Transparent MM2

Anyone had a chance to check out the newest version of Transparent cable (MM2) ?
If you are in Scottsdale, AZ Feb 22nd this Friday, Transparent Audio will be demonstrating a direct comparison between MM and MM2 in the excellent store Esoteric Audio from noon till 6pm.
I have a pair of the Ultra Musicwave MM2 and some Super Musiclink MM2 interconnects. Its my first real investment in cable and it sounds great.
I had no idea about the MM2 until my dealer sent out a note to his customers about Transparent coming out to demonstrate the difference.

So the setup used was Wilson Sophia 2, Rowland 250 monoblocks Ayre Preamp and Ayre CD player, Transparent Power conditioner (lowest model).

We listened to some music with all Ultra with MM technology (Speaker cable, and two balanced runs), and then he switched out the Ultra MM with Ultra MM2 for all cables and we listened again.

Wow, the noise floor dropped so much I heard the artist wrap his knuckles on the body of the acoustic guitar and I didn't hear that at all with the Ultra mm before.
But what was amazing is how the grain (which I didn't notice before until I heard the newer version) in vocals disappeared and also developed more air around the performer (something that my higher end Reference Level cables did way better than Ultra) you hear him change sides on the microphone while singing. I was stunned by the upgrade especially for the lower level Transparent.

I thought the original from XL to MM technology made the transparent cables more natural versus the dynamic. That was a pretty huge jump in musicality, where ultra with MM was now basically better than Reference with XL cabling. I wouldn't say this is huge leap in that way but more of a refinement...

I can't wait to hear the improvements to Reference with MM cables which I want to upgrade to next.
Less than 30 days ago I bought transparent The Link MM version. I saw that they came out with the MM2 and was lucky enough to trade in the originals for the MM2s at no additional costs. While I was never able to do an A to B comparision I do think I can tell a difference even though the new cables are not yet "broken in".
I recently went to an event with a Transparent demonstration. They not only sent out sales people but engineers as well. I was really impressed with their presentation. They claim that the new MM2 is like moving 1.5 steps up which is beleivable, but again without an A to B comparision its impossible to tell.
On the other hand I would not go out and replace MM1 with MM2 cables of the same type. I would think that money would be better spent on some other equipment.
i have just completed an audition of the ultra MM2 IC in my system [baseline cables: all ref mm1 SC and ics, latest xl pc's] . an a/b/c/d comparison in the source to preamp position against the following TA mm1 ICs: ultra, ref, and refXL. i will post an extensive review in the review section of this site by next week. the audition process was as thorough as my previous review of 2 preamps: vtl 6.5 vs arc ref 3 on this site [posted in 07] . cheers.
Soundisntmusic, I really look forward to your review. I am partly excited about the potential of MM2 technology and partly annoyed that my less than one year old Ref XL cables "need" a $10,000 update to stay current.

I am so far inclined to take Tmcginn's advice and invest in other equipment.
Unless your review convinces me to try and get my hands on some Ref XL/MM2 cables to audition which has been difficult as yet.

Thanks in advance for your effort.
khrys: unfortunately, i was unable to get my hands on a high end TA IC with mm2 to audition (such as TA ref+mm2, ref XL +mm2) . my review is based upon comparing the new mm2 technology on an ultra IC in an a/b/c/d of ic's with orig mm tech of ultra, ref, and ref xl (which you have) . i hope it will be enlightening nonetheless. that said, in about 2 weeks i should be able to review thouroughly TA ref mm2 against the ref XL (orig mm) and possibly the TA refMM (orig tech) if i dare borrow one from my wonderful dealer.

why, you may ask, do i need to wait about 2 weeks to audition the ref mm2? because that is about the time my ref cables will be back from TA with the mm2. did i just let the cat out of the bag? the mm2 tech pushed most all aspects of the ultra's sound presentation above the ref level. the mm2 tech moved the ultra into the sound presentaiton of the ref XL, where it has never been. (btw, IMO the ref+mm orig was never in the sound world of the ref XL+mm orig in terms of nuance, timbral detail, micro dynamics, transient clarity etc. in most respects, the ref has been the big brother of the ultra, not the little brother of the ref xl.) with the mm2 tech, in most aspects, the ultra mm2 sounds as if is the ref XL's (orig mm) little brother, so to speak. now dont jump on me. there are a few aspects of the ultra mm2 that did not leap upward to the next level... stay tuned for the details.

