YES the proper interconnects will make a world of difference. Do not waste your time with inferior wire anywhere. I have learned this the hard way, by spending my money and time starting with Nordost Blue Heaven (and similar quality wire) and have even thought of selling my speakers or changing other components because I did not achieve the results I was looking for.
Finally I have seen the light, I have just purchased some Acoustic Zen interconnects (Matrix Reference and WOW) and I can not believe the increase in my stereo's performance. I know this has been said quite often about these wires so I will be brief. The performance of my stereo has apparently doubled. Everything from tone to low level nuance to dynamic range to soundstage and focus has improved, my amplifier seems to have doubled in power and control. I mention the AZ because I do recommend them but they might not be your special nirvana so keep trying.
I feel I made a mistake not having done this sooner and hopefully you can find as good a match and happiness.
I recommend you find the wire that matches your system and do not settle for just good. I bet with your stereo you can get quite excellent sound with everything matched properly.
Ha! I'm building an entry-level system for a good friend from the new NAD C541i to the same Audio Refinement Complete, to baby Spendors. I just bought him Blue Heaven, and maybe a Kimber Silver Streak to start (tuner to amp too).
Hope our results are better than Philjolet's!
I suspect that resolution won't be a problem, but that open-highway leanness might be. Any suggestions for a sub-$100 used detailed but WARMER cable if we need one?
Harm Tech Truthlink is my favorite rounded cable for FM birdies, etc., but at $150 used it's a stretch....
If you like the Analysis Plus 12's, why not go with Analysis Plus IC's? The copper ovals (which I have with the 12's in my system)are great! Also, consider the synergies between the two...
I just tried some Alpha Core Tourmaline ($87 new) and I thought they had better tone than the Blue Heaven though not as detailed, fucused or nuanced, I agree the Blue Heaven is very detailed but the WOW are letting a lot more detail thru.
I know this is probably hard to belive but on my system it is clearly true.
the Kimber Hero got a rave review in TAS. They have been highly regarded for a few years now and are known for their bass performance and nice tone. You can buy them used for about $75
Without knowing exactly what sound characteristics you're looking for in an interconnect I'll second Philjolet's recommendation of the Acoustic Zen line. I own their Tsunami power cord and MC2 digital cable and find them to be very open, smooth and huge in their soundstage presentation.
Of all the cables I currently own, they're the only ones I like in my system other than my favorite Virtual Dynamics. Give Rick Schultz of Virtual Dynamics a call, he can make some great suggestions within your budget and give you a good price. In my setup, the Virtual Dynamics have a natural, open sound with great soundstaging.
Very balanced systems. Very good job. Possiblilities include LAT International, Kimber Kable Hero, Wireworld.
I third the idea of Acoustic Zen. I changed from Kimber Hero ics to AZ matrix ref ics and gained a great deal of detail and musicality. You do have to watch them with overly warm systems however.
Yes, the right IC can make a fairly big difference, but you do not tell us what IC you are currently using, or what about the sound you hope to improve. Regardless, to find the 'right' one - or to even know you've found it - you are going to have to audition a few different ones in your system and compare. Fortunately, Audiogon makes this a pretty simple proposition: Just set aside a budget for experimentation, identify a few likely candidates in your price range to check out, buy examples of each used on the 'Gon, and then come back and sell the ones you don't wind up wanting to keep for what you paid for them. You're not out much for regular ground shipping on 1m IC's in the US - typically about $5 a set, and definitely worth it to be able to hear for yourself. Good luck!
I've tried many interconnects (Nordost Quattro Fil, Acoustic Zen, and so forth) before but my favorite is Ric Cummins Jaden Interconnects. The Jaden is made of pure silver and is very musical, detailed, dynamic, and has very good tonal balance. I think you will be surprised by this cable's performance and value ($350 retail for a standard 2.5 foot cable). The myth that silver cables are harsh is just so, only a myth after you've heard these cables.
Not many have heard these cables before but those who own them will testify to the quality and performance of the Jaden Interconnects.
Wombat, I have not tried every IC here, but I have tried a number of them. After chasing my tail through AZ, HT, Kimber, Analysis Plus, etc. I finally decided to up the ante. You didn't say what your budget was so I will just give you my experience and do with it what you want.
