Stunned by a cable upgrade

Yesterday I received a 12ft. pair of Analysis Plus Oval Nine speaker cable and I am absolutely stunned by the positive difference they have made in my setup. They replaced a 14 ft. biwired pair of DH Labs Silversonic T-14s. I ordered these on the advice and glowing reviews of fellow members of this forum in an attempt to tame my bright system. I am currently using a Sim Audio Moon I-5 integrated, Sonus Faber Concertinos, Musical Fidelity E60 CD player and NHT SW3P subwoofer.

I must say I've never had the experience of one component making such an audible difference. The DH Labs have a very in-your-face presentation, and the soundstage is flat by comparison. Changing to the Oval Nines I was shocked how much width and especially depth were added to the soundstage. It had the effect of opening backwards like an accordian. Amazing! All the glare was gone and the music became bigger, fuller and just seemed to roll out effortlessly. So full in fact, I had to adjust my subwoofer to compensate for the increased bass and corresponding mudiness.

I spent the entire evening marveling at how the music of Robby Longley, Sunny Sumter, Diana Krall, Jesse Cook, Inscendio, Yo Yo Ma, and Oscar Lopez came to life. My gold Dave Brubeck Time Out CD had always sounded so thin, but now flowed with an ease and roundness I had never enjoyed before. Paul Desmond's sax was so real. The instruments and voices on every CD I tried seemed more lifelike and natural.

Previously, I had tried various affordable interconnects from Cardas, Kimber, Tara, Monster and DH Labs thinking this might help. While the different interconnects did change the character of the sound, the shifts were pretty subtle. A pair of Cardas Golden Cross proved to be the most effective and expensive, but the problem still persisted. It's almost as if everything was bottlenecked at the speaker cables, and now the music seems to flow unrestrained.

The DH Labs are in biwire configuration. The Oval Nines are a single run. I would have thought the biwired cables would have an edge in spaciousness, but this is not the case in my system. I had considered changing out the Moon I-5 for a tube preamp/SS amp combo hoping to cure the leaness. With the Analysis Plus now in my system, I no longer have the urge to change my amp. I'm starting to see how good the Sim Audio really is. I also have on order a Bel Canto DAC 1.1 and I hope this will reap even greater rewards.

I know this must sound like a cheap plug for a product by a manufacturer, but it's not. I'm still amazed by the transformation my system made last night, especially since both cables have been so well reviewed and are fairly close in price. Has anyone else experienced such an improvement in their setup by changing cables? And if so, what were the components involved?
I'm glad that it worked out for you better than expected. It is always nice when a system change is a step forward and is reasonably priced. While my results with these cables were not to my liking, this just goes to show how much system compatability and personal taste come into play. There are NO absolutes when it comes to cabling. Sometimes the results can be both quite amazing and unpredictable.

Good listening and hope they make you happy for a long time to come. Sean
I use the bi-wire oval 9's-- suggest you replace your single run. I sold my $55/foot Audioquest Clears and Greens.
The analysis ovals are quite good.
I agree with Estrnad - I'm using Oval 9 for the bass run and Silver Ovals for the highs - first time I played throgh them, I was truly amazed at the bass content as well as the mid/high clarity.
Thanks for the great feedback everyone. If it wasn't for my fellow members, I wouldn't have discovered the Oval 9s in the first place.

Sean, I completely agree with you about system matching and personal taste. Just curious to hear what floats your boat. You might have a product or a combination I'd like to try myself. Thanks.

Would a double run consisting of Oval 9s and Silver Ovals benefit my modest setup? Interesting idea. I'll make a decision about going back to biwiring after I've had the Bel Canto in my setup for awhile. For now, I'm quit happy.

Thanks again!
Gunbei you are on the right road, Oval 9 are the most natural sounding cables in their price range I have heard, allow a full week of burn in to hear them really blossom.
I bi-wire with double runs of Oval 9 because they are so cheap, keep your eyes open and you may find a used pair of
12ft Oval 9 here at Audiogon.

A bigger step will be made when you get the BC Dac 1.1, it will produce more improvement than any other change you have considered, let us know your experiences.

