This isn't so much going to be a rave about the AP Oval 9s as much as a set of observations. Since my experience with owning high-end audio gear is limited I wasn't going to clock in here, but DennyD's comments sparked some remembrances that might be useful. Because most of my funds had been spent on hardware (McCormack DNA-1, SF Line 1, Hales Revelation 3, CAL Alpha/Delta), the first cables tried were all low-end. One dealer set me up with a pair of AQ Type 4+ with brass spades. An impulse buy introduced a home made pair of 14 AWG RS MegaCable with RS Gold-plated spades. An ancient pair of heavy-duty Monster Cable from the old system were already in hand. The system was assembled with the AQ first and I was in music heaven because the new gear is so superior to what it replaced. Eventual experimentation with the Monsters brought out better bass due to the larger gauge, but the HF was trash. My guess is the patches of green stuff growing on them had an effect... The RS cable extended the HF, but everything was so thin as to be irritating compared to the AQ. Knowing this system was going to continue to evolve and soon be moved to another house I was reluctant to spend time and money auditioning a lot of cables. OTOH, the experimentation with cables encouraged upgrading, as did the desire to find a reasonable reference point to gauge future upgrades against. I knew the cables were a big limitation, so based on the great reviews, reasonable price and my gut feeling I bought a pair of AP Oval 9s. These replaced the AQs which were the pick of the litter up to that point. Immediately the sound was improved overall. There was greater clarity, detail and extension, better rhythm and speed. The background was suddenly darker and the music stood out on it more vividly. Sorry if that sounds like an ad or list of reviewer adjectives, but it was almost a night and day change. DennyD's comments reminded me of what the two people most familiar with the system (besides me) noticed about the addition of the Oval 9s. My best friend, a golden-eared wonder boy of a musician, who has sat through several afternoons and evenings of listening immediately noticed the darker background, increased detail and improved frequency extension. Admittedly, he knew there were new cables, so this was a less than objective perspective. He does have a well trained ear and knows music better than anyone I know. The best perspective came from my SO. This woman has season tickets to the concert series at a local winery and loves to sit up front "for full effect", originally said "you want to spend HOW much on a stereo?" and has since proclaimed it to be "just like going to a concert", remarked on the improvement before she knew the cables were installed. The change was that obvious. All said, the Oval 9 has brought a welcomed transformation. There was one down side, though. Now the tizziness of the stock Sovtek 6922s in the preamp is too noticeable, so they need to be upgraded to something better. Maybe that's not a downside after all!