One thing you will find. There are as many opinions as there are people. Ultimately -You, will be the jury and judge. If you buy something and don't like it. Sell it. Yes, you'lll probably take a monetary hit, less so if you buy used, but nothing in this 'game' is cut and dried. It's all trial and error. If you ever figure it out, write a book - you'll make a million. :-) good luck.
Welcome to the club. The subject of cables is pretty broad in its scope. While I haven't tried any of his cables yet, check out Chris Ven Haus offerings. There are lots of good choices out there. I would suggest you define what you are after before starting your search.
There are lots of good cables out there. Some of them will 'click' with your system and some won't. If you want to save money, buy used and sell the ones you don't like. If you want to save time, the Cable Co. has a rental program where your rental fee goes towards purchase. They have a huge library of cables. You can try out most commonly available cables. (No affiliation, just a satisfied customer.)
I think you may be limiting yourself with a $1000 budget for 2 balanced ICs plus a bi-wire cable. For used cables, $1500 would give you more choices.
Some good ICs to try - Cardas Neutral Reference, Audience AU24, Shunyata Aries, Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref. II, Luminous Audio Synchestra Signature. These are all good copper ICs that are fairly neutral in character. I would avoid silver ICs until your system gets broken in and you're really familiar with its sound. Then you can tell if you'll like the sound of silver. In my system, I use a silver IC from CD player to preamp (Kimber KS1130) and a copper IC from the preamp to power amp (Cardas Neutral Ref.) This provides a good balance in my system.
For speaker cables, Kimber Bifocal XL is my favorite of the biwire type and can be found for about $1000 used. AZ Satori, Shunyata Lyra, Cardas Neutral Ref. are also good choices.
Call The Cable Company and take the guess work out of buying cables. They have a huge lending library with no commitment to buy. Hook 'em up and hear in your own system at home. Call 1-800-FATWYRE. Just for your info, I owned B&W 802 Matrix 3's for years and they love AudioQuest and Bi-Wired Speaker Cable. If you visit retail shops carrying B&W, you are likely to find them hooked up with AQ.
Do not worry about the cables.
Get something that many folks like, and have been around for a number of years.
Get the system up and running and broken in and used for at least six months before buying any expensive cables.
use some cheap Mogami ($20) per or something from Radio Shack, or the cheapest Monster. THEN, after 6 months, you will be in a position to do some looking into cables.
I'll comment only on your choice of speaker cables, since they are easier to recommend. There has been a good deal of discussion on this forum about Alpha-Core Goertz MI2 speaker cables, and I think you should add them to your "short list". From personal experience, I think they are the most neutral cables I have had in my system, and they are also one of the less expensive (relative to high-end audio). For more info about these cables, search the Audiogon archives (try using the single word "zobel") and look for threads that include comments by our resident guru, Sean. You should also go to Alpha-Core's web site and read the technical commentary. Here's the link:
I tried the Cable Company several times. After several attempts of different cables ,I recieved the following message from the Cable Company.
It seems that we have supplied you cables to try in which has brought you to no decision. We suggest that in the future you work with a local Audio Dealer.
In other words, if you continue to try their cables without buying anything move on !
Also, the Cable Company expects 10% down based on all cables they send to try and will not refund that money. That money applies to a purchase.
Additionally, most of their cables are sold at Retail pricing.
Wow Ozzy, I never had any experience like that with the Cable Co. I rented cables 8 or 9 times before I bought anything, usually 3 cables per time, over about a one year period. They were very accommodative. How many rentals did you do?
Also, my first rental was 10%, but subsequent rentals are 5%. You're right about the retail pricing. The advantage I see to using the Cable Co. is you can find the absolute best match for your system instead of just getting close. For that service you pay a little extra.
Thanks everyone, I'm leaning towards buying some lower priced (name brand/easy to re-sell) second hand cables along the lines of Nordost blue heaven or AQ pythons until the system is broken in and take it from there, If I give it some time I can probably incerease my budget a bit. The Cable Co. offer is also worth considering.
Thanks again to all who have posted and if anyone else has anything to add I'm still deciding and will continue to keep an eye on this thread.
There are cable companies which will let you audition the cables in your own home for free(30-day money back satisfaction guarantee).
You have to pay for them up front, but you'll get your money back if you don't want them.
Check out the VH Audio Pulsar ICs. Chris VenHaus has a 60 day eval period on these. I've been extremely pleased with these cables and they're a lot of bang for the buck. You can find much info here and on Audioasylum.com about them. http://www.vhaudio.com