The SPM is much better. Do not know if it is worth 3 times the price.
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The red dawn is quite excellent, but the SPM is noticeably better in a high resolution system. I noticed an increase in detail almost immediately - and that was just swapping the amp/preamp cable alone. Part of it being worth it or not depends on the low level resolution of your system. For example: if I put the cable into my old denon/spica tc-60 system, I doubt if I could tell the difference. In my pass labs/audio physic virgo system, there was a noticable difference. Red dawn is a great cable by any measure.
Only You can decided:
Are you happier listening to a barely perceptibly increase in smoothness/detail, or watching your money shrivel away in tech stocks?
Believe it our not, as much as Red Dawn improved my Spica TC60/B&K system, the improvement wrought by SPM ICs was not subtle, quite obvious in fact. With the Alon V/Cary/Meitner system it was much more dramatic. Personally, I liked Red Dawn much better than Blue Heaven, both speaker & IC, fuller mids and bass. I think it's a fine cable. However, the SPM was better, and my new Quattro Fil is the best IC I've had in my system by a wide margin.
Rackon, do you find the Quattros emphasise the lower mid-range a bit? I am trying out the Quattros now (SPM ref for speakers) vs Bearlabs and Siltech silvers. Am using full sets from each manufacturer. I find (or am I imagining) that the Siltechs are a tad soft and "kindly euphonic" in the upper register, Bearlabs do not colour the system, and the Qs as above.
I had the same experience as you with Quattro vs SPM vs Red Dawn (never used BHeaven).
On the subject of red dawns, does anyone know what Harry Pearson's objection to them was? In his TAS review of the Valhallas, he praised the entire Nordost line "except for the red dawns". I notice lots of Nordost wire for sale-- from blue heaven on up to Quattro Fil, presumably as people are moving up now that the Valhalla is out-- and I was thinking of replacing my Flatline Mk. II speaker wire (Sunfire Cinema Grand voltage outputs to Legacy Focus woofers) with some used Red Dawns as I'm quite happy with the RD interconnects I'm using from my lexicon dc-2 processor to the cinema grand's front channels. I'm looking for tighter bass. Any suggestions would be appreciated since I'm relatively new to this hobby/obsession. (My front ends are a CAL cl-10 changer and a Sony S7700 dvd/cd player). Thanks in advance.
I am glad Harveyb asked why HP objects to Red Dawn. HP has done so on more than one occasion. I once got cable recommendations for the Atma-Sphere MA-1's from Paul Bolin (TAS): Quattro Fil and Blue Heaven. When I asked why he passed over the RD, I got no reply. (I received replies to other questions.)
Red Dawn uses extruded silver over clean copper (and more of it) than the silver-plated Blue Heaven. Maybe the extrusion process results in more transparency in the upper octaves, which may lead to a more ruthlessly-revealing character that doesn't flatter all systems. I'm using RD throughout, and find my satisfaction varies enormously as a function of the software. With great recordings it's wonderful, but....
Before I isolated my CDP with a Neuance platform I was getting pretty fatigued by RD's vivid
portrayal of upper octave junk. I'm still seeking a less-lean IC to switch in for too-bright recordings. I've just tried Harmonic Tech Pro-Silway MkII, and am amazed how similar it sounds to RD! (FYI Note that RD revII speaker cables are approx 13AWG, wheras BH is 16AWG. I think SPM is 12AWG?). Is SPM RCA IC less lean than RD, or should I try something else?
Gregm: I have noticed my mid range is a little bit "riper & richer" sounding these days. Partly I think this is because the SPM, wonderful as it is, was maybe just a tad lean in the lower mids. Another reason could be that I swapped my Arcam Alpha 9 cdp for a Cary 303, which has more tonal color and harmonic richness than the Alpha 9. Whatever. I can say for sure that when I hooked up the QFs to the Cary and the preamp everything clicked into place - like good tubes, it just sounds right. I'm gonna enjoy this system for a while. I'm insane, but not insane enough to lust after Valhallas. :-)
Subguru - I wonder if you are getting RFI from your RDs. I've known a couple people have had this problem with Nordost. I thought the SPM was great, much better than RD, but I didn't have the degree of upper octave irritation with my RDs you describe. I think SPM is a very well balanced cable with excellent extension and wonderful soundstaging and presence - it's in another league from the Red Dawn. But the Quattro Fil betters SPM all around, with a little fuller mids, even more transparency, and smoother highs. Just more of everything. A friend who liked Red Dawn & SPM, but had RFI hash issues, is using Coincident IC cables to good effect. BTW, I used/am using all the above cable with RCA. Let us know what you end up with.
Rackon--thanks for your comments. I wondered about RFI before buying the Nordost, but as my pre/mono ICs are balanced, and the CDP/pre IC is only 1m RCA, and I have an incredibly quiet background, I would doubt that I have RF infiltrant. I think my system's irritants stem from my old CDP (orig Rotel 855). I'm thinking about trying a non-silver RCA on it for some recordings. Any cost-effective ideas? Am getting curious about newer players like the NAIM CD5 or a supposedly-great new Rotel CD/DVD coming soon...so I really don't want to hang a $$$ IC off my old Rotel if the revolution's really here (ha!).
Listened to Kendra Shank's "Wish" last night, and could swear her pianist (Kimbrough) was playing MY Steinway in the room...so it ain't really broke all the time!
Rackon, thanks for your comment. Subaru, I wonder whether the sound will become smoother or dull, if U go for a non-silver rca... Regarding RF, a friend suggested the following(I never had the need to try this out): take alu foil and wrap it around each cable individually, like a cylinder -- i.e. makeshift shielding. Keep the two cables separated. Allegedly, the interference disappears.
But, as I said, this is hearsay: I haven't tried it nor heard it.
So, just an idea. For what it's worth...