Stereovox XV2 vs Zu Audio Ash MK II

I'm looking for a digital cable between my Blu-Ray player and Modwright Transporter.

Has anyone compare the Stereovox XV2 to the Zu Audio Ash MK II? I'm familiar with the Stereovox XV2 and think it's one of the best digital cables for the $$ but no experience with the Zu Ash.

The reason I'm interested in the Zu Ash is I'm very happy with my Zu Varial interconnects. It's a great match in my system and best many more expensive cables.

I've had both in my system for extended periods. The Stereovox is more transparent. The Zu is warmer, with fuller bass, and a broader soundstage. I'm now trying an LAT DI-30 and prefer it to both the Zu and the Stereovox.

Very interesting Zu is warmer than the Stereovox. From my experience Zu is very unforgiving, totally revealing and reason the Zu Varials are a good match for my all tube system.

I found some very interesting reviews on the Nirvana Transmission and Stealth Varidig ... any experience with them?

Thanks for your comments.
I have no experience with the Stereovox, but hopefully some of my findings below will help you:

I compared a Kharma Enigma 75 ohm Coax Digital ($3500) to a Kubala-Sosna Emotion 110 ohm AES/EBU ($1600) so some of my findings may be due to the differences in design.

The Kharma had a more forward midrange when compared to the Kubala, and the bass was not as robust as the Kubala. The Kharma's bass was a little leaner, when compared to the Kubala, however the bass was always tight. The treble on the kharma was a little zippier than the Kubala. The Kharma's low level resolution was slightly better than the Kubala, which surprised me since I felt the Kharma Cable was not as quiet as the Kubala. This finding probably had more to due with the slightly more forward midrange of the Kharma.

The Kubala was better balanced from top to bottom. The bass, midrange, or treble never stood out. The bass was full and tight, The midrange was luscious, and the treble was silky smooth. The Kubala also had a more laid back soundstage, behind the speakers. I also felt that the soundstage was slightly deeper and wider on the Kubala. I preferred the fuller bass of the Kubala, yet it was never bloated. The sound of the Kubala was also very musical and coherent. The Kubala had a quieter and blacker background, but some of this was probably due to the AES/EBU input.

I did find the Zu Ash very revealing, and very much to my liking, with tight bass, and well balanced from top to bottom, with no frequency range sticking out greater than the rest, it also had a slightly less quiet background than the Kubala that may explain the slight touch of grain or hash that I heard in the midrange that I was told would go away with continued listening, it also had a slightly smaller soundstage than the Kubala, but it was still very deep and wide. The imaging and focus was also very good. However, after I put the Kubala in my system I returned the Zu Ash, based on their 30 day return policy at the time.

Keep in mind that the Zu Ash is a $300 cable and the Kubala Emotion is a $1600 cable.

Incidentally, there is a Kharma Enigma Digital cable for sale here for around $1750, if my description sounds like a match for your system.

I don't know what your budget is, but I'm thinking that the Kubala may be too ripe in an all tube system, and the Zu Ash or the Kharma, would probably be a better choice.

I'll give you an analogy (hopefully you have some experience with the products that I'm describing). The Zu Ash is similar to the Benchmark DAC1; as the Kubala Emotion is similar to the Bel Canto DAC3.

I think that the Zu Ash would be a great match for an all tube system. I would have been happy keeping the Zu if the Kubala hadn't come along.

"I think you should go get yourself a nice piece of Ash."

At one time my entire system was cabled with Zu product. I used the Ash, Gedes and Libtecs. Now I use a different mix. My system is all SS, with the exception of a Modwright preamp.

The Stereovox has been the most transparent digital cable that I have tried. I just found it to be a little bit lean in the bass in my system. Otherwise, I could live with the other elements of its presentation. The Zu Ash is a very nice cable. It’s fairly balanced from top to bottom. It just doesn't give the micro-details that the Stereovox does.

I haven’t tried the cables you mention. I’ve tried the Zu Ash, Stereovox XV2, Voodoo Reference, DH Labs D-75, Canare Digiflex, and the LAT DI-30. So far, I prefer the LAT DI-30.

The LAT DI-30 has transparency closer to the Stereovox, than the others. It has a full, but not bloated, bottom end, a nice wide soundstage, and presents just a little "laid back". It’s also very smooth, lively, and musical. It’s my favorite cable so far.

I suspect to get the transparency of the Stereovox while retaining musicality; you’ll have to spend considerably more money.

I’d suggest an in-home trial of whatever cable you are considering. That's the only way to know for sure. Find a company that allows for returns, or use the Cable Company.

Alternately, you could buy a used cable here, and resell it if you don’t like it. Hopefully you could get most of your money back. I don’t know if Zu still offers a 60 day money back guarantee. If they do, perhaps you could pick one up and compare to your Stereovox. LAT offers a 45 day return period.


Your post is very informative and interesting ... Thank you.

I had a Benchmark DAC1 (with the PCX XLR mod) but not the Bel Canto ... your analogy is understood :-)

I've decided to go with ASI Liveline. Srajan tells me it's worth a try ... it replaced all the cables in his system ... so far he has not mislead me yet :-) This could POSSIBLY replace all the cables in my system too.
I had the Stereovox XV2 in my system for a while but I sold it and preferred the Acoustic Zen MC2 instead. Better extension from top to bottom. Would not work with a bright system in my experience however. It is lively and sparkling from top to bottom and has more presence in my experience. Not bad for $150 used on Agon.


Mooglie, I just discovered Stereovox has a XV2 replacement, the XV Ultra. Since I was happy with the XV2 and familiar with the sound, I plan to try to XV Ultra. As far as ASI Liveline, I'll try their spkr cable.

Kenobi, there are so many cables in the market and system dependencies ... there is only a best cable for ones system.

ASI Livelines are the best interconnects I've tried as well and have been a mainstay. Have not gotten around to trying it as a digital cable however but should be interesting.

Please chime in regardign their speaker cables once you have some experience.


Kenobi,Mooglie ...

On the Stereovox XV2 Ultra digital cable, I decided to get the Modwright mod for my Oppo BDP83 so canceled my order.

My local ASI dealer dropped off sets of spkr, power and ic cables for me to audition. I had to postpone the audition due to home remodeling until now.

Overall I found the ASI Liveline cables to be excellent ... sound is clean, focus, not fuzzy and open.

Compare to my Synergistic Apex speaker cable, I found the Apex has more body, ambiance, bass ... more natural sounding ... I prefer my SR. On the power cord, compare to my ESP Reference the ASI was clearer but seems to limit current. Music flow more at ease and more information with the ESP.

I could easily live with either but the differences are not worth changing in my system.

XLR connections in my system are much superior to RCA and the dealer only has RCA ICs so comparison was tough. Overall I prefer my Zu Varial XLR to the ASI Liveline RCA in my system BUT (big BUT) I could tell that the ASI are superior. The ASI was less congested, cleaner, less fuzzy ... I would like to audition a XLR ASI Liveline in the future and possibly replace my Varials.
Haven't heard the Zu, but have Zu Varials. In my system I tried Cardas Neutral Ref, the Stereovox VX2, Signalcable silver resolution and i2 digital X-60 (Chris Sommovigo, the guy behind the Stereovox) and I preferred the Cardas. YMMV