Another cable question

Please don’t respond to this if you are a non believer. Just wanted to know if anyone has had a good experience with silver or silver/ copper blend out from they’ve Dac. Currently using older Acustic Zen absolute copper. There has been a number of members saying good things about silver for digital front ends and I think I,d like to give it a try. Streamer is Aurender N200 using DH labs mirage two feeding Pontus two. Budget is $700 max and it’s seems there are a number of cables in that range, thx in advance and happy New Year!


Hard to be positive of the outcome without trying, but some rules of thumb probably apply. How is your tonal balance? Do you think you are on the cusp of having the sound become a bit analytical? Would a cooler presentation be bad?… not being as warm and musical? Most likely in two steps your system will more detailed but slightly less fleshed out… but cu/ag and more so ag would likely improve detail and imaging a bit. 

Best to try. Have you experimented with power cords? They can make a difference as well… typically to the same sonic characteristics as interconnects.

@ghdprentice asks many of the most important questions.  What specific  improvements are you looking for?

@ghdprentice@soix Thanks for questions.  When I took this digital detour (system was originally intended for vinyl) I became really fascinated with all the information I hadn’t heard on vinyl. My vinyl playback and digital side sound nothing alike, they both sound great but anyone just walking in off the street would be able to hear the difference. I,d really love to see if it can be tweaked to sound more like vinyl and keep all the micro details Im getting. There’s alot going on with those statements I know because someone else’s 50k vinyl set up will deliver all those details and also still sound vinyl.So the answer to what Id hope to gain is I think the holy grail of digital , Id like it to sound more like the vinyl side which is smoother and relaxed.So technically I,d say Im not looking for an improvement but a “adjustment” maybe. I don’t know that a cable change can do that of course but thats what Im looking to find out, hard for me to see where else I could make an adjustment though. Thanks again. Funny I had to read that back after I wrote it to understand it myself.It reads then ,how can I make my digital playback sound like a 50k vinyl rig? Tall order right? LOL .

I have a digital all silver cable (not copper clad with silver) on my cable burner presently and I’ll get back to you later this week. 

I have the N150 and Pontus II.  I think what you maybe looking for is a little more warmth and smoothness.  At least that was one area I had to work on in my setup when comparing digital play back to records.  I'm using Cardas Clear interconnects from the Pontus to my preamp and CLEAR HS USB from the Aurender to Pontus.  Also Clear power cords on both.  It will be a pretty healthy investment so you may want to start with the digital connection to see if that's what does what you looking for first.  The Cardas Clear did for me and without loosing any detail in the Aurender or Pontus.

@marco1 Thanks for the response. Just looked all the pricing up, yes healthy investment. I always do everything in steps to help with sticker shock, did you do everything at once? Or was it done incrementally? Ive got a few ac cables I can switch around but I need to start with one move at a time.figured I do the rca,s first What your describing sound wise is correct btw. Im pretty sure the sound signature of the 150 and the 200 are the same also , thx again!

OP, Thank you for your response. This is really helpful. 

Wire changes are a very important part of tuning a system. But it is the last nuance. It is critical that the components get you 95% there. So, I recommend looking carefully at your vinyl signal chain: cartridge, arm, turntable, and phonostage. Let me take a bit of a side trip.


Vinyl and digital can sound the same. In my system, I achieved parody two or three years ago (finally!). If you had infinite budget, vinyl wins… in detail, natural sound and musicality. In general, in systems less than $50K it is easier to have vinyl exceed sound quality than digital. Above this, parody for about the same money, above $200K vinyl pulls ahead again.

So, your analog side has a problem. This is where I would look. I’ll have to go back and look at your system. It is most likely your cartridge or phono stage. Likely the second. Phono stages are critical and need to be of the highest caliber to get the most out of your analog rig. I would not do major investments in interconnects until your signal chain is perfect… then look at wires.

Yes sound sigs of both are the same.  I have the N200 in another system:-).

I'd start with the Cardas Clear HS USB, or digital spdif depending on how you've connected the N200 to the Pontus.  Also, if you do, give it a solid week or so to settle in.  We're not talking smack you in the face changes.  The changes will be subtle but as you continue listening, you'll begin to experience that warmth and smoothness I mentioned before and how your digital is becoming a little more similar to vinyl.  At least I did.

So I saw in a thread here someone commenting about silver and digital. I had a silver power cord and silver IC’s I bought from Bogdan Audio 20 years ago, I tried them on my Sony Signature TZ-HA1ES DAC today. Jet black background, I was stunned because I know these cables, know this DAC and never tried them together, good synergy. Now I’ll get a silver USB cable and add that to the mix.

