Cable confusion

Help. Am replacing my system after 30 years. (Former system Pioneer integrated amp, Alison One Speakers, Thorens turntable, nice stuff in its day). Have chosen speakers - Wilson Audio Watt Puppies 5.1 (got a great price used); BAT Preamp; Sim Audio W-3 amp, CD player TBD (maybe a Sim or a BAT). Hard enough sorting through all these possible choices. Now I have to pick speakers cables and interconnects (interconnects need to be balanced because BAT and Sim amp are balanced). 30 years ago store would just throw cables and interconnects in. If you had driven a particularly hard bargain they'd charge you $10.00 for a 50' spool of copper wire. Now people are paying $1,000 for speaker cable (Geez my Alison Ones, which were considered fairly high end speakers at the time cost less than that). Interconnects can be equally expensive. Silver? Copper? Titanium? Read all the hype and it sounds like, if you make the wrong choice your $20,000 system ends up sounding like a transistor radio. I just want a decent speaker cable and the necessary interconnects that won't sound like crap and will cost under $1,000 for the whole shebang. Am willing to buy used or demos if it will save me some money. Can anyone help me out here? Just want a cables and interconnects that isn't going to change the sound of my pretty expensive components. Isn't that the whole point?
You might try the Straightwire Encore I or II ICs and possibly the Mapleshade speaker cables {of your choice}.
I just purchased a pair of Alpha Core Goertz MI-2 Veracity speaker cables. They are still breaking in but even out of the box they sound very good. Considering the price was about $300 for the pair new, it is a great value. 30 day money back guarantee as well. I would encourage you to check them out.
i am liking the acoustic zen line,the hollow gram 2,s are amasing with the sim stuff,they arent that expensive either.used audiogon,500,650,length?i used to think silver was the way to to go,i tend to lean away from silver.good quality cooper just has what it take for my music tastes,jazz-ecm,ect.
You don't need to spend that $1,000.00 for a bunch of cables. The law of diminishing returns does apply in that your first improvement will probably get you the greatest improvement over the stuff you find at Circuit City, Good Guys, etc. The people paying that $1,000.00 are paying that extra 300-500 dollars for perhaps another 10% improvement.

There is a company that will lend you cables. You have to call them to inquire about the lending library. You can find them at
Houndog1, buy AntiCables from Paul Speltz. From everything I've read, they're at least very good and will get you started LISTENING TO MUSIC...after all, that's what it's about, right? If you SEARCH A-goN, you'll find lots of good info.

Months or years down the road, you can try other cables to see just how good the Antis and the new ones are. BTW, I believe the ICs are unshielded; if you live in a metropolitan area with lots of radio-frequency signals in the air, and they're all that way, you might ask Paul about shielding. BTW2, I make a twisted pair of the speakercable to reduce inductance.
Try VH Audio Pulsar ic's.
I also have recently started using Alpha Core MI2's and I would without question recommend these speaker cables.
They'll be in my system until Chris(VH Audio) introduces his speaker cable.
Both company's offer home auditions.
Good Luck!
What ever you buy, try to get a money back guarantee. Many sellers and manufacturers offer at least a 30 day money back program. That way if you don't like them you're not stuck. Remember though to let them break in for a couple of weeks before you make your decision.

Another route is The Cable Company. They offer a loaner library that allows you to try as many cables as you want. You can keep them or return them. I've done this many times with success. Nice friendly folks there. You can also ask them for recommendations as they keep a data base of past customers experiences. Give them a try I'll think you'll be pleased.

I would keep reading this forum for a month or two to identify cables brands that interest you, maybe 5 or 6. Then you could test drive them through Cable Company. Everyone has favorite cables but in the end the only thing that's important is how they sound in YOUR system. A little hard work will pay off!
I second the Pulsar ICs from VH Audio. I purchased one as a digital connection from my transport to my DAC. I splurged on the WBT silver connectors but if you stick to the Eichmann connectors the price is extremely reasonable. I also purchased a Flavor 4 power cord for the DAC and it is a great value as well. I'll be trying the Airsine next.

I also considered the AntiCables but after reading several threads here I decided they might be too high maintenance for me. I do however like and am looking forward to trying the Paul Speltz Zeros.
Try Signal Cable. They offer a 30 day money back guarrantee also.
i have been listening to shunyata lately and im impressed.the rule of thumb is to spend about 10% or more of your systems value on cables.i have about $2,300 in cables and just under $24,000 in my system and i think i need better cables so im selling some of my old monster cables for $5.00 each if your interested.
I believe the cables are as important as the components.If you are unable to maintain the quality/purity of the transmitted signal,the baby is out with the bath water.Having said that,start cheap and work your way up,until satisfied and expense outweighs performance increase.Detting there can be half the fun and an education too.IMHO :}
i agree with tpsonic,your components are going to sound as good as your life lines,i have gone the cheap way only to upgrade.look at forums with people with like components.watt puppys sim,bat.dont cheapskate these products youllbe selling your self short in the end,imho,good luck.
Houndog1, I don’t think you are confused at all. You have stayed away from the crazy audio world so you still have your sanity and common sense intact. Thus the nasty shock when suddenly exposed to the insanity for the first time. Few doubt that cables make audible differences in your system. But, in my mind anyway, the cost of many cables are out of proportion with the relatively small sonic difference that they make on the sound system.

