What say you?



The video is titled "This high-end dealer doesn’t recommend expensive cables"

This is what Andy Singer said at the 2:45 mark of the video

"The end of the story is that cables are very important and the better the cables you can get, the better your system will sound... Better doesn't mean $$$. It means more suited to the system"

So what is expensive? He believes it wrong to invest 20% in cables for a $10K system. So do I. That doesn’t mean cables make no difference.


I would also add that this video is a balanced approach to cable buying and system building IMO. Its also the approach I took in building mine. Maybe that's why I agree 😀

I think Mr. Singer knows what he is talking about and is candid to admit the dealer will  make  his margin in one area or the other.  His suggestion to get the best structure first makes obvious sense.  Having watched the video, it reaffirms my belief that it is best to avoid companies that are only pushing cable. They are not setting up thousands of systems. 

Hate to say I told you so but….. 

Wires and accessories like fuses nowadays are where the big profits are.   It’s important to realize that. 

Most all these people are either repeating the same old dogma, or saying whatever they think people want to hear. Either way it is BS. The idea of putting a percent on it is as unfounded as the idea of matching or "suited to" a system. The plain hard fact of the matter is really good cables are really good and will sound really good regardless of what system they go into. Period. 

Not that I don't know this will trigger tons of counterpoint examples of cables that sounded bad in this case or that case. Guess what? Those cables are by definition not good. Good cables sound good, period. I have yet to find the exception to this. Anyone wants to send me some counter examples feel free.

My dealer/friend/mentor back in the 90's proved this in the clearest possible way. One time I come over, his system sounds incredibly good. Like insanely good. With a sly smile on his face he tells me, "The wire here costs TWICE everything else." Not 20%. Not 50%. Not even 100%. TWICE! Two times as much money in speaker cables, interconnects and power cords as the components they were used with.

Around this time I was building a budget system for my father in law. $1200 all-in. My main system had a $1200 interconnect in it. Just for fun I swapped it in. I was floored! That budget system was transformed! Of course it now was a $2500 system but it sure didn't sound like it.

The one thing no one wants to admit is it is hard to find this good wire. This was Synergistic Research in all cases. Sorry if this doesn't work for your brand. It works for the good ones.


Wow! - with this debate NEVER end?

For every dealer that denounces performance cables you can find several more that will support their use/price.

Dealers (like the chap in the video) are simply another person with an opinion - they are not an expert in the field.

I have tried my cables on a variety of components

  • from a $300 MINI system
  • to a $50,000 system with many TOTL components
  • Each time the listener experienced a significant improvement in sound quality

There are some basics common to performance cables

#1. The metal in the wire...

  • UP-OCC Cooper has extremely good dynamics and details
  • UP-OCC Silver is the best
  • Zavfino - use excellent copper and silver in theriicables

#2. the insulation of the wire...

  • The insulation with the lowest value of dielectric constant (i.e. Dk) is more detailed and articulate
  • Why does wire with cotton insulation sound better? because it has a low Dk, so more details

#3. the geometry of the cables

  • The best cable geometry provides the lowest noise floor
  • take a look at In-Akustik for an excellent example of great cable geometry

So if you want to know what makes a good cable, then investigate these three simple attributes.

Or not - your choice

Just another opinion - Steve


This is completely and totally reasonable,  yes cables matter and yes sometimes people overspend or buy the more expensive rather than the right cables. It just proves you need to take your time and audition and find the right cables that fit your realistic budget.

 Hello yogiboy! When it comes to interconnects, It's a bit trickier than with speaker wires. The wire itself matters. The plugs matter. How they are connected together matters. Of course, these things matter in speaker wires too, but speaker wires carry a lot of current and interconnects don't. Speaker wires deliver power. Interconnects deliver pressure; Itsy bits of pressure. There is something called impedence. The key to understand it is in the core of the word: IMPEDE. It concerns the difficulty the signal encounters trying to get through the wire. Any cable has capacitance and inductance of its own. If a signal leaves a component (CD player, tuner, phono preamp, a "high level" signal: 2 - 5 volts maximum) with a low output impedence and goes into a preamp or power amp with a high input impedence, that's the best situation. The opposite: a high impedence output feeding a low impedence input, problems are likely. Now, in modern equipment, this is not common. But some solid state devices have moderate input impedences. Oh dear, that can be problematic!. High feeding high or low feeding low, generally - no problem. But that does not mean that the wire doesn't matter. It only means that a mis-match will not overwhelm the effect of the wire. The wire's own characteristics interact with the gear on both ends in complex ways. It IS predictable, but it takes time to do the testing and the math. Too bad, but true. Only super geeks have time for that! Get a bunch of cable and try them out, one after the other on the most difficult music you have.

