real ear opener. I immediately bought a set of RCA ICs to match.
The dynamic qualities may make the sound a bit brighter in some systems; if your system is bright they might not be the best thing, but in soft or neutral systems they are a wonder. Exactly the sound I was looking for, at a ridiculous price by comparison to other top performers.
Another HUGE Grover Huffman fan here. I have owned or have
listened to just about every cable out there. The Grover's
are EXCEPTIONAL! Highly recommended!!

They do need a VERY long break in time, but after that they
settle in, just perfect...
For those that have heard or owned the Grover Huffman cables, how would you say their soundstaging presents itself? Do they have a more immediate presentation like Virtual Dynamics and Analysis Plus cables? Or are they more laid back like Purist Audio and Tara Labs?
I can't comment on each of the brands you mention, although I have owned some Tara and AP. The ZX are definitely upfront and immediate in character- not exaggerated, but closer to live music than most. Not laid back, certainly, hence my warning about using them in overly aggressive systems.
I was thinking of using them for the connection of my Scoutmaster to the preamp. Does this seem like a reasonable application?
Do they limit the bass performance or exaggerate the highs JMBATkh
Thanks for the warning Jmbatkh. My system is not aggressive tonally, but I do not care for that immediate presentation. I prefer a mid-hall presentation over a front row seat. I like a soundstage with good depth. It sounds like the Huffman's are not for me.
recently did an A v B comparison of the the Grover XLR interconnect versus a standard MOgami XLR and regular copper RCA system is B&W800D, with all Marantz reference electronics, including source CD player....the S3 or something like that. The Grover was noticeably clearer and tighter, esp in mids and highs. I liked the improved definition and clarity. I could not really tell a difference in areas such as soundstage or imaging. The one thing I didn't care for was some thinness on solo just didn't sound as rich and full as i'd like. But i'll take it...have had both cables now for several months so figure probably a couple hundred hours of time on them.
My take on the Grover cables are just the opposite of
Jmbatkh. I started with the Grover "SC" cables
about 7-8 years ago. I sent those back to Grover to have
them upgraded to the "SX" series, then once again
about a 18 months ago to the new "ZX" series. So, I
have owned Grover cables for quite awhile now.

The two things that I will not stand for in my system is
brightness and an upfront (forward), in your face, sound.
The Grover's have none of this! They throw a very deep,
wide soundstage with excellent bass and high frequency
control. They do NOT have an immediate, upfront
sound...well, not in my system anyway.

They are some of the most open, warm, romantic, relaxed
cables that I have ever heard, without being boring or too
laid back. I LOVE them. I really think they are an
incredible deal and Grover gives a 60 day trial period.

I have stopped looking (and listening) to cables for the
foreseeable future.

what are the components of your system?

are you running all tube gear?
I'm going to muddy the waters here by actually agreeing with both posters and give you my experience. Had the Grover XLRs for about 2.5 weeks burning in non-stop (my system in my sig).

1. Burn-in is possibly the most brutal I've ever found in any cable
2. During burn-in, the sound is forward and "front-seat"
3. Strengths during burn-in are pristine mids and detail, weaknesses are a white wine not red wine leanness
4. HOWEVER, after 150-200 hours, this DOES equalize and you're left with a pure, transparent, well-balanced sound
5. Imaging is wide, but in terms of depth, I would agree it's not rear-hall -- let's say it's between mid and front-seat
6. Compared to my Audience AU24Es, the Grovers give hardly anything away at all, at a fraction of the price -- so don't rule them out if you want this level of transparency and musicality without paying 4 or 5 times the price.

