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Review: Mark 2 Sennheiser Silver Dream Headphone Upgrade Cable

Posted by Amine Slimani on May 16, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Preamble:

 

About 2 months ago, Alister from Artisan Silver Cables contacted me tosee if I were interested in reviewing their new headphone upgrade cables forthe Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650. I accepted his proposition with greatpleasure as I was curious to see how the Mark 2 cable compared to the Mark 1that I had been using for the past few months.

 

The Mark 1 Silver Dream cable replaced the Moon Audio Blue Dragon I hadused for more than a year. While I was pretty happy with the improvement theBlue Dragon brought upon the stock cable, I felt that it was too smoothsounding and I was looking for a Silver cable that would finally “open up” theHD-650. I hesitated between a few different silver cables but I finally settledon the Silver Dream cable because it used mainly an air dielectric and wasrelatively affordable compared to the other silver cables.

Later on, rosgr63 was kind enough to loan me his Stefan AudioArt EquinoxCable for a few weeks. The Equinox is considered by many as a reference cable.So to my surprise, I found that Mark1 beat it on every category: it was moretransparent and smoother at the same time. It had a deeper and more articulatedbass; it had a smoother sound and a much bigger soundstage.

For more details, I have already written 2 detailed reviews about theMark1 cable here (http://new.head-fi.org/forum/thread/454063/review-artisan-cables-ultimate-silver-dream-interconnects-and-silver-dream-sennheiser-headphone-upgrade-cable)and here (http://new.head-fi.org/forum/thread/472565/comparison-of-headphone-cable-upgrades-for-the-sennheiser-hd-650-artisan-cable-silver-dream-vs-stefan-audioart-equinox).

Also, if you want to have a “baseline” of how my system sounds, youmight be interested in reading the following review (see here: http://new.head-fi.org/forum/thread/483899/review-of-the-audio-gd-dac19dsp-c2-amp-the-acss-connection)during which I alternated between the Mark1 and Mark2 cable.

 

So why did Artisan Silver Cables discontinue such a good cable? Asexcellent sounding as the Mark 1 cable was, it had one major flaw. Because, itused the same simple construction as their interconnects and speaker cables(solid core silver conductors loosely fitted in Teflon jackets), the Mark 1 wasa very fragile cable and wasn’t suited for the more demanding headphoneapplication. Alister told me that they discontinued the Mark 1 cable when theyhad a few failures being reported. So they had to go back to the drawing boardand come up with something new.

I suspect that the main reason the Mark 1 sounded so good is because it usedmainly air dielectric but in order to strengthen the cable they had to useKevlar reinforcement (like Moon Audio). The first prototypes Alister madeweren’t convincing and it took him a few months before he came up with his Mark2 cable.

 

That is why I have been curious to try the Mark 2 cable as I wanted tosee how close it could get to the Mark 1 cable while being much strongly built.

 

Speaking of build quality, the Mark 2 looks very nice and is well built.It is on par with Moon Audio Blue Dragon which was the best built cable I cameacross.

It also uses a Furutech FP-704 connecter instead of the cheaper Neutrikconnector one used on the Mark 1 cable.

 

Also, just before I received the Mark 2 cable from Artisan SilverCables, rosgr63 loaned me another of his headphone cables (Thanks againStavros!). It was a Revelation Audio Labs cable made from cryo treated solidcore silver using the Furutech FP-704. Since it was a custom made cable, Ididn’t find any more information on RAL website. Since some of the RevelationAudio Labs can be very expensive, I didn’t ask rosgr63 for the price before Ifinished the review.

 

So, for the past few weeks, I have been mainly listening to the Mark 2cable while alternating with the stock cable, Mark 1 and the Revelation AudioLabs cable.

 

 

Is there really an audible difference between headphone cables?

 

Before starting the review, I am going to take a few moments to explainmy point of view on cables in general. The some logic applies to headphonecables in particular.