Just the other night (11/24/2021) I was testing seven very different sets of interconnects. I was very skeptical of a widely advertised brand of cable I purchased years ago and never trusted. It seemed too light in weight to contain anytihing of value. Today, I ordered two more sets of them! They obviously outperformed all the others. (I also ordered, used, one set each of two other well regarded cables.) Three of the competitors were DIY cables using Cable TV wire, flat (300 ohm) TV antenna wire (obviously unshielded), and high quality microphone cable. All three of those cables sounde very good and practically indistingable from one another. Two of the other cables were proported to be high quality, moderately priced products. They were equal to one another, but inferior to the DIY wires. The last contender was made of a thin co-axial cable designed to carry video signals. It was slightly better than the moderately priced cables, but not quite as good as the other DIY cables. But the very lightweight, widely advertised cable was clearly more transparent, open, revealing more very subtle details that make the recording seem more "real." I'm not here to sell cables. I advocate DIY projects. But, I want the best sounding cabkes I can get (at a reasonable price). The point is: there ARE differences among interconnects, our pre-conceived notions not withstanding. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Try discontinued, top-of-the-line cables from a year or two ago. Buy used cable. You don't have to break it in. It sounds like what it sounds like shortly after you open the box! Imagine comparing three new cables, right out of the box. You have no idea what they will sound like in three months! And you're paying top dollar! Eeek! A fool's errand, no doubt!

And just to be sure you realize just how many variables there are - - - the best cable betwen an amp and DAC may not the best cable between two other cmponents. I found some very appealing (Alpha-Core) cables at USEDCABLES.com and ordered them. I compared them (12-02-2021) to the DIY microphone cable interconnects, and the "best" commercial cables from the DAC to power amp test. While sounding very friendly and pleasant - one could say "nice and smooth," - they finished 3rd of three, and the DIY cables were much more open and transparent. The used "Alpha-Core" cable was very dymanic, but lacked the depth and super clarity of the DIY cables. How's that for odd? How can one cable be more dynamic than another? Wow, this may be more fun than tube rolling! So a cable may work beautifully in one part of a system and less well in another. I bought some used Pangea SE cables also. We'll check them out soon.

Well, I think I've told you all the helpful things I can. Cable sniffing is like tube rolling - with eels! Have fun! Happy Listening!

For the curious, equipment used in my interconnecting cable tests were: Asus laptop computer, Media Monkey software, Wireworld Silver Starlight Seven USB cable, Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC (has a volume control), the cables being tested, Starke Sound AD4-320 power amp in the bridged mode, Ultralink Ambience 2.2 speaker cables, Magnepan LRS speakers.

For that other Preamp to electronic crossover: Akitika preamp, the cables being tested, DBX 223S crossover, Starke Sound AD4-320 power amp, 14 guage lamp cord, Golden Ear BRX speakers.


There have been several times where my system made a big leap forward.  Holding speakers constant, new preamp/amp, superb power conditioner, dedicated AC line.  Nevertheless, the most cost effective - though not cheap by any means - was installing better AC cables (Darwin Truth Black and Red to be specific).  Everything, but especially presence, improved dramatically, The improvement was not subtle at all - I felt like I had upgraded a major component.  I agree with Miller Carbon that it is futile to put a percentage on how much to spend on cables, but they should be treated like a component, not an afterthought.  I have come to believe that focusing on power supply and transmission has a huge payoff.  Also, it is not necessary to spend a ton of money to get good quality.  Signal produces really fine cables at a more than reasonable cost.  Cheers!

Appropriate cables shouldn’t cost more than $3/ft. If you spend more, you’ve been made a fool of. Lots of audio phools out there. 

Some cables armor is 3.00 a foot. #12 stand/5n silver is over 5.00 a foot. 24 stand PTFE/OCC weave is over 5.00 a foot. Ribbon OCC/silver clad PTFE over 5.00 a foot. I'm at 18.00 a foot and I haven't added terminal ends or labor. I guess you work for free. Silly statement.. 3.00 a foot.. The cables I use are really good cables too at 18.00 per foot for materials.

Anyone that spend over 3.00 a foot is a fool?

Romex will work at 50 cents a foot. Why splurge for 3.00 a foot? FOOL!


I agree with Andy Singer, expensive cables in a entry level system is like putting racing fuel in a Pinto, you won’t get your money’s worth out of it. The opposite is true with upscale components, cheap cables will not maximize the system, if you have a good system you know that. Too maximize your cables, system and dollars there needs to be a relationship between them I think that’s what Mr. Singer said.

wolfie62- Appropriate cables shouldn’t cost more than $3/ft.

Fascinating. Just curious, why not $2?

R. Daneel Olivaw

Post removed 

I think I may be the only one here who spend more on cables than the equipment. I paid more for the power cord than the DAC that’s connected to it. Yes, the power cord is more expensive than the DAC in my main system.

My amp costs a lot more so the power cord for it costs less. Interconnects and speaker cables excluded. The total cost of cables in the main system is approximately 40% the cost of the whole system.

Guilty as charged, I have overspent on cables.

I suggest to the ones who haven’t done it yet, to read the excellent Jeff Day’s  chronicles about the Western electric kind of replicas, made on the same criteria’s (tinned copper, same diam, etc…, but without plastic isolant), by Mr Duelund.

