Got my Stefan AudioArt Equinox cable for my Sennheiser HD600s
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egeorge1

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I ordered the cable in a custom 12' length a few weeks ago and they came in today, a few days earlier than they told me. This is 3' longer than the standard Equinox cable and about 2' longer than the one that came with my Senns.

Before I state my opinions, let me tell you what I'm listening on. The source is the Sony S9000ES SACD/DVD player which connects to my Sony V444ES Receiver with 1-meter M950i M series Monster cable. The Senns are jacked into the receiver(no headphone amp yet). Power cables are stock and it is all plugged into a Monster HTS1000 Line Conditioner.

I don't have golden ears nor do I know all the audiophile lingo, so bear with me as I try to explain my observations. I started out with classical SACDs recorded in pure DSD. It seems to me a good type of music for testing new gear since there are many subtleties and fine detail in the music as well as a variation of loud and quiet selections. First I listened to Yo-Yo Ma - Solo. What I noticed was a more natural sound. The sound wasn't as harsh as with the stock cable(it was only slightly harsh before). Also more details in the music were popping out at me. I have done critical listening of this disc before so it's not like I'm just paying closer attention just because of the cable. I then listened to the 2001 Telarc Pure DSD recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. And found the same thing but I haven't listened to it as much before so I didn't notice as much of a difference. I will listen to some jazz and rock as well as some regular CDs and report back on any differences in sound there when I have a chance.

The main reason I wanted to post this was because I was told I wouldn't notice any difference with a better headphone cable until it was connected to a dedicated headphone amp. Well mine is jacked into my receiver and there was definitely a difference. However, the difference isn't huge, it's subtle but an improvement just the same. Since I plan to get an amp in the future anyway, I just got it now so I will already have it whenever I get the amp and so I can listen to my Senns on the couch without an extension cable. Before, I only had one chair I could reach with my Senns on. The fact that they sound better has been a pleasant surprise. Keep in mind they aren't even broken in yet. This makes me want the amp even more! I plan to get the Sugden Headmaster btw, in case anyone is wondering.

No review is complete if something negative isn't said, so here is my one complaint. The 1/4" connector isn't gold plated. I doubt it makes much difference, but every cable termination and jack in my entire system is with this exception. The optional 3mm connector is gold so I don't understand this inconsistency in their products. The stock Senn cable and even my cheap Grado headphone extension cable are both gold. On the other hand the pins that connect into the headphone are gold, and the original Sennheiser cable wasn't. I emailed someone at Stefan AudioArt about the silver 1/4" connector and he didn't really give me an answer as to why, just told me it doesn't affect sound quality. Anyway, it's a petty complaint but one just the same.

Overall I would say it was worth the money, $219 for the 12' custom length ($30 more than the standard 9'). It will really shine once I have the amp. It's not important but I should mention this is the sexiest looking cable I've seen. Now I know why I'm in the Audio Asylum, must be nuts, calling a cable sexy. It's much better looking than the bright red or blue cables offered by Clou and Cardas.
 
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arnett

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Quote:

Originally posted by egeorge1
Overall I would say it was worth the money, $219 for the 12' custom length ($30 more than the standard 9').


ouch!

not to crap on this thread, but i say we should all e-mail outlaw and see if they'd make an OCC senn HD580/600 replacement cable for around $50-60.

on the other hand, the outlaw replacement cable would be twice as thick as a the clou . . .

 
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LarryS

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I've also just received a pair of Equinox for my HD600's. I'm sorta like george in that I may not have the best set of ears, and am not up on all the audiophile terminology. But I did hear differences over the stock cable.

My equipment is listed at the bottom.

I played select tracks that I was familiar with, and for me the main difference was a discernable increase in clarity in the female vocal range (mid-treble?) and up. I can definitely hear extension of the upper treble, and an increase in the *sweetness* of bells. There may be a slight increase in bass extension. I've always been happy with my bass after I rolled my tubes. Bass continued to be taut and not flabby or boomy.

I also have noticed that I can better place the intruments on the stage. I'm getting some better visualization than before. Not dramatic differences, but they are subtly there.

One thing that really surprised me, and I did hear it on Dave's True Story, DTS, track Nadine. I used to hear a metal brush (?) going back and forth over the snare drum, with a bit of a hitch between the side-to-side movement. I used to wonder at how the effect of that hitch was gotten. Now, I can hear that the brush is going around in a circle. I'm not saying that I can hear a 3-D 1-foot circle, but the clarity/detail improved so that I realized what was going on. This is a track that I have listened to *a lot*, so I am quite familiar with it.

Also, on the Never Never Land track, Jane Monheit, I noticed a lot more foot pedaling on the piano than I had before.

These changes were not dramatic. Some are subtle (the bass) and some (mid & trebles) are a bit more than subtle, with attentive listening.

