Hi Jason. I've got 2 pair of the symphony's in XLR if you want to try them.
hello Frank you enjoy CES? I just purchased a used Symphony got it yesterday is what triggered this question actually. I liked some sonic aspects and disliked some also but overall still liked the XLO limited better but it's been cooked so the comparison wasn't really fair anyway.
Got a bat vk 5i preamp coming by Saturday also so you don't need to bring a preamp just the Meitner stuff and a couple power cords. what did you think of the Symphony? Justin
Thank you for the offer. As I take off my down jacket, no, I live in Sacramento. Same state, but not so close.
My good friend is there now, working at the Palm Springs Film Festival. I think he's decided that he's done living in Seattle. The sun will do that to just about anyone.
All the best,
I've compared and listened to the trio plus, fugue, symphony, valkyre and pathfinder in a few different systems over the last few years. I previously thought the symphonies offered the greatest "value" in there line up- maybe they do- but not long ago I realized that value is not the right way of explaining it. I've also said in the past that as you move up the line you get more, that's kind of ambiguous and in a way inaccurate. Having personally owned symphony and pathfinder interconnects I feel I have a great understanding of just how much better they get as you move up.
When I purchased the pathfinders I was not anticipating on liking them much, I didn't think they were going to be much better then my symphonies. As soon as I put them in the improvement was dramatic, the biggest change was the air and three dimensionality of instruments, vocals or any other presence on the recording. Everything had gained its own "space" on the soundstage unlike anything I have ever experienced in my room before. A flute sounded light and delicate but true to what a flute sounded in the space a flute belonged. Dynamics increased signicantly which probably added to the air, space and all of the other new found improvements. Soundstage gained not only width and depth but accuracy(this is how you can, in a half assed way, say that it is "more" of the house sound), the back ground became a little blacker with greater contrast, speed and attack also became much better. So now the question is how can you compare a cable that is $1100 to one that is $6000? It hardly seems fair, but if your bank account will permit it and you want the next level, the improvements are there and well worth the price of admission- to this listener any way.
As to symphony vs. valkyre, I've only compared them directly once and in a system I was not too familiar with at the time. It was hard to draw a conclusion, the changes were clearly not night and day, but subtle. From my experiences as an audiophile these subtle changes are why we are in the hobby. When your listening to a piece of music that you've enjoyed 100 times in the past, and this time your a dozen little steps closer to connecting with the music- the money spent means very little. These subtle changes are also the things that make a system enjoyable day in and day out, reducing listener fatigue, allowing you to enjoy more music more of the time. Instead of throwing a lot of meaningless adjectives around, I thought, for a change, I would try to rationalize it as I saw it.
It's comments like that that always tempts me to upgrade from the Symphony's. But when you really look at it, the Valkyre's are about 3 times the price and the Pathfinder's are 6X the price. Costs-no-object, I have no doubt that the Pathfinders or even the Dreamdancers are the way to go. But I think the Symphonys are at a level where it wouldn't be a weak link in a SOTA system. I have no reason to doubt that the Symphony is where the sweetspot is.
But it's not such a big issue. Upgrading from Symphony's is going to be easy. Since the cables are made pretty much the same way (except more wires), you can upgrade one IC at a time. But for the difference in price between the Symphonys and Pathfinders, I would bet using the money on 2 top of the line powercords would be a better upgrade. But I would imagine that someone with everything in place wouldn't be able to live knowing that there's something better out there.
I had a full set of valhalla's here for audition not long after I was using the symphony-valkyre interconnects and speaker cables. I preffered the symphony interconnects to the valhalla's so it only seems clear that the pathfinders would best the valhalla's(to this listener anyway). Don't get me wrong it was pretty close, but when it came to a cable I would want in my system everyday it was the jena's by a little bit. Another listener in a different room with different equipment may feel exactly opposite. I preffered the more defined soundstage, blacker background and more accurate bass. The bass was the largest imrpovement, the others were less obvious- I am in a no way saying I didn't like the valhalla's because if I didn't have Jena's I would use them- they are very good!
Just like Frankg stated its not good to mix, on there own they were good, but when you put them together I did not like the results.
