Audioquest Diamondback RCA cables vs. Monster Interlink 400mkII: no difference!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Well, what a frustrating experience. I received two 0.5-meter pairs and one 2-meter pair of Audioquest Diamondback RCA interconnects today from Audio Advisor. The plan was to replace Monster Interlink 400mkII cables with the Diamondbacks in my main stereo system, which consists of the following:
    * NAD C 370 integrated amplifier
    * Energy Active Crossover Network (EAC): allows me to connect my subwoofer to the NAD integrated amp and control the crossover frequency
    * Totem Arro floorstanding speakers
    * BetterCables Premium speaker cables (single run, not biwired, with Vampire banana plug terminations)
    * Sony SCD-777ES SACD/CD player
    The two 0.5-meter pairs of Diamondbacks were bought to link the pre-outs and main ins on the NAD C 370 to the inputs and outputs on the EAC box (i.e., pre-outs on C 370 --> inputs on EAC and outputs on EAC --> main ins on C 370). The 2-meter pair was bought for the '777ES. I had been using Monster Interlink 400mkII RCA cables for these connections before getting the Diamondbacks.
    I went with Audioquest because they are a well-known cable company and chose the Diamondbacks over the less expensive Copperheads because I expected the Diamondbacks to be better. After listening to the James Taylor Hourglass and Alice in Chains Greatest Hits SACDs for awhile using the Monster cables just to get used to the sound, I connected the 2-meter pair of Diamondbacks between the '777ES and C 370. I made sure that the arrows on the Diamondbacks ran in the direction of signal flow (as I had done with the Monster cables). I'm not sure that the arrows make a difference, but I figured I'd give Audioquest and Monster the benefit of the doubt.
    With the Diamondbacks connected to the '777ES, I listened again to the James Taylor and Alice in Chains SACDs. Truthfully, I did not detect any difference between the Monster and Audioquest cables. Let me say that I was not disappointed with the sound using the Monster cables, but I was hoping that the Audioquest cables would improve the sound. I found the lack of improvement disconcerting considering the fact that a 2-meter pair of Monster Interlink 400mkII cables is $50, while a 2-meter pair of Audioquest Diamondbacks is $110.
    Next, I replaced the Monster cables between the C 370 and EAC box with the Audioquest Diamondbacks and listened again to the James Taylor and Alice in Chains SACDs (with the Diamondbacks still connected between the C 370 and '777ES). Again, I heard no improvement. To my ears using the Audioquest Diamondbacks with the '777ES and between the C 370 and EAC sounded no different than going with the Monster cables all-around.
    I found this experience to be somewhat puzzling and, of course, disappointing. My system is not high-end, but certainly is not bottom-of-the-barrel either. I hear a lot of detail with this system, so I thought the Audioquest cables would help. Based on my observations, a few theories present themselves:
    1) The Audioquest Diamondbacks are not as good as I thought they were. Maybe I need to look at Audioquest cables higher up in their line such as the Coral or Viper. Of course, those cables are quite a bit more expensive than the Diamondbacks. Alternatively, I could look at other brands such as CATCables, Kimber Kable, etc.
    2) The Monster Interlink 400mkII cables are not as bad as I was led to believe they are. Everywhere I go outside of mass-market retailers (Best Buy, Circuit City, Tweeter, etc.), I hear bad things about Monster cables. The salesman I bought the Totem Arro speakers from in August said, "Monster cables have no place in high-end audio." Maybe he and others are right about Monster cables, but how much do I have to spend to get a better-sounding cable than the Interlink 400mkII, and where do I have to go to get it? I did not buy the Diamondbacks because I was absolutely sure they were the best cables in their price class, but I expected them to beat the Interlink 400mkII, again because of Audioquest's reputation and because the Diamondbacks are significantly more expensive.
    3) My system is not good enough to bring out the differences between different cables. I would certainly hope that this is not the case. Again, my system is not high-end, but each component, including the speakers, have garnered high praise on the web and in hi-fi magazines and are not run-of-the-mill. I am hesitant to adopt theory number 3 because I have only tried one cable outside of the Monster Interlink 400mkII.
    4) Cables do not make a difference. This certainly is a controversial topic in audio, and I do not want to open up a can of worms here. I just raise the point because it is a possible deduction one can make in this situation. However, I am hesitant to adopt this theory because again, I have only tried one cable outside of the Monster cable I have been using.
    5) The Audioquest Diamondbacks need time to break in. Another controversial topic in audio, and I don't want to open up this can of worms either. I've only had the Diamondbacks for a couple of hours and have only listened to music with them for about one hour. Audio Advisor has a 30-day return policy, and the salesman who took my order told me that Audio Advisor wants to give its customers ample opportunity to fully test cables in their systems. Maybe I should give the Diamondbacks more time.
    Now that I have delved into cables, I realize that I could be chasing a dream. I guess those of us who are into audio beyond casual interest are doing that all the time anyway, whether or not we open the Pandora's Box that is cables. If I find over time that the Diamondbacks do not yield an improvement over the Monster cables, the question is, "Where do I go from here?". I could always return the Diamondbacks and go back to the Monster cables. However, there would be a part of me curious as to what other cables might bring to the table. It doesn't get any easier, does it?
     
