Audioquest Makenzie XLRs

I have the opportunity to purchase Audioquest cables at approx 40% below retail... 

I cant spend hundreds or thousands on cables.

Is there a better XLR cable for the money at the price point of $110 a pair than the Audioquest Makenzie?  110 is my cost.  Next up the line in AQ more than doubles my cost.... cant swing that much on ICs.

Gear consists of Marantz 7704, ATI 1807 Amp, B&W CDM 9NTs.
Not high end by any means but it's far better than what I had.

So .... is there a better cable for the money?
Seems AQ Makenzie is well reviewed and well designed.

Thoughts? Comments?  Assistance and advice is appreciated.
There are top level Anti-Cable XLR's for 260 dollars or so on Ebay - make a bid....
I am a big AQ fan and think they are the way to go.
The performance of their cables is a step up from other cable manufacturers with regards to price.
My experience has been the opposite. I've found that you can do much better than Audioquest at the same price point. I'd also avoid silver-plated connectors and silver-plated spades which is what Audioquest uses on most of their products.
If I should avoid AQ.... what are a few solid recommendations that wont break my budget of <150ish a pair??

Also -- same goes for power cords and hdmi cables. looking for recommendations for my AVP and amp.

Although I dont want to spend 100 for hdmi -- 50-100 max

Either call AQ, or call or PM John Rutan with your questions. His Agon ID is audioconnection. He can give you great, free advice regarding your system.
Are you buying interconnects for 2 channels or 7 channels (or somewhere in between)?

Why XLR? I don’t believe either the Marantz or ATI are differential balanced. 

I’m a big fan of AudioQuest,  However, I’m not sure I’d throw a lot of money at cables for your system. I once did that for a 5-channel dual purpose AV system. Even with a good deal on cables, the $$$ add up quickly. 

CORRECTION> The amp I have is the ATI 2007 not 1807.  Sorry.  The 2007 says true balanced XLR.  Is that not same as differential?

I was under the impression that using XLR was better regardless, providing lower noise floor etc. Not sure if the 7704 has 'true' balanced... but it does have XLR connections... Spec says balanced XLRs.  Does not say true balanced on the 7704.

In short, XLR isn't necessarily better. However, the ATI 2007 is a balanced amp, and the Marantz 7704 will output a balanced signal, so in this instance, I'd be inclined to try a balanced cable.

Not to complicate matters, but you'll want to verify the pin arrangement on the ATI 2007. According to page 43 of the Marantz 7704 manual...

A GND (Ground)

B HOT (+)

C COLD (–)

The PIN arrangement in this device uses the European method. In the USA method, B is COLD, and C is HOT.

When connecting a device that utilizes the USA type of PIN arrangement, replace the B and C plugs on one side of the balanced cable.

If the ATI 2007 is arranged with B as COLD, and C as HOT, you can always just refers (+) and (-) speaker connections to preserve polarity.

I will double check the pin outs. Thx.

Never realized there could actually be a difference.

How do I change the pins on an xlr cable?  Or are the pins switched on one end?  I thought XLR was a standard?

The professional balanced/XLR pin arrangement in the U.S.A. adheres to AES File 48:

Pin 1: Ground

Pin 2: Non-inverted signal

Pin 3: Inverted signal

That is how all pro equipment is wired (as well as consumer electronics designed by engineers who wish to conform to that standard, such as Atma-Sphere's Ralph Karsten, Music Reference's Roger Modjeski, and EAR-Yoshino's Tim de Paravicini), and how all pro audio cables are terminated.

In Europe, pins 2 & 3 are reversed.

Just flip the speaker cables on the amp side (+) -> (-), and (-) -> (+) and leave the speaker cables on the speaker side (+) -> (+), and (-) -> (-). You can "fix" it through XLR cable modification, but then you'd be messing with perfectly good cables, and can solve the issue in a much simpler manner.

If we weren't having this conversation, you'd probably never know the difference if you didn't flip the polarity, but since you're on AudioGon, you're probably OCD like the rest of us. 


I am a bit OCD... :) esp now that I know there is difference in pin outs. Which I had not even considered would be a possibility.

I just didn’t want to mess up my gear somehow.

I didn’t think changing the pins on the cables would be that straight forward, I just ran across an article that said to change the pins.

Ok. So just so I understand:

amp end... black to red and red to black for all speakers.

speaker end... black to black and red to red for all speakers..

What effect if any will this have on sound quality and sound behavior?


Thank you for that information.  So I take it for every amp that meets a US vs EU standard the global solution is to switch speaker wire connections as mentioned above... or change the pin out?