First, I have a Musician Pegasus that is a very close relative of your Pontus ll, and when I bought a DDC that allowed me to feed it with its God-given i2S input — game changer. Even using a bargain-basement 6” HDMI cable like this (and yeah, you wanna use a short an HDMI cable as possible for audio) the improvement was immediate and significant.

I’d buy this DDC cause it’s basically a Denafrips Iris (that I own) clone and much cheaper…

Once you get this taken care of, you should explore AZ Silver Reference interconnects. They Da Bomb! They don’t sound like silver. They don’t sound like copper. They just SOUND. Here are some used examples, but if you can find some used Silver Ref l or ll you’ll be very well served. Just my experience FWIW.


Not that I’m a total “non believer” there are facts in play when it comes to wire/cable. Silver will provide less resistance than Copper but the delta is not great- so with straight silver you will see more conductance. If you go with a blend (Silver plated Copper) your really splitting hairs. 
Be sure you’re aware of the final gauge of the cable as well- especially with Silver or plated Copper as some of the more exotic cables will reduce gauge when changing from Copper. If you drop wire size you’ll end up with more resistance which will defeat the purpose of trying Silver in the first place.  
IMHO- Belden 1694A is about the most bulletproof digital cable you can buy.


I’m using DH Labs Silversonic Mirage USB from my streamer to a Pontus ll and am very happy with it. Are you using the USB output on your N200? What are you looking to change by changing cables?

@kota1 thanks everyone! Lots to consider. Kota1 when you set your path to add the ddc and cable was it to just be able to connect via I2s? or was there a specific change in SQ that you were aiming for by connecting that way? IDK if the exchange rate is favorable right now or what but that upgrade of an Iris and basic hdmi cable is maybe $600 all in, It was one of the changes I was looking into also, thanks again everyone!

My experience has been positive with simple, solid silver wiring from DH Labs.

I have tried silver plated copper and found it starts bright, and then seems to change and sound exactly like copper. 


I'm a semi believer. 

I am a firm believer in quality cables and indeed all of my digital cables are silver plated copper.  I think digital benefits especially from silver.  Plated is adequate because of the very small size of the signal.  Larger wires are required more for durability than ampacity.  

I've reread your post twice, there is at least one typo in it, but it sounds like you asked about the cable downstram of the DAC, which is obviously analog.  I don't think silver has as big a role to play in analog (my experience).  I have a set of silver interconnects.  They are great.  I'm currently using Mundorf wires that are a copper, silver, gold blend that they claim they develioped by experimentation to see which alloys sounded best.  They are very good.  I do like silver connectors.  KLEI are very good.  I stay away from rhodium, a poor conductor. 

I say semi believer because all of this can be done at a reasonable (3 digit) price and most cable manufacturers are taking advantage of audiophile high tolerance for 4 and 5 digit prices. 


This could be helpful in general regarding silver cables in general:


I use pure Silver in all my system, including a couple of power cords. The result will greatly depend on the design of the cables. The experience I have with Dynamique Audio is excellent. I'm using their cables for the last 5 years and have been moving up in the chain to get to the Apex line. Their top cables are the "no cables". Their goal is to achieve the maximum in neutrality and tonal balance. What you'll hear is the result of your components sound signature only. You can find many great reviews online. Regarding digital cables. The Apex is out of your budget, but "The Cable Company" represents them in the US and they have the other cables as well. The BNC cable I traded in for the Apex digital is still listed in their used cables website and you could give it a try (

Good luck with your search.

BTW, I forgot to mention.  Some believe silver can be harsh or brash.  I don't believe that.  a cable does not add things.  It takes things away from the signal.  So if someone replaces a cable with silver and the result is harsh, then their old cables suck and they aren't hearing the harshness that is in their system.  Fixing a harshness problem in your electronics with bad cables (called by all kinds of affectionate euphemisms) is moving in the wrong direction.  

@bikeboy52 , I ran a .5 meter silver RCA cable from my Bluesound Node to the Sony TA-ZH1ES Line In. I ran a 1 meter silver RCA cable from the Sony TA Pre Out to my Marantz 7702 processor. I then used a 1 meter silver power cord to plug in the Sony TA. All silver cables were from the same brand. I will be adding a silver USB digital IC very soon. I also have a Paradigm streamer plugged into the Sony TA with an optical digital cable. This is also a headphone amp and I'll be using silver cables for my headphones too.

