Stage III Concepts Cables - Any Advice/Feedback/Thoughts is deeply appreciated.


I have a mixed loom of Stage III Concepts Cables on loan to me from a local dealer and need some help.  
There is hardly any user/owner/member/end used type of info out there so I wanted to reach out. 

Here is what I am demoing now and below is the why...

Stage III Concepts GRYPHON XLR 1.5m Interconnects   
Stage III Concepts MAGNUS 3.0m Speaker Cables
Stage III Concepts MINOTAUR 2.0m Power Cable
Stage III Concepts KRAKEN 1.5m Power Cable

Here is the why:

I received my new Magico S5 MK II Speakers 2 weeks ago upgraded from the original S5's.  
I wanted to upgrade my pre and amp but was waiting to hear my new S5 MK II's with my present gear first. 

Magico S5 MK II Speakers
Pass Labs X250.8 amp
Simaudio Moon Evolution P-8 pre
Bricasti M1SE w/built in ethernet media player
SGC sonicTransporter ethernet Roon server w/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS
Kubala-Sosna Emotion Full Loom 

I loved my new speakers and so sold both my Pass X250.8 amp and my Simaudio P8 pre.
I bought Pass Labs XA-160.8 Monoblocks and was driving them direct with my Bricasti M1SE as pre/dac.

I was happy and while looking for a pre I stumbled into a local guy that had a Soulution 530 Integrated.
I thought you know what lets try it and if I like it then I will sell or trade my Pass mono's for a pre or use 530's preouts.

To make a long story longer I put it in my system and low and behold I like the Pass amps better. Maybe not a huge surprise as Pass gear is killer but then I phoned the local Soulution dealer to pick he brain. 

He told me the Pass amps should not sound better with S5 MK II's and it was due to the match of my Kubala-Sosna cables which work great with Pass, ARC, Ayre, Krell, etc. but Soulution is a different animal and needs a different cable. .
I thought OK here we go... Here comes the big old cable sales pitch but to be fair I called him. So I listened.

He loaned me the cables I have listed above to prove what he was saying was true.

You know what happened. Low and behold he was 100% right and they blew my mind. No snake oil but real results.  

They sound insane and actually really good with my Pass amps too but the match with Soulution is breath taking...

Now I see why the Soulution amps are darn expensive. They should recommended cables like Spectral and MIT does.  

So with so little info out there I wanted to ask for you guys for any and feedback, or opinions.

It is really expensive stuff and sure there is some savings because some is former gen cables and they are demo's but still its really expensive stuff so I just was hoping I could get some more info from you folks.

Sorry for long write up but wanted to share my thoughts and my situation and ask for some help on these.

Thanks 
       





1528a8b5 9c9b 446d 85c5 0d31e7947394Ag insider logo xs@2xfsmithjack
I’d stick with the Pass gear and get some MIT cables or even Audioquest.  Use recordings with voice and real acoustic instruments.  Live recordings are great as well to see if your system can catch that elusive..wow, that sounds organic and in the room vs wow, that sounds so detailed and fast.
Thanks  dave_b,
Yes I was going to keep my Pass mono's until I heard the Soulution 530 with Stage III Concept Cables and heard that elusive...wow like I've never heard before.

I wrote this thread because these cables cost as much as Pass mono's so just kind of trying to decide. Great stuff cost great money. I never spent this type of money on cables so kind of nervous and was hoping to get some feedback. 
In certain serious audiophile circles, outside Audiogon, where cost is rarely a consideration, three cable brands are most often thought of the most highly - Purist Audio Design, Stage III Concepts and Echole. I am only familiar with Purist, but I have trust in someone who knows them well. He says - top level. He uses Purist in his system, by the way.
You hear right. Cables are components as well and match is very important too. You might consider trying both Purist and Echole before buying Stage III cables if possible. If you do try Purist start with Dominus and then maybe go even higher.
I never heard of the cables you are auditioning, but if the Solution amp which is already extremely expensive needs cables that cost in the upper 4 figures to 5 figures, I would pass on them.  I just can't see why a piece of wire would cost 8K or 12K as it is just wire and there is probably 300% mark up on them.  Plus, if you do buy the cables and you upgrade again in the future, you will probably take a bath on the resale of your cables.

inna
Thank you so much, this is the exact type of information I was hoping to hear.

