A Perennial Debate For Which I Seek Help

Wire, Terminations, Dielectric, Solder, in summary, the linkages in our systems, the terminals in the path. Doubting your cabling can only lead to paranoia, and thus, fearing the snub of fellow audiophiles, you shun the Tuesday night shootouts, the gatherings that once made Tuesdays better than Fridays. Please, don't shun the shootout, I know of no gathering more intoxicating. They remind us we are alive and human, no mere beast in search of flesh and sustinance alone.

My Situation - I recently had a pair of speakers upgraded with new caps, chokes, posts, wire, etc... Not until I went to install the reworked crossovers, however, did I realize how cheap the connection was at the drivers. The woofer has a small terminal board mounted on the basket where the lead wires attach to two stamped rivets. The rivets and brackets are both loose. These clips are followed by a 3" wire to the woofer, some sort of tin-coated cotton or wiring of similar texture and tensility.

As for the tweeter, one of the even smaller pins used for the lead wires snapped off. I could try to solder it back on, yet more fundamentally, with all the money spent on speaker cables, IC's, perhaps hundreds on binding posts alone, aren't these shoddy driver terminations, hidden inside the cabinet, an egregiously weak link in the chain, or am I missing something specific about this particular connection? Any insight is truly appreciated.
Perhaps this is why changing cables, interconnects, etc, makes a difference. If the inside was done really well, there wouldn't be anything to improve upon by changing the outside wires.
Markphd, poor logic. Like saying of a car, "If the engine in the car was better, there would be no point in changing the tires to performance tires."

Question: Is this supposed to be a "no compromise" speaker? Are your expectations for its construction/quality realistic? I ask because it's not too often that a speaker considered primo is ripped into for modifications. Is this a new, high profile speaker which has shocked you at the construction, or an observation about a speaker which is less than "only the best"?

My guess is there are a lot of ugly internals in many high end speakers, especially ones which are not going to be opened easily. Back to the car illustration; a lot can be happening under the hood.
Douglas_schroeder, poor logic in your analogy.

My logic: Speaker: wires/connection internal...wires/connection external. The common denominator in the analogy is the wires/connection.

Your logic attributed to me: Car: engine...tires. No commom demoinator between the two as in my logic above.

You better practice your logical analysis a bit before you write the GRE exams.
I am glad this point has been brought up. After years of equipment swapping and cable testing I have come to the conclusion that most ‘audiophile’ cables are overpriced and superfluous.

For example, Totem’s design team utilizes14-gauge multi strand linearized oxygen-free, silver plated copper wire with thick Teflon dielectric shielding in all their designs—sound expensive, right? They build and test their speakers around this wire. They even use it in their speaker leads (which reinforces the fact that the posters speakers are poorly built). The best part is they sell it as ‘Tress’ for $5 a foot.

I wouldn't doubt that behind the pretentious 'jewelry' on most expensive cable is simple copper wire.

I also have a question for the Audiogon community. Why do we use connectors? Other than convenience and looks, what value does it add sonically? If the signal is only as good as its source, then why do we add one more conductive material in the signal path [that is different from the original]? It cannot make the sound ‘better’ because the signal it receives is what it is (the wire). I started thinking about this seriously after I read Lavardin recommends using bare wire for connectivity.
Baroque lover, like you I am very sceptical about a lot of cable pricing in terms of value for money. I can understand why some cables might cost more. They may be hand made in small batches. Ot they may use exotic/expensive materials. However, for most cables this is not the case. Any audio retailer will tell you that cables are high margin items. That's why the big box stores push them so much, to add some profit to the low margin TV or CD player they are selling.

As to the value of the cable in improving the system. I think a distinction has to be made between a cable making a "difference" and a cable producing an "improvement". A difference is not necessarily an improvement. I think many cables produce differences, but not always improvements. Certainly, many people will swear up and down that a certain cable imnproved their system. I think this can be true. A cable can compensate and mate with what it is attached to in the same way that a component can mate well, or not so well, with another component. But I would expect cable improvements to be more subtle since there are fewer variables to work with when changing a cable as opposed to an entire component.

