Most "Musical" sounding speaker cable under $1000

I am probably going to get knocked around for the use of that mysterious word "MUSICAL" in this tread. However would like some input from members who have tried a lot of speaker cables: and would like to know what is most musical sounding speaker cable you have ever owned or presently own under $800. Multiple choices is also good.

FOR ME, the term "musical means" listenable, and holding the listener's attention, and satisfying. Also, it means very smooth without sounding warm or fuzzy. Lastly, it means....a unique presentation of the musical event never heard or experienced before.

Or,... is it also: more detail?? more musical cues that convey the music and its acoustic space? or a richer palette of tonal color and harmonics??? I am sure it is heard and defined differently by everyone
It is not your cable that makes a sound, musical or otherwise. Cable is not additive, musical, etc. It is your sources and their integration with your speakers that make the sounds. Poor cable selection can exacerbate problematic characteristics of your electronics or cover them up, that's all. It's called synergism and it is depending mostly on correct electrical interface with your components and your personal tastes.

If you identify your components and how they sound to you along with a description of how you want them to sound you just might get an intelligent response. Otherwise your looking for love in the wrong places.
Outstanding answer by Newbee, IMO. It is entirely possible that cable A would sound more musical (however that may be defined) than cable B in one system, while in another system cable B would sound more musical than cable A.

-- Al
Guys, I appreciate your advice, but let us chill a bit. I have been doing audio for 40 years, and understand what both Newbee and Almarg have stated.

The basic system (without specifying turntable) consists of a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagio; Bel Canto PRE-3 pre-amp/line stage; Red Dragon M-500 digital class D monoblocks, and a newly purchased Cambridge Audio 550C modded by Mapleshade Audio.( previously used a Rega Apollo) Chord Chameleon IC between CD and pre-amp. Nordost Red Dawn IC connects amps to pre-amp.

Speaker cable is Audio Art SC5 which is relatively inexpensive, and good, but after a few week of use is not cutting it. Therefore, I am looking to find a "synergistic", "euphonic", "musical", compatible (add your own adjectives) speaker cable that IS NOT MEGA, OR JUST EXPENSIVE.

I am still considerING the more expensive Audio Art SC-5; Morrow Audio's S-4 or SP 6 reference speaker cable. Both are over $1000 for a 12 ft pair which i must use in my current set-up. I have more less eliminated Paul Spletz's Anti-Cable which is ridiculously inexpensive. Soundstring Gen II and Nordost's new LEIF series speaker cables are outside contenders. Thanks again
Under $800 I recommend a pair of used Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval 8. These are 8 gauge single crystal hollow copper cable. Strong bass. Lots of details. Not bright. Not warm. That's "musical" in my opinion.
Clear Day cables work pretty good.
JW Audio Cryo Nova, they are the same type of wire as Anticable, but having owned both, I like the Cryo Nova considerably better.
I would recommend looking at Zentara Cables. I use the Reference II bi-wire speaker cables and wrote a short review here. You can find more information,including reviews,with a general internet search but here is a link to the website.
On the website under feedback I am Duane.
My amplifier has changed to a Luxman L-590aII since then and I am even more pleased with how the cables allow all of the rich vibrant sound and texture to flow and/or explode from my speakers.
If you call Mr. Kue you will find that he loves to talk about audio,equipment,and of course cables but with much knowledge and a great sense of humor.
Try the Purist Musaeus Speaker
Sunnyjim, the impedance curve of your speakers, as shown near the end of this review, is much more benign than most, being fairly flat, at about 5 ohms through much of the spectrum, and with phase angles that are not highly capacitive at any frequency. I suggest that you research posts by owners of the same or similar speakers to see what cables they are using. The fact that most other speakers do not have impedance characteristics that are similarly easy to drive, and may also differ significantly from the 5 ohm nominal value, suggests that recommendations based on experiences with other speakers stand a good chance of not being applicable, IMO.

-- Al
Harmonic Tech Pro-11 is the most musical s/c when I put on against my Transparent Super, MIT MH-750, Analysis Plus Oval-9, Nordost RedDawn, Blue Heaven.
Once system's synergy is built up, each spkr cables would sound ALMOST the same but (if listen carefully) their straits def still there.

Ignore Newbie and Almag.
Nasaman, nothing that I or Newbee have said is inconsistent with the experiences you reported in your post.

-- Al
Sonnyjim, I'll chill out. I didn't recognize your level of experience by your post. I thought you just might be another audio enthusiast with poor synergy in his basic system, not recognizing this, and thinking he could solve all of the synergy issues by changing speaker wire. If you were you wouldn't be the first, or probably the last. Good luck.
Harmonic Tech Pro-11 is the most musical s/c when I put on against my Transparent Super, MIT MH-750, Analysis Plus Oval-9, Nordost RedDawn, Blue Heaven.
Once system's synergy is built up, each spkr cables would sound ALMOST the same but (if listen carefully) their straits def still there.