A couple of the cables are expensive but semi-normal for really good cables.

The Stage III Concepts KRAKEN 1.5m Power Cable and the Stage III Concepts GRYPHON XLR 1.5m Interconnects are just crazy expensive but these seem to be the straw that mixes the drink.

Unlike those other audiophile you spoke of for me cost is always a big consideration so I approach such a product with caution only because I have to but that said these cables unleashed a level of sound quality that I have never experienced before in my life. Not in my room or dealer or show. Of course many times dealers just have mix and matched stuff through together and shows we all know the problems those rigs face but man did this experience strike me. 

Not with a $55k amp nor $40k speakers nor $30k class a mono blocks nor $15k DAC's has my system ever responded like it did with these cables but then again $15k for a single pair of Interconnects and a power cable I guess will do that.. 

I plugged them in and was like - holly @#%& what is this?

Man I wish they just didn't cost so much because it sounds so good its almost like cheating. It's like they have access to something none of others are even aware of.

I mean how could ever the cable effect deniers every argue with what I heard. Night and day does not do it justice. Smack right between the eyes was more like it. I am smitten and now its either time to pay or let that sound be something I am chasing forever forward. Couple of crappy options really but we all know this hobby can get expensive and fast and especially when you leg or two stuck in the high end cable rabbit whole which is where I seem to have found myself....    



  
fsmithjack, sometimes I get the feeling that your perfect sound is any sound that is different than that which you heard before.
A lot of system changes at once. And a lot of focus on aesthetics. I would be inclined to make changes piecemeal to understand the baseline SQ and how to improve it. What is the status of your power? Conditioners? Dedicated power line(s) with earth grounds?
I am at a much lower level of performance, power cord on my Redgum integrated cost new more that the integrated. I bought both used and paid about the same for each. My speaker cables cost new exactly the same as speakers, and my main interconnects are more expensive than the phono stage. Yes, I tried less expensive cables and cords before getting all those - it didn't work and some didn't work at all. I will not go higher with cabling with my current system, it is very well balanced and needs nothing. Next step is completely new system. One day.
@fsmithjack I think you need to stop thinking about cables as accessories or tweaks and start thinking about them as part of a system. In my system for example over 50% of the retail cost is in accessories, room treatments and the like. If you like the combination of Stage III and Solution, and the combined cost of the setup is OK, then look at it as a system. By simplifying to an integrated you are saving on power cords and interconnects anyways.

Don't lose sleep wondering if there is another option out there instead go with your heart and stay with the system you like. You know you can then move up in the Magico or Soulution lines if you want and have the means and you can get off the crazy train of continual upgrades.

As others have mentioned learn to live with your speakers and amps and invest in all the other aspects of your system (room, power, isolation) all of which will yield clear benefits now you have the core items sorted. Most audiophiles have yet to draw out all that their current amps and speakers are capable of -- careful and painstaking tweaking can continue to push a system to new heights for many years.
jetter 

Why because rather than talking theory or some specs or quoting some review I actually take the chance and step up and buy the stuff that interests me?

Then I sometimes come on here when I am not sure about something and ask for help or advice? I try to be as honest as I can. I am certainly not a writer or anything like that so maybe it doesn't come accross great but I'm just trying to be honest.   

Most people on here help me out and I enjoy talking to them.

Others are like you make me think why do I even come on here but whatever I don't care?

So lets see because I buy new gear I must be dumb and not be able to tell the difference between good sound and new sound? 

Have you ever heard Stage III Concept cables? I never heard of them before I called the Soulution dealer.   

That is why I am asking for help. Are these legit serious cables and/or do others think they are great like I do? If I knew that then I would not be asking.  

