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Old 02-10-2019, 11:38 PM
eziggy eziggy is online now
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Default Audioquest Silver Interconnects

Hi All! I have recently overhauled my entire audio setup. The only thing left in the near run is to figure out for me is balancing soundstage, depth, and clear highs.

My current setup (for 2ch):
Amp: MC452
Pre/Pro: Marantz 8805 (planning to add a dedicated 2ch pre down the road)
Speakers: Martin Logan Impression 11As
Cables: Speaker AQ Oak, Interconnects AQ Oak / AQ Niagara

I am using Tidal Hifi FLAC through HEOS. But also tried direct DAC pre to MC452 to make sure it wasn’t the sound signature of the Marantz or MC452.

By playing around with different cables and sources, I have narrowed down the interconnects to be the area which makes the biggest difference. With the Earth cables (unbalanced), I get insane sound stage, mids and lows, but at times muted highs. With some music, especially instrumental jazz, it’s amazing. But toss in some vocals or classical music, and things change a bit. The highs are just a tad too laid back.

I decided to give silver a try and found a great deal on unused Niagaras (balanced). With the Niagaras I get amazing clarity, it’s almost as if a veil has been lifted off the speakers. I was blown away. However, the vast soundstage I had with the Earths decreased, and the mids and lows have “take a step back”.

Will I gain anything by reterminating the Earths to balanced XLR? The runs are pretty short (1.5M) so I am doubtful, but figured I would ask. People have mentioned the Fires add tonal balance. Does this include soundstage and depth? Just trying to figure out if the Fires will make a good enough difference compared to the Niagaras.

I am trying to be budget conscious since I just completely overhauled my entire audio system and my wife is already past her acceptance point.

Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:28 PM
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Yes, the Fire will top the Earth in every aspect. And XLR is (not always, but noticeably more often) better in sound.

And...
I bought the Fire last year and couldn't have been happier.
A total coincidence wanted me to get a used WEL signature for a ridiculously low price. From a too rich enthusiast who just dismantled his third system. (1800 Euro which is very roughly 1900 USD.)
I handed the cables over to Audioquest, who then fitted them with new XLR plugs. Free of charge by the way. And assured me that it is not a fake.
So... I had the WEL on my system for two weeks, then gave it to Audioquest. In the two weeks I had my Fire again. No kidding - I really thought my system was broken. Then the converted WELs came back and now I knew that the system is not broken, but the WELs are just so incredibly good. It all feels so natural and relaxed and brutal. Everything at the same time.
But... I would never have paid the original price for it in my life...
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:30 PM
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If you are in need of a new PreAmp and 2 channels are enough - give the new Cambridge Audio Edge NQ a shot. It's simply stunning, especially for the price. Streaming and USB it received 68 out of 70 possible points at the german Stereoplay 03/2019.
I have it since last year and love it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:43 PM
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A Sky would get you back the soundstage, and warmth down low, for less money than a Fire. The Sky is like a warm silver. The Fire is more neutral/faster/resolving sounding than Sky, and a really excellent cable too. And the problem with Sky is multiple revisions over the years (later is better), leading to lots of confusion for a buyer, and lots of Chinese counterfeiting. My experience with Sky is the v1, so it should only get better from that.

For me, the resolution of the AQ silver cables is so much greater that it's impossible for me to run their copper again - though to be fair I'm only familiar with their Colorado, not the newer Earth. The Wind (the new Niagara, below Fire) is also an excellent cable; better than Sky in resolution but may not quite have the soundstage depth or punch down low (Sky and Fire have a more full tone than Wind) to satisfy you.

'Grats on the WEL's, GBP; great cables! I agree though the list pricing is ridiculous. Did you see they even raised the prices further in their new price books? $8250 USD for a 1m pair! Fortunately I got 2 used pairs for a good deal too. And with their new speaker cables & pricing - I can't play this game anymore. Happy with what I've got. I'd been swapping between 2 WEL's and 2 Wilds, the Wilds being less resolving but warmer (Wilds are warmer than Fire, too). Think I finally got my system balance back to where I no longer need the warmth of the Wilds, and can properly soak in the obscene resolution of the WEL's.

Last edited by mulveling; 02-11-2019 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:47 PM
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Forget the Wind - tried it and it's ridicolous "thin" sounding. Didn't like it.

(Oh, and... I also own the Oak. Best Coppercables you can get. BUT. The Redwood are so much better. One Madonna-Live-Album. Second Track. Played loud.
With my setup (Oak, WEL, ...): Wow, great, yeah!
With Redwoods: IMMEDIATELY Goosebumps when the crowd gets loud after some seconds.
Some day they will be mine...)
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:51 PM
eziggy eziggy is online now
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Thanks guys, really appreciate the insight!

@GBP, wow, that is an awesome deal on WEL. That would be the cables to aspire to! Thanks for the tip on the Cambridge audio preamp/streamer, will take a look.

@mulveling, I feel like I am in the same boat with silver vs. copper. Got a taste with the Niagara and now the Earths seem less refined. Though the midbass and soundstage is amazing.

Pricing is definitely getting ridiculous. AQ I heard is going to revamp their interconnects like they did with their speaker and power cables. Though jury is still out on their new speaker cables, the cables are out, feedback has been little to none.

Looks like I will aim for getting a good deal on Fire or Wild, unless an amazing deals pops up on WEL.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:43 PM
mulveling mulveling is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eziggy View Post
Looks like I will aim for getting a good deal on Fire or Wild, unless an amazing deals pops up on WEL.
Awesome! I think you'll be ecstatic with either the Fire or Wild. The Wild I have that sound slightly warm have the older, ugly plastic (in the case of XLR) Bocchino plugs, so I'm not sure if the warmth is coming from that. The newer plugs may be more resolving (at the very least they look way better, and seem to have a better grip on the cable sheath too), and I should find out after I get my pair re-terminated. Either way it's a great cable.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:54 PM
joey_v joey_v is offline
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Grats on the wels IC you guys... I don’t have any of those

Have the wels SC and PCx4 but I could not land a good deal on the IC

I agree, avoid Wind.

Sounds like the Fire is where it’s at.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:30 AM
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Fire seems to be the (expensive) Sweet Spot. But used Fires are way more often to find then used WELs. So... If you're in no hurry, i would wait for a used Fire.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:05 PM
eziggy eziggy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
Awesome! I think you'll be ecstatic with either the Fire or Wild. The Wild I have that sound slightly warm have the older, ugly plastic (in the case of XLR) Bocchino plugs, so I'm not sure if the warmth is coming from that. The newer plugs may be more resolving (at the very least they look way better, and seem to have a better grip on the cable sheath too), and I should find out after I get my pair re-terminated. Either way it's a great cable.
I was looking at some of the older price books online and noticed they switched to 8 layer from 7 layer NDS for the Wilds. Wonder if that has anything to do with warmth you are mentioning. The problem is figuring out which one you buying I guess.

On another note, anyone notice on the Oaks that the timing is a bit mismatched for the treble and bass, leading to a heavier bass influence? When I use my older Mont Blancs with the Earth the highs and vocals are balanced, switching to Oaks and the vocals and instruments blend together with everything else.
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