  2. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    I am not familiar with your NAD, xover, or loudspeakers, so I have no idea of the resolution of the system as a whole. Do not forget the ol' weakest link in the chain dilemma: In this instance, if the cable performance exceeds that of any other item, your overall sonics will be largely dictated by the weakest performer.

    I do wonder if the xover may be a limiting factor. The xover in my Velodyne FSR18 proved to be far from transparent when I briefly tried it, for example.

    To prove to yourself if your system can indeed resolve differences between interconnects, you can go in the opposite direction--try a cheap OEM cable and listen for a reduction of high frequencies, among other problems.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
     
  3. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Keith, maybe your looking for something that isn't really there... just an opinion pal. Too be honest, yes, i've been buying CATs but if you asked me "Do you really think you'll hear a difference Chip?" I couldn't say yes. I don't necessarily buy a better cable because i think my great sounding system is going to sound even better..... i buy for a better built cable, with better connectors and if i get some increased resolution then, so be it. My Blue Tigers are built as good or better than Monsters top-o-the-line analog interconnects(from what i could tell anyway). I'm just not so sure that after a certain level of gear & interconnects that going from a fiffty $ cable to a 100 $ cable is going to be audible. All this from a dumb concrete finisher! (lol..)
    BTW, i just ordered two more of the same analog cables to try analog out from the 555. [​IMG]
    - Chip
     
  4. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    Not sure if I'm allowed to suggest other forums but... For cable specific advise cable Asylum is a great place to seek assistance re cables. At least you wont find too many of the anti-cable crowd there.
    http://64.154.92.195/audio/cables/bbs.html
     
  5. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    I'm sorry to hear you heard no difference, Keith. Here's my thoughts:

    First, as with automobiles, in audio, break-in makes a difference. Things usually get better, so try the Audioquests for a week or so and see if you notice a difference.

    Second, for mid-fi systems there is nothing wrong with Monster Cable. Although a bit overpriced, it's in no way "bad" and I've heard it work better than some other brands in mid-fi systems. That said, it doesn't belong in a high end system.

    Third, interconnects do sound different, but the differences can be inaudible. For example, I auditioned the Sidewinders and the Corals and heard NO DIFFERENCE between the two! Considering the $100 price spread, this was not comforting. As I said before, the Audioquests were a disappointment considering the $30 Tara Labs Prism 11 beat both.

    Fourth, your system is a good one, but I can't help but thinking that your SACD player and, to a lesser degree, your speakers are far superior to your NAD. NAD makes great mid-fi stuff, but your SACD player is worldclass on both CD and SACD, and your speakers would just probably make the "high-end" camp. Perhaps moving to something like a Plinius integrated would get you where you want.
     