 

I have always been puzzled to see on head-fi people spend thousands ofdollars on headphone amps and tubes while dismissing the possibility that a “simple”piece of wire could make any sort of difference at all. And of course, accordingto that group of people, all those who think they hear a difference betweencables are probably just experiencing the placebo effect. Indeed, there havebeen quite a few double blind tests where listeners could not distinguish veryexpensive cables from very cheap ones (though a high price in cables doesn’tnecessarily mean high quality).

So from that “fact”, there is no possibility according to theobjectivists that a “simple” wire could make any audible difference in the “real”world.

 

However, what double blind tests have also shown in the past is that itis impossible to tell a difference between different transports, DACs, amps,interconnects and speaker cables. So according to the cumulative results of thosetests, we should not be able to distinguish any difference between a $100 audiochain from a $100,000 one. The only audible difference would come from thespeakers ... and even worse, if the speakers have similar frequency response,telling the difference should not be possible.

 

In my opinion, there are 3 flaws in that reasoning:

 

1. On the measurement side:

 

People focus only on the frequency domain and don’t know that the human ear is far more sensitive to time domain resolution. It is only until recentlythat some researcher started to test for the actual temporal resolution of thehuman ear, which is far higher than expected.

Here (http:www.physics.sc.edu/kunchur/Acoustics-papers.htm) you can read some interesting research papers about the temporal resolution ofhuman ears.

While conducting his research, Kunchur realized that no single CD playercould generate properly the square waves he needed for his testing. He had toresort to an analog wave generator to test the limits of human temporalresolution. That means that people that were complaining so far about the poorquality of the digital reproduction of most CD players were dead spot on. Mostmeasurements focused on the frequency domain (frequency response, THD...) buttotally discarded the time domain performance.

So while those people might have been laughed at because there was supposedlyno measurement to back their claim, you can draw your own conclusions afterreading those research papers or by looking at the graphs here (http:/www.mother-of-tone.com/conversion.htm).And for those who don’t know it, most CD players and DACs today use the sigmadelta chips that give those horrible high frequency sine waves.

That is to say that if people who complained about the sound of CDplayers were only affected by placebo, there wouldn’t be measurements to backtheir claims (jitter, square waves...). So those that were really affected bythe placebo effect were those who were told that CD is as good as it gets ...and convinced themselves that is indeed as good as it gets.

 

The same rule, could be applied to cable, if we measured the impulseresponse, square waves or better signal music we would have more meaningfulresults.

 

By the way, just before finishing the review, I came across an ongoingproject by Nordost. See here: http:/www.nordost.com/downloads/New%20Approaches%20To%20Audio%20Measurement.pdf.

Instead of measuring static signals, they used real recorded music andtheir results show that even external factors (such as vibration support andpower cables) will affect the output of audio equipment

 

 

2. Most ABX are conducted improperly:

I have been baffled when I bought an AES research paper about jitter afew weeks ago. There has been a head-fier posting all around the place aboutthe fact that jitter is inaudible below certain (high) levels because no doubleblind test showed otherwise.

Well to my surprise, I found that they used for the research some cheap$30 Sony headphones for the tests. Those same headphones would have beendismissed by any audiophile (I wouldn’t personally used them even in a portablerig).

Also, there was no mention in the paper about the headphone amp,interconnects, power filtration...

So unfortunately, that paper is used as a “reference” to say that thejitter of the source is not important as long as it is below 10000ps(audiophile equipment has jitter lower than 100ps). What it means is that whenother “scientific” double blind tests are conducted on other areas (cables,amps...) they start from the supposition that the quality of the source doesn’tmatter. So when testing to see if there is a difference between cables or amps,and according to that test, any source would be ok as there is no double blindtest to suggest otherwise...

So sadly, many of those double blind tests are meaningless in my opinionbecause the systems they used are not nearly revealing enough.

 

 

3. There is a strong psychological factor to the AB tests:

 

First there is the stress. When we are stressed and are “forced” to heara difference our minds can play tricks. When we are listening casually, we arein a different state of mind where we are looking to forget about the equipmentand concentrate on the music instead.