Ignore Newbie and Almag.
Nasaman, Judging from Al's post Sunnyjim's speakers will be a good neutral test for the differences between cable and he will be able to hear the synergism that he has already established between his electronics and his speakers. Then he can attribute what he hears to the cables as he changes them, the total synergy, or the basic system in toto or to individual components, as he sees fit. He appears to be fortunate in the sense that he won't have to listen to a lot of different cables before he can determine which, if any, can give him what he is looking for.

A challenge for you.

Since you have stated that the Harmonic Tech Pro-ll is the most 'musical' s/c, and you imply that your system is synergistic and suitable for evaluating cables without considering the technical speaker/cables matching issues, perhaps you can take a moment and tell us specifically what attributes that cable possesses that makes it 'musical' in nature that the other cables do not. Are you sure it is embedded in the nature of the cable, i.e. it will be 'musical' when used in all systems, or could it just be the result of its synergy with your system. In other words as you describe the differences in the cables as slight (in an already synergistic system) can you attribute the differences to personal preference as opposed to technical differences?

DNM Reson might be worth a look.

I find their ICs to be most coherent and musical top to bottom and would expect similar from the speaker wires.
I would go with Acoustic Zen Satori. I find it to be unfailingly musical and a steal at its price. Plus, it should work well with your speakers.
I would also try the Satori. Like you, Sunnyjim, I also run Class D monoblocks (BC Ref 1000 Mk 2)with fairly efficient and easy to drive speakers. I use the Shotgun external bi wire set. Plenty of detail, but very smooth and good bass response. I might say they lean just a bit to the warmer side of things, but with a Class D amp, I don't think that's a bad thing at all. As Drubin says, a steal at the price, and there have been some good deals offered up lately here.
Thanks to all who added their choices of speaker cable to the discussion. To Almarg, I should have checked with Acoustic Zen about other choices than their own cables, but it seemed pointless in some ways However, your point is well taken, but checking with owners of the same speaker or others that are 5 to 6 ohm impedance. The Adagios are officially 6 ohms

To Drubin, I previously had AZ's Hologram 2 speaker cable which was approaching the musicality I was after. However, I had to sell them due to their awkward size and girth and they had spade lugs which are a nuisance to keep in place. However, as good as they are, they produced a smaller sound stage than was previous Analysis Oval 12. Bass was good but not exceptional. I decided to try Audio Art SC-5 cable to save some money and to evaluate the lower priced overachiever.

At first, I was surprised that the sound stage was wider and a tad higher, and bass was tighter, and the overall sound somewhat easier to listen to. The AZ's Hologram 2's at retail for 10 ft pair is approx 6 times greater than a 12 ft pair of AA's SC-5....Go figure!! However, after a few weeks of listening, I concluded that the AA's did not have the mid-range detail or finesse of the Hologram 2. I thought there was about a third less music being conveyed. I have to say that AA's presentation brought new life or zest to several CD's I played (Another aspect of that "musical" quality, I am sure)

Nevertheless, Rob Fritz of Audio Art offered me a decent trade-up allowance toward his SC-5SE cable which is more money, but I decided to test the choppy waters of speaker cable mania instead hoping to see if there is truly a low to medium price cable that is exceptional.

07-11-12: Sunnyjim
To Almarg, I should have checked with Acoustic Zen about other choices than their own cables, but it seemed pointless in some ways However, your point is well taken, but checking with owners of the same speaker or others that are 5 to 6 ohm impedance. The Adagios are officially 6 ohms.
Sunnyjim, I would emphasize my reference to the flatness of the impedance curve I linked to, across most of the spectrum, and to the fact that the phase angle curve (the lighter of the two lines in the graph) does not go significantly negative at any frequency. Those characteristics are probably more important for present purposes than the nominal impedance.

Most speakers do not have similarly flat impedance magnitudes, and most speakers have impedance phase angles that reach considerably negative values (i.e., considerably less than 0 degrees, meaning they are capacitive) at some frequencies. Sounds like Swanny's speakers might be an exception, which would increase the relevance of his (and DRubin's) suggestion.

-- Al
DH Labs Q Sonic floats my boat. It is equally adept connected to very different power amps and speakers.
My gear:
Preamp: Jeff Rowland Capri
Amp: jeff Rowland 102 (class D)
Spkr: Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home series and Concertino, Quad L-11, MedowLark Shadow
AC pwr cond: Richard Gray 400

Harmonic Tech Pro-11 spkr cables get the most musical sounding when compared against others that I have listed earlier.

