Best Interconnects for under $300 pair

Lets face it 90% of audiophiles are in this price range, and very good cables can be bought. I have tried various cables by Kimber, AudioQuest, Cardas, but my top pick at this price is the beautiful new SilverAudio Hyacinth. I have owned SA SilverBullet 4s and thought they were superb....much better in all respects to Kimber SilverStreak, but these new Hyacinths are slightly better in all respects to SilverBullet 4, yet are almost the same price! Best value available today for audiophiles....any other contenders?
i believe they are about 300, Dyscovery 1 2 3...heard good things about.
I would look at Nordost Red Dawn or Blue Heaven. Both excellent cables at their price points.
If you think AudioQuest cables are good, you have a wonderful surprise coming when you audition Stealth CWC or CWS (cross-wrapped copper, cross-wrapped copper). Only reservation: the rest of your system has to be up to it. You can try these with a 30-day money-back guarantee (you pay shipping), and I'm very, very glad I did.
It depends. I'd go to Synergistic Research Looking Glass phase 1 and Luminescense phase 1, only available as used , I guess. Another great contender as a used cable would be Discovery Signature.
I hate to have to say it, but it all depends on your system and the sound you're looking for. All cables have their own sonic signatures. The only advice I can give is to try a few!
Hi Megasam; There are so many ICs and models within a brand that you could end up with 300 different opinions. But, my vote is for Synergistic Research Phase 1 Luminesence from source to pre-amp and Kaleidoscope from pre-amp to amp. This is actually close to what Carlos (above) recommends-- surprising. But Syn. Res. Phase 2 are even a bit better (but $575. per pair), and are what I use in my main system. Craig
My vote is for a used pair of MIT 330 Shotgun, (however, if you need balanced, those would be more than $300 used, but well worth it). The balanced ones are better than everything else I've tried (except 350 EVO), and I've tried most of them. Don't assume anything else is better than these, TRY THEM!
The latest MIT High End Series Shotgun cables ,in a proper setup system will give any highly rated cables a run for the money in this price range.Used ,as Carl indicated is the affordable way to go.
Glad to hear a supportive opinion, hifiguy.
Definatly MIT. An amazing line of wires.
Spend even less and get better than anything listed here with Alpha Core. Either the silver or copper - can't beat them at any price.
Ditto Ljgj on Goertz. Or try Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway MKII. Under $300 at eAudioNet (Wen-Li). You don't have to get a second on the house to buy excellent wire.
I'd say Alpha Core for sure. Just got the QT/2s and Perl Silvers and was amazed at the difference in the system. I am an engineer and have poo pooed interconnects. After a day of derivations about 4 years ago with two top notch engineers we derived the cable with the least inductance and capacitance. Well when I discovered Alpha Core in the last 12 months they were making our perfect cable. All other cables are not based on this flat ribbon design that ol Maxwell would have been proud of. So the engineering specs made me buy them but my ears varified their quality in spades. I was thinking of selling my Krell KSA200S because it was too bright. Well the cables fixed the problem totally. Now the system is smoother but with more high and low end extension and much more musicality. For $300 you can get silver, but its the parallel ribbon design that's more important then the conductor.
Alpha-Core is the way to go.
Definitely neither Alpha Core, nor Harmonic Technology are the way to go. I've tried both, and mine are MUCH better in every way. It's not a synergism anomaly, either...tried them in more than one system.
