Competition for Cardas Neutral Ref?
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Vertigo-1

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I'm considering shooting for a second pair of Neutral References cause I like 'em so darn much. But are there any other interconnects that are supposedly "neutral references" before I do this? Harmonic Technology's Truthlink seems to be one competitor from what I read on AA. Any other IC's that run along the idea (or at least trying) of providing true neutrality?
 
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pigmode

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I have the Neutral References speaker cables, but someone I spoke to thought they were on the dark/warm side (shrugs).

What about the new Zu Varial? The two pairs IMS have only about 25 hours of burn-in, but it looks like at least one (if not two) is a keeper. At this point I can say that they have great imaging and a nice tight bottom end, but most of all a very pleasing tonality throughout. Being that they are silver, the Varials also have a detailed HF response. They are offered at 25% off to Harmonic Discord members till the end of the month.
 
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nebuchadnezzar

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Vertigo, I have had very good luck dealing with the Cable Company. One of the nicest things about their business is the "cable library." Even though they require a deposit of 10% of the cables cost (which you can put towards your final purchase) it's a great chance to audition a variety of cables in your system. They also sell used cable, and believe they take trades (I'm not sure, though).

I have purchased a number of IC's and a couple of runs of speaker wire from them (without using the library) and their customer sevice is exceptional! The sales staff is very knowledgable and has been more than happy to answer my silly questions in the past. I have placed all of my orders by phone, the site isn't that great (but it is functional). Click on "how to" on their homepage for info on the library.



by the way, I don't work for them....I just think they are a fine bunch to deal with....
 
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Anders

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If I lived in US, I would definitely use the Cable library. I have bought used cables there and it is very good value compared to new cables in local shops here (+VAT + distributer additions). They do trade in cables.
Last cable I bought was to the phono preamp, a Dicovery Plus 4 that they recommeded as the most neutral and best match of the then available used cables for the Cardas wire in tonearm and phono cable. It it very detailed and has a good tonal balance in this application but a little bright between CD and MOH amp. Other candidates were Pro Silway and Kimber Select 1010, I think they regarded Kimber as more neutral than Silway. There was no used Neutral Reference.
The best would be to borrow three carefully selected cables.
 
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Todd R

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Quote:

Originally posted by Vertigo-1
I'm considering shooting for a second pair of Neutral References cause I like 'em so darn much. But are there any other interconnects that are supposedly "neutral references" before I do this? Harmonic Technology's Truthlink seems to be one competitor from what I read on AA. Any other IC's that run along the idea (or at least trying) of providing true neutrality?


I'd like to suggest Acoustic Zen's WOW interconnect. Robert Lee, the founder of Harmonic Technology, and has created his new company Acoustic Zen, which used "Zero Crystal" copper in all their wires.

I have owned The Truth Link and Pro Silway cables from Harmonic and I will say, that as good as those cables are, the WOW interconnect beats the Truth Link easily. The WOW and Pro Silway sound fairly similar, but the WOW has more relaxed midrange with a deeper soundstage than the Pro Silway. However the big news is the WOW only costs $248! (The Pro Silway is $399)

Call Bruce at Kay's Interiors Kay's
WOW
 
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wasifazim

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Quote:

Originally posted by Vertigo-1
I'm considering shooting for a second pair of Neutral References cause I like 'em so darn much. But are there any other interconnects that are supposedly "neutral references" before I do this? Harmonic Technology's Truthlink seems to be one competitor from what I read on AA. Any other IC's that run along the idea (or at least trying) of providing true neutrality?


The HT Truthlink is good, but hardly neutral; it's definitely on the warm side.

- Wasif.
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by pigmode
What about the new Zu Varial? The two pairs IMS have only about 25 hours of burn-in, but it looks like at least one (if not two) is a keeper. At this point I can say that they have great imaging and a nice tight bottom end, but most of all a very pleasing tonality throughout. Being that they are silver, the Varials also have a detailed HF response. They are offered at 25% off to Harmonic Discord members till the end of the month.


Pig
Keep us posted on those Zu Varials, I about ready to give Adam a call, just need a little push. Are they competitive with your Appassionatas?

I am already waiting for delivery of new Mapleshade excalibur ribbon ICs I ordered recently.
 
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How about the Acoustic Zen Silver Reference? I like it.
 
