Price Isn't Always Indicitive of Quality or Performance

I had spent over $1000 on a Synergistic Research Cable.  The Atmosphere Level 1 level, to be exact. I was using this as my main source cable to my powered speakers. It was absolutely DE-MOL-ISHED by Lavricables' Grand line for a mere $500. It isn't that the SR cable wasn't good.  I was impressed with it and it was a major upgrade over their Foundation line and a phenomenal upgrade over Audioquest's Yosemite cable. 

SR and Lavricables use similar tech, but only Lavricables uses pure silver practically throughout.

Here is the over all make up of the $1000 SR Atmosphere cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: Silver/Copper matrix.  Or....silver and copper wire twirled together. Purity unknown. Actual wire gauge unknown.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: gold plated copper, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: Silver plated silver, cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Has a silver-plated copper mesh as a floating shield.
Uses a Tesla Coil to burn the cable in (quantum tunneling) prior to shipping out.

Now...Lavricables' $500 cable:

4 conductors.
Conductor: 20 awg 6N pure silver. Each group is laminated separately in Teflon before being encased in Teflon dielectric insulation. Graphene is applied at key points through out the cable.  The cable was cryo treated.
Dielectric: Teflon
Source Connector: Trillium Copper plated with gold. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.
Speaker Connector: AECO ARP-4055 Pure Silver RCA Connectors. Cryo treated and has graphene applied.

The unbelievable sound quality from pure silver was so immense and powerful.  It was no longer like listening to music as it was more like experiencing the music.  The music was pushing into you.  Similar to going to a concert and having the music beat and play in your chest. There were songs that had distortion at either loud, high pitched, or at peak cacophony that I attributed to being part of the recording. The Lavricables proved that it was simply that the SR cable was incapable of reproducing those notes.  WHAT!?! I mean, how do you engineer a cable to fail at $1000? I guess so it doesn't out perform or come too close to your $10,000+ cables. In Lavricables, the Grand line is tops; there is nothing higher.  They pour *ALL* their knowledge, best materials and techniques in the Grand line.

I thought long about this and I think I figured it out. It isn't that Synergistic Research is necessarily trying to rip anyone off.  It's the cost of doing business in the United States.  Lavricables are located in Latvia. Synergistic Research and Audioquest are based out of California.  The average MSRP markup on goods in CA is 3000%. To compare, Texas's MSRP markup is 300%. So the cost of materials will be higher to make the same product in CA than it would in TX. Synergistic Research and respectively Audioquest, has to charge what they do to maintain living and operating out of CA. But in Latvia?  It is clear to me that the materials, tech and know how isn't that expensive there.  So it can be surmised that the cost of living and operating out of Latvia is less expensive, which means they can offer the highest grade product at a much lower cost than if the same cable were made here in the United States.

I am thinking of replacing *ALL* my cables. O_O


Use what sounds good. Sometimes it's 150 bucks and sometimes it's 3500. 

Man, this sounds just like an advertisement.

I get it. Use what you want. Glad you like them. Carry on.



Thanks for posting. I'm unaware of this company but did visit their online site after reading your comments. I'm a strong proponent of high quality, well-made silver cables and these appear to meet those criteria. I have been interested in pure silver power cables (At reasonable cost) for a while.

My long time Ocelia Silver Reference ICs and speaker cables are not going anywhere. 🙂 I'll seek to learn more about this small cottage cable maker in Latvia. I do tend to gravitate to the smaller one-man operations driven by pure passion and love of music types.


I never liked silver cable. Copper is more full range/warmer sounding side of things compared to silver which is more analytical/cooler sounding. Some people like a more analytic sounding system, I don’t 

Just goes to show how listeners, audio systems and products vary. High quality silver cables in my experience are very open, transparent and yet very natural and consistently engaging. My Ocellia silver cables are the most organic and fluid cables I’ve owned. Utterly natural tonality and timbre.the antithesis of cool/uninvolved presentation. Truly horses for courses.




Agreed.  Thank you for the comparison and review. It pays (no pun) to shop around.


Happy Listening!