during my audition, i have attempted to evaluate several aspects of sound presentation (across a diverse range of classical music ) whose sole purpose ultimately is to reveal the performers' most personal communication of their musical experience while bringing a score to life.... interpretation. of course, audiogoners want concrete details, so i specifically noted comparisons of the physical aspects of sound presentation (transient speed, decay, timbral nuance, mirco dynamics) which musicians discuss in terms of articulation, release, tone color, intensity, dynamic modulations.. all at the service of phrasing etc. . LOL

IF ref+mm(orig) and refXL+mm(orig) enjoy a similar or nearly similar metamorphosis with the MM2 tech in most aspecs for which we listen as a complete musical experience, ,well, that will be most outstanding! this is something i cannot comment upon at this time as i have no ref XL+mm2 to audition. i would conject (always dangerous) that the higher up you go in terms of cable quality, the less substantial the improvements may be realized. cheers, marc
Thanks Soundisntmusic for the update.

I happen to have all UtlraMM in my system I really could not afford to upgrade to the Ref. Now I may be able to swing the upcharge to upgrade to MM2 though. It won't be cheap, but a lot less then upgrading to Ref
no_money : the ultraMM2 is a significant improvement above the ultra mm1 in many areas. i do not think you have to jump to TA ref to achieve significant improvement. i think you will hear a nice quality change even if you start by upgrading only the cdp/preamp IC to the mm2 tech. perhaps the nearby dealer has an ultra mm2 you can borrow for a day or 2 to audition? this is always the best way to finalize a decision... in your own system with your own ears.

I have a great dealer located locally. I started YEARS ago with music link and gradually used their upgrade program to end up with the Ultra I have now.

I am still waiting for the details on what the upgrades will cost. I would really like to upgrade the Balanced line from the Pre to the amp first although your option of the CD to pre will be the most tempting/cost efficient.

My latest endeaver has been some Shunyata DFE's
hi no money : the easiest solution : - borrow from your dealer both the bal ultra mm2 and the se ultra mm2 (the MF doesnt have a xlr option? many components that do often perform much better in bal mode, but it really depends on how the cdp was designed. this is all beyond my tech knowledge, i always decide by listening) .

i think the commonly accepted rule is that the IC from the source should be the highest quality cable, then the SC, lastly the pre to amp in terms of impact on the quality of the presentation IF you upgrade in phases. sometimes SC may impact more than the source IC, but this all depends on the system as a whole, synergy issues, and of course which components + PCs are the weakest or strongest link in the system.also, many have concluded that well matched component specific PCs have an equal if not greater part to play than ICs. audition widely and intelligently over several days or longer. never go on a 2 day impression. // i think the upgrade of the ultra mm to mm2 is not inexpensive, but still less than the cost of a ref mm1 and the ultra+mm2 excedes the ref mm1 in many important areas. i think it all depends on the capability of your system to benefit from the higher level of presentation.
unfortunately the MF player is not balanced.

I might just start with the IC to ease into it. :)
i have to toss in the proverbial monkey wrench. for future consideration, you may want to consider changing your cdp to, for example, an used ayre c5se. the cost is more than the a single IC upgrade but may net you much more in terms of overall presentation with your present cables. it may be worth waiting for the $ for this type of system upgrade. although there will be a jump of clarity with the mm2, the details of the music will still be limited to what the MF cdp can read and present. the ayre c5se is in another league and will surely offer more of what is recorded on the cd... and with much more musical engagement IMO.
Yea, I have to figure out my budget/priority for upgrading. My dealer caries Ayre so that is a possibilty. The major problem is I do not have a dedictaed listening room. There is a 50" Sony SXRD sitting on a stand so getting a flat panel up on the wall and some curtains to cover it while listening has to be considered as well. I have RPG panels on the back wall right now.

