My experience with Shunyata power cords is that they have a very substantial impact on sound, usually adding tremendous refinement and then depending on the choice, either melloning out the sound or adding dynamics.
After experimenting with the power cords and developing my own opinions, I asked the folks at Shunyata about them. They seemed to have a very accurate impression of the sound quality of each power cord; it was consistent with my own personal experience. If anything, they understated the effects.
The same is true for their (now discontinued) Hydra power conditioner.
SO, this is a long winded way of suggesting that you call their customer service and ask their opinion of the sonic effects of the speaker cables and interconnects. My personal experience of them is that they will be pretty straight with you and the information will be useful.
Cardas Golden Cross sounds like an excellent choice for the system you have designed. You are setting a high hurdle, but Shunyata does great work. Should be a real contest.
I compared the Audience, Shunyata and AZ Holograms in my system (X-1 & X-250, Sony 777ES. I preferred the AZ speaker cables for their more natural sound and details. I felt the Shunyata was a little bit forward with a slight emphasis in the high end. Having B&W Matrix 803s in my system, I preferred the slighlty warmer sound of the AZ. I also found the Shunyata Tiapan power cord to do the same in my system and at the dealers with the system below. I heard the Shunyata ICs with the X-1 & X-250 (also with the Edge 10 amp) with Piega P-5 Ltd speakers with Metronome CDP and it sounded good but I still preferred a little more warmth in my system.
I tried the XLR Aries a few months ago ( Cable Co. rental). They don't sound anything like Golden Cross. The bass and mids are very natural but they seem to have a rising high end. Very clear, with lots of harmonic detail and a wide and deep soundstage. In the end, I didn't buy them because the rising high end caused listening fatigue for me. I bet they'd work great with tubes. You could try them out with a Cable company rental.
You didn't say why you want to switch. If you want a little more detail but keep the Cardas basic sound, try Neutral Reference.
The reason I'm switching is that after upgrading my source, I've come to the decision that I may want to listen to more of my components and less of the cabling. It is my hope the Shunyata will give me a more"honest" less colored sound than the Cardas Golden Cross. The Cardas are very good but I'm looking for a more detailed less "bloomy" sound. I shall try the Shunyata and hope for the best.Thanks for your responses.
I have the Aries interconnect, and I have to say, I don't find it to have a "rising high end" and I own Revelation 3s (Hale), which would certainly demonstrate that effect.
For the heck (and to get a longer length), I just bought another length of Nordost Quattro Fils today so that the system will be completely wired with Nordost (which DEFINITELY does not have a 'rising high end.' After I put it in the system, I'll be able to tell if the prominence I have in my system in the upper midrange is due to the setup (temporarily in my basement with hard walls, which are somewhat covered but still...).
I had the Shunyata Phoenix speaker cable, by the way, for two weeks, but returned it. The reason: I had two weeks to evaluate it and I couldn't break it in in that time period (the basement got a little flooded for a day or so) fully. In fact, Grant at Shunyata, during a conversation with me, suggested I hadn't really broken them in (I heard a slightly glassy sound) because I'd been playing them at 40-50 db for most of the time. That, he informed me, translated to about 70 hours of break-in time, at which point the cables would be dull, with little in the way of low-level detail. Given that I'd taken the power cord to a former music producer's home and tested my Arcam FMJ 23 against his run-of-the-mill dvd player, and hear what the CD player (and, by extension the power cord [Python] was really capable of, I don't doubt that Shunyata's speaker cables are excellent.
As for wanting more "warmth," I don't think that should be the "job" of the component. In fact, having both Nordost AND Shunyata, and having compared the two interconnects, I would say the Nordost (Quattro Fils only!) are lacking warmth. The Aries interconnect never seemed "cool" or lacking in body - EVER. Shunyata designs strike me as being VERY aware of "body" and "warmth" in a cable. The Phoenix was NOT lacking warmth, but I didn't expect romance; I just didn't want a "cool" sound. In that respect, the Shunyata delivered just fine. I'm going to listen again after I get my Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes (in July) and borrow the cables for a couple of weeks to see how they "deliver" the music then. I could only listen with my Antique Sound Labs 1003, a 30-watt Class A design, and, with an 87db pair of Hales, I was concerned about the volume I could get. But, the basement walls are very hard, and they certainly contribute to the upper midrange glare I get sometimes. I know that, because I've gone to Home Depot and bought wool rugs, put them on the wall, and the glare decreases. I wonder if others who complain have a properly damped room. Many of us are pretty blind to how much a room can color the sound, so we buy better components without realizing we need to damp the ceiling, walls and floors before we can fairly evaluate a product.
