The Cardas Golden Reference, together with the Nordost Vahalla, are literally the some of the longest surviving reference cables used by reviewers all over the world. I have been very curious how the Cardas Golden Reference would do within the context of my humble system.


As some readers would know by now, I usually look in to the performance of major 5 qualities when cable testing.


1) Transparency

2) Bandwidth

3) Tonal Balance

4) Transmission to Noise Ratio

5) Coherence of Presentation


The pair I got was a demo sample, 3 meter long each, fitted with spades both ends. I plug the non-directional Cardas Golden Reference speaker cable between the Pass Aleph 0 and the Audio Physic Spark. A minor gripe about those chunky Cardas spades, the spade legs could perhaps be just a little bit longer, as it tends to slip out of the amp's speaker terminal, no matter how firmly I grip and finger thighten them!

The sound that greeted me was one of very transparent, yet on the warmish side of neutrality, but the cables sounded unbroken in, the music flow was somewhat uneven, and some sibilance were noticeable on the high mids. I removed the pair of cables from my system, hook them up to my kable kooker for 36 hours. And the final post cooked results are noted below.


This Cardas is one of the most transparent cables ever plugged in to my system. Minor and low level information is presented very convincingly, without appearing to try too hard. The bandwidth range of the cable is superb, with surprisingly good extension in both the the bottom and top octaves of the frequency extremes. Again, at first heard initially the cable can sound a little on the warm side of neutral, but there are no mid range blooms here and the sibilance heard earlier is now no more. This is a somewhat dark sounding cable, with lush smooth but never syrupy highs, mids sound very open and make vocals very convincing "there". The bass is deep and well controlled. The post cooked cable also allowed music to flow thru more freely. Transmission quality is excellent as this cable sounds much louder, yet quieter than my own present reference in use, the Straightwire Maestro II. In the overall presentation, I can only mark down an area where within the sound stage width is beyond the two speakers , but the layering within the stage depth is a little shut in, again comparing to my own cable in use.


The Cardas Golden Reference belongs to the ol' skool cable design, being extremely heavy built, with garden hose diameter thickness. I read in recent forum discussions that newer cable designs are moving towards lighter build, using purer material alloys for a faster transient response qualities. Time has being kind to the Cardas so far as it has managed to stay relevant as a reference for so long. Kudos to it's tried and trusted longevity factor!


Can't go wrong with this truly "Reference" grade cable.


Cardas is sold by Hi-Way Laser, tel: 019-2813399

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

you can sum cardas cables in one word - mong! (blur)

Anonymous said...

But what about their top cable the golden reference? Still "mong" (blur). This review says otherwise.

Maybe the lower end Cardas are "mong" but not the golden reference.

Then there is the question of what size amp are you using. A 300w/ch vs a 10w/ch amp will require different gage spkr wires.

karl said...

hugely popular in germany,the gr is the cable that suits ss gears

Panzer said...

Anonymous 1.23am,

When I first experienced the older, lower end Cardas Quadlink and Hexlink, I formed the same conclusion as you did!

Having said that, I like the Hexlink powercord a lot! I think it's a giant killer powercord for the $$$!

But when I heard their Golden Presence, Neutral Reference and Golden Reference, I totally changed my mind! These are really something else!

Try it for yourself.