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Decided to torture myself some more by testing some other IC's

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DTB300

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Here are the cables that I compared in my test and their cost to me:

Audioquest Copperhead 1.0 Meter - $75 ($50-$60 used)
Audioquest King Cobra 1.0 Meter - $175 ($100 used)
DH Labs BL-1 II 1.5 Meter - $115 (1.0 Meter is $99) Free Shipping from DH Lab (don't see too many used)

Here are my notes as I wrote them down while testing and listening

BL-1 vs Copperhead
  • BL-1 has better bass reproduction compared to the Copperhead
  • BL-1 has better detail between instruments compared to the Copperhead
  • Copperhead Bass and low midrange seems more subdued or more back on the soundstage
  • Copperhead instruments are not as delineated - more jumble
  • BL-1 midrange is more full sounding compared to Copperhead
  • Copperhead midrange sounded thinner possibly due to the low mids being subdued
  • BL-1 vocals are smooth and seperated better from the other parts of the music. You can hear and listen to the vocals better with the BL-1
  • Copperhead has a "ZZZZZ" or buzzing sound in the upper registers of vocals or when vocals are pushed. This tended to cover up other parts of the vocals with this buzzing type overtones
  • BL-1 never exhibited the vocal problems I heard in both AQ cables

BL-1 vs King Cobra
  • King Cobra had the same vocal issue that the Copperhead had as listed above - the buzzing type sound
  • King Cobra was better than the Copperhead in the Bass department and it was hard to tell at times which was better the King or the BL-1
  • King Cobra still had the thinness in the lower mids that the Copperhead exhibited but not as much

NOTE: This buzzing, raspiness, zzzzz, type sound was not a speaker vibrating or something in the room, as it was not present with the BL-1 cable at all. I even tried to turned up the volume higher than the levels that I listened to the AQ cables at just to make sure something else was not happening.

In my testing the King Cobra is a better cable than the Copperhead. But now for the cost of just $25 more than a Copperhead, you can get a 1.0 Meter DH Lab BL-1 II and get a much better sounding cable - at least in my system. Realize that your system and your room may product different results.

In the end, the high end, vocal buzzz (or whatever term fits here) that I heard in the Audioquest cables, was not present in the BL-1 at all. The bass and low mids were also better with the DH Labs. Hence for me the BL-1 is a better cable than either of the Audioquest cables and is the same price as a used King Cobra.

Now I just need to pick up a DH Lab Air Matrix again, and see how that sounds. But I also have some others on my list....JPS Labs and Groneberg are two others out there with great reviews.

My IC testing sickness may never end.....but it sure is fun playing around with them :D

Dan
 

kach22i

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AudioQuest makes good stuff, and stands behind it. I once crunched a interconnect end and they fixed it for free.

However "good stuff" gets blown away by "better stuff" and "great stuff" in the marketplace everyday.

I've never listened to DH Lab before. I'm a Nordost guy - but have an open mind and open ears.

Thanks for the review, I think the AQ's were perhaps touching each other when connected. This can happen when the amp or preamp maker spaces the connections too close together expecting the less expensive stuff to be used. The more expensive stuff tends to be fatter at the ends.
 

DTB300

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kach22i said:
AudioQuest makes good stuff, and stands behind it. I once crunched a interconnect end and they fixed it for free.
Yep..I have heard nothing but good things about their service.
However "good stuff" gets blown away by "better stuff" and "great stuff" in the marketplace everyday.

I've never listened to DH Lab before. I'm a Nordost guy - but have an open mind and open ears.
That is why I have been trying some different IC's just to see for myself what is out there for a reasonable cost and what type of sound do I get with them. There will always be better, it is just a matter of how much one is willing to spend for "better".

Thanks for the review, I think the AQ's were perhaps touching each other when connected. This can happen when the amp or preamp maker spaces the connections too close together expecting the less expensive stuff to be used. The more expensive stuff tends to be fatter at the ends.
Nope..they were not touching each other - but thanks for the suggestion or possible issue. The only place they could touch in my system is the CD/SACD player, as on the Pre Amp connections are VERY far apart. But this is something I check for (since the CD player does have them fairly close), along with volume levels, contact tightness, age of IC's being compared, and music being played. I have been to too many stores where comparisons are setup to be so one-sided that you feel the need to purchase what they are pushing.

