IC advice needed

I need to replace a set of interconnects and my local dealer has a limited selection. I was thinking about buying the Audio Quest "Jaguar" at $300 per meter. I would rather not drop that much on an IC right now. What used IC in the $200 range would better the "Jaguar". What about the DBS technology? Is that all it's cracked up to be?
I need new IC's in order to listen to music, so a quick decision is needed. Any advice will be most helpful.
For a very quick fix, go get a set of RS Gold for $10.00, then take your time picking out something w/o any pressure to complete a sale "just because".

BTW, my recommendation for an under $200.00 IC is the Chris VH Pulsar.
BEL -the wire is right around $200. I use them for both analog stereo and digital connection and between my amp /preamp. I know dealers that have sold off their Nordost Valhalla's and use BEL cables exclusively on tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. If you haven't tried them.....I also agree w/Driver about buying cheap to get you through (Rat Shack or AR).
Mt10425, do you have the URL for the BEL cables website? Where does one get these cables? I GOOGLED (BEL P-1 or BEL S-24 or BEL The Wire) and mothing came up that is remotely close. Thanks.
There is no website for BEL. You have to talk to dealers. I know of two right off the bat. Audio Elation here in Montana and Audio Outlet on the east coast. I'm sure there are others. BEL stands for Brown Electronic Labs I think. If I can help more email me directly.
Virtual Image Pile Driver 18 IC's. V.I. has them at an introductory price of $175 for a 4 foot pair and $150 per pair if you buy more than one. These cables easily out-performed some Straightwire Crescendo's that I used to use. Virtual Image also has a 30 money back policy on their standard cables, 4 foot pair terminated with Cardas RCA's. If you are interested in trying them, you can e-mail Virtual Image at virtualimage@juno.com. Also, if you like, you can read some of my other, more detailed, posts about the Virtual Image cables by searching the discussion forums here on Audiogn, search "Virtual Image".

BTW, V.I. also makes killer power cables if you are interested in them as well.
if you can spend a little more. the audiance au-24 is a very neutral player.
I'm with Driver on this one. Buy some cables of decent build quality at RS or Best Buy and then do some shopping around. This will give you tunes and allow you to compare how well expensive cabling holds up to "the bare necessities" in direct comparison. If you can hear a difference and think that the more expensive cabling is worthwhile, then go for it. If the basic cabling that you buy delivers the goods, save your cash.

The key here is to find dealers / manufacturers that allow a trial period with no penalty for returns i.e. a trial period. My thoughts are that interconnects are FAR more diverse in system synergy than speaker cabling is. That is, once you get the speaker cable right : )

I would also second Driver's recommendation for VH Audio's Pulsar cabling. This cable is a very solid design that is certainly capable of very good sound / performance. It might not be just a "hair" less open sounding and articulate than the other two mentioned here, but i don't think that anybody could ever be hyper-critical of this cable for what it costs. It is a great bargain as far as i'm concerned. Even at Chris' normal pricing for the assembled versions, they stand up quite well to cables that cost measurably more money. To top it off if one wanted to get an even better buy, they could purchase the raw Pulsar cabling and assemble it themselves. The drawback to DIY'ing the cables would be that one would not get the same 60 day return privilege that Chris offers on pre-assembled cables.

Magnan IIIi's are also nice sounding cables, but may be a bit lean sounding for some systems / tastes. These use very fine gauge conductors and the sense of speed and treble purity is very good. David Magnan attributes this to minimizing skin effect, which i personally think DOES come into play with most audio cabling. The sound is very delicate and articulate with a great sense of "air". There is no sense of "hi-fi hype" as with many other "detailed" cables as you still get a very natural presentation. Not as full bodied as the Pulsar's in most systems but a little more nimble sounding, probably due to the differences in tonal balance. These used to run under $200 per meter a while back, i don't know what they are selling for now.

Some other worthy cables that you can buy new and not break the bank are Music Metre Calibre and / or Canto's. The Calibre runs $165 per meter pair and is an over-achiever at that price point, especially compared to most other "high end" cabling. The Canto's could be said to offer everything that the Calibre does, but in slighly more refined form. Then again, the Canto is basically the same basic design as the Calibre using higher purity metals with cryo treatments at 33% percent more i.e. $250 per meter pair. I am currently running their Silver Signature's in my main system from the active crossovers to the six different amps.

Between these four cables, you should be able to plumb a system with phenomenal results buying new and not break the bank. Pricing would range as little as appr $35 per meter for a pair of DIY Pulsar's ( including Dayton locking RCA's with Teflon insulation ) up to $250 per meter for the MM Canto's, so there's quite a wide range covered there. Try reading the various reviews listed on each website to get a feel for what each reviewer thought were the strengths of each cable.

As i've said before, i do think that interconnects act as impedance transformers between components, so sonic results may vary from system to system somewhat. You might also want to peruse through the listings here at Agon and at UsedCable.com to see if these or anything else that strikes your fancy and can be found on the used market.

