Connecting my laptop to my home audio...

Out of curiousity, I wanted to know what my laptop as a source (Pandora internet radio) would sound like through my home audio speakers. I used an inexpensive Radio Shack 1/8" mini from the headphone jack on the laptop on one end with male RCA's to connect to my preamp on the other end. I was amazed at how good it actually sounded.

My question to you is: Has anyone ever compared this inexpensive cable from Radio Shack to the more expensive offerings from Kimber, Audioquest, Cardas, etc? Did you notice much improvement in the sound?

Thank you for your thoughts and comments.
For the price of an expensive cable to go from your headphone jack you could get an entry-level usb dac and a cheap pair of rca jacks and KILL the headphone jack option.
Yes, you must kill the mini jack. For < $30, this will be a vast improvement:

Depending on your other components and/or DAC, you could also use the optical out, which might yield an even bigger improvement.

I use this type of set up for all my computers, both at home and in the office.

Moving up in price, you could try the Hagerman Technology interface box for about $150 (?)......

Finally, there seem to be more and more DACs which take a USB input directly.

Good luck,
What your doing works but is usually limited by the limited fidelity of most desktop sound cards.

For CDs, I would also recommend the increasingly popular USB DAC approach for best sound.

For certain networked music servers and internet sources (radio stations, etc.), A Roku Soundbridge with an Audioquest G-Snake mini phono to dual RCA interconnect and a broadband internet connection will take you close to the limit there in sound quality. The G-Snake alone could be a relatively inexpensive cable upgrade for your current approach as well that might help to some lesser extent.
listen to music while running on the laptop battery. The amount of noise coming through the system running on AC is substantial. Dead quiet on battery. I bought a 6 hour laptop battery just for this purpose.