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I need to get XLR cables to go from Preamp to Amp. Currently using RCA Kimber PBJ RCA cables. I have no problem with the Kimber. However I have a fully balanced system so why not.I cant hear all that much different between "higher end" cables however I don't want to regret getting something. I like supporting local businesses so I have narrowed down my list to these 3 cables.If cables do make audible sound differences I would love to maintain the sound I have now with the PBJ, higher top and and tighter bass is ok but I really like the mids of my system at the moment. Nice and smooth slightly warm. Lots of reviews on the blue heaven, the tara labs not so much and Oyaide is almost always about the power cables or the outlets...
Oyaide Tunami Terzo XX V2
Nordost Blue Heaven
Tara Labs RSC Prime M1
Budget wise this is as high as I want to go at the moment. I can always move them to my dac later on. Also Nordost is having a demo here in a few days so I can grab those cables at a discount. I doubt I will be able to tell the difference when they switch cables...
Well I went to the Nordost event. It was on a all Simaudio system with speakers with a very close sound signature to mine. When I got there they were testing digital cables.They tested out 3 different cables out. Neither me or my GF could hear a difference. But when he went on to Interconnects, started off with really cheap radio shack type ones. Sounded pretty bad. I was taking notes the entire time, making sure it was the same track on the same source and at the same volume. He installed the purple flare and I could actually hear a massive difference. Just less harsh and smoother to me.Then the Red dawn, not the night and day difference from the cheapie cable but a slight improvement to me. Next was the Frey 2 cables. Now that was way more of a difference then the purple to the red just enjoyed it a little bit more.After that the Valhalla it was decent but to me I couldn't hear all that much difference from the Frey maybe a lil bit faster yet smooth. Ended with the Odin... people almost freaked out but I looked at my gf and we couldn't tell it from the Valhalla. Didn't sound bad just not different.
Probably don't know what to look for at that level of cable. I just go by emotional response.
All that to say, I ended up ordering a pair of XLR Heimdall 2 interconnects. The demo had a deal on all Nordost cables so I got a 1 meter pair for 600$ USD. It got me close to the sound of the Frey for almost half the price. Glad I can't hear the difference up the line much. I got to hold a power cord that goes for $30,000 :)
I have an all differentially balanced system. To be quite frank, in this configuration, there is little to be gained using different interconnects. The best in My system is the top Wireworld, but they are expensive, and nearly no different than ClearDay cables.
Check out the Audio Sensibility Statement SE XLR's. I have them and really like them a lot. I also have some Take Five Audio custom Neotech 3004 cables which are good too. If you're in the US, its a good time to buy from Canada with the USD much stronger than the CAN Dollar.
" If you're in the US, its a good time to buy from Canada with the USD much stronger than the CAN Dollar"
I'm in Canada. Yet another reason I bought Simaudio. I'm only a couple hours away from the factory.
Well that's an even better reason to try the Audio Sensibility cables! You'd be supporting a Canadian business too.
"Well that's an even better reason to try the Audio Sensibility cables! You'd be supporting a Canadian business too"
How was the wait time for those cables? The prices seem really good...
I ordered from a private seller on Canuck Audio Mart. Came to the US in 6-7 business days which is fine by me. I'm assuming Audio Sensibility has a bunch in stock they can send. Plus they have that 13% off sale going on right now.
Really is a great deal and I'm very happy with the quality of the cables. I actually picked up some power cords which are on the way to me now too.
None of their stuff is super exotic. They all seem to follow a tried and true recipe. High quality cable (Neotech in this case), High Quality connectors (Furutech I believe), Cryo treatment and optional burn in.
I only have scant experience with MacIntosh gear, so I am not going to comment on it.
However, I have lived with myriad Simaudio products, since the early 2000s. We have used them with a wide variety of cables, from throwaway patchcords, to the car-priced looms from the likes of MIT, Nordost, and Tara Labs.
The usual cable advice applies:
a.) Before you make ANY cable changes, you absolutely MUST treat your existing cables on a cable burn-in device, such as the audiodharma Cable Cooker (pictured above, treating a throwaway powercord) we have been using since 2003.
b.) You must understand what a cable does and does not do.
c.) If your sources do not do X, Y, and Z, no cable can magically make X, Y, and Z appear.
d.) The very first interconnects we used on our Cable Cooker were at least a dozen various RCA Kimber PBJs. As above in (a.), you MUST get the PBJ on a cable burn-in device.
e.) Balanced XLR is not necessarily better (or worse) than the Simaudio 740p's RCA operation. You will need to compare a Cooked RCA PBJ versus a Cooked XLR PBJ.
f.) If you do want to explore other cables, try before you buy. If your local dealers won't do that for you, expand your network of friends, and borrow from them. And again, (a.) utilize a cable burn-in device.
Go to my homepage, and see all my reviews of Simaudio's 820S, 750D, and Mind 180. These were used with a wide variety of powercords, interconnects, and fuses. You can take all of this experience and information, and extrapolate how they'd work (or not work) for you.
-Lummy The Loch Monster
Yes with the Simaudio 740p. What can you tell me about uncooked Nordost and Tara Labs IC's vs the PBJ.
In the late-00s, I blogged extensively about the Nordost Blue Heaven, Red Dawn, Silver Screen, Valkyrja, Valhalla, and Odin lines. I did report on the use of Nordost's own VIDAR cable burn-in machine.
Over the years, I know I've written about various Tara Labs Prime, Vector, Decade, Air, and ISM products.