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Vertigo-1

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Quote:

I have the Neutral References speaker cables, but someone I spoke to thought they were on the dark/warm side (shrugs).


Strangely I ran across someone that said the Neutral Refs had a foggy sound to them compared to the Truthlinks...which is where I dredged up the Truthlink's as being a competitor from. *shrug* indeed...but I guess wasifazim reply eliminates the Truthlinks anyways.

Quote:

I'd like to suggest Acoustic Zen's WOW interconnect.


*shivers at the idea of putting bright purple interconnects behind his system...*


DarkAngel, I'm definitely trying to hold out to hear your impressions on that Mapleshade Excalibur first. If there's any other interconnect I'm looking at myself for sure, it's those.

The problem here is my Arcam has two outputs...I'm trying to get one to the speaker system and one to the headphone system. But I think after messing around a bit that the Arcam's outputs are one of those dual outputs that "mix n' match" two cable's sound if you put two different cables on simultaneously. Which is why I was considering (or need) a 2nd pair of Neutral Refs.
 
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Vert,

Based on what I know of your preferences and what you say you're looking for, I suggest you go with what you know. It didn't surprise me that you dig the Neutral Refs, and I imagine a second pair would be just the ticket for you.

And, no, I won't sell you mine!
 
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pigmode

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Quote:

Strangely I ran across someone that said the Neutral Refs had a foggy sound to them compared to the Truthlinks...which is where I dredged up the Truthlink's as being a competitor from. *shrug* indeed...but I guess wasifazim reply eliminates the Truthlinks anyways.


My impression is that the Cardas is neutral mainly in comparison to the rest of the cables in the Cardas line, which are well known for their weighted mids and bass.

Quote:

The problem here is my Arcam has two outputs...I'm trying to get one to the speaker system and one to the headphone system. But I think after messing around a bit that the Arcam's outputs are one of those dual outputs that "mix n' match" two cable's sound if you put two different cables on simultaneously.


Hmm, sounds funky. Are you still running a Rotel intergrated and a Bijou linestage? Mightn't you want to run your source to the Sugden, and then run the Sugden directly to the power section in the Rotel? The Sugden is a linestage, after all.

Quote:

Keep us posted on those Zu Varials, I about ready to give Adam a call, just need a little push. Are they competitive with your Appassionatas?


DA,

I'll start a seperate thread next weekend or so when I have more hours on the Varials. The method I've settled upon for intergrating new cables into my system is to listen to them for 100 or so hours before going back to the previous cable configuration for a comparison. As a preview I can say that these cables have a nice liquid midband with nary a trace of HF harshness. Very sweet. At this point they image differently from the AZ Matrix and the Appassionata that they've replaced. I still think very highly of the Appassionata...
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by jude
Vert,

Based on what I know of your preferences and what you say you're looking for, I suggest you go with what you know. It didn't surprise me that you dig the Neutral Refs, and I imagine a second pair would be just the ticket for you.

And, no, I won't sell you mine!


When I auditioned the FMJ I thought it was a killer combo with all 3 of the Cardas big-boys. For those who don't know, that would be the Cardas Neutral Reference, Cardas Golden Cross, and Cardas Golden Reference. The FMJ's detail was a perfect match for the Cardas bass. I though it tighened it up quit nicely. But, opinons vary.
 
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Vertigo-1

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Quote:

Originally posted by pigmode
Hmm, sounds funky. Are you still running a Rotel intergrated and a Bijou linestage? Mightn't you want to run your source to the Sugden, and then run the Sugden directly to the power section in the Rotel? The Sugden is a linestage, after all.


Man I didn't even think about daisy chaining.
Except I can't do it that way, cause the Rotel doesn't have a seperate power amp section, and the Sugden's single pair of line outs isn't passive. On the other hand I could go from the Arcam to the Rotel's input, and then from the Rotel's tape out (which I *think* is a passive line out, the Rotel also has a preamp lineout like the Sugden) over to the Sugden's input. Now I'm just wondering how transparent the Rotel is in passing stuff out...either way it looks like I'll need a second set of Neutral Refs just to keep things clean, and not mix cable sounds. But daisy chaining through one of the Arcam's outputs does sound cleaner then using both of the Arcam's outputs.

The other thing I've been considering lately is replacing the Rotel with a McCormack Micro Power Drive, and then using the Sugden as a preamp...hrm.
 
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