So you reviewed the original in May and here it is August and they're just now introducing Gen 2? What took them so long! I must say, I am a believer in high quality cables, but the marketing is getting a little ridiculous. Every few months there's some amazing breakthrough advancing the state of the art. C'mon folks how much can be done with wire?! And I'm not trying to single out Ridge Street, this review just struck a cord. I'm happy for you that you liked them, please take my comments as they were intended, not as an attack on you or the manufacturer, just general exasperation with the whole cable sweepstakes.
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I’d like to start out by saying I can appreciate your frustrations with some of the manufactures of interconnects and speaker cables, and I’m in no way offended by your comments or opinions.
With that said, I would like to clear up a point that perhaps I did not make clear. I don’t know the exact time line, however I think the Ridge Street Midnight Silver Edition were out and available for quite sometime before I ever become aware of them. When I placed my order, I remember Robert telling me he was currently working on a generation II, but was not aware as to when it would be perfected to his satisfaction.
I’m not a cable maker, however when I hear an improvement on my system I can recognize and attempt to describe it. I hope some of our Audiogon members find the above review helpful.
First, Thank You Lak for a thorough review of the Gen.II Midnight Silver Edition I/Cs. Our goal was pretty much as you experienced. A more “Open and Transparent Window” to the music that conveys the speed, life and vibrancy of a live performance. As pleased as we are with the results, it really means nothing unless other ears experience the same musical excitement we believe this cabling can portray if, as you said, the rest of the system is up to the task of resolving what’s on the software. Now…..perhaps you should audition the MSE Gen.II speaker cables….!? ;o)
Jond, I too understand and can empathize with your frustration. I don’t know how other companies determine new model designations and so forth so I’m only speaking for Ridge Street Audio Designs.
I’ve come to learn over the years that audio design, audio products and audio systems are an ongoing process for both the manufacturer and the enthusiast who drives the manufacturer and is, many times, the enthusiast also. Can I say circle!? I stopped long ago looking for the “Audio” destination, as it seemed I could never quite arrive. Instead, now I enjoy the “Audio” journey with its resting places along the way. Actually, my wife taught me that. I’m always trying to discover something new that will enhance my music listening enjoyment first. Then, if I feel it’s worthy of the market, I’ll make it available to others to hopefully enjoy. The esteemable Mr. Crump taught me that perspective. Maybe I should but really, I have no marketing strategy as to when I introduce a new product or upgrade to an existing product. It’s primarily determined by how much time I have to “play” and experiment with ideas I have. The cabling products we offer today are the result of about eight years of toying and local support and patronage. We’ve only introduced ourselves to the broader market place since February of 2002. Again, my wife’s persistent insistence that we had something of value to offer audio community. Ha! I’m learning to listen to my wife more these days! She says the only reason I don’t listen to her is because she doesn’t have a…..well, it’s a “male only” part. Hmm…..I didn’t know those things could talk or, at the very most, have nothing constructive to say. I'll have to tell her it's a good thing she doesn't have one since she thinks it's liability! Anyway…..
We originally introduced the RSA Reference, which inspired the Symphonia Master that followed shortly after. I had had the Idea for the Midnight Silver Edition for some time and had experimented with copper versions of the I/Cs and S/Cs as early as ’98. Just never got around to refining the design using silver until early in 2002. Should have done it sooner but I was keeping fairly busy enjoying music, tinkering with other things and producing existing wires for purchase. The original Midnight Silver Edition cabling was introduced in May of 2002. I really didn’t know how we could do better than the Midnight Silver Edition, given our development budget, until I started thinking in terms of system synergy and partnering in greater depth. Out of that, I began toying with a modified version that was a hybrid of sorts of the MSE cabling.
At first, I was going to designate this modified version as the MSE Gen.II but after hearing our prototype I decided it deserved a new model designation. Being very pleased with the results, in June plans to introduce the Poiema series of cables were in progress. The Midnight Silver Edition Gen.II came out of the Poiema cabling really unintentionally. I figured here’s an opportunity to make the MSE’s better while still providing a new cable series that was still better enough to warrant a new model designation. The MSE Gen.II uses a higher purity silver with the conductors having a refined surface area, a slightly tweaked topology and, as of last week, utilizes a more thorough and substantial break in process before it leaves our premises. So Jond, while it may seem like “Zip, Zap Bang, here’s the latest break through miracle cable”, it’s not so. No magic here and it’s simply been a process of time for us and it’s based on what I’m able to come up with that I would personally use and also provides value and performance for the consumer. And, I wouldn’t say our Gen.II cables are miracle cables. They are simply better cables than the original MSEs, which were already miracle…er, I mean very good cables! As of about the beginning of August, the original MSEs are no longer available.