  6. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks for your replies. For now, I am going to stick with the Diamondbacks to see if break-in is realized, as Justin suggested. After submitting the initial post, I played the Celine Dion All the Way...A Decade of Song SACD. I listened to "My Heart Will Go On" with all the Audioquest cables in place. Mind you, this is a song I have listened to many, many times on SACD in both of my stereo systems, so I feel as though I am quite familiar with the sonic signature. Listening to it with the Audioquest cables, I found the music to sound decidedly smoother than I ever remember it. Celine's vocals just flowed very naturally. I listened to the song a few times and was convinced that something was different. Then, I put back all the Monster Interlink 400mkII cables and listened to the same song. With the Monster cables, I swear Celine's vocals were more forward. There was a certain strain or distortion in the lower-range vocals, making her voice sound somewhat gutteral. I put back the Audioquest cables, and the vocals sounded smoother. Did I invent this difference? I don't think so. As I said, I am very familiar with the sonic qualities of this song on SACD. Based on my latest observation, I will continue to test out the Diamondbacks knowing full well that I can return them for a full refund within 30 days.
    Chip,
    I appreciate your providing the voice of reason. So much of the audio hobby is psychological. I've said before that my appreciation for my systems is at times dependent on my mood. The problem with getting into high-end audio is that it can be hard to just sit back and enjoy music. We tend to focus too much on the hardware and not enough on the music. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever get back to the days when my entire audio budget went to CDs and I listened to music at blaring volumes with no care in the world about how it sounded. Those days are long gone. Music sounds much better on my current equipment than it did on the old stuff, but I care too much about how it sounds.
    I certainly agree with you about the build quality of certain cables making them attractive. The Audioquest Diamondbacks are well-constructed. The Monster cables are made well too, but the Diamondbacks are better. For one thing, the Diamondbacks are lighter than the Monster cables. I just like the feel of the Diamondbacks. Also, the RCA connectors on the Diamondbacks go on and off much easier than do the Monster RCA connectors. One thing I don't like about the turbine RCA connectors on the Monster cables is that they can scratch RCA jacks. This doesn't cause damage, but it is annoying. Also, the arrow labels on the Monster cables are stickers that fall off eventually. With the Audioquest cables, the arrows are imprinted on the ends of the RCA connectors. Finally, I have noticed that it is possible to unscrew the gold turbine connector on a Monster cable from the rest of the cable. I have done this accidentally when I have had to pull hard to remove a cable. The Audioquest cables don't screw together, and as I said, I haven't had to work hard to put them on or take them off.
    Mark,
    I am familiar with all the message boards on Audio Asylum and considered posting my experiences on the Cable Asylum. However, I was afraid that people over there would recommend I buy the Audioquest Anacondas or something by Cardas. [​IMG] [​IMG] I want to do cables on some semblance of a budget.
    Justin,
    As I said, I will continue to use the Diamondbacks for awhile to see if they break in. I will also try out more discs to give me a larger sample population, so to speak, before making a final decision to keep the Diamondbacks or send them back.
    You have me intrigued by the Tara Labs Prism 11s. Do you know of anyone that sells Tara Labs cables online? Neither of my local high-end dealers carries Tara Labs.
    As for my system, it has occurred to me that the NAD C 370 could be a weak link, but it is certainly not a bad amplifier. I am not looking for a new amplifier right now. To get a substantial improvement over the C 370 ($700 retail), I figure I would have to spend a minimum of $1000 on a new integrated amplifier. $1000 gets you a Musical Fidelity integrated amplifier with a dual mono power supply design (i.e., separate power supplies for each channel). If I were to spend more than $1000, I could get separates, but again, I'm not looking to do that right now. If the salesman I deal with at a local dealer had his way, I'd be buying a $2200 Classe integrated amplifier. [​IMG]
    In any event, I am going to stick with the C 370 for now. However, I am seriously considering biamping the C 370 with the NAD C 270 power amplifier. The C 270 has the same amplifier section as the C 370. I can get the C 270 for $470 delivered from Sound City (authorized dealer). Biamping with the C 270 could result in a significant, yet inexpensive upgrade. I am eager to try that out.
    All in all, my system sounds quite good, whether it be with the Monster or Audioquest cables. I think Chip makes a very good point about looking for something that isn't there. Last week, I received the BetterCables Premium speaker cables, my first pair of quality speaker cables, as I had been using cheap Monster XP wire previously. After connecting the BetterCables speaker cables, I got it in my head that the weak link in my system much more so than the NAD C 370 was the Monster cables. Hence, the decision to try the Audioquest Diamondbacks. I can't say that I detected any particular weakness with the Monster cables or that I was looking for any specific improvement. I was just looking for "better", whatever that means. In any event, I am starting to think that the Diamondbacks are smoother than the Monster cables, but time will tell.
     
