OMG this may bring unclekrusty back out from under his rock!
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I'd shop around...I own ML+ ICs and I like the way they sound, but I think as good can be had from other manufactures for less. If you are buying used, I'd prolly say try em out as they will be more priced like they should be. I admit to not having extensive experience with the elite Transparent, but from what little I had I wasn't impressed.
I have Transparent MusicWave Plus speaker cables in my main system and really enjoy them a lot. I moved up a few months ago from MusicWave to the pluses and found that there was a more open and dynamic sound with the plus. Also, I have noted that my bass now goes a bit deeper and seems to be tighter and more focused than with the other cables.
Do be aware that I'm only using a standard one wire setup in my system - and not bi-wiring. My electronics are McIntosh and I'm driving Thiel 3.5 speakers. Hope this information is helpful.
I have used MIT since the Early 90's and still use them for my Hometheater but for 2 channel, the high end Transparent have made a larger difference(Positive) than any of my components. Both MIT and Transparent do their magic in the box, if you can't hear it then you saved yourself some money, but I tried about 10 brands (Kimber,Cardas,Custom Silver(Bright), Linn,VanDenHul, Taralabs, etc) and imaging, vocals and imaging were leaps and bound better in my system with Transparent (and good with MIT).
Transparent doesn't believe in bi-wire to much, so unless your speakers really require it, make the next step up in cable and go single wire. I upgraded to Transparent Ref Jumpers for my NHT 3.3's and the difference was a minimal (not worth the cost). I have bought/used Super (stop here if you don't have the highest resolving front end otherwise you will not gain a big benifit,Ultra,Reference and now Reference XL.
The Reason I still use MIT on my hometheater is you can get unbelievable prices on high end cables new from AudioAdvisor Closeouts and the used market. But Transparent are still much better for 2 channel critical listening in the lower cables than T2,M330 of MIT.
Make you speaker cables as short as possible. Make sure the Transparent cables are used the correct direction!!!
Actually the number one tweak on my system was adding ASC Studio Traps and generic diffusers on the side.
Either Buy used and try it (make sure to do transparent from front to back) or use an excellent dealer to try the cables as this will end up saving you money and time. Also if you buy Transparent Super and up, you can always upgrade to the next level and for the retail difference of the upgraded cable!
System synergy is what cables are all about. I used Transparent Reference for several years with my Wilson 5.1's. This was supposed to be a perfect match but I still kept running into to many recordings that were to forward, specifically massed strings. On a lark I got a pair of Monster 2.2's and an MIT 330SG with the impedance matched to my power amp. More air, more bloom, bigger soundstage and smoother strings.
In my system to my ears the newer, and much cheaper, stuff was a big move up. Maybe I just needed a cable with a coloration to balance out a coloration in my speakers. Who knows? The point is only you can decide what coloration you like. Never buy expensive cables without trying them. You just never know how'll they'll work in your system.
High priced? Yes. Overpriced? No. Same with their rating. I am more experienced with their higher line cables but I can say that they allow for a more musical, full-bodied presentation of music than any other cable I have heard. No grain, deep natural bass, smooth, non-HiFi high frequencies. I have heard them make relatively affordable speakers sound better than I could have imagined. Compare them to MIT and any other you are considering, but do not equate them with MIT. Both use networks but divergent designs. Listen for yourself and learn about their upgrade program.
Bad, bad cable.... in my humble opinion this is some of the most overpriced junk on the market and has no business in a music system. I would much rather use lamp cord than live with horrible mess that Transparent makes of the sound.
There are some good values out there but the best by far is the 47Labs OTA kit... a few days with this stuff and you'll begin to realise what's really goin' on.
oh yeah and PS... Patricia Barber is also horrible
My experience is only with Transparent interconnects. I have used both the Plus and the Super interconnects. I believe that you must carefully match them with your equipment. I have a tubed Conrad Johnson preamp and a FET solidstate amp feeding KEF 104s. In my system they cut off the highs and mushed up the bass. I switched over to Nordost Red Dawn and the Highs returned and the bass firmed up. My equipment called for a quick clear revealing interconnect and the Transparents were just too mellow. The Transparents should be used on a slightly bright or overly bright system. I really don't like the fact that you can use Transparent cables as a tone control. I would prefer a cable that passed the signal on without changing the signal as much. That said, I think that before you spend an arm and a leg for their cable, you need to try them with your system.
I auditioned the Music Wave, Plus, Super, and Ultra IC's and speaker cables about three years ago. I found that they each rolled-off at the higher frequencies. In the comparison with other brands at that time, NBS Monitor III, Harmonic Tech Pro Silways, Silver Hyacinths (sp?), JPS Superconductors, Nordost SPM and a few others; Transparent were my least favorite. You really need to try before you buy. The Cable Company, and eAudioNet both have cables you can audition.
I have owned the Supers and have auditioned the Ultras. I own the Reference cables now (speaker and interconnects). I have compared them to MIT and found the two to be quite different as someone said above. I love my Reference cables and am done with the cable search. However, if I was in the 'Super' price range, I would probably try other cables, like Harmonic Tech, Coincident, or Home Grown Silver Lace, etc. More bang for the buck. IMHO
Overpriced: Yes. Overrated: Yes. I've auditioned everything in their line up through Reference XL SS (like $9k/pr speaker cables). Definitely overrated and overpriced, Cardas' entry level line equals or betters the sound and quality to match, IMNSHO. The 47Lab stuff is good, they have a new line too (sort of a Goertz-style ribbon conductor but not as big) that looks/sounds promising.
Look through the marketing rubbish from Transparent someday. Their base of operations in Maine is like a Taj Mahal of high-end stuff. (most of which they probably got for free or cheap of course). They all live like kings, or so it seems. They dont' make their own wire (It's made elsewhere in new england). They sell stuff on accommodation to dealer's employees at 80-85% off retail(!) And you know they still make money at that price. (This is fact, not just postulation) You don't think it's overpriced (and overrated)? I sure do. Most cable is overpriced, but some of it is worse than others, and some sounds better than others... Transparent is at the bottom of the barrel in my book, at least as far as value. I could live with the sound, but just not worth it.
No personal offense intended, btw.
I agree that Transparent cables are way over the top overpriced. I say so with good confidence, because my best fried Dima Pronin here in Moscow works for the firm that imports Transparent cables to Russia. On recommendation of Audiogon-member Lloyd Guiberteau, I tried LAT International cables - ans was enthusiastic. Dima took the LAT SS-1000 speaker cable and the IC-200 interconnect to his firm and his own studio and compared them to a couple of Transparents, including expensive ones. Now, I shall order LAT for him, and Dima wants to sell his own Transparent.