FWIW Joe Kubala and Howard Sosna give a thirty day trial on their cables and give you credit towards upgrades in thier line
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You didn't request this information, but I would add Xtreme Cables to your audition list. They bring my system closer to reality, offering phenomenal soundstage performance, notable weight, and resolution right up there with the best. I personally won't be looking any further for performance improvement from the cable category after discovering these.
Xtreme Cables Website Under Construction
I greatly prefer my Kubala cables to the Transparent cables I owned before. Granted the Kubala's are top of the line and the Transparent stuff was upper-mid-line, but overall it was not my cup of tea.
I used the cables with Bryston amps and later with Rowlands, and with Maggie 3.6's then Aerial 9's and Rogue preamp later Aesthetix.
No experience with Luminous or Poiema.
Go Kubala or try PRANA wire. I just swapped out my entire Transparent Reference and Reference XL cables for the DEVA series PRANA and feel sorry for those saving their hard earned money for overpriced Transparent MM (more money) when the PRANA blows it away in every way for a fraction of what Transparent charges. And this is coming from a die hard Transparent owner the past 12 years!
Prana is a newer cable but those who have heard it are raving. Good luck.
i also agree with hifimaniac regarding the pranawire cables...i have their 'cosmos' speaker cables and their 'samadhi' powercords and find them incredible..much better then transparent..valhallas'...purist audio venustas...and others..joe cohen is a pure professional gentleman and also allows auditions of his cables...do not buy any others until you try his cables..
I have heard great things about Kubala...but recently purchased the Prana Deva speaker wire. The speaker cable is truly special, very musical, high resolution and quiet. Some of the most natural sounding cable I have ever owned. I am taking delivery of the interconnect with Bochinno xlr's late this week and will post findings then on the interconnect. I know cables can be system dependent....but highly recommend at least trying the PRANA before making a final decision. They are VERY musical. It's just so natural sounding. The timing of the highs and low end, combined with the resolution is really nice. Plus, I notice that there is a noticeable increase in dynamics. You can turn up the volume the system just cruises right along!
Kmiller5.....to be honest i went straight to the cosmos line of the prana cables..at that time i was interested just in joe's speaker cables which,as it turned out,were better then i could have imagined. they are, by a long shot, the best speaker cables i have heard..in my system.i have since bought 1 of joe's new 'samadhi' pcs which, like the speaker cables,are the best i have heard. i plan on buying at least 2 more of them in the near future.
I was asked about my previous post and would like to clarify some things. I felt that the Transparent cables had a bigger soundstage, more air, and better bass. While I did not feel the Kubala did anything wrong, I felt that the Transparent did things much better. Also, when the Kubala was compared to some Signal Cable, the sound difference was almost indistinguishable.
I listened to the Expression and Fascination Speaker cables. The associated equipment was an Ayre V-3 amp, Krell Showcase Pre/Pro, Audioquest Cheetah I/C, and Vandersteen 2Ce Signature Speakers. Although they were used cables, I gave them a good 48 hrs to burn in and while they did nothing wrong, the Transparent just worked much much better for me.
I find the Kubala Emotion cables awesome on my 2 headphone systems (Stax Omega/007t & Sennheiser 650/Headroom Max). I did an A/B comparison with Cardas (G. Ref & G. Crosses) and PAD Audio Dominus (B) & the Kubalas left them all in the dust: less grain, much tighter bass, a more open & spacious sound. I never intended to spend what I did on Interconnects (especially for headphones) but the Kubalas were worth it. I'm just an ordinary user, not connected with anyone in the audio business.