It's all about trade-offs, plus Grover has a 60 day return policy.
@ jmcgrogan2, Very good answer of your 8-14-13 post, As you know, what you described in your post is exactly what I like with sound stages!, cheers.
I'll chime in on Grover's cables also, I have a set of SC version (speaker) and a balanced SX IC that I use. Yes the break in DOES TAKE some time fully agree with that but, they imaged with detail right from the get go! Now I'm listening through Apogee Slant speakers and they throw a great sound stage, I agree that they are probably just a tad more forward then mid hall (which I like) and they throw a wide stage with great detail. Bass is very well articulated and highs are smooth and extended as well. Most of all when I had contacted Grover initially I explained that I wanted a NETURAL sounding cable without any tuning properties, which is exactly what I have in my rig. IMHO I call these a bargain if there ever was one. Should you have questions Grover is more than happy to help , he's a true gentleman and I myself can't endorse his products enough.
Please note- in my comments I did NOT say they sound bright. I said their dynamic qualites may be too much(i.e. too forward) in an already bright system. In a neutral system, they are near perfection, IMO. With cables, even more than other components, matchups rule!
Have any of you guys made the switch to Grover cables/cords from the upper registers of MIT, Kimber, Cardas or Transparent? If so, what did you gain by switching?
Just received my ZX+ power cable and I have to say I am very impressed.
The first thing I noticed was how textured and impact-full the low-end is. Some of the best bass I've ever heard, but don't get me wrong these are extremely neural cables so the low-end doesn't stand out; only in how marvellous it is.
The next thing that blew me away was how deep the sound stage became and how the images project them selves with-in it. The images have pinpoint precision but resonate into a wide field with-in the stage (very natural sounding).
I would classify the ZX+ as an extremely technical cable. Extreme detail, texture, micro-dynamics, transparency and resolution all there.
This guy has some great ears and skill in his craft.
Just received my ZX+ power cable and I have to say I am very impressed.
The first thing I noticed was how textured and impact-full the low-end is. Some of the best bass I've ever heard, but don't get me wrong these are extremely neural cables so the low-end doesn't stand out; only in how marvellous it is.
The next thing that blew me away was how deep the sound stage became and how the images project them selves with-in it. The images have pinpoint precision but resonate into a wide field with-in the stage (very natural sounding).
I would classify the ZX+ as an extremely technical cable. Extreme detail, texture, micro-dynamics, transparency and resolution all there.
This guy has some great ears and skill in his craft.
i have owned 3 different sets of grovers, but not his latest and greatest . i found all of his cables to have a sound that appeals to inexperienced listeners, highly detailed with improper balance between the quietest and loudest "sounds", there seemed to be little coherence of actual music . In addition i certainly can't agree with his business model that sees "upgrades" on such a continuous basis, that it reminds me of the way one changes clothing season to season

I agree with you when you state, "a sound that appeals to inexperienced listeners".
"i found all of his cables to have a sound that appeals to inexperienced listeners"

Ie...that's a pretty ignorant, (but ballsy) statement to make on these forums. The members here are some of the most experienced and knowledgeable audiophiles in the world.

Maybe it's "your" lack of experience that is at play here?

I beg to disagree with you. I think Ie is spot on.
Ie & Sabai Let me only (and respectfully) 2nd the opinion the opinion of Mofimadness in disagreement.
Sabai...weren't you the one who claimed that Grover stole a cable design from you? I think that kind of makes your comments a little one-sided?

That's true about my cable design. But my comments here are solely based on my experience with high end cables in my system for lengthy periods of time -- everything from Kimber to Cardas to ASI to HiDiamond to Bybee to Synergistic Research to Furutech to Elrod to Shuntata. My comments are based on a sober comparison of cables over a period of many years. My comments are not based on bias.

Please note that my comments about Grover Huffman cables appealing to "inexperienced ears" are by no means exclusive to these cables. My comments apply equally to Kimber, ASI, HiDiamond, Synergistic Research and many other cables I have had in my system.

It looks like you have a really nice system. You owe it to yourself to upgrade your cables. A nice improvement in SQ would be your reward.
I'll 3rd Mofi's opinion and add mine.
"A sound that appeals to inexperienced listeners." smacks of snobbery. Please enlighten us. In what way do Grover ICs appeal to the inexperienced listener but which your superior listening skills have enabled you to reject? Maybe we can one day attain the heights from which you make these pronouncements.

With all due respect this has nothing at all to do with snobbery. As noted earlier, it has to do with a multi-year comparison of cables from many companies. And may I reiterate, my comments apply equally to a whole host of cable makers, not only to Grover Huffman cables. I can add Pangea and Gabriel Gold to that long list. This is not a matter of superior listening skills. It is a matter of superior cables where anyone can easily hear the difference -- if given the opportunity to do A/B comparisons. People who are initially impressed with, for instance, Grover Huffman or Pangea or Gabriel Gold cables don't have enough experience with enough cable companies to make valid comparisons.

For instance, of you come to Grover Huffman cables from, let's say, Kimber or Pangea or Gabriel Gold or ASI or HiDiamond, inexperienced listeners may be initially impressed with the dynamics and transparency of Grover Huffman cables. But, on closer examination, these cables fall short. Listeners but may not note the lack of harmonics, the thinness in the sound with Grover Huffman cables, the lack of continuity, the lack of layering, the poor imaging with a lack of air around instruments and vocals, and the constriction of the sound stage. In short, there is a lack or realness in the sound quality with Grover Huffman cables -- and with cables from many other companies.