I think that interconnects are integrally dependent on the system in which they work. I would recommend trying several different brands, all of which fit into your budget easily. then forget the prices and listen. It's often too easy to assume that more expensive is better. It has taken me many years to realize that is not the case. Take a week if you can to audition, but be prepared- I must admit that A/Bing cables is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had in this hobby/obsession. It can really take all the joy out of your favorite reference music. It will help in the end, however. Also realize that most of the time one cable will be better at certain aspects of the music. Rarely, do you find a true standout in all aspects. Usually it's a trade off and you need to decide what is important to your ears and emotional experience. I've had a long enjoyable and often disappointing experience with cable swapping. think of your emotional response to the cables as well. I have made the mistake in the past of going with brutally analytical components and cables that were incredibly accurate but took the music out of the music. Shortly after that I took the pendulum the other way and got into lush, sloppy cables with lots of directionless mush. It's a hard balance, but you can figure out what will make you happy. I will leave my soapbox now, sorry about that. I will leave you with a few cables I have enjoyed/ not enjoyed in the past. Retail prices are appx for one meter length. Nordost Red Dawn (400)- very detailed and enjoyable- a little too thin up high. Kimber KCAG (350)- too bright. Kimber Hero (120)-- excelllent cheap cable. Less refined than the KCAG and Red Dawn, AQ ruby (125)- OK starter cable- not too detailed. Nordost Blue Heaven (200)-- too splashy, highs not well defined and a lack of reasonable bass. Luminous Audio Technologies Monarch (140)nice cable- basically a little more precise AQ ruby- good price but poor build quality. My favorite in that price range is far and away WBT 5151 (around 190- depending on Deutsch Mark). It is an OFC double shielded cable with the WBT 0108 terminations . It is an incredibly honest cable. It has all the detail of the Red Dawn, but is more musical. It usually is not sold in the US, but can be ordered from WBT/Wattagate- they're in UT. I found a pair by accident a few months ago on the net and figureed what the heck. It has replaced my Red Dawn. Nicely too at half the price. It is hard to find something you like that is significantly cheaper than all the others, but it is refreshing. I have heard good things about Harmonic Tech from someone I trust. Also, make sure you audition well broken in cables. The used market on the net is a great, essentially low risk environment to experiment as you can usually get close to what you paid if you need to sell and the cables are broken in. I personally like trying off brands for fun, but to start you may want to stick with a few well respected names so if you don't like them, their name recognition will sell themselves for you after your trial run. Also, all cables are system dependendent and more importantly listener dependent, so you may hate all my recommendations and I am sure I have omitted some wonderful options. But in all honestly, the subjective nature of audio is what makes it such a wonderful pastime. Opinions are like something or another. Anyway, happy listening and best of luck. hope that was helpful. Todd (Tsquared)
I agree the SilverAudio's are the best. I've tried many of the brands mentioned here. An extremely neutral (not heard) cable. I was looking for a cable that had no sound. I only wanted to here the music. I am using the 6.0's
I agree the SilverAudio's are the best. I've tried many of the brands mentioned here. An extremely neutral (not heard) cable. I was looking for a cable that had no sound. I only wanted to here the music. I am using the 6.0's
Glad you said it first Carl, as I was not wanting to sound negative - but the Harmonic Technology is horribly over-hyped. I have tried a whole set of their stuff over a decent period and found every one of them had some kind of anomoly that should not exist in a high-end system.
I've been saying it for a while, but we all have to make up our own mind in our own time, I guess. The HT might work in some systems, but not in most, it seems to me. The Alpha Core just seem flawed from the start (the two poles are touching thru the whole length of the cable, with a micron or so of dielectric separating them). If somebody has tried others, and they just love either of these, then they must really like the particular sound they're getting...but I don't know why they would. There are many other factors, of course. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME ABOUT THE GUY WITH THE ARRAYED-RIBBON SPEAKERS, REDKIWI?
Try Light-Star audio. They make very good silver cables and give a 100% money-back guarentee. can't loose.
I'd try JPS Labs Ultraconductors (about $130 for 1.5 meter pair). Not bright, dark or clouded: just smooth, neutral and no exaggerations. You might also want to check out The Cable Company (, as you can home audition cables through them before making a purchase decision. They carry a large range of interconnect and cable manufacturers, and a very broad range of prices.
Carl_eber's comment about the Alpha Core's design being flawed because of the close proximity of the conducters is wrong. That design feature is the reason they make sense to an engineer. There design cuts down on impedence (inductive and capacitive) and allows a square wave to proceed through them with the least amount of ringing. Alpha Core is the only design that has the guts to show the wave form of theirs and their competition.