And if you do a good job inside like Totem, there is little to compensate for with an extenal cable, which was the point I was suggesting in my original comment. In this circumstance, cable changes are more likely to produce "differences", but not "improvements". Or if it is an "improvement", it is an improvement in terms of the person's personal taste, and not in an absolute sense.

I am always surprised that one of my favourite manufacturers, who make some extrememly expensive stuff, don't seem to give much of a rat's tail about cables. All they recommend is a good quality 4 mm multi stranded copper cable. They don't seem to have any regard for all of the exotic material and construction (and marketing) that's behind a lot of expensive cables.

I'm not wealthy enough to experiment with a lot of cable changes anyways. So if my thought are wrong, I remain happy in my ignorance. I feel no need to change anything.

As for connectors, they seem to be a necessary evil, like cables, unless you have all of your components hard wired together. I don't think bare wires by themselves produce a strong enough conenction.
Nycwine1 -- to return to your question, yes -- if the terminations are iffy, it will affect the sound.
SO, do solder solidly those driver terminations. If you wish to change the internal wire, try single core, thicker for the woofer than the tweet; do not forget to twist the new internal wire!
On the bright side, better (i.e. low tolerance) components on the xover do make a difference of course.
I also upgraded the crossovers in my speakers.Some of the
parts i replaced were very cheap. The upgrade made the speakers a lot cleaner, and I mean a lot.
As with your connection question,why would a well known speaker builder go to the trouble to make sure the cabinets
and drivers are just right and skip on the internal parts?
I guess they don't expect anyone to open them up.

I talked to Richard Vandrsteen about this wire issue. He uses specific wire for specific applications. A particular wire to connect the crossover to the tweeter as an example has different properties than the wire from the crossover to the midrange, because of the different frequencies handled, and the different power requirements, etc. On another thought, I built my power cables. I first used the best quality plugs and cables I could get from a professional electrical supply house...they sounded very good. I then changed the plugs to audio grade plugs from a high end audio vendor...a very great upgrade. I then put the plugs on bulk wire from the same hi end vendor. The results were that the plugs made the biggest difference, but that the changeout of the wire produced a much less but still significant improvement.
Markphd, I assumed you would return with such a response. I need not have an identical agent internally and externally to make my point.

Pray tell precisely HOW the components on the INside of a speaker will improve the cabling running TO the speaker from the OUTside? It can't. To assume that if the INternals of the speaker are superior the EXternal link is less critical, or need not be improved is flawed logic. The only way this logic is sustained is if the external cabling's efficacy is largely written off. I assumed you had taken that position, and it appears that you confirmed it in your last post.

In fact the better the speaker is constructed (assuming that performance will follow), like a fine race car (with high performance engine) the more critical the external cabling (like tires) is, if one is to achieve the best performance. In this particular case, the external cables become more important as the performance of the speaker rises, since the speaker will reveal the quality (or lack of it)of the speaker cables, ICs and PCs. (I could alternatively suggest the higher performing speaker would reveal superior synergy between components, or the lack of it.)

You seem to fall prey to the faulty conclusion that if the component is made well enough, the wire leading to it is negligible. Wrong. In a system every part is critical. Any element which deals with electricity and the signal are equally important. You first post here simply dismisses (or downgrades the importance of) the external element - the cable. That's a huge mistake. The statement, "If the inside was done really well, there wouldn't be anything to improve upon by changing the outside wires," shows ignorance on the subject.

It is inconsist to suggest that futzing with speaker components internally will yield improvements, but that the wire externally is negligible. The reason you have reached this conclusion, it appears, is that you have a limited budget, or in principle do not want to spend a lot on cables. (I am not judging you; I do not know your financial situation. However, you seem to make it clear that money is a major influence on building your system.)

You seem to speak authoritatively with(it appears)little experience. You say, "But I would expect cable improvements to be more subtle since there are fewer variables to work with when changing a cable as opposed to an entire component," and "I'm not wealthy enough to experiment with a lot of cable changes anyways. So if my thought are wrong, I remain happy in my ignorance. I feel no need to change anything." Those are the words of an intellectually stubborn man.

