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Garth’s new AQ Mythical Creatures Interconnects


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Looking at the new AQ price list that was published last week, it looks like they did away with the Fire ICs, which I’m currently using throughout my system.  It looks like the Firebird line would be the replacement using silver conductors but at double the price of the Fire.  I need a 2M pair (may be able to make 1.5M work) of XLRs for my Ref3SE Phono to Ref6SE pre ( then through 2M Fires to the M5-HPAs).

 

just wondering if anyone has any recommendations or experience with these new ICs?  I will try to audition a pair to compare to the Fire and also try swapping them with the Fires between the preamp and M5s.  I don’t think they are in full production yet, so not sure on availability.
 

Given the very large price increase with the AQ products, does anyone have any experience with the Cardas Clear Beyond and Vandy gear?

 Thanks 

Todd

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15 hours ago, ctsooner said:

They are a large step up. I am selling my 2m Fire to upgrade. That said, only you can figure if paying double and losing money on your Fire sale will be worth it. I haven’t run out to change yet as the Fire are still so darn good. 
 

Garth is a genius in this realm. 

Any idea on how to price the used Fires relative to the list price?  50%?  I still have the OEM boxes and everything is pristine shape. 
 

Thanks

Todd

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41 minutes ago, Delkat said:

Any idea on how to price the used Fires relative to the list price?  50%?  I still have the OEM boxes and everything is pristine shape. 
 

Thanks

Todd

 

Is there any chance to listen to the new model ones before you dispose of the fire sale ones?
Can you tell a difference, and if so is it better or worse?

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Normally I agree on XLR connections, but there are subtle differences for the positive with Garth’s designs. These new cables are special. I have been using WEL and Fire for while and they make a nice difference in my system.  Easy to hear the difference. My wife asked what I upgraded the first time she heard my system with the WEL. My 2 cents. 

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3 hours ago, ctsooner said:

Normally I agree on XLR connections, but there are subtle differences for the positive with Garth’s designs. These new cables are special. I have been using WEL and Fire for while and they make a nice difference in my system.  Easy to hear the difference. My wife asked what I upgraded the first time she heard my system with the WEL. My 2 cents. 

This surprises me.

I originally bought some Mogami XLR from Ralph Karsten when I bought his amp and preamp (25 feet). A few years later, John Rutan suggested I go for AQ (I forget the model, but it didn't have dielectric modules).

My take:

No significant difference. Period.

Perhaps higher end models of AQ will offer benefits, but I am a bit skeptical, at this point.

Perhaps, when I come to help you with your Quatro's, we can try swapping some XLR cables, if time allows.

Bob

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34 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

This surprises me.

I originally bought some Mogami XLR from Ralph Karsten when I bought his amp and preamp (25 feet). A few years later, John Rutan suggested I go for AQ (I forget the model, but it didn't have dielectric modules).

My take:

No significant difference. Period.

Perhaps higher end models of AQ will offer benefits, but I am a bit skeptical, at this point.

Perhaps, when I come to help you with your Quatro's, we can try swapping some XLR cables, if time allows.

Bob

Not sure what to tell you, but go listen.  It's all about system matching and listening and that's the only way you will be able to tell.  I will say that when I first used the WEL's my system was taken to a better place.  They certainly made a nice difference.  The new cables are special for sure.  I'm selling the WEL and Fire to help pay for the new XLR's as it's worth it for me.  YMMV.

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18 hours ago, Holmz said:

 

Is there any chance to listen to the new model ones before you dispose of the fire sale ones?
Can you tell a difference, and if so is it better or worse?

Yes, that would be my plan. I have to check availability with my dealer. Definitely not in a rush, I’m just looking at my options and assessing the associated costs before going down the path to even try them. 

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1 hour ago, ctsooner said:

Not sure what to tell you, but go listen.  It's all about system matching and listening and that's the only way you will be able to tell.  I will say that when I first used the WEL's my system was taken to a better place.  They certainly made a nice difference.  The new cables are special for sure.  I'm selling the WEL and Fire to help pay for the new XLR's as it's worth it for me.  YMMV.

Like I said...that's an interesting balanced cable geometry. 

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I was blessed when I got the WEL and Fire.  They were affordable as I got them via fire sales.  They both made a positive difference compared to what I used prior even though they are XLR connections.  I'm not totally sold on the sound of XLR's not mattering as much.  I've been part of many double blind cable testing.  It's so much easier to do these types of A/B'ing as we all know.  Even with my MS, I'm fully capable of changing cables and cords out fairly quickly. I"m pretty honest with myself when listening critically when it's MY MONEY involved!  I will focus on overhang of notes on a recording...I'll then listen to the 'hall' and it's size.  If you focus on one or two things at a time you can hear small differences. 

After I go through that, I will put a pair in the system (one at a time) and then see how much I listen to music for the week.  If I'm listening less, it's almost always because I'm using a lesser cable or cord.  The inverse is also true (100% of the time for me).  Maybe it's in my head (well, my brain although riddled with lessons, is still in my head, lol), but I can then figure out if the ROI makes sense for me as I'm on limited income and have to be careful as I can't afford to make mistakes.

I love reading how we all critically listen differently etc..  That's just another thing I take away from this board.   When I read some of you thinking one thing and then listening and posting that you now have changed your mind, it learn even more.

