Valhalla vs. HMS vs Jena Labs vs. Shunyata Phoeni

Given the approximate street prices for the following speaker cables are as follows: Vahalla 4000 HMS 1200 Jena Labs Pathfinder 5000 Shunyate Phoenix 2000 Which cable would you recommend. My system is Talon Khorus X MK11 speakers, Tenor OTL monoblocks, Audio Aero cdp, and Edge Pre. What is the best overall cable and seperately what is the best value?
You should be comparing the Jena Labs Symphony speaker cables with the others you have mentioned.

All are very good, but with the Tenor amps, I would not use anything with silver.

Are you running the Capitole? If so, have you tried running it without the Edge?

Jonathan Tinn
Tenor Audio/EMM Labs/Jena Labs
Go to and buy the $99/1 m.
I have not compared the HMS and the Phoenix but between the valhalla and Jena's(I compared with the Valkyre) I prefered the Jena's- more natural soundstage and a blacker background were the most noticeable differences. The Jena's seemed to be slightly more natural sounding with out a glare that the valhalla's had in my system(this may not make sense to you folks who read this but that statement may be quoted in another thread soon).
Check out the review on the Pure Note Epsilon. Compares to HMS and Valhalla but much lower in price!
You should stick the Xindak FS-01 and FS-02 in addition to the Supra Sword speaker cables to demo. Each of these is below the $1k price point for 2M (except the FS-02 which is a bit more than $1k). In terms of sheer value each of these cables are very tough to beat.

Personally, I think you would be spinning your wheels spending upwards of $4k-$5k on speaker cables. It has been my experience at the end of the day, in a system that is truly reference in every component, cable, and cord, speaker cables make the LEAST amount of difference. A reference system can sound still absolutely amazing with speaker cable that is not quite up to par with other reference gear. Try sticking a sub-standard AC cord in a reference system, sound can go straight to hell in a handbasket.

Before spending $4k-5k on speaker cables, I would look at getting a seperate DAC. The Capitole is a great one box player, but getting the right DAC in your system (for say $2k-5k) would totally blow the Capitole away. It would be a much bigger gain in digital sound quality than moving from say even the Xindak FS-01 speaker cable to the Jena Pathfinder in your current system.

Remember, if the information (in the signal) is not there once it gets to the speaker cable, no matter how good of speaker cable it is, it is not going to add that information and make it better.

KF- Have you auditioned the Jena labs speaker cables yet? I know you love there interconnects but it seems hard to recommend other cables if you haven't listened yet.
Tireguy, I am not recommending any one speaker cable. I am recommending considering other areas of upgrade first(i.e. DAC) before spending upwards of $4k-5k on speaker cables. I am also recommending some less expensive speaker cables that have a good shot at competing with the above SCs.

No I have not tried any Jena speaker cables.

I had a brief session with the Valhallas and HMS Grand Finale (Revel Salons driven by ML monos) and I preferred the HMS by a small margin. They seemed to be as fast as the Nordost but had sort of more organic and polite character. Not a huge difference but in in this particular system the HMS were just a little more involving. The Valhallas might be better suited to a richer and more mellow system.

The HMS allow you to choose several different impedance settings. All my auditioning was done with the neutral setting so I can't say whether different settings would make a difference.
I use original Khorus' (w/Gamut amp) and have experimented with 6-8 cables ($1k-$4k) and have finally (?) settled on the HMS (replacing Wireworld Silver Eclipse 3).

IMS, they provided the greatest balance of detail and musicality of all I tried (though I haven't tried the ones you mentioned) but I agree with KF that there is a diminishing return with expensive speaker cables, but still there nonetheless.

The guy I bought the HMS from upgraded to the Pathfinder, BTW. I also used the Talon-marketed Ghost speaker cable (which is supposed to be similar in character to the Shunyata) which was good but not quite as dimensional and a little thinner.

I also use the HMS ICs and they made an even bigger improvement over others I used (Jena Symphony, Nordost QF, AZ Silver). Startling sense of presence and harmonic rightness. Highly recommend an audition.
I am the one who had HMS Grand Finale's of which I sold to the gentleman above. In fact I still have a pair of the HMS IC's single ended and yesterday ordered another longer 5 foot pair of Jena's balanced Pathfinders. The Pathfinders have to be heard to understand why they are so wonderful. I find them to be best in my system.