In other words you have nothing to offer other than your logic. No experience, no direct comparisons, just a judgment. You seem to dismiss cables as less important because they are not as complex as box components). Which is more critical, the brain or the artery? For the circulatory system to operate at its optimum both must be functioning at a high level, even though it might be argued that one is more complex than the other. Similarly, both the "brain" (components) and the "arteries" (cables) in the audio system must be of a high level to assure optimum performance. I think the illustration is clear. You may disagree, but if it is without experience in matters of testing/comparing cables, then you have nothing other than your assumption and (in my opinion)faulty conclusion.

I agree with you on this point, that the distinctions between cables are subjective. However, with fine equipment and in an excellent listening environment the changes often are anything but subtle. Pricing is going to be every man's own issue; I have on the whole found that cheap cables sound cheap. Not exclusively, but many times you do get what you pay for, and of course, different brands may offer better bang for the buck.

Recently I visited an audiophile nearby. He had AntiCables throughout his rig. He was not satisfied with the sound of the rig. I brought over one pair of Wire World (I wrote the review on Equinox 5 Squared cables for Dagogo.com) ICs, and after a moderate length listening session put them in. The difference was shocking, even for me. He immediately began asking for information on obtaining them. I heard the difference clearly in two seconds, and it took less than a minute for me to conclude that (at least in that system) AntiCables do not sound good to my ear. They left a huge amount of information behind which did not get transmitted through the speakers. Based on that experience I likely would not use them in any of my rigs, as I would be gutting the system's performance. On economical rigs their effect would likely be less noticeable.

If you have a lower end rig (I never dismiss or disrespect persons who have a limited budget, and have equipment at a modest price point. What gets me upset is when they try to dictate what can happen using gear at the higher end of the spectrum) you will likely feel justified in your conclusion because you have not heard such differences. If that is the case, you need to realize that your experience does not preclude others from experiencing extremely significant/important benefits from cabling leading TO the speakers.

You are an intelligent man, and think things out well. However, in this case I believe that experience would impact your perceptions and conclusion. :)
It helps to remember that by the time the signal gets to the speakers, it has gone through a number of systems, interconnects, processing, and perhaps massaging it as well. Whether that is good or not for the signal is a matter of choice.
For an analogy, wine by the time it gets to the barrel to age, has gone through a number of steps. The barrel like the wire inside the speaker can be anything. It all adds or subtracts from the future taste just as the inside wire adds or subtracts from the final effect that we call sound and more hopefully music.
What works for one grape or combination will not work for another despite what some wine makers say, based on my experience, being based in the Sonoma-Napa region, a lot gets tasted and toured.
Same for wire, some cabling works great for some gear and not for others. If it were all simply plug and play this would not be a hobby so much as child' play, then again...
It helps to remember that by the time the signal gets to the speakers, it has gone through a number of systems, interconnects, processing, and perhaps massaging it as well. Whether that is good or not for the signal is a matter of choice, I like massages myself.
For an analogy, wine by the time it gets to the barrel to age, has gone through a number of steps. The barrel like the wire inside the speaker can be anything. It all adds or subtracts from the future taste just as the inside wire adds or subtracts from the final effect that we call sound and more hopefully music.
What works for one grape or combination will not work for another despite what some wine makers say, based on my experience, being based in the Sonoma-Napa region, a lot gets tasted and toured.
Same for wire, some cabling works great for some gear and not for others. If it were all simply plug and play this would not be a hobby so much as child' play, then again...
Uru975, Yes, I concur; you have stated in a more artistic fashion the importance and influence of the system.
I had some planar speakers that I bought in the late 80's. After a few years the ribbons went bad and I bought a replacement set and changed them out myself. I was shocked at the low quality wiring in the crossovers and to the drivers. I replaced all of that wiring, soldered some roll film caps into the networks and yielded a very satisfying improvement- good change- in the sound of my speakers. Since then, I have always checked the internals of my speakers and I am pleased to see that high end manufactures (at least on my brand) have stepped up to the expections of us demanding lot.

Now, my other item of pondering is this: House wiring is plain old solid copper wire with big flat blades at the plugs and at the circuit breaker. So how does some expensive 1 meter piece of wiring between the wall and the amp/preamp/source make a difference? Yes, I am a believer and user of expensive interconnects and speaker cables, but I just cannot bring myself to spend the money and try high priced power cords. I have a dedicated breaker to help with isolation and voltage droop as well as a power conditioner. Am I really missing something? If so, how?
Tony, two words: Do it. You won't believe what you can improve with the sound with some good PCs. You'll kick yourself for not doing it much sooner. If you're leery buy them used here and have at it.