The cables have less than 5 hours on them so far, so burn-in is certainly not complete. But so far I am satisfied with the improvements. And I look forward to hearing the sound develop.

I really do like the looks and build of the cable. Very classy! My one gripe matche george in that I wish the 1/4 pin were gold, but oh well... I treated it and the headphone pins with Caig pro-gold.

I may, after fully getting used to the Equinox, swap back to the stock cables to check my impressions, but that will be much farther down the road.

I would like to point out that for me, I must pay attention while I listen to hear these changes. There is a big difference for me between casual listening and *listening*. When I *listen*, I close my eyes, try to visualize, and concentrate on what I'm hearing. I cannot read a book and *listen* at the same time. For me, it's still a bit of a learning/self-training experience in how to *listen*.
 
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Nick Dangerous

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In time, Larry-San, all will be revealed. Take your time wandering among the sounds of the whispering cherry blossoms...
 
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timoteus

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Quote:

Originally posted by arnett

not to crap on this thread, but i say we should all e-mail outlaw and see if they'd make an OCC senn HD580/600 replacement cable for around $50-60.


I agree that CCC/OCC would most likely make a great sounding headphone cable. This cable doesn't like to be handled. Coiling, dragging around and the like which is common with a headphone cable will cause damage within the crystalline structure of this wire. It is best used in applications like interconnects and speaker cables where it can be broken in and then left alone.

If you were to braid a CCC headphone cable and treat it very gently, I wouldn't be surprised if it would be one of if not the best sounding cable out there.

 
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egeorge1

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I would like to post a followup regarding my communication with Stefan AudioArt about the 1/4" connector question I asked them. Aparently there was a bit of a miscommunication about their response to me. They sent more detailed info about their choice. Here it is:

I would like to point out that the 1/4" connector is a very high quality
precision German made terminator with is Silver plated. Technically, Silver is a better
conductor than gold. I tested dozens of connection over a three year period
and I picked this connector because it is the best available. The connectors
used by Clou and Cardas are do not come close to the quality of this connector.

Also, being a former Sennheiser engineer, I know that the gold plated spade
connectors (the connections that plug into the headphones) have been refined to
near perfection over the years by Sennheiser. So, I have decided to use them in the
design also. To attempt to produce a similar connector would be a
mistake, given their history. The proof can be seen in the failing of
the spade connector Cardas has produced to make their cable.
 
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Tuberoller

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I hope I can help clear some things up about the Cardas vs. Equinox issues without treading over my credibility or imposing a conflict of interest,that may force a mod to delete my post.

I do sell both cables (Cardas locally only) and have already expressed my strong preference for the Equinox.The reasons go far beyond sonics.

I was able to handle the very first prototype of the Cardas cable cable at the Consumer Electronics Show in LasVegas (I posted pics)back in January.I didn't like the apperance or quality of the connectors then but was assured that this was a prototype.I was also assured of a release date which came and passed three times.i was seriously disappointed when the cable debuted late with the exact same connectors as the prototype two months later than promised.I was also completely disgusted that Cardas decided to offer the cable for sale at two retailers that are not regular dealers(Headroom and Musicdirect) first ,which violated the standard dealer agreements by allowing the cables to be sold via the net and mailorder.The fact that the cables have been trickeled out at a very slow rate and the rediculous backorder waits makes me even more disgusted.Add in that the cable has changed in apperance slightly,forcing me to explain to a customer why his cable looked different than his brother's and Cardas' unwillingness to do custom work and you guys should understand why I dig the Equinox much more than the Cardas.if you look at the Cardas you will see that the 1/4" plug is a standard Switchcraft ,the headphone connectors are not very good at retaining grip once they have been accidentally or intentionally pulled from the headphone.I will state that I make a lot more money selling Cardas than I ever will selling Stefan Audio Art.The difference in quality between the Cardas headphone cable and the Stefan is obvious.The Equinox has a very high quality connector and is available in just about any custom configuration you can think of and the wait is never longer than a week or two.Each HD600/580 cable is hand-built by James Sardechny. I have had orders for custom sheething,lengths and connectors all delivered to my customers within two weeks of the initial order.I have had customers wait as long as six weeks for the Cardas and have had numerous cancelled orders.Still I sell every Cardas I get which of course is based on reviews/impressions offered at places like head-fi.I make these statements as Tuberoller the headphone geek and not Tuberoller the "sometimes audio dealer".I really feel that even at the higher price the Equinox is the better cable,in all ways.

As I stated in an earlier post,there are some instances where i think the Equinox is bested slighty by the Cardas.These instances are repeatable and have been confirmed by other listeners.
 
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I had both in my system for quite some time, and, though I liked both, the Cardas was still my overall favorite. Sonically, it'll come down to which serves one's individual sonic tastes better -- for me, the Cardas is the better foil for HD-600 sonic characteristics that needed some opposite effect.

