I can highly recommend Mapleshade and Discovery ic. There is a set of Omega Mikro Planar III speaker cables up for auction .It may be possible to get a good deal there.
Good luck and happy hunting! Tom
Good luck and happy hunting! Tom
Dan, read up on Harmonic Technology's single crystal technology and their Pro-Silway Mk II's interconnects which sell used from about $175 to $300 and their Pro-9 speaker cables which sell used from about $350 to $650 depending on length and bi-wired version.
I've thoroughly enjoyed them in my system and would consider them a high-value. Whatever that means.
The absolute best I've encountered are Cardas cables. In your price range I'd look into the Quadlink 5C interconnect and speaker cable. These are warm sounding, smoothing digital harshness/grain, but never lose an ounce of detail. The soundstaging is very big too...bigger than most if you check the reviews. A very intoxicating cable, you might be up all night listening to 'em! Construction quality exceeds most brands I've seen too. Encourage you to check out the cardas web site to learn more. They really are awesome!! -Brian Nadeau.
I enjoy listening to good music, and I enjoy finding the right components that go together to make good music. In the past I have had systems that included the best of Audio Research tube amps, Wilson Watts /Puppies/Whow, Double KLH 9 Electrostatic speakers, Fulton Premiers, Magneplanars, Wadia digital, Theta digital, and the very first prototype of the Khorus, and etc.
I have used some of the best in cables with these high end components ... ARC, AudioQuest, Cardas, NBS, MIT top end Terminators that cost me over $7,000 for the interconnects and speaker cables. And, I could hear the difference that every single component produced in the audio chain, whether good or bad.
I now enjoy putting together much more monetarily sedate systems that I seem to enjoy much more.
So, now, I have an Arcam FMJ CD23 player, an ARC CA-50 Integrated tube amp, and Silverline SR-17 monitors on SoundAnchor 4 posts stands. And, up until 3 weeks ago, I was using copper conductor interconnects made by Talon that replaced JPS Labs SuperConductor Plus interconnects; and speaker cables crafted by Silverline with the same copper wire that was used in the speaker enclosures.
But, when Alan (Silverline) sent me the speaker cables, he asked me to try a silver solid wire jumper, and compare it with the copper wire jumper. These jumpers were only 2 inches long. So, after I burned in the speaker cables with the copper wire jumpers (100 hours), I decided to try the silver jumpers. Wow! What a difference ... better focus and quieter background were the first notable improvements!
This was my very first experience with silver in audio. But, now, I had to try more! So, I bid on Ray Valentine's silver 1m interconnect, and I won. For the past 3 weeks (140 hours), I have listened in amazement with Ray's silver IC taking the signal from the FMJ CD23 player to the ARC integrated tube amp.
The background is so silent that I hear much more of the nuances of the music. So much grunge has disappeared! Focus and transparency are superb ... each instrument has its place with space. The soundstage is wider and even has a little more depth. Listening to Danny Wright's "Black and White" solo Steinway piano, I can hear the hammers striking the wire, and his pedal work ... all the nuances are defined. The Steinway is there!
Eric Clapton's "UnPlugged" is so life like ... the picking and plucking nuances are revealed, and yet his voice is warm and the right size and in the right place.
Ray's silver interconnect has made the most dramatic improvement of any cables that I believe I've ever heard!
Now, I've got to try Ray's silver speaker cables in my system ... I am compelled to do that!
Even if you don't win a low-bid auction, his prices are very low. You are not buying a name brand ... you are buying an outstanding "unheard of" product. Right out of the box, you will see the build quality ... and then you will hear it!
And, by the way, I don't know Ray ... except for his interconnect.
I'd try harmonic tech truthlinks and satori speaker cables. This will be very warm with a great sense of harmonics. If you want more detail, try some harmonic tech prosilway II's or Nordost red-dawn cables. The red dawns will be leaner but more transparent and open than the prosils.
You should be able to find a satori speaker cable for 350ish. The only cable I've found that is significantly better is spm which is 3-4 times as expensive. If you want to move up the food chain on i/c's, try some nordost spm's (very transparent and detailed ), or acoustic zen silver refs (more harmonics, warmer but less transparent).
Of all things, cables are the best thing to buy used so you can trymebuyme without losing your shirt. Also don't be afraid to try cables out. What works great in one system will sound mediocre in another (really!).
I would recomend Acoutic Zen cables. I have had Cardas, Nordost SPM/Quatro Fil and Harmonic Tech and the Zen cables are much superior in my system and they are a great deal too. I did extensive comparisons on 2 diffrent systems of the Nordost SPM speaker cable and the Acoustic Zen Satori, and the Satori handily outperforms the SPM. To me the SPM has a sterile sound where the Acoustic Zen sounds more natural like intruments are in the room with you.
If you can get over the look the 47lab OTA cable is excellent value. I personally have not found anything that performs as well at it's price point(or quite a bit beyond) of $540.00 for a kit which allows you to make 3 sets of IC's and 1 set of single or biwire speaker cables. The assembly is super easy and requires only a pair of wire stripers and tweezers. I know, it sounds hokey but check it out on the sakaura systems website and read some of the posts here regarding this amazing cable. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't tried it.
Most definitely the Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects will give you exactly what your are looking for, price and performance! I have the speaker cables and just sold my interconnects. The are detailed, throw a big soundstage with a quiet background, and give a bit warmth and a bit of punch to the bass.
I'd also recommend Acoustic Zen as it is very detailed but really lets the harmonics through too. You might want to check out Srajan Ebaen's Mapleshade cable review on Enjoythemusic.com where he compares the Mapleshade interconnects to the more expensive AZ Silver Matrix. AZ's Matrix Reference interconnects are even a little warmer and a lot cheaper, so you might start there along with Satori cables if the AZ stuff sounds interesting to you. Best of luck.