I used to race cars and I found that it was best to put tires on all wheels! Frankly, I like tires on all four corners when racing cars.
OH! about the cables... I like the same interconnects throughout. Although, my cd unit has both balanced and single ended outputs. So, I have a second, different manufacturer's cable which I use to soften (take out some of the hard stuff) for really crappy media that I really like.
I do not have the same cables either brand or model. To keep it short, I find all components react to cables differently. I have the best cable (which is the most important in my opinion) on the Preamp Power Amp link. This interconnect affects the sound of the whole system. The other cables are chosen around this. The same goes with the speaker cables. IMHO, different speakers sound better with different cables, so I see no reason to stick to the same brand.
I agree with Sugarbrie, I've been down both roads and I think it's a synergestic thing between components. If you check with most audiophiles, I would think this applies to cables and components. I don't know many that have components from the same manufacturer. I've done the whole system with a certain brand of cable, but I prefer to have 'specialized' cable handle a 'specialized' application. For instance, while I may prefer one manufacturers speaker cable, I might not like the way their interconnect handles digital.
For more details. I have a Nordost SPM as my Pre-Power link. Siltech to the CD Player and Tuner. Van Den Hul to the Turntable. Music & Sound Black to Tape Deck. MIT T2 BiWire Speaker Cable. A smaller system in the Den has Cambridge Audio Studio Reference to Tuner, Music and Sound Grey to DAC. LAT Digital Cable to CD/Transport. Store Brand Bi-Wire Speaker cables. DVD Player also has Cambridge Audio Studio Reference. Subwoofer has Tributaries to low pass connection. A couple Vansevers Power Cords.
Whatever works, works. Although I suspect that a mix and match approach may be a band-aid approach towards fixing deeper component problems. Think about for a second -- the CD player is a little bright and the preamp is "revealing" -- the solution is an interconnect that is somewhat "soft". Such a fix can be very effective. Personally, I use Discovery interconnects for all analog connections, but I also use Sumiko OCOS for the speaker cables. It works.
After testing different type, brands, and models of cables.
For my paticular system, the all one brand approach worked best. Harmonic Tech Pro Silway for interconnects and Pro-11n for speakers, AC11-N for PC. Although I am using a balanced version for the CD to preamp connection. Everything was fine and then I tried a Sonic Horizon Skyline PC. After testing Synergistic models and a couple of DIY's, it was obvious that the Skyline was far superior. I now realize that same manufactures works best throughout the whole system until something sounds better. And then all the rules change. I guess that I am bi-polar. For now!
First off I don't have loads of experience with different brands of cable but My take on it is like this...Most cable companies have certain design philosophies, whether they are legit or not is not part of this thread, but if you truly believe that one mfgr. is on to something with an IC for example, wouldn't that same design principle apply to their other cables? It looks like the cable companies design their stuff using a wide variety equipment from different manufactures but no matter what is in the system they ( as far as I know, I may be wrong ) allways use their own wire to connect everything together. For example if I believe that Tara labs design with active shield makes all the difference in the world, then why would I want to put another IC downstream that doesn't have active shield? Or maybe I try the Tara labs and I think it sounds thin, but unbeknown to me Tara just doesn't work well with the other cables in my system or shows through how thin they really are???
I have only one brand of cable, including interconnect cable (RCA and Balanced), speaker wire, power cords, internal wire in speakers and video and audio runs in my surround sound system. Makes a perfect package for the sound I want. I guess my vote is for all one brand at this point.
Well, I've years and years of day in and day out experience with more equipment than most people will ever have the luxury of putting their hands on in one life time! I have worked over the years (undisclosed) in 4 different high end audio salons, selling just about every immaginable brand of everything, and designing custom hi-end systems in some rather wealthy clients homes. My find from all these environments and exeriences I've been exposed to has been that "balance", and overall system/room synergy, is ultimately what it's all about when building a sytem properly in a given room...and that somehow or another, usually, entails adressing the proper interconnect combo for the system needs at hand...to give it that "balance" that pressents the system as neutral as possible!
