Audience, Acoustic Zen at that price point.
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Signal Cable,...other manufactures should have Signal cable wires for their reference to chellenge their best and at the same time be ashamed of the market up and marketing surrounding many of these ultra expensive wire.,...Member Syntax is right about Signal Cable being The Most underrated cable manufacture in the business.
try either of these from Take Five Audio,
Neotech NEI-3001 Balanced, Furutech 602/601 XLRs, Cryo Treated
Mogami 2534 XX Series, Cryo Treated, Neutrik XX Series XLR
I have both but with RCA ends, the Neotech is a bit full with solid bass and beautiful midrange tone and the Mogami is a bit more neutral and possibly more detailed.
The Neotech would be around $300 for 3 ft and the Moagami is an absolute steal at less then $100 for 3 ft.
Definitely consider the Mogami 2534. I bought a 6 foot pair, terminated in
Neutrik XLR's and paid $90! If your equipment is truly balanced and doesn't
use a pseudo balanced circuit, you may be very pleased. It's been pointed
out on other threads by an equipment manufacturer if the gear is properly
designed for balanced operation, any properly designed/constructed
balanced cable will be sonically transparent. And that's the ideal- a cable
that neither adds nor robs, a cable with no sonic signature. With the gear I
have that's been my experience too.
I've also bought a pair of Harmonic Technology Pro-Silway II (1m) and
Audience Conductor (2m), all balanced, for under $200 each. I find either of
these good solid cables. Right now I'm listening to a Ray Brown LP, and the
cable from the phono pre to the amp is an Audience Conductor.
If you're ambitious and good with a soldering iron, this may be a nice way
to go- DH Labs BL-1 MkII cables and Neutrik XLRs. All readily available on
the bay and parts cost should be under $60 for a 1 meter pair. And if you
want to splurge, get some techflex (many auto parts stores carry it) to
jacket the cables! Many very high priced ready made cables also use
techflex. It's just decorative (though some manufacturers claim
performance enhancement with jacketed cables) and inexpensive. Maybe
some companies don't want you to see that you just spent $350 on a pair of
cables which really just is a Belden or Mogami wire which can be bought
for under $2 a foot!
I know you are looking for various cable attributes but to me the best cable
attribute is no cable attribute at all!
I've been using Grover Huffman's SX balanced for some time now and I can tell you this is a great IC! Thru my rig I have great bass response, excellent mids and sparkling highs with excellent extensions thru out the entire audio range for me. The cables are very neutral have great speed and dynamics and don't hide bad recordings.
Seriously consider DNM Cables. I'm using a XLR-RCA cable with fantastic results, the XLR-XLR ($248.00 delivered) cable will sound just as good. They are a copper solid core design, the high and mids are true to life and the bass is solid and taught. DNM are the last stop in my cable journey, the music just flows with these baby's!
I would think that as long as the cables are competently built and use quality materials, there should be little if any difference among them. To that end, Blue Jeans Cables make some XLRs that are reasonably priced and are properly constructed using quality materials.
No need to spend $300, you can get quality cables for about $25 ea...
There's a pair of Acoustic Zen XLR Silver Reference II for sale here now. A bit over your price point but perhaps negotiable. They are nicely detailed without going too far and also do great with tonality and imaging/soundstaging. In short, a great all around, well balanced, and neutral interconnect. Best of luck.
I use 2 pairs of AQ XLR Diamondbacks bought used. My preamp to amp run is XLR but not balanced, and Mogamis from Guitar Center (seemed like a good idea since I've used their mic cables for years) sounded extremely harsh in that position (note I have Mogami Neglex from my TT and they're fine) so they were returned to the knucklehead store (manager says to me: "You don't need break-in since they're pure copper"...OK then). The Diamondbacks are a neutral sounding bargain and an extremely well put together cable...solid core with tough XLR plugs...I use a run from my DAC to "balanced in" on my preamp also. Bungees...they're bungees...