Have you found cable Nirvana? Tell me about it.

Have you found cable Nirvana? I am not talking about just interconnects, but speaker cables and power cables as well. I am interested in hearing what cables are giving you this Nirvana state of being. I am considering changing out cables and I want to hear some actual real world solutions for hi-end systems. Cables that personally interest me are:

Nordost Valhalla
AZ Silver Reference II
Audience 24
Jena Labs (not sure name of line)
Virtual Dynamics Nite

Currently I use Nordost Quatrofil XLR. I can now go with SE RCA cables.

I am open to any and all opinions. I want some ideas, and to hear any comparisons that you have done.

Whatever cables you love, please talk about their merits and the equipment you are using them with.


I changed from Kimber Hero ics and 4tc speaker cables to AZ Matrix Ref ics (mkI upgraded by AZ - Robert Lee to mk II) and Satori speaker cables. I am amazed at the change in my system. Highs opened up and gained detail, mids are fluid and natural(although the mids were probably the strong point of the Kimber), and the bass gained clarity(tightness and pacing). I always felt that the Kimbers had a musical sound, but the bass needed more control and the highs needed some extension/detail. Acoustic Zen solved both of these problems.
I have tried many of the high end cables in my system(surely no one can claim to have heard them all) they include Kharma Grand enigma, Nordost Valhalla, Tara 'the one', Various Cardas cables-golden reference and golden cross- Jena labs symphony and up. After getting a complete set of Jena's in here after the Valhalla I stopped pulling my hair out(I had to- I was going bald too fast too young). The Jena's had all the sonic benefits of the Valhalla but yielded a blacker back ground and it seemed to have a greater ease on the presentation of the music. I have noticed they work MUCH better as a "system" then individule cables. I first got the interconnects and was using a Cardas golden cross speaker cable and it didn't seem that fantastic- the same with the valhalla speaker cables. But when I got the Valkyre(twin 15) speaker cables it was a real eye opener- it was unlike any thing I had heard from my system. So I tried some cardas interconnects with the Jena speaker cables(among a few other brands) and it lost a lot of the magic. Is there a better cable? maybe, but I haven't heard them, I am sure in some systems these would be far to revealing. Everyone I know who gets a whole set in there system typically keeps them. There are a few set backs- Jena Labs is a VERY small company and all the cables are hand made to order so it is not uncommon for there to be a small delay in getting them- to some that is a big deal- in particular to dealers who want to sell sell sell! After all they can't sell what they don't have, so many dealers aren't into them. And as I stated before I am sure there are some systems that there may be a better cable out there for. If they are in your price range I would strongly urge you to try them in your system, be patient- it will be worth it. I am not affiliated with Jena Labs just a VERY happy customer.
KF- As Tireguy stated, there are just too many cables for one to have tried them all. I've had the FIM Gold, Nordost Quatro, Kimber Select Silvers, Cardas, Coincident, Sakura, NBS, FMS ... yikes! Anyway, I've been very happy with the new Sonoran Plateau cables. There will likely be better in some systems, no cable is perfect for all applications, but in my predominantly SET system (WAVAC 833, Lamm LP-2, custom tube pre-amp), the Sonoran cables simply fit. They even have a money-back I believe. Just another one to consider adding to your list if you haven't tried them already. Good luck.
I'm probably already known for loving the Omega Mikros.I've used various cables of theirs for years,starting with the Analog 5 single tube,Ebony,Silver Ebony and the current Planar 7 LCX.These cables have a natural,musical sense of energy.They are the closest to what I heard working in a recording studio.They won't tame a bright system or add extra detail to warm tube gear.They do put the music FIRST.Problems I originally layed at the feet of the cables were eventually determined to be resonances or gear incapable of making the leap to a non-electro-mechanical presentation.A definite eye-opener.Give it a try for thirty days,the reviews can't be all wrong.
I agree with Tpsonic. If the Omega Mikros are too expensive for you, start with the Mapleshades (same designers). They all have certain traits in common: extraordinary clarity (without being "etched" or "analytical") and so involving I can listen for hours -- even to CDs -- without wanting to stop. The 30-day return privilege on the Mapleshades (not sure about the Omega Mikros) will help get you hooked. By the way, I was amused by your topic header. Are the original Nirvana cables still around? Cheers, Dave
Consider the Silversmith's. They are warmer than Nordost and just as fast. They are less polite than Tara Labs with more dynamics. More open and transparent than Cardas and not as warm and fuzzy. Very 'neutral" and well balanced thruout all frequencies. If it has a fault it would be in the upper bass which might be construed as slightly lean in comparison to other cables (I did not feel there was any problem in this area in the context of my system). What sold me on these cables was that I forgot about them and just enjoyed listening to music. The other cables always had something that made you notice them. Check out the website. Unfortunately you can't purchase any cables until owner returns from the Middle East (he was recalled to the Navy).
With the usual system-dependence disclaimer, I own a couple of your interests. On the IC side, I presently have AZ Silver Ref 1, Audience AU24, Fadel IC15S, Quattro-fil and Argent. In my SS system w/ Talon Khorus/Gamut D200 the Quattros (cryo'd) fit the bill. More blackness, detail and separation of instruments with uncanny placement of performers. But you know this as you're using them. The The AZs are smoother, and richer in the mids, but more smeared than the Nordost. Same with the Fadel to a lesser extent, with a great sence of ambience, but somewhat veiled. The Audience is amazing for the price but doesn't do anything quite as well as the others. Very balanced presentation but nothing outstanding. If I was to spend the money, I'd love to try the Valhallas, but afraid I'd like them too much. No cable should cost that much (my wife would commit me).

On the speaker side I've used AZ Satori, AP Silver, Talon protoptype (which matched with the Khorus' quite well), HT Pro 9, Magnan and Marigo and finally settled on the Wireworld Silver Eclipse III, at a substantial cost increase (but bought used). The Wireworlds provided astonishing dimensionality while balancing detail and harmonic richness better than the others, The Satori is a best buy however, and I'd like to also hear Shunyata, SPM and Audience.

At the power side, I have a BMI Shark feeding an AudioMagic Stealth, with Electraglide Fatman 2K on the amp and BMI Whale Elite on the CD. Didn't expect a great improvement going into the Stealth, but the Shark creates an amazingly black background from which the performers just jump out. Probably finished here.

When I stand back and look objectively, I think I have too much $$ in cables already. Would I do it again...probably. Hopefully satisfied for a while, but who knows what great discoveries lay in hiding.