I have Valhalla and Jena Labs Pathfinders. Based on what you say your are looking for and your experience with the other cables, the Jenas are EXACTLY what you are looking for. E-mail me off line if you want to discuss it more.
Im always hesitant to recommend products because of considerations we all realize (system synergy, room, likes/dislikes, etc, etc.) But here goes...
Im just burning in a pair of Harmonix 101 SLC and after only 50+ hours they sound amazing. I believe they need close to 200 hrs for full burn-in. Im using them with a Wadia 861 (GNS Upgrade), direct to an Accustic Arts Amp II-AC and Silverline La Folias.
My praises of these cables so far are: they make the background much quieter allowing for more music to flow through. They extend the width and depth of the sounstage. They have great frequency extension on both ends and a very life-like midrange. Good luck.
I haven't tried the Jena Labs cables so I can't speak to that part of your question but I do think you should add Stealth Hybrid MLT & UR and Audience Au24 to your audition list. My experience is that good cables (we'll exclude the real junk and cables with a pronounced sonic signature from this conversation) are so system dependent that making wild generalizations about what will work in someone elses system is a waste of everyones' time. I have heard the above cables work well in a number of systems but whether they will do the trick for you only you can answer.
You might want to try the Empirical or TG Audio speaker wire as both have more warmth in the lower mids/upper bass than the Audience.....Audience, TG and Empirical were all reviewed by Bob Neill on Positive Feedback On-Line....Regarding Jena, she builds great stuff, but have never A-B'ed it with my wires....Oh, I am TG Audio BTW....
While TG Audio and Emperical would certainly and no doubt be worth your time and effort, I would also suggest you audition our MSE Gen.II or Poiema speaker cables. Especially in light of your installing the excellent Tom Evans pre-amp into your system. With that addition, you suddenly have a new ball game which I'm guessing you're already aware of. Also, at one point, you were cosidering a different amp. I highly recommend the Berning ZH270. Killer amps! Email me and I can put you in touch with some users if youre interested.
I strongly suggest you try the MIT Oracle V1.1 I know I know believe me i tried everything but MIT at first just because i couldn't get the thought of what was in those darn network boxes out of my head. But I must say after finally auditioning them I quickly purchased them on the spot because 1.)Detail micro and macro incredible 2.)Highs are simply sublime(ultra wide band version by the way) and 3.)The bass is simply the lowest and most well defined i have heard period! at $15.600 cheap they are not but if you have the means who would dare put a price on audio nirvana!!! not me.
I guess the lesson here is don't assume anything about a product or person for that matter strictly based on here say LISTEN FOR YOUR SELF AND FORM YOUR OWN OPINIONS! is
always the best rule of thumb.
here we go... most cables fall into 2 camps.
there is the "fast" camp that has great imaging, bass, and speed ( xlo comes to mind)
there is the "warm" camp that is lush,bloom, and no image specificty and no detail(ie cardas)
may want to try changing out 1 set of interconnects.
recently picked up a pair of wireworld eclipse 5.and they are really a great midrange ic that is ever so lightly lush on the vocals and very good extension on the extemes and images extremly well
i use them with xlo signiture II ( very neutral "fast" cable imo) and form a great synergy together.
cable interactions within a system are individually based and goal is find a synergestic combination that is to your liking.
cables have basic sonic fingerprint, and depending on your gear, speakers, room,and listening taste may or may not work. that is why you need to audition cables in your system and with differnt combinations. stop by the local shop and try to get as many cables as you can and do your own comparison..you might be surprised to find out what combination works best.
i.e i always use to use the same interconnect between cd to pre and pre to amp. i tried the xlo signiture II between pre to amp and differnt ic between cd to pre and have been amazed by the results.. i have not found a better cable than the xlo signiture II between my ar ls-12 and pse studio v's. and when i tried another pair between cd to pre ( it was too lean in the midrange)i have tried numerous other ic between cd to pre and have ended up with the wireworld eclipse 5.
i have tried ALOT of cardas products ( cross, golden cross, hex golden 5c, hex 5, and neutral) and they are a very colored ( overly lush ) with the exception of the neutral ( too much siblence in my system).and when i used 2 pair, it was too much warmth, lask of detail, and imaging...dont get me wrong i have heard cardas cables sound very nice in other systems...but not mine.
what i have found is all cables have a "sonic signiture" and when used together ( more than once) it really magnifies that "paticular" sonic signiture.
think about it, the signal is amplified 3 times through 3 sets of cables.( i am not including power cables...that is a differnt discussion..they are just as important as ic or speaker cables in a high resolution system..imo anyway)
the type of sound you are looking for is difficult..(speed and lush are too differnt camps).i have recently added some wireworld products in my system and am very pleased ( i am not affilaited with wireworld or a audio shop.. i am a pharmaceutical rep). they are revealing but not bright and have a midrange "richness" that works really well in my all solid state system ( also added a wireworld power cable and was very pleased by the results)
hope that helps!!!
