Smooth Highs and Deep Bass


Looking for advise on an RCA interconnect that can tame the digital edge from my SS ARC CD3 mkII and also has low-end extension.

System is:
Rogue Preseus Magnum preamp (w/ Mullards), Sunfire 300, Gallo Classico CL-3’s, Blue Circle Power conditioning

Cables are:
Purist Audio Museous IC from pre to amp
Purist Audio Aqueous speaker cables
Audience PowerChords

For the CDP, I have tried Cardas Parsec and Clear Sky; did a great job of smoothing out the highs, but had no low-end.
Cardas Clear Light; too harsh, but great dynamics.
Cardas Golden Reference; too coloured.
Purist Museous; highs were not smooth enough, great dynamics.

Budget is under $500 (1 meter), not looking for a detailed cable, system already has detail.
Need smooth highs, open, with deep low-end. I’m already renting from the Cable Company and need additional assistance.

lowrider57
https://app.audiogon.com/listings/interconnects-stealth-pgs-08-1m-xlr-interconnect-2015-12-12-cables...
Maybe something from Darwin Cables will do. For me, they offer all you ask as well as what I was looking for: extension at both ends with solid and well defined bass, clarity, and articulation. Balanced and complete, with no hype or exaggeration. It's the old and cliched "open window" description but it applies here in spades, or should I say RCAs. :-)

 It's 1/5th over your budget but give them a call; they might have some B-stock

All the best,
Nonoise
I would give Time Portal Reference a try a used one is in that price range.

I would suggest trying a pair of Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference.
This exercise is a noble effort but unless someone has your exact system AND close proxy in listening environment (with all its non- subtle warts) it's just (regrettably ) just a blind stab at best.


These blind recommendations are predicated on a heavily biased and anecdotal personal value judgement pushing their own personal faves with a minimal to nil probability of actually working in your system .

As you have already highlighted, system synergy matters "big time" and one size does not fit all .... The various cables all have unique sonic signatures that vary with the rest of your system  - full stop.

FWIW there is no substitute for the time consuming (contemporaneously rewarding and frustrating ) actual hands-on auditioning with a swap-in and swap-out of contenders and pretenders. The only ethereal constant thst I have experienced is that a first start is to experiment with:

(a) the same brand (and quality strata ) as the speaker cables and/or;
(a) recommendations from dealers or audio expos for cables with your electronics and/or speakers.

This frustrating yet rewarding step in this hobby is a weaving and pedantic journey to Oz , and not any finite quick short circuit to a silver bullet prescribed destination.

Try some MIT SHOTGUN cables, S1, S2, S3 line (awesome deal on used market). These cables tame bright sounding systems, period! And they sound tonally accurate and beautiful.


Matt M

Thanks, akg, I value you insightful comments.
System synergy does matter and one size does not fit all, but my real goal is to ask other members if they have found cables that help soften the "edge of digital output without sacrificing dynamics. (I've already found the right PC).

I love the sound of my current system; the Purist Audio cables have great synergy with my components, just trying to tweak the digital. I need some advise; I think the Cable Co. is out of ideas.
akg is partially right, but also partially wrong. I doubt there's a person on these boards who doesn't recognize the roles of system synergy and personal preference in putting together a system that works for them. And I'm sure everyone would agree that in the end you're going to have to listen to whatever you can and make your own decision based on your own ears. Where I think he's off the mark is with his second paragraph. I linked to the Stealth PGS not because it's my personal favourite -- not at all. And while I have owned it (a couple of times actually), I haven't owned a pair in quite some time. But on the occasions that I have owned it, it has proven to fit the description that you've asked for. And that's in more than one system. Moreover, the many reports that can be found on the many audio boards seem to agree that it has smooth highs -- for some, too smooth. So my decision to mention the PGS is based not simply on my desire to push my personal fave, which it isn't, but to bring to your attention a cable that many audiophiles agree has a smooth top end. Will they work in your system to smooth your top end? That I can't tell you. But the cables reputation, and also my own experience with it, suggests that it might be one cable worth considering in your quest. And in the endless sea of cables and cable choice, isn't it good to get a few suggestions where you might start your search? I can also agree with the Audio Zen suggestion. Nicely warm cables, without being overly coloured, but still nicely detailed. I've also owned the Darwin cables. While they are extended, I'm not sure they'll give you much relief from the digititus problem. They might even exacerbate it. In a cash no object solution, I might suggest looking for a new digital source. But in the real world, a cable might have to do.
Siltech Royal Signature series cables are very smooth and have notably good bass. They have wonderful tonal richness & also sound dead quiet. Finally they have heirloom build quality.
Lowrider, one thing that could be contributing to the "digital edge" you are perceiving, and also to the high degree of cable sensitivity you’ve described, is a ground loop between the CDP and the preamp.  A simple experiment that might be worth trying is to temporarily put a cheater plug on the power cord of the CDP, to defeat its safety ground connection.

