While the description you have provided on your system is helpful, it would be more useful to know the brands/models of components in your system. If you're willing to list the components, I think our friendly and knowledgeable members (grin) will be better able to provide relevant info.
Rotel 971 cd
Sim Audio P-5 Pre
Bryston 3b-st Amp
PMC AB2 speakers
RCA >> XLR >> Speaker wire
Current cables are Tara labs 55 rca, DH labs BL1 xlr, Alpha core goertz pythons MI2 speaker cables
Sonoran cables, at least the older ones, would seem to be worth considering, as would the Harmonic Technologies. I would not necessarily go for the NBS Monitor (or Omega) line, but rather for the Statement and other named lines, which are a little sweeter sounding than the Monitor line.
used XLO signature would be excellent Interconnects especially at their going used prices see my review here on audiogon it directly compared harmonic technology magic with the XLO. for speaker cables XLO TYPE 5A are excellent et used prices also, these have 90% the performance of the double price signature speaker cables.
I have harmonic Tech cables and also acoustic zen which sound much the same as the harmonic tech's. They are both very neutral cables, not sure they would tame a hot treble.
Acoustic zen matrix reference ics
Thanks for the list of your components. IMO, I think the "problem" you describe may not, infact, be a "problem" since your system is doing what it should. Let me explain.
As it turns out, you and I have some similar components in our system (my system is listed -- see link below my name). The Bryston amp and the Alpha-Core speaker cables are the common factor between our systems, and based on that (and listening that I have done to several Sim Audio components), I think that our systems both provide a fairly accurate picture of the recordings being played. Unfortunately, I have no direct experience with your speakers, which obviously constitute the greatest single variable in yours (or anyone's) system.
If you try to achieve a "warmer, wetter" sound (we'll leave the obvious allusions alone...) by changing cables, I think you will simply change the entire presentation of your system, and the qualities you currently like (and want to preserve) will be altered.
Alpha-Core Python cables are essentially a twisted configuration of the MI2 cables, which I am currently using. I have found this cable to have all of the properties you want -- excellent bass, and balanced mids and highs. Further, the Bryston 3B-ST is essentially neutral, and is good enough to reveal the transparency and detail provided by your Sim Audio preamp (much as my Bryston SP-1 does). Sim Audio and Bryston preamps have very similar tonal qualities, and I think both fall in the neutral to very-slightly-warm range. This leads me to think that the high-frequency "edginess" you are hearing on some recordings is because your system is accurate and is passing along the audio signal with genuine fidelity -- exactly what you want your system to do.
All good high-end systems involve compromises, and they come with a "good news" and "bad news" feature: they reveal both the best and the worst on recordings. If the system simply made all recordings "pleasant" (i.e., homogenized), then the system is not accurate.
There are several things you could try that may or may not yield the result you are seeking: try a different interconnect such as the excellent Alpha-Core Goertz TQ2's or Kimber Hero's, and you might try them with RCA rather than XLR jacks (in some systems, RCA terminations may sound a bit more "laid back" than XLR's).
I realize that my comments may not be what you wanted to hear, but I reiterate that if you essentially like the sound of your system EXCEPT ON SOME RECORDINGS, then the issue is really with the recordings, not your system. Assuming that you intend to keep your current speakers, there are only two "sure fire" solutions that I can think of to solve the problem you describe:
1. don't play the recordings that bother you (something I began doing some years ago);
2. get a preamp that has tone controls that allow you to roll off the high frequencies on those recordings that bother you.
Hope you get some other responses that will provide advice that may not have occurred to me.
Best regards, and good listening.
The Harm Tech Truthlink does wonders with the top octave birdies on my MD100 tuner. A very fine cable for $125 used.
Works balanced, too, but I guess I'd still stick with Blue Heaven as a neutral pre/amp link, and soften the top only at the source, and with speaker cables, for which I'd try the remarkably-good Canare S11. Cheap and VERY popular with rec engineers.
Thanks for the responses.
I'll take a look at Sonoran, XLO, and acoustic zen as well as Harmonic Technology.
Nice system SD. I think that you are right in saying that my system is fairly neurtal and it may be the accurate picture which I'm not happy with on some recordings. I didn't want to use the word 'bright' (like older adcom of NHT stuff) because that is not the problem. I've listened to bright systems and they usually sound that way on all recordings. I am focusing on the treble since on lesser recordings with poor bass I am not bothered, but sizzling hi hats makes me want to change cds.
I am actually starting to consider an EQ or tone controls, which is a big step since I'm kind of a minimalist guy when it comes to audio. Something in the tape loop would allow me to only adjust things when needed. Ideas?
I like accuracy, otherwise I wouldn't have the system that I do. Just feel like I'd be happier with things a bit more forgiving so I can enjoy more of my music collection. I guess trading off on my top 10% of recordings for the bottom 50% is what I'm getting at.
