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World's Best IC for $130 or less

post #1 of 82
Thread Starter 
So what is it in your humble opinion?

You can also suggest USED IC's that normal go for $130 or less.

Of course, please ONLY suggest IC's that you actually HEARD YOURSELF.


Hopefully this thread can be helpful not only to me but also to everyone else looking for great IC's for a reasonable price.
post #2 of 82
i would say Zu Cables. they can be had for less on ebay through manufacturer promotions.
post #3 of 82
The blackcoral or blacksliver (depending on your metal preference) are good
post #4 of 82
Grover Silver Reference MK IIs are fabulous. They really do everything well and were the best interconnect I'd ever heard (and I've heard a handfull of much more expensive ones) prior to the Empresses. I still have a couple pairs of SR IIs in my big rig, come to think of it. I've got a pair going from my phonostage to my preamp (tried Empress Phono --> Phonostage --> Empress --> linestage, and prefered having SR II in second position) and I also have a pair between my preamp and monoblocks. I have a hard time imagining anything preforming better at the pricepoint.
post #5 of 82
Audiogeek Nitrogen or Headphile XRS. XRS is bit treble heavy, so you have to match them carefully.
post #6 of 82
after a long time using monster cable interlink ref2's from my nad to my hr2, I went out and bought mit term3's.

I noticed a change rite off the bat, imaging came out more then ever and the bass cleared up alot.

best $40 I ever spent, so good that if I would of done this upgrade before I probably wouldnt have a g08 coming in now...

well it was the best $40 that went into my setup as of yet.
post #7 of 82
If you want neutrality/transparency, go for the grover reference mkII. If you want something smoother and with more warmth, win an auction on some aural thrills beryillum copper ic's. Each cable is very fast and detailed, with a large and focused sound stage. If you want something with a softer/sweeter sound, get a cable that uses the gold tri-alloy wire, thought I find the highs of the tri-alloy cables to not be as good as the other two cables.

post #8 of 82
audiogeek nitrogens...or DIY.
post #9 of 82
Audiogeek Nitrogens
post #10 of 82
I have a "Music Timbre" tri-alloy cable (gold, copper, silver) from Northwest Enterprise, which, I believe, is not produced anymore. The sound is smooth yet quite articulate in the highs and more detailed than my previous Boldercables M-80 (MSRP $125), which also bordered on bright in the lower and mid highs in my system. I think this is a good example of how brightness is not to be set equal with detailing.
I bought the tri-alloy for around $130 used and similar cables could be found on Audiogon for around the same price or a little bit more. For example, there was a used Aural Thrills tri-alloy cable that went for 125 shipped on Audiogon. I was quite sceptical about alloy cables in the beginning but really like its sound by now. Not sure if it's neutral but then again, what is neutral?
I'm also interested in getting one of those Aural Thrills active cables one day, maybe the active Palladium version, which according to the guys at Aural Thrills is their most neutral sounding one...

Another cable, which I liked was the cable Jan from Meier-Audio makes. At that time I was only able to compare it to my Oehlbach NF2 but the differences were quite apparent (i.e. in the context of differences between cables). And it has better build quality than most cables I have tested (including my tri-alloy cable).

In any case, I don't know if these are the best cables around but they might be worth a look.
post #11 of 82
This thread has definitely been helpful as i am in the market for some new IC's, thanks to everyone and especially KR... .
post #12 of 82
The best I've heard for that money are the one's I've built myself

post #13 of 82
I've bought several at the $150 point used. If that counts and you can stretch/be patient, I can heartily recommend the Harmonic Technology Truthlink, the Acoustic Zen WOW and the DiMarzio MPath. I also have Tributaries silver which are good but maybe not on the same level as the others mentioned. I'd be really hard pressed to pick a favorite among the 1st three; Acoustic Zen might sound best but are also the least flexible and, frankly, a bit of a pain in tight quarters. I really like the HT and DM alot as well.
Hope that's useful info.
Found all of mine on Audiogon but bought the DiMarzios new from Todd.
post #14 of 82
I'm digging my Signalcable Silver Resolution IC's; very detailed, excellent soundstage. On sale right now for $139 new (2 foot length I think). Not much to look at though, but sound fantastic.
post #15 of 82

Lots of good ones here, and more

I like the Aural Thrills & Grovers that were mentioned. I haven't heard the Headphile or Nitrogens, but they have gotten a lot of good press.

A recent purchase I got that I liked a lot was the Silent Audio Apollo-A ribbons, got them cheap on A'gon auction. Big, spacious soundstage, smooth response top to bottom, incredible instrument separation (that sense of space within the soundstage), and nicely detailed. Only compared to my favorite Tritium UHF Gold's (at 6 times the cost) do they lack some element of transparency and musicality.

Another recommedation, but they stretch the $ a little bit, and you'll not likely find them used: the Ven Haus Pulsars. Incredible all-around performer, does a LOT of things incredibly well.

Good luck!
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