Harmonic Technology vs Acoustic Zen Recomendations

I have done a lot of research into both companys’ interconnects. I realize the best way to make a decision after thorough research is to audition within my system. I would like to have some discourse on the HT Pro Silway II vs. the Matrix Reference, and possibly the Silver Reference.

I am looking to determine which interconnect will MOST LIKELY sound best with good solid state electronics (Kenwood L-02T tuner and L-02A integrated amp and Denon DCD-1650AR player) and Thiel 3.6 or Vandersteen 4A speakers (for those unfamiliar with the L-02A, it is on par with some of the very best with a dampening factor of 10,000). I know everything is relative, but surely some comments could come forward as to the best likelihood of sonic bliss on a budget with regard to these ICs. With both cables having their origin from Robert Lee, they may be more alike than different. What might be the differences? TIA, Jason
Can't comment about Acoustic Zen, however this past week
I bought balanced HT Pro-Silway II interconnects for my
solid-state system:

Levinson #37/360/26/27.5
TacT RCS 2.0
Magnepan 1.6QR
Rel Strata III

The Pro-Silway II expanded the soundstage, offered a significant increase in detailing without harshness, and
tightened up the bass. The system sounds more dynamic
and seems more "alive". It was definitely an improvement.
Cables tend to be system dependent, so it would be
speculation to say how it will work in your system, but
for me it was worth the investment.
For the price, the Pro Silway Mk II and Pro 9 and Pro 11's are an excellent choice.

I replaced my AZ Satori shotgun's with Pro 9's. Pro 9 are much less expensive and I do not feel that I lost a thing.

the Acoustic Zen is by far the better choice.I have owned the two cables and compared them sisde by sside.Whoever tells you that the Harmonic is better, needs a hearing test.The Zen is much more musical and a lot more accurate.Not knowing anything about your equipment i would say the matrix would be the safe choice.I would recommend calling AZ and speaking to David,His advice was right on the Money for my system.
Sorry to take it off-topic, Jason, but there's a lot more to good amp sound than a high damping factor (or "specsmanship" generally - be it distortion figures, rated RMS power, etc). It's even debatable whether one can actually hear much difference beyond a factor of about 20-100 or so, depending on woofer size. Also, keep in mind that the real-world damping factor is not determined by the amp alone, but by the amp/cable/speaker system, as well as the instantaneous signal (music program) content being played through said system (in other words, the factor will vary with frequency). The damping factor determinant, as far as the amp goes, is its output impedance vs. frequency, with the lower impedance resulting in the higher factor. But ultra-low amp output impedances are most easily achieved primarily through the liberal use of high levels of overall negative feedback in the circuit design (or a large number of paralleled output devices, something that won't apply to your integrated), which in high-end practice is commonly considered to be degrading to sound quality. In addition, the above-quoted damping factor (BTW, did an extra zero get attached to this number? 1,000 is more typical of a high example) will apply only to an idealized 8-ohm speaker load; your Thiels, for instance, go as low as about 1/4 that figure, a condition your amp likely wasn't designed to cope well with, and I'm betting is not rated for in its literature.

You are absolutely correct to assume that I don't know anything specific about your particular amplifier model. But I am familiar with Kenwood as a brand, and am also a Thiel owner. As someone who upgraded his speakers first (the good way to go, IMO), and slowly followed with a progression of increasingly better amplifiers, I can tell you from experience that your speakers are better than your current grade of electronics will allow them to show. Your 3.6's and 4A's are large, demanding speakers that are very accurate and revealing, and will require prodigious amplifier output capability *and* quality to give of their considerable best. The Thiels feature a hard-to-drive low-impedance reactive load, with a complex crossover and lowish sensitivity which drain power and kick a lot of back EMF into an amp's output section (and also demand careful cable-matching). And even though the Vandy's, for instance, weren't terribly expensive speakers, they will mate profitably with higher-quality electronics (take a look at Jvogt's equipment list above as an example of high-end gear being beneficially used to drive a moderately-priced yet transparent speaker model - not that you'll necessarily need to go all ML in your system!). Since both of these speaker models are physically large, with first order crossovers, they need to be listened to from a good distance in a large room in order to perform properly, which will demand large power reserves on the partnering amp's behalf to achieve realistic volumes. The design and construction of a "mass-market" integrated like a Kenwood, or even more upscale "mid-fi" brands such as NAD or Adcom, are not able to take advantage of the full potential of such speakers. Upgrading cables will of course also be an important part of realizing this potential, but before selecting a cable, you may want to seriously investigate better, amplification options (as budget allows, of course), auditioning candidates in your own system if possible. If you upgrade the amp first, then you'll have a much better basis with which to make a compatible cable selection, as it will permit you to hear back into your signal chain much more clearly.

