Speaker Cables

I've read and heard many good things about Acoustic Zen speaker (Satori or Hologram) cables and would appreciate if some of you could share your experience of what seems as an extremely good value set of speaker cables if what Sterephile and Soundstage reviewers says.

My original choice are the more established cables from Cardas like the Neutral or Golden Reference speaker cables. I have the following setup and my preferences in music are more towards jazz, vocals, instrumentals, sax, guitar, etc

Musical Fidelity A3 Integrated amp
Musical Fideltity A3.2 Power amp
ProAc Response D15 (Floorstanding) speakers
Musical Fidelity A3.2CD
I single-wire using spades, and replaced my Cardas Cross with Satori going from my VTL MB-185 200w tube mono's to my Thiel 2.2 3-way 8" floorstanders. The choice was pretty easy in my system, but I can't speak for the Cardas cables above Cross, though I have a feeling they would do much better in this comparision, albeit for more money (much more money in the case of the GR).

The Satori is a great-sounding cable IMO, with a very refined yet complete presentation. It opened a clearer window on the performance, while also lowering grain and hardness. Images 'inhabit' their soundstage environment to a greater degree while remaining well-individuated, with less background grunge in between and fine dimensionality apparent in all directions, but these are not forward cables, and I experienced increased freedom from the speakers being perceived as obvious sound sources. Bass took on a more tactile and authoritative quality, conveying weight and texture without bloat or overhang, and treble purity is outstanding, with cymbals sounding more natural and less tizzy. Air is naturally abundant without being emphasized. Tonally, this cable seems nicely palpable through the midrange, and so is not lean in any way, but otherwise feels quite neutral and unhyped while still being extended. Dynamics are notably uncompressed and and complex material remains uncongested; competing events within the soundstage don't impinge upon each other. Quietness is excellent, likewise coherence and overall ease. Vocals are more believable than before, with a less 'electronic' character, yet more low-level detail is also unmasked, so the Satori strikes me as being transparent in the truest sense. I can't detect any noticable blurring or etching of outlines, and transient definition and cleanliness sound unimpeded on both attack and decay. As you can see, I have no complaints pending ever hearing something better at home, but in fairness it took me a longer time than I've yet lived with the Satori so far for me not to feel that way about the Cross.

In some systems I suppose the Cross could sound initially more exciting, but ultimately I felt they were 'zippier' and had more glare without actually revealing as much, and weren't as even-handed across the spectrum, or as easy to listen to without fatigue at higher levels. Manufacturing quality on the AZ is fine, while the appearance is distinctly more attractive. I am not thinking about any other options here at the moment, although one member who has used and liked Satori (in biwired guise) has told me that he switched when he got the Audience wire. Even though I haven't tried anything more expensive than these cables in my system, I feel the Satori has got to be a wonderful value for its cost whether or not it's really the 'giant-killer' some have said, and would recommend auditioning it to anyone interested.
I use it in a bi-wire/bi-amp with my Vandersteen 3A Sigs. It sounds as good or better than any cable I've used to date. Wonderful smoothness and transparency.
For reference, I have used Nordost SPM, Tara Labs Master Generation 2 and "The 2" and have tried Cardas Golden Reference. The differences are not much but the money sure is.
Try the new Purist Audio Musaeus. I just ordered a Bi-wire pair for my B&W's. I tried these against the Cardas Neut ref. The new Musaues just amazed me at what it did and it is better then their older long loved colossus cable and is about 1/3 the cost of colossus. ($580 compared to about $2000) The thing that is nice about purist is if you order a bi-wire, they actually add double the cable instead of just splitting the existing conductors. And the new cables don't use fluid anymore for sheilding. They use a metalic substance called Ferox that really sheilds the cable creating an extremely low noise floor. The museaus is fuller bodied sound, very open and airy, detailed and soundstage is deep and wide. Their new Venustas is another level of performance, but at about $2500 to 3000. I just ordered their Venustas XLR IC for my amp to pre. The venustas is breathtaking!!! The midrange is so natural sounding. Vocals are stunning. Call Paul at "The Cable Company" he was my salesperson. They will send you loaners to try in your own system.
Happy listening.
Email me and I will let you know my experience with AZ, Shunyata and Audience speaker cables and let you know what I settled on. Also include your equipment. I am not a dealer or anything.
dtanclim, in my experience cardas cross are very
musical but expensive,I think the AZ are more like
of harmonic technology, HT are excellent cable for
the money.IMO the AZ might probably match your
system, but try this 3 cables.
My 2 cents is that Harmonic Tech is knowhere close to as good as Acoustic Zen cables. I have owned both as well as many others including Nordost SPM, Silversmith, NBS, and most recently a 2 month demo of Audience cables. I am without a doubt convinced that Acoustic Zen cables sound the best in my sytems. I have both Hologram and Satori, and the Hologram is definately better, but I still think a lot of the Satori, they sound very similar, the Hologram just gives you more of what the Satori does. If you want to spend less just get the Satori and don't even worry about it, it is a refrence quality cable and one of the biggest bang for the buck out there.
I had the Santori head to head with a pr of Kimber ks 3035 and a few others popular speaker cables (dealer loans). All I can say is the Kimber ks 3035 made the Santori look like a Honda Accord compared to a top model Mercedes, BMW, Lexus etc. Wasn't close. I ended up with the 3035, no contest at all,, not even close, a commoner to royality, middle class to wealth. For the price the Santori is OK but there are much much better speaker cables out there. If your looking for a great cable,,, forget about the Santori and look else where. It's common for it's price range. It's a laid back presentation with good tonal balance,,, I would say good for helping tame a hot top more aggressive speaker. It's not a bad speaker cable for the price but there are much better.
I think this thread has already gone a long way toward demonstrating once again (as if we needed it) that speaker wire selection is *very* dependent upon system context, particularly as it regards the amp/speaker combination. But then, this is what we love, isn't it? Who cares about music when you've got CABLE...
Zaikesman makes a very salient point here, that it is very dependent on both amp and speaker combination and on personal tastes. I personally do not like the sound of Cardas, but I find the AZ stuff very good and similar to my own designs. When you are talking about cables with excellent inductance measurements, low dielectric absorption and good metallurgy, you cannot really go wrong. At this level, the cables will sound technically correct and neutral on virtually any system. However, the personal taste thing still comes into play. I have run into folks who dont really want a lot of detail and dynamics. They just want a warm, reserved sound that is not live at all. There are cables out there that appeal to these folks as well.

Amps and speakers are another thing. This is undoubtedly the most sensitive area of system design that must really synergise. With a low-efficiency, low-impedance speaker, there will really be no speaker cable out there that will fix a synergy mismatch with a gutless amp. IMO, this is where folks need to focus the most energy. Once you get this right, then the right cables can really put the icing on the cake. But if you dont have this synergy figured-out, it can be very frustrating.
I find the comment about the HT and the AZ quite interesting. Especially given that Robert Lee designed both of them and the HT Pro9+ and the AZ Hologram are supposed to be basically the same exact cable.