I will tell you this; Power cords were the last of the cables to be "well received" by me. I also was hesitant to believe that they would provide such an important link. They do. In fact, I am becoming convinced with time that they are as important as speaker cables and ICs.

Anyone who has a high end rig and is using stock cords is choking their rig's performance.

You are missing something important. I don't have all the answers as to how, but when you try it you will very likely hear it easily. One explanation is to consider a length of chain. If one link is composed of plastic, then the chain can be compromised if stressed. Now consider that the chain (for most practical purposes) in audio begins at the outlet, NOT the first component! If that first link (and other links leading from the wall) are weak, then the system will suffer.

Sure, someone can rebut the illustration, but I tell you this directly. Your rig IS good enough to hear the differences easily. You should be able to hear vivid, immediate, very significant changes with power cords. Likely you could hear it even if changing out only one, but multiples will very significantly change the sound. You will likely love it! So, go with the brand of cabling you like, and...

DO IT! :)
You're getting way too worked up about this Douglas.

Your comments include a statement about me speaking authoritatively but apparently having little experience.

It is a pretty basic technique of argument to attack the credibility of the person if you have difficulty addressing the substantive point being considered and debated.

When you make a conclusory statement of fact based upon an unsubtantiated allegation, you unfortunately run the risk of discrediting your own credibility and opinions. For example, when you say that a person who has 37 years of experience in the hobby has "little" experience, how do you think that makes you look to an objective outsider viewing the debate?

You are correct about my intelligence though. I have five university degrees.

In view of my education and experience, I am quite capable of forming my own opinions. I need neither your agreement nor approval.

I appreciate the time you've taken to write your lengthy post. Sometimes there are points that cause one to reconsider one's own opinions. And sometimes not. I am always interested in reading the opinions of others. Keep in mind that nobody entirely trusts the opinions of others when they have an opinion of their own. That's why the government has to paint a line down the centre of a highway!

Perhaps we will meet again in some other thread.
Stringreen, You raise an interesting point about connectors/connections v wiring. FWIW I have a friend who is an astrophysist (a real rocket scientist who consults with NASA and is presently in China attending their most recent manned launch). He is NOT an audiophile and takes no interest in this hobby. One day, out of bordom, I mentioned the audiophile's facination with wiring. All he was interested in was connectors/connections. As I said, FWIW.
"If the inside was done really well, there wouldn't be anything to improve upon by changing the outside wires."

This is an authoritative statement (based on your own supposed authority). You offered no experience. I took exception to it. You still have offered no experience (aside from a nebulous reference to "37 years"), and no direct argument to counter.

"...if you have difficulty addressing the substantive point"

I did address the substantive point, quite throroughly. Actually, I had VERY little difficulty addressing the substantive point. You have not addressed it. I believe it is because you cannot. You have no leg to stand on, which is why you turned to an appeal to your intellectual pedigree. If you are offended by an allusion to lack of experience, I apologize. However, that does not make your statement in the OP correct. You may have little experience with high end audio systems, stretched over 37 years.

"I have five university degrees...In view of my education and experience, I am quite capable of forming my own opinions. I need neither your agreement nor approval."

But you could try to defend your OP logically, if you can. It smacks of inexperience and illogic. I would sincerely like to hear your defence of your OP rather than bluster. You're quite confident that your intellect has led you to the right answer. So be it.

Ah, the painted line; some will insist it's solid, others that it is dashed. ;)

It has been a pleasure arguing with you, sir. :)

In general, I would agree with Baroque Lover and Markphd on this one. I think the price of most wire out there is ridiculous, compared to the effect on the system. I would also say that in many cases, an "improvement" heard when switching out wire in a system is simply due to the fact that the electrical connection becomes cleaner when putting in a new piece of wire. I think there are many audiophiles who switch out wire way too frequently, when all they really need to do is clean their connections. I am not saying wire is not important, just that many consider it too important. As was said earlier, there is a reason dealers are quick to suggest wire as an improvement for a system - something to do with an extremely high profit margin.....
Learsfool, allow me to challenge you on this matter. What has been your experience in terms of changing cables? Have you ever attempted to use higher end power cords? Have you ever used two sets of cables (PCs, ICs and speaker) to ascertain differences between them? OR are you merely arguing from logic?

