Did you consider the Ifi Audio iPower X?
One week on and the Vodkas just keep on getting better. What I’m experiencing now is lots of detail, dynamism, definition and resolution with a deep tight & tuneful bass. The whole presentation is so crisp without the slightest hint of any harshness or listener fatigue. PRaT in spades!
To everyone here who have been following this thread - I highly recommend the AQ Vodka full loom and that it suits the NDX 2/XPS DR to an absolute Tee! Even with the headphones on it’s glorious. I’m so glad I over rode all of the doubters because it’s excellent in every way and are IMHO worth every single penny.
Happy Listening You’ll!
Not wanting to damp down the happiness, but I would also recommend that anyone buying Vodkas or any other relatively expensive Ethernet cable get them from those dealers (and there are more than a few) who offer either home demos or a sale or return purchase. I had them on trial for over a month, first a couple and then full loom, but simply couldn’t get on with what I found to be a lack of texture and and rather single-dimensional tonality, amongst other things. I really hated them, however much I tried to give them a chance on the basis of others’ positive comments. I was very grateful I could just send them back and get my money back.
Very wise advice with most things in this rather expensive hobby of ours. My findings in my system are pretty much as Stephen describes them though, so a total success for me too.
It’s very strange you found the vodka lacking textures and soundstaging, because, specially for textures, i found this cable rich and organic sounding. But a bit edgy and in my face sometimes. The Diamond opens and is more liquid, softer, and without any hardness.
But already the Vodka, for me, was absolutely not lacking textures. The Blue Jeans was lean in my system, the Catsnake was overwhelming the bass, but not lean as the Blue Jean.
Lacking textures and one dimensional is the exact opposite to what I’ve found as well. All the other cables I’ve tried in my system, and I did give it three years here, I found very mediocre and were not letting my NDX 2 unleash what it’s really capable of. The Vodkas are fantastic cables and I suspect they’ve been a huge success for AudioQuest. Worth every penny.
P.S I would love to try the Diamonds but unfortunately they’re way out of my price range and what I’m willing to spend. Anyway I’m happy where I currently am and that’s what counts.
Yup, getting a demo is key, so glad I was able to do that and not get stuck with an expensive cable that doesn’t sound good in my system. The BJCs really are a gift when you consider they’re a hand built Ethernet spec cable that’s been tested and costs fractions of what these overpriced streaming cables cost.
In my system they just didn’t hit the spot for me. Anyway I gave mine away, hopefully someone will plug them into a gaming laptop or something, where they belong IMHO.
As we have learnt on here, Ethernet cable performance is very system and set up dependent.
FWIW I found the Designacable CatSnake 6a (floating shield) superior to Vodka in my system.
I agree and of course we all like different things and take from them what we will in different ways. Not one shoe fits all. Oh, and I much prefer Gin to Vodka, I can’t drink Vodka, it makes me very
I’m currently using Catsnake in my system at the moment (switch to streamer) but my dealer has just got me an AQ Vodka to try. I’ll let you know what I think.
I too initially found the Catsnake a bit big in the bass but reversing the direction seemed to tame this significantly.
…And if you really like it then I’ll suggest to go the whole hog. It’s fantastic.
P.S Even on the end of a pair of jeans I found it to be excellent, although nowhere near as good as the real deal.
I have tried a few different cables over the years and finally settled on a long run 15m of catsnake from router to switch, then 4m of once again catsnake from switch to melco and finally audioquest diamond from melco to rossini.
I found this mixing worked fine for me, the melco to rossini being the only real expensive cable, but then only really noticeable on ripped or downloaded tracks played from melco, rather than streaming as this i found i couldn’t hear any difference at all.
Now maybe thats because the streamer in the rossini is less effected by poor Internet?
Rossini is not the appropriate name for Him. It should be named Godssini. . Lol, in a positive way.
For several years I tried a few references like the ones listed (AQ, Belden, Chord) without finding consistency, fine but not completely relaxed, what worked best was a cheap U/UTP cable assembly.
I then changed the digital streamer–>Dac cable.
Today I am happy with:
1m Vodka from the wall at Cisco2960, 3m Cinnamon from Cisco at Bonn N8 and 1m Chord Indigo from Bonn at Streamer Wattson.
After reading all new posts I will add this, audioquest must be happy selling a lot of vodka lately.
Jokes apart, I think the cinamon is a great start, I lived with the cinamon almost 3 years and still find it a very good and balanced cable, the vodka ads more but not in my view as easy to combine as the cinamon or the Diamond.
But do not buy cables of this price based on a forum post without having a way to experiment first, there are many variables on a audio system and network that can give different results for every user.
So when I mention the differences I hear on the Diamond, vodka and cinamon on a post I normally do not think on the variables of every user system, and even do not have other brands, only have audioquest on my network to even have a clue of what other brands offer.
The comments could help someone who is familiar with the brand to understand what they could gain, but not someone who is willing to buy their first cable thinking it will be perfect, not always the better cable gives the better results.
A nice sensible post, thanks for sharing.
I would like to try the Diamonds some day, maybe when they come down in price on the used markets?
To add: I have here the Cinnamon full loom and agree that they are very good for their price. Indeed, I started my journey with the Cinnamons. Now using the full Vodka, for me there is no going back, simply better in every way, but then again they do cost a lot more and I’m pretty sure AudioQuest know exactly how to price their ranges to performance, especially being a very successful long standing dedicated cable company.
Strangely I never liked the Cinnamon. I found it to forward, digital and cold in my system up against Shunyata, Entreq and BJC. Kept Entreq Konstantin.