OH NO!...the Cardas smurf cable is INCREDIBLE!!
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Beagle

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munch munch munch...the sound of me, the disbelieving cynic eating crow...


kwkarth, DarkAngel, nezer, kelly, jude, KR, MacDEF et al were right...hearing is believing. I should have known better than to doubt the golden ears.

Went for a medical this week and then stopped at my local hi-end dealer just for a look-see and chat with the owner. I inquired about the availability of the Cardas HD600 cable in Canada, and he opens a drawer, pulls out a large zip-lock bag and places it on the counter in front of me.

There it was. The Cardas smurf cable. I stared at it, stared at the red and black Sennheiser plugs, picked it up, put it back down.

My first thought was that it was a form of entrapment. The cable was RIGHT THERE, begging for me to buy it. How could I let this chance go by. All the glowing Head-Fi reviews and comments were going through my head like a rolling newsreel. I inquired on the price. $250 (Canadian). Ouch. It's just wire. Wire cannot make a significant difference.

But to hell with it. Even Neruda loved it. Gotta go for it. I opened my wallet, plunked down the plastic and said "I'm in".

Having been listening exclusively to Grados for the past two weeks, I had to reacquaint myself with the HD600, which I did for a full evening. I began to enjoy them again, but was convincing myself that it was not complete, in anticipation of the "big improvement" which was forthcoming.

Out with the old, in with the new. I made a MD compilation of various things on both CD and LP. I found a comfortable area to do some serious listening. I plugged my "new" HD600 into the RA-1 and gave a listen to "Look Who's Alone Tonight" from Robbie Nevil's 1986 debut LP and "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid" from Daryl Hall & John Oates CD Big Bam Boom. After a couple of minutes of listening, the first think I realized was that there was an openness in the bass, a transparency which allowed for distinct separation of information in the bass range. Bass guitar was easily distinguishable from kick drum. It was like a veil was removed which allowed me to more clearly "see" bass notes, especially very low ones. Dynamics are left to their own devices.

I moved on through some of Dylans "Blood On The Tracks" LP and became more accustomed to the new "sound". The move from CD to LP was like a window opened and some fresh air wafted in. By the time I got around to "Power Failure" and "Song For A Dreamer" form Procol Harum's Broken Barricades LP, I was fully aware of the magic that the Cardas cable was capable of, or more accurately perhaps, it was the magic that the Cardas cable was allowing to pass through to my ears. Robin Trowers layered guitar pieces were easily audible as well as discernable, and the ebb and flow of the music was totally unimpeded. Carly Simons voice on "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" was clear, full and natural. Tracks like "Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman" and "I Don't Want To Know" from the Rumours LP lived and breathed, the lead/background vocal parts sounded scary real.

The best way I can describe the new sound is that there is no 'sound' per se. The Cardas HD600 take on some of the favorable 'characteristics' of the AKGK501 in that it presents music and instruments and does not draw attention to specific details of same. Everything simply exists as music and you listen and enjoy. One just assumes a very flat frequency response and is not drawn to specific peaks or valleys. Nothing is exaggerated, nothing is slighted. It takes a while to realize that all the treble is there, in correct proportion and energy. What is missing is grain and distortion. The "broken down into specific parts" characteristic that bothered me about the stock HD600 is totally gone. I now hear the musical whole, everything gels properly. And overall, it's like removing a clear pane of glass and looking out an open window. And I can assure myself that the RA-1 is delivering a clear signal to the HD600.

I hate admitting that wire makes this big a difference, and I certainly have no explanation for it, other than perhaps the quality (or stiffness?) of the wire is assuring superb timing of the signal reaching my ears. Unless there is some clever sonic sleight-of-hand going on. Maybe I'll go back to the Grados in a months time and rediscover those too. Who knows.

I also find it interesting that neither the plug nor the pins are gold plated. Maybe Cardas does not believe in gold?

Anyway, I feel somewhat of a fool and a hypocrite, having been so cynical towards some of the positive comments and claims towards this cable in the past. I apologize for doubting people on something they had experience with and I did not, other than my own personal experience of not having heard large differences in cables.

For any HD600 owners who do not have the Cards cable, go get it posthaste!
 
