Cable Capers

George 47

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Jan 1, 2006
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For those of you who think that anyone spending more than £50 on an interconnect should be taken out and shot and their dead body beaten with fresh birch twigs (mmm...lovely).
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LOOK AWAY NOW.

I have been playing with interconnects in my system and thought some of you may be interested in the outcome and could help with a question.

I have a Sony SCD-1 into a Audionote DAC 3.1 feeding a passive pre amp (Audiozone) and two monoblock chip amps (Audiozone) into a set of Audionote Es with Chord Oddessy biwire. I currently use Audionote ANV silver ICs. Due the wonderful nature of Shadow Audio I have managed to test a bag of interconnects with a bit of help from some audio-friends.

First up was the Nordost Blue Heaven cables. They have a very neutral overall tonal balance. Their micro dynamics were pretty good and did not lose control when things got loud. However, their bass did not go down too far and their overall dynamics were compressed. On rock music I got the feeling they never let go. There was also a loss of detail. Overall though not bad for the price.

Next up was the Zion2 silver cables that originate in China. They certainly look the part, with good solid connectors and lots of silver inside. What a contrast to the Nordost Blue Heaven. This cable had great overall dynamics, lots more detail, deeper bass and superb 3D imaging; great depth and width. They were not tame on rock...

But, they were a little grainy and not 'refined' (could be a burn issue) and images were a little blurred and larger than they should be. The bass was soft and slower but had real power.

There was then a 'tie' between my current Audionote ANVs and the Nordost Red Dawn. They are both detailed cables with the ANV having the right overall dynamics balance. They could go very loud and you could still hear all the quieter instruments in the background; no mushing up here. The bass was not very deep but it was very fast. The mid range was a little excessive and gave a bright image but singer's voices were easy to decipher. The red Dawn was a little cruder but gave a more human sound to voices but had that flat overall dynamics again.

Onto the Zion S3; wow. This was a real development on the S2. The 3D effect was stunning.and the best out of the bunch. Bass was deep powerful and the whole experience excellent. Voices were so natural and music had real impact and power. It is a 30/40 strand solid silver cable with solid silver plugs ? I am guessing a bit here as there were no details. In fact this would have been the real choice but it had that blurred effect again but only on voices, a pity. Cymbals were excellent and had real power and drama. This is not for sleepy stuff or lounge room jazz. There was also a considerable drop in the overall background noise level.

Finally the Nordost Frey. A quiet champion. It had a very neutral overall tonal balance and certainly less aggressive than Red Dawns. The 3D effect was very good (only bettered by the S3). The micro dynamics were superb and things could be very quiet whilst drums were being beaten to death. The detail was phenomenal. BUT ohhh those voices they were so natural and even better than S3s. Problem is it is £550 for a 1m ICs OUCH... It also had a little of that compressed overall dynamics effect but I could live with it......

Next.... I intend to borrow the Heimdall and see if I can get 90% for much less money. I was also taken with people's views of Crystal Cables but of course you have to buy it first. Has anyone compared it to the above cables and will it really see of the Freys??? I don't mind buying and trying but a clue to how good they are would help. I guess my ideal is a very detailed cable with real powerful sound and deep bass. Probably a mixture of the Frey with the S3. Is that the Crystal Cable and can it really compete with the big Nordost or the Chinese 30/40 strand solid silver S3?

Of course I could be a deaf sheep and imagined all this???????????

 

JamPal

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Great write up George.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on Nordost. My findings were the polar opposite. Although the show i heard them at may well have been suffering from other factors.

Regarding Krystal cables give Effem a PM I am sure he will help you out if you want a listen. He is a very easy going guy to deal with.

I also have some Wolff cables that Michael has asked me to post to anyone interested for a listen. Email your details to james@hifiwigwam.com including address and phone number and I will add you to the list. (He is covering my postage costs BTW
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.)

James.

 
M

Mr Coherent

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If your coming on Sat Bring the Frey with you, and I'll happily demostrate how average that cable is
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JamPal

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There you go, how about that for a gauntlet..