These are some of the most obvious short-comings with cables that may impress folks who have not heard cables from, for instance, David Elrod or Shunyata. While the latter are not perfect cables, they easily make up for the shortcomings of lesser cables and outclass them handily. This can be easily heard when doing A/B comparisons. Over the years I have done careful A/B testing of countless cables from a whole host of cable makers -- power cords, digital cables, ICs and speaker cables. I have done thousands of tests. Most people do not have the time and the opportunity -- and the inclination -- to do such testing. This is not being snobbish. It's just a fact of life.

Of course, there is a price to be paid to enjoy the benefits of certain cables from certain cable makers. Pangea and Grover Huffman cables offer good value at their price points. No doubt about it. But what they have to offer in terms of sound quality should not be confused with the sound of cables from companies that clearly outclass them.
Sabai, your response doesn't mate with the fundamental reality of high end audio. If you are so experienced, you must have learned that component, particularly cable, selection is not exclusively about "better", like a football game score, but about synergy, more like cooking. Cables that sound great in one system/room/listener context are often terrible in others, and vice versa, irrespective of brand or price. Thus your preferences are just that, and nothing more than that. Any other conclusion is self-delusion.
That's what I've learned in 46 years of evaluating many hundreds of components and cables, at all price levels. There is no such thing as best- one size will never fit all- just like shoes.

You're absolutely right about synergy. But the quality of the synergy is what I am taking about. That's what really matters. You cannot get superior synergy with, for instance, Grover Huffman or Pangea or Gabriel Gold or so many other cable companies. No matter how hard you try. They simply do not have the necessary properties. They may fit some systems, granted. But the systems they fit will not be delivering what I term superior sound quality. This is not just a matter of preferences. It is a matter of quality that can be heard by A/B-ing cables from different companies.

For instance, I believe that in virtually any system the synergy of, let's say, Shunyata cables will be far superior to, let's say, the synergy of Grover Huffman cables. There is nothing delusional about this. It is a simply matter of auditioning these various cables side by side to know there are indeed superior cables out there. Of course, one size will never fit absolutely all. But I am not talking about one-size-fits-all. I am talking about taking a broad spectrum of mid and high and systems and inserting these cables to verify that the properties of some are, indeed, superior to others over that broad spectrum -- with exceptions granted.

My comments (above) have no bearing on how much we enjoy our systems, no matter how evolved they may be. I use to get immense pleasure from my crystal radio and then my transistor radio. And then my first real system in 1967. It is very true that one may not need exceptional cables to enjoy one's system immensely. But exceptional cables -- well-chosen for system synergy -- will surely elevate the sound quality of top components.
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Sabai, while I do admire your persistence, and currently enjoy some entry level Shunyata power cords, I think we have lost the thread of the OP's original question. He's asking about $200 dollar ICs. While I'm sure there are many, many posters here that would love to step up to into even the "cheapest" of Shunyata's IC offerings, I don't think the Huffmans and the Shunyatas would ever be cross-shopped. I have no doubt the Shunyatas are better in most ways, at 5x the price they better be. But I don't think it's fair when the OP is asking about a reasonably priced set of ICs to to jump right into the high end, reference spectrum of product offerings.

Dvdgreco, I just got a 2m pair of ZX+s in the mail last week. If the reports of a 150 hour to 300 hour break-in are true I've got a long, long way to go yet until they've settled in. But they are quicker, more transparent, and better detailed than my the Ah! AS Direkt ICs that I was using previously. Sorry, that's the only direct comparison I can make right now.

I probably don't have more than 20 hours on the ZXs now and the bass has gone missing, but I do expect it return in time. Happy to update next month to report how things are coming along.
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When you state "I don't think the Huffmans and the Shunyatas would ever be cross-shopped ", I think you may be surprised that I am not the only Audiogon shopper who has "cross-shopped" from Huffman to Shunyata -- either directly or with intermediate steps. And if you shop wisely on Audiogon you can pick up some Shunyata cables for not much more than Huffman cables.

Please note I did mention earlier that Huffman cables offer good value at their price points. But your point is well made. Of course, the cost of the more expensive Shunyata cables is far higher than Huffman cables. But please note that Shunyata has recently cut the price of their cables substantially while improving their quality. An amazing feat in high end audio where price increases are usually expected.

