Buy a new CD player, you can't fix a bad component with cables.
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What is your CD source??? That would help. But Yes, the Van Den Hul The First (or The Second) is a good choice. I believe the Second is a shielded version of The First for HT or other shielded needs. I do not believe the First will compress the high end as much as the Second. (Must be the shielding???) I do not quite agree with Chelillngworth. You did not claim to have a bad CD player. All components sound bad with poorly matched cables.
Harshness in a CD (presuming it is a good to very good one) may well be due to electrical interference so a cable with good regection is probably what you need. I would reccommend the Analysis Plus Copper Oval (or the new single crystal) oval or for less money and slightly less result, the TMC cables. probably a Yellow in your case they are slightly warmer than the Whites (very stiff, but if you don't need to move things much they are superb). I think the tube buffer is a bad idea in principle all you can possibly be doing is inserting noise and distortion (pleasing though they may seem).
I went thru the IC thing earlier this year as I found myself with the same problem. Using a Meridian 506.24 to get a good cable match I wound up with Stealth FLR, upgraded to Stealth CWS and am now using Stealth PGS. I tried AQ Python, HT Pro-Silway & PSS to name a few others. As for speaker cable I was using AQ Crystal & upgraded to JPS Labs Superconductor+ Very good detail & high freq. extension with these cables without brightness. Also Stealth has a 30 day return policy less shipping as do some other cable dealers. Good luck in your search.
Buckingham - I would recommend that, before you "neuter" the sound of your system with interconnects, you might try a different power cord on the unit.
Adding a Shunyata Black Mamba would be a good place to start and will instantly remove the digital hash that NO interconnect can remove without damaging or limiting the signal from your source.
Once the new Power Cord is in your system, you can better determine the best IC's - which may be the ones you already have.
Thanks for all the help guys :)
I am getting my Quadlinks in the post this week. I am currently using AQ Hyperlitz 2 for spkr cables and Custom House Barracuda for IC's on the MF A3 CD Player. From most of the reviews I have heard, the A3 CD player isn't bright, so I'm guessing it's mostly cabling. I'm going to take all you considerations into account and stick with the Cardas Quadlink 5C to start and like BWhite said, the AC cord. My uncle is going to lend me his Cardas Golden Cross AC cord to try out. Will keep you posted.
ps. If the cabling doesn't make me happy I'm going to try and find a warmer/analog-like cd player like Chelillingworth said.
Hi Buckingham - the Cardas Golden PC will most certainly warm things up for you. I never found it to be the ultimate PC for source components since it actually seems to perform better on amps, but at least this will make you a believer about the benefits of aftermarket power cords.
Digital front ends have a way of tossing a large amount of "hash" back into the sound pool. The hash is often perceived as brightness.
You can drive yourself insane by changing interconnects to remove this but the only real way to solve the problem is with a good power cord. Lower resolution ICs will remove or choke the brightness but can also place constraints on the precious signal which audiophiles work so hard to preserve - therefore I must recommend a decent power cord for your source. This will remove the nasties and help you make better IC decisions in the future. Once you feel you've found the right power cord, then you will want to look at your ICs.
Another source of brightness could be your room.
Hi Guys! I'm currently listening to my test CD (Rush Soundtrack) and I am TOTALLY blown away by the intoxifying nature of the sound. Yes, you guessed right, I changed the AC cord to Cardas Golden Cross. It's like I'm listening to a totally different system. Barry, you are the man! And by the way, I like your website :) I also added another Golden Cross AC cord to the A3 integrated and WOW.. More Golden freshness.... Gotta go, I'm going to try them on the Magnum Etude Tuner and see how it works out.
Buckingham, I am glad the Golden Cross power cord worked out for you. I don't understand why 5 or 6 feet of power cord makes such an important difference but once you hear it, there is no going back.
If you ever get a few bucks to "invest" you might try a Shunyata (not the sidewinder) power cord on your source and move the Cardas Golden to your amp. For your preamp, almost anything will work okay - so.. try an Absolute Power cord or something decent but not too expensive.
Also, it is a good idea to mix and match power cords - be careful about using too many PC's from one manufacturer.
I am not sure what CD Player you are using but before you go out and purchase all of these cables, it is much easier to sell your current CD Player and purchase a used one here on Audiogon. You can pick up several great players in the $250-$450 range (used) that will sound great and not harsh or bright. (Ah Tjoeb, Micromega, Marantz)
There is no getting around a bad component. Replace it and then pick your cables. Cables do have sonic signatures but they cannot cure bad sound. Just make good sound better.
My 2 Cents for what it is worth...
