Now I know what they mean by a bright cable.

Have an Integra Research RDC-7 pre amp with balanced outputs. When I first got it I used Better Cables XLR balanced for my front two channels and it sounded great. However I fell in love with a DH Labs Air Matrix ad and swapped them out. Long story short the DH Labs in my system is so bright, the music sounds unnatural and definetly causes listerner fatigue. I swapped back the better cables and the difference is unmistakeable. Perhaps the DH Labs might be good on tube equipment but wow it sounded like nails on a blackboard on mine. What causes a cable to sound so bright? Is is silver vs copper?
Of the 3 or 4 silver coated copper ICS I have heard, every one of them sounded tipped up and just musically wrong on the top.

Silver by itself doesnt sound like this, but every pure silver cable I have tried to date has unique problems in the midrange.

I stick with copper.
A brighter, more revealing cable is never a good match with a brighter, more revealing component. This is not to say that your Integra is "bright", only that one needs to pay attention when matching cables and components. One can typically tame most brightness in a cable by "burning" the cable on a decent "cable burner". The brightness and other fatiguing qualities are drastically diminished. You are left with the ability to transfer more detail in a much smoother and more pleasing manner. Sean

PS... Yes, some cables are "ear bleeders"...
I have DH Labs speaker cable and am very happy.

How much time did the Air Matrix have (playing time) in your system, prior to removing it?

With the DH speaker cable, I noticed a significant change as they broke in.
Darryl; You just got good lessons in: 1. listening skills, and 2. system synergy-- congratulations!-- been there myself;>) Cheers. Craig
Most Silver wire cables need quite a long break in to sound as intended.
Put the cables in play mode on CD Player continuos for 2-4 weeks, then listen.
I am sure they will sound better.
But,in the end each System is different and the cable may end up being too "bright" with your equipment.
Again, give it time to break in before deciding.
I actually used them for about 2/3 months. They actually did not sound as bright before proper break in time. I mistakenly never suspected the cable as I was also playing around with power chords and conditioners. I really thought it was my TicePower Block causing the brightness. In my mind I guess I was not believing a 200.00 cable could sound worse than a 100.00 cable. But with the Air Matrix on my system all the highs sounded "mechanical" And the other day I bought the Eagles DVD Audio, played the 2 chanel mix and almost had to run from the room. Now Im sure different systems might benefit from the Air Matrix, I would guess a tube based system where the highs might be a little less detailed. By the way my speakers are Legacy Signature III's and my speaker cables are Kimber double bi wired 4tcs...Regads.
There must be something else wrong. It can't be the cables assuming they are burned in.
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Viggen, why do you think that "it can't be the cable" ? He mentions no other simultaneous changes being made.

Darryl stated that this problem only occurs when this cable is in the system. As such, it might not be the cable itself, but is the reaction that the devices loading into it and receiving the signal have to it being placed within the system. Nothing unusual about that in my experience. Put those cables into another system and you might get opposite results.

I've had people send me cables for burning. They complained that they were soooo bright in their system that it made their ears bleed. In one specific situation,i hooked them into one of my systems before burning. Personally, i found them quite dull and veiled in that system. Obviously, this makes it pretty hard to compare notes.

Having gone through this in similar situations and when mixing / matching components, i worry more about system synergy than anything else. Trying to do the "this cable goes here, that goes there" routine or "Brand X is best, Brand Y works okay and Brand Z is horrible" has taught me a few things. Sometimes the results just aren't what you expect, regardless of brand or price. That's why i typically try cables in several different systems before i pass judgment. It gives me a better idea of what to expect overall. Sean
Hi Sean,

You're probably right regarding the impedance matching of cables and components.

However, this seems to be a simple case of the user having to get used to a more revealing audio cable. The DH is, to me, more revealing than Bettercable, and it is, perhaps, revealing the weaknesses in his system. The brightness is, perhaps, inherent in his system, which he is masking by using the lesser quality cable, or, should I euphemistically say, the warmer cable.

Furthermore, it doesn't seem that Daryl has plugged in the DH lab cable for more than a few minutes. Unless he bought it used, the cable doesn't seem to be burned in. However, even used cables needs to be burned in for at least a few hrs in my experience. But, he didn't state any information on this issue, so it's all assumptions.

For these reasons, I doubt the cable is the culprit.
In what sense did you fall in love with these cables if they sounded so horrible in your system?
I had the same problem. Was using the Air Matrix when I changed CD players (went from Cary 303/200 to MF Nu-Vista 3DCD). The Air Matrix were well-burned in and were still somewhat bright when I used them with the Cary. But, my ears were aching after I used 'em with the MF. I initially attributed it to necessary break-in on the MF, but the brightness remained. I then switched to a pair of Transparent Links (for connections to CD and amp) and the brightness was gone. I've tried other ICs in the system which are not silver over copper and there's no brightness.

I think system synergy is extremely important, as my experience shows. Interesting side note ... my tape deck (Nakamichi DR-8) was sounding a bit dull so I used the Air Matrix on the tape deck. WOW! Tape never sounded so good - great detail and palpable bottom end. You really DO have to experiment with ICs to get the sound that's right for your ears.
started with Straight Wire and Audio Researh litz link

tried silver audio Hyancinth
very revealing but they sounded bleached on the high end
grating on my ears

then Harmonic Technology Pro Silway II - very neutral cable but a little less revealing, tonally there (most important) but just not nearly as revealing.

thought I was getting close
then I loaned out some equipment and ouch

found out my preamp was the culprit
Audio Research LS2mkII
upgraded to AR LS5
no more grating sound and so much more involving

now I am looking for the next cable to
enhance and take advantage of the resolution of the new preamp

currently demoing
Acoustic Zen - matrix reference - very nice and neutral
Straight Wire Crescendo - very musically engaging
any other suggestions???

they both work well in my system