Currently running AZ silver ref2's between CDP and pre; while AZ Matix 2's connect my amp to the pre. I arrived at this because the detail in the silvers firmed up the bass and extended the highs without loosing the mid warmth. However the silvers with the amp didn't seem to help the bass, but made the mids and highs a bit brittle to my ear. Main thing is the AZ's are really great cables for the money in my opinion.
Make it about the music:)
I asked about cables some years ago on the Gon and was guided towards AZ. The advise then was to mix Matrix and Silver reference to get the best of both. I still use AZ, but all Silver reference with Hologram speaker cables and have no plans to change. To me the Silver reference, together, produce a more detailed , dynamic sound, the matrix were more congested in the base particularly. In other systems, the origonal advise about mixing, might work better. As an aside, I think the Hologram made way more difference than the interconnects, but I recently added Walker Audio HDL links to the speaker inputs. They are outrageously expensive new, for what they are, they must cost $10 to make, but they work remarkably well, adding greater clarity to the treble particularly and less hash
David, I seem to remember that thread, I may have been part of it. From what I remember, a few people liked using the Silver Ref II in front of the Matrix Ref II. I tried it both ways in my system and it seemed having the Silver before the Matrix produced a larger soundstage and better transparency. Reversing the order resulted in a slightly closed in sound that lacked some life. Foster, as David has found nothing is set in stone and everyone's system's and tastes are different.
As far as comparing the two cables although there is a similar house sound, the really do have very different balances. I tried swapping out the Silver and running two Matriz Ref IIs and it sounded like someone had put a pillow over Diana Krall's face. I await the witicisms, heheh. The Matrix has a slower, organic sound while the Silver is quicker, leaner and more open. They are both very smooth cables. I would say your research applies here as far as how they contrast.
How they sound really depends on your system, and as I change things around I've started to consider a configuration of two Silver Ref IIs like David.
I'm currently moving towards all balanced cables in my system and have a number of Matrix cables, which I really like. In going to balanced I have the option to mix in some Silver.
I've found that there is less difference between different balanced cables that between different single ended cables. Can anyone speak to differences between Matrix and Silver balanced cables?
About two years ago, I was doing a preamp shoot out and had a BAT VK3i preamp on hand to match with my BAT VK200 amp. Victor Khomenko advised me to hook them up with a balanced cable, so I bought a balanced version of the Matrix Ref II just for that. After comparing the system for awhile having the two BAT components connected with a single ended Matrix Ref II and a balanced one I heard absolutely no difference. I mentioned this in a thread in the forums here and some people said there was the possibility that the Matrix Ref II wasn't a truly balanced design. I sold the preamp and never contacted Acoustic Zen about this, so I never confirmed whether the balanced Matrix Ref II was truly balanced or not. This is something to consider before changing over your RCA Matrix and Silver interconnects to balanced versions.
I have a couple of pairs of balanced Matrix Ref II. An ohmmeter check confirms that they are definitely wired correctly for balanced operation, so that wasn't the reason that you heard no difference.
I've noticed that the original single ended Matrix sounds much warmer (tube -like?) that the single ended Matrix II, and that the balanced Matrix II sounds more neutral than the Matrix II single ended.
Good to know, thanks Ghostrider45! Now, what is the reason?
Foster, I think with your config it's a little different. You're running directly to integrated. It's a different story than if you had a source to pre and then pre to amp. So I think the best way to find out is to try. In general, Silver Ref II is a more open sounding cable. No loss of bass or midrange bloom when it is used in a combination with Matrix Ref II. But by itself, I don't know.
Gunbei, I tried 2 Silver Ref II cables(from source to pre and from pre to amp) once and did not like it at all. It was a very artificial sound, very thin and absolutely uninvolving. I gave up on that idea quick. But, that was in my system, but in your system it may be different. I am using Silver Ref II from cd to pre and Matrix II from pre to amp.
Also, I had both a single ended and XLR version of Silver Ref II ICs and tried them side by side with my cd player into my preamp. No question, XLR is better, so I kept it and sold the single-ended cable. But, I think, it is better because of the way the components are ment to operate. Not because it is a better cable. So, could it be possible that the biggest difference between single-ended and XLR cable can be noticed by comparing them on the source component into preamp, and not from preamp to amp?
Interesting experience and ideas, Audphile1. Factoring in my experience, your suggested conclusions make sense. Or it could just be different systems, gear, etc... What a hobby, eh?
Like a lot of people here, I have the Matrix II between my amp and preamp and the Silver from all of my sources to my preamp. I prefer a slight warm sound which the Matrix gives while the Silvers give me all of the detail and resolution of my source. I am very happy with this setup. I am using all XLR.
By the way, before I purchased the Zens I auditioned a lot of cables through the Cable Co. I tried Synergistic Research, Nordost, Purist Audio Design, Transparent, a few others I cant remember.
I went from AZ Matrix II's to AZ Silver Reference II's between my tubed Cary 308T CDP and Cary Sli-80 tubed integrated. In my sytem the Silver is "cleaner" sounding than than the Matrix II's, which sounded a little "thicker" in comparison. I know that's a vague discription, but genearlly I would say that the Silver II's do everything the Matrix II's do, but are more refined in their presentation. I have not noticed any edginess or other traits commmonly associated with Silver and they were as smooth as butter from day one.