N.E.I. -- not enough information (to provide meaningful thoughts!)
Other cables in system?
Distance from amp(s) to speakers?
Did you know there are MAJOR design differences between these two cable lines? One very important one (in terms of the associated speakers you intend to use them with) is that one uses 3-metal multi-stranded wire, while the other uses a single crystal solid copper conductor.
Let me put it this way: if one is right for your system, then the other isn't. If you try them both, and they both sound more or less the same in your system, with just minor differences, then neither one is optimum for your system. Keep looking ;--)
So can you discribe what type of system each cable is "best" for? My problem will be I'm looking to go the route of SET's shortly and thus change speakers as well.
Do not buy either of them until you have your new system in place and get accustomed to the new components. You will be introducing too many new variables into the mix and will not know what part each is contributing to the sound. Use the cables you are currently familiar with and introduce each new component separately so you can gauge what each one brings to the overall sound. Only then should you use the cables as a way of adding or manipulating the sound in any way. Once you have a feel for what you are looking for after breaking in your newer stuff you should ask again for our recommendations. You are building a system not throwing together a bunch of parts like Frankenstein.
"if one is right for your system, then the other isn't". Wrong. Not necessarily. Both can be right, but you may still prefer one to the other.
Some think that Proteus is the most "neutral" Purist cable. Also, as far as I know, this is the first single crystal solid copper design from Purist. And,I think, you should add Dominus to your list.
In addition, since we are talking big money, I suggest you try other brands too; Stealth comes to mind.
I had recently received suggestion from a well respected SET manufacture to try Continuous Crystal type cabling for my SET system.
Rsf: First, I doubly agree with everything Tom said. You need to WAIT; or were you planning to buy cables first and then build a system around them? ;--) And although I'm sure you think I'm being sarcastic (about building a system around the cables) that's not entirely true. Some may disagree, but I've long maintained that the primary sonic presentation of a system is a result of the combination of amp + speakers + speaker cable. Other equipment choices may add or subtract from that basic sonic presentation, but can never really change it into something else.
And yes, there is a technique for pursuing this strategy. (In your case, you've already 'un-chosen' a huge percentage of possible loudspeakers because most SET amps will perform best with high(er) efficiency speakers ;--) First, listen to several speakers in each category. You can probably skip electrostats, acoustic suspension, planar magnetics (Maggies), or any speakers which are not really at their best with low power amps. Sure, it CAN be done, but for now, why go chasing the exceptions just to prove the rule?
You'll probably take a liking to to a short list of speakers first. Compare them using the same low powered SS amp (like a Bryston 2B for instance) and some (minimum 16 gauge) generic "speaker wire" from Home Depot or Radio Shack (you know, the stuff that looks like copper lampcord in a clear jacket.) Why? because while not a SET (which in the end you will like better ;--) or 'single crystal copper', this kind of amp + cable combo will behave pretty much the same with all speakers (not the best, the SAME!) allowing you to understand your own preferences quickly and clearly.
Once you are down to two or three (at most!) speaker candidates (and keeping the same SS amp for the time being) try a few different cable types. Single solid core, like a couple of the Purist models, Anti-Cables, or the now out of business Virtual Dynamics). Then, except for use with electrostats (because of their intrinsically high capacitance) try multi-stranded cable -- too many types/qualities to mention -- but notably Cardas, most Purist, MIT, and so on. Keep your three or four favorite cables (this is where the Cable Company comes in handy) so you can proceed with amplifier choices.
Tube amps' performance (even the really expensive ones) is maddeningly dependent on the speakers+cables with which the are combined -- SET's more so. At this point, you might want to take a poll (of owners of the speakers you're considering,) to see if you can find a consensus regarding tube amp/speaker compatibility; and sometimes, if you're lucky, one will just pop out at you. One reason for this is because while almost all SS amps "see" a load (cable+crossover+drivers) the same way, tube amps do not!
So screw the barrage of recommendations threads like this inevitably generate. You need to LEARN to fish, if you know what I mean? ;~)
Great reply Nsgarch, I hope the OP is paying attention:>)
Yes, excellent post, but it doesn't mean that I agree with everything Nsgarch said. I myself would definitely not audition any speakers using something like midfi Bryston with Radio Shack cables. I would take older Rowland or Pass amp and DiMarzio cables.
Another approach in this case could be to first choose the amp and then speakers and cables.
I certainly agree with the statement that amp/speaker cables/speakers contribute the most to the sonic signature of the system that cannot be radically changed whatever you put upstream.
