Friday, March 5, 2010

Review: Cardas Cross and Quadlink 5C interconnects

At the urging of a friend, I decided to replace my old Belden and Cardas Crosslink interconnects. For the phono preamplifier to linestage connection, I bought a used one meter set of Cardas Cross cables, which are considered mid-priced. Between the linestage and the amplifier, a new one meter set of Cardas Quadlink 5C cables were selected. The quality of construction leaves nothing to be desired as the rhodium RCA jacks fit like a glove and the cables are extremely flexible.

Why Cardas? They've been in the business for a long time and have a theory to cable construction that actually makes some sense (at least to me). Further details can be found on their website here.

Differences, compared to the older set of wire, are minor and not the type to be necessarily detected using an ABX box. To some, this means that the differences don't exist. But, psychological expectations aside, I still heard some changes. Trailing notes and minor 'inner' detail was bumped up a bit. The new Cardas cable also has a warmer, more organic presentation that manages not to sound sluggish. In general, my system took on a slightly more relaxed sound.

The big question that still remains is upgrading interconnects worth it? Realistically for the price, no. I've heard bigger diferences between cartridges, phono stages and whatnot. But like any other 'extreme' hobbies, nearly insignificant changes to one person make all the difference to another. In the end, my adventure into wire upgrades has given me a more enjoyable stereo. I couldn't ask for anything more except for a lower price!

preamp: Threshold FET-10/HL
phono preamp: Threshold FET-10/PC
amplifier: Threshold S/500
analog: VPI HW19 MkIII - Rega RB300 with Incognito wiring - Dynavector 10x5
speakers: Magnepan 1.6/QR
speaker cable: Kimber 4PR/8PR Bi-wire with banana jacks
Interconnects: Cardas Crosslink and Belden