I just wanted to thank you for a truly eye opening experience with the Shunyata AURORA interconnects and speaker cables.
I had just upgraded my DAC from a Stello DA220 MK II to the Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC. This change produced some effects that seemed paradoxical and unexpected. Compared to the Stello the Alpha DAC is much more analog like while simultaneously retaining the deep level of resolution I have come to enjoy through the Stello. Strangely the result this had on sound of my current set up was a softer less focused picture with an overall decrease is dynamics and immediacy.
First I replaced my reference level VH Audio Symmetry silver interconnects with the AURORA interconnects. This change produced a larger sound stage with greater immediacy and dynamic contrasts. I was not prepared for what was to happen next. When I replaced my Cardas Golden Reference speaker cables with the Shunyata AURORA speaker cables, there was a giant leap forward in all aspects of the sound. The sound took on an effortless hugely open expansiveness which was larger than I had ever heard on my system previously. The background was relieved of what I can only describe as a layer of grain that I had not really noticed until it was gone. This lack of grain allowed me to see deeper into the mix as never before. The system also gained a level of top to bottom phase coherence which revealed shimmering ethereal highs as well as subterranean lows in both the macro and micro domains. The tonal balance was also a significant beneficiary of the incredible phase coherence of the AURORA cables. Gone were any hints of phase induced harshness or listener fatigue. The soundstage also benefitted through greater structural integrity and palpability. There was an obvious synergistic benefit to using the AURORA Speaker cable in conjunction with the AURORA interconnects.
In order to sort out what changes I was hearing were attributable to the AURORAs and which were related to switch to the Berkeley Audio I put the Stello DAC back in. The Berkeley Audio’s contribution was immediately announced by the relative lack of harmonic richness and warmth. The sound also lost the fatigue free quality at higher listening levels. The AURORAs can be ruthlessly revealing of lesser quality components. These observations should be viewed within the context of component compatibility and synergy.
In fairness to the Stello and my other reference cables, I must say that I have used these products for the last 3 years with great musical satisfaction. They have endowed my system with all of the most sought after qualities that make listening to music enjoyable. This is no small achievement when listening to Avantgarde Trios which expose the smallest flaws in downstream components. This to me simply points to the importance of the synergy that various cables can provide to different combinations of components.
This experience has demonstrated to me what kinds of colorations and modulations my reference cables were imbuing on my system as a whole. Inserting the Shunyata AURORA Cables offered a clear window from which to better judge the essential qualities and shortcomings of the downstream components.
It may be of interest to note that on my system with either DAC or cables I preferred the sound with the Audiopax Model 5 preamp in place versus listening to the Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC playing straight into the amplifiers. The direct feed produced a sound that was very accurate but to my ears not as musical as when played through the preamp. The Preamp added more harmonic texture and sense of communion between the instruments that was otherwise missing. These attributes help me to immerse myself in the music and not be distracted by what I perceive to be artifacts of the HIFI reproduction process.
Avantgarde Trios: (Main Speakers)
Avantgarde Basshorns: (Sub-Woofers)
Audiopax Model 88 MK II Mono blocks: (Amplifiers)
Audiopax Model 5: (Pre-Amplifier)
Stello DA220 MK II (DAC)
Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC (DAC)
Qsonix 100 (Music Server)
Joshua J. Wright