I think the Shunyata cables are just fine, unless you want the crystal clear transparency of the Nordosts, which, from my experience, "lighten" the lower midrange and upper bass just a little (just a thought).
If you want to hear more of your system, but less of the cables, I'd go for JPS Superconductor 2. If that's too rigid, then settle for the FX. I too wanted to have some of the Cardas sound and the alternative way to do that is to use the Golden power cords. Their pcs give the same signature, but to a lesser extent than their ics or spk cables.
I recieved the Aries interconnects a few days ago and I truly think they sound awesome. In my system they are far superior to the Cardas Golden Cross.
I use both the Aries and the Andromeda in my system (CAL CL-15 cd player and Linn Twin Klimax with Martin Logan Prodigys) and I have to say it is some pretty fantastic cable. Perhaps its biggest downfall is that it is very honest. In the fashion of Nordost, it is quite neutral and fast, but doesn't have the bleached out sound of Nordost (my previous cables). The first comment I made after having listened to the interconnects broken in was that they have an 'organic' sound to them, and have since heard similar comments made from others using these cables. The amazing thing is they are quite inexpensive compared to so many other products which don't even measure up to their performance. I even compared them once with Transparent Reference Balanced ($4000/meter) and I can't say I had any desire to change. In regards to the comment one writer made about break-in time, I will have to agree. The Andromeda took well over 100 hours to fully 'get right'. Nonetheless, when they did, they were right!
I also got a pair of the Andromeda speaker cable recently and I find them closer to "invisible" than other cables I've had.
What's more, they do not "plane" the textures (as in shave the edge of textures) from instruments, so the instruments sound more complete, or, organic, as you put it. My old Transparent Reference speaker cable WAS transaparent, but it limned the textures from instruments, too. That, to me, is NOT neutral.
The Andromedas, and, by extension, the Aries, do NOT have a rising high end, as suggested by someone else. I would suggest that the writer is hearing another component in his system and 'blaming' the interconnect for it. It's not unusual for us to get a superior component and not appreciate it because we have other defects in our system.
By the way, I have the Andromedas hooked up to the Antique Sound Lab Hurricanes. The amps have around 20 hours on them and the music coming from the system is truly lovely. Not 'awesome,' except in how natural it sounds overall. also have a March A400s amp, and yet, the Hurricane makes the Marsh (which is an excellent amplifier) sound congested and electronic -- which the Marsh is most assuredly NOT! Nonetheless, I think unless we have a top-notch system, the weaknesses of our cables and other components hide the flaws until something better comes along and reveals the problems. I'm sure much of what we like depends on other components we've previously selected. Accuracy is not the lottery ticket most of us seek; we want the system to 'sound' the way we want it to. The Shunyata line delivers the music first - and the 'sound' along with it.
What are the sonic differences between the Lyra and the Phoenix or Andromeda speaker cable. All the reviews I have read were on the Lyra and Aries.There are actually several recent rave reviews on this combo.
Gbmcleod, since you are referring to my post I'd like to clarify my remarks. To be more precise, I think the Aries has a bump in the lower to mid treble area. The extreme highs don't seem to be affected. I came to this conclusion after having evaluated over 2 dozen different high-end ICs in my system over the past year. It may be related to a component I have, but I don't think so. Other highly regarded ICs like Nordost Valhalla, Kimber Select 1130, Nirvana S-X, Siltech SQ88Gen5, Synergistic Res. Ref, etc. don't exhibit this behavior in my system. I also may be more sensitive to brightness than you. We each have our preferences. I agree it is a very "organic" sounding cable with lots of overtones. I think it is better suited to a tube-based system than a SS one.