I know that the sort of unsolicited advice to upgrade a component you enjoy which I am offering here can be taken as an unwanted pain in the you-know-what - and I wouldn't blame you if you did. But if you never have (and even if you aren't planning on buying something anytime soon), I urge you to find a dealer you can beg or borrow a home audition from of something in the way of high-quality, high-power SS power amplification that they recommend to drive your speakers with (and maybe some speaker cables to go with it). It could prove to be a truly ear-opening experience. Happy listening, Z. :-)
This much I can say, the Pro-Silway Mk IIs that I loved so much with a tube preamp were however a little too fatiguing with an all solid state system and Thiel CS 1.5s. My room is pretty well damped, but I must sit only 8 ft away. More distance might help. The Vandersteens are supposed to be darker, and may make a better match. If you go with the Thiels, Cardas or MIT cables may be a better match. I'm beginning to believe that the cables that get raved about with most speakers aren't necessarily a good match for phase and time aligned speakers.

Mike R.
I would stay with the ht pro silways. The az silver ref does sound a little more open and detailed, but probably not worth the extra cost. Vandersteen speakers, not being hyper detailed, do not tend to benefit as much from the last 'nth' spent on ultra-expensive electronics. (one of their many charms - my current speakers are ultra-hirez audio physics, but I've owned several vandersteens).
A GREAT speaker cable for the vandersteens is the sumiko ocos.
Theils can verge on brightness. Haven't owned them, so can't help. Have heard they sound best with ultra-detailed, expensive front ends.

I would like to second Z's comments. Vandersteens do really 'come into their own' with certain solid state amps such as the mccormack dna-1 (far and away the best amp I've used with vans), or the 300w adcom 5802. If the van 4 is an active subwoofer design (like the 5's), you would be best served by the smaller, but sweeter voiced dna 0.5. I know I'm answering an unasked question, but I would spend the cash. If you can direct drive from that 1650 (most upper crust denons do if I recall), you could run direct to the amp and get great sound.
Zaikesman, you are correct about the "quest" for better electronics. Always, the more the better, within a budget. However, this is one very special L-02A, possessing sonic qualities very atypical of the traditional "Kenwood" venue. It was their research laborartory equipment, costing many thousands each when produced. Only few were ever sold. Not many know of them. And yes, that was not a typo on the 10,000 dampening factor; has a separate power supply. I will have an opportunity to directly compare the L-02A to more traditionally well-known high end electronics.

Back on the subject, I really appreciate everyone's contribution on the cable recommendation. It seems as though there is a difference of opinions as to the potential benefit of the extra dollars spent on the Acoustic Zen. I will get a hold of a pair of AZ to compare.
I have both the HT Pro-silway MKII as well as the AZ Matrix. Conclusion, HT Pro-silway is now doing surround duty while AZ Matrix takes over the front left and right. AZ is much, much smoother and more dynamic with at least an octave lower in the bass region while the midrange is pure and just so right. The highs are detailed without the edge and harshness of Pro Silway. Actually, HT sounded anemic compare to the Matrix. I cannot imagine anyone preferring the Prosilway over the Matrix especially after a thorough comparison. Easily worth the $100 retail more for the AZ. Go for it!