Are there any XLR cables that are built reversed so one doesn't need to switch speaker cable connections?  Seems it would be an easy solution.
@lightfighter2018, if both your source and your amp conform to the AES standard, you should not have to switch your speaker cables. If either doesn’t, you won’t get the full benefit of balanced connection even if you use XLR connections. In that case, I would have cables made that do the Pin switching for you, rather than switching at the speakers. Take Five Audio in Ontario, Canada will build then for you, and their prices are reasonable.
You can also PM Ralph Karsten (atmasphere), and get his take on this.
He knows the 'Balanced' standard and can give you the best route to take.

We're mixing things up and (potentially) going to confuse the OP.

Quite simply, pins 2 and 3 are reversed on the pre-amp (w/ respect to what is normal in the US). In all reality, this should make absolutely no difference in what is "seen" by the amp, as the signal on pin 2 and 3 are, regardless of the "European method" or "USA type of PIN arrangement", a simple signal inversion IN THIS SITUATION. The suggestion to reverse the speaker cables is simply a hyper OCD suggestion (and is technically, not necessary). 

OP, you'd probably be better off if you ignored this thread, plugged-in some balanced XLR cables, and enjoyed the music.
Appreciate all input.  I am going to buy some XLRs and plug and play and will see how it turns out.

Although trying to sort out what is and what is not... but it occurred to me that I believe the pinouts are in fact the same. Yes opposite while looking at them on the back, but if you put the avp and amp back to back... same pin out. For some reason the orientation was messing with my head. So, apologies for not catching it sooner.
I agree with @nrenter, I would not go crazy on cables with your system. I’m also a fan of AQ cables. Solid performance and neutral sounding in my opinion. If you can get a great deal on the AQ Mackenzie cables (seems like a good price for $110), I’m sure they would work fine. Don’t over think it. Good luck!

What is better than AQ at the given price point. I don't have the means to drop $300-1000 per cable... 

So for 120-150 a pair... what mfgr is not snake oil?
If I were in your shoes, I’d go with the Mogami Gold Studio Microphone Cable and not look back.

I have seen Mogami mentioned in Audiogon before.

If I may ask - 

What makes Mogami a better/same choice as other cables made by companies like:

Blue Jeans
Signal Cables

And what would I be loosing out on by not spending more? At $40 a meter pair for the Mogami I can't imagine that not spending more won't translate into better performance.

I am okay with being wrong, but with so many on Audiogon spending thousands on ICs and PCs -- I can't imagine that any of them would replace their pricey cables for Mogami's.  

Of course - if there are folks out there that have indeed replace their 'expensive' cables with cables like Mogami -- 

I would love to hear feedback about their experience with the Mogami gears.
This thread seems to have run its' course, but I'll bite.
Paying more doesn't necessarily relate to better performance.
Most manufacturers will stage their products with greater resolution in conjunction with price.
Also, system symmetry comes into play.
So, whether or not a 'higher' priced cable will be an improvement is something that can only be verified by trial and error.
There also comes a point of diminishing returns with regard to price increase.

If there is some advice I can give, it is to find a seller offering free returns or a trial period and giving their cables a try to see if it works in your system.


Per the recommendations of so many - I opted for the Mogami Gold XLRs -- have had them about 2 weeks - 

and so far - am pleased wit the results - far better performance over the RCAs they replaced.

I know there are far better cables - but for my existing system - I believe them to be a solid choice...

To the rest -- thanks for all of the input -- 
If you find the that the sound stage isn’t as good as you would like with the mogami which is one of my quirks with them try the Studio Cable 4S you can read about them here:

I find most studio brands very congested and limited in their presentation mainly because of the fact that their main focus is durability in a studio setting. So they have to bundle the wires too close together in a thick outer sleeve to achieve that ruggedness. Studio cables 4S on the other hand are made especially by hand for permanent installs and have no such constraints.

Good lord, this thread is so full of BS that I feel sorry for the OP.  A dozen or more wildly differing opinions, and most of them not answering the basic question.  No wonder why we are losing the next generation in regards to good audio.

I own Morrow Audio cables, Audioquest, Wireworld and others.  I actually own the Mackenzie XLR which I selected after experimenting with my set up.  Good cables are not snake oil.  People that are stuck in this mind set seem to adhere to it with a fanatical attitude for some reason.  The Mackenzie is a pretty decent cable, and would have been a no brainer at the discounted price the OP had been offered.

1)  The different kinds of copper that Audioquest and others use actually makes a difference.  Insulation materials used matters as well.  The cheap fine strand copper speaker wire (lamp cord)  can be the worst sounding cable in your system.  Buy some Audioquest Type 4 speaker cables in their "budget" by-the-foot price.  It will open your eyes.

2)  Silver conducts electricity better than copper.  The brass connectors that most budget cables use is an inferior conductor.  Look it up.  

3)  Many companies charge too much for their really good to best cable lines.  But good deals can be had.  

4)  Same for good audio components.  One can get much more bang for buck with Schiit Audio components.  It's a lousy name, but does compete favorably with the Parasounds, NADs and such at usually less than half the price.  
You made a wise choice.