Intuitively, everybody’s experiences are going to be entirely bespoke, ergo, one-size does NOT fit all.

Influencing factors listed from the CARDAS website:





It is said, wire is just wire. In reality, a high-end audio cable must balance resistance, capacitance, inductance, conductance, velocity of propagation, RF radiation and absorption, mechanical resonance, strand interaction, high filtering, reflections, electrical resonance, dissipation factors, envelope delay, phase distortion, harmonic distortion, structural return loss, corrosion, cross-talk, bridge-tap and the interaction of these and a hundred other things. As a high-end cable manufacturer, Cardas Audio strives to address every detail of cable and conductor construction, no matter how small...”



I upgraded from an all NORDOST FREY loom (flat, many/multiple very thin and narrow gauge silver coated ferrules design ) to comparatively thick, round, and heavy all CARDAS CLEAR all Cu loom.(Cardas’ cable design incorporates, Golden Ratio, Constant Q, Cross-Field, pure copper Litz, conductor technology.)

- That annoying digital “edge” and “brightness” was finally gone, with no loss in detail, along with a noticeable step-up in dynamics, presence, and slam.

The changes were in steps ( not en mass) …ICs first, then power , and finally speaker cables. The audio improvements were incremental in lockstep.

- your experience(s) will be ENTIRELY system dependent… full stop. The NORDOST array for me was fine,,,, the CARDAS array for me was better I’m no techno nerd to pontificate the techno detail why.



I would not parse out the potential effects of changing ICs ( pros and cons) independently from the effects of your speaker cables and your power cables. Audio performance changes ( pro and con) is determined by the SUM of the parts in the system linkage from cradle-to-grave…

its ENTIRELY system dependent that can only be assessed by hands-on experimentation. Roll up your sleeves . It’s a journey and not a destination approach.

3rd party Anecdotal posts herein are all independent comments only to be cautioned as such, and especially without any assurance that your experience will be comparable .

Happy New Year and happy hunting.

@bikeboy52 I use AZ Absolute Copper between DAC / preamp and preamp /amp. Fantastic cables!
I have tried AZ Absolute Silver as well as AZ Silver Ref II in place of one of the Absolute Coppers and preferred Absolute Copper every time. I have also tried other similarly priced copper cables and the AZ couldn’t be beat.
In my opinion, to my ears and in my system the AZ power cords and speaker cables are the weakest in their cable line but their interconnects are outstanding.

I looked at your system and I see you’re using AZ Tsunami power cord. I find their power cables to sound dark (I owned latest Krakatoa and Gargantua recently and had the Tsunami a while ago). I would explore upgrading the power cables before swapping the AZ Absolute Coppers.

@audphile1 Thanks for taking the time. A number of members and I believe you may be one of them highly recommend the upper end AQ power cables. I decided this morning Id contact the Cable Company this week and inquire about a few loaners. I’ve bought from them a couple times.Maybe I,ll try one ? If I were do that what component would yield the most change? Right now that Az cable is on the power amp into the wall and theres a Cullen on the power conditioner. Theres a mish mash of aftermarket cords everywhere else. This situation reminds me of that old adage “ So many cables, so little money “ or it was something along those lines Thanks again to everyone that has responded.

@bikeboy52 yup. Ever since I put an AQ Hurricane on my Puritan PSM156 power conditioner I’ve become a huge fan. Next I bought an AQ Tornado for the amp (plugged into wall) that I just recently moved to my Bricasti DAC when I bought a Hurricane for the amp.

A word of caution with The Cable Company…if borrowing cables ask for the latest version. When I borrowed they sent me an older Hurricane (red jacket, braided). It does not sound as good as the latest Hurricane.
Your other option would be to buy from TMR with a return policy. They have used and open box deals. Once you try the Hurricane on your power conditioner I doubt it will be going back. 


Does your power conditioner use 15a or 20a cable? If 15, you can experiment between it and the amp. It’s really tough to say where it will make the most difference but what’s certain is it will be a significant improvement over the AZ Tsunami. You have a very nice system by the way. You should easily hear the benefits of a power cord upgrade. 