NightHawk is correct. We learned that there were consecutive trials where the cables exhibited this behavior, and a subsequent test at the cable company affirmed this.
We requested the Aries cables return after this and we noted the same issue NightHawk describes. After discussion with the principles at the cable company, we learned that the Aries they had were extensively burned in on a cable cooker prior to being shipped out. for trials.
For most cables this would not be a problem, but the Aries uses a micro-thin litz conductor design that does not respond well to "cooking" or, especially over cooking. After 100 hours of continuos play the characteristics we noticed, and as described by NighHawk, subsided and confirmed our suspicions. We provided new sets of interconnects to the cable company and the issue noted by NighHawk and confirmed by us did not reappear.
I am aware this may raise an eyebrow in propeller-head land but there are a number of people who noted the before and after differences. The cable cooker products can be very effective, but it is wise to under, rather than over do the process.
I hope this helps support that NightHawk did indeed have an accurate impression of what he heard.
Thanks for the clarification. However, I'll note that I did NOT burn my cables in on anything except music. As such, there was no sense of a 'rising high end.'
Having said that,I'm curious as to the conditions of Nighthawk's listening session. Does this mean you (Nighthawk) heard cables that you KNEW were burned in on a Duotech-type cable enhancer, or were the circumstances different?
My reference was to my own system, of course, with the cables arriving with no burn-in (as I prefer: I prefer to hear changes in equipment with my own ears. If it takes a thousand hours, then it takes a thousand hours). That way, I can assess the stages of improvement personally rather than using someone else's experience (and system) as a barometer. I clearly did not hear this; I indicated as much.
This just goes to show that what many people hear is not an intrinsic trait of the component inserted into the system, but a synergistic interaction. I expect this happens more frequently than we believe.
It seems another mystery has been cleared up. Perhaps Shunyata might wish to suggest on its literature sheets that its consumers dispense with Duotech-type devices? It is certainly not on any of the literature in my possession, and I own the Aries interconnects, the Andromeda and for a while, the Phonenix speaker cables. How would one know not to do this??
Gbmcleod, I had no idea of the prior state of the Aries cables I auditioned. They were one of many I tried out from the Cable Co. I do know they were one of the first ones available and were probably the ones Grant described that were returned to Shunyata. I agree with your position on burn-in. I would prefer to always get cables in their virgin state. However, with the Cable Co.'s library you don't know what has been done to the cable. Another renter can cook a cable and nobody will know it. This is not meant to knock the Cable Co. I think they provide a great service. There is no way I could have tried as many cables as I have, with as little expense incurred, as I have by going through them. As a result, the cables I have are the most synergistic with my system.
That IS fascinating, Nighthawk.
May I ask what type of music (or musical instruments)you believe to be the most enlightening in determing the rising high end you heard? I tend to use brass, triangles, percussion and higher strings to determine this. Interestingly enough, there is a slight hardness in my present system which I cannot dial out, but the Aries is actually less present in the treble than the Nordost Quattro Fils. That was an indicator that the Aries was not likely the culprit for me. One thing about the Hale Rev 3s, they will definitely demonstrate a rising high end!
I understand how people can believe that what they hear is a characteristic of a component. Now we have to worry about whether or not a dealer used the wrong gadget for burn-in. Is audio not complex enough already??? Component interactions galore and not even ones in the system, but something as innocuous as a burn-in device.
Ay yi yi...
Gbmcleod, I listen almost exclusively to acoustic instrument recordings, primarily jazz, classical, bluegrass, and some new age. Jazz big band at a reasonably high, but not deafening, volume is the acid test for me. It tests the balance of each part of the spectrum all at once. I am a former trombone player, and am very sensitive to the tonality of brass instruments. If it sounds harsh, edgy, or thin sounding at all I notice it. For me, instrument tonality is more important than the ultimate level of detail (but you have to have some of that, too).