Thanks to you all for that.

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23 hours ago, ctsooner said:

Not sure what to tell you, but go listen.

I don't doubt your observations, but only wanted to input my experience with XLR cable. Like I said, these were far down the AQ line up, so they might have not been as 'revealing'. But, it does seem to agree with Ralph Karsten's opinion that XLR cables are less prone to introducing cable 'artifacts' (when used with equipment using the  AES standard), especially when compared to RCA.

Bob

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Very interesting. I own two tornados, and the rest monsoon. I am a big fan of AQ for power cords, though I can't say the same for their other cables. It's not that I dont like them, they have just been beat out by others, whereas for power they are king in my system.  I need one more (wall to balanced power + BP to amp + BP to pre = 3)

Someday years from now, after a speaker upgrade It would be cool to get ahold of a mythical creature.

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14 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

I don't doubt your observations, but only wanted to input my experience with XLR cable. Like I said, these were far down the AQ line up, so they might have not been as 'revealing'. But, it does seem to agree with Ralph Karsten's opinion that XLR cables are less prone to introducing cable 'artifacts' (when used with equipment using the  AES standard), especially when compared to RCA.

Bob

Doesn't that suggest, for all you technical type guys, that there's loads of undesired common mode currents running about most home audio systems?  

These days, this can be measured with relatively inexpensive test gear (maybe a few hundred bucks - far less money than these cables) along with a bit of savvy.  Yet, when the results are posted on forums where people proudly label themselves as "objectivists", the effect is roundly denied and the poster gets beaten up.  

This is one of the reasons why I don't find these people to be actually objective and why I have really almost completely stopped posting on the internet.  I much prefer reading about people's personal impressions of why they like or don't the sound of  a component like a loudspeaker, for example.  It may not match my taste and preference, but so what?  At least it's an honest opinion.

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21 hours ago, Holmz said:

It would be interesting to know what the output impedance is of Ralph’s preamps is.

Don't you mean the output impedence of the amps? In which case, the Class D is 100K ohms.

 If you do mean preamps, then the MP-3 is 250 ohms, the MA-1 is 30 ohms.

@BKDad,

I think one of the reasons Ralph adheres to AES standards is to have a standard to relate to. Any manufacturer can offer an XLR connection, but if it doesn't utilize the AES standard, all bets are off  with regard to how a cable will react/perform in any given system.

 

B

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17 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

@BKDad,

I think one of the reasons Ralph adheres to AES standards is to have a standard to relate to. Any manufacturer can offer an XLR connection, but if it doesn't utilize the AES standard, all bets are off  with regard to how a cable will react/perform in any given system.

 

B

The AES standard (AES48) is certainly a standard, but it really only describes what wires go to what pins on the interface, especially with regard to chassis and circuit ground.  Beyond that, there's a lot of area subject to interpretation.  People have built large portions of their careers trying to work with this.

There's lots of reasons why balanced cables should be terminated at both ends in the cable's characteristic impedance - roughly 100 Ohms.  There's also a lot of reasons why that is difficult and/or impractical.  Certainly there's not too much in the way of modern equipment that will drive a 200 Ohm load - that'd  mean that you'd need a small power amplifier inside your preamp, phono preamp, or DAC.

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1 hour ago, GdnrBob said:

Don't you mean the output impedence of the amps? In which case, the Class D is 100K ohms.

 If you do mean preamps, then the MP-3 is 250 ohms, the MA-1 is 30 ohms..

It is pretty much like a tug of war with the preamp being the stronger participant, and the amp getting dragged around.

So it is a bit of both.
If the input impedance of the amp is low then the preamp and cable need to flow more current to get the voltage wriggling at the amp’s input end.
And the output impedance of the preamp is how forcefully the preamp can shake and wriggle the cable at the driving side.

30 ohms is pretty low output impedance for a preamp, many are up in the hundreds of ohms.
So it will be having two handed death grip on the cable and will drive it forcefully… and the cable will have less effect than when using a preamp with a high output impedance, which is like holding onto the cable delicately with just the thumb and forefinger.

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18 hours ago, BKDad said:

Doesn't that suggest, for all you technical type guys, that there's loads of undesired common mode currents running about most home audio systems?  

These days, this can be measured with relatively inexpensive test gear (maybe a few hundred bucks - far less money than these cables) along with a bit of savvy.  Yet, when the results are posted on forums where people proudly label themselves as "objectivists", the effect is roundly denied and the poster gets beaten up.  

This is one of the reasons why I don't find these people to be actually objective and why I have really almost completely stopped posting on the internet.  I much prefer reading about people's personal impressions of why they like or don't the sound of  a component like a loudspeaker, for example.  It may not match my taste and preference, but so what?  At least it's an honest opinion.

And it would be sort of dandy if they said what equipment it was working or not working on.
Just knowing it was X brand cable, is not nearly as interesting X-brand cable doesn’t help Y-brand amp, but it does help brand-Z.

It is just a mess when people are talking about cables to know if it have any relevance to our particular situations.

When Ralph says with his gear the cables don’t matter, then that says something about his gear. And something good about it.
So I guess the low output impedance from the preamp might be a reason.

It’ll be interesting to see what he tells Bob.

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