  7. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    I really think that it is funny that a store says that Monster Cable doesn't belong with audiophile stuff.

    Thats similar to saying Honda doesn't belong in a car fanatics garage. I can show you a few Hondas that do a great job (S2000, NSX, etc..) and a few that would only belong in the garage ONLY if it belonged to his teenage daughter (civic). Sure the name is not as sexy as Ferarri or Porsche, but they do a great job.

    Monster makes cable that range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars.

    The 400 is the level that I think the stuff starts getting fairly good. The Z series and M series are the cable that are designed for "audiophiles". I have about 1/2 audioquest and 1/2 monster in my system. The audioquest is the see throw blue braided interconnects (not sure of the name), I think that it cost around $100-$150 a pair (or there abouts). I also, use monster M550i ($59 for a set, open these guys up and tell me that they aren't worth $59, they are very nice) and M1000i ($200 a pair). I have compared the monsters and the audioquest and don't know if I can hear a difference (but the monsters are pretty good).

    I also have a friend who no works for Monster. He is my best friend, and he tells me how it is. He tells me which of monsters cable work best for the $$ and if there really is a difference (not just cosmetic). He wouldn't ever lie to me (he is a tech guy) and he assures me that Monster puts a lot of time into the products and they are legit. As for the 400, I really think that for $10 the M550 is a better cable, but perhaps there is no difference (I haven't asked this to my friend).
     
  8. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Paul, please let's not turn this into one of those ugly debates between the audiophiles and the non-audiophiles. I really hate the way some threads have a way of degrading rapidly. If you don't believe in break-in of cables (I'm not sure about it myself at this point, but I am trying to keep an open mind), please don't raise it here. There is no reason to stir the pot. I am looking for input from people with experiences similar to mine. That is, people who have compared Monster and Audioquest cables or who have conducted similar comparisons.
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney, I appreciate your input since few people around here seem to speak highly of Monster cables. I have not tried any of the M Series cables beyond the M350i and have never tried the Z Series cables. What many people seem to say about the upper-tier Monster cables such as the M1000i is that they are overpriced for what you get. Again, I don't know about that since I have never used them. What bothers me about Monster cables is the number of brick-and-mortar dealers who sell nothing but Monster cables. A salesman at a high-end store I was in last weekend told me that "we are practically in bed with Monster". They sell no other brand of cables. Given the pervading attitude of audiophiles towards Monster cables, I am surprised that this dealer does not carry other cables for customers who buy their best gear. This dealer sells Marantz, Adcom, Krell, McIntosh, NAD, Sony ES, and Pioneer Elite, among others.
    For now, I will stick with the Audioquest Diamondbacks and see what gives. By the way, it sounds like you might have Diamondbacks in your system as well. They are blue.
    As for the car analogy, I have a Honda Accord LX-V6 coupe. I seriously doubt that car fanatics would speak highly of my car, but I like it very much. For the price, it is well-styled and it moves. Then again, there are many audiophiles that wouldn't talk about Monster cables who wouldn't talk about Audioquest Diamondbacks either. [​IMG]
     
  11. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I commend you, Keith, for taking the time to do actual comparisons. We see alot of cable discussions here and it is obvious that many haven't taken the time to compare different cables before interjecting that cables make no difference.

    As far as Monsters go, I don't know why they get a bad rap, because they are well constructed cables. I suppose some resent the marketing machine behind them, but IMO, at least it's not marketing at the expense of performance.

    There are alot of different manufacturers that make good quality cables, and we choose different brands for different reasons(alot like speakers).

    Good luck in determining what works best with your system. I think that's half the fun.