My experience is similar to @charles1dad in that my Acoustic Zen and LavriCables as well as some VooDoo cables I demoed are detailed but also tonally full and natural sounding.  I don’t think you can paint all silver cables with the same brush as it seems to depend on implementation, just like some copper cables can be much warmer sounding while others sound more detailed and neutral.  Just my experience. 

Don't buy on price.  Buy on extending listening in your own room and your own system.

I have gone with silver interconnect for 30+ years now.

The average MSRP markup on goods in CA is 3000%. To compare, Texas’s MSRP markup is 300%.

 From what source did you reference that statement?


Painting with the proverbial “broad brush” happens fairly regularly in discussions concerning High End audio. For example, “all tube amplifiers sound pretty much the same”.  Well, Audio Note, Audio Research, VAC and LAMM are tubed. Yet each is distinctly different from the others.


My impression as well. LavriCables seem worth further exploration. Forums like Audiogon are terrific for introducing products that some were completely unaware of (In this instance like me 🙂).


I always read things carefully looking for buzz words and inaccuracies indicating that we are seeing more marketing and hype than supporting facts.  The description of the Lavricable cable set off red flags.  The use of the word "laminated' makes no sense.  Trillium is a flower.  Even if they meant to say Tellurium, tellurium copper is a poor choice for electrical connectors--poor conductivity is the expense for improved machinability.  Graphene is a type of carbon that is highly conductive but hard to use.  Has limited application in the electronics industry so I'd like to see how it is applied.

That said, looking at the cables on the website, they look ok.  Now you're back to the age old question, "Are silver interconnects good?".  While silver is factually a better conductor than any form of copper and not expensive compared to other high end cables, it hasn't taken a significant share of the audiophile market for interconnects.  why?  

I haven't tried silver interconnects for decades and should try some with my current system.  



Speaking of introducing products, check out Way Cables from Serbia. I got couple of categories pin down for my next trial.

Well, I can't say the OP's post matched my expectations based on the title.  It presupposes a lot about the value of cables vs. the gear and the room.

Personally what I've observed is that when cables make a difference we are already far up the curve of diminishing returns.  The return on investment is never as low as it is with cables and for some is a never ending carousel.

If this is you I hope you can step back and really think about the money being spent vs. the value in them each time. Too often I see people who see any change, no matter how small, as worth any amount of money. 

I would say, as a rule: "You get what you pay for" is a true statement. There are certainly overachievers that break the mold and perform above their pay grades. I’ve also seen that cases where a particular manufacturer introduces new products/technologies that produce significantly better bang-for-the-buck relative to prior generations. Those who have experience with "older" offerings (even a year old) by a manufacturer may not be accurately connecting the dots to the value proposition offered by a manufacturer’s current products.

If the OP was able to obtain excellent results with products priced significantly below the "market value" of similar products, then good for him.

Every cable in my system has some degree of silver content (5%-100%). Works for me.



When price vs quality is debated, the biggest factor left out of the equation is the dealer and distributor markup, which has zero effect on sound quality. Only to be followed by fancy casework and engraving. This is why it's tough, for example, to make most audiophiles believe if they spend $2500 on a Schitt dac they are buying something just as good or better than any dac on the market. The absence of an up to 200% markup on those cables is messing with your mind.

Cables and interconnect performance is highly dependent on your equipment. It isn’t like the acceleration rate or miles per gallon in cars… where you can measure a the rates in both and make a determination. You get different performance with different components.

All silver can definitely be a good thing or a bad thing, For a couple iterations of my system, silver sounded terrible. My system was too far on the detailed / lean side and silver would raise the noise floor and tip it too far to the cool side. Cardas and copper Harmonics were cables of my choice during that period.

Then there are all sorts of geometries, sequences of dielectrics and different isolation methods used which change their performance.

Over the last 40 years of using high end interconnects and such I have intimately learned the sound of six brands: Cardas, Transparent, Wire World, Nordost, DH Labs, and Harmonics. These are well established, respected companies that have a consistent “house sound”, high quality control with good resale value. Through lots of reading of reviews I can evaluate what others will likely sound in my system. This allows me to chose the best for my system without resorting to completely random experimentation. This is my approach. Nothing wrong with other approaches… it is supposed to be a fun pursuit… whatever approach makes you happy.