I have tried a lot of cables over the years and still prefer the Jena's they seem to do everything right.
As to Howard's comment about powercord upgrades vs. interconnect upgrades, I can say I noticed a very significant improvement with the pathfinders that I have NEVER experienced with pathfinders. The things that the pathfinder's added I have never heard from any cable or tweak before. Powercords do make a difference but its not the same as signal cables(IMO), they will allow you to adjust the sound to your desires, more of a tweak then an integral part of the system. I guess this falls into audiophile grey area, where you draw the line would souly depend on your experiences. While I have noticed improvements with powercords(sometimes significant) its not to the same degree as interconnects/speaker cables. Again this will be VERY system dependent.
Tireguy, I agree that ICs make a bigger difference. Obviously when you have a top of the line $2000+ list price powercord, there's not too much room for improvement. But depending on one's idea of what a good powercord generally goes for, the difference between a $100 PC and a $600 PC or a $350PC and a $2000+ PC is going to be a lot greater than what the Pathfinders offer over the Symphonies (not to mention going from stock powercord to two $2000 one). This isn't because the Pathfinders aren't that good but because the Symphonies are that good (again this is my assumption).
If you have the Symphonies and you don't have your gear, room, any power tweaks (including dedicated lines) or at least the Symphony speaker cables in place, I just don't think upgrading the ICs to Pathfinders will be the most efficient upgrade. It's a case of improving your weakest link vs improving a strength and identifying the point where diminishing returns really kicks in. It is tempting to upgrade ICs though since they're so easy to switch out.
Howie- My point was that I noticed a larger improvement in sound reproduction going from the symphonies to the pathfinders then I have going from a $600 power cord to a $2000 power cord. Someone who is looking at even the symphony line of cables I would HOPE already has a "complete" system and has tried many confiugrations over the years and will be able to discern the improvements rapidly. At the same time it wouldn't make sense to buy cables of THAT caliber if your system wasn't damn near SOTA(pathfinders OR $2k powercords).
Like I said in an earlier post in this thread, adding the pathfinders allowed my system to do somethings that I have NEVER heard it do before. These "things" are very important to me, allowing me to achieve greater enjoyment of music- which is the ONLY reason I am in this hobby. While powercods are important and compliment a system nicely, I have NEVER heard a power cord do the things that these interconnects have done.
That being said, knowing what I do now I would rather have pathfinders and modest power cords then symphonies and $2k power cords. From my experience the law of diminishing returns comes into play much faster with power cords then any other component/cable. Besides there are some VERY good $500'ish power cords available- can't say the same is true of interconnects(from my experience)
Hey Tireguy. I agree with you and do not doubt what you heard. I actually went for the Symphonies without everything in place because I place an importance on ICs. I figured I'll get something that I'll keep and fill in the gaps later. My point is that one pair of Pathfinders with modest powercords will cost much more than one pair of Symphonies with two $2K powercords. That was the point I was trying to make. If I had a choice, I would go with the Pathfinders and $500 powercords too. But if you have SOTA gear and trying to decide how to spend the rest of your money on cables, you can get two pairs of Symphony interconnects and outfit all your gear with $2K powercords (5 of them) for the same price as two pairs of Pathfinders alone. In the former scenario, you're pretty much set and can be happy, while taking your time to decide whether to upgrade and when to upgrade to the Pathfinders. Whereas, if you have SOTA gear and Pathfinder ICs, I don't know how long you would hold off the PC purchase (very few people power their SOTA gear using stock powercords). Besides, if you don't need 5 powercords you have money left over for speaker cables.
In this industry a best of the best $1000IC is considered to be near SOTA for a lot less money (how many times have we heard about near-Valhallas levels for a lot less?) and I just think that for most people who have trouble with the idea of spending that much money on cables, Symphonies are pretty much as good as you need. I believe this is how the Symphonies are marketed. The Pathfinders are for those looking for that last bit of performance to push your system to new heights.
Tim, if you have time and the opportunity, I would be interested to know your impressions after you swap out all your powercords for stock ones and then compare the differences between adding one pair of Pathfinders vs adding back all your powercords :D It'll bet it'll be very very close.