    DJ
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    David, thanks for the kind words. I agree that Monster's marketing machine is one thing that turns a lot of people off. In that regard, Monster reminds me of Bose, though I believe strongly that Monster makes much better products. Also, what probably turns off a lot of audiophiles, and this is related to Monster's powerful marketing, is that their products are available at Best Buy and Circuit City. Audiophiles, of course, have a bias against brands that the mass merchants carry. Truthfully, I do to a certain extent.

    Monster's marketing bothers me too because I am a bit tired of going into stores that carry high-quality equipment and seeing nothing but Monster cables. The Harvey Electronics store in Paramus, New Jersey, which sells some very nice gear, has only Monster cables. Last Saturday, I saw a limited edition McIntosh stereo tube amplifier there for $10,000. Do they really expect that someone who will buy that amp will also buy Monster cables? I guess the non-audiophile who is buying the McIntosh amp because he or she can (kind of like how many people buy cars) will. In any event, I would like to see more brick-and-mortar dealers selling other brands of cables such as Audioquest and Kimber Kable. Of course, those manufacturers probably will argue that limiting their dealer network is how they ensure product quality.

    All in all, I do believe that Monster makes a good product. Admittedly, part of my desire to try a different cable was fed by the anti-Monster bias in the audio world. I feel I have good equipment, yet I had been using Monster cables from Best Buy and Circuit City, so I felt it was time to try something else. That said, I could have bought M Series or Z Series Monster cables, but I was curious to try a different brand. As I said earlier in this thread, I know that Audioquest is a respected name, so I decided to try the Diamondbacks.

    In going back and forth between the Diamondbacks and the Monster cables, I do hear a difference and prefer the Diamondbacks. The difference is not great, but it is there. I was hasty in posting my initial message here saying that there was no difference between the two cables. I expected a night and day difference in going from a "mass-market" Monster cable to an "audiophile-accepted" Audioquest cable, but maybe that wasn't a realistic expectation. Given that my system is not among the highest resolution assemblies out there, more significant sonic changes will be realized by changing speakers, the amp, or a front-end component. In megabuck high-end systems, I would expect cables to make a bigger difference in the sonic presentation. In the end, the Diamondbacks are smoother, and the music flows better as a result. The difference is not night and day, but the Diamondbacks are beginning to grow on me.
     
  13. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    I think that a lot of the ANTI monster people are against it b/c of the marketing (the common person doesn't believe that there is a differnce betweent the cheap .50 cent cable that come in the reciever box and teh monster (ironically Monster is one of the cheaper after market cables, but they don't know about the much more expensive brands), so they aren't monster fams, and the "audiophile" feels like they are too good for monster, because they don't want to be affiliated with a product that these "common folk" buy at their local best buy, good guys, etc.. It is a very interesting paradox.

    About the Mc system and Monster. I can tell you that they make a Sigma retro series speaker cable that goes for around $2,500 it is a great speaker cable (my brother has a pair), but I am sure real "audiophiles" will dismiss this as "junk", but it isn't. Some of these "audiophiles" are use to spending $25,000-$45,000 on speaker cable (transparent-brand), so maybe compared to that, it is "junk".

    Is some of their stuff over priced, ya, maybe a little (compared to AR and RS cables of similar quality, I would say that they are about 20%-40% more in price at that level-about the mk300II, but the 400 is slightly better than any of these and the M550i is much much better.

    Personally I pay much much less that what retail is (I wouldn't normally pay the $200 for the M1000i), and I feel that even when you pay retail the M550i is the BEst for the $$$$. But I pay so little that I get the M1000i, that is what I get for my good stuff--ie-SACD and DVD-a players, and the main channels, and use the M550 for the rears.

    I agree, that there are complanies that have more "sex appeal" (the Audioquests I have are SEXY) than Monster, but I bet Monster is every bit as good.
     
  14. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    "Better" is what everybody is looking for. With audio, it seems, it's a neverending process. I have a great system by anyone's standards, yet I keep thinking "Levinson Reference" and "Wilson." The key is to get the best sound for the money, and I have heard many four figure systems that sound much, much better than five and even six figure ones. Careful component matching and setup makes all the difference.