Also please get the Absolute Power cords for $49 from GTT Audio, these offer amazing performance for the money, embarass cords costing many times their price.
I had a very similar experience. My playback soundstage was like yours in that it was too flat and in-your-face. I was using Kimber 8tc in a shotgun bi-cable configuration. I switched to a pair of Transparent Super Bi-cable XL's. Wow what a difference! I'm using a Tice line conditioner, a Rega Planet cd, a Continuum (Coda) Audio Window pre, a Sonic Frontiers SFS-40 amp and a pair of NHT VT1.2's, all connected with Kimber Silver Streaks set up in a dedicated listening room. With the new speaker cables, everything opened up and became three dimensional with a ton more bass control. The Tranpsarents made my SFS-40 sound like my old Krell SS gear with the added quality of "air" from the tubes. The speaker cable upgrade was pricey (even picking up a demo pair, they are worth more than any one piece of my system) but worth every penny. I was fortunate in that my local HiFi shop let me try an in-home demo before laying down the long green.
Megasam, YOU were the main person to point me in the direction of the Oval 9s and Bel Canto. Remember my e-mail? :) Absolute Power cords? OK, I'll try those too. Will they work with my Monster HTS2000 Power Strip? On which component will they have the most benefit? CD? DAC? Amp? Heck, for $49, I should do them all!

Creeper, your experience sounds very much like mine, only you have better equipment! I'm now enjoying 3-D sound for the first time too. This is great!
Gunbei, I am thrilled for you. Great to hear from someone who is knocked out by a wire change. It will only get better when you get your PCs. Best to you.
Gunbei, yes use Absolute cords with your Monster HTS 2000,
you only need 3 for your system, CDP, BC Dac 1.1, Sim Moon
I-5, $150 total. I know it sounds like I am hyping but these cords are amazing, you will not regret it IMO.
Oval 9 bi-wire is outstanding in my system as well.
Isn't it great when the system takes a jump? You're all giving some excellent advice. I did find the absolute power cord a definate improvement over the stock power cord on my own simaudio 4070SE so I would suspect the sim l-5 would also enjoy the cord...I'm now believeing almost any audio power cord is better than what is free with the gear. My biggest jump in wires was going from the red dawns to the acoustic zen satori speaker wire and matrix my system the zens stomped on the grave of the red dawns while singing "we will, we will, rock you." This is not to dishonor the fine reputation of the red dawns but they were simply bested in every possible way in my system......I couldn't get any work done for a week......cheers, Bluenose
Megasam, I have already contacted GTT Audio through Audiogon. If all the cord does is clean up the sound a bit, I'll be very happy. Can't beat the price either. Thanks!
It is so fun to hear people so excited when a discovery is made. Excellant post Gunbei, it was well written, excellant information, and the type of post I can believe, understand and I think helpful to every one. Thank-you, J.D.
Bluenose, I know just how you feel. I was having so much fun re-listening to my CD collection I didn't want to go to sleep last night! What speakers are you running with your 4070SE and Satoris?

Thanks for the kind words Jadem6. I'd been reading about other people making great audio discoveries and always wondered if they were exagerating. Well, add me to the list of audio yarn-spinners!

Now I can't wait for the Bel Canto to arrive. It's so fun being an audio newbie!
Hello, Gunbie...I enjoyed your post. The sim 1-5 is a very musical integrated as are all of the moon pieces I've heard so far. I'm running the sim4070SE with newform research dr-8-2's....These were John Meyers top of the line when he started. They have the 30" ribbons and two 8" peerless drivers. I'm using mapleshade ribbon jumpers and running them single-wired....the cross over at 900 hz is hard to notice single wired, IMO. The Bel Canto is supposed to be won't get any work done. Oh, a free tweak...try liffing your monster off the floor. I have mine up on a tile, vibrapods and a footrub[the dr scholls type] sounds silly, I know, but try it and see what you hear...cheers, Bluenose
Gunbie, thanks for you excellent post. I have been using T-14 for 2 years now and am ready to upgrade. I just ordered Sim Audio W10 monoblocks and have been trying to narrow it down to two or three speaker cables to audition. Your post definitely puts Analysis cables on my short list. Glad your enjoying your system so much. What a great feeling! Steve
I also have had T14 for several years, and am ready to upgrade. I just started a new thread hoping to find someone who is familiar with the Oval9 and Harmonic Tech pro9. Due to location, I cant audition anything. This afternoon I started reading about the oval9, very interesting and impressive.
One of the great things about this forum is that so many members have alike ideas and are trying similar tweaks. I hope my comparison of the DH Labs and Analysis Plus speaker cables can help people with similar components to mine to get a better feel for the sonic differences of the two cables.

