Sept 11 2008 impressions
I got the cables today, and tried them (without burn-in) with my Macbook via Predator USB DAC, and iMod with portable Vcap dock with D2 Viper and LTC6241HV/LM6172 opamps:
This is what I find so far:
33g Cardas - Bright, decent bass. Detail improved. Louder volume than the others (weird). The brightness takes away some of the transparency, making me more aware I am listening to a recording. I suspect this one needs burn-in.
Jenna Labs - better bass than 33g cardas, good treble and detail, more bump in upper mids vs stock or others (grado territory). More enjoyable than 33g Cardas.
26g SPC - Better than 33g Cardas, vs stock it has more body and detail with good bass, not too bright. Better bass than the other 2, not quite as detailed as the other two although better than stock. Very engaging sound with this cable, and sucks me in to listen to music instead of analyzing the sound.
Stock cable - switching from any of these is a little bit of a shock - one should rest their ears for a while before going back to stock. If I had to pick just one, it would be tough between the JL and SPC, but the SPC would likely be my choice.
It bedtime, and I'll listen more tomorrow. I am going to put some hours on the 33g Cardas overnight. Can you tell me if any of them have been burned-in, and if my impressions match yours?
PS: No APS cable yet, expecting it in a couple of weeks when my APS V2 D2000 and a V3 HD600 cable return to me balanced with adapter cables.Sept 12 2008 Impressions - 2nd day:
33g Cardas - 24 hour burn-in minimal change, not quite as bright but still not "natural" sounding. Way too fragile feeling. Easily tangled with my USB cable for DAC/Amp.
Jenna Labs - continues to be more forward than the other with a bump in upper mids vs stock or others (grado territory). More enjoyable than 33g Cardas. Bass seems to be on par with the 26G SPC now. May be too forward vs stock or 26g SPC. Harder to wear over and behind the ears, and bumping the cable is a bigger problem with microphonics when not over the ears.
26g SPC - still more enjoyable than 33g Cardas. Bass seems to be closer to JL, not quite as detailed as the other two although better than stock. It hit me that this cable changes the sound signature the least, and only improves on it by that magical 10% with more body and detail. Still not quite as detailed as the JL (I wonder if this an illusion from the upper mids boost). Works well over and behind the ears. Less microphonic to bumping than JL, but more to rubbing or sliding fingers in cable.
Stock cable - no change in imprssions. If I had to pick just one, it would still be tough between the JL and SPC, but the SPC would still likely be my choice. I would pick stock over the 33g Cardas, and would not be unhappy with the JL (it might be nice to own both someday).
LarrySept 13, 2008 Impressions - 3rd day:
I think we agree the SPC is a good all-rounder. It is an improvement over the stock cable, and not too stiff or hard (although it is more than the stock one), and not too flimsy. It's not the best cable out there, but it might fit in the "best bang for the buck" category.
The JL is an improvement over stock - some people might like the slight bump in upper mids/lower treble or the more forward soundstage presentation. With some music I enjoyed it but not with all music, and the microphonics I mentioned when bumping it were a problem.
The Cardas doesn't sound "bad" to me, it just doesn't sound right to me - I might grow to like it, but I just prefer a little more balanced sound. If I want my Livewires to sound like a pair of AKG K701 I'd buy it. I prefer them to sound like my re-cabled Grado RS-1 instead, and the SPC gets me closer to that. With the stock cable the LW remind me more of my old re-cabled RS-2.
I think there is very little chance people will spend $550-600 on a CC Piccolo cable for a $250 Livewires. The UE11 Pro crowd is a more likely bet. That being said, I would love to hear it, but would hate to hear it because I am not in a position to buy an expensive cable (until I get my disability settlement in a few months). I think I am able to test a UE11 Pro cable on my Freq Show
It will be interesting to compare these to the APS cable Alex is making. I put 24 more hours on the SPC cable and will be listening again tonight.Sept 14 Impressions - 4th day:
The Cardas 33g Silver is really burning-in nicely. I haven't listened for 24 hours, and it sounds more balanced tonight. There was never a lack of bass, but rather a boost in treble; but the sheen in the highs with the silver cable is calming down more with burn-in. It doesn't sound like the same cable as it did on the 12th, 2 days ago - they are starting to sound more "right" to me now. It's a shame they are so thin and fragile feeling - I've sewn up lacerations with sutures thicker than this cable! Have you tested just how strong the cable really is?
The 26g SPC is still sounding great - well rounded and balanced, and sure hit with the buyers. The lead over the Cardas is not quite as big now.
The Jenna Labs cable seems to have better synergy with my Livewires that I stuck SE530 drivers into. They pick up more body and substance to the music. I have put 24 hours of music on the JL cable since my last listen, and tomorrow I will try them on the stock Livewires again.