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I had used this combo, SPM/Quattro-fil and was quite happy with this set-up. It was very good, until I finally swallowed deeply and ponied up the money for the Valhalla speaker cable. The improvement was well worth the money! Of course, I was lucky, for I could get by with only a short 2 meter run. Happy Tunes!
They are both nice cables. I have owned both interconnects, and the Quattro has a more balanced sound IMO (some would say neutral), with slightly more bass than the SPM. The SPM is slighty tilted towards the highs. I have also owned Red Dawn and Blue Heaven. As you go up the Nordost line, there is improvement. The Red Dawn I found to be slightly dry in comparison. Not dry in a bad way, just in comparison.
If you have trouble finding the Quattro in RCA used and you want two pairs, then look for a used 2 meter pair. I have heard that Nordost will cut them down and re-terminate them to new quality, for $100 per end ($400 total for 2 pairs, since 4 ends are already terminated). I do not know how they compare to those bought new, but since Nordost is doing the work, I assume good.
The SPM Reference are indeed very nice cables, they do however reveal any strengths or weaknesses in the chain, so be prepared for that. The SPM need strong upstream components to sound their best but they will provide you with an openness and detail that is impressive.
I use the Red Dawn for speaker cables and find they are quite open, fast and detailed as well but do not provide the openess or detail of the SPM Reference.
Hope this helps!
I'm primarily interested in IC's rather than speaker cables at this time. I've got an Electrocompaniet EMC-1 cdp, Berning ZH-270 amp driving Aerial speakers. Would you consider this combo to be of high enough quality where the SPM's would work? I've been told that the Jena Labs Symphony cables are also extremely good.
Although people will recognize my moniker as being the official dealer for HMS cables, I will take the liberty to strictly speak about the two Nordost cables mentioned, since this was the exact same combo I had in my system, when I started out on my cable quest.
In my humble opinion, the Quatro Fils and the SPMs do not go together very well. The Quatro Fils are a far better cable than the SPM and Nordost made huge mistake, never to develop a Quatro Fil line of speaker cables. The SPM is at least one steo down from the Quatro Fil performance.
I really could not stand to listen to the SPM cables for a very long time and that caused me to get a cable loan of the Valhalla cables. I needed to know how much better the Valhalla really were,since I also was quite a doubter that cables can make such a difference in a system.
The gap between the Quattro Fil interconnects and the Valhalla ICs was there of course, but in my system the gap between the Valhalla speaker cables and the SPM was gigantic.
Now I knew that the SPM was a rather poor performer, but I bought this knowledge for big price: After I had auditioned the Valhalla, I knew now how much difference a cable can make and was instantly hooked to the Valhalla performance and sound.
But what kept me from immediately buying a full Valhalla system was the price, gigantic performance for a gigantic price.
This caused me to venture out on my cable quest and to audition almost 45 brands of cables and led me finally to become the importer of HMS cables.
I am my best witness, since had I thought the Quattro Fil and SPM combo to be satisfying, (I had it in my system!!!) there would have been no further search for a much better price-performance cable and my cable quest would never have started.
I can imagine that people think that the SPM-Quattro Fil combo are a decent peformer, as long as they never heard better cables. Only in auditioning you learn about sonic qualities and better has always been the enemy of good.
The internal wiring of the Nordost El Dorado power cord uses the same kind and amount of wires as do the Quattro-fil interconnects. If handy w/ your hands I have heard of people buying the used El Dorado PC for a couple hundred bucks and making both the Quattro-fil IC as well as a KILLER set of "quattro-fil" speakers cables, which even Nordost never did! Someone I know overseas has several sets that he has compared to his friend's SPM ICs and they reportedly beat the SPM all around! Thinking of getting a used El Dorado and some Nordost Moonglo RCAs and sending them over.
I agree with not using SPM and Quattro together. Use all of either one, preferably the Quattro. If you did not guess from my earlier post, I think the Quattro are worth the extra cash over the SPM.
I recently have developed a liking for the Blue Circle BC95 which lists for only $250 for a meter pair. The BC95 is not the best at anything, but accross the entire frequency spectrum it simply "sounds right" to me.
Hi Ken, yes I feel the SPM combined with the EMC-1 (running direct I assume through the Berning) would be a good match. I use the SPM Reference right now from my cd player to my preamp with very good results.
I will be upgrading from the SPM Reference to a little known cable manufacturer from NY called Stage III Concepts that hand makes some incredible silver, flat conductor cables. I've got some of his Emperor rca's here now and they are superb, very close to the SPM actually. I will replace the SPM though with the Monument series.
Ken1, I also own the EMC-1. I have owned the Quatro fil. I agree with Ejlif in his description of this cables sound. I have also heard many cables out perform the Nordost at a fraction of what Nordost asks for it's name, I mean cable. Listen first before buying. I tried it in 3 systems with the same results. You could not pay me to put this stuff in my system. This is just my opinion. I mean no disrespect to those who enjoy the Nordost line of cables.
I found that the Discovery Essence to be more balanced with my EMC-1 MkII than Red Dawn, Siltech st48b or Pro-Silways.
I also found that SPM speaker cables to be more natural on percussive transients than Red Dawn rev II. I probably WON"T try SPM or QF XLRs as the Discovery Essence is a perfect spectral fit. Detailed but meatier than Nordost.
However, the SPM seems to be an outstanding match with Aleph amps, as they balance each other well.