Anjolie
5
Jul 23, 2022
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The Cardas Clear Light Is Pretty Darn Good
Cardas Audio carries a lot of weight in the audiophile community and so when the opportunity to own one of their cables came along, I couldn’t resist At this writing, I only have a few hours with the cable. I’m using a pair of Focal Celestee with a 4.4 adapter into a iBasso DC06 DAC/Amp connected to my iPad Pro running iTunes lossless. This is my travel rig for those who are curious and I also use for travel, the Dragonfly Red and the XDUOO XD05 Plus, but the iBasso has a lovely sound signature and it’s also very small and compact I don’t claim to have golden ears when it comes to sound, but I can A/B things that I own and make a comparative review based on what I’m hearing. I also am a believer of burn-in/break-in when it comes to cables and audio equipment. In my experience sound does change given enough time. Maybe not by a lot, but enough to notice and when it does, it makes me smile So, that’s where I’m coming from and what I’m using for this review Right out of the box, the Cardas Clear Light (CCL) cables presented an impressive spectrum of sound from bass to the treble. The bass was not flabby or loose, but nicely articulated and not enhanced or added to from what I am hearing. The vocals are sitting back a little. It’s even with all the other instruments and the treble is on the polite side The soundstage is good. I’m getting a nice sense of width to the sound, although the depth isn’t as deep as the width. Separation and a sense of space is lacking. It’s like looking at a hamburger on an advertisement poster or commercial versus what you actually get. In one, it looks mouth watering and all the ingredients are visible, but what you actually get is something that looks as though someone squashed the sandwich with their hand You know what I mean, right? Lastly, the whole sound seems veiled slightly as if someone had thrown a thin blanket over your speakers. Missing is the bass slam and impact. The presentation is ever so soft and lacking bite, which I am missing terribly. The leading edges of the sound isn’t as detailed It’s interesting how everything I’ve read and seen on YouTube, are finally making sense to me now I’m comparing this cable, albeit unfairly, with the DanaCables Lazuli Lite which costs nearly 5 times as much. My Lazuli Lite is terminated in a 3.5 and not with a XLR, so it’s at a slight disadvantage, but only slight. The Lazuli Lite pretty much crushes the CCL in every way save one. Bass articulation. I would imagine that the actual Cardas Clear headphone cable, not the light version, would match or beat my beloved Lazuli Lite in that regards So, would I recommend this cable? I would. It gives you nearly everything right out of the box and it may open up a bit more given some burn-in. I doubt it will burn-in to the point that it would match my Lazulie Lites, but if it could just give me just a little more space, separation and ease of presentation, it would be hitting above its price point. As it is right now, it is priced fair for what I’m hearing. It’s a great cable to start with and maybe use for many years As for me, I’ll use it for my travel cable, since my Lazuli Lites are too nice to take outdoors. But, the Cardas Clear Lights do make me wonder one thing. How much better do the Cardas Clear Heaphone cables sound Day 2 So after listening the CCL for better part of the day, I have to admit they’re coming around a bit more, which as you know is something I was hoping would happen Gone is the slight veil and I’m hearing more of the edges of the sound. It’s getting more detailed. The vocals are also slightly forward than they were before. Although, female vocals have a slight nasal sound, which the Lazuli Lite doesn’t have I think I read somewhere in the literature for Cardas Audio or maybe it was an online reviewer that said that the Clear line would give you a “clear” sound - and this is where I would totally agree The Focal headphones have been called aggressive or in your face when describing its sound signature and I’m finally hearing that kind of quality right now. I tried the CCL with my Celestee and Dragonfly Red and guess what? It had that aggressive in your face quality. Out of curiosity, I tried the CCL/Celestee with my desktop setup, which comprises of the Auralic Vega DAC and Hifiman EF6 amplifier and the sound quality greatly improved. It still had that aggressive sound signature but less so, but the amp/DAC combo also gave it the much needed sense of space it sorely lacked with my smaller portable DAC/amps The only downside is that for some reason there was that small speaker sound quality with the CCL on my desktop system. I can overlook it because that bass is so darn good This cable still doesn’t match or beat the Lazuli Lite in terms of space and ease of sound quality, but the CCL has grown on me and it has really come around in the span of about 10 hours so far. It’s definitely a different animal when I use it with the Focal Celestee. It gives me what the headphones sound like, but when I switch over to the Lazuli Lite, I’m getting more of what the equipment sounds like and then the headphone My preference still leans towards the Lazuli Lite, but I think in small doses I can live with the CCL
(Edited)
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