In no way did I mean this to be a slam on DH Labs. They are great cables for the price and they've served me well.

Bluenose, I've been very curious about the Newform Research ribbons. They're very cool looking too.

Sdzink, hopefully the Oval 9s work for you. Please beware that the overall sound of my system experienced a rounding out of the bottom end. If you're running full range speakers and are currently happy with the bass, you may lose some detail as I did. Luckily, I have a separate sub so adjustments are easy.

Jay, I haven't had a chance to listen to the Harmonic Techs. The two cables I mentioned are the only ones that have been in my system. Are you familiar with the sonic signature of those wires?

I hope this isn't inappropriate Audiogon etiquette for me to mention this. But for those of you interested, I purchased mine through Audiogon member Disco. His name is Scott and he offers the Oval 9s at a 20% discount for those of you interested in buying new. I also got a Kimber Illuminations D60 from him. He can also "cook" the wires for you if you wish. If you're a bit wary, check his feedback.
Reference buying cables from Disco--have no reservations--great Agon member and seller. Fast service at best prices you'll find.
Good post Gunbei, I am interested in the AP as well and was wondering if anybody tried the DH Labs Q-10. I have T-14 now, biwired and I'm wondering if the silver for tweeter and copper for bass configuration of the Q-10 makes it a step up from the T-14. Regards,
I love the ribbons, Gunbie. One of my friends made me promise to never sell my speakers to anyone but him...I promised but I've had them since Sep/93. I just don't feel the need to change....Actually I was going to try the analysis plus 9's from Jody at Brooklyn audio but he suggested I try the satori as he felt in my system, the satori would be a last buy, they are that good...and he gave me a deal on taking the red dawn and selling it for me. He is the local dealer for Nordost and acoustic zen...and analysis plus. So I lucked out...I'm sure the analysis plus would have made me happy too. The red dawns were a little too much in my system and it always finding the "right" mix so to speak.....again, enjoy...regards, Bluenose
I also tried the AP Oval 9/Oval silver bi-wire with my Silverline Sonatinas. I also had some Harmonic Tech Pro-9's.
Both of these cables were up against my Silverline Audio Conductor bi-wire. Frankly, after reading all the glowing reviews on both cables I was unimpressed, well unimpressed vs my much cheaper SAC cables. Of course these replaced the much more expensive Tara Labs Master Gen II cables I as very fond of also. I listened for about two weeks, expecting the other cables to settle in but they never did, and I happily returned them and have had no urge to replace my current set the last two years. FWIW, my system is about 22k. What gives did I not give them enough time? Just curious, just slightly. MikE
Gunbui! thanks for that last post. While I had a similar experience with the AP 9's (bi-version), I also noticed a fairly substantial rounding of the bottom end. Do not misunderstand, I literally couldn't believe the sound at first, tons better. But on the bass I thought it was the interconnects I was using, here's why.

I changed a bunch of stuff all at once, the Ap's were last (can't recommend this procedure to others). When I first put the AP's in, lots more info was making it to the speakers, more than ever before (the speakers were the only thing not changed). So I just thought somewhere in the IC's I had one, or a pair, delivering the flabby bottom end, but didn't notice it until the new speaker cables.

I was waiting until summer to fiddle with the IC's to try and mitigate against this feature. Now you confirm the other possibilty-the AP's are maybe doing it.

Anyone else have this experience with the AP's? I know of at least one member who has hinted toward this in another thread of his own making, but didn't jump in there. Though that member may not know who he is to me, his system is very similar to mine. Further confirmation possibly. I thought about going to the AP silvers to see if the bass doesn't tighten up some, but as a last resort. The I/C's first.