I keep coming back to this thread because I have been in the middle of a serious comparison analysis of the Valhalla and Kubala Emotion ics . To each his own but an above comment is exactly why serious research is needed when an important component purchase is contemplated. If someone interested in Kubala cables read the above comment that a signal cable he had tried was just as good as one of the Kubalas then he would be seriously misguided. I have respect for Signal cables and own many of his products . They serve a purpose and are insanely inexpensive for the performance . That said however , the Kubala cables mop the floor with anything in their line and they probably should given the vast price difference. I am just tired of unqualified , outrageous claims that have absolutely no basis in truth being interjected in serious discussion posts. You dont need a " golden ear " to hear the difference given the system is capable of illustrating high resolution . Without such a system comments are baseless. We all have opinions and this forum is priceless to many of us in search of musical nirvana . I simply would like to see more responsibility in the manner in which we subjectively give opinions. The pen is mighty as there are many less educated in search of answers . Recklessly wielding it is dangerous and irresponsible .
I'll add another cable for you to consider: the Cerious Technologies. Some may "disbelieve" immediately when they see the prices and the new technology being used. I've owned and auditioned Valhalla, Silversmith (silver and Palladium),Transparent, HMS, Luminous, RS, the Indra Stealth, and many other cables, however. The Cerious Tech. interconnects are, by far, the best I've ever heard in my system. I'm using Elrod speaker cable, by the way, and am equally happy with those. I may try the Cerious Tech speaker cable, but I use a very long run and I am extremely happy. I strongly suggest that you at least consider and audition the Cerious Tech. Like many others, a 30 trial period, with refund, is part of the deal. Good luck.
The Kubala Emotiom cable is a Reference cable and is in the Top 5% of the industry. I also own the Signal cable in my TV system ,and I have to say that there is no comparison and certaily not even in the same league, but I did like them better than my Cardas, and still own them. I have had Transparent Reference, Valhalla, Jena Labs, Cardas Golden 5C, Ridge Street Audio, Supra, Siltech, and a few more. My fav for years was the Transparent Reference Speaker cable and the Valhalla IC. Seemed to work for me. Note: these cable test are very system dependent. Like when someone says I tried the Kubala and this other cable was better. Well maybe it was,and I think that is great, The question is, where you comparing apples to apples, which line of the Kubala where you comparing. For me I have been playing with cables for the last 2 years. I love reading this forums they are very educational, and learn so much from other poeple experiences.
I for 10 years used the Transparent Reference Speaker Cables, and the Valhalla IC. I thought this combination was perfect. Then I tried the Jena labs Valkyre Speaker cables, I was sold immediately, it offered a midrange that the Transparent Reference didn't offer, it was a new experience, plus it offered, sweeter highs and a deeper Bass extension. I called the guy who I bought the Jena from and asked him what did he replace the Jena's with and he said the Kubala-Sosna Emotion, I ordered those on a 30 day trial. WOW factor , again the speaker cable was even more reveling in the midrange, had excellent Bass and all around much more neutral sounding cable. I tried the Emotiom IC and was sold, as when i swithced back to the Valhalla i could hear where the Vahalla was bloated in the mids. Now the Power Cords which I think was totally unexpected, beat out the Elrod Signature and the Harmonix Studio Master the Emotion PC was much quieter and more revelling. Again that was in my system. The Kubala sound great out of the box and only need 48 hours for full break-in, a good thing as Martha would say.
I now have sold the Great Jenas, Transparent Reference, and my Reference Valhalla.
I know see that there are many New Products and looking forward to your reviews, and may even try out some new products.
I have read and re-read this thread many times the last month or so. I can relate to Brainwater's concern here of outrageous claims.
One mistake many of us make is that we judge a single component solely on how it works with the rest of one system. It is very clear when any product is lacking resolution or the soundstage instantly collapses but tonality differences are a different story. If there is suddenly a big shift in tonality, i.e., a peak or valley in the frequency response, perhaps this one component has uncovered a problem elsewhere in our system?
I'd like to know the meaning of Rch10's comment that networked cables are less focused than non-networked cables. Does this imply a grainy sound, or lack of pin-point imaging, or what? Is this indeed the cable's fault? I have not experienced this at all with the MIT 350 Proline Ref or Evo series nor the Transparent Ultra. But both of these have somewhat of a lean midrange and the Ultra a definite lack of definition and resolution on the top. Is this what you mean by focus? This sure sounds a lot like the Cardas Golden Cross and Harmonic Tech One as well, and these have no network box.
