My opininon is that you need cables with an acceptable level of clarity and a tonal balance that compliments the equipment being connected (and your musical taste). Speaker cables should be a minimum of 12 gauge (no higher, unless the length is very short). I would not allocate any % of a total system cost to achieve this but instead would try and spend as little as possible, w/o severely compromising the overall sound. Be wary of the law of diminishing returns and the laws of physics. Expensive is not always better if it doesn't interact well with your other gear. Spending a little more to get a right of return or good advice is usually worth it.
FWIW, I started by spending as little as possible on a recent system build ($2150 1st audiophile system for a friend) - cables came out to 15% of the cost, and performance improved markedly with every step. Most of my systems have wound up with 10-20% in speaker/IC cables.
I think I'd be scratching my head at > 25%, wondering what went wrong.
Anyone who tells you there isn't a forumla is correct, the numbers I gave are just from my personal experience.
I don't know that you can put a price on cables. If you find cables that provide you with good system synergy and they cost .01% of the rest of your system, does it really matter? I don't think so. On the other hand, if I had a 5000 system, I wouldn't be looking at Kimber Select Black Pearls either.
That's the difference between audiophiles and other people who also have good equipment; we try to extract maximum performance from what we already have.Cables are components and should be treated as such.Generally speaking and operating with m.s.r.prices, I would say 50% the price of CD-player and pre-amp.for 1.0M pair interconnects and 50% the price of speakers for 8'pair of speaker cables is within reason.Personally,I followed this rule for interconnects, and my speaker cables are more expensive than speakers though I bought them for less than third the m.s.r.p., so in fact they are a little less expensive than my speakers.Power cords usually make less profound effect: 10-20% the cost of the component should be enough.
"50% the price of speakers for 8'pair of speaker cables is within reason"
I guess I have to disagree. If cables are components they are passive components. A speaker has to transform electrical energy to magnetic energy to mechancial energy to acoustical energy. A cable only needs to transfer the signal. A spending ratio of 2/1, speaker to speaker cable, is pretty crazy if you ask me.
Reviving this thread in light of recent discussions here on cabling. I am currently running two systems. On my main system, investment in cables is about 20% based on retail prices. On my secondary system my investment is closer to 40%. In both cases, I think the cables are appropriate and have increased my enjoyment considerably. Interested in your thoughts.
I don't even know but I guess I spent less than one percent. Anything more is a waste of money.
It's a little difficult to answer that question because I stopped using cables as well as interconnects and power cords a while back. But good luck with this thread anyway. 😀
There's that science claim again. 😩
A person with limited funds should buy the most expensive cable they can afford.
There's more truth than humor in that statement. Think about it. 🤔
All the best,
From the Roger Russell screed on everything you never wanted to know about audio cables:
KIND OF WIRE MADE NO DIFFERENCE
It can be solid, stranded, copper, oxygen free copper, silver, etc.--or even "magic" wire--as long as the resistance is kept to be less than 5% of the speaker impedance. There is no listening difference as long as the wire is of adequate size. Bear in mind, as previously mentioned, a well-designed amplifier will not have a problem with any of these wires.
That's terrific. Now I can stop worrying so much about the coat hangers I'm using for cables.
You should spend between $10 and $20. If you spend more, then you are wasting money.
If you will read post here on cables, many true audiophiles do invest on good cables, my main system is about 30k. I spend $700 on speaker cables Cerious speaker cable, ic teo game changer used $445, HF Reveal ic $699, Pc cables dcca ref $400, mit pc zcord x2 $200 . On my second systems 10 k system I spend $60 anticable sp cable, $30 diy single, $150 single clear day speaker cable, pc Vd nite pc used $300, mit $250 ic, silver star dig cable, siltech ic $139.on my second system I got lucky this system has weird cabling but it's so dynamic...
It's worth to experiment cabling to your system, true ,expensive cables don't give you guarantee they will match your system. My friend told me to loan different cables,so you learn what cables match your system or your taste.This the only way , you will find out what price you are willing to pay, for the performance on each cables...
1) Russel is a quack. It’s easy to hear differences in cables.
2) It’s time for Audiogon to make it impossible to add posts to threads that have been dormant for over 5 years. This 15 year old thread should have stayed dormant.
1 also under controlled conditions?
2 why? Does it trouble you that people are telling an uncomfortable truth?
how much should you spend on cable?
However much you can afford.