Cables ... what's up with them?

Can't quite come to terms with spending significant amounts on cables / interconnects. Looking for moderately priced IC's, I came across Phantom Cables (at; $100 for 3 ICs). Figured had to sound better than the stuff that came with the cable box and DVR I bought. A marked downgrade in audio enjoyment transpired. Which is true?

Better cables revealed weaknesses elsewhere in the system?
Have to spend WAY more to get real improvement?
I have gritty tastes

Right now I'm sold on the crap that came with the cable box

Here we go again.
many past discussions on cables. IMO they all sound different. expensive doesnt mean better. larger manufacturers can afford bigger machines to wind the cables in more sophisticated designs. some excellent budget cables are sold by audioquest, kimber, and anti-cables. trust your ears.
I think you were able to prove to yourself that cables do effect the sound. In your case for the worse, but this should be taken as a signal to you that cables can change your sound.

I do not believe you need to spend huge amounts to get a better sound. Read the threads here, there are many good companies that provide good results for a small investment.
Cable discussions are without a doubt Audiogon's most entertaining threads.

Pass the popcorn...........
crutchfield has monster m650i on sale right now. Great middle of the road cable. Price is even better. So does e bay I just got a pair 22.00. Yep here we go again or you could by direct from china and really get a great pair at an even better price. Got my eye on a pair of Audioquest Niagra's right now. 2m rca 75v DBS $260.00 Can you believe that?
Niagara's from China for that price? I can believe that they're fake.
educate your ear by auditioning different types of cables. that is, listen to copper,silver and gold-based cables. losten to cables with different dielectrics and of course the connectors will vary too.

the problem is there are many variables and it is impossible to predict how a cable will perform in a given system.

however, the learning experience is worth it.
Thanks, guys! And so it begins ...

Any suggestions on how to try many without dropping a bundle and ending up with 12 sets of cables?

Contact the Cable Company as they have a loaner program and will let you audition a number of cables for a nominal fee. When you are done you just return them. If you happen to like any you auditioned they can sell you what you need. Also, there are a number of vendors that offer no risk trial periods. They are worth looking into as well.
The Cable Company is a good choice. I believe Clear Day Cables still offer a demo pair or two that are already broken in. If you like them, buy a new pair while you send back the demo pair. There should be enough samples out there to give you a good idea of what you like based on what works in your system.

All the best,
One HUGE factor you may have missed is that new cables need break-in time. This is no joke. Give new cables at least 200 hours break-in. When new, a good or even a great pair of cables can sound like crap. Hope this helps.
Audiofeil, have you tried lKubala Sosna cables? What speaker cables do
like to use with Magnepan speakers?
I'm just here to watch stickman.

Could you pass me another glass of wine please?
Thanks / Kudos - Clio09, Nonoise, Stuartslom ...

Didn't know about the loan/demo options and DEFINITELY didn't know about the 200 hour minimum break-in period! Will put Yanni on repeat and check back in a couple weeks. Will soon enough be looking for a new place to live AND cables.

Thanks Audiofail...
Now play nice stickman; no need for nasties.

There's plenty of room in the sandbox.
With Yanni on repeat for a couple of weeks I'd imagine you'd have the calmest home environment for some time.

Me, on the other hand.......

All the best,
Any suggestions on how to try many without dropping a bundle and ending up with 12 sets of cables?
Nope, sorry but 12 sets is the established minimum, with each successive set more expensive than the previous set. Don't plan on buying a new car until you have it figured out. Good luck.
(lol) Thanks Mitch2 ... I'll stop my whining and get on with it
All one has to do is avoid the "grass is always greener somewhere else" syndrome.
When you find a cable you like. Stop.
Only folks selling cables want you to keep searching for the 'holy grail' of cables..
I could care less if 'maybe' some other cable might possibly sound better. I am satisfied with what i have.

Gee not neurotic abour cables? how can that be.. i must not really be an audiophile?
Personally if you are not happy with your system's sound, no cable is going to fix that.
On the other hand, if you love the sound of your setup, a good cable might make it even better. though it also might screw it up. Who knows... So i say be happy with what you have...
(Obviously i have no interest in selling you a new cable!!!)
I am being nice! ;) I too have struggled as of late with the whole cable thing... I hear differences with different cables when I try them in my rig but the cost just seems a tab bit crazy at times...

I think with cables more than any other 'component' buyer beware is advice well taken.
Typo right?
if you are not happy with your system's sound, no cable is going to fix that.
On the other hand, if you love the sound of your setup, a good cable might make it even better. though it also might screw it up
Elizabeth, you nailed my thoughts exactly. I have used a lot of different cables but none that I would consider to approach the impact of upgrading/changing components or speakers. I do perceive differences between types of cables based on materials and geometry, but of the better made cables I have used (including cables I have made) there have been only a few that I couldn't live with. OTOH, there have been speakers, amps, preamps and sources that I couldn't stand to have in my system. Therefore, in the hierarchy of things, it is my experience to first select and match components and speakers that meet one's listening preferences, suitably position them in a reasonably sized and damped room, provide good power (dedicated lines), deal with vibrations, and then finally consider cables when you feel the need to play around with stuff.
I just replaced the $3 Y-adapters (needed to biamp) with $10 ones recommended by Paul Speltz of Anti-Cables ( What a HUGE difference in overall sound and bass in particular! Sound is now worth the upgrades to the Nautilus 804's & 2nd Bryston amp. I've stopped looking at subs even. Still using crap for IC's, but ordered an Anti-Cable set.
Just get the cables with the highest MSRP. That way you can't go wrong.
MSRP = manufacturers standard retail price? Yeah, will get right on that.
Didn't read the whole thread, but FWIW, many people in the industry (for instance Robert Harley, editor of TAS) recommend spending no more than about 5% of your total system budget on the cabling. While they can make a difference, every other part of the system will make much bigger differences in the overall sound.