First off your markups are pulled out of your backside. Please show me a markup of 3000% on a Integrated amplifier. Take the new Cambridge 150. The retail is the same if you are buying from Upscale Audio in CA or Audio Thesis in TX. 

As for your cable comparisons they are total BS also as Audioquest, Synergistic Research both do their own distribution and operate on MAP pricing. 

Really most of the Audio retailers are operating on 40% margins (retail 101) 60% on some niche products. 

Your argument does not hold water. Your SG&A/COGS and MFR cost for moving offshore are suspect also. Quite often when a company opens manufacturing in new plant in a new country, they upgrade their equipment,  making the capitol expenditures to improve processes and the product, that absorbs the labor cost savings from moving to say Mexico or Latvia vs MFR in South Carolina or CA.

Another factor not considered is the volume of sales and manufacturing. We are not talking a can of corn here or a box of nails. For that matter a Ford F150 either. What do you think the annual sales and production quota in for Audioquest to just break even,  I do not know and neither do you. What is the cost of warehousing surplus inventory? What do production runs cost?

Would love to see the modeling you have done to extrapolate your figures oh wait it is right here it is called THIN AIR. 

 Your entire thesis is well garbage.

To a very large degree, the cost of High-End audio is high because it has to be: The companies that manufacture it tend not to sell it in large volume, so their costs—for parts, labor, shipping and overhead, and even sales and promotion—tend to be high, even if only because they can't take advantage of the economies of scale available to more major firms.

Delivering higher performance costs, too. The differences in cost between parts that are good and parts that are just good enough can be tremendous. And there's also the fact that, if a product needs to be expensive, it also needs to look and feel expensive, or people simply won't buy it. That drives prices up, too, and because the cost of entry can seem too high, the very things that are intended to attract them may be keeping potential new audiophiles away.

You should read this 

Please have a great rest of your day. 

The average MSRP markup on goods in CA is 3000%. To compare, Texas's MSRP markup is 300%. So the cost of materials will be higher to make the same product in CA than it would in TX. Synergistic Research and respectively Audioquest, has to charge what they do to maintain living and operating out of CA. But in Latvia?  It is clear to me that the materials, tech and know how isn't that expensive there.  So it can be surmised that the cost of living and operating out of Latvia is less expensive, which means they can offer the highest grade product at a much lower cost than if the same cable were made here in the United States.

I believed this to be true darn near with every product.  Cars, washing machines, telescopes, printers...  Especially Audio.  

Price is not Always Indicative of Quality or Performance

LOL.  But if it looks Pretty, I may overlook their shortcomings.

My AudioQuest power cables ($6300) were destroyed by my homemade power cables ($150). So there ya go!!

First it was a phenomenal upgrade, then a major upgrade and finally the new cable DE-MOL-ISHED the old cable.  I nominate OBLITERATE as your next upgrade descriptor.


of the color of the sound, a cable should be able to replicate all notes. In this system I have had a very wide upgrade path:

AudioQuest Victoria
AudioQuest Yosemite
Synergistic Research Foundation
Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 1
Lavricables Grand

Each upgrade presented changes to the quality of the sound for the better.  Be it holography, clarity, musicality and even color. These have been Copper and Silver and both together. In this system, the all silver wins. It is very clinical, but there is no loss of "warmth" that I can tell. In fact, this latest cable upgrades out of those descriptors. Music sounds real. Not live, just real. 

Let me give you an example.

On The Dave Brubeck Quartet's album "Time Out." Track Two 'Strange Meadow Lark'. All previous cables were unable to replicate the C8 "tink" at the end of the piano riff. It would distort, as if the mic's sensitivity was set too high. Now, it isn't just that this note now plays, it plays realistically with the expected attack and decay of piano.



I may not be completely accurate with the precise numbers of MSRP for 2022, but I know I am not wrong that markup percentage on goods is different state by state. California and New York being the highest in the nation.

Whether you agree or not, you can keep your thinly veiled Ad Hominems to yourself.


No one is ever going to agree with what I am doing on this system, because there appears to be a propogandic rule that one cannot purchase cables worth more than the system they are attached to.  As if speakers and systems have some built-in feature where it actively reduces performance past a certain point. 🙄 This entire theory is based solely on the notion of monetary returns.  I would hasten to say that if one is more worried about how much each song costs rather than how good each song sounds, then I would accuse that person of not truly enjoying music.