The reason I say this is because you're speaking in terms which make it appear that you have not really worked with many cables, such as, "I think... I think..." In sincerity, I ask what you know from experience?

Also, the point of argument was not price (at least not for me), it was efficacy. Having used cables in the dozens I have heard in general that cheap cables sound cheap. Better designs will cost more, sometimes reasonably so, and sometimes not.

Frankly, price seems to be THE major argument used against cables, and I feel it's a very poor one, as there are cables of all types and pricing structures. I think the audiophile protests too much who downgrades the influence of cables because they're too expensive. Usually what lies behind it is a feeling of distrust, and self-assurance (as Markphd so aptly demonstrated).

I'm sure many here feel that I think cable is too important. My guess is that in general those who have very high end rigs and have actually done the work of comparing cables (likely a very small number)will agree with me that connections are the least of it (i.e. cleaning the connections). The cables are critically important the higher the level of system.

One of the most maddening aspects of this debate which ranges ON and ON is that people continuously offer their logic, as opposed to actually DOING the experiments. And this is not an arena where a collider or lab is required; it's as easy as can be!

It seems the default argument is that cables are too expensive, dealers shuck them off on unsuspecting persons with too much naiivity and too much money, etc. How this relates to actual performance is beyond me. Trust me, I know all those arguments; I used to BE a cable discounter (no, not a salesman, but one who "discounted" the benefits of cables). Do I get too worked up over it. Probably, but it's not easy to see very intelligent people consistently glossing over beneficial improvements to their system based on faulty logic or bias against perceived businesses "out to get their money," or as you put it, "something to do with an extremely high profit margin."

All of the argumentation about pricing is tangential to the actual point, which is DO cables make a difference. Those that actually DO the comparisons usually realize they have efficacy, and when used in a suite have a large degree of efficacy.

One advantage I have as a reviewer is that I am under no compulsion to buy the cables I use. I also have vowed to share exactly what I hear in terms of their performance. If people want to believe that I operate out of motives of trying to make cable manufacturers look good so they can sell overpriced wires, so be it.

Ten years ago I would have been right there with you guys. I would have argued the best I could that wire was wire. I have too much experience in the matter now to take that position. My question is, what is the actual experience level of those who suggest cable is not that important? What I often find is that their experience level is not all that high.

Maybe it's different in your case, Learsfool. Maybe you have put together an extremely high end rig and have conducted listening tests on different cables or better yet suites of cables? If not, then what is your basis, aside from distrust, for your conclusion?

Bottom line: You'll get results using any wires. But without system matching with proper cables you'll not likely hear what an extremely good rig can do. If OK is good enough, then fine. It's not for me.
I thought I had made it clear that I was not saying that wire was unimportant. I certainly agree that some designs sound better than others, and I did indeed audition some different cables and interconnects, both at my dealer's and again at home. My personal feeling (based both on my own listening primarily, and secondarily on research and opinions of others) is that one should buy wire from the lower end of a respected company's line. Generally speaking, it will sound almost as good, or in many cases as good as the high end of the line, many differences being very negligible compared to the cost difference. Wire is undeniably where many dealers make a very large part of their profit margin, and there are far too many dealers out there who push ridiculously expensive wire for that reason. I would agree with the often quoted general rule that one should spend no more than 5% of the total system budget on the wire.

The other part of my post I want to repeat (and again, this is based on both my own experience and the opinions of respected dealers and audiophiles) is that too many people switch out cables and interconnects far too often. If you haven't cleaned your connections in a year, almost any new wire you put in is going to sound better at first, simply because there is a cleaner electrical connection. I was advised to clean the connections at least every six months, and to unplug them every so often in between as well. I have found this to be very good advice.