Believe it or not but read it, it can complete ones audiophile’s knowledge.

For my part I replaced my expensive Italian speakers cables by his DCA 16 GA with no regrets nor frustration.

Also for the power cables, some 14AWG Ching Chen cables are on some Uber expensive systems. I have 2 on my power amps, for a few dollars, they are like ghost cables, I mean you don’t hear them and that’s good. 

Ok that’s me and my system but I am Very satisfied. 

When you put them in your system do they improve the sound or not, in your opinion?  Why let others make your decisions?

This is always fascinating to see how controversial this topic is.  

Given dealers willingness to send demos out to customers, it is easy and inexpensive to test cables in your system.  As a dealer, I have now had the opportunity to test lots of cables and can say unequivocally, cables sound different and can setup tests that anyone can hear.  

It doesn't mean all cables sound different (which if the goal is true lack of coloration is a good thing).  It doesn't mean more expensive cables are inherently better.  I have had some awful, very expensive cables here on trade.  What it does mean is, as has been pointed out by others, cables are a part of a system and need to be considered within the context of a system. 

My experience is that a system can sound very good with inexpensive cables and you will get audible improvements if you choose the correct upgrades.  If you choose the wrong upgrades, I can have a very negative impact.  


My interpretation of Mr. Singer's message is the following.  It is that you need to experiment to find the cables having the right synergy with your system.

He is saying if you only experiment with very expensive cables, you will find an expensive cable with the right synergy.

He is also saying if you experiment with less expensive cables, you will just as likely find an inexpensive cable with the right synergy.

He is saying that the less expensive cables with the correct synergy will likely sound just as good as the more expensive cables with the right synergy.

Manufacturers and dealers of uber expensive cables love you.

By inexpensive cable, I am not referring to zip cable.



For as long as I've been in this hobby, it was always understood that dealers made the biggest gains from markup on cables and ancillaries. One need not spend a fortune on cables to get great results. Careful trial and error will get you there and rarely does one hit the nail on the head on the first try.

The longer you're in this hobby, the more you're going to spend on cabling as you carefully and judiciously upgrade. Add up all you've spent over time and it'll add up to more than what you've currently settled on. Throw out the learning curve and just get comfortable with that fact. Stop with the sour grapes routines.

Keep your cables in good shape and sell them for a loss when you upgrade if you must but keep in mind the old saw that you can pay me now, or pay me later, with the later payment being the dearest.

Also, if possible, keep the older, better performing cables around for comparisons sake when you get new gear. It's very helpful to go back and reaffirm what you think you know about your current cables. Doing this also helps to narrow down what works best for you.

All the best,

My thinking is the same as a few others here:  Everything depends upon your budget and balancing the quality of various components and cables.  A $2,000 cable might sound better than a cheaper cable (one would hope!), but it makes no sense to use it in a system that is $10,000 max.  You get more bang-for-buck balancing money spent on each part of your system than maxing out on any one thing.  

And then there is your listening room — mine is definitely not ideal but it is what I have and I’m not moving.  I will likely look into getting dedicated ac lines from the breaker box to my listening room, and room treatments at some point, but I’m sure the benefit will be limited by the room and my budget for equipment. I make my peace with that — I have to.  I have too many other things to spend money on to blow the load on a sound system.  Others don’t have such limitations. Good for them. 

Amazing posts, and not in a good way. Who decides or who comes up with a the magic formula of value/percentage of cable costs to determine if somebody overspent? 
It’s crazy for MC to spend $10k on cables for the caliber of his system, but it’s not crazy to spend $30k on cables for somebody that has a hifi system with quality products worth say $200k. It’s absurd for anyone to say if you spend more than $3 a foot, you are a fool. To these people, either get a set of new ears or a quality system that allows you to hear better components.

The comment on overspending on cables, can’t you say the same thing about over spending on an amp? Speakers? Dac? Cartridge? If somebody has a $2000 system, it would be crazy to spend $10k on a dac, but it would also be crazy to spend $1k on a dac in a $200k system.

let your ears be the judge not some fictitious value/formula

Let me get this straight. It is crazy for me to spend $10k on cables "for the caliber" of my system. Which is a fictitious value/formula. But it's not crazy to spend $30k on their $200k system. Which is a fictitious value/formula. 

Amazing post, and not in a good way.

R. Daneel Olivaw

To note that the 'cable conundrum' has a certain longevity in discussion is like saying a centipede doesn't have enough legs...

Although my equipment is not SOTA...or even 'sorta sota-ish' is a given on my part, it still strikes me that 'this vs. that' cable is still just creating a very subtle form of eq.

Not saying it's not happening, just on a level that so subtle that only what one hears different is only due to a long-standing familiarity with ones' equipment.

If B vs. Q cables are subjected to measurement, any discernable 'differences'  may be buried in the fog of the waterfall.

I'm Not implying that You can't hear it.  3$/ft.>300$/ft., one would hope....

Just don't expect me to, given that I may have just came over for a listen. ;)

Devils' Advocate 'Bot Nite....