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Tara Labs Prism 11

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, after all that drama with Tara Labs, I finally got a real response (I had to call) and got my order in. The Prism 11s came yesterday and I've been burning them in ever since.

I have the Grado RA-1/RS-1 combo connected to various sorta cheap-o CD sources (that's my next investment). I bought them because the TL site said they were good for mid-grade components and overly bright/forward systems, which were both characteristics my system had. I must say that these cables make a huge difference in the overall musicality, richness and listenability.

The presence was initially noticeably blunted in the high ranges, but it seems to be, well, noticeably rushing back as these ICs burn in.

There was also a loss of detail which is coming out far slower. The loss of detail is something I have a feeling I'm going to have to learn to live with. I think my next pair of ICs is going to be Kimber Heros, as I hear they are excellent for all of the problems I'm describing, before and after these budget Taras.

The soundstaging is creeping in, where when I first cracked them open, there was definitely a reluctance on the part of the soundstage to bloom or blossom or really do anything at all. You really had to listen for ambiance and such. I do hope that opens up, because for me, soundstaging is one of the most relaxing, inviting parts of listening to music and is very important to me.

Overall, I am very pleased with this solution, mostly because it did what I needed it to do to be able to listen for more than a few minutes and it was cheap ($25 for a 0.6 meter length). Yay, Tara Labs!

- Matt
post #2 of 9
I've auditioned the TL 11 and was unimpressed basically for the same reasons you described. Narrower soundstage, audiable loss in treble energy and dry midrange. Better than supplied cables ofcourse, but nothing to write home about. IXOS gamma audition blew them away and they cost the same. Van den Hul D102MkIII was another step up, my favourite cable at the moment, it costs twice but performs 10 times better.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yeah...

...I know they're not perfect, BUT they served to handle my one largest concern for right now, which was the ultra-brightness of the system. It was unbearable and needed desperately to be tamed (and I didn't want to put any sort of EQ amp stage in between the source and the headphone amp) and they do that very well.

This is the first time so far I've sat back and said "yeah!" for real with this system, so I am happy and ----listening to the music----!

Of course, in a little while, I'll probably end up experimenting with my RatShack golds, hear the detail again, go crazy and buy those darn Kimbers.

C'est la vie, children!

By the way, do any of the cables you mention do the "harsh brightness-taming" trick?



- Matt
post #4 of 9
If your system is bright, (which I assume is mainly due to your source) good cables will not hide this. Better cables try to achieve as little coloration as possible without any boost or roll-off. Van denHul D102 is very neutral one, It won't tame your system but it won't add any brightness on its own either.
I know you're aware of that, but just have to say, if you own RA1/RS1 combo a good source is a must. I doubt that the your phones/amp are any bright, but if you still want warmer and smoother sound Technics and Cambridge Audio make some cheap CDP that would do.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks...

...for the leads on the better CDPs. Can you give me an idea of what sort of SACD/DVD-A manufacturers will also be making similar products (high quality, not-so-high price)? I ultimately want one player to handle everything, but a player of high or "higher" quality.


Thanks.

- Matt
post #6 of 9
Matt,

I also have the RA-1 and am curious about the Tara labs cables. Can you tell me where you purchased them from and how much they cost? Thanks.
post #7 of 9
Matt.
Curently there is no player that would handle both SACD and DVD-A. Sony makes cheap(er) SACD players. Philips has just released a multichanel SACD player that plays SACDs DVD-V, Cds, mp3CDs and HDCDs ie. pretty much everyrthing except DVD-A. That's just the licence game. Sony and Philips in the one camp and the rest of the bunch in the other are charging an enormous amount of money for licensing that's why.
i was in the same boat as you several months ago and finally settled for a mid priced CD player (Marantz CD6000 OSE). Great value for money and will hold until all this format war is over.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Responses

"I also have the RA-1 and am curious about the Tara labs cables. Can you tell me where you purchased them from and how much they cost? Thanks."

I purchased them direct from Tara Labs (taralabs.com). This was only possible, however, because I live over 150 miles from the nearest Tara Labs dealer. There is a listing of dealers by area code on their site. Go there, check it out and if there's no one close, call 'em.

The leads were $25 for a stereo pair at 0.6 meters long.

Just to finish this off, I took the Taras off my 1990 JVC boombox RCA outs and connected them with the RA-1 to a DVD-A player (Panasonic DVD-A7). OK, but overall pretty dullsville. How do I know this? Because, moments later, I connected the player and the amp with some Transparent Audio Laboratories "ZapLink 2" Interconnects. All I have to say is "YEEHAW!" This is definitely the most pleasing I've heard so far from this system.

The soundstaging blew up dramatically, things were "Holographic!" instead of "uhhh...I hear some ambience."

The detail was all back and I could Turn It Up, too (no doubt this is due to the player's higher, smoother, richer and far more accurate output).

The Taras are great for covering up and smoothing out the relative shiz put out by my boombox, so if that's your source, go with those. I really think that they are great if you can't upgrade your source or get a power cleaner or you can't spend over $25 on interconnects. They are great cables, just not as good for "real" sources as the Transparents.

Final Stated Conclusion, So As To Avoid Equivocality: TARA LABS PRISM 11s ARE GREAT IF YOUR SOURCE IS LESS-THAN-GREAT, especially if it is too bright or too forward. It "EQs" that stuff down and smooths out the sound amazingly. You will lose some detail and soundstaging, BUT that is OK, because you will be able to listen for more than, say, five minutes.

--------------

"Curently there is no player that would handle both SACD and DVD-A."

Yeah, I figured that, but I do know that Apex (a "budget" component company...perhaps they're crap, I wouldn't know) is coming out with a combo DVD-A/SACD player in "fourth-quarter 2001" (which should mean about any day now).

"I was in the same boat as you several months ago and finally settled for a mid priced CD player (Marantz CD6000 OSE). Great value for money and will hold until all this format war is over."

Yeah, I think I'll wait until a combo player or a clear cut winner in the battle comes out. I really don't want to be splashing out left and right every six months or so.

By the way, does anyone have any details or any sort of timeline of the VHS vs. Beta war? I'd be interested to see if we can draw any parallels.

Best,
Matt
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

77...

Quote:
Originally posted by Magic77
Matt,

I also have the RA-1 and am curious about the Tara labs cables. Can you tell me where you purchased them from and how much they cost? Thanks.

I am trying to get a pair of Kimbers (many times the regular price of the Taras) and I need to raise some funds. I will sell you brand-new Prism 11s for $23, shipping included. These have been used only to burn in and you'll get the original sturdy snap-box they came in. This will save you $2 off the regular admission price, plus no tax and free shipping. I'll even ship it Priority Mail (2 - 3 days).

Let me know.

- Matt
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