How Important Are System Cable Upgrades and Where to Start?

My limited experience indicates that the order of most to least important is:

Room Treatment: Room selection/ Audio furniture (vinyl playback)/ Equipment placement /absorbers/diffusers

Component upgrade

Component power supply

Power Source conditioning &/or dedicated circuit

Power Cable


Speaker cable


The exact order of the first five items likely vary a good bit depending on the room, starting components and quality of power.

What are your priorities?

Are your priorities based upon trial and error, or the logic of your thinking?



Looking at your list, I would start in this order; good luck!

1. Power Source conditioning &/or dedicated circuit

2. Room Treatment: Room selection/ Audio furniture (vinyl playback)/ Equipment placement /absorbers/diffusers

3. Cables with existing components (my preference is to start with Power Cables then Speaker or Interconnect)

4. Component power supply (address those first with wall wart power supply).

5. Component upgrade

Point #3, it’s unlikely that you find any consensus as everyone who believes cable matters have their own methodology. Just ignore the cable naysayers:-)

It somewhat depends upon what you are trying to do.  You would approach putting together a $3k system differently than a $300k system.  Roughly speaking, as you spend more the effects of tweaking become more apparent.  Good loudspeakers and decent room acoustics are fundamental.

I agree with both of the above posts. 

Focusing on cables, I also am in the power cords first camp. I have found that power cords often are component dependent. I suggest buying various used ones to find what works for you and your components. 

I think it depends on where you are and your timeframe. If your system is all brand new in a new location… that is one thing, if you have an existing system… something else.

I do a system upgrade every 5 - 10 years. I change speakers typically every 10 - 15 years. So, I start with components. I would never start with interconnects or cables… this stuff is highly component / system dependent. I upgrade to the very best and compatible components and listen a lot. Get to know the sound of my upgraded system. Definitely take your time. Nuances mater. 

You have a great power conditioner. I can’t remember if you put in direct lines. These always help… so, whenever you get around to it.

Then, if speakers are new… speaker cables (these can be huge if you have significantly changed your system.. Then power cord for amp. Then interconnects, then the rest of the power cords. At this point your system should be performing really well and time for detailed room treatments.

I would never do components last… it can negate all the work you just did.

“I would never do components last… it can negate all the work you just did.”

I hear you but I hope you’re not suggesting to upgrade components outright without maximizing the potential of existing components?  


I have always started from a stable and optimized system. Well, since 1980. As advice to the OP… optimize your system first… yes. As general advice no. It all depends on where you are. 

I think that if you really like the way your system sounds, you can try upgrading cables to bring out your system’s full potential, which expensive cables may or may not do. If you are not fully satisfied with your sound, I would go for new speakers or boxes until I got it to where I liked what I was hearing. As far as cables go, I found that speaker cables made the most dramatic difference. 

"System Cable Upgrades" can be extremely important, so long as your equipment is up to snuff and you’re happy with it.

They’re not going to make a bad system sound good, but rather make a good system sound better.

Honestly, I think it depends on the component in question as to which cable upgrade makes the biggest difference. Could be PC, IC or SC. Or all 3.