My I/c's are XLR Syn. res. alpha sterlings pre to amp & Trans. premium digital link CD to pre.

One last thing. I also know Scott, good guy.
Very interesting Chstob. You noticed the same thing too? My interconnects are Cardas Golden Cross from CD to amp, and DH Labs Silver Pulse from amp to sub. I've been considering an interconnect change of Golden Cross to Golden Reference.

Did you see the posts on here about biwiring or a double-run with a combo of Silver Oval and Oval 9? Interesting idea, I think.
Yup. Saw that. Interesting, but I don't know what to do. I was planning on taking advantage of fatwyre's lender library this summer to try and figure it out. All it's gonna take is more money and more time.
It's an awesome experience when something like thiat happens. Great post Gunbei. I don't play a lot with cables, and I haven't heard of the AP Oval 9. What is the list price for a 10 foot pair? I've been a loyal fan of Magnan Vi's since a similar experience many years ago. That's what makes this hobby fun, when you stumble over something that just locks in, on your system.
Gunbei, here's a link as to my experience with the AP Oval 9's. If your happy with your system now, DON'T read it. Like many others, i too have tried tons of cables looking for something "better" even though i was completely happy with the results that i was already getting. Trying to "keep up with the Jones's" or "experience" everything that is out there will only muck things up and waste your time and money. Quit while your still ahead.

The system used in that "shoot-out" has changed quite a bit since then. The current set-up can be found here on Audiogon at the following link: WHOOPS... The "virtual systems" links are completly missing !!! Can't do that !!! Sean
Well, after reading that, I'm starting to think I'm crazy. My experience with the AP's is very different from yours. Its got me thinking though, about those differences. Nice job on the shootout. Easy readin for something so long.
Thanks. I tend to get wordy ( noooo ???) but try to keep it un der stand able : )

From the response that i've gotten from a few others that had similar results, AP's seem to do BAD things to speakers that are point sources. When trying to run a "simple" system with full range drivers (Lowther's, Walsh's, etc..) and NO crossover networks to come between the driver / amplifier interface is when you'll run into BIG problems with AP's. As one might expect, these types of systems can be VERY revealing due to the "less is more" type of thing. Corey Kapteyn from Audio Advisor even said to me "your speakers are EXTREMELY sensitive to what is upstream of them. ANYTHING that is not up to snuff will be revealed". As such, he told me that the Oval 9's sounded BAD out of the box but would get better with time. Given the fact that they Oval 9's that i ran were "demo's" and that i also put over 500+ hours on them rules out the "break in" theory. Evidently, the guy that had them before me didn't like them either, as he returned them also.

Everyone that i know of that has used these cables in "full range" systems have complained of the same results that i had with them. Like several of the others that had emailed me, we had all tried dozens of various speaker cables before. The Oval 9's were the ONLY cables that thinned out and hardened the systems to this extreme. Go figure.

For the record, i also tried the Oval 9's in my HT system. The speakers are large floorstanders with two woofers, a mid-woofer, soft dome mid and a soft dome tweeter. They also have VERY "parts-laden" crossover with impedance compensation networks and special attention to reflections and diffraction caused by the baffle and grilles, etc... I obtained the same results there, i.e. complete thinning of the bottom end and lower midrange along with a splashy treble.

As mentioned, these systems use completely different amps, cables, preamps, sources, etc... and DO sound different. Getting the same results from two different systems kind of confirmed it for me. When i asked my Brother if we could put them into his system to see what they did there, his response was "put them in MY system ??? Put them in the GARBAGE CAN !!!"

Believe me, i DID want to like them. I only ordered them after reading their "technical papers" and finding out that Von Schwiekert was going to use them to internally wire his new speakers. You can see by the date of my "shoot out" and considering that i had them for just slightly over a month that it was just shortly after they first came out. While it is things like this that confuse both of us, i know what i heard and experienced and have received confirmation from others with identical experiences.