(Be aware that Tony makes some seriously good cables.)

 
M

Mr Coherent

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James,

AS you haven't heard the Top line ones yet, it will be a pleasant surprise for you
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I've even made a power lead with the same ends on as the Woffle one uses so we can go head to head as well.

I'll bring the Valhalla Rcas as well, then you can get a gauge on how average the top nordorst are
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Kiang

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Jul 21, 2005
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Mr Coherent wrote:

James,AS you haven't heard the Top line ones yet, it will be a pleasant surprise for you
smile.png


I've even made a power lead with the same ends on as the Woffle one uses so we can go head to head as well.

I'll bring the Valhalla Rcas as well, then you can get a gauge on how average the top nordorst are
71_71.gif.90e48c720ca56a2d2fa0532dd3380cc7.gif
biggrin.png


 

George 47

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Mr Coherent wrote:

If your coming on Sat Bring the Frey with you, and I'll happily demostrate how average that cable is
smile.png
OK done. It'll provide a small musical(?) interlude.

 

icehockeyboy

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Aug 14, 2005
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Having recently acquired the Blue heavens, thats all i can comment on,but, basically ii agree with hifiwigwams findings, in as much as, in my system,i find the latter part of your conclusions of the cable to be opposite to mine.

I suppose its down to the difference in the kit it is used with?

 

George 47

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icehockeyboy wrote:

Having recently acquired the Blue heavens, thats all i can comment on,but, basically ii agree with hifiwigwams findings, in as much as, in my system,i find the latter part of your conclusions of the cable to be opposite to mine.I suppose its down to the difference in the kit it is used with?
Are you saying that you found the dynamics good and the cable did let go with rock music?

HifiWigwam was not that impressed with them full stop.

As you say it could be system dependent as well as personal preferences. My exciting incisive rock music could be your pain in the ears.

 

JamPal

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Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
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Sussex, West Side
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James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Mr Coherent wrote:

James,AS you haven't heard the Top line ones yet, it will be a pleasant surprise for you
smile.png


I've even made a power lead with the same ends on as the Woffle one uses so we can go head to head as well.

I'll bring the Valhalla Rcas as well, then you can get a gauge on how average the top nordorst are
71_71.gif.90e48c720ca56a2d2fa0532dd3380cc7.gif
ahh Wolf head to head denied my friend. Kiang has the Wolffs now. Up in Sunny Leeds.

 

JamPal

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Jul 19, 2005
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James
HiFi Trade?
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I was just doing Michael a favour after his very generous donation to Children in need. Logistically it made sense for me to forward cables to interested (and trusted by me) parties. I deliberatly didn't want to bring them to the bake off as a) I am not a Wolff rep and b) I didn't think it would be healthy for the forum for a head to head between products clearly aimed at the same market.

Although a big shed will not be much of a place for hearing the subtleties between cables so hey ho. Go for it.
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harv

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Jan 5, 2006
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erm... guess
It will be interesting to hear about the bake off, don't forget to post about it fella's for us people who aren't gonna make it to the acoustic punch up.

 

icehockeyboy

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Aug 14, 2005
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Craig
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George 47 wrote:

icehockeyboy wrote:
Having recently acquired the Blue heavens, thats all i can comment on,but, basically ii agree with hifiwigwams findings, in as much as, in my system,i find the latter part of your conclusions of the cable to be opposite to mine.I suppose its down to the difference in the kit it is used with?
Are you saying that you found the dynamics good and the cable did let go with rock music?

HifiWigwam was not that impressed with them full stop.

As you say it could be system dependent as well as personal preferences. My exciting incisive rock music could be your pain in the ears.
Not sure how we'd agree on the definition of rock music,after all, in my day it was Zep, purple, even ELP, now, it stuff that my son likes, SOAD, Dillinger escape plan etc,but yes, my findings are opposite to yours on the latter 2 or 3 conclusions.

 

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