Jond, I hope this gives you a little better understanding of how we do things anyway. I can imagine other cable companies go through a similar process but probably not all, as there are certainly other considerations and/or agendas that can be exercised.
Kind Regards to all,
Robert C. Schult
I may have a new IC for you to try out in the near future. I have been selling the Empowered AC cord and the designer now is ready with his new ICs. They are designed around the same principal as the power cord, reducing noise for better details and dynamics at a price point that all can realatively afford.
If you are interested send me an email.
My 2 cents. I thought I might throw in my 2 cents worth,due to purchasing 3 different peices of Ridge Streets'i/cs and becoming a good freind of Roberts' in the past 2 years.
From my perspective,Through many phone conversations and dealings with Robert I can only say that he mentioned to me many times that he doesn't want to just produce a peice just to sell,but offer wire thats superior and offered at a fair price.I have upgraded with Ridge Street twice and plan on more in the future. I had mentioned to him many times that I know he'll be very successfull because of his tireless nature to offer the best of the best...
This is not a plug for Ridge Street cables and Wires but my gut feeling of what Ridge Street Audio represents to
myself and the Audio World.....Thanks
Not very often, but occasionally, I can overreact. This appears to be one of those situations. My apologies to all involved. This is a free market and people can do what they want, it's just that sometimes the hype associated with cables drives me crazy. Particularly when prices are compared to actual pieces of electronics where there is obvious intrinsic value and the cable prices are higher. Ridge Street Audio products appear to be a relative value in the cable market and a poor target for my diatribe. Again my apologies and happy Labor Day to all.
...No offense taken at all Jond and no need for apology though I appreciate it. I imagine your frustration is valid in some instances. I didn't take your post as an attack but rather as a genuine concern that I was glad I could address for us. Thank you for the opportunity to express our desire to not be a source for that kind of frustration.
The Pure Note Epsilon Reference IC’s and speaker cables were my reference interconnects before I tried and then purchased the Ridge Street Midnight Silver Edition.
I don’t want to offend anyone here; however, in my system (tube and SS) the Midnight Silver Edition Interconnects and Speaker Cable outperformed my Pure Note Epsilon Reference in every way that I can think of.
The Midnight Silver Edition Generation II are better!
There has been some discussion on Audiogon and Audio Asylum about a new distributor of silver wire that Pure Note is now purchasing wire from, hence a better product. That could be. I haven’t heard it. All I can say is...somebody send me two pair of the new Pure Note Epsilon Reference Interconnects 1/M RCA, and after break-in and extended listening, I’ll post a review!
I’m an open-minded type of guy, and in the past I’ve admitted it when a product was better than whatever it was that I was using.
Great review LAK. I did a search on your posts and it seems that your comparison to the Pure Note Reference is based on their original cable (version 1 or 2) and not their latest version 4 product. Like you, I owned version 1/2 and there is no comparison to the version 4. I think it behooves you to mention that you have the older Pure Note cables, which now have no bearing in your reviews.
You are probably correct. I purchased mine about the same time you began (and I followed) writing reviews and recommending the Pure Note Epsilon Reference IC’s and Speaker Cables.
That’s why I’d love to get my hands on two, 1/M pair of RCA interconnects for review purpose! (I’ll return them or purchase them if they are better than the Midnight Silver Edition Gen. II.)
Tom, if your reading this please contact me if your interested!
I ordered a pair of RSA Midnight silver S/C and I/C after reading some of the original reviews. Actually, I was only really interested in new speaker cables. I was quite pleased with my current cables, but they were only 4 footers, and after moving, I needed something longer. At the last minute, I ordered a set of I/Cs as well. My order went through just as Robert was switching to the GenII so I agreed to wait the extra couple weeks for the GenII's. Well the wait was worth it. At first, I wasn't impressed. The cables had been cooked, but apparently these new cables require a different treatment then the originals. There was more detail in the music, but for lack of a better description, there was no emotion there. After about 40-50 hours things had changed dramatically. I was amazed, I kept playing one disc after another. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The sound had improved in just about every way. More detail, extended highs, tighter/deeper bass, larger soundstage with more precise imaging. What amazed me the most was that 'despite' all those improvements, the sound was still musical. I havn't heard many different cables for comparison, but my impression has been that more detail from better cables can come at the expense of a more sterile sound that prevents me from making that connection to the music. Analytically, I can convince myself that yes, these are better, but emotionally I am left cold. Not so the RSA cables. What comes out the end of these cables is music.
