Your question is very general, not sure if you will get any useful responses that will help you in particular. I have tried 4-5 of the usual contenders in the $250-$300 retail
range, and to me the AZ Mc2 was the winner. Extracted the most detail with a smooth/natural sound no other cable I tried at this price could match.
Now if you are talking about price is no object, then there
are other cables that I am sure will beat the AZ Mc2, but you never stated what price you would pay.
I would stick with 1 meter cable, it would be hard to sell
.5 meter, and I doubt you can hear any improvement. I have
read some places that claim toslink cables sound better when they are 1.5 meter, but I don't use toslink only RCA.
As you know, "best" is very subjective. I sure like the Stealth Varidig -- I have the 1.5m balanced and the sound is very clear.
for me, the really best ones on my system are:
syn.research squared ref.,xlo LE.,kharma grande ref.
for my taste ,i maybe love kharma more than others,
i did not try but people says siltechs new g5
digital cable also is very good.
some dealer and factory say that digital cable must be 1.5 meter and never less than 1 meter
I compared the Madrigal AES/EBU directly to the comparably priced Cardas (each about $300. MSRP) AES/EBU-- each one meter. The Madrigal was extremely detailed but lacked pace, rhythm, and timing. This was between ML 37 transpot and ML 360S DAC. The Cardas did not have the detail of the Madrigal, but PRT is excellent and thus it is much more musical. I own the Cardas. I too doubt you could tell .5M from 1 M length. Good Luck. Craig.
I'm using a Nordost Silver Shadow 0.5m between my
Levinson 37 and the TacT RCS 2.0. Seems to work well.
There is no "best". Period. Depends on your rig. I like the Purist. Terrific dynamics. Price is terrific too....
Kharma Grand Reference,stunning, beat them all!
I like the stealth varidig balanced as well.
My best is the Mapleshade Double Helix digital IC that sells for a whopping $125. It really depends on the setup and your personal taste as this cable bettered a few of the ones listed above in my application, but it did not do the same in a friends system. Frustrating, isn't it?
Music Direct is touting the Creative Cable Concepts "Green Hornet" at $299.99. Has true 75 ohm impedance. I haven't heard, however.
After a number of demos, I decided on the Elco UDC-S. I thought it was very smooth and silky, no harshness at all which my HT cyberlink platinum had. Gold plated silver wire with cardas rhodium rcas and a kevlar cover. Very well built and a great sounding. Others to try: Cardas Lightning L15.
I've used multiple digital cables and never heard a one that made a difference. I personally think that expensive digital cables are the most ridiculous of any cable upgrade. You can find very good digital/video cable for <$100 from Monster, MIT, BetterCables, Kimber, etc.
My only experience is an audioquest dig. pro and my current illuminati and the latter was far superior, it was noticeable the moment I put it in between Meridian trans and dac.
I guess there is no best digital cable but rather one that best matches your system. I've tried many of them and found that all are good in their own right and system dependant. However, I've found 2 that seem to be system friendly and gave consistent results with the many systems that I tried it with. The 2 are the Cardas Lightning 15 & Elco Ultimate! Both are good performers for their price with good extensions in all frequencies. However, I would say that the Elco has the slight edge in smoothness & sweetness and gives the overall presentation a certain analog feeling that is captivating.
Should you need more info, feel free to email me at ramesh232singnet.com.sg
I'll be trying the AZ MC2 soon, too!
Enjoy & rgds,
I've also read exactly what Megasam mentions about the longer toslink lengths being better. Seems to be an issue with less jitter in one meter or 1.5 meter lengths.
I own the Mapleshade Double Helix and Cardas Lightning L-15, but am currently using the Kimber Illuminations D60 in my setup. Very dynamic and quick, but not harsh. The Cardas is a little fuller than the D60, but a also bit more veiled. The Mapleshade is the smoothest of the bunch, but also the least dynamic. It all depends on your system and tastes. Good luck!
Without a doubt, the Kharma Grand Reference. I have three in my system. They just do everything right. You've got to hear them to believe them. The lack of tonal coloration and representation of detail in a natural way is without peer. Not cheap, but worth it if you've dialed in everything else in your system.
glreno is right,kharma grand ref. is really one of the best.you can find one on www.usedcables.com.or call the cable company.
My experience with mapleshade is this; sounds terrific if you can stand the hum. My speakers had hum and static when I had the Ultrathin and used it between amp and pre. Now I've went back to the AQ emeralds. So, as an experiment, I plugged the ultrathins into my trans-dac, and my dac went berserk: it wouldnt stop ticking. I believe the hum and the ticking results becase the mapleshades are not shielded. Have you had similar problems with mapleshade products? And if you have, how have you curtailed them? I love the way mapleshades sound. Great price too. Too bad I can't use them in my system.
Jaykapur, You must have good digital equipment to hear a difference between digital cables. if you use a 800 digital cable between a 200 cd player and a 300 receiver, there will be no noticable difference between it (the 800 coax) and a 10 dollar TOS-link cable.
Hi Viggen: I have never had problems with hum and/or RFI with the Mapleshade Double Helix digital cable, so I'm afraid that I have no advice to offer. Oddly enough I am surrounded by radio and TV stations and one would think that this would arise. I am currently using a digital IC made up of the 47 Labs OTA cable kit, but still have the Mapleshade as it is a close second. Gunbei @ this site (who lives 45" south of me) had a similar problem with his Mapleshade IC and I do not think that it was ever resolved. I have gone as far as to make DIY IC's which have no twisting, insulation or shielding, at all, and still no hum (at least when I'm around anyway:-). On the other hand I had the worst problem with their PC's, which made my system sound like a transistor radio, but both PC's checked out fine when I returned them to Pierre and others were having great results with them in their systems. Maybe try working with Pierre on the problem (he's a smart guy and nice to talk to)?
Hmmm: I think that I would probably use a pair of analog cables between a CD player and a receiver (unless the $300 receiver had a built in DAC). No wonder you can't here any difference. The right cord for the right job.
The DRC, digital reference cable by Esoteric Conductors is my favorite. Nothing comes close and is worth every penny if $450/ meter is in your budget. Amazing speed, details; the harmonics are comepletely coherent and no fatigue whatsoever. Maybe you can find a set in usedcable.com.
What is the website for Esoteric Conductors? Did you compare the the DRC from Esoteric to the Purenote Epsilon digital? If so what were the results. I'm thinking of replacing my HT Platinum digital interconnect with the Epsilon since I'm very satisfied with the Epsilon RCA analogue interconnect which replaced my Truthlink.
Dekay, great to see you in here again bud! How are things 45" north of me?
Viggen, as Dekay mentioned I did have a problem with my Mapleshade Double Helix coax cable when I used it with my Simaudio Moon I-5. Whenever I turned my powered sub on/off it changed the sound in a very drastic manner. Eldon at Mapleshade was very conscientious in his service, he even called me to ask how things were going. In the end I decided to keep the cable and test it in a future system.
Well, I've since sold the I-5, bought an Electrocompaniet ECI-3 and also the Blue Circle BC21/BC22 combo. Guess what? The Mapleshade seems to fit very well with the Blue Circle gear, and no weird sonic anomalies either. Maybe I should have taken Eldon's advice and pestered Pierre more to find out what the original cause might have been.
I still swap around the Cardas Lightning L-15, Kimber Illuminations D60 and the Mapleshade. I must not have golden ears, because to me these three sound pretty darn close. The differences are very subtle. The D60 being the most dynamic and lively. The L-15 having a fuller balance. And the Mapleshade the easiest on the ears. But as I said the differences are VERY subtle. I'd have a tough time identifying each one if I were blindfolded.