BTW, I have been running the King Cobra's for a bit now, replacing the DIY stuff that I used (CD->PreAmp & PreAmp->Power Amp), and never really noticed the upper mid/high problems on the vocals until I tried these DH Lab cables, along with, just recently, a JPS Labs cable. I also had a friend over with a Groneberg Quattro Reference cable last weekend, and none of these cables have had this problem which the AQ has. We do not know what is missing or lacking until something better comes along - I have seen this with components and with cables.

I do everything possible to keep my tests as valid as possible to make sure I am hearing the best possible results that I can. But everyone here who is reading this must realize that these tests are with my equipment and my system, and your results may vary.

Dan
 

Robin

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Excellent Review...

Dan,

You worked long and hard once again, for the good of the cause, I appreciate your sharing this valuable ic information... :D It is painful, but I am grateful, you take the time to test these ic's and share your results with us. I would have never thought, AQ King Cobras would have a mid/high problem, but then I've never auditioned them, like you have. I will have to change my way of thinking regarding AQ ic cables, at least be more discerning anyway, when I begin to auditon ic's at home, someday..."DH Labs BL- 1 II 1.5 Meter" is now on my list... :D Anyway, Thanks again, Dan, for your wonderful review of these ic's.

Cheers

-Robin
 

DTB300

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Robin said:
I would have never thought, AQ King Cobras would have a mid/high problem, but then I've never auditioned them, like you have. I will have to change my way of thinking regarding AQ ic cables, at least be more discerning anyway, when I begin to auditon ic's at home, someday...
Again, I did not really realize that this shortcoming was present, as my previous cables probably had it worse, as the KC's sounded much better - per my previous reviews. But as Kach22i says, better stuff blows away good stuff, and like I stated, it is a matter of taste and budget to what is better and are you willing to pay the price.

Listen to the AQ's you may love them...I liked them up until I tried some other cables like the BL-1 and now the JPS Labs (which I did not report on). While the JPS Labs are more expensive (list price more, but I got a great deal on them), they are even better for me and my system then the others I reported on.

The vocal problem that I heard in the AQ, after not hearing it with the DH Lab made me realize that the KC was not for me. Was the BL-1 overall a better cable - possibly, as it too had some shortcoming, but for 1/2 the cost of a KC, I thought it was a great buy. I used to think the Copperhead was one of the best sounding cables for under $100 - now that is replaced on my list by the BL-1 II cable .

Last weekend a friend stopped over with his Groneberg Quattro Reference cables (sold by Odyssey Audio), and they were very nice sounding. I plan on getting some of the Groneberg TS Premium cables (next step up in the line) to try out very soon.

But please do not take my word on what would sound good in your system, get some to try out, at least two sets at a time, and see what you think. Visit some other stores, see what they have to audition, and try them out, and so on and so on.

I never heard of JPS Labs until recently, and I am glad that I did as I really like what I am hearing in my system. Same thing for the Groneberg cables, if my friend did not stop over with them, I would never had been able to try them out.

Dan
 
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Robin

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DTB300 said:
Listen to the AQ's you may love them...I liked them up until I tried some other cables like the BL-1 and now the JPS Labs (which I did not report on). While the JPS Labs are more expensive (list price more, but I got a great deal on them), they are even better for me and my system then the others I reported on.

The vocal problem that I heard in the AQ, after not hearing it with the DH Lab made me realize that the KC was not for me. Was the BL-1 overall a better cable - possibly, as it too had some shortcoming, but for 1/2 the cost of a KC, I thought it was a great buy. I used to think the Copperhead was one of the best sounding cables for under $100 - now that is replaced on my list by the BL-1 II cable .

Last weekend a friend stopped over with his Groneberg Quattro Reference cables (sold by Odyssey Audio), and they were very nice sounding. I plan on getting some of the Groneberg TS Premium cables (next step up in the line) to try out very soon.

But please do not take my word on what would sound good in your system, get some to try out, at least two sets at a time, and see what you think. Visit some other stores, see what they have to audition, and try them out, and so on and so on.

