Audioquest Water XLR Interconnects

Hi all -

Just installed a pair of Audioquest Water XLR Interconnects between my preamp and my monoblocks.

They are replacing a pair of Cardas Quadlink 5-c XLR Interconnects.

I’d like to hear what difference I should be experiencing, then I will tell you what I am finding.

Please let’s keep this focused on the Audioquest Water XLR Interconnects

Thanks in advance…

Speackers: B&W 802 D (First of the Diamonds)
Amps: Classe Cam-200
Preamp: Bryston BP-26
CD Player: Mark Levinson 5100

I have been using AQ Water XLR interconnects across my system for 3+ years. They replaced balanced VanDen Hul 2nd (carbon).

  1. They took ~300 hours to sound their best.
  2. In my system, these cables deliver 3D sound stage, exceptional timbre, and stunningly realistic vocals. High frequencies distortion is so low, cymbals sound great.
  3. Extended listening is fatigue-free
    Rega Aura phono
    PS Audio DS DAC
    PS BHK pre
    Meridian 857 power amp.
    Dynaudio C20 speakers
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I’m finding that the Audioquest Water XLR interconnects sound different then the Cards 5-C XLR interconnects.

Maybe everyone can help with the below statements?

  1. They sound clearer or brighter then the Cardas cables

  2. Seems like the bass is lacking and system doesn’t have a warm sound anymore

  3. Musicals and live recordings sound more open, while many average recordings are sounding shrill/harsh

  4. Almost reminiscent of my Thiel speakers 3.7 I used to have

  5. Almost like a double edge sword… clearer sounding on good recordings, and harsh/edgy sounding on average recordings

Can anyone help explain what I’m hearing, or what is going on?


I would give a week between comparisons. A/B comparisons can be confusing because amps take time to warm up and cables take time to settle in their respective connectors.

Bearing in mind I listen almost exclusively to Classical and Jazz, AQ water has clean upper end, well pronounced midrange, well controlled bass, and well defined sound stage / instrumental delineation. I cannot describe it as bright or lacking in bass. Before deciding on the new cables, I suggest you experiment with speaker positioning / toe-in / toe-out. Water is an excellent cable in its price segment.

I wish you good luck and happy listening.

Would the B&W 802d (first generation diamond) be considered a bright speaker?

I would not label them bright, but rather revealing. This said, it is not unusual to do some speaker positioning adjustments whenever a component or a cable is replaced.

If that does not resolve the problem after ample burn in, then there is a mismatch somewhere! Edit: that mismatch could have been introduced by the new interconnects. What speaker cables do you use?

i’m bi-wiring with Audioquest Indigo.

Indigo has a different copper and wire design. It was famous for high frequency clarity. I suggest allowing Water more burn in time. I still believe in it. Also, I would make sure the high and low Indigo wires are secured and correctly connected. Speaker tweaking is still an option.

First off I’m a huge fan of the B&W speakers particularly the 800 series and the 802 model. I owned a pair of N804’s for 10 years. The Diamond tweeter has been described has bright and sometimes harsh by many since the Diamond line was a introduced.

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Paired with the wrong gear, I would absolutely consider them bright. Paired with the right gear and I think they sound darn good!

I can’t seem to find the wiring pattern for the Indigo cable. I know a few wires were for the high frequency and mids. I am bi-wiring the Indigo cables, using all wires in each cable for the low end and for the high end as well.

Don’t know if this is of any help but here’s the internal wiring configuartion.


Understood! Some AudioQuest cables not only define directionality of cables, but also specify the low and the high frequency wires on amp and speaker end, and people have been reporting differences in sound quality.

If I were in your position, I would not give up until I have exhausted the following:
Complete 3 months of interconnect burn in.
Tweak speaker toe in/out for treble and wall proximity for bass.
Test a swap between HF and LF bi wires.
Test a return to single wire.

Would anyone suggest unbalanced from cdplayer to preamp, then balanced from preamp to power amps?

Or, stay balanced throughout?

I suggest balanced throughout.

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If your CD player has balanced out absolutely stick with balanced all the way through.

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12 posts were split to a new topic: PCM Filters

I have the Audioquest Water XLR interconnects between my Stellar GDAC and the M700 monoblocks, and I also use the Water RCA interconnects from my TT to the Stellar Phono Preamp. For me, they just stay out of the way and convey a clear, full-range sound that isn’t harsh or boosted in any way. Just clarity, fidelity to the music and a low noise floor. Love 'em!