So you don't think that someone who just added these items to their system could get better sound? I must just be different and I mistake for being better?  

Soulution 530 Integrated Amplifier 
Magico S5 MK II Speakers
Stage III Concepts GRYPHON XLR 1.5m Interconnects  
Stage III Concepts MAGNUS 3.0m Speaker Cables
Stage III Concepts MINOTAUR 2.0m Power Cable
Stage III Concepts KRAKEN 1.5m Power Cable
Solid Tech ROS 4 Reference Rack
Solid Tech ROS Amplifier stand 
2 Dedicated 20 amp Circulates with upgraded cable runs 
Synergistic Research Tranquility Base for under Bricasti M1SE
  

All this work and investment and its just different but I think its better? Whatever... 

Can anyone that has heard these cables or know of them help me out?
Thanks  

folkfreak

i am with you and good advice...

In fairness to me I thought I had the cables covered as I have a full loom of Kubala-Sosna Emotion / Elation cables and close to $30k MSRP invested in cables so I definitely took the cables seriously. 

I thought I was covered on the cable front until I took these Stage III on loan and then well I now know what I didn't know.

They are so much better. Way more than my S5 to S5 MK II upgrade, way more than Pass 160.8 from 250.8 and honestly the largest performance gain I've ever experienced in this hobby. 

Before I hooked the Stage III cables up I liked the Pass 160.8 way better than the Soulution 530. Way better. I was already preparing to ship the 530 out for a preamp and then I tried these Stage III and my system building was turned on its head.

Also, I agree with what you say about tweaks.

I have done quite a few tweaks as well. I have some really good Linear Power Supplies and premium digital cables, premium dc cables w/oyaide connectors OCXO Ethernet Switch with lps, premium RJ/E cables, Still point ultra's, symposium couplers, all black/black Solid Tech ROS 4 Reference rack and (2) ROS Reference amp stands, SRA platform, Synergistic Research Tranquility base platform and Symposium Svelte platform, eden component weights, ceramic cable holders,  ps audio noise harvesters, dedicated 20 amp outlets with the best furutech outlets and a bunch of  room treatments, as well as  Synergistic Research FEQ - Frequency Equalizer and a bunch of HFT's. 

I have hated every conditioner I have ever had. The crappy PS Audio P5, P10 and Running Springs, Audience, Isotech, Bybee, Shunyata, Audioquest, HiDiamond they all made my system worse and when after a while i plugged back into the wall I said awe much better. Sure there is ac line hash and crap that you can hear on the line but still the immediacy  and dynamic freedom is worth it. The wall has beat out every conditioner. I even tried and even non filter distributors and those were not any better. If I can find a good conditioner some day I am glad to use but trust me I have tried.

I would like to try one of those grounding units. I have not tried those yet.

I just don't want to people to think I was using a Soulution amplifier with crappy included cord with blue jean cables and no tweaks. I have been chasing cables and tweaks for years and have a ton invested there as well in that stuff.

Still with all of this those Stage III concept cable blew my system out of the water. 

I appreciate all the help and feedback. 

Thanks  



.   
celander

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't know about focus on aesthetics? Have you ever seen the Soulution 530 Integrated? It is one but ugly amp. My wife told me it looks like a college dorm fridge. Definitely not a good looking amp. The Pass Labs XA-160.8 Monoblock are awesome looking but they just got beat out by a college dorm fridge...lol My Magico S5 MK II looks exactly the same as my S5 MK I but I do like the new Platinum color better though. My old ones were that brown color and the new color is much better but they look like twins and cables they are in the back so can't really see them?

Well I do like your idea about earth grounds. I want to try one of those grounding boxes. Do they work well. I am not really familiar with those components? Do you use one? Is there one you recommend?
Thanks  

inna

Yes so you are committed to quality cables as well so that's good to know. Its just tough to put as much into cables as you have into your electronics but now a days if want your electronics and speakers to bloom at their best its the price we must pay.

I think the % of total system investment for cables has grown and as they keep getting better so do the electronics. As the electronics get better they now respond or take more advantage of the even better electronics so its all related.