I never heard of JPS Labs until recently, and I am glad that I did as I really like what I am hearing in my system. Same thing for the Groneberg cables, if my friend did not stop over with them, I would never had been able to try them out.

Dan
Dan,

I will take your excellent advice everytime because I trust you and the tests you have completed thus far. In auditioning the AQ and DH Labs BL-1's, now I know what to listen for, as you have discribed so well, mid/highs vocals... :)
I think, when I am ready, I'm going to use one of the suggested female soloists (from the other thread) and listen compare in the upper registers of vocal sound. I am curious, which female vocalist do you normally use, to test audio cable ic's? Then, I plan to use the same CD and female vioce, for each ic cable I test, in my home system. Please do let us know how your tests of the Groneberg TS Permium cables turns out.

Thanks again for the terrific advice Dan... :D

Cheers

-Robin
 

DTB300

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Robin said:
I will take your excellent advice everytime because I trust you and the tests you have completed thus far. In auditioning the AQ and DH Labs BL-1's, now I know what to listen for, as you have discribed so well, mid/highs vocals... :)
But trust your ears when listening and find the cables that you like with your system in your home.

I think, when I am ready, I'm going to use one of the suggested female soloists (from the other thread) and listen compare in the upper registers of vocal sound. I am curious, which female vocalist do you normally use, to test audio cable ic's? Then, I plan to use the same CD and female vioce, for each ic cable I test, in my home system. Please do let us know how your tests of the Groneberg TS Permium cables turns out.
I listen to many different singers, female and male. Some of the singers are Amanda McBroom, Radka Taneff, Diana Krall, Jean Baylor, Hans Theessink, Steve Ray Vaughn, Enya, Eric Clapton, Karen Carpenter, Loreena McKennitt, Mark Knopfler to name a few. Each has their own style and unique voice.

For music, going out and hearing live music in the setting of your choice is the best way to know what real music sounds like. While we will never be able to obtain live sound with our systems, at least we know what it sounds like again in the setting of preference. Settings can be large halls, small Jazz Clubs, local Bars and along with where you prefer to sit at these locations. Find what you like, and the qualities that you like, and build your system around these preferences. Again while we will never reach these live goals, we can try to mold our systems around the type of sound we are looking for.

Dan
 
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dyazdani

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Great information. I've never used AQ ICs though I do have some Argent+ speaker cable running my Logos.

I'm going to start an adventure of cable upgrades after the holidays.
 

DTB300

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dyazdani said:
Great information. I've never used AQ ICs though I do have some Argent+ speaker cable running my Logos. I'm going to start an adventure of cable upgrades after the holidays.
Note that my observations "may" be a characteristic of the lower AQ cables, as I never tried the DBS versions to check (Jagurar is same as KC except for DBS). Joe (Zip) uses the top of the line AQ Sky and loves them, so again it may have to do with non-DBS versions.

Hopefully by next week I will have the Groneberg's in my hand to test out and it should prove interesting as I really liked the Quattro my friend brought over.

Dan
 

kach22i

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DTB300 said:
Note that my observations "may" be a characteristic of the lower AQ cables
The older Turquoise and the little bit better brown AQ's do not have any "buzzing, raspiness, zzzzz, type sound" - in my two systems. They were sent to Home Theater duties once the Nodost came in many years ago.

If anything the lower end Audio Quest sound may be guilty of non-additive omissions, that is to say they sound vanilla, as opposed to some competition that may sound fuller with weighted bass (top of the line Radio Shack has better bass but pales in all other frequencies), or crisper edgier highs for a faster sound (not naming names, but I'm sure they are out there - just another flavor).

I know Audio Quest is not the best out there, but for the money they have traditionaly been a safe choice and a good value . However when reading reviews of the newer product line I will be looking for comments on buzzing, raspiness, zzzzz, type sound for now on.

Thanks for the review DTB300, and for keeping us on our toes. ;)
 

DTB300

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kach22i said:
If anything the lower end Audio Quest sound may be guilty of non-additive omissions, that is to say they sound vanilla, as opposed to some competition that may sound fuller with weighted bass (top of the line Radio Shack has better bass but pales in all other frequencies), or crisper edgier highs for a faster sound (not naming names, but I'm sure they are out there - just another flavor).
To me all cables add or remove something, and if the company states their products don't, it is all marketing hype to try to convince you to by them. It is just a matter of what they add/subtract and how much.

