I have not heard the Valhalla IC in my system, but I have heard the Valhalla speaker cables (simply amazing).
If the Valhalla is not doing it for you, I would suggest trying to demo the following ICs: VD Nite (latest version), Silversmith, Omega Micro, and Jena Labs. This would be my short list. I have the VD Nite ICs now, and I like them a lot so far. They are still breaking in.
One thing about your system is that it looks like you have no preamp. I am not a big fan of running a CDP into an amp. This may be fabulous for you, but I would be willing to bet if you got yourself a nice SS preamp (tube preamps can be tough with Pass amps I have heard), you might not have this problem. Of coarse you would have to spend a lot more $$$.
The other thing you may want to play with more are power cords. If you put a different power cord on your Wadia, this problem might clear up. You may want to try a BMI Shark power cord. They are not cheap, but inserting them into a system can make one's system sound much more tube-like. Also, the El Dorado cords are so-so, I would look a moving to the Audience Power Chord. These Audience Chords are really the best bang for the buck in power chords, and they are relatively inexpensive.
Also, how do you like that Kimber power cord? Let me know.
You might want to give Empirical Holophonic cables a try, and save some money in the bargain. It has clarity and bass. Let us know what you think of them. They have a 30 day trial, I believe.
I used to own the Valhallas but now own Siltech Compass Lake. You might want to try the Pure Note Epsilon Ref. as it is more musical and close to the Siltech (which says alot). Pure Note: www.purenote.com
Tok20000 mentions some good points.
As a side note, I do not see in your system description that your amp is on a dedicated line. Your amp is drawing enough current that if there is even one other component sharing that circuit, you are probably choking it of power. Even at lower listening levels. At the very least you would probably experience a lack of dynamics.
If the amp is not on it's own circuit, is it possible that Valhallas are a bit better in exposing this deficiency to you?
My only experience with Valhallas is that I've heard them but it's been several years and the system was unfamiliar. So I guess I really didn't 'hear' them.
Nevertheless, supposedly Valhalla has some competition these days with cables found at more reasonable prices.
The Pure Note Epsilon Reference ic is preferred by some here on A'gon over the Valhallas ic's.
Also, the Audience Au24 speaker cable is preferred by some here on A'gon and at least one reviewer in Stereophile over Valhalla sc's.
With my budget, I've chosen the Pure Note Epsilon ic's and Audience Au24 sc's so hopefully I have the best of both worlds here.
I can tell you that the Pure Note Epsilon ic's are very good and the Audience Au24 sc's have had spectacular in my system.
The Au24 sc's have presented the biggest sonic improvement by far over any other ic or sc I've had or demo'ed in my system.
..i had all valhalla cables in my system about a year or so ago,tenor 75 wi amps..piega p-10 speakers,at that time..and thought the sound couldn't get much better..that was until i treid HMS cables..the i/cs first and,much to my surprise,found these cables as good and later,after they broke in,better then the valhallas'.i have since changed amps..now a goldmund 29m,and have the full HMS cable contingent..i/cs and speaker cables and think they are,imo,darned near impossible to beat at their price or multiples of it.they are perfectly musically coherent at any volume level and are the most musical and tonally perfect cables i have heard in my system.do not purchase another brand before auditioning them...they have a 30 day,money back guarantee from the distributor.i have had many dealings with him and could not be more pleased with his professionalism.i have introduced these cables to at least 5 audio friends who bought them immediately after auditioning them.try them..you'll like them
Try FMS Nexus interconnects, I feel they are on par with Valhalla with great detail but more musical.
I like the Valhalla sound, and as others have stated they will reveal the weakest link in any system. In your system I think the digital volume control on the wadia is the issue, as Kieth has suggested a preamp would help. I agree with his list of cables to check out, no cable is perfect for everyone; that being said I am VERY pleased with my Jena Labs cables.