If there is one thing I have tried a hundred times besides line stages, it is ICs from the line stage to the amp. And I can count on both hands the cables out there that have NOT destroyed much of the 3-dimensionality of the performance .... and amazingly enough, MIT and Transparent are in this group .... as are NBS, K-S, and oh my, the Purist. I too ran with the Cardas Golden Cross for a long time but it masked so much of the detail on the top due to its severely exaggerated midrange warmth. The NBS Signature alone was a huge step in the right direction. Unfortunately most of these cables have frequency extension issues which calls into play other compromises but at least they get the fundamental aspect of the musical performance.
If KMiller5's Transparent cables were Ultras or lower in the line, I have no doubt the Transparent was preferred to the K-S in that system. The K-S would reveal all sorts of issues here that the Transparent cables mask due to Transparents rolled off top-end and mediocre resolution.
As I have covered in another A'gon thread earlier this week, Joe Kubala was at my home and one by one, he replaced my cables with the Emotion series. If there was ever a colored, overly warm system out there, it has been mine, and Art and JD can attest to this. But the K-S Emotion cables ruthlessly showed the weaknesses in all the cables they were replacing. To say these are some of the most revealing and resolving cables out there would be an understatement. For the first time I could hear room boundaries within the recording very clearly. Lyrics were more clear and the bass lines had rhythm associated to a musician rather than simply low frequency tones. People - this is the sign of an awesome cable!
It makes no sense to even consider such a product if you have not resolved other issues elsewhere. And as I learned, the power conditioner absolutely had to be done first to appreciate the resolution capabilities in the system that the K-S brought to the forefront like my cables had not.
Since Joe Kubala left all but the spkr cables and 2 power cords, I have had the opportunity to play with the K-S cables in my system for two nights now. One of these is a 10m Emotion IC from the Aesthetix Callisto Sig to the CAT JL-3 Sig amps. But I also took delivery of a 10m Purist Dominus Rev B for this link.
I have been running the Dominus for nearly 48 hours straight, CDP on repeat and the amps off during the night. I was told this would be required to get the Dominus settled down. I did cheat and listen to it the first night I hooked it up to make sure all was fine. And indeed it was muffled with not so good treble coverage as I was told would be the case when I first laid out this cable. But I knew something special was to come when I heard the explosive dynamics for just a minute or so.
With both cables laid out in the room and plugged into the Callisto, there is very minimal cable movement to plug one set or the other into the CAT amps. And I have discovered it is not necessary to power the amps off to swap cables. I just wish the Dominus's RCA connectors had ground connection first before hot like the K-S cable.
Coming off the MIT 350 EVO cable, each of these cables is a huge step forward but for very different reasons. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Emotion is the more accurate cable in terms of frequency response across the entire band. There is no frequency range that stands out. This is a statement product in my opinion in this regard. There is a most incredible naturalness to this product. Never is it fatiguing and never does it leave you wonder what is going on in the musical performance. Loads and loads of subtle queues that were before absent in the performance come in with extreme clarity and definition.
And then there is the Purist Dominus. Guido - I have found the cable of your dreams! This is an incredibly emotional cable...it almost brings tears to one's eyes. When you hear piano notes, it is absolutely beautiful. There is so much texture and overtones to the sound. For an expert who would know the differences from one piano to another or one pianist to another, this could easily be discerned with the Dominus. It conveys the body of the instrument like absolutely nothing that has crossed my path. The harmonic overtones are stunning. This alone makes this cable also a statement product. And as much as the K-S brought on a bass line beyond the MIT 350 EVO, the Dominus takes this to an even greater degree. There is so much more power and low-end authority without the boominess so often associated to such gains. JD will go nuts trying to nail everything down in my room that is now rattling like never before!
After several piano tracks, I tried some Carly Simon music, one of my wife's CDs, and the Dominus brought on such an awesome realism to her in the room. And did I forget to mention that this cable is Vi Vi Vi Vi.......vid? Wow, you want dynamics, it's all here.