Finally, the hardest part of audio is trying to describe in words what we hear to others. It is so much easier in person to sit there and tell each other what we hear or do not hear. So my description of zzzzz, buzz, raspiness, etc. is about the best way to describe it until another brain storm hits me :)

Dan
 
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twich54

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Dan, I've enjoyed the various posts this thread has generated. Iwas wondering along the lines of cabling, have you or any of the other members have any experience(good or bad) with Signal Cable, their located in Tarrytown,NY. I took a shot on their OFC copper speaker cable for my second system in my house and was quite pleased. Has anybody used their IC's ???
 

DTB300

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twich54 said:
Dan, I've enjoyed the various posts this thread has generated. Iwas wondering along the lines of cabling, have you or any of the other members have any experience(good or bad) with Signal Cable, their located in Tarrytown,NY.
Glad to see the thread has generated some good discussion.

Frank (?) from Signal Cable has a bunch of good things mentioned on other forums, but I have never used them.

Dan
 

audioraptured

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testing IC's

DTB300: Good morning. Thanks for your time and patience with these interconnects. I have alway wondered which would give me the best sound with my Ascents and Theater. I was wondering what songs you were using to evaluate the sound and what your preference in musical styles was. I seem to have a bunch of different manufacturers cables all over the place. I wonder if using the same brand throughout a system really makes a difference? What have you found?
 

audioraptured

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testing IC's

twich54: Good morning. What luck have you had listeniing to the new cables you got from the Tarrytown dealer? It seems I may have bought something from a place called "Toys in the Attic" a while ago, is this the same place? What type of music are you listening to and what songs have you chosen? Do you listen for one particular catagory, (like great detail verses a larger soundstage), or the overall presentation? Is there one song you chose for one thing, like depth, and another for something else, like air or detail? Hope you have good luck with the new cables. I just got a new pair I am waiting on from somewhere up N.Y. way, and after I hear them for a while I'll let you guys know what the deal is. Thanks for the notes though, it does take some time for breakin and for sitting down and listening critically to the sound and your evaluation information is important.
 

DTB300

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audioraptured said:
DTB300: Good morning. Thanks for your time and patience with these interconnects. I have alway wondered which would give me the best sound with my Ascents and Theater. I was wondering what songs you were using to evaluate the sound and what your preference in musical styles was. I seem to have a bunch of different manufacturers cables all over the place. I wonder if using the same brand throughout a system really makes a difference? What have you found?
For me and my opinion/likes, cables are a fine tuning of the tonal character of my system. Have I ever had the same cables mfg running throughout my system? Only back in the Monster Cable days when I did not know any better :) But now I have everything from Straightwire, JPS Labs, DH Labs, DIY, Nordost, & Audioquest running in my system. Each point of connection has their own components and I am generally looking for a particular sound in my setup.

The sound I am looking to achieve (achieve butI will never be like Live) is based on live music listening in small Jazz Club settings, sitting fairly close to the band and the band is at times spread out width wise and slight depth, but sometimes they are closer together.

I am also in the Digital world, hence I generally am looking for a slightly warmer cable without sacrificing detail. If I ran an all Tube setup and listened to vinyl, I would probably be able to live with a brighter sounding cable. There was only one Silver IC's that I liked and that was the DH Lab Revelation - a very nice sounding cable, but it was too costly. All the other Silver IC's were too bright and thin sounding. The Nordost Blue Heaven that I use, runs from my mainstream HT Receiver back to my Pre Amp HT Loop, as my HT Receiver is very laid back sounding, so I wanted to open it up a little more, and the Blue Heaven did that for me. (NOTE: The HT Reciever only powers my Center Channel as all my other channels have dedicated power amps).