    As far as adding another amp, I don't think that power is the problem, but, rather, the quality of the power. For example, a 100wpc Classe' is going to sound a lot better than a similarly priced 300wpc Adcom, provided the speakers aren't terribly inefficient and the room isn't huge. Personally, I'd save my money (at least $1500) and start looking at good integrated amps (the better Musical Fidelity, the better Classe', the smaller Krell, either Plinius, the Audio Analog Puccini SE, etc.).

    As far as Tara Labs dealers, I don't know of anybody that sells them online, but in my experience, for budget interconnects, they're they way to go, as they also sounded better than a $150 pair of Cardas. Tara Labs has just revamped their Prism line; it's pretty much the same as before, but with better connectors. My Prism 11i has been replaced by the Prism 1100, but I can't say that particular interconnect would be the best solution for your system. The 1100 is definately on the warm side which is why I chose it; I wanted warm interconnects for DVDs because they are so bright. The 3300 is more expensive and more transparent than the 1100, which is what you're after, I assume. The 5500 is a little better than the 3300, but I didn't think it was worth the premium. All, however, are under $100 and are worth an audition.

    Regarding Monster Cable, as I said before, they make decent stuff, but the farther you go up the line, the more overpriced they become IMO. I use entry-level Monster Cable in my family room system, and it works well and is reasonably priced. However, I have auditioned their flagship speaker cables and interconnects, and they came in dead last compared to similarly priced cables from Nordost (which I ended up buying), Transparent, MIT, Cardas, Kimber, Tara Labs, and Audioquest. With a four figure system, Monster is not out of place, but with a five figure one, I'd question it.
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney,
    You make some good points about how people view Monster cables. I certainly agree with you, and have been a member of both camps you described. About two years ago when I first got into audio, I would have never used anything beyond the cables that came with components. Now, I am starting to look at what else is available beyond Monster cables. Still, I have seen the M950i and M1000i cables at Tweeter and have been tempted to grab a pair to try, but they are pricey. Also, they use similar Turbine connectors to my Interlink 400mkII cables, and I have grown tired of that connector. The Audioquest connectors are easier to work with.
    Regarding Monster M950i and M1000i cables, maybe you can answer a question. Audio Advisor always has the M950i in its catalogs and says, "Insiders tell us the M950 offers 97% of the performance of the famous M-1000 interconnect at a fraction of the price!" Have you compared these cables, and if so, is this true? Obviously, the 97% figure has no meaning, but are the cables close in performance? I've looked at the M950i and M1000i for my '777ES, for which I need a 2-meter pair of interconnects. A 2-meter pair of M950i cables is $200, while a 2-meter pair of M1000i cables runs $300. I don't really want to spend that much on cables, but I am curious as to whether the M1000i cables are worth the extra money.
    Justin,
    Component matching is certainly very important. You just can't slap together a bunch of expensive components and expect them to jive just because each piece is well-regarded. A few weeks ago, I was in a Tweeter store and heard a set-up consisting of B&K stereo separates ($1500 together), a Sony SCD-C222ES SACD changer, and Vienna Acoustics floorstanders (not the Beethovens, but one of the better speakers in the line). A salesman was playing a handful of SACDs, and the sound was absolutely awful. Now, I know this system wasn't ultra-high-end, but if I had bought that system at Tweeter, I would have spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000-4500 without buying cables. The system simply sucked. The sound was harsh, edgy, constricted, you name it.
    Regarding biamping, I don't view it as just getting more power, though that is part of the idea. If I were to biamp the NAD C 370 with the C 270, separate power reserves are used for the tweeters and drivers, and that is supposed to open things up. What Hi*Fi? has an article on biamping in the current issue and reports on the advantages of biamping C 370 with the C 270 over using the C 370 alone. They found that the bass improved (the only real complaint they had of the C 370 alone), as did the overall soundstage. Again, for only $470, I would like to try biamping. If I buy the C 270 from Sound City and don't feel that it offers any benefit, I can return it for a full refund. At this point, I am not ready to even consider a higher-end amp. However, I must say that I have a potential ace in the hole, though I am not sure that it's a real ace.
    I am set to "inherit" a vintage Marantz tube pre-amp and tube power amp. If memory serves, the model numbers are 7B and 8B, respectively. My parents bought these pieces in 1962, and my older brother has had them since 1990. Now that my brother has gotten into home theater, he no longer uses the Marantz pieces and has said that I can take them. I also have my parents' blessing. [​IMG] In any event, I know these Marantz pieces are very well regarded in vintage audio circles, but I have no idea how my gear will integrate with them. Considering how old and unique the Marantz gear is, I'm not sure I want to use it as my standard equipment anyway. Still, these pieces should be fun to play with.
     