The cables ends of the XLR IC's feel like like plastic where they plug into the back. I guess is carbon fiber or something but feels like and looks like plastic. Its really light and doesn't even lock but just rest in there. Kind of odd.     
My philosophy is to keep cables at least one step ahead of the active components because in this case I should be able to hear everything the active components are capable of. The same with power cords.
Signal transmission is very important, and it is difficult and quite expensive to design and make great cables. Good cables - not so difficult, as I understand.
Kubala Sosna has high reputation but not the highest. Besides, active components/cables match thing.
Out of curiosity you could try mixing Stage III and KS cables and cords in different ways and see what happens. First, I would put just one Stage III power cord on the Soulution amp and leave KS interconnects and speaker cables where they were, along the KS power cord on the dac. Sometimes, and I don't generalize, with the right power cord on the integrated difference between various but excellent interconnects and speaker cables can be less. But it won't disappear.
I've read that Stage III Concepts is known primarily for their power cords and not other interconnects but that's not to say that they don't sound good. It would be interesting to talk to the importer of the product to hear his opinion. http://aaudioimports.com/ShowBrand.asp?hBrand=13
Yeah, S3C seem to be heavy on blending metals and hand made hyperbole. Good luck with that stuff. I would seriously consider upper level MIT cables before deciding. You have no idea how holographic and tonally right your system can sound unless you try them. Joe Abrams has valuable advice as an industry veteran and can have MIT cables made for you at terrific prices. Check him out before you get fleeced. I think your kinda shopping for Gucci when considering the S3C cables.
dabe_b thanks but upper level MIT are insane prices. The Stage 3 are mostly demo and former gen so getting like 50% off type of thing so I don't I can get anywhere near MIT for that kind of money but I agree that upper level MIT are awesome but man those are expensive. 


Wire (interconnects, power cords, speaker cables, etc) are every bit as much a system component as the traditionally considered main components like amps and speakers. Equally important.

Also equally important: room treatment, vibration control (cones, shelves), and tweaks- demagnetizers, anti-static sprays, cable elevators, electrical connection cleaners and conditioners. Equally important.

Also equally important: room treatment, vibration control (cones, shelves), contact cleaners and conditioners, and "tweaks" like demagnetizers, anti-static spray, cable elevators, etc.

Obviously not all these things are created equal any more than all amps or speakers are. But the best of these will take your system to levels simply unreachable with any combination of major components.

To take just one example, $500 of Synergistic Research HFTs stuck on the walls, just that one little thing, will drop the noise floor and reduce grain and improve image focus and palpable presence more than just about anything you could get from any one component, and a whole lot more economically. Frankly the character of the improvement isn't even anything other components are even capable of addressing. Its the room! All the components can do is stir up the air. Room treatments like HFTs address that problem directly.

I'm unfamiliar with any of the components you have or are considering. I'm very familiar however with things like HFT, ECT, cable elevators, Cones and Shelves. I have yet to see the case where the most cost effective system improvement didn't involve using one or more of these. In like 30 years of looking.

Other than that, when it comes to the wire you asked about I would say do yourself a favor. Take whatever you're thinking of spending on your top candidate. Cut it in half. Then go see what Synergistic Research wire hits that price point. Throw a dart. Whatever. Just give it a listen. 

In fact, come to think of it, xoticspeed has a pair of Resolution Reference MkII interconnects for sale https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9ca72-synergistic-research-resolution-reference-mkii-interconne... I just bought a longer set of these same interconnects from him and despite their being from the mid-1990's Synergistic was so far ahead of everyone else back then that they are still true reference level quality even today. And a heck of a lot cheaper than what you're looking at. Even if they are not as good as what you're considering, for the difference in price you could throw up some HFTs and more, and then for sure be way ahead. That's the way to play the game: use all the players!







inna

You are the man!

