The Cardas Has Been Dealt
Our first shipment of our newest cable line is here!
We talk to Angela Cardas and Josh Meredith of Cardas Audio the day their first shipment lands in our warehouse.
Angela and Josh of Cardas Audio could have any level of their own cable they wanted. Their system can certainly take it, comprising as it does some of the top names in high-end: Grand Prix Audio, Jeff Rowland, dCS, and Joseph Audio. They could use the Cardas flagship line, Clear Beyond, on every component, even the router. They could even request a special set of cables with a higher spec—if that's even possible—just for themselves. (It would be called, of course, Clear Wayyyy Beyond.)
Yet, they use Clear Reflection, a model that's two places below the top spot. Even when they need to try out the higher end cables, after a few days of this, Angela always says, "Let's put it back to normal."
This doesn't mean that Clear and Clear Beyond aren't bringing more. Of course they are—there's more detail, more bandwidth, more dynamics. But, says Angela, "for our space, our ages, and our listening, Clear Reflection is my favorite."
Josh adds that the system, as high-end as it is, hasn't been set up in a treated listening room. It's right there in the living room with inconveniences such as glass windows and coffee tables, and is not ideal for a cable that is especially revealing.
The Cable Guide
The same thinking applies across brands, and is helpful when sorting through our current line-up of AudioQuest, Nordost, DH Labs, Kimber, and now, Cardas. Unfortunately, we can't give you a handy little reference, as there are so many variables at play. It'll be like recommending one of apple pie or pecan pie or steak-and-kidney pie without talking to you first.
We did ask Angela, who is the daughter of George Cardas, the creator of Cardas Audio, and Josh, who is Angela's husband and head of marketing, to guide us through some of the highlights of Cardas' offerings.
Clear Reflection in handsome classic colors is the favored choice for Angela and Josh's home system.
Iridium: Cabling Well Begun
(For reference, a 1 m Iridium interconnect is $250.)
Josh's first pick, and Angela nodded in agreement, was Iridium. It's the third place up from the most affordable Cardas model, and is the first range to feature the top-end Cardas copper that's used in everything else all the way up to Clear Beyond. It's a simpler design, but still has Litz construction, and is physically very flexible. "No giant firehose speaker cables here," says Josh. "It's a very popular choice that gets people in the door, is high-end but still a great bargain."
If you're putting together your first nice system, Iridium is a great cable that will fit a smaller budget and will last, sounding ever better, through many upgrades.
|Cardas Iridium Phono Cable
|Cardas Iridium Power Cable
|Cardas Iridium Speaker Cable
Clear Sky: Closer to the Great Beyond
(For reference, a 1 m Clear Sky interconnect is $550.)
Sky is the entry-level of the great Clear line-up and takes on a lot of what has been learned from creating the most non-compromised cables on the planet.
"How long a cable takes to make affects the bottom line," says Josh, emphasizing that as you go up the product selection, the hugely complex windings and levels of dielectric and shielding add an inordinate amount of production time. Termination alone of the higher-end cables can take an hour.
By using as much of the flagship construction as possible, Clear Sky is able to give you a real sense of the magic that ultra-high-end cables bring, but at a much lower price.
|Cardas Clear Sky Interconnect
Clear Reflection: Insight into Modern Audiophilia
(For reference, a 1 m Clear Reflection interconnect is $1,250.)
We've already talked about why Angela and Josh use Reflection in their own system. "I don't like to use the word 'warm'," says Angela, "because audiophiles often use it in a negative sense, but this is a cable that sounds just right and doesn't give me listening fatigue."
Like many of us with systems in the living room rather than locked away in some special listening place, the audio system in the Cardas/Meredith household is playing nearly all the time they're at home and awake.
Josh can often be found sitting on the sofa in front of it with their son, taking turns playing tracks of their choice, learning so much about each other as well as discovering new music.
Says Angela of the new audiophile, "Instead of them all being retired and into another life, you see more families, more fathers and sons. The men don't separate themselves like they used to." Meaning that there's less disappearing into man caves and studies after dinner, and more hanging out with the family.
While Cardas does have cables that join the "head-on salvo for competing to get the best leading edge" as Josh puts it, they also offer musicality above all. "Listen longer with Cardas," says Josh. "That's one of the taglines I like to use."
|Cardas Clear Reflection Headphone Cable
|Cardas Clear Reflection Power Cable
"Want 1.75 m? Want 1.76 m? We Can Do It."
A scene in Bandon, Oregon, home of Cardas Audio. Credit: Cardas Audio
Yes, Cardas cables are completely made in America. And all of the final termination is done at the Cardas facility in Bandon, Oregon. This means that Cardas is not receiving huge shipments of boxes with pre-made 1 m and 2 m cables.
Says Josh Meredith, head of marketing at Cardas, "Can we do custom? Yes. Unusual lengths? Yes. Single cable? RCA to XLR? Send your longer cable back to cut in half and make into two cables? Not a problem."
"Some people have this idea that cables with round number lengths sound better," says Angela. "Where do you think that came from? People who sell only round number lengths. We sell 1 meter and 2 meter, but if you want 1.75 meter-"
"Or 1.76," interrupts Josh
"-or 1.76 meter, we can do it. We make everything here in the US. We have it all here in Bandon."
Western Electric Wants to Celebrate With You
Not wanting to miss out on its first holiday season, Western Electric is offering a limited time discount to make it easier to possess their astonishing new 300B integrated amp before the year is through.
Riding all the rave reviews and excitement out there, Western Electric is rewarding the market with 10% off the 91E, which can be yours for $13,500. That's $1,500 off the retail of $15,000!
Founded in 1869, Western Electric's history is intertwined with the history of transmitted and recorded sound. An American brand through and through, it was owned by AT&T until purchased and revived in 1996 by entrepreneur Charles G. Whitener of Westrex Corporation. The goal was to manufacture vacuum tubes and high-fidelity audio equipment.
In 1997, a newly created run of Western Electric 300B tubes began shipping worldwide, to great excitement among the tube audio community. In 2017, a modern tube manufacturing operation was set up in Rossville, Georgia with the goal of modernizing 300B manufacturing, adding additional tube lines, and in-house research and design of new products under this proud revival of an original American brand.