Always a fan of Cardas, Went to the Clear reflection speaker cables awhile back. been running Golden Reference interconnects for years. got a deal on a pair of Clear reflection int.( always XLR ) didn’t expect anything to dramatic. put between my BHK amp and Pre. Boom, a nice improvement across the board, I really hear a diff. clarity and Bass. but still that cardas sound I appreciate . Good stuff.
Nice choice. I wanted to try their clear reflection, but budget constraints have resulted in going with Parsec xlr’s from BHK Pre to M700 and keeping 20+ year-old Cardas Quadlink rca interconnect between music source and BHK Pre.
I have half a rack of Quadlinks. Several other Cardas ICs (Neutral Reference, Parsec, and Golden Presence) and several vintage Cardas power cords. Bought most of them used or discounted. Sent them into Cardas for inspection and refreshing. Great cables.
Parts Connection in GTA sells vintage Cardas at a good discount.
Since early 2019, I’ve been using the Parsec XLR between my SGCD and M700 monoblocks. The Parsec has provided a reasonable balance between detail and smoothness in my system, and I’ve been generally happy with it. At the same time, like @adifferentpaul, I have wanted to try the Cardas Clear Reflection as a potential replacement for the Parsec in my system. With my recent purchase of a BHK Preamp, I’m now using the SGCD in DAC-only mode and needed a good XLR between the DAC and the BHK Pre.
So… I finally broke down and ordered a Clear Reflection XLR to try in my system. I’m happy to say that I really like the CR , although I’m not happy to be spending more money on cables. I’m still using the Parsec between the BHK Pre and the M700s, but now I’m wondering how much better everything would sound with another CR to replace the Parsec. If I do break down and get another CR, I would probably try to get by with a .5 meter length and use the Frequent Flyer discount from the Cable Company to keep the cost lower.
Fortunately, the Parsec is an excellent interconnect for the money, and the CR and Parsec share an overall sound profile. In my system right now, both cables are in the main signal chain and are blending well together. When considered separately, though, the CR is the better cable, with a more extended high end and more holographic imaging. Being part of Cardas’ “Clear” line of cables, CR is more clear and open than Parsec, but it is still not edgy or fatiguing. Angela Cardas says that CR is her favorite cable that her company makes, and I can see why she likes it. It doesn’t call attention to itself with audiophile theatrics - it just sounds natural, musical, and real.
I use Parsec ICs as well. I just added three sets of Cygnus ICs and a Clear AES/EBU. Really nice cables. Angela Cardas and crew make great products.
@netspecht-2 How would you describe the sound of the Cygnus ICs compared to the other Cardas cables you’ve tried?
They are still in break in mode (only had them a few weeks) but are definitely a step up. A couple of months ago, I was using mostly Quadlinks, which are basically prior generation Parsecs without matched Propagation technology, I think the clarity is much better…
I also just added some used Clear Lights, but they are being used for different components so its difficult to draw a Cygnus /Clear Light comparison. They also replaced Quadlink. Again, I notice an upgrade in clarity.
Over the years of trying this brand and that and the models within those brands your statement hits the nail on the head, in my opinion. When the cable (or component for that matter) gets out of the way and lets the music shine through then you’re reached where I want to go.
@netspecht-2 Thanks for your comments on other Cardas ICs. I had a chance to try the Clear Sky XLRs last year, but they seemed to lack body a bit and over-emphasized the higher frequencies in my listening so I preferred the Parsec XLRs in my system. Before my recent addition of the Clear Reflection XLRs, I wondered about trying the Cygnus first. However, I was worried that the Cygnus might sound too “clear” without the hint of warmth that the CR and Parsec have. It sounds like you’re liking the upgrade in clarity you get with Cygnus, so that’s great.
The increased clarity is helpful. I have some hearing loss. Most of my listening is via headphones.
@netspecht-2 I also have some hearing loss at high frequencies due to age, but I’m still sensitive to too much energy in the “brightness” range. I tend to like a little warmth in the midrange to control very revealing speakers.
Cardas Clear Sky fan here. ICs and the X4 speaker cables. The current lineup is the most transparent and neutral ever, while not sacrificing that creamy, seemless midrange presentation Cardas is justly famous for. Oh and something else that hasn’t changed, break in that takes forever it seems. I always counsel patience to those new to Cardas. I’m talking 100s of hours of break in for Cardas cables to settle. My experience with Cardas goes back to Quadlink.
My issues with Clear Sky may have been break-in related. I was told that the cable had several days of break-in from the dealer, but that may not have been enough. In my system, the Clear Sky sounded very transparent on the high end, but it seemed thin in the lower midrange and bass. I received my Clear Reflection XLRs direct-shipped from Cardas, and they have sounded quite good from early on.
Yup. Thin lower mid to bass presentation is typical of Cardas in break in. Which fills in. Wouldn’t of course know the history of the cables you got from the dealer, but by break in I mean connect into the system and leave undisturbed. Cardas cables once installed want to be left alone. I have no comment on CR, which I haven’t used. I can say cables are like loudspeakers and cartridges, very much a matter of taste. My system is already inherently a tad warm, which is why I steered clear of the the ‘Golden’ series and any other cables that add warmth. Were my system as you describe yours to be, I’d probably be looking for something else that does add a dose of body.
I agree! If every system sounded great with the same type of cable, each cable manufacturer would only need to make one model.
I picked up a few Cardas Clear rca cables this weekend. So far so good! I have 3 of various lengths to connect turntables to phono pre to pre. I might be on the lookout for a clear beyond to take the music from the tubes to the pre.
Clear Reflection is where I see myself going ultimately for my system. One cable at a time given the hefty price tag and starting with the ICs. Clear Reflection speaker cables in the length I need are take a deep breath expensive. Maybe next year … a big maybe.