I would also add that in my opinion (which I know to be shared by many others) wire will never make a system sound better. Any element in the audio change degrades the signal, so one should not look at wire as a savior of a mediocre system, or try to make a system sound "better" using wire. I would also disagree that it is necessarily more important in a more expensive system. It is more a matter of choosing wire that does as little harm as possible (perhaps what some call "neutral", though I dislike that term). I have been told that Paul Klipsch used lamp cords for speaker cable, though I certainly would not advocate that myself. All I'm saying really is not that wire is unimportant, but that it is greatly overrated in importance by many, especially those in the industry who are interested only in profits.
Learsfool, It seems you are essentially saying that cables are unimportant past a certain price point. You lay out your logic for remaining only with economical cables from a variety of manufacturers. Though I disagree, I respect your thinking. I am inclined to agree with you more in reference to economical rigs, but not agree as the quality of the system rises. At the level of $50-75K systems and above I almost completely disagree.

A question and an Observation:

1. What are you using to clean the connections?

2. If you unplug the cables for a while, some suggest that it "resets" the cable and dielectric charges are lost, thus inhibiting the performance temporarily. It matters not to me, but I was not sure if you knew of this theory in regards to cable performance. I am sincerely curious; do you unplug the cables to let them "breathe"? Do you feel they improve with a "rest"? I'm not being sarcastic, but I've not discussed this with anyone prior. Please describe this facet of using cables.

What fascinates me is that your "let the cables rest" idea is dielectrically opposed (WOA! Fun pun!!) to the "keep it plugged in at all costs" crowd. I want to find out more about your perspective on it.

To me, the "dielectric theory" has not passed my Law of Efficacy. i.e. It has not been significant enough, even on "steeper end" rigs, to be important. :)
Ncwine1, which speaker are you referring to?
Douglas_schroeder - what I mean is that there are good and bad cables at all price points, and that I do not believe that wire will make any more difference in a $2000 system than it does in a $100,000 system, or vice versa. You seem to be saying that the higher the system's price point, the more important wire becomes proportionally in it, and this is what I disagree with. I use the lower price point as an example since the vast majority of us cannot afford $100,000 systems. I don't think anyone should put say $1500 worth of wire in a system if their system budget totals $6000, for example. The money can be spent much more wisely by buying better source components or speakers. The same would be true at a much higher price point. I also believe that if your source components or speakers or amps are poor (again, regardless of price point), wire is not going to somehow make them better. There are those who would argue that it does, and my opinion is that you should run away from a dealer trying to "fix" your system by selling you much more expensive wire, an all too common trick. Again, I never said wire was unimportant, just that it is overrated by some.

As for the "breathing" theory, no I am not specifically aware of that. I am merely repeating advice given to me from several different sources, which is that if one cleans the cable connections every so often, you will maintain a better electrical connection, and that unplugging them and plugging them in again every so often helps to do this. I do not pretend to have a knowledge of the science behind these recommendations, but I did hear a difference when I tried it. I am a professional orchestral musician, and my knowledge of the science of music includes a working musician's knowledge of acoustics and some basic practical recording knowledge (things like mike placements, basic knowledge of different types of equipment, etc.). I use my ears to judge equipment, not specs or price points. I wish alot more recording engineers and audio equipment makers and dealers and audiophiles would do the same. :)
Learsfool, we're not so far apart; there's many things we see similarly. Most different is the amount we would each contribute to the cables in a system and their "importance" overall. Everyone has to decide that for himself.