I believe that not everyone here will know who Sts is. IMO, it would have been appropriate for you to make a full disclosure before your recent post to let people know that you are the maker of Gabriel Gold cables.
Just checking in like I said I would. About a month in, and probably have about 100 hours on the ZX+s. I like what I'm hearing. The sound is lively, detailed, and very quick. There is definitely good a good sense of energy pulsing through the system that wasn't there before.
IMHO Shunyata haven't the clarity of my cables, and dismissing my cables via my price point shows price bias that isn't reflected in reality.
What makes a great cable is its ability to transport a signal without putting a signature over it. Most cables place sheen (cable caused distortion) over the signal this is why some use cables as tone controls. This is the wrong priority; you need a great cable to perfect the components in your system. Cables come first they are the limiting force. You can never overcome the limit an inferior cable imposes on a system.
I have compared Huffman ZX cables with literally dozens of other cables in A/B testing using all sonic parameters as a guide. The cables I have used for these comparisons are from Cardas, Mogami, Supra, Pangea, ASI Liveline, Kimber, Bybee, Furutech, Synergistic Research, Elrod and Shunyata.

After comparing many Shunyata cables with Huffman ZX cables there is no contest. Shunyata wins hands down -- across all parameters -- in my system and in other systems where I have heard them. This includes the parameters of detail, clarity and transparency. Huffman cables have a very definite signature -- a constricted sound stage and a sound that lacks fullness (harmonics). The result is SQ that lacks "naturalness", for want of a better word.

Huffman cables do not deliver "true to the recording" sound at all. They delivery what I would characterize as a "small" sound -- thin and constricted -- appropriate for less expensive systems, perhaps. To highlight these observations, if we are looking only at ribbon cables, if you compare the Huffman ribbon cables with Elrod ribbon cables (much more expensive, to be sure) it is very easy to confirm the same observations made (above) regarding Shunyata cables.
Sabi, In some cases I might agree with you but, you are also comparing Apples and Oranges in much the same light that you would compare a 1970's Hemi to todays Hell Cat Hemi but, one does it subjectivetly different from the other. Both do exactly what they're were designed to do. Not everyone has the money to 'invest' (if you will) in super high end cables, most of us(like myself) are the 'common man' (if you will) and like anything else cable matching is subjective as to perceived needs and system matching (which is most important as well) I use Grover's cables with tremendous success and do not find the short coming as what you precieve with my system but then again that ALSO may be because I pay attention to the performance of the room as well. My stageing is wide and deep, not strident, not hard and no listening fatuige as long as I choose to enjoy my music. My opinion differs from yours as I myself would not invest in the super priced cables even if I had the money, I know what is good (to me) and Grover's products have made jaw dropping differences to those who have heard my system both before and since I started using Grover's cables.
Sorry Sabai you've only heard the older cables. The new cable blows the others away. IMHO. We'll let time decide. Shunyata are just copper cables and even shielded. Any way you're prejudice. Can I ask a question why would copper cables cost thousands of dollars? Fairy dust? Isn't copper about $3 a pound? How much copper do you think is in there? I’ll put my cable up against any regardless of price. Price has no meaning in this business.
I forgot to add Gabriel Gold, Paul Kaplan and AMR cables to the comparison list.
Just look at my Testimonial page
there are honest comparisons to all kinds of high end cables Shunyata included. Your prejudiced view Sabi is obvious.

There were never any jaws dropping with Huffman cables in my system. They are good value for the money -- but no more than that, IMO. Actually, the latest Shunyata cables are not "super-priced" although their SQ certainly puts them in the category of "super high end", IMO. In fact, you can pick some of them up on Audiogon for well under $1000. Even some of the older versions are great -- with very reasonable price tags on Audiogon.

I also "pay attention to the performance of the room". I have Synergistic Research ART, 4 Steinmusic Harmonizers, 10 Schumann resonance devices (4 of which are Chartres coils), 4 QRT Symphony Pros, one 4-module QRT ElectroClear, 2 Shakti Hallographs, 2 Audio Magic PEAs, 2 Audio Magic Wave Stabilizers, and numerous DIY room treatments. I do not believe I have ignored "the performance of the room".


Sorry -- I have heard the new Huffman cables. They may blow "the others away" -- but they are nothing special in my system. Shunyata has done the "blowing" here. So yes, I am prejudiced in favor of their cables. They use OCC deep-cryo-ed copper. There is a world of difference. Not all copper is alike -- not by a long shot. There is nothing like OCC-deep cryo-ed copper, IMO. Huffman cables do not use OCC deep-cryo-ed copper.

Caelin Gabriel knows what he is doing. If you check the prices of his newest cables they are no longer thousands of dollars. He has priced them within reach of nearly everyone now -- even at retail -- while making huge improvements in SQ. I have never heard a Huffman cable that comes even close.

