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Audioquest Cable Auditions...

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I did not want to hijack the thread on DIY Cables by Zaphod, so I started a new one here about the Audioquest Cables I recently tried out. I wanted to reply to Zip3k0x7 also...

Zip3kx07 said:
I take it you got the King Cobra interconnects, what do you think? Do you like them better then the CopperHeads?
My Audioquest testing was done from SACD Player to Pre Amp. All cables are RCA to RCA connections.

Audioquest Copperhead:

I first tried the Copperhead due to it's all copper nature. No silver in this cable at all...no tinning, no plating, nothing...just copper. It is a coax type cable with 100% coverage foil shield, and a 22 Ga solid copper center and return conductor. Like the rest of the Audioquest cables, they are welded for the connection of wire to connector instead of the usual solder making for a superior connection.

Okay so far so good for cable construction, looks, etc. But it all comes down to how do they sound in your own system.

The Copperheads had a very rich full sound to them, but not bloated or bass heavy. High-end was there, but not quite there - slightly laid back, and seemed to be missing some detail. It reminded me of the sound I remember from the Nordost Blue Heaven, laid back that is, (but I thought I remember the Blue Heaven to have better detail), but unfortunately I did not have a Blue Heaven there to compare side by side. :( So I am going on what I remember from the Nordost testing.

Across the entire spectrum the cable was very nice sounding, except the high-end as I noted above, all in a cable for $75. For a brand new cable out of the box, it is probably the best sounding cable for that price I have heard.

Copperhead compared to DIY:

How was it compared to my DIY which cost me around $95? Very close, except the DIY had more high end. But was the high end too much or excentuated on the DIY? With the DIY, on some vocal passages, where the singer really puts out the effort to project their voice, the sound would get raspy, edgy, whatever term you want to call it. When a singer gets that "S" sound on some of their words (natual sound), the DIY seems to excentuate this sound. Symbols also appeared to have some additional buzz or zing sound to them and the sound of the stick hitting the symbol was not a prevalent. But was this the way the recording was or the cable adding to it?

So I went off to a couple of stores to audition some equipment, and I took along the music that I was using at home to see what the sound was like in a few systems just to see if the high end vocals, symbol work, piano, guitar, etc. issue/problem/notes were like.

Now we all know that each system is different with how cables and equipment match up, so I also had this in consideration. I listened to Summits, Aerials, Heil, Maggies, Theil with a wide range of equipment paired up with them, and made my notes about the sound issues.

After all that, it seems the DIY appears to be adding some extra to the high end. I emailed the seller about his cable and was told the breakin for those were in the hundreds of hours and they would tame/calm down. I only had about 75 hours on them. While my DIY were ever so slightly tamer than new (as I had another pair of DIY around to compare to), I wondered how much more they would mellow or smooth out and could I possibly wait that long to find out?

While I liked the Copperhead and its performance for the price, I wondered what the next level Audioquest cables (actually it is two up from the Copperhead) would sound like. The King Cobra sells for $175 for 1 Meter brand new. I looked on Audiogon and found a 1 Meter pair for sale for $100 shipped, so I made the purchase and waited for their arrival.

Audioquest King Cobra:

The King Cobra is a completely different design than the Copperheads. The King Cobra is Triple-Balanced. This means there are three identical insulated conductors, in addition to a separate conductor underneath the 100% coverage foil shield. All conductors are 21 Ga solid copper, with a 22 Ga drain or return wire. The RCA's on the Cobra are different than the Copperheads as they are Silver Plated.

The next up cable in the Audioquest line is the Jaguar. This is the EXACT same cable as the King Cobra, except Audioquest uses their DBS (Dielectric Biasing System) system on the Jaguar. 1 Meter Jaguar runs $300. This is just too much money for me and an IC, so that is why I went with the King Cobra next.

Audioquest Copperhead vs. King Cobra:

The main major difference between these two cables is the high end is now there, with the Cobra where with the Copperhead, it was slightly laid back and not as accurate. The minor differences between them is everything else is slightly better - bass is tighter and more defined, mids/vocals are better with more air and detail around the singer and instruments.

For a cable that cost ME $25 more (yeah I know I am comparing used price to new price), this was a cable that was much better sounding in my system and a keeper for me. Would I pay $100 more for this cable over the Copperhead? Tough decision....not sure if it is worth that much more (sonic wise it is a better sounding cable than the Copperhead), but since it can be purchased used for $100, I feel I have found a nice sounding IC for a price I can afford and justify.

Conclusion:

So Joe...to answer your question...Yes I like the Audioquest cables, and I will be sticking with them for now. From the start of the audition, I liked what I heard right from the start and I did not have to sit there and try to find things I liked about them. While not the perfect cable (is there one?), I find musically a very nice cable for my system and my tastes.

I now find myself listening to the music and hearing things in passages that I did not hear before. I am really enjoying the music being played and I have had some short sleeping nights due to not being able to stop listening to music. :eek: And that is what this great hobby is all about...listening to music instead of sitting there wondering how one can improve their system with another purchase (upgrade-itis) or room acoustic changes.

I am using the Copperhead to go from my outboard DAC to Pre Amp for Redbook playback, and I am using the King Cobra to go from my SACD player to my Pre Amp.

When money permits (or a good priced used one show up on Audiogon) I will be using a 2 Meter King Cobra to go from my Pre Amp to my Power Amp, and a 1 Meter Cable to replace the Copperhead.

Later...Dan
 
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