Newbee, I share my opinion based on the comparison that I did and judged it by just using my (well broken-in) ears. As u stated, if OP need to gather some/all of the specs and technical numbers from the gear (and all of cables) to determine the most musical sounding, i then suggest he should contact each manufactures to collect those data. Why post here?
In the words of John MacEnroe, "Are you kidding me?" Please, I implore those spending soooooo much money on wire to wake up...WAKE UUUUPP. Wire is wire is wire, and all you have to do is go back and read the original blind tests performed by none other than the founders of MacIntosh (that's right) to find out what they concluded. Maybe, maybe this will help return this great hobby to the realm of common sense, something it so desperately needs.
Clear Day Cable
i am a fuss pot when it comes to cables. i have auditioned and reviewed several.

i use ear to ear--a company in toronto. cable has a lot of shielding, dampening material and is silver plated copper.
Bojack, your post suggest that there is no difference between one cable over another. I will have to disagree.
I am a cable manufacturer and have done extensive testing of all types of cable and wire. I do agree that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get great sound, but there is a difference between one cable and the next.
If you haven't been able to hear a difference between cables,it has probably saved you a lot of money and some anguish, but there is a difference.
John, JW Audio none other than the founders of MacIntosh
(that's right)...
An old-school, engineering-
driven company. Not sure that makes them an authority on the cable
While it is true that spending big bux on speaker cables is not wise, IMHO, there are many great cables at the $250 and under range that work quite well...

-RW- I use Goertz MI-2 Pythons from my Butler TDB-5150 into my Gallo Ref. 3.1s...
Sunnyjim, A cable recommendation for you. Problem is that it comes in a grey jacket and is too cheap to be good. But it has good electrical values and is neutral to the source. I think it is a great 'value' cable that will not degrade in any way the sound of your system, certainly it will not exacerbate any of the sonic issues which can cause one to seek the qualities you seem to be looking for. For a buck a foot you can try it. All you've got to loose is bragging rights. :-)
LOL, I forgot to mention - It is a Canare 4S11 star quad sold by Blue Jeans.
Another plain gray jacket that is too cheap to be good is Belkin Av from Partsconnextion.28 cents a foot,terminate it yourself or use the bare wire ends.The same PCOCC copper used by many high end cable manufactures.It is the tiniest bit on the cool side,but very smooth,detailed and musical IMO.At first listen it lacks dynamics but opens up as it breaks in.
I have had HarmTech,AudioArt,and many others over the years and bought the Belkin for a "place holder" while investigating other cables.Search over.Good luck to you,and hope you keep posting your trials and errors.
May I hijack this thread for a few post? I would like to pick Al's brain, I hope to the benefit of all.

Most speakers do not have similarly flat impedance magnitudes, and most speakers have impedance phase angles that reach considerably negative values (i.e., considerably less than 0 degrees, meaning they are capacitive) at some frequencies.

Al or anyone, could you explain how the impedance phase angle impacts the system (amps, cables, speakers)?
Hi Nick,

Basically, if the speaker's impedance phase angle becomes significantly negative (i.e., capacitive) across a significant range of frequencies, the amount of current that the amplifier has to supply, and the amount of current that will flow through the speaker cables, will increase at those frequencies.

That will occur for two reasons. First, everything else being equal the efficiency of the speaker will be less than if the phase angle were zero degrees (i.e., purely resistive). The amount of power delivered at a given instant is proportional to the product (multiplication) of voltage (V) and current (I) at that instant. For a purely resistive load, voltage and current are in phase, meaning that they reach their maximum, minimum, and other corresponding values within each cycle at the same time. For a load that is partially capacitive and partially resistive (i.e., with a phase angle somewhere between zero degrees and -90 degrees), voltage and current will be somewhat out of phase (to a degree that increases as the negative phase angle increases), resulting in a reduction in V x I at any instant of time, and therefore less power delivery than if they were in phase. So to deliver a given amount of power and produce a given volume level, the amplifier will have to deliver more current and voltage if the load is significantly capacitive than if it were purely resistive, everything else being equal.

Secondly, the amount of current flowing through a capacitor is proportional to the rate of change of the applied voltage. So if the impedance of the speaker is significantly capacitive at high frequencies, a greater amount of current will have to be provided during high speed (rapidly changing) transients than would otherwise be necessary.

If the impedance magnitude (the number of ohms) reaches low values at frequencies where the phase angle also reaches low (more negative) values, the increased current requirements resulting from those effects will be further compounded.

Best regards,
-- Al
Newbee, Because I cannot contact you off line, have you ever used this Canare 4S11 Star Quad speaker cable for a reasonable length of time to provide some impressions?? I checked their website out via Audiogon; they seem similar to the "Parts Express" operation

Nevertheless, I need a 12 foot pair with connectors, at a dollar a foot as you claim, I would only be spending 24 dollars, plus connectors and shipping. These prices make Anti-Cable and Jw Cable look overpriced.