 

Second, when we are doing a double blind test, we concentrate too muchand our brain starts filling the gaps that aren’t really there.

Let’s take for example a phone conversation. If we concentrate enough,we can recognize a voice on a poor connection. So how come? Well our brainssort of interpolate the available data points and check it against our “database” of known voices. 

The same is done when listening critically in a double blind test: ourbrains records the details with the better equipment and then fill in the gapswhen listening to lesser equipment.

Unfortunately, this “imprinted memory” fades away after a while.

 

On the other hand, when we are listening casually, the differences jumpat us and are not usually what we expected to hear. When listening very hard tohear a difference we try to simplify things and focus only on limited aspectsof the music in order to highlight any difference. For example, when A/Bing 2components on a large orchestral piece of classical music, should the listenerfocus their attention on the placement of the performers on the soundstage, thesize of the soundstage, the timber of each instrument (and which one?), thetiming, the tonal balance, the overall transparency, the low level details, thedynamics, the transient speed... There are so many things one can focus on andthe more stressed and constrained by time we are, the more restrictive thatlist become and that is why you find so many people limiting their A/Bcomparisons to bass/mids/highs.

 

To sump up, what good cables, bring to the mix is less hard work to“reconstruct” the recorded event. With better equipment in general, your braindoesn’t have to work as hard or as much during the recording, which makes it amore pleasurable listening experience on long listening sessions.

 

This leads me to explain my testing methodology. Instead of quick A/Btesting on a single track, I prefer to listen to a component/cable throughvarious albums, take some notes and only after I start getting a grasp of whatis going on, I do A/B switches to confirm on infirm my preliminary findings.This usually implies dozens or hundreds of listening hours. I also like tolisten to the equipment at low volume level and high volume levels. Sometimeswhen listen only at a regular average level, we can miss some characteristics.For example, a component that can be clear sounding at regular volume levelscan turn into acid sounding at high volume levels.

Listener fatigue is also an important factor. Since this whole hobby ofaudiophilia is about listening to music in the first place, I automaticallydiscard equipment that are pleasing in the short listening sessions and thatend up being tiring on long listening sessions. I sometimes have my headphoneson for hours at a time so it is a very important factor for me.

 

Overall, I hope that this little digression helped the reader tounderstand not only where I stand on cables but also how I conduct my tests.

 

 

System used for the review:

 

System Used:

 

Main Chain used for this review:

Foobar v1.0 --> Kernel Streaming --> Jkeny’s modified hiface--> Oyaide DB-510 --> Audio-gd DAC19 DSP --> Artisan Cables "UltimateSilver Dream" RCA / Black Stuart ACSS --> Audio-GD C2 --> Headphone cable --> Sennheiser HD-650

 

Power related accessories:

Hi-Fi Cables & Cie PowertransPlus Power Cords (x2)

Hi-Fi Cables & Cie SimplePower

Bada LB-5600 Power Filter Plant

Essential Audio Tools Noise Eater Parallel Filter

 

Vibration Control:

E&T Spider Rack, Maple platforms, Sandboxes, Brass cones, Acrylicand Fiber carbon sheets, Yamamoto footers, Herbie's Audio Lab Tenderfoot,SuperSonic Component Stabilizer

 

Other equipment on hand:

Transports: Emu 0404 usb, Musiland Monitor 01 usd, Teralink X, Purepiperusb to spdif, Teralink X2

DACs: Zero DAC, Audio-gd DAC 100, Audio-gd FUN, Purepiper DAC A-1

Headphone amps: Audio-gd ST-3, Little Dot MKIII, Audio-gd FUN.