I would like to say that I have gone through the preamp thing. With or without and after the statemeant upgrade from the Great Northeren Sound going with out a preamp HAS always sounded better, at least in my system. As today, it sounded very good with the Audioquest Anaconda I did change cables ( NORDOST ) and to the Exactpower,which the Nordost seem to open up a whole new world. I also put in a couple of new power cords: the Kimber Pallidion for amp and the Virtual Dynamics Signature for cd player. I see there are a few good cable suggestions and a preamp suggestion, which is not the path I'm going right now, unless I have to. I appreciate all the suggestions coming and definitely would like more. I'm curious about trying the HMS cables. Thanks for all the help so far.
First of all, not all cables work in each system. I was just reading where someone was saying that 60% of sound is the room. Brightness can come in many forms, room, speaker placement, cables, and even the CDs you are using, etc. I have tried the Audience speaker cables and felt my DIY cables bettered them in my system. I do own the Audience power AC cord and it is a very good value for the money but was bettered by the VD Nite some $1100 list price more. You need not be hung up on the Valhalla name but find what works in your system. I second the other cable recs above and would try the Jena Labs cables next. You may also want to try the AZ Silver ICs, they work very well with my Pass X-250 amp and are a good value also.
Also try this tweak. Buy a bike inner tube 12". Buy the black magic tire shine stuff and fill the inner tube with it (you have to remove the valve with a tool the bike shop sells) and add a little air. Place the inner tube in a sand filled plastic dish and place the inner tube in the dish and the CD player on top. That may reduce some of the glare and then you can get the rolloer blocks or the others if you hear an improvement with this cheap tweak first.
I'm in agreement regarding HMS. I preferred them to the Valhallas. Very similar, but a little more warmth and bass. Good luck.
Agree with Calloway check out the HMS with 30 day no questions asked policy. Does Valhalla give a money back guarantee? It would be nice to hear both without the cost
I second Jabs recommendation for FMS "Nexus".
At this moment I am using "Nexus2" and this interconnect is even better, than original "Nexus".
In past I did compered HMS against FMS and "Nexus" was a winner in my system and in my personal opinion.
HMS IC is also very good.
Give a try to as many different IC's as you can. Your ears will decide, what sound best in your system.
Btstrg, i have 6 sets of Valhalla interconnects in my system so you could say that i like it. i have compared a few other cables.....HMS, Suharuo, Siltech Compass Lake and Transparent Opus. the Opus killed everything but was too damn expensive ($90k to replace the Valhalla).....but the Valhalla was preferable to my ears in my system to the others.
there are many very good cables out there......but i believe that the Valhalla is the least colored and most open cable i have heard (except for the Opus)......the question would be......are those the qualities that your system needs to sound it's best to you?
if the sound in your system gets edgy as your volume increases look at your components not your cables......that is typically an amp/speaker issue.....or possibly your source. some cables may mask this effect to some degree but cables will not cause edgyness. once your system is mature and stable and natural at all volume levels then the most neutral, open cable will let you hear deepest into the music.
i do have Opus speaker cables which have never been equaled but they are stupid expensive.
Sounds like you tried allot. Have you compared MIT Oracle to any of yours?
I have Wilson Maxx and Pass X600 amps. What do you think would work best for that? I also planning to get Sony SCD XA 777es, so, what i/c do you think will work best for direct to Pass i/connect? Or may be you thinking some preamp in between will be better?
Currently I'm using MIT proline extended2 i/c and MIT 770 CVT Twin speaker cables.
First off, Valhalla must be burned in with a cable burner to reach their full potential. I was surprised at how they "calmed down" after 24 hours of burn in.
Secondly because these cables are so revealing and uncolored they will show EVERYTHING. My guess, room issues and electrostatic speakers. I'm now sure Valhalla and Martin Logan are a good fit. Electrostatic tend to need some weight to tame them and the Valhalla will not help here. I did find that adding one "thicker" colored cable from cd player to pre-amp with all Valhalla after that added the weight without slowing and darkening too much.
The Wadia is not a real favorite of mine either. I have always felt the Wadia is on the bright/ edgy side. In a system not overly revealing this sounds detailed, but the Valhalla may be exposing Wadia's faults.
Jadem6, i agree on the burn in. i own the Nordost CBID 1 (cable break-in device) and it works wonders.....i retreat all my cables once a year.
also agree that the Valhalla won't add anything or mask anything and that the Wadia can be a bit too dry for a good match with the Valhalla.