What about The Cable Company? Their business is loaning out cables, so you can find the one that works best in your system. The other option, as you know, is buying and selling until you find the one you like.
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You pose a very good question(s). Without trial and error it is often very difficult to choose which ICs to use. Before I would just buy one brand of ICs and use it in every place. This way I would have everything all equal. Now from reading on the forums I'm going to try the best quality built cables or the cables that sound the best to me from source to preamp. Since it all starts there why not start out with the best you have at the source.
I'm hoping other members have more input on how they chose cabling for their sources.
One thing that might help to reduce the degree of randomness and the amount of trial and error in the process would be to search "virtual systems" for the specific make and model of the two components that are being connected, and seeing what kinds of cables other people are using to connect those specific components.
I would suggest focusing particularly on the make and model of the CDP, because to the extent that cable differences are dependent on external factors, they are likely to depend more on the component that drives the cable than on the destination component.
"How to choose the best sounding interconnect between pre-amp and CD player" Without getting on the IC of the month club merry-go-round where you could/may spend thousand of dollars looking for the smoothest, most accurate, and most musical, how can the selection process be made easier.??
Unfortunately, I don't see anyway to get around personal listening. You'll probably get plenty of reco's, but no one can tell you what will work best for your tastes with your equipment. Especially since you don't even seem to know what you are looking for. From my experiences, musicality and accuracy are mutually exclusive, meaning that as you gain more of one you lose more of the other. Are you looking for more warmth and musicality OR more speed and resolution? You can try to balance them the best you can, but you lose one as you get closer to the other end of the tonality spectrum.
If you are like most others, you are looking for a cable that balances accuracy with musicality with your equipment and your ears. You can try any recommendation that you get, but you still won't know if it's the "best sounding interconnect" unless you try them all. Call The Cable Company, they might be able to help get you started in a general direction.
Here's my 2 cents worth. Try a pair of Mapleshade Excalibur ICs.
I found an old pair in a box of cables I had and just for the heck of it, tried them.
It was like throwing open the window. Night and day, difference, etc. My system has gone through a couple of permutations and I hadn't used them since I began this hobby years ago.
I should have never taken them out.
You can read the testimonials on their site and check out what some say here as well. There is a 30 return policy if you don't like them. Just don't use anything to quicken the burn in process. The ones I have use different terminations than the ones they use now. Progress I guess. They look hand made but people don't seem to mind.
Hope this helps you hasten your journey so you can sit back and enjoy.
All the best,
That plastic bag is like having practically no dielectric at all. Nothing to mess with the signal. If you could hear them in my system you wouldn't knock them and I guess that's the basis for such a remark: you've never heard them.
You like Chord ICs because they make them for Naim? How about a former Martin Logan employee who swears by the Mapleshades? You can content yourself to naim dropping as can I but the proof is in the hearing. Does Chord allow a 30 day return policy?
This reminds me of when I first posted about the Mapleshade Helix speaker wires all those years ago and the heckling that followed. Then, a few years later others come out with the same formula to rave reviews.
All the best,
DNM IC's are very good and a great value. I believe they are $220.00 for a 1 meter pair. IMO, it would be in your best interst to try to demo something in your own system. As Sks_man suggested, the cable company is a good place to start if you have no dealers in your area willing to loan you something. Also, you can consider, Music Direct, Audio Advisor & Acoustic Sounds. I think, all have a 30 day return policy. Good luck.
Nonoise, I have heard from friends the Mapleshade cables sound good, but the design seems delicate. I didn't mean to offend you and I am sure they sound great in your system.
I was using Chord cables long before I knew Naim uses their cables. However, the fact that Naim uses Chord makes quite a statement. I have used Chord with both tube and solid state equipment and the results are always very good.
Sorry If I over reacted: it was late and I was enjoying a glass of Chilean cabernet franc. Hard to figure out intent over the internet.
As for the design, they do look delicate but I've always handled them with care until I put them in my cable bin box and they laid there at the bottom with all manner of junk on top of them. It seems you'd have to be pretty certain you'd want to damage them if that was your intent.
So many choices.
All the best,
While researching something else I came across these
They appear to take the minimalist approach like Mapleshade, Anti-Cables and Morrow and may be a less expensive to boot.
All the best,
Nonnoise, I might give the Mapleshade double helix speaker cable a shot; though I have looked at JW audio cable and exchanged a few e-mails with John. I think MS is a more mainstream of the internet companies, but I am going to take another look at JWAudio. As far as the interconnect, I share Rrog's concerns about their build quality. BTW many years ago, when I worked as an audio salesman, a customer told me he had made a similar looking cable as the Excalibar by stripping the plastic from standard speaker wire and placing the raw wire between two strips of wide clear Scotch tape. I think he even rigged some simple spade plugs. He claimed these home made IC's sounded excellent.
Back when I had Hornshoppe Horns and was speaking to Ed Schilling, he said Mapleshade ICs were easy to make and offered to make me a set of speaker cables like them. Even one of his stock photos on his site showed them being used as his primary cable at the time.
I can understand the reluctance to get them and even I thought I was going to damage them some time down the line but so far they have held up.
There's another thread here that I started about rediscovering the Mapleshade Helix cables and couple of users chimed in on how much they like the Double Helix. One day when I have the funds I'm going to try them myself. Right now I'm bi wiring on the same speaker posts using the regular Helix and a pair of Clear Day single strand silver cables and am loving the sound I'm getting. Those Double Helix runs just might eliminate the use of bi wiring but right now I'm just happy as all get out.
Good luck in what you choose.
All the best,