Are cable “upgrades” just as likely to make your system sound worse?

Many of us with highly resolving systems have found that speakers cables and interconnect cables can improve the sound quality of our systems. But are they also just as likely to do the opposite?

A few months ago, I “upgraded” to a renowned speaker cable, and immediately noticed more detail and resolution. I was so pleased I also “upgraded” the interconnects. But with more time I realized that the trade-off for more detail was a thinner sound with diminished tonal richness. Thus began a maddening series of attempts to fix the problem – different speaker cables, different DAC, different streamer, and now even a 30 trial of a new amplifier to try to overcome the thinness and find a more natural tone. It finally occurred to me to replace the out-of-sight-out-of-mind interconnects (with my original interconnects), and immediately the problem was blessedly solved.

Have others experienced this frustration? What recommendations do you have to avoid such fiascos?


“Likely ?” ….. no …. Not generally likely, IMO.

” Possibly?” …Yes … Let me expand on a real-life example.

I contacted Josh Meredith at CARDAS AUDIO for guidance on new speaker cable upgrades: thinking CARDAS CLEAR to either match my CC interconnects, or alternatively recommend another CARDAS model with expert guidance with their experience reasons please.

I mentioned that I had a new listening area and new speakers with a lot of big windows,  and my prior incumbent NORDOST FREY cables array was being now upgraded , because it sounded overly “bright” and with a “digital edge” to be tamed .

Josh responded that he and his wife, ANGELA CARDAS , had the CARDAS CLEAR and the very top CARDAS CLEAR BEYOND spesker cables in their listening room with similar very large windows and a like “ brightness” et al introduced that was irritating. One of the CARDAS AUDIO plant engineers suggested that he swap in CARDAS CARDAS CLEAR REFLECTION speaker cables (“CCR”) (…3 models down from the very top CLEAR BEYOND model): as a better choice in their home’s bespoke big window listening arena, The CCR model has a “warmer” audio sonic signature that successfully tamed the excess room “brightness” and digital “”:edge whereas the CC or CCB more expensive cable models could not due to a different sonic audio performance and new listening arena bespoke acoustic sound warts thst cannot be ignored or minimized .

That was his recommendation to me to first scope out the CCR line in my heavy windowed room too. I did, and I bought them as the top performer for MY system (emphasis added)


All high-end components have their own bespoke sonic signature, including cables. It requires a careful synergy search and careful matching derived from substantial research, experimentation, and hands-on auditions to maximize the product choices to distill out the contenders from all the many pretenders.

There is no one-size-fits-all “silver bullet” solution in cable upgrades either. Any and all casually assumed or like capricious changes as assumed upgrades …offer no assurance of improvement success . Choose wisely.



@cleeds I don't think I see many of the disappointed posts but I'll agree I've seen a few.

thanks for agreeing with me on sterling silver.


That happened to me when I upgraded to more expensive silver cables.  They were far brighter in my system which led to listening fatigue.  I mostly stick with copper and my system sounds better than ever.  I noticed a big difference also when I went from good CAT6 to my streamer to fiber optic cables.  There was a bit more detail, but the sound was thinner with less bass and tended towards brightness.  You can ABSOLUTELY use cables to tune your system.  Anyone who says otherwise probably just hasn’t taken the time to really listen.  

The break in time for speaker cables can be quite long. When I made my own cables using Canare 4s11, I waited 100 hrs, before making any determination about their sound. They have certainly gotten better with time.