I hope that this helps you and some others out. I know that cabling is a big market with phenomenal profit margins. People throw away a lot of money on various cabling when they should be investing in better quality components that are of a more stable design. After all, once you minimize the electrical degradation that takes place in a cable, the only variable that can be dealt with is the feedpoint impedance that the cable presents to the load and the distributed electrical characteristics ( nominal impedance ) that the cable displays over its' length. That's why i selected the cables above, as they are all low loss conductors but slightly different in design and impedance. It's quite possible that any individual cable or combo of any of the above may work really well together, depending on one's system, components chosen and / or personal preferences. Sean

PS... As most of you know, i'm a very vocal proponent of Alpha-Core Goertz MI series flat speaker cables. The use of any of the above mentioned interconnects with Goertz flat speaker cabling and their associated impedance compensation ( Zobel ) networks would pretty much assure staggering amounts of musical accuracy. Just don't blame the cables if the quality of the recordings or the components can't keep up : )
Good advice given above. 2 other cables you might want to check out used include Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref and Luminous Audio Tech Synchestra Ref.
I'm surprised no one has recommended the Coincident Speaker Tech CST IC. While investigating IC possibilities I have come across some (all of them) excellent reviews. Last year's Recommended Components listed this IC in Class A and Class B. In fact, went so far as to list only the Coincident CST in class B, saying that after these IC's, there was no point in listing any others. The kicker is they retail for $300.00. Anyone out there familiar with this IC?
While i don't know the specific models, I think that Joe aka Trelja has some experience with the Coincident IC's. From what i recall, he found them to be great performers. I'll drop him a line and maybe he can help you out. Sean
Yes, Sean to the rescue again!

I think his initial recommendations on Radio Shack, Monster, Acoustic Research ilk is incredibly good advice. I would also add AudioQuest Jade. While things definitely do improve from these cables, I believe it wise to get your feet on the ground first, find out what you like, where your system is and where it is going before spending a lot more.

If you want to move up from these truly entry level cables, I will caution you that things don't get earth shatteringly better. You won't look taller or thinner, and women won't find you more attractive. The sun will come up again tomorrow, but it still would have anyway.

I also concur with Sean on the merits of The Cable Company. Likewise his recommendation on Alpha Core Goertz cabling. I have one other very cheap suggestion that is reference level cable for $99/meter. It's actually the EXACT same cable as one of the highest regarded, which sells for $1400/meter.

As far as Coincident CST IC goes, I am a huge fan of it. It is a very even handed sounding cable, sounding great in every instance and system I have ever tried it in. It's a hair on the warm and rich side. No real area of the frequency spectrum stands out from the rest, which can be good or bad, depending on what you are looking for. And, finally, it fits into my requirement of reference level cable for under $300. You could obviously do better than that used.

My favorite IC is HomeGrown Audio Silver Lace. For $189/meter, it is a true reference cable at a price just above entry level. Despite the conventional wisdom on silver, this cable is liquid sounding. Midrange and treble are just right, and the bass is very full and powerful. In my system, it's the best I have tried. If you are running a solid state system, I am unsure about how you would like it, so think Alpha Core or Coincident might be better moves for a destination cable. The cheaper cables listed at the top of this post being good right now.

AQ cable always looks to be the best thing since sliced bread on paper. I have one speaker cable, and one IC now. And, I have owned several others, including a shotgun double run of Dragon SE. AQ tends to be the most underwhelming cable product I have come across. I always expect it to sound rich and harmonic, with great bass after reading their literature, but it normally sounds thin and lightweight to me. Dragon SE was definitely the most explosive bass cable I have ever tried, but its relentlessness otherwise drove me crazy.
Dr. Sean and Dr. Trelja: Great advice. Thank you so much.
Dr Sean & Dr Trelja??? More like Dr Moe, Dr Larry, Dr Curly... : ) Sean

PS... like i said, interconnects are going to be somewhat component / system dependent. IF you can, try before you buy. Another alternative is to try and find good deals on well known cabling via the used market. This allows you to check them out in your system and roll them over without getting hurt too badly if you don't like the results.
Moe, Larry, the Cheese, indeed!

I forgot to mention that I listened to two of the new generation AudioQuest interconnects and a speaker cable last night. The DBS didn't seem to do anything superlative in my ears. I hope I am not giving the impression that AQ cable is not competent, because it it. But, it just looks like it should be the best, but sounds VERY average when it comes to high end audio cabling. Like I said, if you are not looking for a warm, relaxed, or full sounding cable, you will probably be fine with it.

Now, if my name was Art Dudley and I wrote for Stereophile, Bill Low would be writing a three page response to me. As they say, if you can't dazzle 'em with brains, baffle 'em with BS...
Sean, I think technically that would be Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard.

Check out the VH Audio Pulsars (http://www.vhaudio.com). They are really fine ICs at a great price and Chris VenHaus gives a full 60 day no-questions evaluation period.
Actually, I think its Larry and his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl ;~). One of the greatest signature lines in TV history, IMO
KP: I should have known that you would be an expert in "Stoogism's" : ) Sean

PS... Glad that you're back amongst the living. Then again, maybe you WERE "living" and have sunk back into the deep depths of audio forums once again : )
I would look at Tsunami Ultra interconnects $39.99 per meter, you can find these at Circuit City in (Car Audio). There Competition Series 12 Ga. silver plated speaker wire is really good too, go head and compare these to anything out there..........there that good!......Just let them break in good before comparing them........Richard