I’d like to achieve more transparency in my set. I’m thinking a change of cable(s) might help. Right now I have Morrow MA 4 Interconnects between components, and Morrow MAP 2 power cords from my monoblock amps. My set consists of a newly Teflon capped Conrad-Johnson PV 11 preamp, Nuforce 9v3 class D monoblocks, Gumby Multibit DAC, Arcam streamer, Oppo 105 for SACDs, Cyrus transport and GoldenEar Triton I speakers with Cardus speaker cables.
I would also consider your preamp, c-j preamps, from that era at least, were known for having a bit of a golden glow. It makes for a musically pleasing sound but perhaps a bit dark or to some veiled, That said I am not sure the degree to with Teflon caps might ameliorate that effect.
The Morrow interconnects are excellent in my experience. I use them on all my source components except the turntable which has a captive harness. I seriously doubt you would find much of an improvement starting there. A different power cord might be worth experimenting with. If you want to spend big bucks, a Shunyata Hydra Triton is an indispensable part of my big system. Good luck on your quest.
Resonance control helps a lot as well. Not sure what "feet" you are using under your equipment, but you may want to look at improving them. Lot's of opinions about what works best but for me I've had great results with isoacoustic products. They are relatively inexpensive as well.
+1 @jond -- maybe you can demo something like an ARC preamp. Lots of other good tubed preamps out there that will give you more detail and transparency albeit with possibly a tad less warmth and fullness. Always trade offs.
I've used Nordost cables for years and really love them. The original (version 1) cables are very detailed, transparent and a little lean. If your system is on the warm or dark side they will be a good fit. I would look for Frey or Tyr and again make sure they are not the version 2 which have a much warmer tone. Good deals on the used market right now.....Good luck
A year ago, to achieve greater transparency in my main system, I rid myself of two top preamps ( both imo, superior to your PV11 in transparency ) and went passive. I am only saying this because it has worked for me. There are debates, considerations and concerns about going passive, but I will no longer use a preamp ( in my main system ). Enjoy ! MrD.
To pickup from what Elizabeth advised, you should add a High Fidelity Cables MC-1 Pro power conditioner to your system. Your whole system will benefit from the clean power it provides. These things are a game changer. You want transparency, these will provide it in spades.
What I do is open up my system, then tune it back in to the textures I want (transparency being one of them). I'm different from some I read here. I don't like squeezing the system to get transparency, that's a prescription for fatigue in my book and something I see so many freaking out over, after they thought they were on the path to clarity. I have the music on 24/7 and making jumps to always adding something new can easily throw things into permanent breakin and that can cloud up the music faster than anything. System settling is the most advanced tweak of all and when we have a system that have parts only a few months old we can bet most of our music sounds strained, because it is. When at TAS reviewers homes one of the first things I would notice is how uptight their systems sounded. Big boxes everywhere locking in things instead of freeing them. It was easy to hear the signal blockage and I spent my first few hours unlocking the signal. A lot of big eyes and smiles the next day when we would begin uncovering all the music that had disappeared before. One of the words being discovered at that time was the listening meaning of the word "transparency". True transparency is when you can see through the thick into the wholeness of the event, not squeezing the signal to the point where the soundstage starts creating "holes" (parts of the signal missing).
Elizabeth, The reason I suggested HFC is because their products are so unique and their technology is so ground breaking. There is nobody in the industry doing the things that HFC is doing. I have been an audiophile for 45 years and this is one of the most exciting developments to be researched in my opinion. Magnet technology is opening up a new level of performance for music playback and recording.
Thank you all for your suggestions. I neglected to mention that I already have an Isotek Orion power conditioner with Isotek Elite power cord. Sounds like a new preamp may be the way to go, but since I just spent about $1500 upgrading the CJ with Teflon caps i would hate to take a loss and replace it.
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Cardas speaker cables. I don't know which ones you have, but some were noted for being on the softer side and often used to tame brighter systems.. The newer models are supposedly more transparent, but I have no experience with them.
