In other threads I have commented around this topic but after owning several of the "big boys" in the IC and speaker cable world (Van den hul, Tara, Synergistic, Audioquest, Harmonic Technologies), I am now using (and greatly enjoying) Mapleshade ICs and speaker cables for both tube and solid state systems. There is a neutrality, dynamic presence, bass extension/texture and detail clarity that I have not experienced before with other cables. Plus there is a 30-day try at home money back deal so your risk is extremely low. I doubt you will send them back. Plus the price is VERY competitive.
I am not affiliated with the company, only a very happy owner of their fine products.
I like Audioquest very much. One of the things I like about them is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a nice difference in SQ. Personally, I find that it is not always the case with other brands. Given what you are looking for per your post, I would stick with AQ. I think you would prefer a solid core copper cable over stranded copper. (Generally speaking; I'm sure that there will be some exceptions).
Stevecham recommends Mapleshade. I know very little about them, but I have seen several comments from people that use them and they were all very positive.
Mapleshade has not come up on my radar. Thanks for the suggestion!
I've had Audioquest, Music Metre, Supra, Clear Day, Zu Mission and Mapleshade (all entry level except for Zu) and the Mapleshade cables are far and away the best I've had in my system.
YMMV but I doubt it.
All the best,
I'd put the Acoustic Zen Satori on your list. Detailed but natural-sounding highs with expressive and full mids. Bass is also full but not the tightest I've heard (not bad though), but that will likely be somewhat system dependent. Haven't heard the others mentioned (except the DH Labs and I agree with your assessment).
If I were you I'd try to upgrade the interconnects and speaker cables at the same time to try to optimize the synergy effect, but I realize that's not always possible from a budget perspective. Best of luck.
I'm also an AQ fan...for many years. I currently have an all solid core wire festival in my system and love the Type 8 speaker wire I bought to replace some Type 4 (no reason...just compulsive wire curiosity). To the uninitiated, all of it from the VDM 5 digital, King Cobra and Diamondback (XLR...VERY well made) ICs to the Type 8 looks like I'm using bungee cords to hold the gear down. Most of it bought on A'gon or Ebay for a fraction of whatever new wire costs. I suppose there's a synergy among the copper molecules or something, but AQ has always provided a satisfying high standard that often gets overlooked in the extremely crowded wire market.
The Material of the contact area has a huge influence of information transfer (AES Standard). Normally the RCA connectors in your units are hardly more than 6.95$ per pair (Silver ones for example are 100$ and you can hear the difference at once...). Have my doubts, that an expensive cable will make much sense. It will change something of course, but you can roll the dice with your next unit again...
Very happy with Mapleshade speaker cables, never tried the IC's. Highly recommend the lower priced Transparent cables; speaker, IC, power cords.
I've used XP wire in budget systems but would upgrade asap considering the associated equipment you're enjoying. If you're thinking of an upgrade but within a spartan budget, I'd try Kimber Kable PR or entry level QED. (HiFi Cables from the UK for the Qed.) I'm very pleased w/both the cables I've mentioned especially for the low cost.
Thanks for all the responses. I've read as much as I can stand about technology and reviews and the Acoustic Zen Satori right now is #1 on the list. Even their technology page makes sense to me. Some people say there is very little difference in speaker cable, but I put the DH Labs in and listened for less than a minute and disconnected them. From that moment, I discounted anything with silver content. I just have to take a deep breath and let loose for the Zen. Never spent that much on cable before.
I have a pair of 25 foot blue jeans cables (10 gauge) with bananas cold welded. I did a back to back comparison with a pair of 7 foot audioquest rocket 44's. Couldn't get the rocket's to stay in my amp very well at all and I actually preferred the sound of the blue jeans cables. I do like audioquest interconnects though and am using a pair of Diamond back rca's and will buy a pair of diamond back xlr's to replace a pair of monster interconnects when I have the money.
I pulled the trigger on the Acoustic Zen Satori. I'll post some comments after I get them later in the week.
Thanks to everyone for the feedback.
Mogami 2549 for interconnects and Mogami 2921 for speaker cable. You can get both for a rather inexpensive amount. I use Audioquest BFAs on all the 2921 speaker cable ends and the Pro-Fi connectors on the 2549 ICs. The less expensive Neutrik connectors are good also.
The AZ Satori's are hooked up and I'm breaking them in, but first impressions....much, much cleaner than the Monster XP. At higher volume there is no edginess, with more depth and a separation of instruments I have not heard before. Frequently when jazz trio or quartet members are playing competing riffs at the same volume, sounds often get smeared, not so with these cables.
