IMHO, Valhalla interconnects would bring additional detail, and possibly brightness (but that would depend on your source, if it is bright, the Valhalla would let it shine on through). They are an extremely detailed interconnect. (In fact I think they are ruthlessly revealing of any inferior electronics in your system.) That being said, your Halcro electronics are extremely high end, and therefore, going with the Valhalla cables would probably be an improvement over the Golden Reference cables, .... unless you don't want more detail. :-) (Which is exactly what you said you don't want!) Personally, having had the Golden Reference cables in my system, and now the Nordost Quattro Fil cables (Nordost's previous best cable before the Valhallas), I prefer the additional detail of the Nordost cables, versus the slight amount of warmth of the Golden Reference cables. (However, I do think highly of the Golden Reference cables, so it is not like they are a mediocre cable.) And, I should point out that I do use a cable with a slight amount of warmth as my speaker cables, (Audience AU24) just to balance out the system's sound.
If you are considering changing cables, I would look into the Jena Labs cables. They are very detailed, but they are not ruthlessly revealing like the Valhallas (as per a friend who has been experimenting with both), but according to him, they are slightly more musical. FYI, he ended up with the Jena Labs interconnect from his preamp to his amp, and Valhalla speaker cables. (He felt that going with both of either one, tipped the scale too much to either side of "not quite enough detail, but very musical" or "very revealing, but not musical enough". He feels that one of each works just right. (Both Jena Labs and Valhalla cables are both (almost) obscenely expensive, but since you own Halco equipment, that should not be an obstacle to you.)
My two cents worth.
Please realize that I am merely passing on his opinions regarding the differences between the Jena Labs and the Valhalla cables, so take that with as many grains of salt as you like! (I love the sound of his system, so I will state that whatever choices he has made has worked out incredibly well.)
Good Luck in your search!
My goodness, I like Valhalla cables in many applications but not here. Especially if you have speakers like WattPuppies, IMHO that would be a mismatch. Definitely additional detail, and maybe or maybe not adding brightness, but with those electronics a flatter, less organic low end I think, less rich. You have lots of speed with Halcro, but these cables would take away a bit of gestalt I think. What cables would I use? Actually maybe Synergistic Research Apex, they are a good cable, and often add just a touch of warmth and fullness to a system. Depends on your speakers though. I pretty much use Tara, but in an all MBL system, that apparently is fairly normal. Don't know how Tara would work with Halcro. The APex will give you almost the warmth of the Cardas, but with a bit more detail and a bigger soundstage I think.
Valhalls will add a leanness, more detail and more holographic imaging-at least they do that on front-end sources to pre-amp. The Jena Labs would be a better choice for you-but only the Dreamdancers beat Valhalla...not the lesser models. They have it all without the leanness of Valhalla.
You really should consider the Jorma Prime Interconnects. They are the best that I have heard todate.
I went from Cardas GR interconnects and speaker cables to Valhalla. I initially auditioned some Valhalla power cords for my amps and pre-amp. I was so thrilled with the improvement I later auditioned the Valhalla interconnect first and then the speaker cables.
I can't tell you if it will work in your system but in mine it most certainly did. Comparatively, what I heard in the context of my system (Avalon Eidolon Diamond - BAT VK150se mono amps - BAT at the time 51se pre-amp now upgraded to the REX - EMM Dac 6se? EMM CDSDse transport) was........
Starting with the highs in comparison the CGR was more forward and had a grainier texture to it. Valhalla opened the high end to a surprising degree. A good analogy would be like looking into the sky. Valhalla removed all the clouds and allowed me to see as far as the eye could see, it seemed endless.
For me the treble was addictive. Spacious, silky smooth, and most important had absolutely zero grit.
The mid-range with the Valhalla sounded dead on neutral in my system.
In the bottom end the CGR was fuller in the mid to upper bass but did not extend as low as the Valhalla or was it as detailed or tight. This added weight of the CGR in the bass while it made the lower mid-range sound fuller as well as the mid to upper bass it actually obscures detail in those frequencies.
Overall the Valhalla was faster, more resolute in all frequencies bringing "real" musical information regarding texture of tone, articulation, sound-staging, and for me was a lesson in neutrality. Also, I would like to point out that for me, inserting a Valhalla interconnect was great. When I went to both interconnects and speaker cables I was in just complete awe of what it did for the musicality of my system. Magic!!!
