Legacy link:
legacy_200w
This new site was launched in July 2010. Visit the older site to access previous articles by clicking above.

Back Cover

Gryphon Diablo 300

To Peter Roth,

Based on your wording in reviews and the depth of them, I purchased the Ayre KX-R and the MX-Rs. Not totally on your review, but it helped.

Now I see that you use AudioQuest Wild Blue Yonder cables in your system and I would like to know if you have an opinion on AQ Wild Blue vs. WEL Signature. Your thoughts would be good.

Jeff Gossett

Since you're coming back for more advice, may I assume you are as happy as I am with your acquisition of the KX-R/MX-R combination? It is difficult not to be impressed by Ayre's R-class electronics. In fact, SoundStage! Network editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz loves this combination so much he also bought the pairing for his reference system.

With regard to your cable question, I find AudioQuest cables to be very well engineered and to offer high performance at all price points. They definitely offer incremental, yet substantive, gains as one climbs the rungs of AQ offerings. My positive experiences with AudioQuest cables has been true across various systems and equipment types, which I suspect is a result of the bypass-testing protocols that AudioQuest incorporates into the design process. As a result, I don't consider AudioQuest cables as "system tuning" devices the way many cables can be (and which is a legitimate, alternative perspective on cables), but more neutral in nature.

I especially like AQ's 100% Perfect Surface Silver cables, notwithstanding the associated cost. To maintain a pure AQ silver signal cable loom through my system, I chose to purchase Wild Blue Yonder interconnects (for all but the very last bit of performance WEL Signature offers at much less cost) to pair with WEL Signature speaker cables (Wild Wood speaker cables utilize a combination of PSS and PSC+ conductors). Obviously, one of the big benefits of monoblock amplifiers is the ability to run very short speaker cables, given the per-foot cost of state-of-the-art cables, which has made it possible for me to step up to WEL Sig on the speaker cable side. On the power cable side of the fence, I found that NRG-Wild power cords offer significant gains in clarity and neutrality over NRG-100 (so much so that I couldn't help but purchase a few for key components). Frankly, with the power cables, I determined that "ignorance is bliss" and declined to audition WEL Signature (I'd rather not feel the urge to aspire to even more expensive PCs).

At the end of the day, there are two sweet spots in AudioQuest's lineup. In the true price-vs.-performance curve, I find the high point to be the best, all-copper (PCS+) offerings in their various categories (e.g., Colorado ICs, Castle Rock and Oak speaker cables, etc.; NRG-100 PCs, etc.). However, with the performance on tap with Ayre R-class electronics, and the higher budget those components suggest, the pure performance sweet spots reside in the Wild Blue Yonder ICs and PCs, and when short runs will work, WEL Signature speaker cable. Please let us know what you ultimately choose. . . . Pete Roth