And then a return to the K-S Emotion. Everything is back to a more laid back and oh so smooth but never boring presentation. All the music is still there but portrayed in a very different manner. There is a wee bit more sparkle to the highest percussion sounds that float in space just a little longer with the Emotion than the Dominus B. I can see why JD loves this cable so much as I do too. But in all honesty, my mind kept telling me to return to the Dominus. And once I did, the huge smile returned. JD, this is a must hear!
And Rgs92, if the Emotion left the Dominus B in the dust, your system was obviously not capable to hear the incredible qualities brought on by the Dominus.
My hat is off to the Kubala-Sosna Emotion cables. Without my front-end all loaded up with the Emotion cables, the differences between the Emotion and Dominus ICs would not have been so vivid and clear. JD is going to kill me here, but to slightly alter a quote I heard early this week, the K-S Emotion IC cable from the Callisto Sig to the CATs is more resolving but the Dominus B is more involving. They are both absolutely phenomenol products and it entirely comes down to personal taste once the rest of the system's nasties have been addressed. Until this is done, cables for the most part are simply going to mask or compliment issues elsewhere in the system.
In just a few days, I have heard two cables that transform my system like no cable change has done in over 5 years when I changed from Cardas Golden Cross and SilverAudio to NBS Statement.
Art, we need to get together again, at my place and yours while I still have many of these K-S Emotion cables. I would love to hear the Stereovox one more time.
John and Art,
I hope the two of you audition and compare the K-S Emotion and Stereovox interconnects with the Dominus thrown in into the mix. Let us know your observations and your perceived sonic characteristics of each of these. I am keenly interested because I will be upgrading my interconnects and speaker cables in the very near future. The K-S Emotion has been highly recommended and I will definitely try it. But I/Cs and S/Cs tend to be system dependent, so I'm trying to come up with a very short list to audition in my system.
Thanks and Enjoy,
John, this sounds great. I have one question/concern however. It sounds like you are running this experiment with your existing, and highly colored/bloated speaker cables still in place. Or did you go get a demo pair of KS speaker cable as we discussed? If no, then please remember your making conclusions (and reporting them)based on how this long interconnect run works with your existing speaker cable, and not how the cable its self actually effects the sonic characteristics.
Just something to consider...
JD, was my system not already highly colored and bloated at the time we dropped in that first K-S cable? And yet, what each subsequent K-S power cable and the IC, from DAC to Callisto, did as it replaced what I had was simply amazing. If we are going to focus so much on the flaws of the speaker cable, then we should continue on with this theme for probably everything in my system except the amps.
I was immediately made aware of the exaggerated lower midrange of the speaker cable. But does this prevent me from hearing the many differences in the two long ICs? This should apply to the flaws in the rest of the components elsewhere in my system. And if it does, then I have no business at all reporting my findings including the Power cords and that first IC.
Jafox, very insightful comments; I did hear many of the same things you mention. (By the way, I also used Carly Simon to test out the cables--her voice is an excellent measure of performance with vocals, male or female, as it is has a deep resonance & some roughness & grain, and is very distinctive. Her boxed set, Clouds in my Coffee, is my favorite.)
Yep, I admit my speakers were not broken in much at the time I tried the cables, so you may be right. Also, my speaker cables are *only* Cardas GRs, so this also affected things.
I did find that the PAD (Rev Bs) did immediately stand out as involving and drew me in, but it was almost too much of a good thing, a kind of larger-than-life, extra-saturated, super-sonorous sound that grew tiring after a while.
The Kubala Emotions produce a smaller, leaner, but, to my ears, a more honest sound.
(To restate, I strongly recommend trying the Kubalas with headphones.)
I also think you would enjoy give Stelth Indras (ICs) a try. They seem to have no signature sound at all.
Thanks for reading.
Ridge Street Audio Poiema!!! power cords and interconnects are the most neutral wires I have ever heard. In fact, I cannot imagine hearing a less colored and more neutral cable.
