How good does my system have to be to realize an improvement with cables?

I've heard the difference power cables and interconnect cables in a highly resolving system so that's not the question.  $200 for cables  on a $500 DAC doesn't make sense to me.  Wouldn't that $200 be better spent on a better component?  At what point is an expensive cable the best choice?  Spending $500 on a $15,000 DAC does make sense as the transparency and resolution of the component could be better realized with a better signal / power source.

My question is what's the  percentage of the overall component's cost should be the cabling and at what point should it even be considered?

Or put a different way How would you know if your cables are your weakest link?



Hi danager!  If you bought your gear at WalMart, cables probably won't help. If your gear is from well known, quality companies, it's worth an experiment. Are you using ordinary lamp cord for speaker wire? Lots of us do. It should be 14 gauge or larger (smaller number). Get some used cables on line (you can return them if they don't improve things), good ones with a good reputation. Do they help? Are they worse? Your system is different than everyone else's. What works well for Mr. X may not work for you and vica versa. USB cables are critical. Not many people seem to talk about that, but it's true. Amazon has nice Chinese power cords for $50. Worth a try? I use 'em. My pals do too. Are there better ones? Sure, but if you get a noticable improvement for $50, be happy!  It like a marriage partner. They only way to know - is to marry them. An expensive, risky proposition. Cables are the same but much cheaper. Happy Listening!

Since many of us have “upgraditis” I bought the best cables I could afford knowing that I will probably upgrade my dac at some point. I went with Transparent Power cord and Transparent XLR’s with Reference Quality. I have a Lumin T2 and when I switched the power cord from Lumin and the XLRs from Audioquest there was a significant improvement in detail, bass and clarity as well as the soundstage. This is why I am now a converted believer in premium cabling making a significant positive impact on your SQ.


Let us know how you make out!!.

+1 on the ~10% general guideline

Lots of variables in the equation and there appears to be no ceiling in the upper end cost 

Though there are are some price performer gems, while not the best sounding cable, that still sound great and provide better ROI

Just to name a few in my limited travels

Audio Envy


Silversmith Fideliums

Users of Blue Jean cables consistently provide high customer sat ratings as well

Enjoy the journey

To the question asked my reply is very modest  system.

On my second system a pair of elac speakers and a denon receiver one could hear a speaker cable swap.


Speaker cables I compared Blue Jean Cables to Audio Quest Rocket 33 and Kimber Kable 12TC. I preferred the Blue Jean Cables in that comparison because the Kimber Kable 12TCs had harshness in the higher frequencies and the Audio Quest Rocket 33s seemed to muffle lower frequencies.

I have trouble assessing the quality of cables based on the price. This is a good example. For a pair of 10 ft speaker cables, Blue Jean costs approximately $125, AQ Rocket 33 around $500 and Kimber 12TCs around $1000. Blue Jean performs the best. Go figure.