I'm running balanced Cardas GR between my LS26 and VT100iii with very nice results
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I don't see why you would want to get rid of the AQ. I have a few pairs of the ones you have and find them to be a very good value. Not only is the sound quality great, they match up with just any component you can think of. I have other cables that cost a lot more money and find that the AQ is at least as good, if not better. In fact, AQ are the only cables that let me run my Ayre amps balanced with a single ended CJ preamp I put in the system on occasion. With every other cable I have to switch the amps to single ended or I get noise. So, my recommendation would be to keep them and put the money to better use somewhere else in the system.
Thanks, I was actually hoping for that response. I have been very pleased with them, but my budget now allows for an upgrade (if necessary). I have tried quite a few cables in the past from MIT, Nordost, Audioquest, and Transparent, though none have been above the $500 mark. Basically I was curious if there was much to be gained looking at other slightly more costly options. I think I will keep the AQ Columbias for now. Thanks again.
I think the question is, what are your goals in updating / changing cables?
Are you looking for more detail, better or more bass, smoother presentation, maybe more rounded, more upfront soundstage or more laid-back?
Cables can change these attributes to some extent, so it may not be what someone else is running....another persons goals may be different.
It is good to hear that you are happy with your system. I have a pair of TARA the 2 ($1300) in another system. The AQ is just as good. (The bass is even a little better.) Good sound is all that matters, regardless of price. After a long time, I am fairly happy with the sound of my system as well. The only downside is that I am now bored and looking for something to do. Did you know that you can actually listen to music with this type of equipment?