Ayre C-5xe to Kii 3 speakers using AES

I am in the process of getting an Ayre C-5xe and want to hook it up to my Kii 3 speakers. To do so I need a 1.5m AES/EBU cable Preferably used and under $650. I chose 1.5M because I read that digital cables work better if they are 1.5M or longer. I have no information to dispute this so I’m stuck with it. As for choice I see a plethora of options and am overwhelmed. Kimber Kable Illuminations Orchid has an amazing review, also AudioQuest Diamond and Vodka have been suggested. Then there are such names as Cardas Clear, DH Labs D_110AES/EBU Silver Reference or Silver sonic, Acoustic Zen MC2 Absolute 110 Ohms and Acoustic Zen without the Absolute, perhaps one is Silver and one Copper. I would like to have some idea of where these cables fall on a scale of Good, Better and Best. Also should I stick to the 1.5M rule or not because 1M will be long enough to do the job.

Please tell me your favorites and why.

Thanks for your help.





DH Labs is as expensive as I would go with AES.  Very high quality construction and reasonably priced.

I switched from a budget but we’ll-regarded digital cable (Apogee Wyde Eye) that I was happy with and actually preferred to the Stereovox XV2 that was the descendant of the acclaimed Kimber D60 as they both came from the wonderful mind of Chris Sommovigo, RIP. Last year I got the itch, and since I already had Acoustic Zen interconnects and speaker cables and am thrilled with them that was the first place I looked for a potential digital cable upgrade. After reading glowing review after glowing review of the MC2 my decision was made and I pulled the trigger on a 1m cable (1.5m was out of budget) and SO glad I did. I went in expecting improvements but nothing like the substantial and across-the-board improvements I got. The soundstage expanded markedly in all directions and images were more solid and fleshed out while presenting excellent treble detail in a very natural and balanced way. Everything was significantly better with no downside whatsoever and made me wish I made this upgrade much sooner. In fact, this might be the largest benefit I’ve gotten by replacing any other cable in my system, which I totally did not see coming — “gobsmacked” is the word that captures it best. I haven’t heard any of your other contenders so unfortunately can’t help there, but I can’t recommend the MC2 more highly. Hope this helps, and best of luck in your search.

Personally, if it’s a new system, I would start with Mogami or some other pro cable and listen for a few months. Because when you get a me component you don’t know if it’s the unit, the cable or something else. So buy some Mogami cables, sort everything out for a few months and then try a cable upgrade. My experience is sometimes cables make a startling improvement and sometimes nothing. 

I have another question that's been puzzling me. I need an XLR interconnect pair around 4.5 meters long and I can do this by connecting two Cardas Neutral Reference cables togaeher or buy a pair of Kimber Hero cables. Which will give me the best sound. I have never heard the Hero’s but they are in my price range if I buy used. The Cardas I have had for years, so which do I pick?

@casso did you try connecting the Cardas?  It never occurred to me before, but they must join XLR cables like this all the time in the pro audio world. Good reason they have locking connectors!

@erik_squires the DH Labs D-110 is a good budget option for sure.

I used to swear by the good old Apogee too, but now I'm into Cardas Parsec for almost everything.