March 11, 2010

By George, You Lift Me Up! Cardas Nocthed Myrtle Wood Blocks.

The Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks. The review samples are the single notched ones. Double notched blocks are also available from Hi-Way Laser.

Odiosleuth was sufficiently impressed with the Cardas Myrtle wood blocks, when he tested them a few months ago, that he made them a permanent part of his system. He also secretly told me that he felt no serious audiophile should not be without a few wood blocks, just like RCA caps or isolation cones/balls as part of his/her hifi tweaking arsenal. I did not take his statement seriously, that is until now.

George Cardas is a famous man in the high end audio circles, not because he invented the Golden Ratio theory. The Golden Ratio principle was first known to be used by the Egyptians to build burial chambers for their kings inside the pyramids(does that explain why their mummified bodies are so well preserved?). No, George Cardas was not even the first person to explore the Golden Ratio application in audio reproduction. That courtesy goes to BBC, when they first developed all those LS series speakers, like 3/5A, 4/2 or 5/9 models in the 1960's. Apparently all those speaker's wooden cabinets were sized according to the principles of Golden Ratio. Can my good friend Jo Ki, the famed Malaysian LS 3/5A curator, confirm this bit?
A close up shot of the Cardas wood block. It's sized as per the "Golden" ratio, but with a notched cut in to the top for cable resting. Note the laser etched Cardas logo.

George Cardas decide incorporate the Golden Ratio principle from his earliest audio products and hifi set up theories back then in the 1980's when it was almost forgotten by most in the high end dom. That gave his products the edge to market success and that very principle is still mentioned, along with a few other newer innovations on his latest products available today.

The notched Myrtle wood blocks are used to lift cables(especially speaker cables), off the ground, offering promised sound quality enhancement. In my previous experiment with Shunyata Dark field Elevators, a product of the same function, I found my Siltech Classic 25th Anniversary 330L speaker cables did not like being lifted off the ground with it. I bought the Shunyata Dark field review samples and used it to lift my 4m long Cardas Golden Presence XLR inter connects instead(is it coincidence or irony? Your call here. He! He!).
That's how it works! My Siltech Classic 25th Anniversary 330L speaker cable resting on the Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks.

I started with the Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks lifting up the same Siltech speaker cables as mentioned above, using 3 pcs aside. I found the Siltech to more readily accept the Cardas than it did the Shunyata. I felt reason being that just to re cap, the Shunyata was too intrusive in it's sound character to the overall system's. Whilst the noise floor was brought down, it did on the whole harden the sonic signature of the system some what, in the process removing most of the organic sound qualities that my system had.
Who tha bad? Cardas vs Shunyata!

The Cardas was better in that respect, while not exactly as quiet as the Shunyata, it's sonic character was more subtle overall too. And what did the Cardas bring to the sonic table, it did not detract from the overall system sound. I found my already organic sound to benefited a bit more when playing female vocals. I played Lily Chen's Song Of Love CD, I felt her voice was subjectively sweeter, with better density, plus a more focus mouth(if you're in to that vocal porn kinda thang) with the Cardas under the speaker cable. I thought I was imagining things, but I wasn't. I know because I did try to take out and put the Cardas back in for few times while listening to that same Lily Chen CD. Acoustic instruments like violins, cello and piano gained a little more wood to it's instrument sound. It's like the Cardas gave a very mild mid range "lift"(pun very much intended!) to the overall musical sound of my system.
Lily Chen sings, Song Of Love. Lily is singing sweeter than usual with the Cardas wood blocks in my system.

But in the end I just felt the result with the Cardas was more like adding a pinch of MSG to what was a very nice dish on the table. I moved the Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks to under my Pass Labs pre amp and phono stage for some further experimentation. This time, I truly understood Odiosleuth's statement, mentioned much earlier on my opening paragraph. The Cardas used like the standard Myrtle wood block under my pre amp and phono stage(3 pcs under each component) produced just the right, subtle amount of taste enhancer as in the case of a very well prepared dish on the table. Only this time, it was more like adding a pinch of salt and pepper which, while enhances the overall flavour of the dish, yet never intrusive by the way of leaving an after taste just like MSG does(makes one feel very thirsty after food).
The Cardas wood blocks under my Pass Labs X2.5 and XOno phono stage. Here picture with 4 blocks under the pre amp. One should try using between 3 or 4 blocks for that subtle differences, which ever you'll end up preferring all boils down to personal choice. See how that notch helps to place the wood blocks?

I've decided to leave the Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks underneath my Pass Labs pre amp and phono stage for good and they are not going back to Hi-Way Laser any time soon. By the way, they cost RM$55/pc. A cheap worthy hifi tweak, by any count.

Cardas is sold by Hi-Way Laser, contact Kenny, tel no: 03 78738325.

2 comments:

Rabin said...

Why use what was meant for speaker cables when there are ones specifically designed for components e.g from Ayre? At the very least you should try the "proper" ones and confirm that you prefer those from Cardas.
Can also suggest you locate the transformer in you preamp and place one block underneath using the other two to balance.

Big E said...

Rabin,

I absolutely agree with your coments in regards to using the right tools for the job. Bravo!

However, I was just trying to point out like in my case, if the Cardas notched Myrtle wood blocks don't work for you under the speaker(or any other cables for the matter), there are other alternative uses for it, so your hard earned hifi $$$ doesn't get wasted. It's sure more versatile than any of the other tweaks that I know off!

As for Ayre or Cardas Myrtle wood blocks, I believe they're both made by Cardas! I am not sure if the Ayre version does sound better than the Cardas version? I've not compared.

Once again, thanks for sharing your much appreciated thoughts.