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  1. #1

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    Default Signal Cable Ultras vs. Monster Cable Z2 Reference

    After winning Sherard's holiday karma for a pair of Signal Ultras, I decided a comparison would be the best way for me to fulfill my requirement of posting a review of the new cables.

    I started my comparison by performing an A/B test with 2 pair of RT800i hooked up to a Sony STR-DG800 avr. I then switched the sets of cables between the pairs of 800s to eliminate any speaker differences as a potential issue.

    At first listen, the Signals seemed to calm the highs on the RTs to a more reasonable level (sometimes those tri-lams can be a bit too much) and boost the clarity and definition of the instruments.
    I always considered the Monsters to be very detailed and crisp, as they presented very clear highs and seemed to not lack in bass. However, now it seemed they were a bit muddled in the midrange, and a little boomy at the low end compared to the Ultras.

    After this initial listening test, I could conclude the Signals were better than the Monsters, but I had expected a blowout. I just wasn’t overwhelmed with the improvement.

    Because I was hoping for more, I decided to repeat the A/B test with the same RT800i pairs, but with a Yamaha R-V1105 avr (I know another avr, but no separates in the rig yet). When I initially turned on the Yamaha and started listening, I was a bit shocked. I began frantically switching A to B to A and back…there was quite a significant difference in sound on this receiver, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the difference. So, I did what every married electronics addict does…I asked my wife. :D She hates it when I do that. I said “do these sound different to you” as I switched A to B, then back. She indicated they did sound different, so I asked her to describe the difference. In reference to the sound coming though the Monsters, she said “you turned something off…part of the music is missing.” …I couldn’t have said it better.

    I’ve since had the chance to listen to the Signals for hours of music and movies and am very content to leave these hooked up to the mains in the HT/Music rig and move one of the Monsters to the center channel to replace the cheap speaker wire previously feeding it.

    Bottom line: The Signal Cable Ultras are clean, warm and natural sounding cables that give music more definition and clarity than I‘ve ever heard. The Monster cables sounded great to me before my “reference” changed - they are in no way a “throw-away” set of cables, I just now know there are good cables and there are better cables…and cost is definitely not the indicator, as I’m sure these Monsters were much more retail than the Signals (though I didn’t buy them…came w/speakers on CL). If you’re in the market for speaker cables, stop shopping and buy some Signals.

    Now, thanks to Sherard (karma Signals), Dave/daboyz (AQ and BJC) and all of CP, I suppose I’ll have to eventually step up the rest of my cabling…slowly, but surely.

    Cables DO make a difference!

  2. #2

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    Frank Dai is my budget Hero . . .

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the post Cambir :D

  4. #4

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    Excellent review Cambir, glad the Signals made a difference in your setup. Enjoy, they should last you a long time.
    Shoot the jumper.....................BALLIN.............!!!! !

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  5. #5

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    How long did you run the Signals for? I am not sure about that particular set of wires, but some wires take a while to burn-in. The silver speaker wires I build are thin in the bass at first, and sound very detailed but gritty for about 80hrs. Let us know. Thanks for the review.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  6. #6

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    Nice review Cambir. Was an interesting read.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    How long did you run the Signals for? I am not sure about that particular set of wires, but some wires take a while to burn-in. The silver speaker wires I build are thin in the bass at first, and sound very detailed but gritty for about 80hrs. Let us know. Thanks for the review.
    Ben
    I've probably only had them running for 15-20 hours so far. Not sure how long Sherard had them going, though?

    Good info to know, will post here if I hear a change in the near future. Thanks!

  8. #8

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    It's about time!;):D Great review and glad you're enjoying them. We are learning here together, my friend.:)
    2CH - Magnepan MGIIIA's, Rogue Audio Magnum 66 pre, Parasound HCA1200 MKII, Douglas Connection IC's and Cables, Oppo BDP-83SE

    Main HT - Adcom GFA7400, Rti70, Csi40, Rti28, Onkyo TX-SR705, Sony BDP-S1000ES, Signal Cable Analog 2 IC's, Mitsubishi 65" DLP, M&K 1250 THX Sub, Knu Koncepts cables

    Mini HT - Samsung 46" 3D TV + 3D Blu ray player, HK AVR 254, Rti8's, Athena 12" sub

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cambir View Post
    I always considered the Monsters to be very detailed and crisp, as they presented very clear highs and seemed to not lack in bass. However, now it seemed they were a bit muddled in the midrange, and a little boomy at the low end compared to the Ultras.
    I have always found thick-gauge multi-strand cables have a muddled midrange. I don't know how else to describe it. There's just not much destinction between instruments--everything seems mashed together. As far as bass, I was a little confused about wether I was hearing more bass, or just less controlled bass--now I believe it's the latter.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 01-08-2008 at 10:18 AM.