When selecting speaker cables, keep in mind that their sound are specific to the cable/amp/speakers combination. At different frequencies, your speakers present to the amp different impedances, which in turn affect the frequency response of the amp. The speaker cables mediate these interactions. I am not familiar with the Sim Audio W-3 amp but in my system, Watts/Puppies 5 with BAT VK-60s or Analog Research-Technology Vellute (digital switching amp), a relatively inexpensive triple run of OCOS clearly trounce the recommended MIT CVT Hose, the Straight Wire Maestro, and the Cardas Golden Reference. I don’t know why. So try some inexpensive speaker cables first, but try to go with those that work well with amp/speakers similar to yours. And do try those outfits that let you audition the cables at home. You’ll avoid the really bad buys and save yourself a lot of headache and money.

With a balanced system, your choice of XLR interconnect is not as critical as with RCA interconnect in my experience. In my balanced system, which is pretty revealing, I have compared several inexpensive homemade XLR cables with expensive ones, all 4-meter runs ranging from $500 to $1500. And the differences are very small, smaller than with RCA interconnects for reasons that I fear I don’t know. In my homemade cables I use excellent Nutric connectors and several high-quality microphone wires for less than $100 per 4-meter pair cables. They all sound very open, clean, and dynamic. I hear slightly more pleasing warmth or a tad more depth with some expensive XLR interconnects, but not necessarily better accuracy.

Overall, if I had to do it all again, I would not have bought the expensive XLR interconnects for the small improvement they offer. But I still use TaraLabs, Cardas, and Goetz for RCA interconnects in my audio/video system because they make a larger difference. That has been my experience.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Some great suggestions and I don't feel quite so overwhelmed now. Being able to audition a couple of different interconnects would be really great. Will help me figure out what sounds best in my system, with the kind of music I listen to, and to my ears. My general approach to purchases is to buy quality once and then stick with it, rather than buying something that's less expensive and then upgrading every few years. In the long run I think it ends up being cheaper and you get a better product. That's why I went with the Watt Puppies, the BAT preamp and a Sim amp. Although I'm still in sticker shock about these prices (even used) I'd rather spend the money now than buy something cheaper that I'm not really happy with and end up selling it in two years for something I really want.
Houndog1, those are some top notch components that should yield a really satisfying listening experience. Another potential cable solution is to use the site. You can actually do a consultation from their site, wherein you can enter your components, the types of cable you need, and price range, and someone gets back to you with suggestions, and at used or demo prices. I am not affiliated with the company in any way, just someone who has used the service and found it helpful.

Happy Hunting,
Houndog:"My general approach to purchases is to buy quality once and then stick with it, rather than buying something that's less expensive and then upgrading every few years."

I generally agree with that, except I have found "less expensive" is not always lower quality when it comes to audio cables. It has been my experience that the $80/8'pair Speltz Anti-Cables speaker cables sound better in my system than an $1100, and other highly regarded and well known cables have. This same experience has been shared by others, on this forum and in emails, when comparing the same and other higher priced cables with the Speltz Anti-Cables.

There may be other great cable values out there, like the Speltz Anti-Cables, and now the new Anti-Interconnects. Most come with a trial period. My advice would be to start with high value cables while you are experimenting with system setup, room placement for the speakers and room treatments for the acoustics before sinking hundreds of dollars into cables.
the new allison one is 'still reference' quality and works fine with wire of the radio shack variety. the wilson is much more fussy about location, but should also work nicely with any quality copper wire.
your on the right track H, the end of the day youll always be wondering what would sound like?youll always get your moneys worth with quality,and be able to sell it to boot!
As solid a bargain as any...Element Cable...the twisted interconnect is available in XLR and the twisted speaker cable is availble in bi-wire & single wire configurations. I am running an all Ayre system with Aerial 10-T's and am hard pressed to spend the $1,000 plus dollars it would take to outfit the rig with "higher" end cables. Not debating that there may be marginal improvements availble but will say that a $2,000 amp, pre-amp, CD player, or speaker upgrade will deliver far better sonics than the same incremental spend in cabling. Just MHO!
You can check 'em out at

Best of luck in your search!