Transparent Audio is anything but Transparent

I bought a new tube amp. With its placement the right channels speaker cable is too short.  Out of impatience to reach the tube amp I bought a single 15 foot super old Music Wave Ultra MM at a reasonable price. It’s 25 years old and sounds great, so I decided to look for a newer 10/12 foot pair, and move that single to the center speaker.

I went to Transprent Audio’s website and it became apparent that I can’t afford new. I started a search for used. This is where the frustration with Transparent Audio began.

My mindset or expectations from Transparent stem from a 2022 letter that Transparent Audios’ president and CEO, Karen Sumner wrote on the “What’s Best Forum” titled “Preowned Transparent Opportunities.

The article opens with Karen writing, “With the introduction of Transparent Generation 6, there are a few more than usual Gen 5, MM2, and older Transparent Cables available through the pre-owned market that offer a lot of performance and value. I hope many of you will want to take advantage of this opportunity.

She makes it clear that with third party sales, “the warranty is not transferable. There will be a fee for recalibration and for any repairs or termination changes that might be necessary. Call 207-284-1100 or write to for recalibration help and service. She never discourages third party sales. Quite the opposite. Karen closes the article with, quote, “Please feel free to ask me questions if you are considering purchasing some preowned Transparent.

So, in a nutshell she writes, “I hope many of you will want to take advantage of this opportunity, and “Please feel free to ask me questions if you are considering purchasing some preowned Transparent.”

But it’s all a lie. They don’t answer any questions, and they screw over Audiogon sales by steering you away from third party sales, and pushing you to their dealers.

I called and asked “how do MM2 Ultras stack up against the G5 Supers. I was literally told that they don’t give out that information. It’s for us to know and for you to find out. While searching I stumbled upon the Aliexpress counterfeits.  They are shipped in a poly bag. Then you go to eBay and buy the box for $50.00 a pop. Transparent Audio Reference PowerLink Factory Cartons eBay item number:224172498955.

I found a pair of G5’s that would work, but being worried about counterfeits, I emailed Transparent customer service with three photos for only for their opinion. Like I said, they don't answer question, and steer you to their dealers, scewing over the Audiogon sellers.

Their reply was “We can never guarantee the authenticity or functionality of products being sold by anyone other than our authorized dealers. If you choose to purchase from third parties, those purchases are made caveat emptor. If you’d like to be absolutely certain you are purchasing authentic Transparent products, I recommend you shop our network of authorized dealers.

So it’s clear to me, that this article wanting you to take advantage of buying used and answering your concerns was just a bunch of propaganda. Thanks for nothing.




This thread has had some good comedy, thank you all.

I think I would be a bit wary of buying used cable brands like Cardas and Audio Note that use rather plain looking outer sheaths, they just look too easy to forge.  Not that cables need to have a lot of bling but I'm guessing the counterfeiters won't bother trying to reproduce a unique cable jacket.

I believe Cardas will at least look at photos and identify an obvious counterfeit for you, which seems generous of them, even though that is not an outright authentication. 

@marshinski15 , well, if you think that they are not transparent listen to this. I had a 3 m Nordost Odin xlr, bought at their official dealer. It was used in a system with active speakers. Changed the system, so I needed the shorter runs. Nordost at that time, stated on their site that they are doing retermination of their cables. Wrote to them and they simply refused to do it (for Odin) and just pointed me to sell it and than to buy new shorter runs. Suffice to say, sold the cable via Highend Broker for roughly 1/3rd of its original price and bought another, shorter one (not Nordost, of course) Never, never will buy a new Nordost product. There are plenty of others. I guess, the same applies for Transparent as well. 

More snake oil, I think we have gotten too sophisticated to buy into this nonsense, well at least most of us!

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I have owned both Transparent power, interconnect and speaker cables for over 32 years. I only upgraded one time, and my local dealer, Audio Advice in Raleigh, NC handled the upgrade process, as well as let me try the more recently released models before purchase so that I could experience the difference in my "real world" setting. They answered all of my questions regarding the differences across age and model. It is worthy to note that not all Transparent Cables can be tuned to your individual equipment, only Reference level and above, so when considering that financial commitment, you can be comforted that the cables you purchase will partner with your components electrical characteristics, no matter which cable you select.

When I changed speakers about 12 years into ownership, I asked about cable tuning, since I went from a Dynamic speaker, (Kef 103.2) to a hybrid electrostatic speaker, (M-L Ascent i), and a Threshold SA 4e amplifier driving them. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to send back the cables for adjustment, which means that Transparent Cables will work as intended across many mixes of components without the need for such calibration, but all it takes is a phone call to verify your serial number to do that. I am not one of those people who are on the upgrade "merry-go-round" any more. I am quite satisfied with the system I have set up and with the customer service from Audio Advice and Transparent, which I guess is why they have both been in business for more than 40 years.


What exactly are these calibrating to? And what internally can they be calibrating?

IF you buy transparent cables with the hope of someday changing the wires you got for any number of reasons- mods or upgrades- you need to get them through a dealer. I made a number of changes for a while and it was well worth the help I received. They even made an error in configuring a new pair of  speaker cables (once), and the problem was addressed free of charge and without much waiting. However there are certain incremental improvements in sound quality that my ears are not that sensitive to.  My speakers are pretty great, but there are limits to my need for what some call the top models out there. So IOW I found my personal limit not only money-wise but also the diminishing return-limit as well. But if I still develop a problem, I have a certificate for every cable I bought, and they WILL fix any cable(s) that I need them to.

  • Specify amplifier, speakers, and system layout for optimal network calibration and cable configuration
  • Custom terminations/lengths/singles always available

@thecarpathian  You should read Karen's posts at WBF she speaks of the relationship they once had with MIT cables. Also :

REFERENCE Speaker Cable is handcrafted in the USA and is a significant performance upgrade compared to Ultra Speaker Cable because its networks components are more precisely matched to the cable’s inherent electrical properties and length. In addition, Reference level cables are the first products in the Transparent family to be custom calibrated for the specific electrical output characteristics of your components. REFERENCE Speaker Cable delivers deeper, tighter bass frequencies and transfers music with more refinement than ULTRA Speaker Cable

REFERENCE Speaker Cable is available in 2 versions: High Z for high output impedance and Low Z for low output impedance amplifiers, but the customization doesn’t stop there. Connector configurations and polarity to fit precisely and easily with your specific amplifier, speakers, and system layout. Contact Transparent or a Transparent dealer to determine which version is the best fit for your amplifier and to discuss the details of your system connection.


Nice post. Audio Advice-Raleigh used to be my reference shop as well. I paid a visit last Summer and was horrified at the current operation. There was not a mega-reference system in any room? There was not a system wired with TA cables/cords? Furthermore, a bunch of kids work there now, dicking around when they could be learning something pertinent to Audio. Times have changed.


Happy Listening!


They look to be going more mainstream, not the same since Ivan retired... or maybe that is why he retired.  : ) 

I still go there though and they provide great support. Just look for the oldest guy around for help LOL. 

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Thank you for the follow up. Yes, Mel was my go-to.

Either he no longer works there or those kids did not know him?



Happy Listening!

I would still like to know along with other cable manufacturers; what is exactly in those “ magic “ boxes ? Seems to me that if you make a cable right the first time around that you wouldn’t need those …..boxes . Just a thought …..