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
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  10. #10

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    We agree Steve, even the Monster sub cables sound that away. Bass is horrible compared to better cables.
    2CH - Magnepan MGIIIA's, Rogue Audio Magnum 66 pre, Parasound HCA1200 MKII, Douglas Connection IC's and Cables, Oppo BDP-83SE

    Main HT - Adcom GFA7400, Rti70, Csi40, Rti28, Onkyo TX-SR705, Sony BDP-S1000ES, Signal Cable Analog 2 IC's, Mitsubishi 65" DLP, M&K 1250 THX Sub, Knu Koncepts cables

    Mini HT - Samsung 46" 3D TV + 3D Blu ray player, HK AVR 254, Rti8's, Athena 12" sub

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the review Cameron, I just got in the mail 20 minutes ago (2) pairs of Monster Z3's

    I have regular monster cables right now on my 1.2tl's

    I hope to buy Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference Speaker Cables next, But since I am Bi-Amping and my amps are 5' apart I need (2) Pairs 10' long. That'll cost me $750

    So, that'll have to wait untill after I get married,

    I got the (2) Pairs of Z3's @ 10' long with Monster Spades for $221 shipped.

    Sal
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
    With new Exotic wood, Sonicaps, Mills & RDO198's - Born on 4-24-1989 and Signed by Matthew Polk!!!!


    My Polk SDA SRS 1.2TL's http://www.LASAREATH.com/


    It All Started here: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath2

    Part Deux: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath3

    Car Stereo---->http://www.salsleaf.com/leaf_stereo/index.htm<---- NEW for 2013

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasareath View Post
    Thanks for the review Cameron, I just got in the mail 20 minutes ago (2) pairs of Monster Z3's

    I have regular monster cables right now on my 1.2tl's

    I hope to buy Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference Speaker Cables next, But since I am Bi-Amping and my amps are 5' apart I need (2) Pairs 10' long. That'll cost me $750

    So, that'll have to wait untill after I get married,

    I got the (2) Pairs of Z3's @ 10' long with Monster Spades for $221 shipped.

    Sal
    I'd be very interested to hear your impressions of the Monsters...I still think they sound good, just not as good. My Z2s are a little older models, so I don't really know the difference from your Z3.

    Enjoy for now, but save up for those Signals! :D

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    I have always found thick-gauge multi-strand cables have a muddled midrange. I don't know how else to describe it. There's just not much destinction between instruments--everything seems mashed together. As far as bass, I was a little confused about wether I was hearing more bass, or just less controlled bass--now I believe it's the latter.
    Very little distinction. I would agree with the later also...less controlled bass. The Monsters have the bass, just not tight bass.

    Are Signals not multi-stranded?

  14. #14

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    Very good write up...I recently picked up a pair of Signal Ultras from SoildSqual...They are running the top end end of our RTi12's that are bi-amped.

    The bright tweeters in the recent RTi Series have disappeared...smoothed and mellowed by the help of the Ultras...without losing any definition in the mids.

    I'm planning on upgrading all the i/c's and speaker cable in the HT rig with Franks handy
    work.

    Good stuff
    SDA CRS+4.1TL's/Modded SDA 1C's/Modded SDA SRS 3.1 TL's/Modded SDA SRS 2.3TL

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the comparison Cambir. It is always nice to hear these things. (especially as a cable builder!)

  16. #16

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    I hooked up the Monster Z3 cables the other day and I don't think I heard any improvements over regular monster cable.

    I'm going to blast some music now and see if I do, If I don't those huge black cables are coming off and going on the FM!

    Sal
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL's
    With new Exotic wood, Sonicaps, Mills & RDO198's - Born on 4-24-1989 and Signed by Matthew Polk!!!!


    My Polk SDA SRS 1.2TL's http://www.LASAREATH.com/


    It All Started here: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath2

    Part Deux: http://tinyurl.com/lasareath3

    Car Stereo---->http://www.salsleaf.com/leaf_stereo/index.htm<---- NEW for 2013

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