Interconnect Cables for Pre-and Power amp

Hi, I’m searching for a pair of interconnect cables connection my pre-amp (Ayre K-1xe) and power-amps (Pass Labs XA30.5) – both Solid State. FYI, the speakers are a pair of Harbeth C7-es3.

Preferably, I’d get the Balanced interconnect cables to get the full potentials of these amps. What would you recommend for mid-end/used cables (brands, models, etc)? What’s the typical lengths of the cables – 1.5m or 2m?

My choices of music are mostly vocals, jazz, pop songs, symphony, chamber and some blues and rock(no heavy metal or other modern music types). I look for cables that deliver extended highs, natural/full-body mid-range and dynamic bass with excellent imaging and soundstages.

Thank you for your recommendations.
Here's one worthwhile checking. IMHO, close to top tier performance at low/mid-end price. Musical yet highly neutral wire is how I'd describe them. If your equipments have it, they will simply deliver.

This should be an easy choice for you. You've done a very good job matching your components. The Pass and the Ayre both do everything well and are very neutral sounding. Because of that, nothing needs to be fixed. You don't have to spend a lot for great sounding cables, either. My first choice would be Audioquest. You should be able to get a very good deal on a pair of Jaguar or Panther. Those are the 2 former current top copper IC's from AQ. The only difference is that Panther uses Teflon and Jaguar uses PE. I find its not that big a difference. They both sound extremely good. The 2 AQ models that replaced them, Columbia and Colorado, are almost exactly the same. Just small changes were made. I own pairs of all 4 and you really have to nit pick to hear any differences. If you can get a good deal on any one of them, you can't go wrong. Also, they are fully balanced. Not all cables are. Like components, you can use xlr connectors on cables and not have them be internally balanced. AQ uses 3 separate conductors.

Another Cable that may come up is Cardas. Ayre recommends them. They're excellent, as well. I have a pair of Golden Reference. I think thats their best one. The only caution I would mention is that they are stranded. Copper tends to have a roughness or grain in the high frequencies. Only the best solid core copper cables, that I've heard, get around that. I don't know if that will be an issue for you because my speakers may be a little more revealing than the ones you have. My best guess would be that you will probably be able to hear that flaw, as well. I use Ayre myself and know first hand that its very revealing. Pass is too.

The only other thing I can tell you is that I would stay away from anything silver. I have some silver IC's and have never had them work between an amp and preamp. I have no idea why, but I know others who share my opinion on this. Save silver for your source components.
If you're indeed interested in cables, go over the Pass manuals on the cable recommendation. I guess after you read it, you won't scratch your head anymore.
Connectors on the cables are more important and use XLR. I'd stick with Mogami that provide exceptional tight connection and so with performance that don't break your bank.
I would go for Taralabs zero gold i/c, omega gold speaker cables and the cabolt a/c power cord, Do this, and you will never want for another cable again!, cheers!
"Do this, and you will never want for another cable again!, cheers!"

That's because he'll have a heart attack and drop dead when he sees the price of those things.
Pass amps are wire independed. Any with good connector will do the job. Avoid ones that provide huge reactance(inductive or capacitive impedance); avoid ones that do not provide any parameters and yet priced as component or more because they've made for believers to alter and color the sound. There's also large possibility to purchase fake ones that are expensive. Avoid ones with magnets or networks as they even more intended to color the sound. Simple XLR interconnect with Neutrik XLR plug is all you really need.
Thanks for your feedbacks so far. Actually, I don't want to spend too much money on cables but do like to get some good quality ones that sync with pre- and power-amp.

For interconnect cables, I'm thinking around $500-600 used. Can you be more specific on brands/models? How's Acoustic Zen, Audience 24, etc?
I'm in much lower ballpark $99/pr new of Mogami XLR does the trick for me and available at any major pro audio retailer such as musiciansfriend, fullcompass, zzounds or sweetwater. Simply the same ones used in the studio for the recording. That makes you logically consistent not to color any recording media you are listening.
I believe I listed a few specific models. Any one of them should bring you in well under budget. You may want to consider another resource. For cables, I use The Cable Company. They have a demo program where they lend you a bunch of cables that you want to try so you can demo them in your system. I use them all the time, as do many other people on this site.

If you just need something to get you buy and don't mind taking a small chance, find a good used pair of AQ Jaguar. You shouldn't have any problem finding them in the $100-$200 range. Its a true high end cable that sounds very good with just about anything. You can use it as a reference for judging other cables and you'll always be able to sell it for about what you paid. I have a pair of TARA The 2 that went for about $1500 and they sound just as good. Even a little better in the bass.