I've owned or heard in my system:
Purist Audio Venustas and Dominus
Revelation Audio Paradise
Ridge Street Audio Midnight Special Edition, Poiema!! and Poiema!!!
Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference and Silver Reference
Empirical Audio Holophonic PC
Z Squared Topline Au/Au
VH Audio Pulsar
Kimber Select 1030
I have read with great interest this thread. About 3 weeks ago now I got a pair of Virtual Dynamics Revelation SIGNATURE Ic's from Rick Schultz at the RMAF. I have them between my Source and preamp and am experiencing what I think are pretty impressive sonics. Very natural sounding with the sense that "nothing is being left out".
I tried Venustas at 1 point, but they were almost "too much", as I think Rgs92 commented. ALso have tried/am using Au24s, Cardas Golden Cross, Monster Sigma Retro, Siltech 88s and Stereovox 600 (old series)and Nirvana S-X in various locations (long story). Each has its strengths and weaknesses - I haven't found the weakness in the VD at this point - they just keep getting more and more revealing, without losing musicality. The Signatures aren't out yet - they will debut at CES in January.
I have another pair of Revelation Ic's and a biwire pair of Revelation speaker cables coming (if they ever clear customs in Montana - its been 4 days there so far...). According to Rick, my system will be "transformed". These cables were supposedly designed to compete with the Kubalas, et al., so I thought I would at least mention them. I'll be happy to report on my "mostly Revelation" system later if there is interest, either here or on another thread.
Hope this helps
Rich: I listened to Carly Simon again tonight and the coverage in her voice from the lows to the highs is not only so wonderful in a musical sense, but as you point it, it makes for a great evaluative tool.
As for using Cardas cables to compare the K-S to the Dominus, I have already been rung over the coals for doing this, but in my case, with the Coincident spkr cables. So I think we quickly learn that our conclusions and/or faults that we may identify to a new product under evaluation can ultimately be caused by something we already have in our system and not the new product at all.
Tvad, I have the Ridge Street Audio Poiema !!! Signature on my APL Denon 3910 and it made a significant improvement over the previous cable. No contest. Have you listened to any of the Ridge Street speaker cables? I currently use Acoustic Zen Satori shotgun, and am very pleased, but I'm considering bi-amping my speakers and if do, I might give the Ridge Street Audio speaker cables a try.
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
John, I will definitely taste test the Purist Dominus between linestage and amps. . . yet I 'resent' your pernicious attempts to lead me into temptation to commit such mortal sins of audiophile's gluttony!
. . . "and how many times did you commit the inPurist act this week, my son? . . and whith whom? . . and where?"
I would like to update a comment that I made previously on this board. Due to the posts on the board, I reauditioned the Kubala line. I would like to retract my previous statement. These cables are quite good and are definitely at the top of the pile. I don't know if there was a defect in the cables I heard before or if there was some other problem, but the results were quite different the second time around. In fact, I am seriously considering the Kubala line for my current system. At this point I've narrowed the field to Kubala, Pranawire, and Synergistic. If anyone can comment on the Emotion vs the Deva vs the Designers' Reference X2 I would love to hear.
I had been using Kharma's Supreme Ref, one notch below the Grand Ref series for both interconnect btwn my DCC2 (used as a DAC only now) and DartZeel Pre as well as for speaker cable. I recently purchased Stealth's Indra for the interconnect and the change was simply stunning. Have tried various cables and they all differ or better on in regard or the other...more about taste. But the Indra, at least to me, is entirely different. The soundstage simply explodes and speakers completely disappear. Resolution, frequency extension in both directions et al are top quiality but its uncanny ability to make your speakers disappear that is truly surprising and attractive. Never thought an interconnect would make so much change.
