Basic cable question


Hi everyone---I'm new here and a fairly 'new' audiophile. I'm currently updating my system and just need some basic advice. I've heard two different opinions on interconnects and speaker cables. I have Transparent speaker cables and standard stock interconnects which I'm updating next. The Transparent salesman told me that I need to keep my interconnects with Transparent as well---is this true? I guess my real question is: do speaker cables and interconnects need to be the same brand? Thanks so much in advance! 
bluorion
Of course he told you that.  He's...the...Transparent...salesman.

Seriously, some argue for loom consistency throughout, but the majority don't go that route.
It's good the you can see right through him.  
Like said, you don't need to stick with the same brand. 

All the best,
Nonoise
Truth be told:
I fell into the Transparent void early into my reintroduction to hifi after 30+ years.
Here is what I learned-
Cables are very system dependent. What works in one system might not in another.

Since I don't know what equipment you are using, then it would be impossible to gauge if Transparent cables would be a positive choice for you.
What I can say is that there are very many choices (and God knows you'll get a myriad of responses here on Audiogon), that will provide you with similar or possibly better results at a more reasonable cost.
So, please let us know what you are using. It would help narrow down the choices... Well, maybe....
Bob
Lol! What a crock! Salesman is right, he is selling you not helping. 

If you really are running the stock crap patch cords that come with components then yes, anything and everything will be a major improvement. But do not just buy the first thing you hear- and definitely do not buy anything from that salesman, or any other for that matter who tries to tell you anything even remotely similar. Also don't buy based on technical BS, engineering or design BS, or anything other than what you yourself hear.

Speaker cables, interconnects and power cords are components in their own right. They don't need to be the same brand any more than your amp and turntable, or speakers and power conditioner. 

With all components but especially cables you should never buy what you haven't heard at home in your own system, or at least not without a 30 day no questions asked return policy.  Even then never buy what sounds the best until you have tried several contenders. Especially with cables. There are so many and the range between merely good and outstanding, you won't believe until you hear it for yourself. Which will never even happen unless you try a lot. 
Transparent cables do work well together. But it is not a must do.
Thanks guys! Thanks for the info!! I thought it was kind of sales-pitchy as well. Like gdnrbob, I've been out of the audio world for a while and trying to catch up. But here's my current system:

VPI Cliffwood TT
Marantz PM 8006 integrated amp
Marantz ND 8006 CDP/Streamer
Dynaudio Special 40s (w/Transparent cables)
(my old Denon 3-head cassette deck)

My Dyns are not efficient as I have learned and will be upgrading to a proper amp and preamp down the road. I can use the 8006 as a preamp but I'd like to go with balanced if I can.


... do speaker cables and interconnects need to be the same brand?

To add to the previous responses, with which I agree, the idea that the cables in a system should all be of the same make is often referred to as "loom theory." While a goodly number of audiophiles subscribe to that belief, and many of them have achieved satisfactory results following that approach, I daresay that the majority of audiophiles have achieved satisfactory results without following that approach. And as I see it "loom theory" is fundamentally flawed in that it fails to recognize that the sonic effects of a particular cable are dependent not only on its intrinsic characteristics, but are also dependent (and in many cases are more dependent) on the technical characteristics of the components the cable is connecting.

For example, the sonic effects of an analog interconnect will depend to a significant degree on the output impedance of the component driving the cable; on whether the cable is balanced or unbalanced; on the susceptibility of the components that are being connected to ground loop effects; on whether the signals being conducted are line level or phono level; if they are phono level on whether the cartridge is a moving magnet or a moving coil; and on other variables. While the sonic effects of a speaker cable will depend to a significant degree on the impedance of the speaker; on how the impedance of the speaker varies as a function of frequency; on the criticality of woofer damping to the particular speaker; on whether or not the amplifier utilizes a feedback loop from its output; on the sensitivity of the amplifier to spurious energy that may be introduced at its output and couple from there into that feedback loop; and on other speaker-dependent variables.

As evidence of the dependence of the sonic effects of a cable on what it is connecting, here are a couple of relevant examples:

1) If an interconnect having relatively high capacitance is compared with one having relatively low capacitance, and if everything else is equal, the higher capacitance cable will produce a duller and more sluggish response in the upper treble region if used as a line-level interconnect (especially if it is driven by a component having high output impedance), due to the interaction of cable capacitance and component output impedance; while in many and probably most cases the exact opposite result will occur if those same two cables are compared in a phono cable application and driven by a moving magnet cartridge, due to the interaction of cable capacitance and cartridge inductance.

2) It is easily possible for digital cable "A" to outperform digital cable "B" in a given system when both cables are of a certain length, and for cable "B" to outperform cable "A" in that same system if both cables are of some other length. The happenstance of the relationships between cable length, signal risetimes and falltimes, cable propagation velocity, component susceptibility to ground loop-related noise, the happenstance of how closely the impedances of both components and the cable match, and the jitter rejection capability of the DAC, all figure into that.

Given these kinds of component-dependent variables, happenstances, and dependencies, it is hard to conceive of how, as a general rule, a single-manufacturer loom would necessarily stand a greater chance of being optimal than a mixed set. And for that matter, given that the components in a system perform completely different functions, are very different in design, and are usually produced by different manufacturers, a mix-and-match approach, if pursued with reasonable thoroughness, would seem more likely to do so.

Regards,
-- Al

Al’s response is much more technical than anything I could offer you, but the ’loom theory’ is also based, to a degree, on the ’house sound’ of particular cable brands.
To me, the only way to know is to live with it in your system. Thus, The Cable Co. loaner program may make sense. I don’t know if they are price competitive, I do know they also have a ’Used Cable" business but don’t know if you can home trial some cables then try to buy them used from The Cable Co. My dealings with them were confined to the Audio Desk record cleaning machine and Robert Stein was a good guy.
I think it is impossible to figure this out without listening unless you just decide to go for some tried and true combo- there are known synergies that people seem to prefer for some products, but again, that may not replicate your system in your room with your ears.
For my vintage second system, I bought very inexpensive cable and it's fine. For my main system, I home trialed (by owning and by loan from manufacturer) several different cables and have not changed them in a decade, other than to upgrade one IC.
Good luck, it’s a bit maddening since you can begin to question what you are hearing which only reinforces the negative view of cable changes. I’m not a naysayer, but sometimes, a change in a system will improve one thing and negatively affect something else. That’s why longer term listening is the route I prefer for evaluating things.
Thanks so much! Al, I love your response---I had to read it twice but it makes perfect sense. I guess the loom theory is alive and well---I'm a little embarrassed that I fell for it. It seems like there are as many cables as there are cereal. But I have my work cut out for me---I guess it's time to start auditioning some cables. 
What's funny is that I auditioned several speaker cables when I bought the Special 40s and that's how I chose the Transparent cables. Duh!
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If your system is all the same manufacture then I could see maybe use one cable manufacture, but I suspect most people have a mix of component manufactures and speakers. I use two different brands for the most part and am very happy with the mix.

I use WyWires IC and PC on my analog side along with speakers and use Nordost on my digital components... just pulled out a Clear Day balanced from preamp to amp with a Nordost I just picked up. I have several Clear Day Cables IC and SC and Kimber Kables PC which I’ve slowly pulled out of my system which I’ll keep for a second system... maybe.

As mentioned by others, cables are subject to personal taste. There’s no right or wrong; just what sounds right to you. I will add it might be easier to start with one brand but it’s just a start.
Nice system indeed, and welcome back.  I've heard those Special 40's with a (I believe the A-S 3000) Yamaha amp, ahhh someday.  Enjoy The Music