AudioQuest vs Cardas XLR

Hello all,

Looking to upgrade my interconnects from my McIntosh C2700 to MC611 monoblocks. I am very interested in AQ Tbirds or Firebirds vs. Cardas Clear Beyond XLRs. I want an end-game cable and would appreciate some feedback. I'm open to any additional suggestions. I do enjoy the prodigious bass/midbass and the smooth midrange that the combo provides. It's a little light on top, though (as McIntosh is). I think Cardas and AQ will preserve my wishes, but is there anything out there that will keep my midrange/mid-bass/bass and improve upon the highs? I think I may be asking for too much, though! I would be very grateful for some direction. 


@lollipopguild I noticed in an earlier comment you remarked on their burn-in. Can I ask how they are likely to change?  

They relax and settle in after they've been uncoiled out of the box, rested in place plugged in, and there is a form of discharging affect that occurs as part of the dielectric itself, and won't go into the wire-usage aspects. A few things happen, change does occur.  It's been posted many-many times on Agon. Sometimes we feel like a broken record on this topic...  

As @ghdprentice mentioned, I'm from the same camp of giving them 21-30 days, no joke.  You'll hear it smooth out, more depth, mild texture comes in, and  oddly enough becomes more engaging to listen to.  More on the Cardas site. Enjoy.  

@lollipopguild any change with more time?


I find the Cygnus to be a little more revealing than my older series Cardas or other pairs of Clear Reflection (hybrid of old/new designs). With Cygnus, fyi, my source, preamp, and amps have to be fully warmed up a few hours b4 the edge goes away and Cygnus do their best. The 4-wire design of Cygnus does reveal what’s there with any source or recording. Cygnus is not as colored or bloomy or veiled over as some other regular copper basic wire cables can be, imo.

Thanks for following up, @decooney .

I haven't observed much change in character with burn-in - and it's had a lot.  Female voices, in particular, seem to suffer a hardness, and sibilance is very noticeable.

I've actually found a set of Golden Cross XLR second-hand, so will compare them.  I might also try Purist Audio Designs.  I do think I need something with a little warmth to it, and though the Cygnus is a great cable it's a little too analytical for my system.

@lollipopguild "I’ve actually found a set of Golden Cross XLR second-hand.."

I was a GC diehard for a few decades, probably the absolute most lush cable Cardas ever sold. That is the other end of the spectrum. Later came Clear lines. GC was also one of the most complex and labor intensive to make too. All three of my GC pairs went to Pass Labs owners with certain amps and speaker combos that were "too bright" in their words. Sibilance can also start at the source, AC power, DAC, etc.

Once I moved to better DACs, power supply, and a good 6SN7 tube preamp, parted with all three pairs of Golden Cross to the next happy owners. You’ll have no problem reselling the GCs later if you choose to down the road. Should be a good comparison for you. IF GCs are not extra lush, something else going on there.