So what is the real answer here? I am afriad there is no difinitive answer in cables. For me I have tried to audition as many as I can get my hands on, taking notes of each session regarding what it added or took away, and then make a decision from there. Sometimes you will stumble onto a very nice cable that will just amaze you, then you will get one that is total doo-doo. Personally I think a great place to start is with DH Labs. They have a very nice sounding cable for low cost - a good price versus performance product. Recently I liked the Audioquest King Cobra IC's that I had been using, but when I switched to the JPS Labs Superconductor FX, I realized what I was missing with the KC (note that the JPS cost more than the KC (MSRP), but I got a great deal on the JPS, and liked the sound very much). Also for half the price of the KC, the DH Labs BL-1 proved to be a very good cable when comparing price to performance. The next level up in DH Labs is their Air Matrix cable that I want to try again.

So to wrap this up, go to as many local stores as you can and see what they have to audition. Some will make you pay with the option to return, some will take a CC number and hold it for a couple of days until you return the cable (or run the invoice through if you don't come back :D). There are places like The Cable Company www.fatwyre.com that will talk with you on the phone, and recommend some cables and send them to you for audition, making a downpayment on them. There is also www.usedcable.com which is The Cable Company again...but those are used/trade-in cables that they resell. Get friends to let you borrow theirs for a day, etc. etc. But try, listen, and make a decision based on your preferences, sound you are trying to achieve and of course the final item - budget.

Dan
 

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Decided to torture myself

twich54: I just got a pair of Silver Resolution w/Silver Bullets from Frank at Signal Group Inc. today, and they sound very good. Way better than AQs and Apature and a few others. He knows about my system, (Martin Logan Ascents and Theater) and (Aragon power and pre),and spent a lot of time on the phone discribing what they are made of, what they sound like, and what you might expect. I am very pleased with them. Call and discuss your expectations with him and see if its to your liking. Let me know and best of luck.
 

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Decided to torture myself

DTB300: Thanks for your reply. As I just wrote to twich54, I got these Signal Silver Resolution yesterday and have been throwing everything I have at them and evaluating each little changer and addition to the way I remember some of the same selections from other IC auditions. Any one who has tried this knows its time consuming and repetitive, but its a good dedication to have because it not only helps you out, but helps us all out with the critiques and insight. The first time through, I play the same 5 discs to get an overall feel for the presentation. Then I go through my library and select the ones that I think may improve with the new equipment. Sometimes I get a rude surprise, but most of the time I am rewarded. And then sometimes I just get in "that" mood, and load up the changer, and give myself a great concert in my living room as the master host, and worlds greatest performer, singer, and musician.
Anyway; This also saves me some money. Because how many times have you said if I would have known then what I know now, perhaps how different the selections would have been. Thanks again, and a personal wish for a safe New Years to you and yours. I'm still up listening, I guess the world went to sleep?
 

DTB300

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audioraptured said:
DTB300: Thanks for your reply. As I just wrote to twich54, I got these Signal Silver Resolution yesterday and have been throwing everything I have at them and evaluating each little changer and addition to the way I remember some of the same selections from other IC auditions.
Good to hear you found an IC that you like in your system. Like I stated above, the only Silver IC that I found I liked was the DH Lab Revelation as it did not have that typical Silver sound to it that almost all the other Silver IC's had.

For connectors, I used to like the Bullet Plugs, but after some trial and error, I found that I like the WBT and DH Lab Ultimate RCA better - again personal preference.

Now that you found a nice sounding IC for yourself, sit back, enjoy the music, and bask in your new found sound.

Dan
 

twich54

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audioraptured said:
twich54: I just got a pair of Silver Resolution w/Silver Bullets from Frank at Signal Group Inc. today, and they sound very good. Way better than AQs and Apature and a few others. He knows about my system, (Martin Logan Ascents and Theater) and (Aragon power and pre),and spent a lot of time on the phone discribing what they are made of, what they sound like, and what you might expect. I am very pleased with them. Call and discuss your expectations with him and see if its to your liking. Let me know and best of luck.
Thanks, glad to hear "silver" is working nicely for you. I have used both Frank's copper speaker cable and interconnects in my little second system and am quite pleased as well. My oldest son is completing some things in his system and I'm trying to get him to "bite' on Dan's AQ King Cobra's.....we'll see ! By the way to you feel ther's truth to the generalization that "silver" I/C's tend to be brighter than copper ???
 
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