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Visit with Acoustic Zen and the Silver Ref mk II

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I visited AZ this Friday and ended up getting a hold of the latest version of the Silver Ref, which will be called the mark II version... This version is even slightly more updated than the new ones they have been releasing since Feb, where Robert has added a bit more mid range warmth... The insulation of the wires are also new being an orange and white as opposed to the blue and red... He did say he can upgrade the blue and red ones to the same sound as the mk II version.
Well, as to how it sounds (cable broken in already since it was supposed to be for a reviewer)... The version I had before was not one of later versions, but I have to say the mk II sounds like a different cable altogether... Yes, there is better mid range warmth and pressence without it being bloatd or muddy, not quite copper cable range but still very nice... One of the biggest chagnes is the instrument separation which I was very suprised at how much better it got, when listening to audience clapping on the Jazz at the Pawnshop CD, you can tell how the audience has very individual and different clapping sounds... The second most obvious thing was the sense of ease the sound has now, the flow of the music does not sound strained anymore in comparison to the old version or other cables... These are the biggest two I noticed. Other things that improved are the soundstage, instrument placement, more detail, and overall, there is improvement across the board, everything is just better defined... To me, this cable sounds more balanced than the version I had, the old one wasn't bad, but does miss a little of the mid-range.
The upgrade is well worth getting, and to me, the cable is far more than some minor improvements, it doesn't really sound like the cable I had before. Robert also mentioned how the reviews for the new mk II cable have the reviewers stating that it betters the Valhalla, which many consider a reference cable (and costs how much!). It is interesting talking to him, since he does not believe in charging quite the insane ($3000) dollar prices for his cables.

Hint to AZ cable users... RL talked about how to use the locking RCAs and not to make them too tight since it shrinks the horizontal soundstage... I experimented with it and found it does indeed affect the sound... For mine, it also affected mid-high to high energy... Too tight, it compresses the soundstage down and gave me more energy up top... Too loose, and there was not enough energy, making the sound rather tame... Robert suggested that as soon as it feels a bit strained to turn anymore, it only needs slightly more turn.
post #2 of 8
Thanks for the great info. Hmmm, I'm supposed to be on a two month equipment buying moritorium...

Any info on the new Matrix? I was thinking of having mine updated.
post #3 of 8
AC
Thanks for your impressions, you are right that Silver Reference is cheap realative to Nordost Vahalla or SPM, but $900 retail is still pricy to all but the very wealthy audiophile and for system balance we are talking about systems that are 15-20K or more.

That said every AZ cable I have heard I really like, and would definitely like to own a new Silver Reference Mk II realistically I will
wait till used ones are available since retail is just too much.......
these are just cables

I might mention AZ stands behind their products, I have an older Mc2 digital cable and the shrink tubing was loose and not providing strain relief so I returned to company and they ugraded to new shrink tubing with clear oversleeve no charge total turn around @ 2weeks.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel
AC
but $900 retail is still pricy to all but the very wealthy audiophile and for system balance we are talking about systems that are 15-20K or more.

Thanks for bringing me back to earth. (whew)
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DarkAngel

Thanks for your impressions, you are right that Silver Reference is cheap realative to Nordost Vahalla or SPM, but $900 retail is still pricy to all but the very wealthy audiophile and for system balance we are talking about systems that are 15-20K or more.
I agree, luckily I got a good deal on the cables so I thought of trying it out... I was impressed with the level of improvement that the first version of the cable brought (compared to the Audience and AQ Diamonds), even with only a modest amp like the MG Head... With the mk II I also thought there was no way I could get that much more out of my system (well really the MG Head)especially with just cables, but I was wrong again (of corse it helps that the Bolder DIO and PS is quite a good source, despite what has been said on headfi about other modded DIOs)... So to me, it was money well spent.
As far as system balance goes, ugh, that one was shot pretty quickly, with just having to get a better PC, but I am/was doing major upgrades that started with the source and worked my way up, all I have left now is the amp, which is last since it seems to be the hardest decision.
post #6 of 8
How much does it cost to update the original cable to MK II status?
post #7 of 8
I think it was in the neighborhood of $75.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
yes it is $75
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