Best cable placement

Looking for the best placement of my IC cable. I have a Transparent Audio Ultra MM IC cable and a Transparent Audio Ultra MM2 IC cable.  I am connecting Mark Levinson No 30.6 Processor to my Mark Levinson No 32 Pre  Amp.  I also want to connect from my Pre Amp to my Mark Levinson No 336 Amp.  Where should I put my MM2 cable (the better cable) from the source to the Pre Amp or from the Pre Amp to the Amp? 

My speakers are 801D4 and speaker cables are Transparent Audio Ultra Gen5 bi-wire. 



To me it would make sense to put the better of the two cables between your preamp and power amp, this way any source connected to the preamp would benefit from the better cable instead of just one component.

Transparent used to recommend (have not checked in a few years), cable importance/upgrade order is IC from Source to Pre first, then Speaker Cables, then IC from Pre to Amp...

I’ve tried this both ways and found putting the better or more revealing cable closest to the source was much better.  Of course it’s easy for you to just try for yourself and see what you think. 

When I was upgrading I upgraded ICs source to pre then pre to amp.  Did the same with power cables by the way.

In my experience, it all depends on the synergy. In most cases in my system(and different variations of it), the best cable made the biggest difference between preamp and amp. But because it can also reveal the shortcomings upstream, experiment and hear for yourself what it does and where it sounds best. 



+1 I’d use this as a starting point. I would leave it in my system that way for a couple weeks at least. Until you know the sound completely… two months is good as well. Then switch them. To me this kind of comparison is the way to hear subtle differences. 



From my source (DAC) into my preamp has made the most significant improvement by far. What is lost from the source can't be made up elsewhere. 

Thanks for all the insight. 

I'm going to try it between the preamp and amplifier first. I would think that that cable would be the most important, but I don't know. It would seem if the better cable was upstream, and the lesser cable downstream, it would seem the lesser cable would negate the better one. 

Would it be true, if the better cable is between the preamp and amp. That all of the components would benefit from it being as it's the last IC cable in the chain?

Whereas, if the best cable was between my Dac and pre amp, that circuit would be the only one to benefit from it. Whereas the other way all components would benefit from it....

I will be trying both ways, and will report back....


It would seem if the better cable was upstream, and the lesser cable downstream, it would seem the lesser cable would negate the better one. 

That was not my experience.  I found that if I put the lesser cable upstream it choked off the better cable more downstream than if I did it the other way around.  But, the great thing is you get to try it both ways and hear for yourself, which is all that matters. 

I think the logic is what is lost up front is lost forever and that the signal tends to be stronger downstream so is less prone to loss. 

OP…There’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s what creates better synergy and sounds best to you.

Here’s an example…

Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref II vs Silver Ref II. Or Acoustic Zen Silver Ref II vs Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper. I am talking about same make cables here. In both cases the Silver Ref sounded best between source and preamp. And it is not because the Silver Ref II is a better cable than the Matrix or the Absolute. It is because in that configuration in my system that was the best synergy. Having the Silver between preamp and amp was too hot. In both cases the copper set balanced out what tge silver had to offer and made the best out of it. So just experiment and go by what sounds best to you and hit us up with your findings  

+ mostly everyone 

Generally source/upstream first, but easy to try other components to see which you like sonically best.