Cardas is another brand you may want to give a listen too. They certainly do tend to be warm. Maybe give The Cable Company a call, they track folks systems and cables, so they have a good idea of what cable works well with which components. They may be able to assist you. 1-800-FATWYRE
On My system I always used XLO cables and Tara Labs. I found that Audioquest was to bright for my system and Tara was almost to laid back, But warm in my opinion, I used the Air 2's Interconnects. With XLO Speaker Cables, They very fast with excellent bass. I used there Reference Series. I think it was the 5a's.
Pass Aleph 2 Mono's
Pass Aleph Pre-amp
XLO and Tara Cables
Sold the damn thing because I couldn't afford any good speakers. Spent to much on Cable. Thats no Joke. If your not liking what your hear , my opinion is changing out Equipment, Cables are for twicking.
Forgot to mention that my PMC ab2 speakers are 6ohm. Read a couple posts where people describe alpha core speaker cable as better with 2-4 ohm speakers.
Anyone have experience with this?
Sounds like a job for Cardas Golden Cross, which is warmer than Golden Reference. Known to tame digital edge......worked for me!
Hi Nik, you may be a cable, an isolation rack, or an amp away from getting what you are looking for. Your amp and preamp are well regarded. Maybe a change in amps is all that is needed. Some of your favorite performers may not have the best recordings. To quit playing recordings that bother you, which may be many of you favorites, you then are letting your system dictate to you what you can or cannot listen to. You will also lose out on some of the greatest music recorded just because it wasn't recorded well. Why bother spending this kind of money on a system when you are at the mercy of a few well recorded CDs.
I believe you can have a high resolution system that can offer good sound from some of the poorer recorded music. To quit listeniong to music that bothers you says something isn't quite right in your system yet. If at all possible, try to listen to a Cary V12, a CJ tube amp, or one of the Quicksilver amps. You might be amazed at how many recordings you thought bothered you, now put you in that music heaven you mentioned. I mention these amps because they have that sound I think you are describing. I have know idea how many recordings I have, but I can enjoy 90% of them.
I wish you the best. But never let a system tell you who is in charge.
Purist Audio Design actually makes cables that have a layer of water pumped into the outer jacket. That covers the "wet" portion of your quest.
Put the cables in the microwave on high for 5 - 10 seconds, and then plug 'em in. That's the "warm" requirement.
So there you have it, warm and wet...
Dirty is fine with us.You are among friends,we will understand.Actually,yes,Purist Audio 'water'cables might work for you.I would suggest Maximus or Colossus.Perhaps,Nirvana cables could be a good choice as well.I don't like Cardas-it is quite pleasing but full of holes with exaggerated bass;'wet'won't happen with it.Colossus is, on the other hand,very linear and seductive.
I've owned or tried almost all of the highest of high end cables over the last 5 years+.
The ones I would suggest are the Wireworld Gold Eclipse III+ and the Wireworld Eclipse III+. The Gold's use solid silver wire and connectors..and the "normal" Eclipse are copper with solid copper RCA's with gold plate.
If you want to try before you buy...try the Cable Company. on line at (I think) fatwyre.com...no, I have nothing to do with that company, but have bought from them..as well as local dealers...they have a good used cable site as well.
It seems that interconnects and speaker cables fall mainly into 3 "sounds"
1. The type that people think are "fast and reveiling"..and with time actually are just lean and hot...and these you'll see for resale most often....there are many of them on this site....just not musical or real sounding, the kind of cables that you sit down to listen...and after a few cuts turn it down or off!
2. The "warm and tube like" ones that do what the old JBL L-100 speakers used to do...the "juke box" effect in the physco-acoustic octave. Just like the old loudness button on cheap gear....we humans are used to the vocal-lower midrange sound...your car radio and everything can do it...so cables that present this range more up front can fool you into that warm fuzzy sound...but you give up far to much information that the high-end is all about.
3. Cables that just give you more information accross the spectrum. Fingers sliding off the strings of an upright bass. A female vocal that you hear her lips part and take a breath before the next line she sings...and on the other cables you just hear the line...no breath no subtle sound when her lips part...etc.
For me the Wireworld Gold Elcipse III+ and Eclipse III+ are solid #3s and most others(and yes some of the most expensive and hyped) are in the #1 or #2 camp.
I don't want to name the others that I have owned or tried(mainly owned and lost money on) because threads like these can fall into people defending what they own...
I have tried these cables with high-end seperates(things like the CJ ART), high-end integrateds(like the BAT 300SE) and speakers from 'stats to planers..to dynamic box and boxless.
There are plenty of good cables out there.....but try the Wireworlds if you have the chance.