All this said, the Valhalla does cost a lot more $$$$ and it should be better than the CGR. For me the extra cost was well worth it.
Good luck in finding your magic,
I went from Valhallas to Antipodes Gold interconnects (after trying a lot of alternatives) and enjoy my system a lot more now. The Valhallas always made my system sound very impressive and it was hard to fault the sound, but there was somehow a lack of the tonal colour of the real thing, making the system sound a little mechanical. I found I would quickly lose interest in the music and go do something else. I don't think the Antipodes portray any less detail, it is just more harmonically rich and musical without any loss of detail or speed. I think you can do a lot better than the Cardas Golden Reference. I used to own some of those. But I don't think the Valhallas would be at the top of my list of recommended cables for your system.
Personallyl, I think the whole Cardas line is awful..their power cords are especially sinful. The thing about Nordost Valhalla is that it takes a very long time to break in. I don't hear a brightness, but rather a cleanliness, or clarity that really puts to shame those Cardas pipes.
I had a full Valhalla system and I can only tell you to AUDITION FIRST. I have since changed to cables that are less expensive, more resolved, much richer, more holographic, and on.
I suggest you call The Cable Company and arrange to audition Nordost and others BEFORE making any final decisions.
I've read some of your threads on the Synergistic Research range which interest me.
As I'm in Australia, I don't think The Cable Company will be happy to send me cables for testing?
If I don't want leaner, brighter or more vivid than the Cardas is currently giving me, but more space, depth and halographic imaging........which Tesla ICs would you suggest?
In my experience Valhalla is not bright, switching to Valhalla from Golden Reference is like taking the cotton out of your ears. You'll be listening to all your music over again because of what you missed with the Golden Reference.
Right now in my system I have all Synergistic Reference Tesla Apex, I did keep one Valhalla to use in between my turntable and Phono pre but moved that to my CD player and am now trying a Purist Audio Venustas phono cable. I would say any of the cables I'm using you would like, but since you are interested, I can highly recommend the Tesla Apex IC's and speaker cables.
I agree that the Valhalla is not bright per se, however it is the quality of the highs as contrasted to that of Tesla that is in question as well as other fundamental differences. In regard to highs it is the difference between organic and natural versus synthetic and grainy. With Valhalla in my system highs have an etched quality much like what I see when I apply too much sharpening to an image. "Sharpening" and "Detail" are two different things. Anyone who works with images in Photoshop knows that applying sharpness to an image does not create true "detail," applying sharpness actually obscures fine inner detail, while creating a flat "etched" and "grainy" appearance. This is exactly what I hear when listening to Valhalla in my system. With my Tesla cables I hear an organic transparent detail that sounds like live music presented in natural space. With Valhalla I hear a compressed two dimensional sound that unnaturally hovers between my speakers. With Tesla my room is transported to the live venue while with Valhalla I hear a stereo with the sound locked in a narrow relationship to my speakers.
All of this is of course academic until you hear your system properly cabled with Tesla cables properly matched to your system and speakers. Other factors include cable elevators for your speaker cables, and the proper cables between pre-and power amps, speaker cable models that match your speakers (Precision Ref vs. Apex really depends on your room as well as your system and speakers), the proper cable to voice your system between source and pre-amp, power cords, and so on.
I've been using Synergistic wires for a few years and the Tesla Apex sound very nice in my system. I picked up the Valhalla to use between my TT and phono preamp, although I've used them in the past but not an all Valhalla system. I tend to mix wires but usually not more than two brands. I trust your ears more than mine since I don't do a lot of A/B testing. I'll usually try a wire at one spot and run it for a few weeks to see how I like it. Right now I'm new to and listening just to my TT with the Purist Audio Venustas hooked up. I just wanted to add my thoughts to perhaps save one person from those Golden Reference wires, I think the OP's system deserves better.
Also, may I ask, do you have any experience or know anything about the Synergistic Research Tricon phono cable? I want to try those next.
I do have a turntable (need to update my system description). Anyway the Tricon Analog is like all other Tesla cables. Try it and let us know-I love mine.
I knew I wrote a review of the Tricon Analog but thought it had been "erased" by the Mods. Anyway here's a link to that review:
Thank you I did a Google search and did find your review, I have a set on order so I'll soon find out.