Here’s another option that has been well received by other members here and may save you $$$…

Forgot if you said you’re also looking for a USB cable, but they also make a very high-value USB cable that I actually do own…

@audphile1 Both the power conditioner and the power amp are 15 amp so that works good as you point out Thanks audiophile one!. @soix Soix I sent a question out to you yesterday but I tagged it wrong. When you decided to add a ddc was that decision make in chasing a specific SQ change or was it driven by the want to be connected via I2s? just knowing that is a superior connection? I know you said it was a game changer but was curious what the actual change was. And thx for the Lavricables tip, I know people have been speaking highly of them .

Wow! There are two cable threads running concurrently,probably close to fifty posts and not one cable basher has crashed the party. That’s gotta be some kind a record. New Year’s resolutions?

I use a Kimber KS 2120 AES/EBU digital cable to connect my Aqua La Scala DAC to my C.E.C. TL-5 CD transport, and am very happy with it. They are above your budget new, but perhaps in the ballpark used.

I have a very revealing system, but there is no hint of brightness or glare related to the silver.

There are lots of variables involved, every situation is different, and it’s also extremely subjective. We can offer opinions and insights on what’s worked in scenarios we’re familiar with, but you’re the only who’s really going to be able to find the final solution through some experimentation.

My only experience with solid silver is that it is indeed brighter sounding by way of somewhat more pronounced upper midrange and treble vs the copper cables I’ve tried. (I haven’t tried a silver coated copper yet) My solid silver cables can be either a blessing or a curse depending on what else is happening in the system. During Christmas my poor speakers get shoved unceremoniously into the corners, and the right speaker ends up behind the Christmas tree, and it audibly obscures output from that speaker in the upper regions. My solution this year was to literally use the solid silver on the right side between the DAC and preamp, and my usual copper cable on the left, and it balanced things out enough that I could at least live with it can make that much of a difference. Now that the tree is gone, I’m finding these solid silver cables are just a bit too much for my tastes, and have gone back to the copper.

There was an upside with the silver, but a little bright can go a long way sometimes was ultimately just a bit over the top for my tastes on this system. The good news is that a nicer set of upgraded copper cables are coming soon for between the amp and preamp...we’ve previously experimented with these and they offered a cleaner smoother sounding treble, which might just pave the way to get the solid silver back between the DAC and preamp....we shall see.

Best of luck on figuring out your sweet spot!


If you’d like to try some pure silver RCA analog interconnects, here is what I have gone to without breaking the bank. The wire is 18 ga single conductor solid silver, and in my experience is not bright, but has excellent transparency, detail, and ease.  Can be done for about $200 a set, if you can solder (I use Cardas solder). 

One set of AECO  gold plated copper RCA connectors:   

Enough 18 ga wire with “similar size semi-clear teflon jacket” ($6.98/ft) for four leads of the length you need (two leads per channel):

I just braid the leads loosely together with enough separation to reach connectors at the ends. 

Good luck!

When you decided to add a ddc was that decision make in chasing a specific SQ change or was it driven by the want to be connected via I2s?

It was purely to get to take advantage of my DAC’s i2S input.  Frankly, I went in kinda blind and not knowing what to expect, but the improvements were significant and immediately obvious.  

@bikeboy52 one more thought based on my personal experience…making vinyl and digital sound the same…do not chase that. Acknowledge the fact that the vinyl will most likely sound different. If you do get your vinyl and digital to sound the same, you will most likely be discouraged from playing records because why would you, with the associated maintenance and care plus inconvenience to get up and flip the record when you just barely relaxed and got the whole soundstage thing going, bother with vinyl if both types of media sounded equally good? Another aspect of trying to achieve the same level of performance from vinyl and digital is you’re going to end up neither here nor there unless you have more or less unlimited funds.
Just something to think about. I know the thoughts to focus one a single type of media/technology, in my case it’s the streaming, crosses my mind very frequently.

@bikeboy52 I'm both a DH Labs and Aurender dealer. I like the Mirage USB cable a lot for the money. I even purchased a Synergistic Research Galileo SX USB cable, as I do utilize the Galileo SX line for most of my loom. I could not tell the difference between the two, so I sold the Galileo SX USB cable off. That said, since the Pontus reclocks signal anyway, you may want to consider using a coax cable instead of USB. The origin clock inside the N200 is quite good, and reclocking it with the Pontus is likely even better. In my experience, Coax and AES have been my continued source interface, producing a thicker, more effortless sound, as I find USB to be more fragile and brittle with Aurender.