If that seems to help, my next suggestion would be to remove the cheater plug and put a suitably chosen Jensen Transformer (ca. $275) between the CDP and the preamp.

Good luck.  Best regards,
-- Al
 
So my decision to mention the PGS is based not simply on my desire to push my personal fave, which it isn't, but to bring to your attention a cable that many audiophiles agree has a smooth top end. Will they work in your system to smooth your top end? That I can't tell you. But the cables reputation, and also my own experience with it, suggests that it might be one cable worth considering in your quest. And in the endless sea of cables and cable choice, isn't it good to get a few suggestions where you might start your search?
mani-2
That's all I'm asking for.  Thank you for putting it into such a concise comment.

lowrider57

I have had van den hul 'the first' ic's. In all my systems over the twenty five years I have had them, they do what you mention and are about in that price range. Check the reviews

Al, your troubleshooting input is always most appreciated.
Now I'll review my procedure:

My CD for testing highs from a CDP is LvB Symphony no. 7, Karl Bohm/VPO, DG 1972.
I also use the Haydn string quartets (Kodaly Quartet) on Naxos.

- did an A/B between Cardas IC and Blue Jeans IC (Cardas smooth highs, BJ harsh, unrefined).
- removed CDP from pwr. cond. in rack (which is shared w/ preamp), used cheater plug and put back in rack AC receptacle.
- did A/B between same ICs and holy cow. No more "digital edge" from the BJ cables.

With my Cardas, the DG VPO strings sound warm, but lack the lowest 1/2 octave (the limitation of the cable).
Using the BJ cables, (they are more extended than Cardas), but the massed strings are quite listenable, actually an accurate presentation of the DG recordings of that era.
Obviously, BJ is more transparent, as advertised.

Thanks so much, Al. Maybe the Forum members should put you on a retainer, I'd gladly chip in.
But I would like the ground loop explained if possible. I'll give details on my power setup;

I have a 20 amp dedicated line, amp is plugged into wall separate from rack.
For components, there is a Blue Circle Passive passive pwr. cond. plugged into the wall. Since it has no surge protection, a Furman power strip with filtering is plugged into the Blue Circle. Then all components plug into the Furman.
 Do you think the problem is that all components are in the power strip?
Glad I was able to help, Lowrider.
... removed CDP from pwr. cond. in rack (which is shared w/ preamp), used cheater plug and put back in rack AC receptacle.
If I understand correctly, when you added the cheater plug to the CDP’s power cord you plugged it into the same receptacle that it had previously been plugged into, on the Furman power strip.  Correct me if I’m misinterpreting.
Do you think the problem is that all components are in the power strip?
No.  In fact having components plugged into outlets that are in different places can contribute to ground loop issues.
I would like the ground loop explained if possible.
I won’t go into what would be a lengthy technical writeup on the theory of ground loops.  But very briefly, a ground loop involves the interconnection of the circuit grounds of the two components that occurs via the interconnect cable; the interconnection of the chassis of the two components that occurs via the AC safety ground wires in their power cords (if both cords are connected to AC outlets, as opposed to being defeated with a cheater plug); the connection between the safety ground pins of those outlets in the power strip or other external AC wiring; and the manner in which AC safety ground/chassis is connected to the circuit ground within each component.

Depending on all of those variables the result can be the introduction of hum, high frequency noise, or both.  What I was envisioning is that high frequency noise was being coupled into the output of the CDP and/or its AC input, and making its way via unintended circuit paths within the CDP that are inevitably present to some degree (such as stray capacitances, grounds that are less than ideal, etc.), to the point at which D/A conversion is performed, and causing jitter in the timing of D/A conversion.

