Nice report! Have you had a chance to hear Analysis Plus Crystal One IC? What do you think of it?
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Great to see some positive Cardas print. I have a complete Golden Reference system and don't know that I will ever change. Not sure what would be an improvement in the same price range. And the Cardas folks are great to work with.
Colleen and Darla are always pleasant and willing to get the answers you need. Ironically they use a seashell for their logo but they are the best in a nutshell in my opinion.
To respond to each of you:
No, I have not heard the Analysis Plus, sorry.
Nick, I have not heard the Kimber Silver Select. It is very pricey. But since it is the same design configuration as the copper Select, I would think it sounds similar, just more detailed (and, perhaps thinner and brighter). I just didn't find the sound congealed in the Select 1011, and I heard an aggressiveness in the upper midrange I didn't like. But that's just my opinion, and many people love it.
Slikric, you've still got a good cable with the NR. You might try one GR and find a substantial improvement. You can try it first on your source, then between pre and power. You may find it offers more improvement on the source, or the other way around, on the power amp.
Theo, thanks for the compliment. People seem to be more impressed with the latest techno fad in cable, and it influences what they think they hear. There is nothing wrong with a company sticking to a design they have spent years developing and refining. Take my Tara Master Gen II. This is like 8 years old or more. Yet, it runs rings around many newer cables, especially in the midrange and openness areas.
Yes, the Cardas is better. It has more weight, better bass, sounds more coherent.
Herein lies the problem: the design is more than 2 years old, so audiphiles figure it is dated and they should move to the latest cable in vogue at the time. Cable design has improved, in some cases, but in others, all the parts don't come together to make an overall, seamless and musical experience. That's what I look for now in my mature audio years, and I know when I hear it.
It's amazing what my Dali's reveal. I swapped out cables again last night, and as soon as the Golden Presence and Golden Reference were replaced with other IC's, vocalists lost their body and their focus, the midrange became much less coherent, and I just lost interest in listening. The bass as well really lost its naturalness and its weight. The high end became thinner and brighter, or had less focus, depending on the cables I used. Grain and texture entered the picture as well. The more I listen to the Cardas, the more I am impressed.
I must give an update. The Golden Reference and Golden Presence I was using were on loan. It turns out the G. Presence was broken in, where the G. Ref was barely played. Having now purchased pairs of both cables, I just hooked them up, I do not find the soundstage more open or larger with the G. Presence, as I stated in my review above.
I need to break the cables in before making a meaningful comparison between these two models. My initial impresssion, which is not very meaningful on new cable, is that the G. Ref. is even more refined in the high end, though both models are quite similar in sound. Cardas states on their website that the G. Presence is basically the same design as the G. Ref. with addiional shielding.
The G. Ref. is somewhat superior at this point, but both models are very similar in most respects.
Cardas says on their packaging that initially there will be some glare and lack of coherency. I will report back when I have burned all cables in, and give my findings.
Hey, Zear, after having the Golden Presence for 10 months, I'll have to say that over time the sound improved even further. It opened up more, and became very liquid and seamless., I had several audio friends bring over Nordost, Tara, Audioquest, Wire World and I found all of them to have their own sound, and none of them were competition for the Cardas. Not even close. I know now what you mean about the Cardas having an integrated sound where nothing sticks out or draw attention to itself. At the same time it is detailed and spreads out a nice soundstage.
I have no interest in participating in the neurotic quest for new cable that my friends keep doing. Cables have evolved over the years but these improvements and discoveries have reached a point of diminishing returns. That is probably why companies like Cardas have designs that stand the test of time and don't need tweaking or design changes every year or two. I'm very happy with my choice, so thanks for the review that lead me to this cable.
I haven't looked at additional comments to my review for 7 months, sorry. Yes, the Cardas Golden Presence and Golden Reference do continue to open up and sound even better with more time on them. As a couple of guys indicate here, the Golden Presence sounds wonderful, and it amazes me how people are willing to buy the Neutral Reference (which is nowhere in the same league), and overlook the used Golden Presence.
The Golden Reference will still give you more impact in the bass, and slightly more detail, but they are very close, and both will please almost equally.
All you Cardas fans, some time back I was looking out for an interconnect upgrade. My target was the Golden Reference. I was doing a lot of reading on Golden ref those days. Incidentally I found an IC called Fusion Audio Romance to which quite a few Cardas Golden Ref owners had upgraded to. Few of them actually declared it as their last IC upgrade. According to them, Fusion does everything that Cardas does but without any of their weaknesses.
Based on these feedback I bought the Fusion Romance IC1. I have never heard a Golden Ref but the Fusion IC is in one word stunning. The best part of this IC is the tone. It has such realistic tone and body, you feel like hearing the whole instrument instead of just the pluck. Fortunately this IC is not the typical slow, thick bloomy types. It is fast, smooth, clean and open. To me this is a keeper.
I would suggest you cardas fans to check out this IC.