Aesthetically, the Equinox is no doubt prettier to look at. And the earpiece plugs are more snug on the Equinox than my Cardas cable (which was probably one of the first off the line). I'm not sure if this is something Cardas has changed since my cable came off the line.

If Cardas has made any running changes to improve the cable (I don't know that they have, but it wouldn't surprise me), I don't find this to be a bad practice in the least. In fact, many of the products in your house, garage, and driveway have had running design changes to improve or fix particular things. I've seen a particular car model in the same model year where one had different trunk struts than another -- things like this happen all the time with all different kinds of products. I wouldn't be surprised if an Equinox that was purchased today had cleaner soldering than some of the very first off the line. I know Clou made some running changes to their choice of plugs, and a later model Clou a Head-Fi member let me borrow had significantly cleaner work at the splice area than an early run Clou I bought over a year ago.

Yes, Cardas is selling more than they're currently making, and they are taking longer to make than maybe even they anticipated. I know you probably already have an A324 DAC by Musical Fidelity, Tuberoller, but those who don't would have to wait for those too, as they're also backordered. Positive reviews of that product have also led to high demand relative to current production. It's hard to anticipate demand, and, where production is concerned, it's sometimes better to gauge demand than make too many of a new product.

Also, regarding custom work, is it really that surprising to you that Stefan AudioArt would be more able to easily accommodate custom orders? It's a much smaller house. It would also probably be easier to order a Njoe Tjoeb from Upscale Audio with a more custom voltage output than it would be to have Arcam, for example, step down or step up the voltage output on one of its CD players for individual customers.

Quote:

....I do sell both cables (Cardas locally only) and have already expressed my strong preference for the Equinox.The reasons go far beyond sonics....

....I was also assured of a release date which came and passed three times....

....I was also completely disgusted that Cardas decided to offer the cable for sale at two retailers that are not regular dealers(Headroom and Musicdirect) first ,which violated the standard dealer agreements by allowing the cables to be sold via the net and mailorder....

....The fact that the cables have been trickeled out at a very slow rate and the rediculous backorder waits makes me even more disgusted....

....Add in that the cable has changed in apperance slightly,forcing me to explain to a customer why his cable looked different than his brother's....

....and Cardas' unwillingness to do custom work and you guys should understand why I dig the Equinox much more than the Cardas....




It seems you're bothered most by dealer-specific gripes where the Cardas cable is concerned. I believe sonic preferences might favor the Equinox with you -- again, I can see how sonic preferences would have some leaning toward one and some toward the other, and they're both fine products. But, as you've stated, it may be more than sonics that have you huffin' and puffin' about the Cardas headphone cable.
 
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Tuberoller

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Jude,

I think the things that I'm "huffin' and puffin" about effect consumers far more than they effect me as a dealer.I sell more of the Cardas and make a far larger profit on them than i do the Equinox.i have until this point only touted the Equinox as better sonically.The backorder problem is not mine,I still sell all the cables I order.You saw and heard the intro press surrounding the Cardas cable as did I.In it a plug which "eliminates crosstalk" was promised.Instead the cable was delivered with a standard Switchcraft plug.I am not the only one complaining about the headphone connectors on the Cardas either.I if were only concerned about dealer issues (profits,exposure,etc.)my interest would be better served by wholeheartedly supporting the Cardas cable.

I made 500 posts before the "Audio Dealer" moniker was added to my title.I was and am an enthusiast first.I make these statements as an audio enthusiast and head-fi member.
 
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I for one was suprised about the plug on the Cardas but, it sounds so damned great that I forgot about it once I heard it. I'm not even tempted to change it out for a 'better' plug.

I auditioned both cables at the WoH tour and found the Cardas to be a *hair* better than the Equinox to my ears. They were darned close though!

Had I known about the backorder status and not had that gift certificate I might have gone for the Equinox just to get it faster.
 
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I think the Equinox is a "High Quality" product.It has a huge 3-D soundstage, balanced frequency response and great low level detail. The connectors to the headphone fit properly.?The Cardas connectors did not fit right and I had drop outs in sound with the Cardas.The treble on the Cardas was Excellent!!! Arrowmark
 
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Thanks for the great information--both on the Cardas and the Equinox. Now I'm doubly motivated to order an HD 600 and Equinox cable.
 
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Fortune

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Thanks for the info everyone.

I too just ordered the Equinox in the 12' length. Egeorge1, how long did you have to wait for your cable?
 
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egeorge1

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It took about 2 weeks I believe. I ordered it right before the 4th of July so there was probably a slight delay because of the holiday. At any rate I thought it was very quick for a custom made cable.
 
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Has anyone else found it at least mildly amusing that the 1/4" connectors on Equinox are made in Liechtenstein? That must be the only product made there
.
 
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