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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Location: newmarket, ON, CA
Hey folks,
I need your advice. I love my system --- most of the time. Initially it was a bit light on the low end so I added a REL sub; problem solved. However, the upper frequencies seemed a little harsh at times on some recordings; so I upgraded my avr to an Anthem (was going to do this regardless) which I use as a pre with Bryston 4bsst, and most everything was softened a touch, especially after using arc. But I'm still noticing the need for further softening. BTW my room has wall to wall carpet, upholstered couches and wall treatments ----it's not the room.

So... Ive been considering changing speaker cables to Cardas Golden Cross, a high end brand and model renowned for warmth available for about $1000 used. It's either that or take the $1000, sell my current speakers (spendor a5r) and buy another set of speakers that are a at least touch warmer.
Obviously Id rather only have to spend on cables than a set of higher end speakers but if the cables aren't that effective then...

So, solve the problem with warming cables or warmer speakers?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:20 pm 
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Is the anthem an AVR, if so what model? I'm not sure what the golden cross cables are worth new, but spending $1000 on a used set of speaker cables for an AVR doesn't seem like a good way to invest your funds. I'm not sure of those specific Spendor's, but I don't think their house sound typically lean's on the bright side, so they might not be the cause. Depends on what your priorities are but personally I'd swap the AVR for a dedicated 2ch pre (if you need HT, get one with bypass & a cheap receiver for HT duty).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:24 pm 
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Your speakers are definitely on the warm side of neutral already, so that is not your problem. Cardas cables will ‘thicken’ the sound, rolling off the top end and add weight to the midrange/bass. From experience your Bryston has a tendency to add weight to the bass, but also can be a little edgy up top. I have limited experience with Anthem.

Usually hardness in the treble is a source or pre-amp issue, so you might want to start there. If your front end is fine, clean power is very important. If you are using stock power cords, test drive a few upgrades on each of your Anthem and Bryson.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:37 pm 
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Actually, Darren and meiwan,the A5Rs are the only Spendor leaning towards analytical (according to What HiFi and me) but you're completely right about the house sound normally associated with that brand. The anthem is the mrx 720 ---the most recent model and I only use it as a pre (and it's also my most recent aquisition, so...) I get what you're saying about the cable investment though. However, I'm thinking if I'm gonna try the cable strategy, I need to go for it with one that everyone(?) considers warming.

-- 13 Aug 2018 20:42 --

So the cardas should help the upper edgyness of the bryston, no?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:43 pm 
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meiwan wrote:
If your front end is fine, clean power is very important. If you are using stock power cords, test drive a few upgrades on each of your Anthem and Bryson.


Agree with this 100%. I just recently upgraded my stock power cables to Nordost. One Blue Heaven and one Red Dawn(used). These cables made a significant difference in the sound of my system. Start with your source and work your way to your amp.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:04 pm 
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Spendor is a generally warm speaker but they can be fussy with certain amps. I had a Musical Fidelity amp with them and the highs were a bit bright. I tried Cardas Golden Cross cables but they weren't clear enough for me. I changed to Audio Sensibility cables and Classe amps and the problem was solved.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:05 pm 
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In my experience, you will get more bang for your buck out of interconnects and power cords as opposed to speaker cables. A power cord would be a good choice on an AVR as well, as it would benefit the entire system.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:27 pm 
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How will the cables warm up the sound, by obscuring detail? Rolling off high frequencies? Seems like a bad approach.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:00 pm 
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glennsmith999 wrote:
Actually, Darren and meiwan,the A5Rs are the only Spendor leaning towards analytical (according to What HiFi and me) but you're completely right about the house sound normally associated with that brand. The anthem is the mrx 720 ---the most recent model and I only use it as a pre (and it's also my most recent aquisition, so...) I get what you're saying about the cable investment though. However, I'm thinking if I'm gonna try the cable strategy, I need to go for it with one that everyone(?) considers warming.

-- 13 Aug 2018 20:42 --

So the cardas should help the upper edgyness of the bryston, no?


Cardas & Transparent are both typically known to be cables that are recommended to tame the upper end. Believe some of the newer Cardas models are more neutral (or more neutral/accurate as you move up the line) but some could be described as talking though your hands cupped over your mouth. To me, if you need cables like this to "fix" your system, its more of a bandaid fix & you should be looking at other areas instead.

The Bryston amps seem to get more "musical" each generation & the current gen aren't too bad to these ears but I can see where their older gen stuff, mated with an Anthem AVR could cause some hardness. Years back I owned an Anthem Statement pre & was never fully happy with the sound, at that time I swapped it & the matching amp for a Naim pre/amp combo & couldn't be happier.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:11 pm 
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Great feedback, everyone. I'm definitely going to hold off on the Cardas for now. I guess I'll try out some power cords first.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:09 pm 
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glennsmith999 wrote:
Great feedback, everyone. I'm definitely going to hold off on the Cardas for now. I guess I'll try out some power cords first.

If you could find a pair of Cardas Cross IC's cheap to go between your AVR and amp they would be worth a try. I ran a Anthem MRX 310 into a Bryston 4Bsst2 and it definitely helped. That being said, in my opinion it is like others have said a bit of a bandaid fix. The Anthem is now sitting on a shelf in the garage and I sold the Bryston. Now using a ModWright integrated instead and couldn't be happier.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:43 pm 
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glennsmith999 wrote:
Actually, Darren and meiwan,the A5Rs are the only Spendor leaning towards analytical (according to What HiFi and me) but you're completely right about the house sound normally associated with that brand. The anthem is the mrx 720 ---the most recent model and I only use it as a pre (and it's also my most recent aquisition, so...) I get what you're saying about the cable investment though. However, I'm thinking if I'm gonna try the cable strategy, I need to go for it with one that everyone(?) considers warming.

-- 13 Aug 2018 20:42 --

So the cardas should help the upper edgyness of the bryston, no?


Are you using ARC on the Anthem? If yes, are you using ARC for two channel listening?

If so: are you absolutely sure about your set-up routine?

I highly recommend, if you are using any type of digital room correction, to first bypass it and only then test cables. I know in my system both RCAs and power cables make a big difference _without_ any room correction. If my room correction process is bad then it makes the downstream effects even worse.

I would not attempt to correct effects of digital room correction using cables...

Note: all my power cables are Take 5 Audio (made a huge difference) as well as my RCAs. I can hear differences in cables with my Audyssey room correction on...If you can't then I suspect a problem with ARC...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:07 pm 
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I believe that cables whether they are speaker,ICs or power are great for fine tuning to your preferred sound of your system. I think the solution to your dilemma is more to do with the match of the pre/power amp to your speakers.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:44 pm 
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speakers should be first...so if you like the speakers you have and you think that the sound is not up to...try to change the other gear first..as was said maybe the source or the pre is not up to the task....and only after all this to "fine tune" the system, you should do the cable game.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:02 pm 
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Hi,

Your Spendors are 'revealing' what lies behind them and my first instinct is to say - wrong amp. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Bryston - into some specific speakers such as Magnepans they are brilliant, but not into Spendors. You don't need all that etchy high end detailing. Cables, even expensive ones, will not fix this. Once you have identified a sonic issue it tends to draw you in and dominate your attention and focus until you finally fix it once and for all. My vote would be to swap out both the pre-amp and the amp for an integrated design that sings with the A5Rs, likely British, maybe Roksan, Sugden, Exposure, maybe even NAD and there are many many others.

Cheers,
David Neice

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