Help me understand the Cardas line of ICs

I'm a little confused by Cardas ICs. From their web site it would seem the top of the line cable is the Golden Reference, then the Neutral Reference, followed by the Golden Cross, yet if the prices I am seeing here on A'Gon are accurate, it would seem the Golden Cross is 'better' than the Neutral reference.

So what's a 'better' cable; the Golden Cross or Neutral Reference?

I put the Neutral Reference cable between my pre and amp and very much like the air surrounding the highs as well as the softening (without loss of detail) in the highs. Would the Golden Cross give me more of that than the Neutral Ref? How about the Golden Ref?b
Golden Cross and Golden Reference both represent the top of the line but with different objectives. Golden Cross is sort of the pinnacle of the Cardas sound (warm. rich, organic) and Golden Reference is a more neutral take on that sound. Some would say GR is the top, but I believe George Cardas would say it depends.

Neutral Reference occupies the next tier down but does not have the Cardas sound typified by the Cross series and even by GR. Others will disagree, I'm sure.

CARDAS Cabling explanation:

Cross: This cable is the little brother to the Golden Cross. Very smooth and non-fatiguing. Works well in most listening environments. Very steady performer. Great cost/performance ratio

Neutral Reference: This is an extremely "Revealing and FAST" cable. If you have a reference listening area as well as reference equipment, this will reveal the characteristics of each piece of equipment and it's surroundings. No sonic transformation. You get out what you put into it. If you have a less than perfect system or less than perfect listening area, you might want to look to Cross, Golden Cross or Golden Reference. Steady bass/midrange, tends to favor the top end. This is the most active in the Cardas line up.

Golden Cross: This cable has a lot of "Detail and Depth". Tends to "open up" the bass to midrange with a smoother, more controlled top end than the Neutral Reference. Very open and non-fatiguing. If you have a very active listening area, this cable can calm your listening experience. The warmest of the Cardas line up.

Golden Reference: This merges the best behaviors of both the Neutral Reference and the Golden Cross cabling. This is a perfectly neutral reference cable with unmatched transient purity. Simply put, "The Finest Performer".

Hope this helps!
Nice post Dan, my entire system is wired with the Cardas Hexlink Golden Five-C's interconnects & speaker cables (the older series) I was a little curious myself of the newer ones.
Sorry, but I would hardly call Golden Reference "perfectly neutral."
I'm with Drubin. GR is NOT neutral. It is among the warmest sounding cables available. NR is pretty neutral but still has some of the characteristic Cardas warmth. GR is only suitable for matching with bright components or speakers that are a little weak in the bass.
I believe Cardas sells more "high-end" cable of all sorts than anyone else. That fact alone recommends an audition. The hearing impaired and those wishing to voice their home systems like their cars (frequently the same demographic) will certainly choose "neutrality" over "musicality". Only Purist Audio surpasses Cardas for overall listening enjoyment, IMHO
I've gone back and forth between GRef and NRef more times than I care to admit, and I think these are Cardas' best. They both provide a coherent musical picture. I agree with Nighthawk that NR is not neutral on an absolute scale, but is actually somewhat forgiving in the highs, as Mdomnick notes. I like NR for its overall transparency and speed relative to the other Cardas types. It's a good place to start. If you still feel that your system is a bit aggressive, try GR, which preserves most of the detail but is more relaxing, although the bass with GR becomes fatter and slower. I personally find Golden Cross way too syrupy and veiled, and if you find it is necessary for your system, then reassess your electronics.
dam, i just bought a pair of GCs. Well, I'll give them a try and see what I see. I can always sell them if I don't like them. Thanks for all your help guys.

The Golden Cross mightn't be a bad thing. SF is on the fast side and is hardly a tubey tube set up. The Golden Cross will help warm it up if that's what you are after. There is a review of the Golden Ref on 6 Moons and it is found to be a bright cable. I have found that it can be bright having heard it in a Krell based system.

Let us know what you think of the Golden Cross. I am considering it too.
Will do smithy. From all the reading I have done it may be right for me. My only question is I have also heard others state the Monarchy can be a bright DAC. I bought it with the intent of someday buying the Kora Hermes II or Bel Canto, but that purchase is a long ways off, so I won't know what a new DAC will do for me for some time.
I got my Golden Cross cables and immediately hooked them up. I can't say I heard a huge difference, nor one for the better over the Neutral Ref. A little disappointed by this, I listened for a few hours, then hooked up the Neutral Ref and jotted down what I thought when listening to Joan Osborne's cd Relish and track St Teresa. I wasn't trying to compare the Neutral Ref to anything, just listening to them. Here's what I wrote:

1) could use more bass (turn my sub up)
2) would like more open highs (sounded muffled at the time)
3) semi-sweet highs
4) good center stage presentation regarding her voice
5) Mids could be better
6) good sound stage (instruments were placed around my room)

Then came Golden Cross. I again wasn't trying to compare the two, just writing what I heard, but I admit, some comparison went on:

1) Smooth highs
2) semi semi sweet highs (gives ya that tingle in your ear)
3) Big center sound stage
4) good overall soundstage
5) i like the mids. excellent transition from mids to highs

I like the GC and will keep them. I’ll try swapping them with my Acoustic Zen’s Silver Ref and use the silver between pre and amp, and gc between dac and pre.