Follow the musics signal>>Source>Pre>Amp>Speaker. If you have not addressed power from the wall and conditioning, you could also start there.>>Outlet>Power Cable>Conditioner or Regenerator> Power Cable to Source etc.
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The previous comments do not take into consideration the infinite variables of each setup.
It may be the easiest way to decide, but not the most accurate.
Fiinding the magic right part to try out upgrading cables/Ac stuff?
Don't know. (since it is not my setup)
If I had to start somewhere helping you, i would say replace the A/Cwall outlet with a (slightly better than average) Pass & Seymour 20 amp heavy duty outlet from Menards $3 or so. Avoid a Levinson (crap) from Builders Squuare
Then buy a $70 used Adcom AC515 (or later 315)
to experiment with a bit.. A cheap power condtioner.
To blow some actual money: A Shunyata Venom 3 to check out on either the pre or amp
(I use Pangea myself, but would suggest the Venom to you)
The one cheap cable to play with
Blue jeans or Kimber PBJ
In my experience, putting the best power cord on preamp or integrated is the way to go. Not on the source, not on the power amp. And the rest of the cables, yeah, follow the signal. However, as Elizabeth said, it might be different in different set-ups even if only to a certain degree. Current from the wall and regenerators/conditioners is another subject.
i noticed the biggest improvements upgrading the pc's on my digital source (dac and transport). 2nd place was my amp. i agree with others regarding upgrading the outlet as well.
the fuse upgrade thing is interesting as i just ordered a pair of supreme hi-fi fuses a few days ago. should have them soon and look forward to finding out for myself. again...i'll be starting by upgrading the fuses in my source dac.... and go from there.
The single most cost effective improvement I've ever made was the addition of a good power conditioner. But Elizabeth is right about there being so many variables and we don't even know what your budget is. I concur with the Venom 3 recommendation because I think it's the best $90 power cable you can buy.
One bit of advice if you experiment with PC's: Try to get loaners that are burnt in for you. (100 hours or more) Then, let the cables run for a day on a component before you switch....quick switching is misleading and can lead to severe audio nervosa. ;-)
I am a believer that cables do make a difference but in that attachment it states that using all cables from the same mfg and family will make a huge improvement. Their quote: "Result? Youll hear a huge improvement in overall musical coherence, rhythmic integrity, intelligibility and musical drama." Really?
This was my original goal when starting but didn't happen. I started with upgrading all of my power cords. I use Synergistic Research on amp, pre-pro and CD player. Like them very much but for me I decided the additional wart power supply was a hassle. I don't have room/plug-ins for all of this when you account for ICs and speaker cables and all other cables behind my rack. SR are/only as my power cords.
I ended up with wonderful Kimber Select XLRs for my amp to pre/pro. I have Auqioquest Comet speaker cables coming for an audition and then will try some others as well and I still would like to upgrade my IC from CD to pre/pro. If I decide to go Audioquest speaker cables perhaps I will stay with the Audioquest for CDP.
So: Synergistic Research Power Cords
Kimber Cable Select XLRs (amp to pre)
Audioquest Comet speaker cables (potentially)
Audioquest IC CDP to pre (potentially Niagra if Comet works out)
So it looks like I have made a mess according to the article and these outstanding cables I am working on will not gel as well as if I went went one brand/family.
Interesting and not sure I am on-board with that yet based on the comment from the article but do understand what they are saying to an extent (without going over the top).
Your system is FAR from a mess! But what you've done takes considerable trial and error. I think * beginnng* with one manufacturer is a wise idea and to then adjust from there if one's ears tell one to. I think people get into trouble ( less than ideal results) when they start out with four different brands and then randomly switch out cords in an effort to fix what isn't working. Just my couple of Euros ( which are worth less each day)