I have a certain understanding for the "generation-next" issue when it comes to cables. On the other hand, would you NOT respect someone who is devoted to their product and continually strives to improve its performance? Anyone who has dealt personally with Robert knows that his is a sincere desire to provide the best cables he can make and is not concerned with marketing ploys. Plus, without saying more, his attention to those who purchased the original version and upgraded to the GenII's is more than reasonable. Hints at anything less than his genuine intentions are totally without foundation.
That rant completed, a word or ten about the cables. I had the opportunity to do a head-to-head between the GenI's and the Pure Note V4 (what I later learned were not V3's as I had thought). I had the Pure Notes in my system at the time and was trying the RSA's on a trial. I really liked the Pure Notes and was skeptical to even give the RSA a try, but did so upon recommendation of those from whom I received other dead-on advice. After the comparison, I decided to keep the RSA's. Don't get me wrong, the Pure Notes are EXCELLENT cables and might prove a better choice in some systems. But, I thought the RSA's were more musical in MY system. By musical, I mean that they conveyed a sense of live music more than any other IC I had tried previously. At first I thought the bass was a little shy, but the bass came in strong and extremely defined after about 40 hours. When using the RCA's it was the first time that I had characterized bass as defined and detailed, usually saving such descriptors for the higher end. Very nice. If I had to pick a bone at all it was that the midrange (especially vocals) in my system was a just sliver too far back in the presentation for my taste.
This small issue disappeared with the GENII's and I found their performance superior in most all respects to even the GenI’s. Because I liked the GenI’s better in my system than the Pure Notes, and I liked the GenII’s more than the GenI’s, I think that the GenII’s are better than the Pure Notes, by extension. IN MY SYSTEM, again said.
I am going to now quote a portion of Lak’s earlier post because I think that it most accurately sums up the performance of the GenII’s and left me thinking – “I wish I’d said that!”
“The Midnight Silver Edition Generation II interconnects continue to be extremely smooth, fast, neutral and transparent. They don’t favor one frequency over another and continue to be very coherent, allowing one to hear deep within a recording. The Midnight Silver Edition Generation II Interconnects continue to convey the force, speed and robustness of a live music performance (if the rest of your system is capable of handling it).”
I would only add that the detail of these cables is amazing. When I hear the soundstage, the phrase that comes to mind is “open architecture” – the image of each instrument’s sound seemingly enveloped in its own space.
So, I highly recommend these cables, as others have done. Next, I should like to try the speaker cables.
McCormack DNA-225 amplifier
Herron VTSP-1A linestage
K&K Custom-built phonostage (A KILLER a review in the writing)
Aesthetix IO phonostage
Nottingham Spacedeck/OL Illustrious/Shelter 501MkII
Sony SCD-777ES CDP
Sony ST-3950 Tuner (Modified by Don Scott and it replaced my Tandberg!)
Vandersteen 3A sig speakers
Ridge Street Audio IC’s throughout
Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables
Audio Magic Stealth Power Purifier
PC’s too numerous to list
Tweaks too numerous to list
Musical Fidelity 3.2 CD Player
Musical Fidelity Nuvista M3 amp
Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mk II speakers
Ridge Street Audio midnight silver S/C and I/Cs.
I realize that this system is unbalanced with the cables and amp a level higher then the speakers and CD player. I do plan to eventually upgrade the speakers and CD player. Actually, if it wasn't for the fact that I needed longer speaker cables, I probably would have upgraded the speakers before the cables. I am glad now that I didn't, because I can now hear what these speakers are fully capable of.
I got my set of Gen II's this afternoon! What can I say? Well, first that Robert asked me to send him my set of MSE so that he could burn them in on this new cable cooker he had devised. The Gen I and II's were to be shipped back together. Now my cables were going to have the cooking as a constant, not a variable. I plugged the new ICs while I was mopping my kitchen and laundry room and said to myself; "what the hell, I'll start breaking them in while I finish cleaning..." I was playing this new salsa CD I got at a Latin festival two weeks ago, "Sammy de León". He's the hottest young timbales player out there and this is his first CD. This CD is the first Latin release of a small independent label speciallizing in jazz & classical music, so the recording quality is there. I could hear more horn energy, deeper, tighter bass, more musical content and while I was cleaning the bathroom I heard a timbales solo snap with such force I said to myself, "These cables are a definite improvement!" I always say that if I do an upgrade to my system and I can hear the improvement in the next room then it's worth it. The Gen II is worth it.