Let's not forget; some of the cables we've placed on the Cable Cooker had been in use for up to 21 years. Even with 21 years of use, those AQ, Cardas, Kimber, MIT, Wireworld, and XLO products were only operating at a fraction of their potential. Said potential can be unlocked/realized, with a proper cable burn-in device.
Hint: the old Kimber PowerKord, with the corrugated black plastic outer case/jacket, once you stick it for 4-6 days on the Cable Cooker, is a nice affordable match for Simaudio gear. In addition to the 820S, 750D, and Mind 180 I'm currently working on, we've used the old PowerKord on the 600i, Andromeda, Orbiter, Supernova, P-8, I-7, W-7, Neo 280D, Equinox, and other model numbers I can't remember.
I know, I know, my readers are complaining that I have not blogged much, lately. But I'm coaching girls basketball, which ends soon. After that, I may be able to spend some time on the homepage. Just click on the (A) after the "Luminator," and my AA profile will list my homepage.
Each make/model will certainly sound different, since the conductor types of each design are quite divergent:
Oyaide Tunami Terzo XX V2 - Bare stranded copper
Nordost Blue Heaven - Silver plated solid core copper
Tara Labs RSC Prime M1 - Bare solid core copper
Have you considered re-teminating your Kimber PBJ interconnect cables with XLR connectors? Doing so might be satisfying in itself, or a least give you a reference point in order to compare each new cable option you might decide to evaluate vs. the PBJ, and would at least give you an idea of how different your single-ended interface is vs. your balanced interface.
It would be an easy DIY project for anyone to do since the PBJ features three conductors that are easy to terminate especially if you choose a set of XLR connectors that feature solderless set-screws. Since the PBJ features their Ultraplate RCA type connector which is rumored to be rhodium plated, an XLR connector that features rhodium, palladium, or platinum plating would be advisable.
This is my favorite XLR connector featuring solderless set-screws offered at the best price found for DIY projects:
Wow thanks great idea. I may need those PBJa intact to use as ht bypass on my old preamp however. But damn good idea. Would almost be funny to see those big XLR connectors on those tiny strands.
Pros and cons of stranded copper vs solid core and then solid core vs SPC solid core?
Image: Kimber PBJ Balanced XLR Cables
Since you wish to keep your PBJ rca interconnect cables intact, there are six bulk-length Kimber 3-wire braid cable models for DIY projects available from PartsConneXion to choose from (see link below):
These are generalizations, but the sonic signatures of the three types of conductors for line-level applications tend to be (YMMV):
Bare stranded copper conductors tend to sound very full-bodied with less emphasis on the frequency extremes vs. the midrange which tends to sound more diffuse vs. solid core conductors.
Bare solid core copper conductors tend to sound more natural vs. silver plated solid core copper conductors for line-level applications, in my experience. Tara Labs RSC design features rectangular bare solid core copper conductors intended to decrease skin effect vs. round solid core conductors.
Have you looked into any other balanced XLR cables, or are those three cables the only ones you have decided to choose from?
I initially used a balanced Kimber PBJ in 1993. Between a B&K Pro10MC and Muse Model One Hundred, that balanced PBJ was under $100. Yet, it was better (less muddy, bulbous, murky, opaque) than the AQ Emerald, Cardas Quadlink, and MIT (sorry, don't recall the name) I had previously been using.
As I would use more and more balanced interconnects, I came to appreciate Kimber's selection of the Switchcraft XLR over the more ubiquitous Neutrik models. The Switchcraft XLRs sound better balanced, with less treble roll-off (a bane of balanced XLR operation).
Incidentally, the balanced Silverstreak and KCAG also utilized the same Switchcraft XLRs. So, once you Cook everything, it becomes very interesting, how the PBJ, SS, and KCAG compare.
By removing distortions, the Cable Cooker makes the distinctions between cables easy to pick out. All cables make changes to signal. But using the Cooker eliminates the guesswork, and lets you decide.
Switchcraft XLRs are considered better than Neutrik XLRs which are unacceptable, to my ear. You may be surprised how much better the moderately-priced Teflon dielectric XLRs sourced from eBay and AliExpress sound, based on the Xhadow Precision XLR design concept. Perhaps you might consider an XLR re-termination project for an orphaned pair of balanced interconnects within your cable collection, Lummy.
"Have you looked into any other balanced XLR cables, or are those three cables the only ones you have decided to choose from?"
Ive looked into others such as DR acoustics but found no info on them online. Those 3 were the ones that caught my eye from reviews and just general reading.They were at the price point/interest in each brands line.
From your description so far Tara Labs is coming out on top.
Between the three, I would agree, but since I have no experience of the particular cable, I can't vouch for it.
BTW, what is the target price point for your interface change/cable upgrade project? BTW, does your audio system feature aftermarket power cords?
"BTW, what is the target price point for your interface change/cable upgrade project? BTW, does your audio system feature aftermarket power cords? "
From 400-600$CAD. IT got spured on after I upgraded my pre from Rotel to Simaudio a couple weeks ago. Ive never had to buy interconnects before. Dealers gave me the IC's the PBJ (all PBJ for 5.1 surround) and Neotech I have. No after market cords yet. Those I can get many models of used from someone I trust,xlr IC's however not as much.
You have a decent budget, so I'm sure you can find something that provides good synergy when placed within your particular system.
I'm in agreement about the getting the midrange right, since the vast majority of information presented by an audio playback system is within the midrange frequencies.
As previously mentioned, the weakness of many balanced interconnect cables is the typical pro audio XLR connector which sounds like low-budget rca connectors, IME. Virtually impossible to obtain high-performance by their use, IMO.
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