Thank you

I knew I could get some good advice on Agon. Sure there are a bunch of snipers, no it all's, sales people and newbies talking like they are experts on here but there are a lot good, old regular audiophiles willing to try abd help out and that is why I am here for those people. 

So I switched everything up and kept my K/S Emotion IC's and SC's but added the Stage III Concepts MINOTAUR Power Cable to my Bricasti M1SE DAC/Network Player and the Stage III Concepts KRAKEN Power Cable for my Soulution 530 Int amp. Man the Kraken power cable and Soulution 530 Int are a match made in heaven. This power cable absolutely transforms this amp and not to another level but two but like 10 levels. 

With the K/S cables in the signal path the sound is a little softer and lighter and not quite the same level of resolution but it's warmer which is a nice little add and sure all equal I still prefer the Stage 3 but much closer than I would have ever guessed.

I miss a little of that tighter, resoluteness that only the very best can offer but still quite a nice sound and I like the added warmth which Soulution can use a bit of I think.

The thing is for the money savings I like this. I need to spend some time to really get a feel for it but man these Stage 3 power cables are insane. I thought it was the full loom and each part was pulling its respective weight but its the darn power cables that just change everything. Now I see what people would buy a $10,000 cable. I never have and never would but I had no idea it could change an amp entirely like this also. Not the same effect with Pass Labs though. So either Soulution is very receptive or effected by power cables which maybe with all their switching power supplies and what not but who know it sounds insanely good and I now get to this incredible increase in sound for 30% cost of what I was looking at yesterday. 

I may have fumbled my way through trying each cable here and there but your idea not only saved me a ton of time probably a ton of money also.
Thank you   




millercarbon

Thanks for the info. Yes I have some HFT's and love them.
Thanks 
Joe Abrams can have anything built for you at 50% to 60%. I’m pretty sure I can say that? Anyway, my name wouldn’t hurt if you want to mention it to him. Careful of the echo chamber in here from others who have gone off the deep end into Gucci Cables. MIT actually has advanced engineering behind it and is one of the original companies at the forefront of high end audio reproduction. Their stuff works, sans Merlin’s Metals.
fsmithjack, sorry this is what I meant to say. If you were a close friend I would say whoa baby, stop and smell the roses, you already have great equipment, your getting too into it.

fsmithjack -
Welcome! to the club. Cabling does make a difference as you have had the "experience". I am a cable guy first and foremost. K/S are very fine cables/cords indeed. Then, there exists the upper tier products Stage III, EnKlein, Echole...etc. Not for the faint of heart. Not for every Audiophile neither. Careful system matching and synergy is key.
I have had the aural pleasure of the Minotaur and Kraken PCs. In the right set-up, matching system, pure magic. I look forward to your next report as you spend more time with this brand. Be certain to throw every musical genre at them for best outcome.
Happy Listening!
Be careful of joining a “Club”....you may find yourself in a position of not being able to “Get Out!”  Rich wankers will always want the exclusive option, despite performance.
fsmithjack, that's interesting, isn't it ? I discovered it some time ago. Now you will just have to make a decision. And it certainly confirms that Stage III power cords are great, especially with some particular equipment. In my system Purist Audio Dominus on the integrated did the same trick but apparently with your Soulution amp and Stage III power cord the effect is profound.
Try to remove Stage III power cord from the dac and put KS back there, see what happens with just one Stage III cord on the amp.
Unless you already tried it and it was obviously much worse.
In fact, this experiment that you have been conducting is serious tuning.
dave_b 

Thanks - I would like to try MIT at 50% - 60% off but would have no idea where to start? So many different cables it’s so confusing? 
 Thanks 
Jafant 

Thank you, when I spoke of the really good and helpful Audiophile’s on Audiogon you are one of the people I am speaking about. You always have a knowledgeable take and a kind word of encouragement for your fellow members and it doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s appreciated. Thanks 
Right on, why don’t you compare Jafant’s system page to your own. Plenty of folks to help you on the path to audio nirvana, as long as its not their hard earned. Don’t worry, I am out of here and no longer interested.
Inna, 
Yes I tried it and these was some more drop off more showing that the Stage III power cables are monsters. I also have a couple power cables let’s over analog experiment when I owned a Surherland Duo phono Stage that are mono-blocks that require two power cables. 

