Speaker Cable Upgrade... Advice Please


My current cables are Cardas Cross.  My speakers are Wilson Sophia 2.  I just changed electronics from Audio Research tubes, PS Audio DAC, and Whest Phonostage to the Devialet Expert 220 Pro.  The sound is a bit more bright and forward than with the previous gear.  I am happy overall, but I would like to tame it a little.  I am considering an upgrade to the next price category in speaker cables.  $2-3k retail new for a 2.5 meter pair.  Any suggestions for a cable that will work well with my gear?  Any thoughts on Nordost in that price range?  Perhaps Heimdall 2?

The brands that have peaked my interest are Purist, Verastarr, Nordost, and Cardas.

thanks!
Mark
marktomaras
First unplug everything for at least ten minutes. Now clean all connections and power cables and hook back up.  Then Last leave the system on for 3 days straight playing music low without you listening . Now when you listen again hopefully it will be a Saturday or Sunday night about 10 when the power grid is less noisy or dirty. and have a serious listening session. If nothing has improved it is time for an upgrade. If it has improved then you know why. I believe in the burn in effect to a degree but just by leaving your system on at least that long will improve its sound. If it still sounds shrill or bright unplug your power cable from the wall for 5 minutes. Then you make your decision after listening to a half dozen well played tracks that you have dedicated to memory. Mike 
PAD Poseidon or higher or Cardas Clear Reflection is worth looking into.  Best.
Oh, by the way...I was sure tempted to buy your ARC LS25.  I had one years ago and wish I never parted with it.  Take care.

David
I bet it's the Devialet amp.  I have heard their amps 2 different times and I felt they were a little tipped up in the top end.   You are trying to put a band aid on the sound by substituting cables.  I've been there and went through a boatload of money because I was too arrogant to admit it may have been (in my case) the new speakers.
The Cardas cables you are using have a sonic signature; laid-back, warm, and a roll-off in the highs. If the presentation of your system is now forward and extended, the new component is the culprit.
Swapping cables randomly, especially a revealing cable like Nordost is not the answer. It's entirely possible that the new component has a more forward presentation than your ARC system.
Are you sure the Devialet has been fully run-in?

I run Cardas Clear Beyond cables and they aren't going to solve your described issue. 
These guys are right.  IMO you need to get some tubes back into the equation.  You sold your separates...both tube components.  Don’t feel bad, we’ve all done it at one time or another!  It seems you’re used to tubes with your Wilsons.  You can either break in the Devialet and get acclimated to the new sound or try an entirely new integrated.  My recommendation with your Sophia 2; a BAT vk3000se.  Bat has great synergy with Wilson’s.  You get your tubes back in the preamp portion.  I’ve had this integrated.  It’s excellent.  Then address your cabling.  Just my $0.02 worth.  Keep us posted.
its true, I am accustomed to the tube sound, and it’s true, the Devialet is a bit brighter than the ARC gear I had.  There are a few reasons for the switch.  I am moving to Europe so I will be in the land of 240v power, and will be down sizing homes by a factor of 35%!

I wasn’t interested in having all the voltage requirements changed on my gear, and I was ready for a smaller system.  I listened to the Devialet in my home and I was pleasantly surprised... it sounded different but fantastic.  Perhaps mine needs more burn in. Perhaps I can utilize the internal tone controls, or the DSP in Roon (for the digital source anyway).

so, lastly, if I’m looking for the benefits of better speaker cables, perhaps sticking with Cardas is the way to go? I certainly don’t want to brighten up the system! What other speaker cables are also warm and laid back?


I can only speak to the Cardas model lines Clear, Clear Beyond and Clear Beyond XL (PCs only). As I moved up this chain the sound has not gotten "warmer". Resolution has increased without sacrificing neutrality or pushing the sound toward "brightness".
From working in high end audio some years ago, I remember that Wilson Audio used Transparent Audio cables for the design, voicing, and internal wiring of their speakers. Also, they always used Transparent Audio cables in the displays at shows. I would contact them to verify this is still true. It just makes common sense to use Transparent Audio.

I use Acoustic Zen Hollogram lls with my Wilson Sophias, amps used with these are VTL MB125s, Quicksilver M120s and a Pass Labs XA30.5. I have used the Cardas Cross, my back up cables, with all these combinations so am familiar with their sound. Please note that the AZ Holograms are designed for biwire configurations and the AZ Satorie are designed for single wire applications but have not heard them.
What other speaker cables are also warm and laid back?

From my experiences, older Cardas cables are warmer sounding. Cardas Golden or Golden Reference may work.

Other manufacturers who may help take the edge off:
Purist Audio
Kubala Sosna
Jena Labs

From my experiences with Nordost, they would provide the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.
Here's a crazy question... Might a power cable have more effect on the brightness than the speaker cables?
@marktomaras

That is a great question. From my experience a power cable can be very effective at taming brightness. I would start there before speakers cables. Your Cardas speaker cables are excellent.

Cheers,

Scott
Here's a crazy question... Might a power cable have more effect on the brightness than the speaker cables?

Absolutely, not a crazy question at all.
Look for a used K-S Emotion cord.

Of course, it is possible that Wilson/ Devialet simply do not mate well too.

Good luck,
John
Wireworld. 

Pretty dark cables, but great imaging. 
So, my previous reply was predicated on the understanding that your room acoustics were already well taken care of? If not, absolutely seek out GIK Acoustics first. 