That said, I am also not putting this system in an ideal room.  Although, I have made quite a few room treatments, mostly echo absorption, vibration control and the mitigation of EMI and RFI in the room.

This all started with making my workstation have good sound, since that is where I will be 9 hours a day into the foreseeable future.

I had the expendable cash and credit not answer all my unanswerable audio questions.  All I am doing is providing testimony on how it worked out for me and my system.  You're welcome to see all the equipment in my Virtual System.

Absolutely true. You can make the argument that from mass low fi to mid fi the extra expenditure makes a big difference. But, with savvy research and shopping, and/or will to buy used, you can get GREAT sounding gear. After that it’s just your sound preferences or how showy you want to be. 

LOL you percentages are so far off it actually validates how far off your numbers are.  Good night. 

Post removed 

Oh, my.

Your posts are beginning to resemble those of a certain member who was banned not too long ago...

Before this well-intentioned post goes off the rails, let’s just take the positive thoughts for what they are. Someone found relatively little-known cables to sound much better for them in their system than much pricier cables from more well-known manufacturers. That’s really all this is and maybe gives some other audiophiles the ability to explore a new option and a chance for one of the “little guys” we pretty much all root for to try to make their mark. Let’s not let that potential opportunity get caught up in percentages or other side hoopla. Either explore LavriCables or don’t, but at least there’s another intriguing option at a fairly high quality/price ratio for the materials. What’s wrong with that, especially in the world of cables? And yes, I also own several LavriCables in my HeadFi system and they all provided significant improvements over stock cables that they should given their price, but in the next few months I’m going to put them up against my much-beloved Acoustic Zen Silver Reference ICs in my home system and will forward my impressions in case anyone’s interested. But, my initial impressions concur with @guakus that they offer a lot of performance and silver for the $$$.


Beautifully and maturely said. Come on gentlemen, let’s resist the insults and keep this thread off the too frequent (These days) thread deletion pathway.


No one is ever going to agree with what I am doing on this system, because there appears to be a propogandic rule that one cannot purchase cables worth more than the system they are attached to


I disagree completely with the way this is framed.  Propaganda?  Really?  Like there's a deep seated dark state entities which are keeping us from getting the most from our systems.   Hahahaha, the only propaganda I know of is from the cable makers.

Personally, if you get excited or satisfied spending a million dollars on anything, well so long as it is your money honestly earned do whatever you want to do. 

But to convince me that there's any proportionate value of cables at the most expensive levels vs. a lot of electronics and speakers at the medium levels of price points is a tall order indeed.

But to convince me that there's any proportionate value of cables at the most expensive levels vs. a lot of electronics and speakers at the medium levels of price points is a tall order indeed.

But that’s not what he’s saying here.  In fact, the OP is saying the opposite that he’s found cables at less than half the price of his current cables that significantly outperformed his much pricier cables.  That’s pretty much the main point here, but if you want to expand it into how much one should spend on cables that’s a bigger subject that transcends what is really being discussed here.

Great discussion!! And thanks to @soix for wrapping Kevlar around this thing before it got ugly(er).

I think we all enjoy our "David and Goliath" moments when we discover a hidden jewel that "defies the gravity" of a competitive market and meets, or beats, the performance of established brands. It happens in audio. And, tools. And, speed parts. And, wine. Etc. The "feel good" is there regardless of the category. I think we can list other examples.

It doesn’t mean that the established brands are the "bad guys". "Market value" means exactly that. If a product is producing at, or near, volume targets, market share, and (most importantly) satisfied customers at $5k, then the product is worth $5k. Period. The existence of a little known entity that "whacks it pretty good" for half the price doesn’t make the make brand product worth any less in the marketplace, nor should they huddle up and go into the panic mode. Or go into counciling to relieve themselves from a guilt complex. As with any other product category mentioned above, a well-reseached enthusiasts can, and will, bypass the "normal channels" and connect with a product or service that serves their needs are far less cost. That’s what they do. And, their lives are better for it.

"Fancy connectors" most often produce significant audible benefits. Yes, they add to the cost.