How do you like your Wilsons? The system that my salesman demoed the DFE's on was REF3, REFcd7, REF110 and Wilsons all wired with Transparent Opus..... Talk about DYNAMIC!
i love the w/p8s and happy to learn that with each carefully chosen upgrade, they present more of the "live/tactile" experience with greater nuance, overall transparency, and dynamicism.

when all the componets were set, which is less than a year now, my starter cables were all TA ultra mm1. after about 3 months of acclimating to the new system and run in, i noticed a small crossover issue and a tendency to have an mildly bright top end with some performers who i know to have a somewhat aggresssively lean upper end live (sandor vegh of the vegh quartet, some london and russian symphony orchestras, many soprano divas who choose to sing arias a bit beyond their top end comfort zone.) However, with recent cable upgrade auditions, that has largely disappeared. i still have some PCs to incorporate after the new TA ref mm2 cables arrive and are run in. with the small experience i have gathered from PC auditioning, the tweeter issue, minor now, should disappear. and there are tube rolling possibilities in my vtl preamp to explore. overall, i view speakers less independently, more as part of the whole system to work cohesively. suprisingly, the crossover issue was less pronounced with higher model cables, though i dont understand why.

i have heard the w/p8s with an all arc system too, but not with TA opus, which in the system you describe is really overkill. no doubt the system would be highly dynamic, though a bit sluggish and spread at the bottom. the ref110 is not the strongest choice for w/p8s. better for the superb sophia2's or much more sensitive speakers on the whole. thanks for your dialog. cheers.
see the transparent audio web site. i think there is a dealer locator or you can email them.
i have posted a review on this site of the MM2 tech on an audition of a pair of Ultra mm2 ICs btwn my cdp and preamp. in the audtion process, i compare the Ultra mm2 against 3 other mm1 transparent audio cables: Ultra, Ref, Ref XL (mm1 tech, not xl tech).
I can't say how much I hate these cables, basically because they are quite expensive and I can't seem to live without them.

Articulate reviews like Marc's don't help.

However, $300 bucks from the Feds will get me back in this game, pronto.
Well I finally was able to compare my TA XLMM ICs and SC with the new updated MM2 versions and boy was it ever worth the wait:

-the new MM2 version is superior to the old MM version in every way:
-I cannot imagine anyone preferring the old MM sound to the new MM2.

The only problem is that while I was waiting for the MM2s to arrive, I heard some cables that sounded better that my original TA MMs. Way better.

And to add insult to injury, they sounded better than the new MM2s.
And they all only cost half the price of the MM-MM2 upgrade!

So instead of upgrading the TAs, I sold them and bought the new preferable cables and a lot of music.

I cannot thank Transparent Audio enough for sending me that fateful email informing me of how lucky I was that my $60,000 cables, barely 7 months old, "needed" only a $10,000 update to stay current.

Rarely, if ever, has the difference between largesse and greed been more apparent.
Or should I say, "Transparent".
Anyone auditioning at the local retail shop?
Which dealers have these cables in their demo rooms?
The new cables are the Kimber Select hybrid silver/copper models: specifically KS 3035 SC, KS 1021, KS 1121 and KS 1030 (ok one all Ag) ICs in various configurations, all terminated with the latest WBT spades or XLR.

The all copper or all silver versions each have their allure but not the remarkable balance of detail and timbre afforded by the hybrids.

Don't get me wrong: TA XL MM2 cables are incomparable in every sense of the word.

Except "preferable"
i've sent my Transparent Audio Opus MM 12' speaker cables and Opus MM 1.5m RCA interconnects to Transparent for upgrade to MM2. i should have them back late next week.
Mikelavigne, I much admire your system and taste. But when was the last time you made a purchase at your level without comparing it with your current reference concomitantly in real time in your own system?

Will you be relying on auditory memory to assess your new TA MM2s vs your old MM1s? Seems like that's the only way TA will allow it for home trial.

And that's brilliant marketing. Especially since the schmo who buys the Opus MM2 at the same price you paid for your now obsolete Opus MM merely devalues the resale value of your cables to the point that you really have no choice but to "upgrade".