I have the Harmonix SLC speaker cables in my system- Eggleston Andras, Krell FPB600, Hovland HP100 with MC phono, Sim Audio Moon Eclipse CDP, VPI Scout JMW9 with Transfiguration Spirit Mk3 MC, Ic's are all Transparent Ref with XL, phono cable is a special half valhalla. In this system I have been able to try Kharma Enigma Reference, Nordost Valhalla, Silversmith silver, AP Solo oval 9, discovery essential, and a few others. My feeling (like many others) is that cabling helps you tune the system to your tastes. What is the cat's ass for one is simply litter box fodder for the next. In my system, to my ears, I much preferred the Harmonix to all the others regardless of cost. The valhallas were bass theives, the silversmiths were close to the Harmonix but not as tonally correct to my ears, the kharma just a bit too rich, and you get my drift. Just on a power cord note, I tried the Harmonix Studio Master on all the components in my system. While I liked it on my Eclipse CD player, the Shunyata Python did the trick for me. This could be because the Sim has been described as a bit cool or whitish on top and the Studio Master PC showed me how much. I thought you might want to hear my two cents as the valhalla speaker cable did not work for either of us. We are certainly in the minority on that one. I also love what the transparent cabling did for my system. I preferred it to valhalla between amp and preamp for example. I would say try the harmonix SLC if you can. It was the final piece in the puzzle for me to snap my system into the "I think I'm done!" category.
I agree with Priz, cables whether speaker, interconnect or power are impossible to determine their system synergy. I recently changed speakers in a system that was extremely musical and detailed. The cables were, ic from dac to preamp, Cardas G.R. Amp to pre-amp, Purist Audio, all digital cables Goldmund Lineal. All power cords, Shunyata. Speaker cables, Synergistic Research. System sounded outstanding. Changed speakers and installed MIT-MH-750 Magnum, speaker cables and everything fell apart. Although the midrange was good, the upper registers were wooden and lifeless. Bottom end, wooly and defused. Since the speakers were new along with the MITs, I guessed it needed break-in. After three weeks, the system did not get much better. I blamed the MITS and was about to pull them out of the system, when I came across an old pair of balanced MAS grey silver IC. I said to myself what the hell and took out the Cardas G.R. and the system started to sing. All was better in all the usuall areas, although not perfect, the silver Mas in this system was a bit silvery, in that the images were rounded with a
sharp edges. A audiophile friend is dead set on buying the Jena Labs Pathfinder IC to replace his Jena Labs Sineweave 7 IC. I told him to let me audition the Jena and if it worked in my system I'd take it off his hands. Out came the Mas Silver, In the Jena, and cold from the box the Jena Labs crushed the MAS. The system went from 7 (out of 10) to a 25. Midrange is clear and fully rounded, extended highs and cymbals sound scary and bottom end taut and well defined. Jena Labs Bravo, been an Audiophile for over 30 years, never experienced an IC like this.
Krell Amp and Pre
Mark Levinson Dac
DCS Purcell d/d converter
Shunyata Hydra 8
I agree with what Mike said. I'm not really a fan of all the same cables either. Piano music is a terrific baseline for comparisons. I also have SS equipment. B&K 507, Arcam DV-89, Tannoy speakers, Art of Sound Sub, BEL-the wire I/C's and Dimarzio Super M-Path speaker cables. I have also used numerous speaker cables (Synergistic, AQ, etc) trying to overcome various colorations (this part sounds good/that part sounds unpleasant). The Dimarzio's brought it all together for me. Nothing stands out (excessive frequency coloration) and vocals and piano have never sounded more natural with appropriate tone and weight. The highs are rolled off a bit but detailed nonetheless (musical without brightness). The cost is much less than many mentioned in the other posts and worth an audition. However, remember what everyone else has said, "system dependent", listen for yourself. Enjoy!