Inna, I think you're being little bit unfair when you characterize Bryston as mid-fi. But without naming other brands right now, I just want to say that "mid-fi" is EXACTLY what I'm after at this point in the process. And that there is, if not a 'method' to this madness, at least a 'reason' for it . . . . . and the reason I'd stay away from anything 'better' than a "top-notch mid-fi amp" (is that OK?) at first, is because using a Rowland, or Pass, or other 'hi-fi' amp at this stage will make the selection process more complex/confusing by presenting EVERYTHING a speaker can do, in large quantity, or small, -- and that would be counterproductive.
At this point, you need an amp that is ONLY GOOD ENOUGH to present a speaker's obvious strengths, while missing, or 'globbing' together (aka 'congestion') other qualities which that speaker may posses in lesser amounts -- a modest amp that allows you to hear the "high points" or the most "obvious strengths" of each speaker. That way, you'll be able to more quickly identify the one or two speakers whose strengths matter the MOST to YOU; and reject the ones whose strengths are less important to you (or which have no particular strengths at all ;--) This is one of the trickiest parts of the journey; a multiple choice question where there might be more than one 'right' answer. So anything one can do to quickly highlight the 'right' answer (including tilting the playing field ;--) is going to both save time AND build your confidnce in your decisions.
As for reversing this approach ("choose the amp and then speakers and cables"), well, I think it can only work in theory, or 'on paper'. That's because I don't believe it's possible to find a loudspeaker that would be the equivalent of a 'mid-fi' amplifier in serving as a temporary reference point (although it might be fun to speculate on the candidates ;--)
Nsgarch, I understand your position, I think it is valid. So maybe Bryston would do but please no Radio Shack cables.
Well, we are talking, is the OP listening?
What I still don't understand is how to try any expensive cables without buying? I really don't trust dealers, they tend to sell you the most you can afford. It's why I've asked for end users help in describing the differences between these 2 PAD cables. I fully understand what you all are saying but practically it's just not possible.
The Cable Company lets you try cables in your system for couple of weeks, I think. They do charge something for this. Many here used their service and I didn't hear complaints so far.
Yes I've heard about them BUT buying from a dealer you can find very good percentages off and thru the cable co you end up paying retail. Also hopefully can find some used cables so this is why all the questions.
Rsf, unless you have access to ALL the cables you want to consider (dealer, factory demo, friends) the Cable Company is a convenient, one stop, and fairly inexpensive way to survey a lot of cables without it taking a lot of time and energy besides. They charge a very reasonable amount to rent their used cables -- in almost every inmaginable brand, model, length. And when you return them, a generous portion of the rental fee is reserved for you as credit against future purchases. And if you want, they'll buy your old cables too ;--) What I don't know, is if theyll allow you to pool all your credits and then use it to buy just ONE cable -- but it never hurts to ask!
I always try and buy USED cables if they're in decent shape. Not only does the original owner take the biggest hit depreciation-wise, (like with cars) but by buying used, you are almost surely getting a cable that is completely broken in!
If you can't try all types of a given make/model cable, I think the one to go by is the speaker cable. If you like one manufacturer's speaker cable over all the others, there's a good chance you'll like all their other cables in the same line.
As much as I like Purist cables (never heard the Canorus), I do suggest you consider other brands too, something that will sound different or maybe even better with your SET.
There are Purist fans here and Stealth fans. Very generally speaking, Purist should sound fuller with incredible midrange and deep soundstage, and Stealth might be a little more "neutral" and leaner. For SS I will take Purist any day but for tubes especially SET I don't know, I would have to sit a listen for a few hours at least.
RSF, I've been using the Canorus now for about 2 months and initially didn't find it to my liking BUT after over 600 hrs of break-in on a cable cooker I find it amazing! It's quick, transparent, has incredible control and deadly silent. Have never heard the Proteus myself so no comment.
Can somebody describe the differences between the two cables - or even more generally - 3 metal stranded vs solid crystal copper?
I have both Proteus Provectus (speaker cable & ICs between source and preamp) and Canorus (preamp->amp) and didn't know there was a substantial difference in sonics between them.
And since there are aspects of my system sound I would like to tune, I'd probably benefit from understanding the differences, so I'd appreciate any insight.
I have had once a pair of PAD speaker cables (don't remenber which one)
When I replaced it by a pair of JPS Labs Superconductor 3, I had the feeling that a cork had been removed from my ears !...