I ordered HMS Gran Finale Top Match IC's after all the hoopla around here and over at AA regarding these IC's. Well, I have found my holy grail for IC's (everyone else's MMV), but everything else I listened to is not even close.
Having said that, everything in this hobby is very subjective, but if you can afford to try HMS, you may also find your pot o'gold. I emailed a number of guys here and over at AA before I ever ordered the Gran Finale's for an audition and without exception, every one of them responded saying they were the best IC's they had ever heard. Several were like me, they were initially reluctant to try them due to the controversy around them, but if you can get beyond that, they truly are amazing.
Maybe Siltech and one or two others may be better, but for the money, it is my opinion that nothing I have heard can begin to approach them.
They have a 30-day audition period, but be forewarned, don't even think about listening to them if you aren't prepared to buy them. They may simply leave you eternally unhappy if you hear them and you can't keep them.
Look out for Harmonic Technology, Truth Link at deep, used discounts.
Also used Coincident Speaker Technology IC.
A real bargain if you can locate it is the older version of the Music Metre, Calibre in the gray jackets. Do no bother with the last version of Calibre made.
I really disagree about using silver or cables that specialize in detail with your system. Having owned the RCD-971 and Music Metre Silver i/cs in a similar system as yours, I would go with something along the lines of Cardas. The 971 is great, but it has a fairly bright tonal balance that a SS integrated is not going to counter. It is also a little etchy (as most CDPs in that range are) for silver i/cs or Kimber, which are better suited for tubes and analog. I am coming from the perspective of listening fatigue, I really don't know what you are in to.
Kalan, have you heard Canto?
The idea that silver is bright is not the metal but a design flaw (usually dielectrics). This is not the case with Pure Note, HMS, and others. These cables are very detailed and smooth.
I did not say anything about bright cable. Silver cables correlate with a tonal balance that is different from copper cables. That tonal balance, I don't think, is good for his system. Plus, saying that all those silver cables are bright because of a design are flaw while their copper counterparts miraculously aren't flawed is ridiculous. Those silver ones usually work better with tubes/analog than SS/CDP. They are usually just different, instead of flawed. The type of metal, unquestionably, makes a difference.
Ohlala; Sorry, I have not heard the Music Metre Canto. Have you? If so, did you like it?
I recently purchased the Jaden Interconnects that are pure silver. The notion that silver IC's are always bright is a myth. When silver IC's are done right, the system can have great tonal balance with lots of detail. The Jaden IC certainly has those strengths and is very musical. This cable is very difficult to beat for the price and comparatively to other high quality cables, it is my opinion the Jaden is equal or stands above the rest. I and a group fo my audio buddies have replaced our IC's (Nordost Quattro Fil, Silver Audio Appassionata, and Acoustic Zen Silver Reference) with the new Ric Cummins Jaden IC.
Okay, thanks, Kalan. I haven't heard it either. Someday, maybe.
Here are a few comparisons from my experiences rated from best to worst:
ZCable Live v4
Silver Audio Silver Bullet 6.0
Virtual Dynamics Audition
Transparent MusicLink Ultra
Why do recording pros use Canare at $0.34/ft to make GREAT mic and IC cables? I just finished rigging up 25' mic runs with this stuff into a Grace class A ultraflat, ultradetailed pre, and then to my Alesis Masterlink. Then came the decision as to how to connect the ML to the Aleph P pre? I made 1/2 m Canare XLRs, sold my Red Dawns, and just bought some Blue Heavens. Which will work best? Why do pros LOVE this cheap quadlink Canare? You can even get 1/2m wired sets from Markertek for $12.95! Does anyone know how these sound in the audiophile continuum? I must say that my Steinway actually sounds BETTER in some ways than when played live! I know this is heresy, and that it's due to careful nearfield mic placement, but you can't convince me that these Canares don't do it right. Jeckyl & Hyde again....
I have been impressed with what the Empirical Audio cables have done for my system-these cables are based upon sound science principles that are very well explained on the Empirical web page- empiricalaudio.com
Check out HMS. I absolutely agree with Sonic_genius and Fidller
Another vote for HMS. You can get a free trial with them. You can't go wrong with that deal. I can almost guarantee you won't send them back.
Try the Shunyata ICs lsit for $650, probably get them for 30% off. I hear they are now the best cable for the price.