I bought Audience Au24se LP Power Cables that have shown themselves to be very nice little source cables. 

One of these on my Bricasti was quite nice. Less then the Stage III and better then the K/S and decent. I need to listen more but starting to look like I can get away with just one power cable for my Soulution if I wanted but if I can a sell could of the cables I have I’m gong to try to get the two Stage III power supplies. 

I am really surprised by this because the Stage III Gryphon IC is a pretty serious cable but it seems my K/S Emotion is holding its own against and I never would have guessed that. 
I’m out as well...been down this path many times and they all lead to gear worship.  Somehow the real fire for music is diminished!  Good luck
Post removed 
Who cares about 30% overpriced if it sounds so good ? This particular dealer was absolutely correct in his recommendation. Dealers sell, this doesn't mean that they are all dishonest even to a degree.

ebm, you send me one more PM with any content and I will report you to Audiogon. 
Jetter I actually really appreciated your post before last. No worries. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated as well.

As is yours dave_b.

dave_b you provided some solid info and help.

Look, I was struggling trying to figure this out and sure enough I put my thoughts and issues on this website and I’m now in much better shape so I appreciate it.

I had to give a shout out to Jafant because he’s just such a gentlemen I appreciate him but that’s all that was.

I bought the Soulution with trading a Pre and cash and the Pass I bought by flipping my entire Analog front end, table, cables the works which I bought by flipping other stuff.

Other than gear that I traded or already owned and sold to raise funds the only actual money out of pocket was about $7000 which is pretty strong considering Pass Labs XA-160.8 and Soulution 530 and not cheap amps.

So now when I sell one of these I need to put back the $7000 back in account and the rest is my audio funds I can put back into my system.

So lets say i sell either for $15k then I have $8000 left to go back into my rig. It’s my audio money and most of it was invested in 2009 and I just keep pushing it forward by keeping my rig fresh and trying new stuff.

With my new Magico S5 MK II Speakers I really wanted to liquidate all my analog and extra stuff and get the best amp/Pre I could and that was my goal and what set me down this path.

I put my preamp for sale a couple weeks ago a guy with the Soulution 530 reached out to me asked me if I wanted to trade my pre and add some cash for the Soulution?

I was like no I don’t think so but looked into it a bit and was like man the Soulution gear is kind of bad a--. I said heck with it and did it. This was only a couple days after I got my Pass amps.

I was not looking to confuse myself or really get into any of this.


What I wanted to do was get a preamp for my Pass Labs and was looking long and hard at ARC REF 6.

But I pulled that trigger on the Soulution and plugged it in and was like dam. I like the Pass way better - what a waste of time and energy. I actually put it up for sale and had a guy in Singapore begging for it but he needs me to convert ot to 230v.

That was why I called the Soulution Dealer and that Dealer was like dude you have the wrong cables. I’m a Soulution Dealer I sell tons of these so trust me they are super particular about cables and insanely good sounding amps. I was like thinking on it.

He said hold off on the conversation to 230 and try these cables first.

I emailed the guy in Singapore. Nice guy, while Dealer is trying to get conversion parts for 230v I was going to try these cables.

i try them and them bam here I am.

Long story but I’m not some guy waking around stroking huge checks for all this gear and being like look at me and my gear I’m cool. That’s not it at all. I’m confused on what to do but doing a bit better now.

im a guy that kind of bit off more than I can chew and now don’t want to screw up going forward. I want to make the right choice and be happy with my choice.

Do I sell my Pass and spend $6000 - $8000 on new cables. Do I sell Soulution and spend $6000 - $8000 on a preamp for Pass?

Im trying to wrap my head around this situation and this is main reason why I am looking for help.