If you get the Morrows, have them do the break in for you. I know many say it is BS and they have the right to their opinions, but I had the SP3s a few years back and they were virtually unlistenable. I sent them back for a break in and they were much, much better. Believe what you will.
Mapleshade speaker cable has been the most transparent that I have tried outside of my current set-up, which is silver cable (the exact same that the speaker is internally wired with) going directly from the crossover, so no binding posts.
I had the Mapleshade cables - the cheapest ones as I recall and they were definitely on the bright side for my taste, but not so much so. I think they might work well in a dark-sounding system to liven things up. Cables aren't tone controls? That's what everyone seems to say.
Just made an 8' pair of speaker cables using 8awg copper wires from Home Depot. Used some leftover Truflex, heat shrink, and locking bananas I had and for < $50 total they look good and sound pretty decent. Let's see if they even get better as they age...
Personal experience here. This may not work for everyone. I had something give my system more transparency and make it a bit richer sounding. The individuals sounds are a little richer and air in and around everything lets me hear the recording environment much better. Moving me closer to feeling there is nothing between me and the musicians. There is no downside I can tell after having it in my system for about 6 months. What I did was paste my connections with TC=Total Contact contact enhancer. I was surprised by the improvement I got. I would highly recommend it for those that do not mind putting something on their contacts.
Do you still have the grills of your speakers in place? A lot of folks do -they usually just look better that way. When you're young with great hearing it probably doesn't make much difference, but as you start to suffer from age induced loss of the higher frequencies it can become critical. If you haven't already tried, do it. FWIW.
All of a sudden, things are sounding much better lately! Maybe things are breaking in or maybe my attitude has changed, or a combination of both. I realized something very interesting, that others may be appreciative of. When I first play something in a day, if it doesn’t sound good, my feelings are colored by that for the rest of the day and beyond. Just browsing through my very old preamp manual, I noticed it said the unit takes about a half hour to warm up and work properly. Now, of course, I have known about warmup of equipment forever. But, never realized how important first impressions have an effect on the psyche. In other words, I was letting my mind get spooked by the first sounds I was hearing, and that ruined my mindset for a long time. I don’t know if we realize how much of a part the mind plays (like sex) in the enjoyment of the experience. So..... Now I don’t really start listening until my preamp is hot and Voila! I’m a happy camper.
Truly superior cables are not tone controls. The very best cables I have heard and now own were better in every way than their inferior predecessors. If you think that cables are tone controls you are not listening to really good cables in my opinion.
Elizabeth say's: "
My pile of Furutech AC duplex also took a very long time to all break in. I would say, now from first few purchesed in late July 2018 with a few in August and a few in September.. they all finally have fully settled down like January!" Wow... Although I've never heard anybody say anything other than that they were great, that is a true commitment.
My Morrow interconnect was so good I buy the number 3 and was very satisfied... And yes the break-in was very evident for my ears...But the transparency I get mostly comes from cleaning the electrical grid and the audio grid with passive means because introducing new electronic components does not always lowered the noise floor, it is a trade-off most of the times when you introduce new electronics filtering components because they introduce noise of their own...Passive filtering is the way for me...
My JOB INT integrated powers just under 200w/c... Several weeks ago, I decided to follow up on several conversations and several forum comments: went to my local (commerial) electrical supply house, purchased 8 lengths of 8' each, 12 GAUGE SOLID CORE COPPER WIRE sheathed: 4-BLACK, 4-GREEN. Twisted them into 4 pairs so I can bi-wire my speakers, hooked 'um up BARE WIRES, and continue to break them in (I always allow at least 300+ hours continuous initial run with changes in music and volume). WOW! Nice sound, continually improving (to quote a previous comment on the sound): PRESENTLY - "...the sound is dense and musical, sweet and organic without being syrupy or veiled whatsoever..." TOTAL COST with tax here in NY: $13.92. My next foray will be to duplicate the 8 lengths and ship them out for cryogenic treatment... Save yourself some coin - TRY IT AND DECIDE FOR YOURSELF...