Just some comments about the "business" of the audio business:

I was fortunate to be invited to join a profession group of audio retailers. I say fortunate because were are in a small/medium market of a population of 180k who are normally "uninvited" to the group. Dealers represented the "best of the best" dealers from coast to coast. New York, LA, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, etc. We ALL looked at the same price sheets and were offered the same business programs. I can only speak of the audio industry, but the costs/markup is uniform from state to state. There are no major variations.

The net, net profit of these dealers averaged in the high "single digits" as a whole. I would have thought I died and went to Heaven if my lifetime net earnings reached 5%.

Michael Berger wrote a book: Emyth Revisited. The "E" represents "entrepreneur". The author’s premise is that it is a myth that people go into business for themselves because they are entrepreneurs. They go into business because they are "technicians" who love doing the work, and are discontent being managed by someone else. The dealer that goes into business to "save the world from bad sound" is often comprised with mediocre managerial skills and entrepreneural energy to make that enterprise a long-term success. Yes, I can can acknowledge other factors: bad customer service, non-competitive pricing, etc. to the demise of merchants, but just want to drive home the point that most dealers did not enter the business arena to get rich. It was to escape a working environment that was not particularly rewarding for them, or to provide an elevated level of service impossible under the constraints of their current employment.

The next time you’re in an audio store, ask the person serving you: "What brought you here?" The result will be a very human to human conversation that will, undoubtedly, elevate the relationship to a higher level and produce a more attentive and customer-focused response from the dealer or their representative.

I’ve recently borrowed a FrontRow Audience usb cable and speaker cables to try along with a few other brands including a DIY built ranging in price from $200.00 -$9000.00 for the Audience speaker cables . I was bold over by the Audience brand especially their usb cable . 

@russbutton In regards to carnival show attractions, yes.  There were no such things as audio cables in his day. So, whatever you are implying, makes you equally wrong.

Cable discussions are likely the most worthless in audio. Not worthless in the sense they don't provide some valuable information, but in the sense of eliciting no value for me in that virtually every cable has both detractors and proponents. For some its best cable ever, for others the worst, and everything in between. Sometimes this applies to only particular models, others, entire line from manufacturer. How does one ascertain value of any cable for their particular system from this chaos?


Many years ago, curious about all the cable hubbub, I auditioned extremely large amount of cables from lending library at Cable Company. I auditioned speaker, IC, digital, power at various price levels, med to upper echelon. This over many years and various system configurations. While I discovered differences and favorites, I wouldn't conclude any cable of any kind, at any price point being a world changer. I generally found there was price/performance correlation, but law of diminishing returns and different flavors impacted my purchasing decisions, ie. most expensive not always best for my situation at that moment.


Result is these days I build my own cables based on recipes others share freely. I base build decisions on metallurgy, dialectics used and design, these cables have been far and away the best price/performance value cables I've experienced. Various metallurgy in wire and connectors all have their place, and dialectic very important, closest to vacuum best here, skin effect very important.


I disagree. Discussions on cables are very informative and have on many occasions helped me decide what cables are best or what cables exist for my particular application.

I have built several cables in my system but the DIY knowledge that exists on the internet is very limited and all I have found seem to focus on basic geometry. Such as a basic twist of two to three conductors and on occasion employ an external wrap of the "ground cable" over the main bulk of conductors. In addition to this, the quality of materials available for DIY are generally not the super-high end you can find in higher tier cables offered by premium cable manufacturers. For example, you can’t order solid, pure silver cables that are encased in Teflon dielectric. Also, connectors you buy have to be 3rd party. I know of no one who owns an RCA, Stereo-Pin or XLR mold where they can forge their own solid copper or silver connectors or have the tech to plate such connectors. So, even if one makes their own cable, they are still using materials someone else designed. For example, you cannot DIY a cable using the geometry found in Shunyata Research’s higher end power cables. Their cables use two completely different formats in the positive/negative conductors. One conductor is a standard, straight silver bundle...but...the 2nd conductor is a thick, concentric circular stack of braided/meshed copper that surrounds the silver conductor. Like a tube. There are various Teflon dielectrics and other materials used to separate and shield. There is just no way to purchase these parts and make it. You’d have to buy Teflon coated silver and then braid the copper yourself and stack it. No one has that kind of time.