Sorry about typos I’m on my phone. Hope this sheds a little light on my plight.
Post removed 
As they say - road to truth has many turns. You of course would have to listen a little more but it seems to me that you definitely like Soulution/Magico match much more overall than Pass/Magico match. With the right cord on the amp and ideally all Stage III cabling.
Not familiar with Soulution but read about them. I guess, Soulution and Magico are much close to each other in terms of 'school of thought' than Pass to either of them, so the outcome of your experiment should not be surprising, at least this part of it.
Before you make your final decision, I would suggest playing poor quality recordings and see how they sound thru Soulution/Magico with both KS and Stage III interconnects and speaker cables.

Alright, Ed, no problem.
fsmithjack, thank you for understanding that I only wanted to help and I still do.  There is at least one long time member here who is encouraging you to buy the cables here as if he would.  I would guess his entire system cost less than the cables, but you would not know it by his talk.  I am just saying be very careful whose advice that you get from Agon you take to heart and it would be much preferable to have a really trusted source.  The fact is you know more about equipment than 99% of the people you are asking advice from.
Please reread dave_b’s, stereo5’s and celander’s advice above. You asked an honest question and they provided great advice. If you have not already pulled the trigger on the amps and cables, try to do nothing for a month or two and then decide. By then something twice as good may be out, that’s how it goes.
But you will, my boy. Cost of cables and cords is about 1/3 of the total. Two pairs of interconnects were bought new, speaker cables and four power cords used. Three sources - turntable, cassette deck and cd player, which I use very rarely.
I do definitely need to take a few weeks to decide.

Actually, one of the factors that is effecting me is the fact that the Pass needs two power cables and probably would be better with a preamp than just using my Bricasti direct. 

Retail on the Kraken PC is $10,400 which is insane but needing two of these verse just needing one is a big deal. Sure I am getting close to 60%+ off but still its a ton of money for a dang power cables...lol

So if keep the Pass I will then need pre and a couple power cables and honestly even so that would be much more in my comfort zone and in line with what I like and a choice that would be easier for me.

That said the Soulution with the expensive pc is better in my system. It just is and even my non aphile wife yes that sound much better and she can hear it but that is not with a pre and better power cables for the Pass. The Pass I am still using K/S power cables and I have learned power cables make a HUGE difference.

I always knew pc's we important and have over $10k retail into them already but never tried the really best of the best pc's and now I know. 

I think another big advantage for the Soulution is the 10,000 driver control vs 200 for the Pass. The Soulution is much more transparent and dynamic and resolute and just grabs the drivers by the throat and makes them submit. The bass is more precise and detailed but stronger and quicker the with Kraken pc. 

The Pass class a sound is much more loose and diffuse but still great in its own way and I have always loved the Pass Class A sound but it has never gone head to head with such a high resolution champ like the Soulution. It is not a bright either or cool sounding amp either. It has this sophisticated sheen to it. Not exactly warm but not cool either. It has some nice warmth as part of it. Nothing like the Pass Class A but still this sheen helps make that very high level of resolution so desirable.   


I don't think that you will settle for Pass after hearing the Soulution with right cabling. It is more likely that if you keep the Pass and sell the Soulution now you will soon sell the Pass too and will start all over again. You know what you strongly prefer, your wife agrees.
Among other things, you prefer European high class amplification.
I never heard about Soulution being compared to Pass, usually it is to other top Swiss amps and brands like Gryphon and Vitus.
Missed your question and appreciate your consideration of my comments.  Joe Abrams is a true veteran of the audio industry and will give you solid advice.  Take your time, call him and talk about all your concerns and cabling questions.  He is on audiogon.
520-867-8072 is Joe Abrams number!
fsmithjack, of course you know you system like no one else.  I am a certified public accountant, not a sales person, so this will sound, well, not like a salesman's polished spiel.

I do think celander provided sage advice...."I would be inclined to make changes piecemeal to understand the baseline SQ and how to improve it."  Its not that we don't think you should buy the Soulution, just to wait and first get your true baseline.  Repeating this, we are not saying don't buy it, just not yet.

