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I've just changed from Cardas Golden Cross XLR to Audioquest Diamond X3 XLR (cd to preamp and pre to power) on my all-Krell setup. The AQ is fantastically detailed and instruments are very palpable. The Cardas was overly ripe in the mids, and rolled off at the top and bottom. I cant believe I lived with the Cardas for so long. You can pick up the AQ secondhand and save a bundle. AQ have changed the product line since then, and I'm not sure what the current equivalent of the Diamond is.
Hope this helps,