Not much mentioned here about systems or setups in detail, nor music used. Are any of you guys concert goers? How far apart are your speakers? How close do you sit? What kind of front end? Balanced or single ended? Have you owned a vast assortment of gear and cables? Do you know what real instruments sound like...or is a carly simon box set the new reference standard for critical listening? The best stuff requires proper setup and system synergy to shine...sometimes a cable can be horribly bad and yet make a mal-adjusted system sound alot better. My experience has found that nothing can beat a well tuned system that utilizes networked cables, but they must be the right cable for the job. The problem is most people haven't the foggiest idea of what a live unamplified band sounds like sans processing. Anyone have a new world records disc?...I thought not.
or is a carly simon box set the new reference standard for critical listening?Since I was the one who made reference to this as a musical source for component audition, I thought I'd inject a few comments:
Each day I play different music and it just happened to be this when I compared some cables. What exactly is wrong with Carly Simon music as a valid tool here? Do I need to use an "audiophile" recording or listen to someone's predefined music library to validate the sonic differences that I hear between components? She has an incredible voice, great range, and in many songs that also contain piano, this is in fact a great source to evaluate harmonic structure, piano articulation, decays and surprisingly enough, dynamic contrasts. And the LP is even more impressive.
Do you know what real instruments sound like
Yes, in fact I was at the Minneapolis Orchestra just last week for a Berlioz, Durati, Brahms, Tchaikovsky concert. And two things I heard were immediately clear: 1) so many systems that I have heard have far more high-frequency information than at such a concert; 2) we have a long way to go to produce the textures and decays of massed strings.
How far apart are your speakers?About 9 feet, center to center....SoundLab A1. They are about 5 feet into the room.
How close do you sit?Sometimes about 4 feet in front (thanks Jadem6 for making me aware of the magic here), and other times 8-9 feet.
What kind of front end?Clearaudio Ref TT with Koetsu RWS or Clearaudio Accurate cartridge into Aesthetix Io phono stage via Stealth Phono cable.
Balanced or single ended?Balanced from Io to Callisto to Rives PARC. Then RCA to CAT JL-3 Sig amps.
Have you owned a vast assortment of gear and cables?Yes until I finally learned that tuning a system through the use of non-linear cables, something that many people refer to as synergy, is not the way to assemble a music system.
The best stuff requires proper setup and system synergy to shineThanks, I'll try to keep this in mind. And again, what many people refer to as synergy, I think of as bandaiding and attempting to compensate for flaws elsewhere. However, this can be very effective to assemble quite an enjoyable system of midfi gear.
There is way too much focus on tonality here. But synergy, or balance as I like to think of it, can have much to do with finding products that excel in areas (like no other products) such as dynamic contrasts, portrayal of space, low-level resolution, etc. This to me is where a decision of a this-vs-that comes into a final purchase and not that a product has more bass or treble energy, etc.
sometimes a cable can be horribly bad and yet make a mal-adjusted system sound alot betterFunny you should mention this. As Joe Kubala pointed out to me when he was at my home, the MIT EVO 350 IC and the Coincident TRS speaker cable, both very clearly colored cables, actually worked quite well together; he was quite impressed at this. But one without the other, when used with his far more tonally-neutral cables, clearly showed the flaws of the cables I had used. And a comparison with Purist cables resulted in the same outcome.
My experience has found that nothing can beat a well tuned system that utilizes networked cablesMy experience indicates something much different. Are either of us right or wrong? No. After hearing the K-S, Purist, Jade and Stealth cable products, I have no interest to deal with networked cables. Those boxes are a royal pain as well.
The problem is most people haven't the foggiest idea of what a live unamplified band sounds like sans processingI do not know where you get your information about "most pepole", but the bottom line is .......... who cares if people have heard this or not. We all have our own musical preferences and we assemble an audio system that allows us to enjoy our music, amplified or not. And this is what it's all about.
Well said. Dave_b, you deserved that, and then some.
Jafox, you say:
Yes until I finally learned that tuning a system through the use of non-linear cables, something that many people refer to as synergy, is not the way to assemble a music system.Can you elaborate? You seem to be saying that linear cables are the key, but couldn't the same linear/non-linear argument be applied to other components? And how do you know which cables truly are linear (beside Joe Kubala saying that his are)? Which manufacturers don't make this claim? Are all the linear ones as expensive as K-S and Stealth?