Like I said before, you have really good, well matched components. You don't have to play the cable game.
Try some Darwin Silver ICs and be done with it. If it's coherence you're after, and all the attendant qualities, plus the other ones you're after, you really can't do better for the price you mention, and they'd be new.

All the best,
Nonoise products are top drawer and there is no sticker shock with XLR balanced IC at $275 for new three foot pair. I have used the slightly cheaper RCA interconnect version for many years.
While all the customary virtues are present, the most outstanding is the illusion of performers and instruments physically present within the listening room.
Audioquest SKY.
Why Sky? Its all silver and its almost exactly the same cable as the Cheetah, and double the price. Also, its very hard to get silver sounding right between an amp and preamp. The OP's components are very revealing. There's a very high chance that using a cable like that will deliver high frequencies that are a little bright and have a detached sound from the rest of the music. There's always the possibility that it will work OK but I wouldn't take a chance without a demo first.
Audioquest Sky is superior compared to Cheetah. Pure silver in most situations never sounds harsh or bright. It has more to do with the quality of the equipment you use. Separation, dynamics and resolution of the Sky is a lot better compared to Cheetah.
I had a pair of Sky that Cable Company lent me. I have very revealing equipment but I couldn't hear the difference between the 2. Here's what you get going from 36v Cheetah to Sky (Everything else is identical): 72v dbs, slightly different xlr connectors and 50% more air.

Thats it. If its one of those things that bother you, a 36v dbs pack is available form AQ for about $100-$150. If there is an improvement going to 72v, its very slight. You don't here the type of differences in xlr connectors that you do with rca. That just leaves you with 50% more air.

I thought the 50% more air thing was kind of funny because Sky cost 2x what Cheetah is so I called AQ and they reluctantly confirmed my take on the differences were accurate. As far as pure silver goes, thats identical. Weather it sounds bright or harsh, thats subjective and very equipment dependent. I never said the Cheetah is bright or harsh. The sound is a little different. The HF's have a detached sound. They stand out a little more. I wouldn't call it harsh, bright would be closer. But that's just between the amp and preamp. Most of the time they sound OK going from a source to a preamp. Except on my vinyl setup. Cheetah is good between a TT and phono pre but not good between my phono pre and my line stage. (that combination has held true through several different equipment upgrades, not just 1 tt and 1 phono pre). I can't give you a technical reason as to why any of this is true. I just judge everything by listening to it. No only that, its all subjective anyway. I can say, though, that I've showed many people these differences over the years using my system and every single person that I did the demo for, was able to easily hear the differences I list above.
I agree with Bo1972, what he writes is right. I use Sky all over and also have Cheetah cables. In a good System you can hear the difference at once (Sky has a wider frequency reproduction with more body overall). silver has the best information transfer possible (AES standards).
Silver gives you simply the most information, when someone does not like it, then the reason for it is somewhere else.
I agree, with some components you can't use silver because it will sound harsh, thin, analytic but that's the sound from the units, not from the transfer medium.
My impression of high quality silver cable is the same as yours.Better resolution,openness and transpaency with improved tone,articulation and smoothness. Brightness and glare are non issues.I fine silver more truthful,natural and less colored than copper cables.
I went from Colorado to Sky. This difference was bigger than I thought. In a few months I do from sky to the new outcomming Wild. I wonder what kind of equipment ZD542 uses?
There are some Acoustic Zen Silver Ref. IIs available that posess a lot of the characteristics you're looking for. Best of luck.
My main system consists of: Wadia 861SE, AQ Cheetah, Aesthetix Calypso, 2 pairs of AQ Columbia, 2 Ayre V5's (vertical), 2 runs of AQ CV-8, Vandersteen Model 2 Sig2 + 2 Vandersteen subs.

2nd system: Wadia 302, Tara The 2 IC, VAC 30/30 mk3, The 2 speaker cable, Wilson Cubs series 2/with matching stands.