Ground loop-related noise will result in greater than normal sensitivity to interconnect cable differences, since the signal return conductor in the cable connects the circuit grounds of the two components, and the characteristics of that conductor will vary considerably between different cables.  In some cases it will be a shield, in other cases a wire within a shield (connected at one or both ends), and in other cases a wire with no shield.  And differences among different cables in the resistance and inductance of that wire or other return conductor can affect ground loop-related noise significantly.

As you are probably aware, some audiophiles use cheater plugs as permanent solutions to ground loop issues, but I would strongly recommend against doing that.  The resulting safety risks (fire and electrocution) are extremely unlikely to ever occur, but it cannot be said that the risk is zero.

What I would suggest is that you call the Jensen transformer people and discuss choosing and ordering one of the transformers shown here.  Ideally you would want a model having RCA input and output connectors, which would be designated as a PI-2RR.  They don’t show that configuration on that page, but I would expect that they could provide it on special order, and in fact a PI-2RR configuration is shown in this datasheet

An alternative to consider, also, would be a PI-2XR, having XLR inputs and RCA outputs, although you would have to provide a pair of XLR cables to connect between it and the CDP.  Also, the specified maximum amplitude of the CDP’s balanced outputs, 5.4 volts, doesn’t provide a great deal of margin relative to the +17 dbu worst case input rating of the transformer.  (The 2.7 volt spec of the CDP’s RCA outputs is very comfortable in that regard).

That kind of transformer requires that its **output** be connected via a **short** length of **low capacitance** cable.  BlueJeans LC-1 would be fine for that purpose, in a length of 1 or 1.5 or 2 feet.  You would connect the transformer’s input with your present cables.

Obviously I can’t be 100% certain that inserting this transformer between the CDP and the preamp would provide results that are as good or better than what you now have using the cheater plug and the BlueJeans cable.  But it **will** break the ground loop between the two components, and a number of other members here who are highly experienced audiophiles and have expensive highly resolving systems have reported good results using them.

Best regards,
-- Al


Purist Maximus or Colossus, either fluid or ferox. I have and use both with ferox, before that had the same Maximus with fluid. Colossus goes from phono to integrated, Maximus from deck or cd player to integrated. Both have great bass and dynamics, Colossus is better but Maximus is warmer. Excellent soundstage, highs are smooth and sufficiently extended, at least for me. Maximus ferox has better resolution and bass than fluid, though the fluid is excellent too. Ferox is also a little quieter, fluid is warmer.
I also have Colossus fluid speaker cables - excellent. 
They are not easy to find.
The newest Purist Poseidon fluid will be better than either in every respect. It would probably cost you about $700 new for a pair, and it just might be worth it. I am going to replace my Maximus with it soon enough, finances permitting.
Thanks again, Al. I do understand the basic theory of ground loop as it applies to mains power...in a muli-component system there can only be one grounded component. But thanks for explaining the IC grounding issues.
I was wondering if AC from digital device could be coming back down the PC into the power strip.

Yes, I did put unit with cheater plug back into same receptacle of pwr strip. I also tried CDP plugged into wall on different breaker and it sounded harsh.

inna,
I'm using PAD Aqueous liquid speaker cables and love them. When I tried Museous IC from CD it was not smooth, but now that Al has diagnosed the prob, I will try Purist again.
Many thanks to everybody who has offered advise thus-far.
The Purist Musaous is sounding smooth, open and dynamic from the ARC CDP now, but that's when using the cheater plug.
So, I'm going to purchase the Jensen Transformer, which lowers my budget for another Purist IC.

I need to replace the Cardas IC due to it's limited dynamics and am now looking for a recommendation for a lower cost IC with smooth highs and deep low-end.
Morrow ICs were recommended to me; anybody else using them or another cable in that price range? I hesitate on the Morrows since there is no return policy.
Thanks again.
Thanks, Almarg. I sent you a PM regarding the Jensen.
Response sent just now, Lowrider.  For some reason I hadn't received notification of your PM's.

Best regards,
-- Al
Many thanks for your help, Al.
Lowrider57... You said... " I hesitate on the Morrows since there is no return policy." That is not true. We offer a 60 day return on all new cables that begins when you receive the cables. Our pre-owned cables however cannot be returned for a refund.
Thanks for your post, Morrowaudio, I did not realise that. I'll have to give your cables a closer look.
MIT