You are in the position I was heading. Some reviewer's like the Audience speaker cable a little better than the Valhallas, but they prefer the Valhalla IC. Since you have the IC why not give the Audience speaker cable a try. You could re-sell the Audience if it's not your cup of tea. Me, I bought the Verastarr IC's at auction for a steal and I'm floored! I'm still breaking them in but I'm truly impressed. There speaker wire looks awesome. If the IC's keep improving I'm going to give the speaker wire a shot. I currently use Cardas Golden Reference. Peace and Good Listening, Pat.
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having had valhallas'..total system of them...in the past i can tell you that the speaker cables are very good.....but...your system is very good and and should have speaker cables that would allow your system to show its' real stuff...the audience cables are also good..in my system not nearly as good as the valhallas'..however...but the valhallas' pale in comparison to the pranawire 'cosmos' speaker cables that joe cohen makes..if you truely want to hear what your system should sound like give him a call/mail and audition a pair...they are not cheap but your system will never sound better...
I did have the SPMs speaker cable then upgraded to the Valhalla speaker cable and to my ears the difference was night and day. The Valhalla is so much more open and cleaner sounding. I just picked up a Valhalla digital cable and power cable for the amp. Also and they took my system to an higher level. IMHO all Valhalla is the only way to go.
Not sure if you are still in the market, since your post is a few months old. I recently demoed the SPM, Valkyrja, and Valhalla speaker cables with my WATT/Puppies. Definitely noticeable steps in performance between the models. I also asked my wife (a patient non-audiophile) to listen to give me a reality check. She also immediately noticed the differences.
I'll describe the sound of cymbals as an example. With the SPM, they sounded good, but truncated and muffled compared to the other two. With the Valkyrja, they sounded great - more air and longer decay. With the Valhallas they were even better -- the sound lasted longer and had even more detail.
Personally, I was hoping the difference wouldn't be that noticeable, so that I could get the Valkyrjas and spend less. However, as many reviewers have said about the Valhallas: once you've heard them there's no going back.
You've probably heard that Valkyrja is being discontinued and replaced by Tyr. At CEDIA, a Nordost rep also said that something better than Valhalla is on the way.
My comment cannot be directly addressed to the speaker cable. However, the interconnects in a manufacturer's line and the speaker cable are either very similar or else, the interconnect compensates for some 'weakness' in the speaker cable.
In this case, I have had Nordost Valhalla and Valkyrja interconnects, and Valhalla speaker cable. I have found that the Valkyrja interconnect is the equivalent of "Valhalla lite." It is the difference, in plainer terms, between ice milk and ice cream. In this case, particularly noticeable in the solidity of images themselves, which is a function of the midbass lightness (which exists in BOTH models). I have found the images with Valhalla (speaker cable) to be less solid than they are with, say, Shunyta Andromeda speaker cable. Also, one of the problems with this is that brass, as an example, will not sound as sonorous (rich, the way it sounds in real life) or as "weighty" as it does (in real life). I've puzzled over this quite a bit over the last 18 months. And then, in the December 2005 issue of TAS (which subscribers have), Jonathan Valin reviews Tara Zero interconnects/speaker cables and finds them to have much richer tonal color and declares that this exposes the Valhallas utter "insubstantiality" in terms of solidity. I'm going back to MIT interconnects, which I've owned over the years, since 1985. I have never found any other interconnects to match the richness of MIT, compared to real life. I do NOT suggest that Synergistic, or Tara or some others cannot reproduce brass correctly: only that MIT does it -- in spades. If your hierarchy is not "utter transparency," which frankly comes at the expense of tonal color, you might want to look into other brands. Transparency as the ultimate criterion is absurd:a French horn ALWAYS has a golden glow, even if you're in a bad room, and can only hear it vaguely at the back of the orchestra. For me, tone color is the criterion, but I lost my way over the years in the search for the most "transparent" cable. Don't lose yours.
You may be correct that the Valhalla tend towards some leanness. And the whole concept of a 'transparent' piece of equipment is ridiculous. The Valhalla's strong suit is lower bass control, clarity, detail, and speed. They really seem to drive the music with a quicker pulse. There's no sagging of the rhythm, attack, or decay. If warmth is what one is looking for, then these may not be the answer. And such is the inherent difficulty in all audio equipment that one is usually buying something that has both advantages and disadvantages. We just have to realize what set of advantages and disadvantages our own ears prefer. Valhallas have taken some knocks on this forum, perhaps due to some reviewer hype when they first came out. Everybody likes to find their 'giant killers' as well.
Well, the Valhalla is old hat, once a ref. Some folks like them but cottage folks like Pure Note and Audience build comparable cables at bargain prices.
Notice the new Nordost lines. See this post:
Well I still have the same speaker cable but have added the lamm 2.2 hybrid amplifier in the place of the rowland 302 amp.
I am still in the market for a speaker cable and lamm recommends purist, kubala, nirvana, silversmith, and cardas. I might go with cardas because its well respected and the least expensive in the reference series.
I have tried the valhallas but not with current equipment. I simply don't have the cash nor the desire to spend even used $3,500 for speaker cables (which the valhalla would cost used). I am going to budget $2,000 for used cables through audiogon. The trick is which one is best for my system and the mid-range and vocals is now stunning so just want a speaker cable that might tighten the low end somewhat. The nordost is tight but a little lean. The lamm has very good bass but not as tight as the rowland was.
Karmapolice, you'll find cables at that price point that will destroy Valhalla which is perhaps the most overhyped and underachieving speaker wire on the market. Look at pre-owned Virtual Dynamics, Acoustic Zen, Stealth, Ridge Street, etc. Another thought may be a new pair of Zu Cable's Ibis. It is their top of the line and costs around $1200 new. 6moons gave it a superb review.