Yesterday I replaced two items on my system: the twist-on banana plugs on my Monster Z-Series speaker cables, and the interconnects on my Marantz SA-8001 SACD player.
I expected to hear a difference with the cables (which I certainly did!), but little or no difference with the new banana plugs. Boy, was I in for a surprise! While the new "Monster Lock" bananas look almost exactly like those I replaced, the center portions are all much wider, and as a result, the fit is far tighter. Actually, the reason I replaced them in the first place was that the older plugs easily fell out. I was in no way prepared for the noticeable improvement in sound though: everything was considerably sharper and more detailed, and above all else, much, much louder. I guess this is all a result of more efficient signal transfer.
But then the real improvement came about with the M1000i interconnects. I had been using a pair of older cables from a German manufacturer, Benchmark Audio (no relation to the current company of the same name) that I greatly preferred over the silver Kimber cables I paid close to $300 for many years back. The Benchmark cables were a good deal warmer, richer and more musical sounding than the Kimber cables, but as they are over 10 years old, I thought I'd see if a modest investment ($100) would make an improvement. And did it ever!
On the packaging for the M1000i cables, Monster claims the following:
Superior Clarity in Low, Mid and HIgh Ranges
Deeper, Tighter Bass Response
Smooth, Extended Highs
Pinpoint Imaging and Deeper Soundstage
And guess what? These cables do exactly as claimed! I'm not sure which of those characteristics impresses me the most, but the most noticeable of them is the "effortless dynamics" as there is quite an improvement in dynamic range, especially on classical music. Now the quiet passages aren't lost in sonic obscurity, but are as detailed and precise as any other part of the music, but as the level increases, the effect is very, very dramatic indeed.
I haven't had the chance to listen to many of my favorite discs, but the few I played yesterday impressed the sh*^ out of me. I own a number of Telarc SACD's which I've always thought sounded a bit lackluster, or even, downright dull. Not so now, as the detail and clarity I didn't hear before is there in all its glory.
Several AR members love to disparage Monster Cable, and I guess they have their reasons. My experience with Monster, on the other hand, has been nothing but positive. The Z-Series speaker cables wiped the floor with the far costlier Audioquest "Crystal" cables they replaced; a digital coax cable I purchased about 2 years ago to connect my DAC to my CD player outperformed other costlier cables from several manufacturers as well as Audioquest; and now these M1000i cables, at a fairly modest $100 for a 4' pair, outperform a host of others, in particular, that set of Kimber silver cables that cost fully three times as much. to me, that says "value."
I have a few hours to spare today, and intend to spend most of them enjoying the new sonic benefits of these wonderful interconnects. I can't recommend them highly enough!