I also have some vinyl gear and quite a few components that I don't always have in my system but I do use every once an a while. I've used AQ with everything I have and have always gotten very consistent results. If you guys like silver and get different results from me, thats fine. My opinion is no more valid than anyone elses. I'm not saying that anyone is wrong or not being truthful, either. I believe that everyone here is giving their honest opinion. Its to be expected that results will vary; espically when dealing with cables and very revealing components.
I have to agree with Charles. I commissioned an XLR to RCA IC from Joe Levy of Tempo Electric constructed of Pure Silver single wire for Pre to Amps. And the same for a pair of SC's. (un-terminated) Although, I had not tried any others in those positions, I feel no need to and am VERY pleased with the outcome.
Zd542,No arguement there,results will most certainly vary from one person and system to another.I`ve just discovered that the better my system has become over the years the better silver sounds.
Great, and I must say, civilized discussion here. I'm familiar with the pitfalls of lesser quality silver ICs as I own a couple pair. The Darwins that I recently got don't fall into that "lesser quality" category. Every once in a while someone gets it right. The Darwins do.

I've been a big fan of Mapleshade ribbon ICs until I bought a Marantz SA-15S2b SACD player. The Marantz brought with it boatloads of gravitas coupled with weight. Everything fleshed out but in the end, thickened too much like a porridge that lacked a little water and set too long to cool.

At first it was welcomed but soon it became apparent that from the lower mids to the bass detail lacked cohesion, approaching that "one note bass" effect. I tried an older set of silver ICs and the bloat disappeared but everything took a big step back and became too polite, too reticent.

I took a chance on the Darwin Silver ICs and all the weight returned, but with more detail and that see through quality. The thickening vanished but what remained was hearty and full, tuneful and expressive. Not all recordings benefited from these ICs due to poor mastering and/or recording techniques but what did sound great to begin with is now utterly beguiling.

The only downside to these Darwin Silver ICs is that now, I must go through my CD collection and weed out the poorer recordings and get what I can for them at some CD & Record store as there's no longer any need to try to save them. :-( The Mapleshade ICs imparted a tonal quality that saved poorer recordings but the Darwins are merciless as they seem to impart nothing untoward to the recording.

I've only accrued some 170 hrs or so on the Marantz and not more than 6 hrs on the Darwins so there's still some break in to go and I can see (hear) what an improvement it's made in my system. I'm seriously considering getting another pair for my OPPO before the price increase. In keeping with the tone of this thread, let me just say that this is my experience, my observations, my biases and yours may not mirror mine but there are some well made silver ICs out there that won't break the bank. I also realize that this doesn't exactly cover the question of IC between amp and pre amp but it might apply.

All the best,
@ zd542, LOL, your post from 5-23-13 was on the money!, You made me laugh!, I agree, These cables are way to exspensive!, still in all, I took the plunge with no regrets!, Happy listening!
When Silver reaches an all time record high,
who will scrap their beloved cables??
When Silver reaches an all time record high,
who will scrap their beloved cables??
Or, could this be the future?
Rodriguez is one of the best cartoonist out there.
He also has a wickedly dark side as well.
I had a pair of Sky that Cable Company lent me. I have very revealing equipment but I couldn't hear the difference between the 2. Here's what you get going from 36v Cheetah to Sky (Everything else is identical): 72v dbs, slightly different xlr connectors and 50% more air.
You describe the effect of silver well.Silver is only revealing the character of the system`s components.A good quality silver cable isn`t "adding" any glare,harshness,thiness,brightness etc.
It all dépends also to your speakers,if they are reveiling and not power hangry then choose the most transparent and Life like ic.
A cable add-s nothing. A better cable can reveal more information. Nothing more, nothing less
Yes..but if the speakers are hard to drive hé CAN never take the full benefit of the ic isń ´t it reason why one think lead to another so he must take into considération all and everything That CAN effect the signal reproduction.thx Hope That help.
I had a Pass X150.5 and an Ayre Pre...I ran Nordost Frey XLRs between them. Loved the combo.
Nordost Frey is not the best combo, because you loose depth. And the individual focus of Pass is not that good. So you need other cables to get a better and realistic focus. Instruments and voices are very small in dimension in real. I sold Nordost for over 8 years. And did hundreds of Nordost tests. For me Nordost is predictable like 1 and 1 is 2.
Research Purist audio design interconnects also.
For small money, the Analysis Plus Solo crystal is really good because of his overall balance sound and neutrality. I tried a lot of cables. This one is the fairest for the price. To get better, you'll need a lot more money. The Analysis Plus range is quite relevant about that. The best one golden oval is way higher priced to get a greater sound.
I've got the Analysis Plus Oval Micro IC and like it very much with Bada Headphone amp and modded and tricked out Oppo 103.
Acoustic Zen Absolute Coppers fit your cable description. Last time I saw them used at $750, but they are absolutely worth it, IMO.