Just running a possible scenario.  Do you think your new Magico's are fully broken in yet?  If not, there is a slight (albeit unlikely) possibility that when broken in their overall tonality will change in a way that what you perceive as the Soulution resolution now will end up over emphasizing the top end and you will wish you had the pass warmth back again. I did read a review that said the 530 will not emphasize the sound of a speaker that is already "light or bright" on the top.  

You weren't all that impressed with the Soulution with the first power cord.  What if there is a powercord (maybe less expensive even) that will elevate the Pass sound over the Soulution?  I know this sounds lame, but I wonder if your Soulution and Pass comparisons should be performed with stock PCs, then assume that the aftermarket PC would bring an equal amount of improvement to both makes.

I am sure you read up on the 530.  There is a lot of technology packed inside its case and it is fan cooled, in the unlikely event a repair was needed can it be done in the U.S.?  The couple of reviews I read were great.  I was surprised looking at the classified ads here that a lot of their gear is selling at less than half of original retail (sometimes more) so one would assume you are getting a great deal on it.  

Really just my rambling thoughts and good luck.
George 




George, 

Great advice and I agree with you for sure. There is no doubt that with stock power cords or rather (Kubala-Sosna Emotion PC’s) I much prefer the Pass Labs XA-160.8 monoblocks over the Soulution 530 Integrated.

I actually found that the Pass improves with power cables but most it’s overall character stays in tact it just shows nice improvement across the board where the Soulution is an entirely different amp which is odd and great at the same time. 

I pretty much have already decided to keep my Kubala-Sosna Emotion IC’s and SC’s because they sound great with both amps.

Sure the Stage 3 cables are better but not as much as I would have ever thought and actually the K/S cables bring some warmth and actually a little better base to the table.

All equal I would choise the Stage 3‘s but only after thinking hard about it but at $6000 more is a no brainer. Well I could sell my K/S and maybe it would only be $3000 more but still I like the extra warmth that the K/S provides.

Now I wasn’t looking to use cables as an EQ to tune my system but rather just speaking honestly about what I feel the differences are between these in my system. 


Now if you said to me to me I could get (2) Kraken Power Cables for the price of one - what amp would I take - then that might be different but two of these power cables cost almost as the Pass amps which is nuts but even so the Pass gets much better with the Kraken cables but just doesn’t jump out it’s shoes like the Soulution does. 

Just keeping my K/S IC, and SC’s is a huge savings. I’m psyched for this and not sure I would have got here so efficiently with out you guyses help.

I do want to get loaned a second Kraken PC to see the true effect of it on my Pass. I tried them with a lower level pair of Stage 3’s.

Part of me doesn’t want to because if I love them I’m stuck with buying two of those beasts.

Another cool thing about the Soulution 530 Integrated Amp is it has a really good phono Stage. I’ve never used it but people that know says it’s nothing like the throw in phono stages so many companies drop in their intergrateds but rather a true Reference quality phono. 

They say the stand alone Sountion phonostage the 550 which is like $18000 is only a hair better and it’s outstanding.

Ive never tried it so I don’t know for sure but it uses all those premium switching power supplies and top quality parts and it’s one of the main reason this amp goes for $55,000 new.

Me and many other with this amp don’t really think of the phono and are more intersted is pure sound quality but if you love the sound quality like I do and knowing it has this is really cool. 

I actully sold my entire analog front end to upgrade my amplification so now if I grab a decent table and cart I’m good to go. 

One guy told me the best thing about the 530 is it’s fantastic phonostage so I think it is a cool extra to this option. 

For records i dont need to buy a phonostage or another power cable or another set of phono Interconnects. They are all included. Cool with a capital C! 


fsmithjack, out of curiosity, if you don't mind, how much did you pay for the Soulution 530 ? How old is It ?
For $55k it should be a hell of an integrated. Gryphon Diablo 300, something that I would want is $19.5k or so with optional phono stage.
Hey inna, not quite sure how you could even ask.
Yeah, in my world it would be considered his personal information.  If I am not looking at this correctly let me know.