Then again, i know several others that have the 9's or Oval 12's and LOVE them. They all say "they are sooooo warm sounding". I almost wonder if i didn't get a "funky" set or something ??? Maybe they don't have the greatest quality control ???

Something else that makes me wonder about them though is that, even though Michael Fremer did "rave" about them in one of his recent columns, he only gave them a paragraph or so. In comparison, the other speaker cable that he was reviewing got WAY more coverage with far more in-depth writing and details. Almost like he HAD to say something nice but didn't want to say TOO much about them.

If it seems like i've gone "back and forth" on this one a little bit, it is because i AM torn on this one. I just can't figure out how something that can be SOOOOO good did SOOOO poorly here and in a couple of different systems. Sean
Sean said it best, if it sounds good don't change it and muck it up trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.
Great article Sean! I have only had two cables in my system. The AP 9s and the DH Labs Silversonic T-14s they replaced. I must admit when I had a chance to sit down and listen to my setup again on saturday, it didn't have the same magic as thursday night. Could it be the amount of people watching basketball and hockey on a saturday afternoon mucking up my apartment's electrical circuits? That being said, I still preferred the Oval 9s to the T-14s in almost all areas.

I appreciate your consideration for my positive experience in warning me not to read your review. But hey, we "philes" are always looking for that next step up aren't we? For now, I'll just enjoy what I have. I'll be getting the BC DAC 1.1 soon and that should change the character of the sound. I'm also considering other speakers just so I'll have a second flavor and can jump back and forth according to my tastes at that moment.

Goertz MI-2's, huh? :)
I wouldn't do it that way...

Using your cables to effect a "complementary coloration is rarely a completely succesful way to go. The problem is simple, you are attempting to employ some sort of filter, and a filter can only remove information, never add. So, while you can get the overall sound to be more pleasant, and perhaps easier to listen to, it is rare that this method results in a truly "trancendental" system.

Much better is to work through your system and eliminate components, parts, and gear that is (in effect) causing the problem to begin with. Admittedly, this can be a daunting task, since everything *is* hooked together, and it is very difficult to *know* in advance what is actually "correct" and what is "warped."

IF the cable that was replaced, was replaced by an essentially "transparent" cable, *then* by all means the change is warrented and merited. But, IF this particular brand of cable is known to "smooth" out "bright" systems, then I would urge caution, and tell you all to beware.

My philosophy is to work to find the most transparent, and clean elements for my system, especially the cables, and then IF color is needed, to apply that judiciously and with purpose and control. This, rather than apply multiple colorations in an attempt to arrive back in the "center."
I've found that by striving for clean and transparent first that the ultimate results are far more satisfying and apparent.

This stands for everything, especially amps and speakers. I've never found it possible to make an average speaker or average amp sound any better than average - finding a cable that makes it listenable, is doing only that, making it listenable. Which, is not *all* bad, since listenable is better than not. However, if your system is really "tuned-in" and is really clean and clear, you'll be able to instantly hear the effects of things like a single length of new cable without a moment's hesitation, whereas in a system with "complementary colorations" you'll likely hear a change, but be hard pressed to clearly identify precisely what and where it is coming from or going to.

Of course, getting a system together like the one I suggest takes work and testing, and a bit of effort too...

_-_-bear (email me for my URL)
Sean, what a great cable shoot-out. Very thorough and objective. This is an interesting thread in the sense that it clearly points out how system dependent components can be.

I am currently using AP Oval 9's but without the negative effects that came across in your system. Maybe it's my speakers or the way that they are set up... I was using AQ Midnights on ML CLS's in the "full range" mode. I moved the Midnights to my SW800 subs which are crossed over at 100 Htz with an 18db per octave Butterworth high and low pass slopes. My only comparative reference points with this set up were AQ Argent and DH Q10. In my system the Oval 9's gave me the same positive sound staging effects that Gunbei described, which I why I kept it in my system.

I really wanted to try the Goertz MI2, based on all the good things I heard about them, but was concerned about their high inductance qualities -- reportedly not a good thing with electrostatics. I was also informed that my low output imedance amp (Mesa Baron) would compund this. Any experiences or informed opinions regarding this?

