Okay, how about some thoughts on the Pure Note Paragon?
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There are three different Kimber Select products, specifically, all copper, copper/silver hybrid, and all-silver, and each is made as interconnects and speaker cables. Each sounds slightly different.
Because the performance of interconnects and speaker cables is heavily dependent upon their synergy with the other components in a system, the only comparison that matters is how each performs in your system (or in a system exactly identical to yours). To that end, buy both, break them in thoroughly so you know they are performing as intended, and keep the one that sounds best. To choose cabling any other way is gambling.
Raquel, if there were only two cables in the world, your advice makes some sense. The fact is there are hundreds. The point of these forums is to get multiple reports based on others' experiences in order to narrow it down a bit. I imagine the original poster of this thread is doing just that.
It may seem to you like gambling, but following your advice I would bet on all the horses in the race to ensure that I won.
Probably too new to tell yet on Paragons. I have had mine (interconnects) for about a week and they are a much better match in my system. The Pure Note Cerulean was excellent but the Paragon is really a step up and they cost a little less. I have compared these to more expensive brands, Nordost and Siltech, and the Pure Notes are as good or better for far less money. Worth a try IMO.
Redkiwi wrote: "Raquel, if there were only two cables in the world, your advice makes some sense."
In fact, the poster of this thread was asking about exactly that -- two specific cables, not "hundreds".
As for the rest of your admonishment, Kimber Select and Pure Note are high-end cables that are very revealing of the subtle differences brought about by changes in components, whether the components are being used with isolation products and after-market power cords, the room that the system is in and whether the room is treated, whether the speakers (and turntable, arm and cartridge) are set up properly, the quality of the electric supply, and on and on, and it is very easy to attribute a characteristic to the cable that is actually the result of an upstream component or speaker or room problem. For example, a person who complains that Kimber Select's silver cabling sounds bright and grainy in his system is probably blaming the cable in error -- what he is likely hearing is grain and other problems in mediocre upstream components that are laid bare by the Black Pearl conductor in Kimber Select's silver IC's and speaker cables, which is very transparent from the midrange up. In addition, different cables have different resistive and capacitive qualities that interact greatly with the other components, making a cable that sounds perfect in one system sound totally wrong in another system (I have heard Quatroffil make a $50k system sound like an AM radio). For the record, I run Kimber Select 1030 interconnects and 3038 speaker cables in my main system.
In short, I stand by my comment.
PS - Your horse analogy here escapes me. How about, "[G]o to the stable, ride some horses and keep the one that suits you best."
Wire sounds differently in every system because no two systems are comprised of the same elements. Wire, perhaps like no other system component, needs to be heard in one's own system to be properly evaluated. Therefore, Raquel's suggestion to buy both (or borrow both from the Cable Company library) and listen to both is sound and proper.
You're absolutely right. Don't know why we bother posting opinions on anything here, since everything is system and room dependent, and perhaps even taste dependent. Hence it is only right and proper that Audiogon closes these forums forthwith. All requests for advice should receive a standard comment of 'go listen for yourself'.
Pardon the flippancy. I found it hard to accept that your response to the question Raquel, more or less said to the poster - 'Don't ask', and therefore did not strike me as appropriate. I can now see you genuinely mean that any advice given here about the relative sound of cables and equipment will just be misleading and we should not bother. But now that I see that you really believe that, the question strikes me - why do you you visit these forums at all? And this time I am not being flippant. I just don't get it. What do you get out of it if the opinions expressed here are of no value?
Tvad emphasizes what I could have perhaps explained better, namely, that cables are probably more system dependent than other components. In this regard, yes, I believe it would be best if people did not express opinions about the sound of cabling beyond reporting on direct A/B comparisons in carefully described systems, and perhaps discussing capacitance and such so as to avoid obvious mismatches. Reports about poor cable construction and bad service would of course also be appropriate.
I am somewhat less bothered by discussion of the performance of electronics and speakers, but again note that the margin for error, in the sense of attributing a particular sonic signature to a component that in fact results from its interaction with other components, lack of isolation, differences in people's hearing, etc., is high. My best hi-fi friend just completed a thorough revamping of the electrical supply in his house, which included tripling the amperage brought into the house, adding a dedicated circuit box and 7.5 kVa transformer to his audio circuits, new twisted 10-gauge wiring to cryo'd outlets, etc. The most notable change after all this work is that the 5 db. treble hump from 4 - 6 Khz. that he had previously been unable to get rid of and thought was endemic to his Revel Salons is now completely gone. He was on the verge of selling the speakers because of the tipped up treble, but now is reconsidering. The point is, he may have been tempted to say that "I think Salons are bright" before finding the culprit, but he didn't, which is fortunate. What really matters, however, is how you would think they sound if you put them in your system.