 

 

Some of the reference tracks used for this review:

 

Natalie Dessay - Italian Opera Arias - Emi Classics

Mahler - Symphony n 5 - Decca

Puccini - La Boheme- Decca

Mozart Violin Concertos - Marianne Thorsen - 2L - 24/96

Sol Gabetta - Schostakowitsch Cellokonzert Nr. 2/Cello

Vivaldi - Concerto for 2 violins - Carmignola/Mullova

Keith Jarrett - Paris / London - Testament - 24/96

Glenn Gould - The Goldberg Variations 1981

Hans Zimmer - Gladiator OST

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Take Five

Diana Krall - Quiet Nights - 24/96

Diana Krall - Live in Paris

The World's Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings - Chesky - 24/96

Norah Jones - Come Away With Me

Patricia Barber - Companion

Soundrama - "The Pulse" Test CD

Head-fi/Chesky Sampler - Open Your Ears - 24/96

 

 

The Sound:

 

Timber & Tonal balance:

 

With a transparent component like the Mark2 cable, it is hard to go intothe classical bass/mids/highs description. While the Mark2 extends thefrequency response in both the low end and extreme highs, it doesn’t have asonic signature of its own.

However, by comparison to the stock cable it is apparent that the bloatedmid-bass is gone and that the high frequencies are a lot cleaner through theMark 2 cables.

 

What the Mark2 allows to do, in comparison with the stock cable, is afiner and more precise reading on the true harmonic structure of differentinstruments and voices. Overall you recognize instruments more quickly and youcan even distinguish th….

 

So the Mark2 cable is a relatively well balanced cable (like the Mark1and the RAL) which makes what I am trying to describe in this part of thereview even harder to do.

 

The main differences I detected on the timber and tonal balance betweenthe 3 top cables were mainly in 2 areas. The first one is the handling fasttransients and the second one is the way the upper harmonics were renderedrelative to the fundamental frequency.

 

Let’s start with the transient speed. While I have found in the pastthat the Mark1 cable was notably faster than the Moon Audio Blue Dragon and theStefan Audio Art Equinox Cables, I have found that it was surpassed by the Mark2 cable as well the RAL Cable in transient speed.

What it means for the Mark2 cable is that sounds appear and disappearinstantly. The attacks are not blurred but at the same time the decay of thenotes are not shortened. The Mark1 cable is a little softer in the attacks incomparison and the RAL cable fall somewhere in the middle.

What it means is that all natural (unamplified) instruments will soundlike they are supposed to, provided the upstream components (especially theDAC) are up to the task.

 

If you had read my previous review of the Mark1 cable, you would have learnedthat I was surprised the first few days of its use by the extra treble energyit had in comparison with the Blue Dragon (as well as the stock cable).

While moving from the Blue Dragon to the Mark1 cable definitely changedthe tonal balance of my system, switching from the Mark1 to the Mark2 is aslightly different story. The first minutes I listened to the Mark2 cable, Ithought for a while it was indistinguishable from the older model. After morelistening, I came to realize that the upper harmonics of the Mark2 cable weremore illuminated than the Mark 1 cable. It is like if the Mark1 was dusty onthe upper harmonics while the Mark2 was a lot cleaner. While this might soundlike a good thing, it also implies that it will ruthlessly reveal any flaw onthe system upstream or the recording itself.

Again, the RAL cable fell curiously right in between the 2 ArtisanSilver Cables by having a slightly livelier representation than the Mark 1cable but still not to the level of the Mark2 cable.

However, to keep things in perspective these differences are rathersmall and I had found far bigger differences when I compared the Mark1 cables tothe Blue Dragon and the Equinox.

 

While I don’t know what a “perfect” cable would sound like since it isimpossible to listen to the Sennheiser HD-650 without a cable, my guess is thatit wouldn’t be far off (tonal wise) from those 3 cables as there sonicsignature is far less than that of the Blue Dragon, the SAA Equinox or worse,the stock cable.

 

Overall the Mark2 silver dream “de-veils” the HD-650 by offering acleaner and clearer window to the representation.

