Replacement for Nordost Cables in my system?


My system is as follows:
VPI Scout/JMW9 (hopefully upgraded to a VPI Classic soon)
Whest PS.30R Phono Stage
Musical Fidelity A5CR Pre Amp
2xMusical Fidelity A3CR Power Amps bi-wired
ProAc D15 Speakers
Nordost Red Dawn Speaker Cable
Nordost SPM/Red Dawn Interconnects

I like my system but I'm a bit disappointed with the slight harshness in the top end, especially in reproduction of sibilance so I'm considering selling my expensive Nordost Cables to replace them with cables that suit my system better. If I spend less then that money would be used for future upgrades.

I listen mostly to Indie and rock/pop
Initial research suggests that VdH may be a better match, any suggestions ?

Thanks in advance.
The most expensive cable I've used is Nordost Red Dawn so I can't speak with any authority. I recently bought Anti-Cables by Paul Speltz speaker cables and am really happy with them. They are very affordable as in dirt cheap. There is a 30-day trial period, and Paul is very accessible. I started with a bi-wire configuration and ended with a parallel configuration with jumpers which Paul suggested. I don't need IC's right now because I'm only using one source with HRS Link cable to integrated, but when I do, I'm planning to buy Paul's IC's. I can tell you that Eichman terminators which I believe Paul offers are superior to standard termination.
Well, interestingly enough, I found that going to the upper end Nordost cables, (i.e. Valhallas), that I actually bettered the treble response of my system. (My amps are just a bit slightly dark sounding, and the Valhalla cables really managed to get every last bit of treble response out of the them. I am very satisfied with the sound that I have now.)

The cables that they replaced are what I am recommending to you though. The Jena Labs Pathfinders are incredible cables. The mid-range is very musical, (more so than the Valhalla cables are actually). However, they seemed to me to be just a touch rolled off in the upper most region of the treble. (And when combined with my amps, this became more than just a touch, as it became more readily apparent.) My friend uses these same cables, and they sound great in his system, with no treble roll off that is at all noticable. (FYI, his amps do not have the slight darkness to them that mine do, so unless your amps are slightly dark sounding, these should work great for you).

My two cents worth.
Good Luck in your search!
I replaced my red dawn with the SPM and have not looked back. Why not just try changing out the Red Dawn and see what that does, it could also be cheaper.
Thanks for the replies.
I'll have a look at the Jena Labs, I live in Europe where it isn't as easy to demo cables at home.
I agree with your impression of the Nordost. I used Blue Heaven, SPM, and Valkyrja with MF A308 and A5 integrated amps, and always thought the top end was somewhat rough. If ProAc makes speaker cables, try them. If they don't, find out the source for their internal wiring, and try cables from that company. Then use interconnects for the final tweeking. This is what I did, and found myself thinking about new music to buy, instead of what to change in the system.
What makes you think its the cables that are the problem?
@Tls49, that's an interesting suggestion, I'll email ProAc.

@ Jdombrow, I'm not sure but neither the Amps nor the speakers are especially bright although many people seem to find Nordost Cables too bright in the "wrong" system.
i also agree that the red dawns (and blue heavens) are a bit harsh on treble (as interconnects, that is).

i have vdh firsts, seconds, "the bay"s, orchids, and digicouplers (some of which i do use as analog interconnects) and i would say that they are all definitely more pleasant on treble in my system than the red dawns were. the orchids are the most extended, the bays are fantastic bang for buck (or, in your case bang for pound or euro), and the firsts and seconds do amazing things for soundstage. i've never tried their speaker cables.

another cable you could try would be the analysis plus solo crystal, they do everything well, both interconnect and speaker.

and mit cables are the definition of "anti harshness" and indeed, my shotgun ma cables are my favorite interconnects i've ever heard (short of the mit oracles at a mind numbing price). even the least expensive non-networked cables sound really good and are very smooth.

i would always qualify my recommendations with a "try before you buy" addendum, though, as i'm sure some cables could sound totally different in other systems, and i've never owned components from the brands you mention....

and is it safe to assume you'll be taking in the action at murrayfield this weekend?

Very interesting to hear similar experiences to me, I'll check out your suggestions. Unfortunately I now live in Switzerland and auditioning interconnects at home isn't always so easy, additionally I'll have to resort to watching the rugby on TV instead of at Murrayfield :-)
I have Nordost Blue Heaven thru-out (speaker/ic's). I find the sound a tad bit on lean side with no weight or body(on many tracks) and a little brittle when I turn up the volume.

I have a few cables coming to audition and one of them is Kimber Kable that I heard with my speaker brand before. Perhaps add to your list and audition if you can..

I just discovered that ProAc have recently started selling their own speaker cable, this may be a sensible first step.
My experience is both the red dawns and blue havens are bright but not harsh. The heimdalls are a great value and really tame the brightness. Me I settled on the freys.
Ecosse_011172, try ASI Liveline. It's relative inexpensive, made in France and it replaced/blew away all my much more expensive cables. Read the 6 moons and Stereo Times reviews ... DEAD accurate.

In my system it sounds both excellent with tube and SS components. I tried speaker cable first and slowly eventually replaced all my cables with ASI livelines.
I honestly don't think the problem lies with your cables.
I can't call my Nordost bright, more like revealing. If anything in your system is bright, they won't cover it up. For a little warmth, I sometimes will switch to Kimber, JPS or Apature to soften things up.
I would keep the SPM cables and replace the Red Dawn. Try SPM end to end and if you are still having problems look else where.
Thanks for all the replies.

@Coxhaus - To be honest I'm not prepared to spend thousands on cables to have SPM end to end, I think I'd rather spend that kind of money on component upgrades.

Knghifi - The cables do sound very interesting but again 5 interconnects (TT-Phono, Phono-Pre,CD-Pre,Pre-Power, Power-Power) and speaker cable would run close to €4000 which I don't want to spend on cables. I'd rather find a cheaper or equivalent set of cables to the Nordost or upgrade the amplification if that's where the problem lies.
Maybe sort your turntable out first, it's better to make one change at a time. Maybe do some research here, I've read posts here recently about VPI and harsh top end. Wires can reveal other problems in your rig.

Good luck,
I second the ASI liveline recommendation.
I thought you already owned SPM cables. I saw them in your list. I would not buy them either just for a test. If you have at least one pair of SPM then use them at the source. Try connecting the SPM pair to your CD player instead of the Red Dawn. I think connecting the source has a bigger impact than the pre to the amp.
@Coxhaus - I have been using the SPM cable between my turntable and Phono Amp, it was previously used with my CD Player.
I would then try to borrow some different speaker cables to try. Speaker cables will probably make a bigger difference in sound than interconnects any way. If you don't have anybody local try John at the cable company. There fees are fairly small. John is who I use. I have rented many different cables and saved money not buying.