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From Re-Visiting Cardas' Quadlink to their Golden Cross

Less than a month ago I wrote about revisiting Cardas' Quadlink thru a loaner from a friend. After being impressed -maybe overly and too quickly excited, I found and purchased a new pair (June, 2017) from Parts ConneXion under their Cardas Legacy section.

Like many audiophiles over the past decade I had moved on from the 'old' sound of Cardas and similar sounding cables to clearer, more transparent and sharply defined musical notes and images. About four years ago I settled on Transparent's Super level for both speaker and interconnect wires, which I felt gave me the best of both worlds. And, I've been living happily ever since -until I got back into vinyl.

Side note: About six years ago I sold my TT, phono and most of my vinyl to one person who lives about an hour away. We had stayed in touch so, when the vinyl bug bite me, I contacted him and he agreed to sell me back my 300 or so favourite titles and my phono stage. A great guy -obviously. I also purchased the Rega Planar 3 (2016) with a Nagaoka cartridge.

Now, as the months went buy I noticed how much vinyl was either badly recorded or pressed. So, a friend lent me his Quadlink to use coming out of my Belles phono stage to my Magnum Dynalab 309 Hybrid Integrated amp. I also tried it on my Marantz SA-8005 CD/SACD player. Well, in both cases I enjoyed the music with the Quadlinks delivering the signal to the Magnum 309. Until -I played (CD) Simply Eva by Eva Cassidy and I had to dial back the volume. I'm a fan but, her voice -at times and on this CD, became overbearing. Putting the Transparent Super back to work I realized they were a better IC. But, something about the tone of the Quadlinks attracted me. After much research, soul searching and phone discussions I decided to give Cardas' famous Golden Cross a try.

Having found two relatively unused pairs at the same dealer, I ordered a pair. Upon their arrival I hooked them up to the Marantz to make it easier to re-break them in and decided to do my main listening via the CD player to avoid moving them around. After several hours of warm-up (they hadn't been used in about a decade), I inserted Mary Gauthier's Mercy Now and with minutes I knew I was listening to music the way I like it. Music had a better foundation -seemed to be more grounded, instruments and voices had more body to them and, overall, the music seemed to flow better. It was detailed but, not of the piercing in-the-face type and provided great imaging with a wide and deep soundstage. Could it rock with electric blues? In went Buddy Guy's 'Damn Right, I've Got the Blues' and 'damn right' the Golden Cross could. I next gave a listen to his 'Blues Singer' album and, having attended numerous house-concerts in recent years, I felt even more satisfied sitting at home. Me and Buddy -WOW!

Having attended hundreds of concerts in the past 53 years, starting with the Beatles in Sept. of 1964 to a few weeks ago to hear Quebec's favourite son/poet Gilles Vigneault in a small hall, I am thrilled that the Golden Cross gave me more of the mid-hall perspective I have come to prefer (rows J to P, for example), less forward and the whole more integrated. In no examples were the Transparents cold or analytical but, the Golden Cross' sound was more rounded -more acoustic, tube like and natural -to me, at least. A little bit like why I still prefer my plasma TV over LCDs. Heck, even the hand-clapping on Harry Manx's Road Ragas Live album made me feel part of the audience.

The improvement the Golden Cross brought to the sound of the Marantz SACD/CD player was nothing short of miraculous. It brought richness, depth and tone much like I hear from vinyl playback. I now consider them as one unit for digital playback. With music reproduced with the same results and feelings on my vinyl set-up, I ordered the Dealer's second pair.

As I approach 70, am I done? Who knows. Yes, they may have some colourations (don't they all) but, they are of the type which makes me want to listen to more music -and, isn't that what this is all about.

For what it's worth, Bob

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Topic - From Re-Visiting Cardas' Quadlink to their Golden Cross - cabiner 05:38:50 07/01/17 (2)


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