 

 

Musical examples:

 

Dian Krall – Quiet Nights – 24/96: I have just recently downloaded thisalbum from HD Tracks. I had listened previously to the CD version and found itpretty poor sounding (and compressed). The high rez version caught my interestnot because it was 24/96 but because it was supposed to be recorded directlyfrom the analog tape (without further processing). Overall, the album has an“analog” feel that is well rendered by the Mark 2 cable. With the Mark2, thesound is smooth yet it doesn’t fall in the hazy side of the stock cable. TheMark2 cable preserves the natural warmth of the recording without adding orsubtracting anything. On this particular recording, you feel that the Mark1 isdoing a little bit too much as I felt like listening through a warm sounding tubeamp (my gear is solid state).

 

Keith Jarrett - Paris / London - Testament - 24/96: When you listento this recording, you can not only clearly hear the fundamental of the notebeing played but also all the overtones. Reverting to the stock cable you get amuch more simplified version of the recording. The Steinway Grand piano becomesa cheap smaller Yamaha one. The lower notes don’t go as deep and you get theimpression that the system can only play one note for all the lowerfrequencies. The same is true for the midrange and the higher frequencies.Going from the stock cable to the Mark2 cable, you get a more complete andricher representation.

 

Surprisingly these differences are not only heard in my referencesystem. Even on the cheap Audio-gd FUN DAC/Headphone amp combo, the improvementgoing from the stock cable and the Mark2 cable are easily audible.

Though, while the differences between the 3 silver cables (Mark2, Mark1and RAL) were audible on the cheap FUN, it would have been a lot more difficultto draw good conclusions using only the FUN as a source/amp, as it is a lotmore colored than any of those top cables.

 

 

 

Soundstage & Imaging:

 

While the soundstaging of the stock Sennheiser is already good (providedthey are used with a good headphone amp), they remain a little bit hazy andlack any real depth.

Upgrading the stock Sennheiser cable to a silver cable can improve the size ofthe soundstage in width, depth and height while having a sharper imaging.

 

However, I have to say that the soundstaging is the only area where the Mark2cable really fell short of the Mark1 cable (which is a true champion in thisparticular area). The older cable has the widest and deepest soundstage I haveever heard on the HD-650.

While the Mark2 couldn’t equal the performance of the Mark1 cable, it still dida better job than all the other cables I had tried (Silver Cryo RAL, the SAAEquinox and the stock cable).

 

Switching back and forth between the Mark 2 and the Mark 1 cables from ArtisanCables on different albums, I realized that the difference could be partly explainedby a different listening perspective. The slightly more upfront nature of theMark2 cable would put you slightly closer to the performance stage.

In comparison to the other top performing cable I had on hand, the Mark2 cable had both a bigger soundstage and a more pinpoint imaging than the RALcable.

 

So, will a silver cable transform the soundstaging of your hd-650 intothat of the K-701/702? The answer is simply no. From the little listening I didwith the AKG K702 a few weeks ago, I realized that while an upgrade inheadphone cable can change dramatically the perceived soundstage, it does so bya different way than switching headphones. I think that we hear an increase ofthe size of the soundstage simply because the details in the background aremore easily audible. The combined effect of a sharper imaging and increaseddepth is probably what causes that perception of increase in size.  

 

So overall, the Mark 2 cable improves the layering of the soundstage andprovides a much more precise imaging than the common copper based cables.

 

 

Musical examples:

 

Mahler - Fifth Symphony: This particular recording, when played throughthe correct equipment, is a good test tool for the imaging performance ofsystem. Here, with the Mark 2 you can almost count the number of instruments.However, it is a difficult task to do because I too often find myself drawn bythe music and forget about what I was trying to do.

Anyway, what I can say is that with the Mark2 cable, you get a much betterdepth and pinpoint imaging than with the stock cables or the other copper cableI tried before for that matter.

 

Puccini - La Boheme:Thelayering of the soundstage is outstanding. The performers on the stage areclearly differentiated from the accompanying orchestra. Each performer andinstrument has its place in space which is surprising from such an oldrecording. On lesser cables, the soundstage is smaller and stuck inside thehead, different instruments are blurred together and the performers lack thatholographic representation and are only mere voices.

