I must be looking for this in the wrong way because for the life of me I can't seem to find anyone who has directly compared an ALO Reference 8 (or 16, which I am auditioning now) with a StefanArt Endorphin HD800 cable, like Robert Youman did on PFO. The ALO Ref 16 I currently have is a wonderful thing: I am driving my HD800 with the lovely Grace m903, which the ALO has proven conclusively is not the source of brightness (the stock HD800 cable is, and to a lesser extent, the m903's crossfeed circuit). However, the ALO cable improves on the HD800's character rather than modifying it, and the change I'm looking for is to bring some life into the midrange. The HD800 is a bit laid-back in the upper-midrange to me and unfortunately the ALO cable doesn't change that.
I've also tried a Moon Audio Black Dragon which is very musical and really brings forward the midrange, but it does so by rolling off the upper octaves so much that the sound seems constricted and, truthfully, of lower volume than the ALO or even stock cable. In contrast, Cardas cable also rolls off the upper octaves, but much less so: it's main bugaboo to my ears is that it also brings out the bass and a bit too much of the lower treble, so the end result seems too "tweaked" to my ears. It actually sounds a bit like their Golden Reference speaker cables, which I had back when I owned Merlin speakers.
Sorry, got off on a tangent there. Given what little I have read, the SAA Endorphins may give me back some of the midrange and overall timbre of instruments rather than just the air and treble "sheen" which is what the ALO Ref 16 has done. OTOH the PFO review says there was precious little difference between ALO and SAA Endorphin until the whole system was rewired with SAA cabling, which I don't plan to do (not much I can do with the M903 as digital source and amp anyway). I was hoping someone here with more sensitive ears could give better color on the comparison.
Edited by James - 1/27/12 at 12:04pm