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?



@tablejockey +1 (very wise and sage advice there.)

if it sounds good, then the “fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) is mostly coming from reading the forum.
So if it sounds good, then just enjoy it.

FWIW, the best cables I've found for my system are Anticables. The speaker cables in particular made a dramatic difference over my previous Blue Jean Canares. Interconnects are also excellent. The Level 3 cables, which I use, were a very reasonable $350 for the speakers and $200 for interconnects. Levels 1 and 2 are even more affordable.

A number of folks have commented on Blue Jeans.  I've got some and like them as well.  Now they have the Iconoclast line if you're not aware.  Intended to compete with the high-end audio cable brands but with more down to earth pricing and designed by a Belden engineer specifically for audio applications.  I'm anxious to see reviews on them. Are they an even better Blue Jeans product?

Spend whatever you want on cables but they are system dependent. For laughs I put a pair of ten thousand dollar interconnects between an old receiver and CD player (used them also because they were handy) and the results were better than I anticipated.

A Speaker Cable is a good starting place to pick up on how a Cable Interface can impact on the SQ of a System.

A Tighter/looser Base and Mid’-Range Projection / Suppression are reasonably easy to detect as Cables are exchanged.

This is a good starting place to attune the ear, as this where the most immediate changes are likely to be detected.

The other good side to using speaker Cables is that there are plenty options at fair money, and a cheap option can easily impress over a much more expensive option.

I have in the past swapped out carefully selected $20 per metre Cables for Mapleshade Double Helix Clearview Cables, and very recently, replaced the Mapleshade Cables with a Acoustic Revive PC CCC Cable which is a much lesser price and surpasses the M’shades as an Interface.

Other Cable comparisons are not such an affordable option, and can get quite expensive, seeking out Cables with a Return Period included in a sale might be beneficial, to increase the experiences.

To get the idea of the M'shades performance, I loaned them out, where they were used at a Speaker Cable Bake Off, with a range of Silver and Copper Cables present at a cost of up to £500 per metre.

These were used on an EAR Valve Amp > Quad ESL System.

The M'shades were selected as Joint Top Performers along with a Silver Cable.

I was very pleased to learn of this, as it was testimony to my choice made from previous investigations.

The organiser of the event only deselected the M'shades as they would be an Import to the UK, and they wanted to Support UK Business.

The Silver Cables were chosen from the Brand True Silver, it is not too difficult to check out their prices.