In regards to the bi-wired T14/ single Q10 question... according the DH Labs, Q10 solo is supposed to outperform bi-wired T14 in all areas... YMMV.

Good thread, folks.
I experienced the same when I tried a pair of nordost speaker cables with my ML aerius i. The sound was ear piercing with the nordost. The dealer suggusted transparent and that fixed the problem. I bought a new component, bat vk200 and was not willing to pay the price of the transparent balanced interconnects so I bought analysis plus(rca to balanced) do to my current setup. I am happy with them. My dealer who sold me the transparent cables thinks I should switch everything over to analysis, I'll audition before I do this. I agree cables do make a big difference, but its just like all the other equip., no dealer cares everything.. Good thread.. Pete
FWIW, both my brother and myself are using the Analysis Plus Oval Nine speaker cables in somewhat similar systems. We have exactly the same speakers and preamps. He uses a single run of 8' AP Oval Nine cables. I am using a 4' bi-wire pair. We have different, but similarly power rated, tube amps.

His system has very, very good bass reproduction(quantity and quality). My system is bass shy in comparison but still satisfactory.

Even though there are many similarities to our systems, there also many things that are disimilar, for one, he has a smaller listening room with 8' ceiling, I have a larger room with a cathedral ceiling that is 13' high on the left wall and 9' high on the right wall and a large opening to another room.

Since we live 250 miles apart I have never played with swapping out each others components, but it would be interesting. It is apparent that system synergy, acoustic environment, or both are actively involved in this equation.

Since the AP cables do not hinder excellent bass reproduction in his system, I believe it is IMPERATIVE for potential AP Oval Nine purchasers to audition the cable in their own systems to determine the suitability of this cable.

BOTTOM LINE, I think there are too many variables involved to make a valid general judgement about the bass performance of the AP Oval Nine cables. Even though I do not get the deep bass my brother gets I still love mine.

God bless.
Gunbei: The Goertz worked well for me in that system. I also have other systems that the Goertz did NOT "do its thing" in. As the "shoot-out" that i did shows, you can pretty much EXPECT different results in different systems.

Bear: I agree with you in that it is typically NOT a good thing to try and "filter" or "colour" a system back to neutrality. Then again, with SO many various equipment and cable combo's available, it is sometimes what gets the job done in a "quick & dirty" approach with more than reasonable results. Like anything else though, you can expect trade-offs with anything done in a "less than state of the art" approach.

Jim: The Goertz cables are high ( quite high ) in capacitance per foot. That is why some amps have a hard time with them and require the use of a zobel network at the speaker terminals. They are NOT high in inductance. Given that E-stats are capacitive by their very nature, i would NOT compound their reactance by adding more fuel to the fire and using a capacitive based cable. Take a look at what Nelson Pass wrote at in the "articles" section about speaker cables. Using some E-stat's that he used to run, he found that using a small gauge high inductance type speaker cable worked best with his amp in terms of stability and sound quality. This is a direct contradiction to what Bear states above, but once again, it worked in that specific system.

Wellfed: Your comments are right on the money. As i stated, my results are VERY puzzling to me to say the least. This does not mean that EVERYONE or EVERY SYSTEM will have the same results or personal tastes that i did. I simply wanted to present a different side of the coin so that others are aware of things like this happening. I do have to admit that i was initially pretty "pissed" and kind of felt "taken" or "cheated" since i had gotten such poor results from these cables compared to what MOST others were saying.

As to the differences in bass reproduction between you and your brothers system, i think your room dimensions pretty much say it all. You have a larger room with irregular dimensions. This means you will have a harder time pressurizing that area, especially with an opening that feeds into another room. Since you have the same speakers but with different volumes of room to feed, you would need a greater amount of "piston area" to achieve the same amount of low frequency output in your room compared to what he is getting in his room.

Like the old saying goes "Big room = Big speakers /little room = little speakers". While there are various reasons why this holds true along with more than a few exceptions, i think that you would need to add a sub(s) to your system in order to achieve similar results. Besides that, there may be some SUBTLE differences (compared to the room acoustics) between your amps and what they are capable of doing. Sean