Hi PA & Lak, I would like to hear both you and Lak’s review on a complete set of Ridge Street cabling thruout your systems. Your impressions on system synergy obtained from Robert`s complete line of Midnight Silver Edition IC`s, digital link, and speaker cable. Knowing Robert, everything he makes is made to complement each other and jell to perfection as it will ultimitely highlight his own system. BTW, I`ve just installed Robert`s IC`s, speaker cable, & a double Bybee digital link in my newly put together system that includes 2 Butler Audo 3150 tube amps and a Sunfire Theater Grand 3 processor, all connected with VenHaus flavor 3&4 PC`s. It`ll be awhile before this stew`s ready for the dinner table as I`m still waiting for 6 new speakers. But I have no doubts that when it all comes together, I`ll be in for something special indeed. Regards, Robin
Miker, your system is decent--what you might need is to tackle power delivery/noise control and room acoustics. The first one should be rather simple--take a look at Lak's rig. It is similar to mine (except that I'm a nomad)and you can do something along those lines pretty inexpensively. A 220V/110V transformer, two dedicated lines w/ cryo'ed outlets and some good, inexpensive power cords will take you really far. I would suggest a second 110V isolation transformer for your CDP.
Robin, I'm glad you're getting new speakers...
In my current tube system I have one pair of the SME IC’s, one pair of SME Gen.II IC’s, MSE speaker cable and two pair of MSE hook-up wire inside my Abby’s and connecting the Fostex T90A Horn super tweeter to the crossover.
I added each item separately, with at least a week in-between each added piece.
Each time I added an item as described above everything associated with good sounding music improved and the synergy continued to improve overall.
In a week or so, I should receive a second pair of the SME Gen.II IC’s and a set of the SME Gen.II speaker cables. At that time I could provide additional information.
To the best of my knowledge (if I’m incorrect, someone please correct me) the Ridge Street power cords and digital cable are not available yet. I think they would also be interesting to audition in my systems.
Pschicanimal, funny you should mention that. I just finished doing some rewiring in another room (took out a wall), which got me thinking about putting in a dedicated line for the stereo. It would be a bit of work and involve removing some drywall for access, but I might be doing that in a couple months anyways. I am a bit ignorant about home wiring, I assume that there already is a 220/110 transformer for the whole house, are you suggesting a separate one for the dedicated lines?
Lak is right...but of course I would say that! I have emailed a few users of the Balanced Gen.IIs. Hopefully, they will post here to help you out. In the mean time, I can direct you to our REVIEWS PAGE. There are comments from a gentleman by the name of Bob Heinatz there that may be helpful however, he has the original Midnight Silver Edition and not the Gen.IIs. The Gen.IIs are better.
I'm currently using the Gen.II XLR. I don't want to reiterate what Lak has already mentioned, but my findings are very similar. On my system the cables really came into being after three days or so. The mids and highs are smooth, and the bass is firm and articulate.
These cables are nuetral and transparent, so much so, that I think I've finally heard what my components really sound like for the first time. Another factor that continues to impress me and worth noting is the clean soundstage. It seems like all the haze and fog around the instruments and performers have disappeared, leaving only the music between the speakers and the listener.
This is my first review on these boards. I purchased these cables in xlr after listening to them almost 1 month. They are as good as reviewed. I was using Synergistic Research Kal phase 2 xlr before. I hear things clearly that I wasn't aware of before. If I switch back cables I can pick up these things, but not clearly. Voices sound clearer and there is less grain. I tried Nordost Quattro Fil and SPM. I found them to be bright in my system. The SPM had about the same resolution as my SR cables. The Quattro Fil had higher resolution but I could't live with the brightness. I tried Audioquest Anaconda and thought they were about the same as the SR cables. I tried the Nirvana SX Ltd and I liked them for there natural sound and resolution but I like the MSE better.
I had a request from Robert to try them without the shields. Here is your answer. I like it a lot. The music seems warmer or fuller or just a little more involving. It is just a little leaner with the shielding on. This is the oposite of what I heard with Synergistic Research cable with there active shielding on. I dont understand, but I dont need to I just listen.
Wadia 830 with JPS digital power cord
Ridge Street Audio MSE GEN II interconnect
Audio Research VT 100 mk III with Virtual Dynamics Nites power cord
Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cables
Dunlavy SC III speakers
Velodyne FSR 12 sub run off Wadia rca output-main speaker run full bandwith
Now that I've used the Gen II's I can say that they're everything that's been previously said. Although more extension, musicality and added information is there, what I like most is the better defined outlines of the instruments and the blackness that separates them. Along with excellent noise control measures, they provide a sense of depth that's within the L to R soundfield and well to the rear. Definitely different from a bloated, undefined and 'in your face' artificial soundstage.
Robert has done a really good job with these creatures...