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Interconnect upgrade AQ Colorado to Thunderbird - the "weak link" adage was true for me

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After moving from Quatro CTs to Kentos a year ago, I was in love BUT suffering from a minor case of upgrade ($) guilt.  I thankfully got over that a couple months ago and found a solid deal on a set of used AQ thunderbird single ended interconnects.  I only changed out one area - interconnect from Doshi phonostage to Doshi preamp (previously using AQ colorado there). 

I was expecting an incremental improvement and not much more.  An incremental improvement is what I got with upgrade from stock power cords to AQ hurricanes for M5 monoblocks and components.  That was somewhat disappointing for me at that time as the cost for 5 hurricanes and Niagara 7000 was significant.  It was a solid improvement, but not the big leap I had hoped for.

With change out of this single interconnect what I got was a MAJOR leap.  The sound stage got notably wider, but mainly it got MUCH more three dimensional- notably deeper and much more projection forward from the speakers.  Transparency improved quite a bit as well.   The only logical conclusion I can draw is that I had a significant weak link and it's almost hard for me to believe.   So I guess this is mostly an endorsement for considering if there is a weak link in the system but also an endorsement for AQ thunderbird ICs- especially if you are in the "Colorodo era" AQ stuff. 


Edited by DividedSky
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I agree with the above comments.  I too went from AQ Colorado and MIT 2C3D XLR interconnects to AQ Pegasus and my system improved in many dimensions….i.e. soundstage width and depth, separation of the instruments, and low frequency transients.

I will also add that I saw another noticeable step in performance changing from 8 ft MIT 2C3D bi wire speaker cables to 0.75m AQ Robin Hood Zero bi wire speaker cables for my Quatros.  The large length reduction I’m sure played a role as well.  I did the same change on the speaker cables for my SUB THREEs but I can’t honestly say I could discern any difference….(but I’m telling myself there was a similar level of improvement there as well 🤷🏻‍♂️)

As always, your mileage may vary. 

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On 2/3/2024 at 8:56 AM, GdnrBob said:

I have to say the new AQ cables by Garth changed my mind about cables. When @ctsooner, and I listened to them at Audioconnection, I was sold.

I ditched everything for AQ and haven't been sorry.


Thanks Richard.  Important to know

I have used the Hurricane, Dragon (from isolated power line to Niagara 3000 (their sweet spot) on everything from Quatro to M5 etc..  I was using the WEL XLR, but changed to Fire 3M when I got the M5's and stopped using the AX5/20 integrated.  I have sold most of my Hurricane's as Richard's power cords are perfect for his amps and speakers (with built in bass) I feel.  I will say that using upgraded cords makes a huge difference for my Niagara and all my digital, but not nearly as much on my Brinkmann Nyquist Mk2 DAC.  I think it's because Helmut and Richard design their power supplies as well as anyone going.  It's also why the CAD grounding devices Johnny Rutan sells works awesome on everything else I've heard them on, but not on Vandersteen or Brinkman products.  Richard told me it's all due to grounding properly at the component so you don't need an external device to fix something.  Multiple ways to skin the cat.

I also use a Dragon for my USB cord.

Once Richard's preamp is released, I'll be getting that and using the WEL from the DAC to the Pre and the Fire from pre to M5's.  I use my money on components first and after I get that settled, I'll save for Garth's interconnects (whatever I can afford at the time).  

That's my journey 

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