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Neruda

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Quote:

Originally posted by Beagle
The Cardas HD600 take on some of the favorable 'characteristics' of the AKGK501 in that it presents music and instruments and does not draw attention to specific details of same. Everything simply exists as music and you listen and enjoy. One just assumes a very flat frequency response and is not drawn to specific peaks or valleys. Nothing is exaggerated, nothing is slighted. It takes a while to realize that all the treble is there, in correct proportion and energy. What is missing is grain and distortion. The "broken down into specific parts" characteristic that bothered me about the stock HD600 is totally gone. I now hear the musical whole, everything gels properly. And overall, it's like removing a clear pane of glass and looking out an open window. And I can assure myself that the RA-1 is delivering a clear signal to the HD600.



it's amazing, isn't it? that cable makes a profound difference in the performance of that headphone. I agree with you that it sort of "K501-izes" the HD600 and gives it the AKG's seamless midrange (IMO), while retaining the deep bass and high-end extension of the HD600 (I never noticed the latter before I heard them with the cardas cable btw). Before the cardas I could never truly enjoy the HD600 when I compared it side-by-side to the K501, but with that damn cable they sound near-perfect to my ears. It's amazing but true.
 
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fiddler

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First Neruda... Now even Beagle?!?! Wow. I've DEFINITELY gotta try to get my hands on these.

Beagle, which local hi-fi dealer are you talking about?
 
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Another item for my list. Lately I have been buying music and have layed off the hardware, maybe it is time to switch again.
 
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legoman

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Quote:

Originally posted by john_jcb
Another item for my list. Lately I have been buying music and have layed off the hardware, maybe it is time to switch again.


Be strong. Buy music.
 
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jodokast

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or buy some cheap used clou reds.
 
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Neruda

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sacrelige! The cardas is the only way to go
.
 
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jodokast

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*sighs*

Damnit I need to demo some Cardas.


Hehe.
 
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Beagle

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Quote:

Originally posted by fiddler
First Neruda... Now even Beagle?!?! Wow. I've DEFINITELY gotta try to get my hands on these.

Beagle, which local hi-fi dealer are you talking about?


Fiddler, I deal with Distinctive Audio in Ottawa. The Cardas cable is distributed in Canada by
TRI-CELL
 
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TimSchirmer

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Quote:

Originally posted by jodokast
or buy some cheap used clou reds.



Hehehe...that is exactly what I did
 
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Nick Dangerous

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I'll be doing another A/B at the Head-Fi meeting... but in recent tests I preferred the Equinox and Clou over the Cardas.
 
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jodokast

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Quote:

Originally posted by TimSchirmer



Hehehe...that is exactly what I did



You too eh?
 
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Nezer

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It doesn't take golden ears to be a believer. The sound is night and day.

BTW, I consider my ears to be more like lead or tin than gold.

The Cardas really makes me feel like I'm right there in the rrom with the performers. I could have never imagined a cable being so, well, transparent.

There is no longer a need for 501s in my house. I'm considering 580s with the Cardas for the office now to replace the 501s I was using.

The Cardas exposes the Clou for the crap that it is. :wink:

My only complaint is that the 1/4" plug wasn't gold-plated. I wondered how this would impact sound quality until I heard it. Now I couldn't care less about the plugs.
 
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Yup, the Cardas was definatly the better cable of the three at the Headroom show. Easy to hear the difference. I thought the Clou was the the bottom of the heap, but still a huge improvement over the factory cable. Made me start thinking about my Sony's factory cables. Humm.......
 
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Neruda

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Budgie, what did you think of the equinox compared to the Cardas? I had a hard time deciding which one I liked more, because to me they sounded very similar (I'm sure I would have been able to tell them apart better if I was able to listen to them a bit longer). I agree though that, to my ears, the Clou was the worst of the three, particularly in the way of ergenomics. Even if it sounded better I don't know if would ever be able to use it! Still, when it comes to these cables, I think it all boils down to the kind of sound you're after. I love reading opinions of them because there are advocates for all three, and they all say the exact same thing.


"Yeah, the cardas is definitely the best. no doubt about it."

"no, the equinox is clearly superior."

"Nah, the Clou is far better than the other two. It's obviously the best."

of course, we're like that when it comes to anything!
 
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