That said, for interconnects, the DH Labs Air Matrix Cryo interconnects are really quite good for the money. I prefer it over their more expensive pure silver Revelation and equate its performance to be close or equivalent to the $2K+ Synergistic Research Atmophere Level III cables. Cerious Technologies Graphene Matrix interconnects are also quite good and can be had for $700 or less on the used market. They retail for $1400, though. Any other cables I'd recommend go even higher than that. Both suggestions will be much more open and revealing than your Absolute Copper. I used a few of them early on in my journey and found them to be too rounded on the top and closed in / stuffy.

Another thought for cabling on digital - power might be even more important than the interconnect. The digital signal is incredibly delicate, and proper delivery of current without any peaks will result in a more revealing and more fatigue-free experience.

Last, the N200 is quite a good unit, and one of my favorites in the Aurender line, but it may not deliver the body of a $50K vinyl rig. I've compared the N200 to the N20 to the N30SA (all of which I've had on my floor at one time) and will say that the N200 gets you really far compared to most other streamers, the N20 gets you awfully close to reference level, and the N30SA at reference level is typically not worth it for 90+% of audiophiles. If I had never heard the N30SA, I would be quite happy with the N20. It takes some pretty serious critical listening to discern between the two. The difference is much more obvious when comparing the N200 to the N20.

Hope all of this is helpful.

Bliss Hifi

@audphile1 Thanks, very sage advice. I started streaming with a inexpensive Marantz unit. The idea being I,d stream while puttering around the house or was out in the backyard, well that was three streamers ago now and I almost never spin Vinyl cause Im gettin lazy. But the funny part is that I had a blood clot back in 2018 that almost took me out. Doctors advice for the rest if my life, “get up and move every 15or 20 minutes “ so not only do I prefer the sound of Vinyl, listening to it may let me enjoy it longer. Truth of the matter is too that my limited bankroll may make it pretty tough to achieve a vinyl like sound streaming anyway, thanks again Audphile1! @blisshifi and thanks, very interesting advice also.

Hello, I usually get these notifications via email so I’m behind on responses. I have used a lot of cables throughout my 30yrs of audio. I highly recommend you try silver cables in your system. Just because the cables are pure silver, you shouldn’t expect a certain type of sound as I’ve heard solid silver cables sound very different from each other. But in my experience, a well designed silver cable should give a very open sound with higher resolution. I personally use solid silver cables in 75% off my front end sources in the 3 systems I have setup. So the bottom line, try silver from a few different companies till you find the cable that sounds right in your system. There are some companies that sell very good inexpensive solid silver cables. I would try them instead of spending high prices for a cable you might not like. Do a search on forums to find pure solid silver cables. 

@soix , +1. I use AZ Silver Ref 2 throughout, and they are the most open, "natural", extended cables I’ve used thus far. I’d never thought a cable could seemingly widen the soundstage, but here we are. The AZ definitely do not have the stereotypical silver sound of "brightness". It’s all in the implementation. This is coming from a full loom DH Labs Revelation silvers, which are no slouch at all, but are comparatively constricted sounding only when in comparsion to the AZ Silver Ref 2.

The AZ Silv Ref 2 definitely match well coming from my Lumin T3, which is already smooth, relaxed (but plenty detailed)... In all honestly my digital rig is now 90-95% of my analog. Digital sources sound better, but analog sources (e.g. older LPs or Tone Poets) still sound better on my analog rig (Aidas Gala Gold -> Ovation -> AZ Silv Ref 2 -> Zestos Andros Deluxe 2). Anyway, these AZ Silver Ref 2 come up on sale now and then. I got mine WAY lower than MSRP, which is honestly more than I would ever pay for interconnects. My other DAC, RME-ADI2, which I use for general 2 channel / movies, fairs quite well with another set of silver cables, the Vogue Silver Strand silver RCAs, which accentuate detail without harshness, but are not in the same league as the AZ Ref 2.

@bikeboy52 sorry for not getting back to you sooner regarding a 100% silver digital cable. I was finally able to complete my setup and burn-in of a silver Reference Digital Cable, sounds good at all frequencies with no harshness, but I'm a firm believer that silver cables need 150 hours of break-in time. I believe a good OCC copper cable or a blend of OCC and silver (at least 5N) will also sound good.



I sent you a PM, yet I don’t recall if it included a head letter?, be certain to check your spam ( junk ) mail for it as well. As there’s a lot to be shared on said topic of getting the best from your digital sources | including the use of both pure silver | silver plated copper IC’s | PCs | isolation footers which I’ve love to share.


Until then.


Xangsane SP-9001Ag, pure silver conductors, I've made a thread about this cable. It really is amazing - not harsh or thin like bad silver cables can be.