 

Vivaldi - Concerto for 2 violins - Carmignola/Mullova: Looking back atmy notes, I found out that with the Stefan AudioArt Equinox Cable, I was ableto clearly distinguish the soloist but I described the background instrumentsas being blurred.

In this recording, the imaging of the background instruments is evensharper than the Mark 1 cable, though the soundstage is slightly smaller andnot as three-dimensional.

 

The Messiah – Dunedin Consort 24/88: This album shows the superiority oftrue high resolution files. While the CDs above all had excellent soundstagingand imaging clues, going to 24/88 provided a more relaxed and spaciousrepresentation and there was much more air between instruments and voices. TheMark 2 was capable of capturing that increase in resolution and soundstagingwhile those clues would get totally blurred and muffled by the stock cable.

In this recording, the sharp imaging didn’t come at the expense of athin sound. The music sounds just sounds like it is supposed to: detailed,spacious yet highly enjoyable.

 

 

 

Dynamics:

 

I have read numerous reports where the Sennheiser HD-650 were describedas sluggish. That usually could be explained by 2 reasons: insufficient ampingor the quality of the cable

Even with a powerful amp, the stock cable muffles the transients whichmake the HD-650 sound slow and uninvolving.

 

The dynamic range of the Mark2 cable is amazing: it retains the lowlevel information when playing loud material; it can go from whisper levels toexplosive levels in an instant and at very low listening levels, the detailsare not obscured or muffled like it is the case with the stock cable.

 

Because the Mark2 cable is a “fast” cable, you not only get believablemacro-dynamics, but you also get a good representation of the micro-dynamics.Here the Mark2 is pretty much on par with the Mark1 cable as well as the RAL.Looking back at my notes, the Blue Dragon and the Equinox cables both blurred alittle bit the transients and muffled the micro-dynamics rendering.

 

Of course, the choice of the amplifier will affect the most the dynamicsof the HD-650. However, a poor or an average cable can blur the effects of adynamic amplifier.

 

 

Musical examples:

 

Hans Zimmer - Gladiator OST: This album is a nice test tool for testingthe dynamic performance of a component or a cable. The only cables that do notmake the HD-650 sound compressed are the 3 silver cables. On this particularalbum, the stock cable, the Moon Audio Blue Dragon and the Equinox all seemedto suffer from compression especially in the bass.

With its quicker nature, the Mark2 cable gave me the best dynamicrepresentation of this album. Reverting back to the stock cable, everythingseems muffled and slower.

 

Diana Krall - Live in Paris:While the Mark2 cable was pretty quick on the Gladiator soundtrack, it retainedall the little fine inflexions of Diana Krall voice. That is to say that theMark2 cable didn’t disappoint in the micro-dynamics department.

 

 

Transparency & Definition:

 

Because of the slightly more forward voicing than the older Mark1, theMark2 seems more transparent.

 

Also, because of the added transparency and clarity, the Mark2 cableseems slightly louder than the Mark1 cable and definitely louder than the stockcable. What it means is that to get the same amount of information, you do notneed to turn the volume as high as you would with the stock cable. At the sametime, the sound is clean and balanced enough that I can turn the volume up toinsane levels without getting any excessive brightness.

Overall, this is different from the clarity that some Grado headphonesoffer because they have bumped up treble and bass to sound loud at low volumes.The reason the HD-650 sound clearer with the Mark 2 cable is simple, it isbecause all the low level details are there in spades.

This wasn’t only noticeable with a selection of high quality music butit was also noticeable when using the HD-650 for listening casually to moviesor series. With the Mark 2 cable, you get all the little details that fool youinto being actually there.

 

However, I have to note that there was a point during the review period where Ithought it had less low level details than the Mark 1 cable when I had to usethe Kimber PBJ interconnects for a few days, but I came to realize later onthat the “dead” black background was in fact due to the interconnects (andequipment being used). When I reverted to my reference chain connected throughthe ACSS/CAST mode, the perceived noise floor dropped and I started hearingonce again those little low level details that make a recording sound alive(and not like if it were recorded in a dead space environment). Since I listento a lot of unprocessed music, I am very sensitive to the low level detailsretrieval of components in my chain.