The magazine reviewers can make the same mistake, but at least they tend to post their systems so that the more savvy readers can get some perspective about why the reviewer heard what he heard. I recall a Stereophile reviewer a year or so ago describing a component as sounding warm and romantic -- then I saw that he was using Golden Cross in his system -- the sound he was describing was very possibly the sound of the Cardas. Some reviewers have used WattPuppy's as their reference speaker, but the Focal tweeters used by Wilson with the various iterations of the WattPuppy are anything but linear. Thus, everything the reviewers write about the high frequency performance of components they review using those speakers has to be discounted.
So, yes, I believe that general descriptions of the sound of components with no reference to surrounding componentry and context are generally misleading and probably better left unsaid, especially given the number of newbies to this site who lack the background to properly interpret the information. As for cabling, general opinions about their sound are especially pernicious -- cables are entirely suit to taste.
Redkiwi, I guess you're question was posed to me, so I'm going to respond. I visit these forums because they are a great source of ideas, and because they offer invaluable user experience with products I might consider purchasing. User opinions are completely valid as starting points, but personal experience is the only way of deciding which component is best in one's own system. It's of tremendous value that by reading the Audiogon forums, a choice of wire can be narrowed to two or three options. Still, it's risky to make a choice of only one cable based solely on user opinions. As stated earlier, the chosen wire may or may not sound the same in the purchaser's system, and it would be more valuable, in my opinion to buy or borrow both cables and choose between the two after a reasonable home audition period. Also, it's common (at least for me) to always wonder "what if?". "What if" the other cable that was mentioned sounded better than the one I bought? This second guessing is typical of our audio nervosa and helps to fuel endless system reconfiguration. If one has access to used versions of cable, or to the Cable Company lending library, doesn't it make sense to listen in one's own system based on research done here on the threads?
Hi Tvad. Seems we agree. Where I live there is no chance of trying burned in cables for long enough to make a reasonable judgement. I use these forums to get a rough idea of which of the hundreds of cables I should shortlist and then I go about buying them here, living with them and then flicking them on if they don't measure up. The key thing is to develop an idea of the credibility of the individual posters, which biases you to the ones that post a lot or have been here a while. And then listen carefully to how they express their impressions of a cable and look at the system they put it in. In the end you need to use a fair bit of judgement about how you interpret what is being said, but the process works for me. I have ended up getting a lot of ideas for cables to try by reading posts here and some of them have turned out to be real winners.
Raquel, it seems to me you are less prepared to do the 'triangulation' between views expressed here than I am, and therefore wish to hear for yourself, and not be biased from potentially erroneous or irrelevant judgements of others. I understand and respect that now.
The thing is, I read this thread in the hope to hear some views expressed about the Pure Note Paragon, and have now diverted things away from that. I hope we now hear something about the Paragon.
I have owned a number of silver cabling including the Kimber 1030 Select, Ridge Street Audio MSE II and Poiema!!, Acoustic Zen Silver Reference, Empirical Audio Holophonic PC and now the Revelation Audio Paradise. The Kimbers are fine neutral cables, however in my system they were distorted in the upper mids (or perhaps revealed distortion from another component). In any case, they were not a good value. The Ridge Street Poiema !! had terrific balance, but were slightly...and I mean slightly...soft in the highs. At this juncture, the Revelation Audio interconnects are the finest I've heard in my system, and the best value in silver that I've owned. That said about silver, I'm beginning to think I prefer the slightly warmer characteristics of copper. But this is evolutionary in my system and far from being definitive.
I am very keen on the Jena Symphonies when it comes to copper, but I have not had them in my system long enough and tried it in my other system yet to make more definitive comments. But it appears to work better for me than the Kimber 1130 or the Quattro Fil.
At less than half the price I like the Luminous Synchestra Reference ICs. They do almost everything right except for the level of resolution that the Jena, Kimber, Quattro have, and I liked them better than the Poiema, as did a couple of my buddies.