Unless you want off the bandwagon and actually want to start listening critically again rather than merely servicing your investment.

With all due respect "upgrading" seems like the anthiesis of what the high end is all about.

To wit: the MM2s are better that any MM1. But they are a preordained succession.

I'll take my chances with a coup d'etat here and there.

The sad truth is that I prefer the sound of the less than half-cost Kimbers.

And can only hope that enough keepers of the faith will be able to purchase my cast-offs so that they too can know the security of a "no-brainer" upgrade and scoff at my foolishness.

i have done frequent comparisons with other cables over the years; i have 3 sets of Valhalla interconnects in my system for a 'control' on the Opus interconnects to judge what the MM2 does to alter that equation. i don't have a similar 'control for the Opus speaker cable upgrade; and will have to 'wing it' there. i am under no delusions as to what is possible in terms of audio memory.

in all my cable comparisons over the years.....i've yet to encounter it's equal.

my long term agenda here is actually to compare the Opus MM2 upgrade to Nordost Odin. i have heard the Odin twice at shows compared to the Valhalla and i was very very impressed. if there is a cable that can un-seat the Opus in my system i suspect it is the Odin. the only way i can actually do that comparison is to do the upgrade. i know it's not the most sensible dollars i can spend but i'm committed to having the best cables.

i can say that i sold my second set of Opus MM speaker cables last year for more than i paid for them 7 years prior. so i'm not afraid of investing in Transparent's best.

regarding your veiwpoint on the Kimbers verses your previous Transparent; i respect how you feel. who knows how the Opus MM2 would compare? my experience in the past with Kimber cables was that they did not perform in the realm of the Opus.....but that was a few years back and i cannot remember the model (it was top of the Kimber line at the time). i have heard many very good relatively sanely priced cables that do perform well. so far i've preferred the Valhalla to any others let alone the Opus.


I agree with your findings. I have also upgraded to MM2 and was looking to replace Valhalla. I have tested Odin together with my own setup.(check my setup, you will see the pics.) Odin is perfectly matched with transparents, than I tried Stealth indra and was not satisfied with it. Now I connected Valhallas back. However, Odin can be good interconnect but has to be priced around 8000usd-10000usd. 16000usd worth investment for a cable is no logical way.
Mikelavigne, your well considered response makes TA's upgrade program seem more compelling, especially if I can actually sell my XLMM cables for anything approximating a profit and not the free-falling price bloodbath that usually accompanies a product once its pre-ordained superior replacement is released with no cost increase.

Knowing the timeline for MM3's release will surely help optimize the MM2's resale value. Too bad I bought at the end of MM1' s turnip-wrenching potential.

Not that I mean to rag on TA cables. They are the finest full range cables I have heard.

Except in speakers where multiple optimally ranged cables can be mated with the speaker's individually configurable crossovers to avoid the homogenization that potentially results from investment protection.

Biwiring may soon be Constitutionally prohibited in some states.
It's time to move on.
Biwiring may soon be Constitutionally prohibited in some states.

yes, for a couple of years i did bi-wire with Opus......and maybe i'm responsible for this new state Constitutional Amendment.

the evidance

my second set of (12') Opus speaker cable i did purchase only 3 years ago; my dealer did give me a (relatively) good buy on but were i to sell it i don't expect to break even but who knows. i did buy my Opus 1.5m RCA interconnects used and likely could sell them at break even.

the Valhalla i have sold i got at least 90% of my original investment on.

i'm not a flavor of the month guy; and these cables have served me well in terms of overall value. i accept that there will ultimately be a net cost. Transparent and Nordost don't change their cables every couple of years; their customers typically get their investments protected as well as any expensive cables on the market.

the MM family of Transparent cables began in 2000; MM2 started this year (2008). i'd say Transparent has been reasonable in it's frequency of suggesting MM3 is around the corner is not really fair.

i'm not saying their cables have sensible list prices or that one can make a real-world case for owning Transparent.....but thats true for lots of esoteric products of many types. you buy it because you like it enough and you can afford it.

