I have owned both, and Acoustic Zen hand down is better than Harmonic Tech across the board. I personally like Acoustic Zen better than any other brands I have tried, including Ensemble, Silversmith, Nordost, Siltech, NBS, Audioquest and many more. Email me if you would like me to hook you up with a good dealer.
I've purchased Acoustic Zen Satori shotgun's (bi-wired) but had also demo'ed Harmonic Tech's Pro 11 just prior to purchasing the Zen's. I did not have these cables side by side or even under the same roof at the same time. But I could not perceive any real sonic difference. I didn't like the massive amounts of garden hoses going across my floor so I ended up purchasing a pair of HT Pro 9 mono's. Again, I could not tell a difference.
This weekend, I contemplated my naval and then converted my Pro 9's from mono to bi-wire using a set of spades I had purchased about a year ago. BTW, the Pro 9 mono's are just like the Pro 9 bi-wires but are terminated with only two spades (or banana) at the speaker end instead of 4. Well, I did a horrible job (my first attempt) and ruined any structural integrity the cables need where they connect to the spades and will probably have to ship them to HT to properly fix.
But, for the first time, I could hear a difference between mono's and bi-wires. I'm impressed with the sonic improvements from bi-wiring.
BTW, Robert Lee (I believe is his name) was the chief engineer at HT and then broke away about a year ago to start Acoustic Zen. You may notice that much the same technology single-crystal, etc. is used in both mfg'ers cabling. But AZ does have an all silver line of interconnects where I believe HT does not.
Acoustic Zen is WAY better in my system at least for interconnects. I haven't tried the speaker cables yet, but I will be sometime soon. I have tried the HT Truthlinks, HT Pro Silways, AZ WOWs, AZ Matrix reference and AZ Silver Reference. As Ejlif said the Acoustic Zen were hands down winners.
In Canada Sim Audio distribute HT cables and Dynaudio speakers. This would lead me to believe that they have probably used each of these products while voicing their equipment. …Didn’t they use these various components in their display at the most recent CES? …If yes, then one might then also assume a certain synergy. While this is only idle speculation its worth looking into. Why not give Sim Audio a call? (450)449-2212
Personally I use Silversmith cabling with Sim audio products, and prefer it over both HT & AZ. - But that's just me.
Lastly, what do you mean which is best, better or whatever? There are no absolutes, and even if there were who really cares!? …What matters is which sounds best in your system – Right?
OK Mike. Which will sound better in my system? I have a B&K ref 30 preamp, with custom made speakers that are considered proac clones.
No one - not even Sim can tell you which will sound better in your system. Sim can only tell you whether or not they use HT in their engineering/evaluation processes.
Your room, quality of AC, speakers, & source will greatly influence which cable(s) sound best in your system ...No one here on Audiogon (or anywhere else for that matter) can give you the answer. You'll simply have to test to know for sure. The point with questioning Sim should help you to make your short list.
Tennispro- Mike is right that it is good to test them in your own system. If you aren't going to get both then I'd say get Acoustic Zen. I have owned the full Silversmith set that Mike thinks is better than both HT and AZ and I think the Silversmith stuff is horrible, terribly overpriced and extremely unbalanced sounding (in my system)
I went from mostly upper level Audioquest and Synergistic Research cables to all Harmonic Technology cables in a system with an Audio Research VT100-MKII, LS25 all with NOS tubes,Quad USA Monitors, and B&W Nautilus 805/REL Stadium speaker combo. With interconnects, I started with Truthlinks, then upgraded to Pro Silway II (I never liked the original Silways..too lean),then to the Magic interconnects. I used shotgun HT Pro9 speaker cables.
After a friend recommended Acoustic Zens, I decided to audition a Zen interconnect. Much to my "distress", the Acoustic Zen Silver Reference interconnects were significantly better than the Magic, especially in the air/ambience area, dynamics, and presenting a noticable improvement in soundstaging. Both the HT Magic and the Acoustic Zen Silver Reference had a great upper extension, but the Acoustic Zen's upper range had a silky (almost wet sounding), airy quality that the Magic could not even hint at. I then tried the A Zen speaker cables (Satori Shotguns) and they too were quite a bit better in my system than shotgun HT Pro 9 speaker cables, especially in soundstaging, extension, and dynamics.
Several qualities of the A Zen cables stood out for me: a silky/airy rendition of the top end, dynamics, and a great ability to place 3D images within a large soundstage. I believe the HT Magic and other HT cables are quite good, but in my system the Acoustic Zen cables simply perform on a higher level.
Thank you Dem. My equipment will be a little different but you have given me some much needed direction.
Anyone tried the HT Magic Reference?
I have and i find it superb. Sadly it is discontinued due to the cost of manufacturing these today, would mean a very high retail cost. I also wonder about IC's that would match this one. As AZ Absolute is all silver, does it not sound a bit lean in bass? Hybrid seems more likely to have the advantage of both worlds. But that is just a thought.
Wow, way to pick up an old thread, Inpieces --
As for my opinion, i have used both HT and AZ and really like both. Depending on my system configuration, I have liked either brand better. Overall sound is similar, although I do think AZ has a slight nod for musicality, but I really really like the HT that i've had in my system, too. Morale: buy some used and do a shoot-off. Sell what you don't like as well. That's what the 'gon is for.
"As AZ Absolute is all silver, does it not sound a bit lean in bass?"
AZ Absolute IC is 1% copper while AZ Silver Reference IC is 3% copper. Bass with Absolute ICs is strong and well controlled/defined - at least with my gear.
Iv`e have tried Harmonic Technology Pro 9 against Acoustic Zen Satori Shotgun, with my jean Marie Reynaud: Orfeo speakers, and thought that the AZ cables where much better. I now have all AZ cables the whole way around! Interconnecst are AZ Silver Ref between my Rega Saturn CD and lavardin IT Intg amplifier. And AZ Matrix Ref between my Rega Eos Riaa and the IT, and it all sounds just great! So i will prefeer AZ over HT!!