Cable Costs Relative to System

Since making a spread sheet with my audio system prices, I have been thinking(shocked) about my total investment in cables. My total system retails at $67,000 (Digital and analog front ends included). I purchased all of it here on Audiogon so my investment is about 50%. Of that I have about 10% invested in interconnects and cables and another 10% in Power Cables (Shunyata Hydra included). That's $13,000 worth of wire. I'm starting to question whether it might be more effective to put some of this budget into acitve components. It would take forever to listen to all possible combinations, but would like to hear others experiences with relatively high end systems and cable selection. It would seem to me that the point of diminishing returns would be reached sooner with cables than with speakers and amps. Do most of you follow the 10% "rule" for cabling? How do PCs fit into this rule? Are there any super bargain cables capable of keeping up with highly resolving electronics?
I am in the same boat almost as the original poster. I've got around a $70K retail value in my system and probably 19% of it is cable, wires, power cords and a Shunyata Hydra ordered. I agree that getting the big important pieces figured out at first is more important such as getting your "dream speakers' and the perfect amp to mate with them. Then getting front ends that you really enjoy and pass them through a great preamp is of the utmost importance. THEN, tweaking with good cabling and power management really finishes off the sound and seems to make the most difference becasue the transparency of the system allows it to be heard. I am into those final stages now, just getting the hydra, power cords and the last piece of some really expensive speaker wire. Each of these changes now brings me closer to the music and makes it more enjoyable. I don't think the "fringe" improvments would have made sense a few years ago before I got my transport, dac and speakers that I have now. But as I said the "other" stuff is about 19% of the total retail value of the system and I've gotten 70% of my equimpent used. Some pieces were bought new at very steep discounts too.
If you guys are reading this it means you probably buy at least some of your gear on line . At 40-70% off of list price. Unless you are the ruler of a country Spending
$ 3,000.00 on a power cord is nuts! I bought an MIT powercord from HCM for $ 99.00. 15 foot M2.4 Biwire monsters( list $ 1,100.00) for $ 300.00 Monster M10001 @ $ 115.00 M etc . By the way Dan from Krell uses Monster cables on his $ 35,000.00 speakers . I would never use lamp cord but lets try to be a little objective. One of the reasons high quality cables sound better is that they lower the background noice level & shield against interference.
I know they look cool , but if you find an electrical engineer that buys any of the cable hype, please let me know. PS I think the most noticable step I have taken toward getting closer to the music in my 30+ years of obsession with Audio has been my discovery of TUBES ! Enjoy the ride!
I have always heard 10%-20% of retail is a good pricerange to operate in for cable budget.Myself running close to the 20% mark.
Cornfed, that isn't quite what I ment to say. I was trying to say that if you have a $15,000 amp and three thousand additional dollars to spend, IMO a $3000 power cord will make a larger improvement than upgrading to an $18,000 amp. I would never say or believe that a power cord has greater value than the amp! Please give me a little credit. If I tried to equate it to your Vette I guess I'd say four new $800 high proformance tires would have a greater percentage increase than a $30,000 suspension upgrade. If this still makes no sense than I clearly am unable to express my thoughts on this. Which is why I'm an Architect and your an Attorny. Lets just leave it that I would spend $15,000 on an upgraded amp if I had the money, but the $300 I spent for a $3000 power cord got me quite a bit more than what I could have afforded in an amp. But I would be happy to take a charity gift if you really think I should have the amp. J.D.
Weiserb: Let me introduce myself as "that electrical engineer who buys into cable hype". That's me, among many others. I used to refuse to believe in any of this, until I tried it myself. Just as many of you do, I have a considerable sum invested in equipment. However, regardless of component quality, my results were always mediocre, UNTIL I properly cabled the rig. I don't even know how many thousand $ I have into cabling now, but I don't care because that's when I really began to realize the true potential of my gear. In one case I have a $2000 AC cord on an $1800 component, and $1000/pr. interconnects running both to & from it. Being admittedly jaded, I even think that that's ridiculous, but "you can't argue with success". Bottom line: Cables DO make or break the rig.