Stupid Question-What's the best way to choose?

OK-Here it goes. The more I read on this board the more confused I get. It seems half the posts here talk about cable manufacturers selling snake oil and the other half completely buying into what they are selling. Are they both right/wrong? I just ordered some new equipment and am not new to this hobby but I'm far from technical. If you want to talk wine I can hold my own with just about anyone. I know if I lay out my component list and musical preferences, I'll get 50 responses sending me in 50 different directions. What does one do if they know they love the sound they've chosen but can't see having to spend ANOTHER fortune on cables they thought they already owned? I'll lay out what I own and it may clarify my previous question.

Source: Cary 306 SACD
Pre amp: Aesthetix Calypso
Amps: Quicksilver V4
Speakers: Vandersteen 5
Interconnects: Magnan Vi, Audioquest Diamond
Speaker Cable: Biwire Audioquest Sterling and Midnight

I'm looking for a common sense approach to this process. Obviously I've made a serious investment and am not looking to cheap out when it comes to sound but honestly I don't have any idea where to begin.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
Listen to as many different cables as you can in your system and buy the ones that sound the best to you within your budget.
What do you feel you're missing? It doesn't seem as if changing cables would make substantial improvements. Have a nice glass of wine and relax.
Do wine enthusiasts argue over which type of wine glass is best?
I'm not sure what you're getting at, since you own AudioQuest Diamond (which as I recall was about $1000/m), and you've spent good money on the speaker cable too.

Whenever i read the threads where someone is asking for recommendations it only turns into a "this is my favorite so you should buy it too" session.

If you don't want something don't buy it! If you're happy with your cable, why are you even asking. You can't think that cable is snake oil since you've already got expensive cable.

I know the ICs I have now are a lot better than the cheap ones I had before. I know my speaker cable isn't very good. I bought into the fad of the Paul Speltz Anti-cable hype. What a waste of money that was but it's what I have now; besides it's all I could afford at the time.

The only way to buy is by listening. If you have snake oil dripping from your ears after listening, don't buy that cable.
Since you just ordered some new equipment, once you get it set up & run in, start doing some listening & see if you like what you hear.

The key here is when you discover something you want to change to only make one change at a time, otherwise you'll never know where the change is coming from. Before you start changing things, I would suggest you work with your room as much as possible. Speaker placement is the easiest thing to do that affects the overall quality & don't be surprised if it takes several months to achieve the best spot.

By working with the room, you can also work w/placement (if possible) of the system itself, the furniture & room treatments. This is where you need to do some homework & search the archives, here & on AA.

Then there's the AC issue. Again, you need to do some homework plus find out what condition yours is in before you start working in that area.

This is just a rough sketch and you can start today by getting a notebook & start taking notes. Draw diagrams, put down your thoughts, what you like & don't like & how it changes, etc.

Have fun!
Timrhu, I know it was a rhetorical question but, yes, wine enthusiasts DO argue endlessly over what kind of wine glass is best. Here's a quote as an example:

"The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make." - Robert Parker, Jr.

At least when an audiophile buys an overpriced interconnect there's not too much chance he'll drop and break it the first time he uses it.
I second the Cable Company recommendation. If you're curious about cables, they're the best resource I know of. They stock a lot of different cables, in various lengths, and offer very good customer service. They'll let you borrow whatever you want from their lending library, and that way, you can reach your own conclusions. URL is
Jeffmazen don't fall for the cable game. They are minor tone controls, what you have is fine. If you really want to balance your system tonally consider a digital eq. They are reasonably priced now{behringer deq2496 is $300}and will do more for your sound than any 3 ft. interconnect especially if {when!!} you change components and need to re-balance again.
First off, get dediated lines and install better outlets. Second, install DIY noise reduction. Last, try power cords. I do hear differences in the various power cords but those differences were greatly reduced one I implemented the first two steps.

Happy Listening.
I think the main concern is the price is way too high on cables - but we pay it anyway....

buy used, try em out and sell for about the same price til you find nirvana
Work on getting your new components broke in, also speaker placement and room acoustics play a much larger role in quality of sound, maybe the most important IMHO. I would take your time with this one. You need to read up on room treatments, get educated with this cause the rewards will be better than any wire upgrade. So with speaker placement and room treatments this should keep you busy for the next six months. I think dedicated lines are next important along with power conditioning and this can be done during your room tuning project but go for the room thing first. A few sites you may want to check out are Rives, Tube Traps, Echobusters and Acoustical Solutions as there is a wealth of info for you.
"What does one do if they know they love the sound they've chosen?"

In one word: NOTHING!!!
Hi, since you bought the stuff, I'd advise to properly install your equipment, let the system run and enjoy your music. Give it time to settle. My experience is that being patient and waiting till everything has run in is the hardest past. After a few months you might make modifications in placement of loudspeakers etc to finetune staging etc. The mature sound should be 98% satisfactory. Then start experimenting with other (already run-in) powercables and interconnects. Start at the source, whether interconnect or powercable. This will benefit most, in my humble opinion.
i second the comment on room treatment, IMHO, the best system money can buy would not sound good (right) in an untreated room,
Make careful and critical listening tests - blind listening if possible.

Perhaps, audio may be deeply affected by perception and expectation, making it is quite easy to think something sounds better just by the look of it or by some technical hype and testimonials (all of which makes you concentrate harder and percieve something new you had not noticed before).

Just like in medicine, there is a 30% efficacy with just a wonder some speakers, turntables and amplifiers look like they came from space ships.

If you look in pro audio magazines and pro studio equipment lists you are unlikely to see odd space ship shaped speakers and you are even less likely to find anything other than ordinary copper wires connecting them (they might be shielded or XLR but that is about all the differences that are likely to be found.)

If pros don't buy special cables and what you buy was mixed and mastered on ordinary copper cables.....then 1000's of dollars spent on exotic cables may be an unwise choice. Small degrees of difference may exist between cables but do they make an audible difference; pros do not appear to think they do.
Great amp you have... but drop the CD player totally. A reasonable DAC from $800-$1500 (used) fed with hi-res files will DESTROY that CD player - it will not even be close.

I used to have Audioquest cables on the entire system... bought mostly used to save the $$$, but the Clear Day cables I just switched to are in a totally different league.  You can try them for free, return if you don't like them.

Power cords are some of the EASIEST ways to make the MOST improvement.  Clear Day does not make PCs, but the LessLoss are superb.  I have the LessLoss DFPC Original and Signature on my entire system... great stuff.