Arcam AVP700-Pre/Pro
Arcam P1000-Amp
Quad 22L2-Speakers
Denon 3800 Dvd/Cd
Transparent MusicLink 100

I have had this system for approx 2 years and have never really been satisfied with the overall tonal balance of this setup. After during a little reading I found out that my interconnects may be plugged in incorrectly between the pre/pro and the amp. I currently have the arrows of the ic's facing into pre/pro from the amp. Is this correct? I've always assumed that the pre/pro was the source.
Think about it. The signal flows from the source, through the preamp to the amp which sends it to the speakers. The arrows from the source (CD, tuner, tape, record player) should point to the preamp. The arrows from the preamp should point to the amp. Now, will you hear a difference? Who knows?
Some IC manufacturers use a ground on the shield of the IC to dissipate any stray electrical interference. They will often show which direction to use the IC based on which end of the shield is grounded. I can't hear a difference. I don't have much RFI but I do have EMI from power cords and AC lines. Either I don't have sensitive enough ears, a sensitive enough stereo system, or it just doesn't matter. Swap the direction and see if you can tell any difference for yourself.
The two previous responses are correct, arrows point in the direction of the signal.

Remember though, once the cable is reversed it could require hours of additional break in before it reaches maximum performance.

Depending on brand, shield, terminations and associated equipment, the difference could be startling. Possibly enough for you to change your mind completely about this cables merit.

I heartily advise you put it right and give it a chance before moving to another brand, regardless of who built the cable.
Tgrisham--great point!

If you look at some of the cable recipes out there, there are differences in terms of whether the shield is connected to ground, and if so, at one or both ends. As I understand it, grounding the shield at only one end provides a drain path for any interference trapped by the shield. This construction method certainly creates an "end differential" for some cables.

This excerpt from Jon Risch's Web Site is where I first learned of this. In this example, he is refering to cables that have dedicated hot and a ground conductors, plus a shield (in other words, NOT a coax cable, where the shield is also the ground):

". . .the outer conductive sheath known as the shield should only be hard grounded at one end, typically the low impedance signal source end. The other end can either be left unconnected, or connected to ground via a 0.01 uF ceramic disc capacitor to aid in RFI suppression. This can be one of the basis for "one way" or "unidirectional" cables."

Whether or not this method of construction applies in this case is not known, but I hope this helps.
Yes - as others have already said - arrows should point away from the signal source.
JPS Labs put arrows on their cables and interconnects. I am so dyslexic I have to really pay attention or will get it backwards. Don't know if it makes a sonic difference or not - haven't tried them reversed but since the mftr. seems to think it matters - I figure why not just go with it? I suspect I wouldn't be able to hear a difference either way - but there's lots of other things to do before we conduct that experiment!
it is entirely possible, even if it hasn't happened yet, that one using a "shielded cable" installed incorrectly, could find very loud any transmissions of a CB user driving past.
the shielding send that kind of RF away. Think: Destination-downstream when it comes to arrows. Or anti-salmon stream. :)

Many cables ARE directional, and they will not sound right (Cardas case in point) if they are going the wrong way - I have tried it and you really have to have the arrows going in the direction of the signal path (as stated above by others).
Thankfully, this thread has been free of the simplistic idea that the audio signal is alternating current. I will say from personal experience that on occasion I have found that having the shield attached to the preamp end or the source end sounds better. I have no real idea why this might be true, but it is very uncommon.

There also is the matter of wire drawing. Some manufacturers, Kondo, suggest that the direction of the cables to sound best has to consider the wire draw.

The safest way is to do what sounds better but start with the arrows going from the source toward the speakers.
"Thankfully, this thread has been free of the simplistic idea that the audio signal is alternating current."

Simplistic but true. However for interconnects the shielding should be connected at the source end, hence the arrows.
Xiekitchen: according to Cardas their cables are not directional. If the cable has arrow marks it coud be counterfeit.

You must be refering to all of the "newer" model Cardas cables - such as the Golden Reference (1 have a 1M pair of Golden Reference and they are non-directional). I assure you the older (90's) Quadlink, Hexlink, Golden Cross ARE directional and have arrows on the sleeves.