I e-mailed John at Jw Cable, and he explained the process used to create the cable. However, like the Anti Cable speaker cable, it is stiff like a coat hanger, and trying to install either cable behind a vertical audio rack could be troublesome, if not unsightly. if jaggedly suspended between the two speakers. This will surely trip the DEFCON 3 alert from the wife....however I always ignore the whinny sound!!! Though I am curious, if there are sound quality differences between the two cables. Anti-Cables "seems" to have racked up alot of customer testimonials which are "numbered" in segments and appear in the "Cable" category sale listings....Thanks for the advise and recommendation of the Canare Cable
Yes, I used a set for several years and was very happy with them. I actually preferred them to some high end ($25 ft) cable. Google 'Canare 4S11 speaker cable' and you will find lots of user comments and merchants other than Blue Jeans which BTW seems to be out of stock of all cable. Hum...

I was wrong about the price, at least at BJ. They want $1.35 per foot.
Like some others suggested, try clear day cables. Their double shotguns are very good. Paul is great to deal. Usually he has loaner pairs that you can try without buying first.
Synergy was very good ims, and I usually don't like silver based cables. For the money they are excellent, imho.
As I changed my system, I passed up on an old pair of Clear Day cables to try something else without keeping them in. Almost two years went by. Big mistake.

In another thread I relate how they and a pair of Mapleshade Helix wires, used together (bananas for Clear Day and bare wire for the Mapleshades on the same post) transformed my system.

The Mapleshades gave such detail and resolution but the lower mids and bass weren't as fleshed out as the rest and adding the Clear Days brought everything to a perfect equilibrium. Resolution, body, tone, depth, sound staging are all spot on.

It's well under your budget. Maybe worth a try. Like Snopro says, Paul will probably send out a broken in pair for you to try.

All the best,
Thanks Al for the great explanation
Clear Day Double Shotgun.
I like Golden Gate cables.

If you suspend them properly, they are extremely durable and length doesn't seem to affect performance.

They work great in either direction.
Audiofeil, I checked the AG directory for GG cables, no such manufacturer. I recall from past threads you are an audio dealer. Why not participate in the discussion, and not try to be a comedian, because I am not amused!!! Jim
Hi Jim.
I think they're out of business due to a minor earthquake in the Bay area which destroyed the facility.

However, the owners have regrouped and should be releasing a new line of cables soon.

The new company is called Richter Cables.

Good luck.
I was using DIY cables until recently. Got some "K2" Audioquest cables from China for $380, 3meter biwire. They are a noticeable improvement, even to my wife who didnt know I had installed them and commented at dinner.

Read the "youll be sorry you read this" posts to see discussion. Not recommending anything, just posting my experience
I replaced $1100 speaker cables from Gabriel Gold with Clear Day Double Shotguns for $400. The Clear Days are far better. Very "musical" with really good dynamics, detail, and bass. Clear Day offers a no-hassle free trial, so there is nothing to lose trying them. The owner, Paul Laudati, is a pleasure to deal with as well.
Sunnyjim, I know cables are raining in this thread and you will get many more recommendations, and pass this suggestion of mine as yet another. But PLEASE take note, there is a cable called Crimson R.M Musiclink, it is made in UK, this cable has beaten many $5000 cables in systems I know and that includes big brands like Siltech, Jorma and Transparent audio. Unfortunately it is a cheap cable and would cost you just about $600 or so for a 8ft pair and there are no press reviews. You may find some user reviews though. They have a 30 day money back policy and till date I do not know of anyone who has returned the cable. Not only that most of them are off the cable upgrade cycle for a long time. Give it a try, you will thank yourself.

BTW, other cables I like are Tellurium Q, DNM Reson and Naim NACA5.
Sunnyjim, the Clear Day dbl shotgun soft annealed silver cables are "Musical" to me. Very natural, open and non fatiguing. Great company to deal with as well and they have a hassle free trial.
Another vote for Crimson R.M. Music Link. You can spend ALOT more $ and not get the kind of sound these cables provide. Plus there is a 30 home trial offered.
those that suggested Clear day, is it what you are using? I tried it last month, at the end, I had to return it, it just didn't work well with my system and my music taste. so my advice is go listen to the cables yourself and don't blindly follow the advices from here, cause chances are, the people that recommend you something on here, they just heard it's good on here, but they have no experience with it.
I had also tried clear day speaker cables in my rig and returned them. So yes as stated system and taste will decide how good they are.
Oldcar, what speaker cable did you end up with. Usually members will say they returned a cable and replaced them with........
I want to thank the last three members who responded.

Sps55. I could not find Crimson R.M. Music Link listed here on AG. Do you have a direct link?? Thanks, Jim