Where it concerns filters, you’d need to understand the mathematical formulas used to measure the electric flow of the cable you made, based on how well it conducts and how long it is. Then you’d need to attach a filter that was created to specifically affect those measurements. That’s hard to do on one’s own. You can use pre-fabricated components, but you certainly aren’t going to forge your own Ferrite cores. So you have to hope someone already makes a filter that affects the specific electric measurements of your cable.

"How does one ascertain value of any cable for their particular system from this chaos?"

I start with materials. Having spent 30 years buying various cables to use on various systems, I have narrowed down what materials work best and what their function on sound is. If you want a warmer sound with rolled off high frequencies, go with copper cable that uses Polyethylene (PE) as a dielectric. If you want ultimate levels of clarity and clinical accuracy, get silver conductors that use Teflon or Flurocarbon as a dielectric. Beyond materials, it’s geometry, filters, and active systems.

It’s not unlike modifying a car for speed. You can buy a Lamborghini, which was designed for speed and looks beautiful. You needn’t do anything else. OR, you can buy a cheap stock car and modify it with Stage 6 turbo, cam shafts, short gears, direct fuel injectors, cold air intakes, body kits, NOS kits, and various other mods to make that car go as fast if not faster than the Lamborghini. Some like the challenge of modifying a slower car, others prefer the status of owning an Italian sports car.

To each their own. Discussion is perfectly fine. Belittlement and shaming is not.

@guakus Wow, I'm shaming and belittling, I think not. Nothing i stated in post was an objective pronouncement on worthlessness of commercial cables! I simply stated my own experience with cables and my present view.


Also, when I speak of diy I'm' not talking about building a forge, drawing machines, dielectric production, diy in cable making means assembling various commercially available components with recipes or designs other's freely distribute. Many in the community have discovered wonderful cables using this method, doesn't mean commercial products objectively inferior. Fact is I continue to use commercial cables alongside diy. And there is a wide variety of raw wire and insulated wire, connectors, all cable building supplies at various price points.


No one directly accused you of shaming and belittlement. I made a statement that having a discussion about cables is perfectly fine but belittlement and shaming isn't.  It wasn't aimed at you, or I would have said so.  However, there have been plenty on this thread that have.

@guakus Got it. Par for the course with cable threads, reason I mentioned finding them rather worthless. I have no problem with anything you've said.

"You get what you pay for" in high-end audio is more of a joke than a truism.

Do you really, honestly think that a $300,000 amplifier blows away a similarly specced’ $20,000 amplifier? Wrong.

Does a $5,000 cable sound better than a $500 cable? Nope.

There are differences in the sonic character of different products and it is equally wrong to think that all amps, cables, preamps, etc., all sound the same. They don’t. But in this hobby people are snookered by the completely phony adage that spending more gets you more.

Who would spend say, $300,000 on a turntable and not want to believe that it is flat out superior to a $30,000 turntable? Or that a $20,000 phono cartridge blows away a $2,500 cartridge?

It’s all confirmation bias. And in many cases, it’s just ego.

Think of most of this stupid-money pricing as you would about fine jewelry. It may look cool, but most of it is worth what the parts are worth and the rest is just bling. Unless it’s collectible, then the collectibles market for that type of stuff determines what it's worth. No better than or worse than.

Do you think that the most expense collectible vinyl records cost what they do because the music is better or the recording quality is better? Nah.

This hobby is so full of BS that is sometimes boggles the mind.

In the case of cables, the really expensive ones, their price has nothing to do with the parts cost or the R&D (lol) cost. The profit margins on these price-bloated items are truly, truly obscene. Why? Market positioning and marketing and YOUR bias.

Now don’t get me wrong, some products cost far more to build than others. Speakers for example. But even a $1000 speaker can sound as good as or better than a $5000 speaker.

It’s just the way this crazy hobby works. It is what it is, but more money equaling more sound quality, FOR SURE, ain’t what it is.

Where things get the craziest in in the aspirational gear-- priced to create an exclusive club of owners, and hopefully, made to last a lifetime and designed to be be (in the eyes of the beholder) beautiful-- like a Ferrari.

Stuff’s worth whatever people will pay for it, but it is not necessarily better because of it.