I tried DH Labs T14's and they were just bright and thin sounding, no better definition compared to the AZ. The AZ sounds CLEAN and neutral. I've only been listening for 30 minutes or so, but they sound great and are giving me what I had hoped, accuracy with no edginess, no false sparkle. Accurate across the entire bandwidth is a great description so far.
The Az's are opening up as I am listening, it's amazing why just a little burn in is doing. Even more depth and sounds as though has added vertical dimension as well. I'm really gonna enjoy these.
This might be my issue: I simply might need more time on my AZ cables. I've been thinking of switching cables but what you are stating here makes sense to me. Interesting post.
i've been happy with my santori shotguns for a long time now. thinking you will be too.
Musically Inclined: how long have you had your AZ cables? Just curious.
Hard to put a number but my guess-timate is about 200 hours. I like the sound, don't get me wrong; but I am still not 100% satisfied for some reason. I came on Audiogon a few months ago trying to put things together. Followed a couple of advices. Tried a few other cables thanks to the generosity of the person that sold me some of the gear I have. Recently got in a heated debate over another brand because I didn't find it as marvelous as other posters. Ended with the conclusion that there is obviously good and bad advice here. Some of the bad is simply self-promotion by some people selling the products.
Don't want to go back on that issue.
So, in your opinion, Jambalaya, do I need a few more hours before I make another cable change to my system?
I've only had the Zens for a couple of days and have been initially impressed but they are different from the Monster XP. After listening for a while there seemed to be something missing that I liked about the XP so I reinstalled the Monster XP but just for couple songs and reaffirmed they are too bright so I know I am headed in the right direction at least with upgrading the speaker cables. When I started to reconnect the Zens I noticed ARROWS on the labels and since the cables don't come with instruction manuals (why would they?) I assumed it indicated the direction of "preferred current flow". And of course I had them installed the arrows headed to the amp instead of away from the amp to the speakers. https://www.google.com/search?q=acou...R2yBXHK5IqzWM:
OK, I hope I'm not going absolutely nuts, but I turned them around and could swear there is an improvement, a little more harmonics to the upper register of the piano and more "crash and bite" to percussion. I contacted AZ dealer who told me they needed at least 150 to 200 hours of burn in so you're well within the recommendation. Check out your cables and the arrows on the label, I don't know whether it will make any difference or not.
I am sure my cables need to burn in more but in your situation, it may be that there is "just something missing" and i would go with your gut instincts because this is a very subjective hobby. I now have a system which I feel like is 90% there and getting that last 10% is a bear.
With the satisfaction guarantees of Morrow Audio and Audio Advisor, I have cables from Morrow and Audioquest on the way. It's the only way I think I can decide, try them in my own home in my system.
Thanks for your reply, it's comforting to know I am not alone and going a little crazy.
How did the morrow and audioquest cables compare to the Satoris?
You may wish to checkout the REGA QUATTRO bi-wire as a "flat" speaker cable.(They work even better with the REGA COUPLE ICs) Both are made to REGA specs by KLOTZ in Germany.
The Quattro speaker cable is used as the internal wiring in their R9 speakers (and RS10s I think) and the COUPLE IC is standard issue with their $10K ISIS cdp. It also acquitted itself admirably until I upgraded to a NORDOST FREY XLR IC at 5 X the price.
I still use the QUATTRO speaker cable now in my "B" system. Being a flat speaker cable has its obvious advantages vis-a-vis the "WAF", as a bonus.
I sold off my ATLAS ASCENT 3.0 speaker cables cuz the REGA QUATTRO gave me about 95% of the performance in that sysytem at fraction of the price. $($1,200 vs $225).
Gene Rubin Audio thru his Online Store on Ebay carries them.
In my experience, re-installing (moving), any cables that have already been in your system whether it's sc, ic, or pc, will require that you give the cable time to play. This is true of cables that have gone through break-in. It may take hours and sometimes days before your system sound stabilizes. When cables are disconnected and moved, it alters the sound of a system. I think some folks may jump to erroneous conclusions about the sound of their system when changing out cables because they don't allow the system sound to re-stabilize. This has nothing to do with new cables, which are a different story that involves break-in.
I just purchased Stagger silver solids interconnects and they are the best I've ever heard (so far)
Combined with my 10 gauge van den Hul speaker cables they provide a really nice balanced sound
Then there's my power cords that allow the components to perform as designed.
I've found that the power cords and outlets provided some surprisingly good improvements to the 3D sound stage
If you need more details see www.image99.net/blog
The A6 is a very nice speaker. Honestly, I think your money would be better spent upgrading your source components. Just the way it is, IMO.