Can you elaborate? You seem to be saying that linear cables are the key,No, I am simply saying that compensating for a system's resultant tonality flaws is not best served by applying tonally colored (non-linear cables) to achieve a perceived synergy.
but couldn't the same linear/non-linear argument be applied to other components?Absolutely. But with cables it is more evident, especially when many of the same type are in the system. An additive or subtractive signature becomes more and more evident as each one is inserted into the system. And this is easy to confirm by trying such an IC cable in the line-stage's tape loop.
And how do you know which cables truly are linear (beside Joe Kubala saying that his are)?I am not going by what Joe told me, I am reporting what I heard in my own system as each of my cables was replaced one-by-one by a K-S cable. The listening session lasted nearly 5 hours. And after Joe left my home, still with his cables here, I was able to play for another week with these, and mine and several Purist cables that had arrived that week. Listening tests with the other cables later that week confirmed what I had observed when Joe was here - the cables I had been using did indeed have some serious colorations.
Which manufacturers don't make this claim?Good point, and that is why I pay little or no attention to claims, and instead I audition such products in my own system.
Are all the linear ones as expensive as K-S and Stealth?I never intended to imply the Stealth cables' sonic attributes here. I have not done the same kinds of tests with their ICs and Speaker cables yet. But from the few Stealth cables I have heard here, and have since purchased, they have become the benchmark for all other cables to compare. I do hope to hear these vs. the Jade cables soon. Initial impressions with these is that they are mighty good.
As for finding that tonally neutral cable that is not so expensive, this might not be so difficult. The problem here is that it is difficult if not impossible to retain all the rest of the strengths that come with the higher-priced cables. Again, frequency-response is only a fraction of the attributes to be evaluated here. The capabilities of the Io/Callisto/JL-3 electronics makes it immediately evident when a cable destroys the dynamics and dimensionality of the music. And the Stealth cables have made me very aware of the magic still lurking in these electronics. A good front end and revealing speakers helps. 8-)
I suggest that synergy may still be a factor in this way: depending on the components in one's system, the cables that "destroy the dynamics and dimensionality of the music" will not always be the same, nor will those that preserve those characteristics always be the same. I'm not certain of this, but I suspect it's true.
Drubin, I guess it comes down to how we define synergy and also how we avoid getting trapped into choosing components, particularly cables, for the sake of correcting other flaws in our system. How often do we see a forum here where someone is asking for a cable that has more bass or may bring more emotion to their otherwise uninvolving system. Such a priority seems a bit goofy....unless the cable they are currently using is severely flawed relative to the other elements in the system.
I've played with many line stages, phono stages and amps, all tubed gear here, to know that at least the NBS, K-S, Purist and now Stealth cables have a consistent "house" sound from component to component. The system reacts much the same way as to whether or not it is an IC or PC of the same brand/model.
Putting aside the tonality issues for which people seem to focus on to match cables and components, I have found that cables that excel to bring through the spatial and dynamic characteristics of the music are consistent with any component. I may notice varying degrees of tonal peaks and valleys between the cables, but decaying notes, placement of musicians on the stage, or the initial strike of a piano note is either clearly there or not with each cable. Perhaps my findings would be very different with ss gear but I highly doubt it.
The hybrid Counterpoint NPS400 amp that I use now and then as a backup amp reacts the same way to the above cables as do the Wolcott and CAT amps. And the CAT Ultimate II that I had on loan for a few months reacts the same way to cables as does the Aesthetix Io/Callisto. Drop in Dominus cables here and these preamps respond the same way: greater dynamic contrasts and low-end extension vs. the NBS Statement. You can still hear the significant differences between the CAT and the Aesthetix. The refined cables allow me to hear both of these components to new levels. But the cables do not influence which component I ultimately purchase as the set of pros/cons between the two preamps remains consistent no matter cable is used to compare the two.