I'm anything but wrong, and there's zero reason why such a "low impedance" design would better pass a square wave without ringing. I'm sort of an engineer too. Creating low impedance by just having the poles in close proximity is the wrong way to make a cable, and using a termination network to control impedance (among other things) is the right way. And Goertz certainly IS NOT the only cable manufacturer to publish square wave tests on their cabling. You need to better educate yourself about highend audio cabling, Keis.
Alpha-Core Micro Purl without hesitation. I was using the Transparent Ultra XL which cost $900/meter. On the advice (pleading) of an audiophile friend, I put in the Micro Purl just to shut him up. I sold the Transparent Ultra XL right here on Audiogon. I'm sure that there are other very good cables out there for under $300, but I strongly advise that you give the Micro Purl a listen. What do you have to loose? Alpha-Core will even let you try them out, at no cost, for 30 days! Transparent would not do that.
Besides many others, I tried Transparent Reference (XL) RCA, a $2000 interconnect. In my system, it was soundly beaten in every aspect by the MIT Shotgun 330 "medium" RCA (which can be had used for around $300). I'm not saying not to try any of the Goertz cables, I'm just saying that I have already (not the new Pearl, though). The balanced 330 Shotgun sounds essentially as good as the 350 EVO RCA ($3000)...makes me wonder how good the balanced 350 EVO is ($4000). Someday I'll find a good deal, and try some used ones...can't afford it now, though.
2 interconects i would recommend, are Custom House cables interconnects. I'm using the Barracuda interconnect which cost 149 dollars a meter, 2 meters are 199 dollars. These interconnects sound very natural. Also i would also recommend the Benchmark interconnect, which is another interconnect by Custom House cables. This interconnect cost 99 dollars and 2 meters is 149 dollars Another interconnet thats nice for 39 dollars is the Art of sound interconnect. 2 meters for the Art of Sound interconnect is 49 dollars. Check out both websites. When your on Art of Sounds site, click on click on Accessories on the left side to see the interconnects.
To Carl - I have made some calls but am not finding it easy to track the individual you refer to. I will probably have success or reach a dead-end this week.
Homegrown Audio makes a cheap solid-core silver/teflon cable that's as good as anything I've heard.
OK, Redkiwi, thak you for your efforts.
Carl, it seems the gentleman with the vertical cylindrical array of ribbons has left this fair land for the bleak shores of England. But, I have a lead on a gentleman who worked with him a bit on the project and he may know the new contact details. Along the way I have not come across anyone who heard the speaker but apparently literally hundreds of magnets were involved - perhaps he found that noone in New Zealand could afford a pair and went in search of a market elsewhere.
Like I said get the Alpha Core - any compnay that let's you try theie units for thirty days has faith in their product without expecting you to - ask those others if they have as much in their stuff.
Thanks Redkiwi. Yes, the speaker used like 400 neodymium magnets, if I remember correctly.
Carl, the fellow's name is Richard Barton, and as at December 1999 was living in France, and was available at "". I found this out through a lecturer at Auckland University, one Denis Taylor, who added that "I have built similar arrays on a smaller scale, mostly for use in teaching the Physics involved here at the university in Auckland". His email address is "".
Redkiwi, I thank you very much! I wish I could return the favor somehow, but I doubt there's much of anything that I know, that you either don't already know...or perhaps don't want to know, heh heh. You are a kind "mate"! I hope you didn't take any of our back and forth (from a few weeks ago) personally, cause that was never my intent at all. Anyhoo, I owe you one!
Carl, the "Red" refers to my hair colour (not my politics, regardless of how the NZ Govt may come across in the US from time to time), and in keeping with my hair colour it is sometimes the only colour I see - but I never mean it personally and enjoy a little jousting from time to time - something I think we have in common. You are very welcome concerning the contact details, and if that makes us "mates" then I am very pleased and I send you a sincere "G'day!"
Try Analysis Plus - you'll be glad you did. Their speaker cables are also fantastic for the price!