The weird thing is that while the Mark1 and the RAL cables were almostas detailed as the Mark2, they didn’t make feel like something was missing whenI was using lesser equipment and cables upstream. I suspect that the slightly“sharper” sound of the Mark2 cable overemphasized those shortcomings.

If I had written my review a few weeks earlier, I would have probablyreached a different conclusion regarding the definition level of the Mark2cable.

What it means is that the Mark2 cable will highlight the sonic characterof the components and cables used upstream.

 

Another attribute of the Mark 2 cable is that it offers a greatdifferentiation between recordings. Changing from one album to another, you getthe impression the equipment was changed. On one album I get the impression mysystem is too warm sounding ... and the next album I get the impression mysystem is too forward sounding and ruthlessly revealing. What it means is thatwith the Mark2 cable, I get to listen more to the recording itself and less tothe equipment. The Mark1 cable in comparison is a little bit softer and renderseverything with a slight silvery and smooth touch. In retrospective, I have toadmit that the Mark1 was a little bit cheating in rendering the upper harmonicsby making everything sound slightly better than they actually are.

 

So overall, I have found the Mark2 very detailed (on par with my older reference cable, the Mark1) and very transparent to the recording.

Listening through the Mark2 cable, you get the feeling to be hardwiredto the microphone feed of the recorded even (provided the components upstreamare up to the task).

 

 

 

Limits of the review:

 

While I tried the Mark2 cable with different sources and headphone ampsduring the course of the review (including the tubed Little Dot MKIII), I haveto note that most of my gear uses discrete design (i.e no opamp) with zeronegative feedback.

That is to say that I can’t predict how the Mark 2 cable will sound withopamp based components that use a lot of negative feedback.

The revealing and transparent nature of the Mark2 cable will probablymake it better suited for tube equipment or solid state equipment that is knownto have a balance on the neutral or slightly warm side.

But that is only speculation from my end as it didn’t find any“incompatibility” with the equipment I paired it with.

 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

To wrap-up, the Mark 2 Silver Dream cable is an excellent sounding cable. Compared to the stock cable, it improves tremendously the frequency extension at the extremes, cures the HD-650 from the mid-bass bloat and dirtyhighs, and it pretty much gives you an open window to the representation.

Its high transparency implies that you should pair it with great careand avoid bright sounding equipment. However, and paradoxically, it is moreforgiving towards poor recordings in comparison with something like the StefanAudioArt Equinox which overemphasize any mid treble brightness.


Overall, it seems that the Mark2 cable isn’t add or subtracting much tothe signal. It gives you the impression of being hardwired to the microphone ofthe recorded event.

 

In any case, I could be very happy with either one of the Artisan SilverDream cables, or the Revelation Audio Labs one. But now, that I have listened to those well made silver cables, I would have a hard time living with a copper cable such as the Blue Dragon or the Equinox even though they also provide an improvement over the stock cable.

 


Categories: Cables & Tweaks, Headphones

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6 Comments

Reply rosgr63
12:40 PM on October 13, 2010 
An excellent review, learned a lot, thanks very much for your time and effort.
Reply Amine Slimani
2:46 PM on October 13, 2010 
Thanks rosgr63 for the nice comments!
Reply Alota
11:44 AM on October 15, 2010 
hello, you have a link of artisan cables to see their products?
thank you
aldo
Reply rosgr63
1:36 PM on October 15, 2010 
alota says...
hello, you have a link of artisan cables to see their products?
thank you
aldo


http://www.artisansilvercables.com/
Reply Double Helix
11:31 AM on October 18, 2010 
This is a really good review, brought up a lot of things I hadn't thought of...
Reply kboe
10:31 AM on February 4, 2011 
Amazing write up. When I had my 650s I almost ordered these cables. Makes me wish I had, maybe then I would have kept the 650s.