At first it sounded like you were indicating leaving the cables unplugged for a short period of time, hence my choice of the term "breathing". It seems you're rephrasing the action of unplugging and plugging them in again. If there is indeed an audible effect I would never experience the degradation of sound from leaving cables connected too long, as I break down and rebuild systems on a regular basis.
I agree that we are not very far apart at all, that's what I was trying to say in the first place. I also agree that everyone needs to decide for themselves what is the most important to them in their own systems. For me, I go back and forth between whether speakers or source components are the most important, usually siding with speakers. Amplification would be third, and recent experiments/reading are beginning to convince me that power conditioning may be more important than cables and interconnects as well, though I am undecided there. Unfortunately, being a musician, I don't have the financial luxury to switch things in and out all the time, so I did an awful lot of listening and research for quite a long time and bought the best I could afford, and don't anticipate being able to change or upgrade anything for a long time yet. I still listen to other stuff as much as I can, and read about a whole lot more, including things I will never be able to afford. And I am very fortunate, as I said, to play in a great concert hall almost every day, and have played in many others all over the world, so I have an unusually large frame of reference which no audio equipment will ever truly live up to, of course. Sure is a fun hobby, though I am really much more interested in comparing recordings than equipment. It's all about the music for me, the equipment being merely a means to that end.
Right on! - one of the better posts I've seen in a while.
Kudos! I can concur and sympathize with your angst and inner turmoil here...
Um, yes to all of the above. And, I'm sure performance would likely improve if we could change every connection, flow-path, electrical connection, power-source down the chain, and have a perfect acoustical environment. Yep, you take your best shot, hope for the best, and sit back and enjoy the journey for what all it offers...and hopefully take it all in with a friend at your side.
Douglas-Schroeder Your point on Anti-Cable does not hold true in my system. I have chosen anti-Cables after an intensive search for the best cable for my system...money was not a consideration. I experimented with Cardas, Wireworld, Purist, Audioquest, Kimber, and others...all with their top end silver, etc. offerings. None sounded as good as the Anti-Calbles, though Audioquest SKY was very good indeed. They ranked second behind Anti-Cables with Cardas being the very worst. My dealer then told me of a supercable made by Audioquest...many times the cost of Sky. I tried that cable as well...my wife thought I broke something in the system after swapping out an Anti-Cable interconnect with the super Audioquest.
Stringreen, As variety exists in cables so also (I think we all would agree) people's perceptions of what constitutes "good" sound. Between the two, I'm sure there's any number of cables which would work to sound good to a proportion of the audiophile population. The key is that you did your homework, and you found what is for you a great sound! From your response it seems you feel the effort was worth it.

Your comment about your wife's reaction, all judgments of quality of cables aside, is a fine illustration of how important/effective cable changes can be. You changed one IC (as I read it) and a second party noticed the change easily. I hear such dramatic changes as you did on a regular basis; you know exactly what I'm talking about. You have excellent gear, so this does not surprise me at all. :)
Douglas_Schroeder....I am a trained violinist and have played and recorded with the best orchestras of the world. I hear real music in real time almost every day. I can tell you when I sit on stage the sound is very much different than when I sit in the "seats". I want my system to reproduce music as I hear it from the seats. There are many times when if I close my eyes, my system tricks me into believing I'm at the hall. I have been making a living as a musician and teacher for about 40 years. I am confident of my musical perception.
Stringreen, it's wonderful to be immersed in music the way your life is!
Thank you all for your 'spirited' commentary in response to my query. My intent was not to single out the producer of the speakers for several reasons, namely that the junction of which I speak is similar to those used by many manufacturers, both high end and budget, and secondly because the producer/designer of these speakers is a company whom I respect highly and I know them to make some of the best products in the world.

It was due to the aforementioned second point that I actually anticipated somebody informing me that this last junction was not, in fact, a critical one and for that reason such a system (as previously described) of connecting the wire at the internal wire/driver interface was more than acceptable. I anticipated this despite it not adhering to solid, deductive logic (although I aim to avoid arguments of logic in this forum as they so often are devoid of the one criteria that should be utilized in such debates above all others - mathematics).

The speakers are made by Audio Note, and since acquiring my first pair of their speakers, a second-hand set of AX-2's purchased on Audiogon, I have never looked back, having owned a number of their amps, preamps, and speakers, from AX2's up through AN/E's. Nothing matches the sound, and I have no reason to second-guess the practices of such an industry juggernaut, yet given the importance put upon connections, solder joints, gauge of wire, braiding and dielectric of wire, etc., it seems curious to me that the final leg of the signal's journey would be through a solder joint onto a stamped rivet attached to a small terminal board that can become loose and rickety, which then leads out into two thin wires that attach to the actual woofer. A picture of this can be seen here: Photos of woofer terminals

Again, I aim not to raise the ire of fellow owners, nor that of Mr. Qvorptrup, as what I seek here is clarification of how this connection can be so seemingly modest, while the rest of the chain is scrutinized so heavily it can leave one ready to throw out their entire system if their RCA terminations are anything shy of diamond-bedecked and gold-gilded.

Thank you.