most important?

In theory if you had two cables, one good and one bad, how should you use them? Which config will effect sound the most....ic from source to pre-amp or ic from pre-amp to amp? My first thought would be to use the "good" cable from the source to the pre-amp, following the "can't get better than the source" theory. But if you're choking the amp off it may not matter how good the source is. Just curious.
This topic has been covered here many times. The Linn/Naim camp and many others swear that you MUST always put your "best" anything as close to the front of the chain as possible. But it's just not that simple with electronics nor with cables. One cable that is considered not to be very good in one link may turn out to be quite magical in another. There is no "best" here.

My repeated observations have been that the cable link from preamp to amp can make or break the system's 3-dimensional performance more than any other cable in the system. But so few systems out there have such capability that it does not matter much. And thus the focus with cables tends to be tonality (tonal coherency), maybe differences in detail and for some system, dynamic contrasts.

Cables are often referred to as tone controls. There are a lot of differences between cables that go far beyond tonality. You will be making a grave mistake if this is all you focus on between cables.

I suggest that you ignore all claims that any specific link in the system deserves the "best" cable. Try the various cables that you have in each link and if possible borrow some others to play with as well. You might be pleasantly surprised at how a cable outperforms another in one link and yet in another link, it is difficult if not impossible to hear a difference between the two. If this is the case, you just might save some money. And the cost of the cable often has nothing to do with the outcome.

Cool, thanks for the response. In the end it's all about just trying things out. I have some new cables but I'm waiting for a little break in time before I try to compare them.
I've found for my own tastes and systems that having an most revealing, finely resolving cable up front, one can usually step down at least one level thereafter... like if you are using all of one brand cabling. RMV

The term best interconnect here is disturbing too. Best why? Best how? Good and bad too are confusing words when it comes to subjective assessments.

I found early on as a general rule only... the more money spent on wire (to a point) the better it worked or sounded, by and large. this isn't to say merely throw money at it and assign cables to positons based on price tags alone. There are more considerations than that. you really do have to try some for yourself.

I have 3 ICs I can move around in my 2ch rig, as either source or mains. Each pair has it's own voice. Moving them around changes things from a little to a lot. Each combo yeilds a differnet take on the music.

Maybe you would want to give the Cable Co. a call and try a few different types to get a feel for what's out there and how your system will respond to cable changes.
Good point guys. Totally agreeing with John and Blindjm I will add that for me the link that seems to make the most difference in terms of really snapping the soundstage in place is from preamp to my amps. I own several cables and 2 that have stood out over all others is Kimber 1021 with nextgen and MIT 350 SG EVO. YM will certainly vary as you have no doubt noticed there are 100's of brands of cables that serve the purpose for someone!
The number of brands, models and itterations of models is mind numbing. It's impossible to try em all. Just get in where you fit in, for the most part with cabling. Many do a good job. Whn I find some that do really well for me & mine, I hold onto them.

Being OK with from 'very good' to 'excellent' isbn't too tuff a task for me.