Hey guys, just to clarify, I was only testing out the Golden Cross AC cord to see the differences when used with the CD only and with the CD and the integrated. I have decided that with my current budget I will buy a 5 foot Cardas Quadlink and use it on the CD player. I might make 2 2.5 foot lengths out of it and use it with my integrated also. Is there a big difference between the Golden Cross and the Quadlink? Obviously it will not be close the quality of the Golden Cross, but I will buy a PS Audio P300 before I get an AC cord that pricey.. RE The_kid's comments. The Musical Fidelity is about 1150 US new, and it's been rated very highly.. I tried it with the new AC cords and it finally started singing. I also tried it on my uncle's reference system and it sounded similar. It is not as warm sounding as other players, but it is a presentation that is full of energy and very deep soundstaging.
One more question, has anybody tried the Alpha Core products?
Buckingham, Believe it or not a power cord can shift the sound more than a PS Audio. I know it sounds crazy - but it is true. In my house a PS Audio made NO difference whatsoever.
The Quadlink should be okay on your digital source. I have never listened to the Quadlink but suspect it will be okay. If you can get your hands on an Absolute PC, try it too. They cost 50 dollars and many audiophiles swear by them.
The only real way to know which cord is best for you and your system is to try as many as possible.
Greetings Eric et al...
Got your email; I'll jump in here with my commentary per your request.
The U2000 fantastic one box internal DAC player is one of the smooooothest machines out there as is. Yes get a good AC cord, a good AC line conditioner, good interconnects, & enjoy. No need to filter through a tube buffer or an outboard DAC.
Cords that I've found work well with the EAD: Synergistic Reference AC, Custom Power Top Gun, JPS Digital, Kimber PK6, no doubt there are others...
My interconnects are the very neutral Synergistic Resolution Reference MKII (with active shielding), and for source component line conditioning I have the Chang Lightspeed 3200 plugged into a dedicated line.
The player sets on Black Diamond #4 cones, cones on a Black Diamond shelf, shelf on Vibrapods.
Sound is rich smooth airy & detailed. The player is fantastic; Optimize your rig for what the EAD is capable of doing for you. This is one really sweet machine.
Esoteric Audio Research Digital Reference comes in a version with a special filter/resolution enhancer. It's a patent pending design and IMHO beats all those outboard jitter filters. I have done A/B testing and there is no comparison. Although some might find $799 a meter out of reach, I'm sold on this new technology. It was not developed for the masses, as it is meticulously handmade. Just my .02.
i know there's a lot of "cable controversy". i agree that cabling can have a sonic impact on a system. however, i also agree w/those who say cabling should not be used to try & correct any perceived system deficiencies. get equipment that sounds good to your ears, on its own merits, regardles of cabling used. after you like the basic sound of the equipment, then, and *only* then, should you experiment w/different cabling, to fine-tune the sound. much more cost-effective, & much simpler to obtain best overall system results, imo...
ymmv, doug s.
Just hooked up the new used Cardas Quadlink 5c Speaker cables into the rig. Overall, getting more information to the speakers. There's no real signature to these cables.. They don't have any distinct flavor. Apparently it takes 3 days for Cardas cables to settle in once you've disconnected and reconnected them. Not too sure if this is true, I guess we'll see. So now I know what is causing the brightness on the cd player. All along it was just the AC! All I need is a nice AC cord like the Cardas Golden. I'll start with the Quadlink Cord and if that doesn't work out with the player, I'll move up or try something else that you guys recommend to warm it up (looking for as short as possible, and under $200USD).
I experimented with about 6 or 7 different cables up to $200 US used and settled on the Cardas Golden (if you watch here you'll see the odd one come up for around $180-$200). I have 2 in my system, one on my DVD/CD player and one on my line conditioner and am tempted from time to time to buy a 3rd to replace the Blue Circle BC 62 on my integrated. The Cardas is definitely "warmer" than the Blue Circle which I would describe as a very neutral cord, but the BC 62 is a superb cord, especially at the used price of $100-$125 that you occassionally see it at. But based on what you're saying and your satisfaction with the Golden on your CD player, I'd skip the quadlink and "go for the gold".
Another interesting thing happened when I hooked up the Cardas Golden Cord to the Magnum Etude Tuner. Usually the Multipath and Signal meters are stable and at perfect levels. After hooking up the Golden, the Multipath meter and the signal strength started to fluctuate periodically... Any ideas why this happened?
Bob, I really shouldn't have posted that last update because it really has nothing to to with the Thread! I apologize for posting it. I will contact you by email to discuss and if anybody else is interested please feel free to email me and I will let you know what the outcome is.
As for the CD player harshness issue, I think I'm going to try the Cardas Quadlink AC then I'll probably move up to the Cardas Golden AC in a jiffy. The reason being, I find the Golden very dark and warm sounding, although it does have some coloration, overall it clicks with my rig.
Not too sure if the Absolute PC will give me that warmth and golden effect. If anybody has thoughts on Cardas Golden's sound vs Absolute PC please let me know.
Hey guys, just got another message from Ramesh. He informed me of a new Canadian company called Virtual Dynamics www.virtualdynamics.ca
Apparently the Basic Power model from them is USD 29.95!!
And sounds like the Cardas Golden.. Anyways, I just called Rick over there and I'm going to get a few to try out.
Will keep you posted