opinions on performance are of course a separate issue.
for those of us with relatively more "modest" budgets than those above who are fortunate enough to live with TA opus and similar top notch cables, the upgrade to the mm2 in the mid-range models such as ultra and reference is an outstanding upgrade. i have now lived with my ref mm2 SC and IC for beyond the 200 initial break in period. IMO the mm2 offers great value in the quality of presentation within each price range. I have not auditioned every SC and IC out there, but of those i have heard in my system, the mm2 tech cables brings a level of performance that is significantly above the competition in many areas at the origninal mm tech pricerange. caveate: system synergy is always a major consideration. cheers.
" in all my cable comparisons over the years.....i've yet to encounter it's equal"

Did you read the review on silent source musical reference reference retailing for less that 20% Transparent Opus and reviewer indicates that it is better than Transparent Opus. Wondering how accurate that assessment is?
By the way, how is the performance of the upgraded Opus MM2 ? Am considering upgrading my Opus as well except it is pricey. So adopting a wait and see attitude. Happy listening. TQ

i had not seen that 'Silent Source' review before, thanks for the info. i read it last night. i know Mike Malinowski, he is a class act and very credible to me. he has the darTZeel and the Tenor....both stuff i know.

as Mike mentions, system synergy can be very signifiicant, also, Mike has not done the upgrade on his Opus.

anyway, we will see how the MM2 sounds after break-in.
Mikelavigne, that your Opus and Valhalla cables have not suffered embarrassingly relevant depreciation at resale is certainly a testimony to their inherent value but gives me scant reassurance that I will be so lucky now that my XLMM1s are "obsolete".

My sour grape to crush is that I was unwittingly sold $60k of XLMM1 (and some RefMM1) without ever being informed of the imminent arrival of the same cost MM2 technology.

The breathlessly cheery email I got from TA a mere 7 months later "congratulating" me that for another $10k I could "upgrade" my newly rendered has-beens to the MM2 version did not have the effect on me I suppose they had hoped for:

The difficulty of concomitantly evaluating MM1 vs MM2 at the XL, MM and Opus levels in real time seems calculated.

Mostly what I am seeing is that people send in their old TA cables for "upgrading" and like the new version better. At these prices, what if you were wrong? Perfect aural memory doesn't come cheap.

WoW. Critical listening redefined.

And who are these 'Silent Source' spoil sports, anyway?

i don't blame you for feeling like you are holding the bag. i purchased the set of Opus speaker cables i am upgrading 3 years ago.....i have been a very good customer of this dealer for 14 years (in the 6 figure range....although i don't do the business with them i once did) and i did get a very good deal. so i'm kinda ok with the upgrade timing.....7 years since MM1 was introduced.

i assume you have spoken to your Transparent dealer about possibly giving you a large break on the price of the upgrade in consideration of your recent 'investment' and then 'surprise' upgrade. i think you will have some traction with them depending on how much of a discount/trade-in etc. on the XLMM1 cables you purchased.

most dealers who might carry Transparent are considerate of customer relationships. good luck with that.

regarding the 'Silent Source'; it will be interesting to see what Mike Malinowski does in the long run. i'm not doubting his sincereity; only the likely 'staying' power of the 'Silent Source' in his system. sometimes we like something new only to discover it's just different and we miss what we had.

anyway, it's only some damn wire we are talking about.

I have not spoken directly with my Transparent dealer about giving me a large break on any price consideration because my reputation and obvious full price first buy purchase capability with a new vendor should have established me as a worthy client instead of a sucker.

I won't make that mistake again. Ever.

I've since re-cabled the entire system with something significantly more preferable but significantly less costly.

And it will be hard for me to sucker some impressionable 'goner into paying
more than 5-6 x the price "some damn wire" might otherwise command since it happened to me.
The Ultra MM2 speaker cable is pretty darn good. I can only imagine what the reference is like. The lack of grain moving from MM1 Super was laugh-out-loud shocking...and much better dynamics. Much, MUCH better than the MM1s.
Just curious: are the TA Ref series or Ultra series are made of same cable from the point of copper material or cable construction? What make them different are just the networks? So except for the networks, Ref=Ref xl=Ref MM=Ref MM2=Opus MM2.....?