In general, brightness can also be helped by adding floor coverings and absorbers even between and behind the speakers. I know it sounds crazy, but try throwing some blankets and pillows around as a free experiment, then come back and tell me I'm goofy. :) 

Best,

E
Wireworld.  Pretty dark cables

Dark? What did you have them paired with? Thanks.
I haven't found my wireworld cables to be dark. But that is just me and I am only one person. They do seem like they have  solid images or structure in their presentation, they are not fuzzy like some cables, yet not tipped up much, maybe not at all. I say that 'not tipped up much'  because I think so much stuff is tipped up in the high frequencies.
I have found the Audience PowerChord and PS Audio PC’s to have a smooth and realistic top-end. They both present a laid-back image with excellent soundstaging. You can gain more detail as you move up the PowerChord line.
The Cardas Golden cables will have rolled-off highs, with a presentation that is more forward. The Clear line is more open, transparent and with good detail and texture.

Budget cables; Pangea, nice smooth top-end and laid-back, but not a detailed cable. Cullen is very smooth on top, with good soundstaging. Signal Cable, transparent but very extended and detailed.
Look into wireworld or Audioquest, whichever is in your budget

Have you considered an isolation transformer? Plitron makes a good one, and they sell to the general public.

Thing with isolation transformers is that they hum when they are working hard, and other times too, so it's essential to position them outside the listening area, like in a utility room.
audioquest in copper with dbs
i have also owned the Zen Satori, a fine value...
Golden Cross is a nice step up.

I have used many Cardas speakers cables, and found Golden Cross the best.

Mates well with Audio Research amps. Smooth highs (never bright), warm midrange, and deep bass.

You might need to play for a while another week before deciding.
Thank you everyone.  This has been very useful!
There are lots of suggestions but here is one more — I totally get why you went with Devialet. So, the thing I might add is that Devialet uses Crystal Cable in their product? Have you tried that? If you are moving to Europe, you will  find some good deals on preowned Crystal Cable at the higher end (maybe not the highest end, but down just from the top tier). Good luck. Have a listen to Prince singing Joni Mitchell's version of A Case of You. Sounds great on the Devialet. 
I would go back to the AR and ps audio dac. Cables will not make a cold sounding system sound like a tube system.
The Duelund wire is cheap enough to try...I’m very happy with it.  I find it more articulate, with better tone than the cards clear beyond and Nordost Valhalla...

I don't think you should spend "More" money on cables.  You may want different ones... but more expensive doesn't make a lot of difference IMO in sound quality.  There is definitely a point of diminishing return.  I would try a few different sets (like from cable company) and keep the ones you like best.  But don't just assume you have to spend $2k to $3k for speaker cables.  
I found myself in a facing the same situation a few years ago.  Having my audio equipment sitting to my right, I thus needed a long pair of speaker wires.  Specially for my left speaker.  Anyway I discovered a solutun that works for me.  I take a one foot pair of the top of the line MG Audio Design's top end speaker wires and attach them to my speakers.  Now between the MG Audio Design speaker wires and my amplifier I am using a total of 12 runs of Jenna Lab's 18 gage hook up wires.  That is 3 of them to each of the MG Audio Design wires-12 in total.. Presently I am using 6, 17 foot runs on my left speaker and 6, 10 foot runs for my right speaker.  Anyway it works.  As good as could be hoped for.  Simply the Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires are so pure that they allow my one foot pair of MG Audio Design wires to do their stuff.  This actually took me several years to create.  I began with a now 7 year old one foot pair of then Shunyata's top end speaker wires with a single run, 4 in all, of the Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires.  Next I substituted a one foot pair of the MG Audio Design speaker wires for the Shunata wires and noticed a definite improvement in audio reproduction.  Next I added 4 more of the Jenns Labs hook up wires, now 8 total and again noticed a futher improvement.  And lastly added a third run of 4 more Jenna Labs 18 gage hook up wires to the total, now 12 of them in all.  The final results are incrrdible.  Even though the MG Audio Design wires are silver based and the Jenna Labs hook up wires are of copper, they all work together perfectly.  I do not haave other top end, and very expensive, speaker wires to compare them to, but it is easy to realize that my present day speaker wire "solution" is most likely is about as good as it gets  reguardless of cost.  The total cost for this was about $1800 for the average of a 14.5 foot pair of speaker wires.  I used a Rega Osiris integrated amplifier for my wire experiments.  I have posted previously about my results with speaker wire development, but because I have no technical background in electronics, my observations are generally ignored.  All I can do is repeat that my speaker wire "solution" is most likely as good as it gets, but for a reasonable cost.  Oh yes, the little Jenna Labs wires are small and very sturdy, so that they can be placed underneath rugs with no degrading of audio reproduction.  
I forgot to say that I am retired and living in Boulder Colorado and that if anyone nearby wants to check out my speaker wire "system" that they are welcome to give me a call at (720 550-6908 anytime to check it out.  I live in a very easy to get to location so it is very easy to visit me.  I have no financial or other connections to either Jenna Labs or MG Audio Design whatsoever.  I can not make any money or profit.  Just pasing on my observations.  It is obvious to me that both manufacturers offer products top in their lines.  It is just by chance that I discovered how well they work together.
In regards to PCs making a difference. I came across a screaming deal on 3  Valhalla PCs, 2 meters for $500 each.I also bought Valhalla 4 meter Speaker cables for $900. The speaker cables were in rough shape. I sent them back for repairs. 2 weeks later I received the Speaker wires back and recertified. $620 charge. While the speaker cables were in repair, I put the PCs into the system. 0ne into my preamp the other 2 into my mono blocks. Wow was I amazed. A veil had been lifted. The music is more detailed while being very relaxed. As a point of reference I was using Analysis Plus prior. Never thought I'd see that type of change. As a side note I'd never spend the MSRP on the Nordost cables.
I agree that a power cord might be the best way to go first.....perhaps stick with Cardas and pick up an older Golden Reference.  Other possibilities would be a Shunyata NR or maybe Transparent.