Besides big band, solo trumpet, violin, and soprano sax can also sound unbelievably bad if there is any brightness in the chain. These instruments seem to produce a lot of harmonics which shows up harshness easily. Of course cymbals and triangles can give you an idea of the absolute level of the high frequencies and are valuable references also.
You're right, it is really tough to isolate the offending component when there are so many variables in the chain. In my experience of auditioning cables, I have found they make as much difference in the sound as any electronic component. When you think you have achieved a neutral and accurate sound, its hard to know if you did it by having all neutral components or if they simply complement each other well.
The only way I know of ascertaining which components are neutral is by trying out many types of each component in your system. Persistent colorations will stand out using this approach. For instance I know my speakers have a slightly soft treble. This is because after trying many combinations of components, this coloration has persisted. However, if the other components are very neutral, it is not a problem. It is only a problem if another soft component is in the chain, which exaggerates the coloration.
If you want to try some other ICs to see if your hardness problem persists I would suggest the following cables. None of these is perfect, but they are all basically neutral instead of acting as tone control cables.
Audience AU24 - the most neutral I've heard in the bass and mids. It has a soft treble, though, which was not compatible with my speakers.
Cardas Neutral Reference - Slightly warm in the mid-bass, but overall nicely balanced. One of these somewhere in the chain gives instruments their natural resonant sound, but two of them is a bit too much mid-bass. Far more neutral than Cardas Golden Reference.
Nordost Valhalla - Similar to Cardas NR except the lower bass and mid-bass is very slightly lean. Overall probably the best balanced cable I've tried but the others are so close, I don't think it's worth the money.
Nirvana S-X - Sounds almost identical to Cardas NR, but costs 3x as much.
Luminous Audio Sychestra Signature - slightly soft in the upper octave, but overall well balanced. The RCA version has less roll-off than the XLR version. The RCA version is a very dimensional cable. Soundstaging is among the best I've heard.
I agree with the tonality statement. I have never been that interested in "detail" for its own sake: I'm listening to music, not "sound." It seems to me that there is a great deal of focus on aspects of sound more than on the musical experience, although, of course, one leads to the other.
I'm suspecting, since the volume level is exactly the same even with a different preamp, amp, inteconnects and CD player, that it is the Hale Rev 3s. I remember asking before I bought them if they were "bright" and was told no, they weren't. Yet, I perused a thread (later on, when I used this site more) of the former owner, and unless I misinterpreted his threads, he indicated that the speaker could be a bit bright. So much for getting it straight.
Nonetheless, I suspect it is the speaker doing it, so I'll have to lug a pair of Sound Dynamic RTS 3s out of storage and listen to the system on that to see if the brightness on brass is still there. I don't recall hearing any edginess on my Audio Artistry Speakers (also stored in the shed)on the Mercury Living Presence CDs when I heard them years ago, but...
I don't think its the Shunyatas, as, with the system wired with the Nordost Quattro Fils, the same effect exists. And, I put a Modulus 3A in yesterday, and heard close to the same effect, so, unless the Hurricanes,First Sound Presence ('96 vintage), Marsh A400S, Arcam, PS Audio Power Plant et al have the exact same weakness, with nearly the exact same degree (and volume!) of edginess, it is likely the speakers.
I still like the Hales, but it's the last time I buy used speakers on Audiogon.
Thanks for the suggestions on interconnects, but between the Nordost and Shunyatas, I may want to listen to speakers first (now, where are those Sound Dynamics??)...
The best cable in the world.I tried lot of hi-end cables over the 20 years,last one was Transparent reference.Aries is simply the best,like no cable in the system.My current system:Audio Aero Capitole mkII cd player directly into the C-J Premier 12,Audio Physic Virgo II,A.P.Luna active subwoofer,API Power C.116,speaker cables-TA Reference,DNM solid core cable for Luna.Shunyata sidewinder gold power for Audio Aero+T.A.Reference powerlink for C-J,API and Luna.
I reviewed the full compliment of Anaconda power chords, hydra, aries and pheonix for Ultraaudio.com Check out the review. I loved the aries. Afordable, flexible, and really clean, natural, and open sounding. You cannot go wrong with them. Greg