Currently using Onix Master to connect Plinius 8150 to Meridian 507. Not very pleased with sound, much too boomy and unrefined in lower octaves. Is a better interconnect at around 100$ available?
Have heard good word about Goertz Tourmaline. Any ideas?
IMHO, the VH Audio Pulsars are great ICs at a great price. Given that Chris VenHaus offers a 60 day eval, they're definitely worth checking out. Tons of positive feedback and reviews about these ICs here.
I'm driving a pair of Aerial 10T speakers with a Levinson amp. I think these speakers have amazing bass potential with the right equipment. I'm using Pulsars between amp/preamp and preamp/CDP and these ICs do a wonderful job enabling a well defined bass that has very realistic slam.
The current issue of Positive Feedback Online has a very positive review of the Twisted Pair ICs ($114.00 3ft. pair), and I believe one or more of the Stereo Times writers use Element cables as a reference. I believe they (Element) uses Jon Risch designs.
According to the review, however, these wires are neutral and allow what is there to come through, so they may or may not work depending on the rest of your system (if the review is accurate). Consider this as a tip only since I have no personal experience with the wires.
I am running a tri-wire set of Jon Risch's cross connected coax cables (CC89259) or Twisted Pair Speaker Cable, as Element cable calls it. I am actually using a bi-wire set (two pair) of the single twisted pair for MF and HF, and a quad configuration for the LF cables. The reviewer pretty much nailed it, the cable does not draw attention to itself with tizzy highs or boomy bass, but delivers everything in a very musical, neutral manner. Once broken in, the midrange is very pure and musical, and the strength of the cable IMO. I think some cannot believe how good these sound given the somewhat unconventional design and very inexpensive construction of the cables. In my system, I like them better than Cardas Neutral Reference, and Alon's own Black Orpheus. It is to the point where I believe the money I could spend on cables would be better spent on upgrading components. I am about to embark on building the interconnects in balanced version, and will be comparing them to my Cardas Golden Referenced XLR cables.
Finally, I believe there may be a mistake in the review when the reviewer says the Element CC89259 speaker cable "shares the same design pedegree" as the Signal Cable speaker cables. I believe the Signal is simply a terminated (and tech flex covered) Canare 4S11 cable, and not a CC89259 cable like the Element. That might explain why he liked the Element cable better. If I were looking for a very good cable without spending a paycheck, and I did not want the hassle of building them DIY, I would definitely try Element Cable.
I have that Element cable & it beats out any of the 100.00-200.00 cables I have with ease,including silvers w/bullets. But doesn't keep up with my Varial............
J & G
I have just ordered an XLR IC from Element and a similar cable from Signal. I will compare the two and report my findings.
My default cable is the Transparent Audio Music Link Plus, which runs about $375 per one meter pair.
Great! I would certainly be interested in the comparison between Element and Signal. I have only read reviews and opinions of each, but not in direct comparison to each other. I have tried other reasonably proced cables, but none were totally satisfying.
MIT MI-750 Plus Series II were the resident cables when I started looking at other reasonably priced cables a few years ago. Lets see, I tried Nordost Solar Wind, Better Cables Silver Serpent, LAT International IC-100, and Acoustic Zen WOW. I won't go into detail, but none of them on their own supplanted the MITs. None of them were terrible, especially the Solar Wind and WOWs. The Solar Winds are musical, extended, and pretty smooth, especially for the money...and that's the key (for the money). They were not good enough.
The WOWs were pretty good, probably a level or two up from the Solar Winds. They have more inner resolution and smoothness, and are commendably (or comparatively) dynamic too. Although they are probably better overall than the MITs (resolution, soundstage, treble, bass), I think that their tonal signature does not match my system that well, at least for the sound I want. In the current room, the combination of the Mirage M3si speakers, Aragon 8008BB, and the WOWs is, I don't know, a little dark? For sure, the sound needed to "open up" a little, and have less of a bass presence.