  16. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    Very interesting, I was in Tweeter and heard their set up of the highes end Viena's and was NOT impressed at all. Maybe they don't know how to set up their systems.

    About the 950 VS 1000, I haven't done any comparos, But I will get with my buddy and ask (he is gone for the weekend, so If you are willing to wait, I will ask, Like I said before, he tells me teh true story on the stuff and what really sounds better. He tells me if the $ is worth the upgrade. I was looking at the M800i and He told me to go for the M550i it was much cheaper for what you get). He GAVE me a couple sets of M1000i (so I didn't really need to compare them to the 950i, But he will give it to me straight.)
     
  17. Justin Doring

    Justin Doring Screenwriter

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    Vienna Acoustics and B&K make very warm, smooth gear, that's quite good, so it's odd that it sounded harsh and edgy. My guess is that the setup was horrible and that the system wasn't broken-in. These two things can make all the difference. The Sony and cables might have contributed to the less than stellar sound as well.

    Those Marantz pieces sound interesting. They might sound great in your system!
     
  18. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Keith,

    Give them at least 3 weeks of listening. Then give them some critical listening.

    Don't strain so much to hear a difference. There may be none. Or there may and you just can't put a finger on it.

    I would pick a night where you are relaxed and in a better position to do some critical listening and then question any difference, or not.

    You have 30 days. I they just don't have it after a couple of weeks... just return them and move on. Not meant for your system, that's all. Just move on to the next if you are still up for the pursuit of the right cables.

    You may have to handle a few toads before you land the right cables.

    Good Luck,

    BOK
     
  19. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Rodney,
    I would appreciate you asking your friend about the M950i vs. the M1000i. I don't mind waiting. [​IMG]
    By the way, while I am going away from Monster cables, at least to some degree, my brother has all Monster cables in his new system (Yamaha RX-V3000 receiver, Sony DVP-S9000ES DVD/SACD player, Sony 36" WEGA XBR TV, Energy Veritas 2.2 speakers as mains, and Energy Veritas center channel). He is using the M550i for SACD playback, a Monster M Series coaxial digital cable for DVD and CD playback, and Monster 1.4 speaker cables. He is also using Monster component video cables, but I don't know which ones. Anyway, I just got off the phone with him, and he is ecstatic with his set-up. He loves the Monster cables.
    Justin,
    I don't know what was wrong with the Vienna Acoustics/B&K set-up at Tweeter. Maybe something wasn't set up right or the cables weren't right for the system. It could be that the Sony 'C222ES was the problem. I was concerned about the quality of the 'C222ES, which is why I got the 'C555ES. [​IMG]
    As for the Marantz pre-amp and power amp, I am very curious as to how they will perform relative to my NAD amp. It should be a fun experience.
    Brian,
    Good advice. I need to give the Diamondbacks some time. At this point, I like what I am hearing, at least when I am not in my ultra-critical mode. It is hard sometimes to sit back and just enjoy the music. I need to temper things by throwing a CD in my boombox from time to time. That, undoubtedly, will make me appreciate my real stuff.
     
  20. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    It wasn't the 222 sacd player, Thats what I have, along with a parasound pre/pro and rotel amps and B&W CDM7NT speakers. I heard a lot about Viena speakers in the past and I wasn't impressed. Interestingly enough a month or so later HT mag came out with an article on the Vienas and they didn't get near the rating of the B&W CDM or Revels.

    as far as the cable goes, I will find out this weekend for you.

    I would agree, If I had a system that was over $15,000, I would probably go with something else (but I am not totally sure of that), but since my system is only about $10k, I am doing just fine
     

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