gooeseberry, you may find this of interest. I posted this in another thread a while back. I know nothing about the Origin Live (silver?) tonearm cable, so I am not ruling out the possibility that it is a “better” cable than the AudioNote. However, given my experience as detailed below and considering the generally acknowledged quality of the cables that the AN was compared to, when OL says “vastly superior”......I kinda doubt it. And why make a claim like that? Good luck.
Thanks Opus88, for posting your impressions of the Cardas and Discovery tonearm wire harnesses. The rewiring of tonearms with a continuous run of wire from cartridge clip to phono input is something that I have always felt is conspicuously rare among the many tweaks available to an audiophile; specially when it can be done externally, as I did. The benefits of eliminating several solder joints, plugs, and the continuity of type of wire all the way to phono preamp are, in my experience, as significant as major component upgrades. However, as every experienced audiophile knows (or should know), synergy is the key to good sound, and there is still much that we don't understand about what exactly, in the technical realm, creates good synergy in the aural realm. Then, of course, there is the issue of personal preference.
The two wire harnesses that Opus66 writes about are the wires that I rewired my Eminent Technology 2 air bearing tonearm with for the first (Cardas) and second (Discovery)times. Over the course of the many years that I have used that tonearm I have rewired it three times. I purchased it wired with VDH MCS150, and it is currently wired with Audionote silver. I used it for a minimum of three years with each of those wires, and with the exception of the VDH, always with one continuous run to preamp. I have used a variety of different cartridges of the MM, and primarily MC types. The arm has been mounted on three diffeent tables, and for the last three years on a TNT MK6, on which I have used the Cardas, Discovery, and AN wires. Amplification has been varied, but mainly of the tube variety. Point is, I feel I have a pretty good idea of how all four wires sound in my system.
My system definitely leans to what most audiophiles would consider to be the rich and romantic side of neutral. I don't think so, as I feel more times than not, that most audiophiles' systems are way too lean sounding and lack the body and tonal density that I consider realistic. In that context, my impressions of the four wires are as follows:
VDH MCS150: Excellent detail retrieval, great speed, but dry sounding through the midrange and highs. Overly bleached sounding tonally. I did not find the sound enjoyable. Flutes sounded too metallic, clarinets not woody, and not luxurious enough in their low registers. Strings could get strident very easily. Reminded me of my old Audio Research SP9 as far a tonal color.
Cardas: As Jeff noted, a very smooth sounding cable. There was a very attractive ease to the sound that let one relax into the music. Well balanced, but too dark sounding for my system and my tastes. The high frequency extension was all there, but there was the sense that all the light bulbs in the room were changed from 100W to 40W. I hear a similar effect with the only Benz cartridge that I have heard in my system (Ruby2). A dark tonality, but with images that are smaller and leaner than real. That is the mystery to me, and why I think that there is a lot that we don't understand about synergy (well, I'll speak for myself). Jeff found the Cardas to present fuller and bigger images than the Discovery. That is exactly the opposite of what I experienced in my system. The Cardas seems to shrink the size of images. Detail, dimensionality, and depth were all good, but the entire presentation seems to shrink by what seems about 20%. The mentioned darkness of tone tended to obscure the natural nasties that are present sometimes in the sound of unamplified instruments such as sharply articulated woodwind notes, and the ascerbic sound of muted trumpet for instance. Jeff has a sophisticated ear, and I know that he heard what he describes. So it must be due to the interaction of the wire's characteristics with those of his cartridge, preamp, and the rest of his system.
Discovery: Much more open in the high frequencies, and what I would consider a more natural/realistic tonal signature. Bigger soundstage with full images. My main objection to the sound of this wire is that I found it to have what I would describe as a soft grain. Almost as if you were looking very very closely at a picture in a newspaper, and being able to see the dots. But, overall, in my sytem, closer to right. I do not consider it to be "bright", but consider the rest of my system.
Audionote: To say that this wire transformed the sound of my analog set-up would be an understatement. I consider it to be a fantastic and beautiful sounding cable. It is extremely refined sounding, with amazing detail. Extremely open and clear in the highs, but not harsh. There is a striking absence of grunge in the spaces between images. Romantic, as usually described by audiophiles, it is not. But it is not bleached sounding at all. It lets a flute sound appropiately metallic, while not forcing the cello's upper range to sound strident without enough wood in the sound, while they play together. Adding this cable to my set-up reminds me of some of the qualities that I would hear when, in a less-complicated-lifetime ago, I had the time to keep my system entirely harwired, without a single jack or connector in use. A purity that was beautiful, even with the lesser components that I owned at the time. It is the most realistically dynamic of the four, in the sense of allowing the small increments of dynamic change in the sound of a string section's crescendo to be heard, while the orchestra's percussion stays at one volume. I can't say enough good things about this wire. It is, unfortunately, a PITA to work with. It is extremely thin.
@frogman ... Thanks for the cable review. Is the AN cable you tested the AN-AI? Did you order it from audionote.co.uk or elsewhere? Its description says that there are three wires twisted together. So I presume that one wire is used for the - terminal of both channels on the cartridge, while the other two wires are used for the +L and +R terminals. Is this understanding correct?
I am am interested in rewiring a tonearm. Hope you don’t mind my asking for clarification and guidance. Thanks again.
mre28m5, each run of wire is composed of three twisted strands. One would need four runs of the wire; two for each channel (+/-). The wire came from audionote u.k. via their North America distributor (at the time?) Audio Federation.
chakster is correct, there is nothing wrong with Discovery cable; in fact I
liked it quite a bit. For my tastes, WITH AN AIRBEARING TONEARM, it just did not have the same level of purity of tone that the AN had. The AN is not perfect either. I can see how in a system that leans to the thin and lean the Discovery might be preferred for its fuller presentation; grain and all.
invictus, which other silver cable have you compared the VDH to?
The person writing about AN wire fails to specify which AN wire he refers to, but I assume it is their silver Litz wire, because THAT, my friends, IS a pain in the arse to work with. But it is very very good sounding. And I am one who generally regards AN products as mostly hyped. I also agree that every single Benz product I have heard is strangely in the same sonic family, a little dark sounding. The analogy that 100W bulbs have been changed for 40W bulbs is apt.
Thanks a lot to all of you for the very useful information.
Dear @gooseberry: I agree with @frogman , the AN is a top alternative and second to none and yes a pain in the ass to work with.
In the other side the Kondo is different and not different because all those bs " mysthic " surrounded all Kondo items but because is solid wire against the litz AN-UK silver wires. Forgeret about the Kondo, only good $$$ hype marketing.
Here the UK: http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/misc/cables_home_01.shtml
I can't speak for the ones from OL but I agree with frogman and seriously doubt can even stays near the AN-UK quality performance levels.
Another very good alternative is:
which is better?, hard to say. I tested and own both but you can't go wrong with either.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,