Finally, in a little frustration, I purchased a pair of Shunyata Aries ICs. Now we are talking, but they are a little on the high side ($) for me. The best performance I have found with my current wires is to have the Aries from the CD player to the preamp, and the WOWs from their to the power amp. Still, there is that tonality or whatever that need to open up more. Sometimes I slip the MITs back in place of the WOWs, and the tone is much better, but other areas of performance seem to suffer some. And neither of these wires compares at all with the Aries. Anyone have an extra $800 lying around they don't need?
I also recently went through the same progression of cables that you are currently working through. I had Acoustic Zen WOW's between my CD and preamp and also between my preamp and amp. Then I tried a pair of Shunyata Aries between the CD and preamp and my reaction was just as you described: "Now we're talking!". So I broke the bank and bought another pair for the preamp to amp connection. The improvement that I heard with the second pair was on the same order of magnitude that I heard when I inserted the first pair between the CD and preamp.
The comparison I will be conducting will be between the Signal Cable XLR and the Element XLR IC using a four-foot length between my preamp and amplifier. I will not, at this time, be testing any other connection. My current test system includes a Musical Fidelity NuVista 3D CD player, Kylne System 7 line stage, Proceed AMP 5 amplifier, and Martin Logan Ascent i speakers. (For two-channel duty, the AMP 5 will be augmented by either the Music Reference RM200 or the Quicksilver V4 monos for the ESL panels and an Adcom GFA 5500 for the Martin Logan woofers.)
Currently, I am using a 12-foot run of Transparent Audio Music Link Plus between my preamp and amp. While this interconnect has a reasonably well balanced and neutral tonal character, I feel that it has a tendency to diminish upper octave air and bloom and veil overall transparency to some degree. It is, however, an agreeable sounding cable and matches the overall sonics of my current system well enough. Moreover, it does a reasonably good job with DVD sound tracks, imparting a smooth sound on instrument scores while delivering enough definition to speech so that I do not have to strain to hear the dialog.
I have tried Transparent Music Link Super (about $650/meter) and could not distinguish it from its less expensive Transparent Audio cable counterpart, Music Link Plus ($325). I have also listened to JPS Super Conductor #2 (a dynamic cable at $699/meter), Cardas Neutral Reference (which I found slightly analytical with Martin Logan Ascents and Krell equipment), and Tara Labs 2 Air ($595/meter). While I have not heard all the cables currently available, I was not impressed with the sonic improvements that these cables should have given me considering their price.
What changed my mind about spending $500 on ICs was the reviews I had read about Signal and Element cables and the audiophile feedback for VH Audio ICs on this bulletin board. (You may want to give VH Audio a try.) Another experience that caused me to begin doubting the wisdom of spending large sums on wire occurred when I swapped out a ten-foot pair of Transparent Audio Music Wave Plus speaker cable ($725) for 20 feet (!) of Distech Silver, which may have cost me $150 when I bought it 17 years ago. Distech does use a Litz geometry to its credit, but cable dielectric is PVC! (Gasp!) Well, the Distech isn't quite as powerful in the bass when compared to my Transparent cable, but it is subjectively faster, more detailed, and more transparent than the Music Wave Plus. And in regards to the bass, the Distech has better pitch definition. The last event that really "rocked" my cable world was a trip to Bob Carver's plant in Snohomish, Washington. I listened to his system, which consisted of a Sunfire Signature 600-Two amplifier, Sunfire Classic Tube Control Center, Carver CD Player, and Carver Amazing Speakers. This system was incredibly open, transparent, uncolored, and reasonably detailed with a very high level of clarity. Its overall resolution was second only to a system I had heard years ago that included a Spectral Acoustics amp and preamp, Meridian CD player, Crosby-Modified Quad 63s, and Duntech subwoofers. Do you know what kind of cable Bob uses? No it is not Nordost, nor is it Kimber Kable. Are you ready for this? He uses the throwaway interconnects we all get with budget components, a long interconnect link between amp and preamp that looks like flat lamp cord, and home-made speaker wire! I couldn't believe it! I questioned Bob about his choice of wire to which he responded in a kind but carefree voice, "I have other things to worry about."