You may put your cables up "against any regardless of price." But that does not mean they would stand up to the comparison. In my experience, having done hundreds of A/B tests with Huffman cables they simply do not stand up under the comparison. By the way, neither do Gabriel Gold, Supra, Pangea and some of the others.

Huffman cables are good value for the money but they do not deliver superior SQ, IMO. If you have a look at the better virtual systems on Audiogon I think you will have a hard time finding any that have chosen Huffman cables "regardless of price".
Your funny Sabai, you speak with such authority but I know you, you're a long way from being an authority. You claim I stole your design, I did not. Your design doesn't work it kills the music.

With all due respect, you may note that I always state the following -- in my system and IMO. Yes, I am prejudiced. My prejudice is what works in my system. You are also prejudiced. Your prejudice is obviously for Huffman cables, being the maker. Shunyatas and Furutechs work very well in my system, far superior to Huffman cables.

I have found cables from a number of companies that may impress the listener, as least initially. Among these brands are Pangea, Gabriel Gold, Huffman and ASI Liveline. But when you make a serious appraisal of these cables after letting them settle into the system they end up as clear under-performers when compared A/B to better cables.

I have been doing comparative testing on cables -- hundreds of cables -- for years. I do not believe many people -- including many cable makers -- have done this kind of A/B testing using their cables head-to-head opposite the cables of the competition. They may announce they are willing to put their cables up against any other cables -- even much more expensive ones. But we have heard this sort of unimpressive declaration many times from many cable makers. This is simply called marketing. In fact, most makers have never done the comparative testing -- the testing that inevitably would show their cables fall short of better cables. But if they did in fact do this testing, does anyone think they would ever publish the results?

Your testimonial page is a very small sampling. And there are only 2 testimonials that mention Shunyata cables where the posters do not give any details of their systems. So, this information is of limited value. Of course, there are obviously systems where Huffman cables work well. But, as I stated earlier, if you have a look at the better virtual systems on Audiogon I think you will have a hard time finding any that have chosen Huffman cables "regardless of price".
Do you remember this email from you to me?
Hi Grover,

I just received the speaker connectors to be able to connect your speaker cables to my system. It took a bit of work getting it all connected because of the limited space behind the components -- and I have gained a few pounds over the years -- I need to inhale to be able to squeeze past the speaker binding posts. After about 20 seconds of Steve Lawrence remastered it became clear that my Cardas speaker cables will be up for sale. Your speaker cables produce the most beautiful music -- totally compelling -- the best speaker cables I have ever heard -- ever -- I kid you not. The music has never sounded so beautiful -- it just doesn't get more beautiful than this. I give you a big, big hug and send you many, many thanks.

Best ...

I am not an authority when it comes to high end audio -- far from it -- and I have never claimed to be an authority. I only know what works in my system -- and what does not.

With all due respect, instead of addressing the issues in my recent posts you are now moving away from the cable issue under discussion by bringing up an unrelated and erstwhile professional matter that has long since passed. I feel this is inappropriate for this thread and should be the subject of a PM. I respectfully note that the issues I have raised here, stated honestly and clearly, that relate to various cables makers whose names I have cited, have been avoided by introducing into the discussion what I feel is an inappropriate distraction.

Full disclosure: Grover Huffman and I had a professional relationship in 2013. We were partners in a project to develop a new power conditioner of my design. He signed a non-disclosure agreement with me. He enthusiastically embraced my design and demoed it at Newport last year while crediting me as the designer. He developed the production model and I traveled to Singapore to market it. He then let me know by email that he had already proceeded to incorporate my design in his cables -- without my consent -- in a modified form that he claimed was unrelated to my design. As a result, I ended the relationship.

I think it would be appropriate from here on in to stick strictly to cable issues on this thread. We have a good discussion going that is very active with opinions and observations from all sides. This is the kind of discourse that provokes thought and elicits a wide variety of viewpoints. I believe this is a very instructive subject to explore and that we have been doing so in appropriate and constructive ways and should continue to do so.

I certainly do remember this email and my feelings of yesteryear. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. As with many things to do with cables and our perceptions, things change. Ted Denney used to quote my old posts about his SR cables. Things changed there too. There is no use looking to the past for things that have passed -- things that cable makers might choose to use in a self-serving manner. What sounded wonderful initially with Huffman cables did not turn out that way in the end, alas. Things changed. I imagine you would be embarrassed by emails of yours that I might quote. But I am not going there.