Rich !! Yes
15 responses Add your response
I just happened across this thread, and I thought I would post my thoughts on this topic to it, (even though it was posted 8 years ago!), as I have fairly recently replaced my AU24 speaker cables, (bi-wired), with Nordost Valhalla speaker cables, (also bi-wired).
In my system, there is no doubt that the Valhallas are better than the AU24 cables. (The AU24 cables are very good cables, especially so for the money.) However, the transparency of the Valhallas is a bit better than the AU24 cables. The imaging and soundstaging seems a bit more precise using the Valhallas as well.
And I prefer the treble response of the Valhallas as well, even though I have heard that some people think that the Valhallas are a bit bright sounding. However, they work perfectly with my Lamm M2.1 monoblocks, which are just a tad dark sounding. So it matches up perfectly, IMHO.
And, I have also heard where some people think that the Valhallas are a bit lean in the mid-bass region. (I have noticed that there are an awful lot of people who take potshots at the Valhallas for some reason.) Anyway, the Valhallas seem to have tamed a bit of a mid-bass hump that my EgglestonWorks Andra II speakers seemed to have.
And yeah, I know some people say not to use cables as tone controls, but it seems to have worked very well in making my system sound much better than it has ever sounded before. So, to sum up, I am very, very happy with the sound of my system now, and I attribute some of this happiness to the Valhalla speaker cable upgrade. In fact, I consider myself done with my system as a whole, with the possible exception of an upgrade to my turntable.
My two cents worth anyway.
Hey Tom, Good Suggestion.
I am currently using Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects (balanced), from the preamp to amp, and these work pretty well with the Valhallas, as they are a similar design. Unfortunately, they are a 4.0 meter pair, (and to be honest, I really need a 4.5 to 5.0 meter pair, as these are stretched pretty tight), and the cost to upgrade to the Valhallas is pretty steep for cables of that length. But when I find I have a spare few thousand dollars lying around, (Yeah, right - in this economy?!), I will consider doing this upgrade.
Unless of course you'd like to donate a pair to me?
In which case, you'd become my new best friend!
(No, huh? Hey, it was worth a shot!)
There is a huge price difference between the Au24 and Nordost Vallhala. At this point you would have to compare the Au24e to the Valhalla.
Au24 - $1,400
Valhalla - $8,500
In any event IMHO...If it was me and I had 8K to spend on an upgrade...I would get the Au24e cables and use the extra 6-7K and upgrade another component or two in my system.
You are correct about the price difference, and yes, the cost of the Valhallas is quite expensive. (However, I should point out that the cost of bi-wired AU24 cables is almost double the normal cost, as they actually double the runs, as the cable is so thin that they can not split it like they can the Valhallas.) And I should point out that you are giving the NEW retail price of the cables.
However, most of us here on Audiogon buy our equipment used, and this is especially true of cables, (since they are easy to ship and rarely have any damage or wear and tear on them). Several years ago, when I bought my two pairs of AU 24 speakers cables, (2 meters for each pair), as I wanted to bi-wire them, the total cost was about $1,000. When I upgraded to the Valhallas a little over a year ago, the cost was about $3,000 to buy a 2 meter pair of bi-wired Valhallas. Therefore the cost difference was only $2,000. And when you get up to the performance level that I am at, the extra $2K is not nearly enough to upgrade any one piece of equipment, so the upgrade in sonics that I got from the Valhallas is money well spent, IMHO.
I should state that I have not heard the AU24E cables, but I have heard very good things about them. (In case you're wondering why I went with the Valhallas, it was because I had heard them in my friend's system, who also uses Lamm amps, and because a reviewer I know, also used both Lamm amps as well as EgglestonWorks Andra II speakers, which is my setup exactly.) Therefore, I had two very good references that indicated that there would be a good deal of system synergy using them, (which there is I am glad to say).
My two cents worth anyway.
I would like to point out that in your comparison of the two cables, in almost every instance you used the term "a bit" more that the Valhalla is better than the AU24 in one way or the other. This would seem to me, IMHO, that there is a very steep point of diminishing returns to go to the Valhalla. That is a ton of cash to drop to get "a bit" better. Is this worth all the extra dough to get a bit better? Most can't afford Valhallas. Personally I would say it isn't, even if I could afford them (which I can't). This is of course, nothing more than my opinion.
This is my beef with cables in general. Yes there is a good bit of difference between stock power cables, standard issue Radio shack/Monster IC's, zip cord speaker cables, and aftermarket "audiophile" cabling. But, there is a huge cliff diminishing returns to be jumped off after you get past say $500 for a PC, $800-$1K speaker cables, or $500-700 interconnects. My point being that once you get past that, most times cables might (or might not) sound slightly better, but most times just different. Then you spend mad money to get a 5-10% "perceived" improved performance, which you may or may not be able to hear. Many get on the merry go round and thousands of dollars later get off with the conclusion that mid level cabling is quite sufficient for their system.
I have found that ultimately what it boils down to is that personally what I have been doing when it comes to cables amounts to mostly tone controls. Please bring back bass and treble knobs to audiophile gear. It would save so much money spent on cabling. Ok, that's a whole other can of worms, but I believe it to be true!
Hi Kurt tank - Very much understood if you are basing this on the used price. But the huge difference in price (new) should not be ignored when saying is this cable a better bang for you dollar.
I have the Au24's throughout my system and did upgrade an interconnect to "e" and it was a huge improvement. I have heard the Valhalla's before in a pricey high end system, (though not in my own system)so to directly compare I cannot.
I do not doubt that the Valhalla is more transparent, quicker and more detailed - but how much more so can only be answered by auditioning and determining the best bang for the buck in ones own system.
If a system tends to the brighter side then Au24e, may be a better fit. If you have a warmer system perhaps the Valhalla is the better fit.
Lougiants, you are correct when you state:
I do not doubt that the Valhalla is more transparent, quicker and more detailed - but how much more so can only be answered by auditioning and determining the best bang for the buck in one's own system.
System synergy is everything in this hobby.
Snook2, on the other hand, I disagree with what you wrote:
When you spend a lot more money on a cable you will definitely thinks its better. That is until you spend way more on the next one.
This is not necessarily true.
(And I will point out that this statement sounds rather cynical of our hobby in general.)
When one does a direct comparison between two cables, and one is better than the other, that reveals a true upgrade, regardless of price. One needs to realize that system synergy is incredibly important in this hobby.
As an example: I had tried the Jena Labs Pathfinder speaker cables, which came immediately after my use of the AU24 cables. They are about the same price as the Valhallas, btw. These cables are very musical, especially through the mid-range, (more so than the Valhallas actually). But they seemed to have a bit of a treble roll off that just did not work well with my Lamm amps, (which are already a bit dark sounding). But in my friend's system, these cables sounded wonderful. I actually preferred my AU24 cables, as there was more system synergy, and so I continued my search for the perfect speaker cable for my system. (Which I believe I have found in the Valhallas.)