As subjective as that "desireable balance" may be to one listener or another, in any given accoustical environment, I find that blending a proper synergy of interconnects and wires, ultimately, unfortunately becomes more and more necessary with the better more revealing hi-perfomance/resolution systems!!!
What seems to happen is, yes, certain cables I guess interact differently with different impedance loads and what not that are pressented. And, let's face it, not all equipment in a chain has the same sonic signature/and interfacing. Thus, I suppose, not being an engineer of sort, to explain it more from that stand point (although I know some engineers in the Audio business who are definitely not seeing the entire cable picture here from a proper perfomance perspective in my oppinion, to see the whole picture!), it seems, from my day in and day out experience in fine-tuning some outrageously good equipment for best performance, the match of cables seems to do best when mixed and matched. You just start out trying to put on the same types of cables when assembling these darn things. Then, after fumbling with em for a few day's/weeks/months, you find that those other cables you just switched out between one of the pieces in the chain(broken in ofcorse...I don't care what some of those "2 dimmensional" bone head engineers with PHD's say about "cables is cables" and crap!..especially if they measure out the same!...yeah right), makes the system sound,well, more right!!!...almost every time!
Now keep in mind, besides my own system tinkerings (and yes, I use mix matched cables ultimately in my system. I use Audio Quest Python b/amp and pre, and Harmonic Tech Truth between a couple of my source components and pre. I also use Harmonic Pro 11 pairs biwire for speakers), which have run the gambit of a lot of different cables combo's, some of the systems I've had the tinkerings with include some of the most expensive outragously transparent equipment pieces in the world! Making things that much more critical in balancing out all the pieces! What you usually find in such high perfomance systems, is that all the flaws in the chain are revealed more readily, making for higher demands placed on the individual matchings..again, the interconnects seem to differ in the end for best results.
So, to hit the analogy pressented by the guy regarding the race car, the higher the perfomance of race car your driving, the more critical each part becomes in "balancing" that race car out for maximum performance on a given track!!! I don't know about "good-ol-boy" dirt track racing out back, but I've done a bit of observing of Formula One racing over my years. And those Formula Racers will ALWAY'S tell you they make fine tune adjusts like adding 1 LB of air in a given differetn tire on a car for HUGE IMPROVEMENTS IN PERFOMANCE!!!...if they want to stay competetive day in and day out! Little stuff adds up to all the difference in the world when things get more critical!...all way's does, alway's will! You'll have to find out for yourself, I guess, how small changes affect the perfomance of your sytem "balance"!...in this case mix-n-matching those cables if that's what it takes...and if often does in my experince...
I will read equipment brochures and some will say they use Cardas, Straightwire, or whatever brand throughout their internal wiring. Therefore, put simply, unless you have taken apart and rewired every component in your system with your wire of choice, you are not being entirely consistant with brand along the signal path.
I had Transparent re-wire all of my stuff. It was really expensive but well worth the effort and cost. I am thinking of upgrading to internal "opus" line next. Should be around 15k per component.
Sugarbrie, I have done essentially what you describe. My phono, preamp, speakers and amplifiers do contain the same wire I choose for speaker cable and interconnect. There are hundreds of feet of wire in every stereo system that remains unaccessible to the end user. Examples are chokes, transformers, wire wound resistors, discrete volume controls, coils, printed circuit boards and other wire based products. Once the input and output wires have been replaced, and the wire in the speakers, along with the cables we are discussing, it is about as far as it can go to being entirely consistent with brand.
That being said, I am totally pleased with the results of a single "wire product" system.
NoMoney and Albertporter. I've heard of people upgrading cheap internal wires; you guys take it to a new height. I am very impressed.
If I went with all one wire. Because of budget I would probably go with Siltech ST-18G3. I would probably still keep the Nordost SPM as the Preamp Poweramp link. I bought the SPM used at less than 50% list. Could not afford a whole system of SPM, but is a keeper because it is better than any other cable I have.
Sugerbrie, I was just kidding around. I don't think Transparent would even offer that kind of service...Well maybe they would if the money was right? But I doubt it would be worth their time or my money for the benefits. There just isn't a lot of wire in there except for inside the speakers. My qestion really is directed towards the wires that we use to connect our system. Happy listening, how is the cat?