Looking at your situation, I cannot guarantee that either the Signal or Element cable will perform at the $800 level set by the Shunyata Aries. I am sure that either cable, Signal or Element, will perform at the $400 level when compared to cables offered at brick-and-mortar establishments. I am sure they will be good enough for me. Keep in mind, however, that my speakers have a tendency to reveal too much, more than what I normally hear at the concert hall. Also keep in mind that I have a relatively small listening room, so I am sitting only 10 feet away from my Martin Logans. Consider too that I have very keen hearing that I have protected all my life by not going to rock concerts or other live musical events where the sound was heavily amplified. On the other hand, I am not adept at distinguishing small differences among cables; rather, and perhaps closer to the truth, any differences I do hear don't seem to be that "earth shattering." Perhaps, like Bob, I have other things to worry about, like how I am going to pay for my next round of equipment upgrades!
Thanks for the information and insight into your intent or goals with your system's cables. It does have much to do with the components we will be using and the room as well. I do not know why (do I care?) cables can make or break a system, only that IMO it can. Maybe neither the Signal or Element would fulfill my goals for the system's performance, but who knows - I never tried them. But it has also been my experience sometimes, that hearing a difference in "sound" between different cables is difficult, though not always.
Unless there is a significant change in the "sound," this is not what I hear first anyway (when auditioning components either). When comparing the Silver Serpents (SS) to the Aries for instance, if I listen, I can certainly hear that the SS sound pinched, a little light and brittle. In addition, I can hear the increase in transparency, resolution, air, smoothness, etc. with the Aries. However, by far the biggest difference is the effect to what comes out of the speakers. That difference is huge, though maybe it could still be missed by the casual or indifferent listener.
What I mean is that the differences in the sonic signature, though significant and easily heard by me, may not be big enough or important enough to someone else to justify the price tag. In this instance, between the SS and Aries in my system, the effect to what strikes my ears is immense. It is just so much more like music, and not so much about just "sound." There is more of everything, but it really adds up to experiencing the music instead of just hearing good sound. This is what good equipment (including cables) does, regardless of how much or little it costs. Just give me the music, man. I mean, if someone asked, "did it have better bass, treble, soundstaging?" after my first session with the Aries and a borrowed set of MIT S2i Prolines in the system, I would have had to answer, "To tell you the truth, I didn't notice dude. Man, I need a good second set of ICs.
Lest you misunderstand, the above is not really based on your system or goals, but sort of my perspective for my own system. Bye the way, though I'm not sure about your speakers (though I do love electrostats), your other stuff is supposed to be excellent...certainly capable of highend performance.
Well, if I were you and felt about the Aries the way you do, I would simply buy them and be done with it.
The only drawback I can think of is that you might be tempted to try a $2,000 cable, and then you might feel the Aries are no longer the great cable you first thought. Or, you might start looking at your speaker cables and begin wondering what $2,000 might do there to improve the sound still further.
I think many of us reach a point at which upgrade obsession sets in. I know if I were a multimillionaire, I wouldn't stop. But unfortunately I have to draw the line somewhere. With retirement about 13 years away for me, I am now feeling a little uneasy about the money I have spent or will be spending. I am much more price conscious than I was before. But you are in a different situation. If you could be content with the Aries upgrade, and that's a BIG IF, I don't see any harm in dropping another $800 on a pair of ICs. On my last one-week vacation, for example, I dropped $500 on the rental car alone, and now I have only faint memories of the vacation and of the car I drove.
Please since you are going to audition the Element connectors, I would appriciate your impressions afterwords. Thanks. Roy.
The utmost quality I'm looking for, is lower frequency control. I do think my system is capable of a better control down there. I did try Kimber PBJ, and they did give a better control but funny bass sound, which I didn't like at all. So, looking forward to your advice. Thanks. Roy.
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