My initial impressions of ZU Mission (MK1) speaker cables.


I decided to pluck down $85 (includes shipping) on a brand new set of ZU Audio Mission Mk 1 cables that ZU sells new on ebay. I have been thrilled with my Canare custom made STAR QUAD cables for the last 7 years or so. ZU Omen defs are what I listen to.

Of course my comparison is nothing near scientific or even legitimate to most. However, I'm going to tell you what I hear after only running the cables a few hours. No burn in

I decided to use my normal MONO material of Long, Long, Long from The Beatles mono White album CD. I replaced the right speaker with the new ZU and left the Canare on the left. 

No major difference I could tell EXCEPT a slight more "smoothness" on the mid and upper frequencies on the ZU side (same impression with jazz/ambient recordings I listened to later). Not jaw dropping...just something I notice when concentrating on finding differences. The bass/low end is pretty much the same...maybe a smidge deeper or expanded (floabt) on the Zu's. Probably just me. 

I switched the Zu to the left (and put canare on right) to see if the same impressions carried over. It did. Again nothing earth shattering. 

I installed both ZU cables and let the system play rest of the day while I was out and about (12 or so hours). This morning, I fired the system up and played some familiar tracks. The soundstage does seem a smidge (very tiny) wider. Nothing where you walk in the room and say "you must have changed something in your system". 

So my initial conclusion.....The ZU's are a winner. They sound great and "just as good" as the well broken in Canare out of the box. If the ZU's do not improve with more playing....I'm happy. The canare's are 10 ft and a bit long visually in my new room. Although I purchased 10 ft ZU's on ebay, they produced a 8ft version at my request. The space between amp and speakers looks more clean and less cluttered. 

The Zu's visually look better constructed. The banana plugs are actually soldered in vs the screw in Nakamichi's on the Carare's which fell off at the slightest tug. I eventually removed them and used bare wire hook up. 

As the cables get more time playing, I'll post back my impressions. 
aberyclark
At least they don't sound worse,which is great:)You got the length you wanted and solid connectivity.I'm mulling over trying new speaker cables myself,upgradeitis probably:)I like the Clear Days I have now buuuut can I do better......Thanks for posting and I'll be interested in your updates.
Thanks. I’ve always heard great things about Clear Day. With any component or cable, my philosophy is that one should get the sonic impression out of the box. If you do not like a component out of the box, then you will just be forcing yourself to like later on after break in. Yes, components do break in, however, I’ve never had one that I did not initially like the sound of and later on go “ wow...I love it now”. Maybe others have had that experience....not me. Minor tweaking, placement, etc may help...but it will not be earth shattering. 
I have to say, for the money, Zu seems to offer great products. Be it speakers or wires.
Bob
I have a difficult time believing expensive speaker cables really sound significantly better.  I have read articles where they have said they are not worth the money,  I feel money is better spent purchasing a better amplifier/receiver and speakers.  I think speaker wire is nothing but smoke and mirrors.  Besides, if you never heard the comparison between Tara Lab cables with a cost of $240 compared to cables selling for $1,000 to $5,000 you would never have to look back.  Again, I would rather spend $3,000 to $5,000 more for better speakers.  However, I would not waste my money on a pair of Bowers & Wilkins diamond series speakers.  I thought my Paradigm's sound better.  They are way over priced and there are far better choices available on the market.
I thought speaker cables (and interconnects, and power cords) were smoke and mirrors, too. Until I actually bothered to compare a few. In no time flat three things quickly became apparent:

1. They do indeed make a huge difference. In fact, they are every bit as important as every other component in a system. and

2. The best do not necessarily cost the most. One of my very first upgrades was to toss out a $2k/pr set of AudiQuest Silver Dragons for some much better sounding cables from Synergistic Research that cost only $175. Even the dealer who sold them to me was surprised they were better. Nothing does more to harm the very real potential value of good wire than the vast majority of overpriced garbage that is out there. and

3. The only way to choose is by listening because nobody knows why one is better than another. Anyone starts talking design, tune them out. Waste of time. Only thing that matters is performance. So you simply must listen. Never buy to find out. Never. Audition, audition, audition, then audition some more. 

Guess I could add one more:

4. But nobody ever does.
I agree that cables can make a huge difference. Especially, high quality, quiet power cables. Plus, I agree price does not necessarily mean better sound. I'm not in a position to compare super expensive cables (plus, my system does not merit such high priced cables). Plus, sound characteristics is such a personal taste thing for the buyer. 

I think as long as you have a well built, quality, quiet cable...you are set. Then as you want to fine tune, you can steer your cable choices to meet more taste preferences. 

Since moving to my new listening room where I have free reign (unlike the previous living room), room treatments have become the biggest "bang for the buck" improvement. 


@aberyclark 
+1
Well put. My sentiments exactly.
Bob
Cables definitely make a difference.They don't have to cost $$$ either.Different types of metal,geometries,connectors,and our old friends resistance,capacitance,and induction react uniquely with our components.The only way to know is to try.