My system....what and how will cabling impact?


Stereo Equipment


I know that not proving enough info is troubling so here is my complete list for my system.

All in around 100k.


Wilson Audio Sasha DAW

D’Agostino Integrated Amp

Clear Audio Ovation w/ 9” tracer tone arm

Clear Audio Concerto V2 MC cartridge

DCS Bartok DAC

VTL 6.5 phono pre amp (used w less then 50 hours of use)

HRS RXR Maple rack w/ isolation shelves

Transparent Music link and music wave cabling.



The room is strangely laid out. First, high cathedral ceilings with several peaks for sounds to bounce around. Second not too wide from speaker fronts to my ears but long. Approximately 25’ X 50’. From speaker fronts to my ears maybe 15. Speakers are positioned close to back wall and I am sitting on a sofa that places me about 2 feet in front of the front wall which is comprised of windows.


Now onto my first impressions. It sounds fantastic. Very warm, melodic, clean, rich and juicy are a few adjectives that come to mind. The TT sounds as good or perhaps at times better than the DAC. The soundstage is fairly wide given the limited space between my ears and the speakers.


Now onto my question. I have spent around $2,000 for cabling. I am figuring that those are what many of you would consider basic cabling. I see folks spending much much more for cabling. What does investing in high end cabling buy you? How does it effect the final outcome? Will the sound be richer and more realistic? What high end cables are recommended for the system I have? How much should one expect to spend for cables for the system I have assembled?


Thanks for your input.


lawmnsuu
You already have fairly decent cables. Not freebie patch cords anyway. What you do not have that will be a huge improvement is vibration control. I don't count the rack. It is after all just a rack. What matters far more is what's between the shelf (or floor) and the component.

For much less than you would need to spend on better cables you could put your speakers on Townshend Podiums. https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/townshend-audio-podiums-the-full-review  These will be a huge improvement. Your speakers will disappear, the sound will become much more clear and detailed. Probably best of all, a huge amount of acoustic problems you probably think are room related will disappear. Because right now your speakers are transmitting vibration straight into the floor, causing the whole room to vibrate. On Podiums only the acoustic energy goes into the room. Huge improvement.

Then Pods under your components, another huge improvement. I would do all this before even thinking of spending more money on wire.
You have a nice system and you will get a ton of recommendations from people who would love to spend your money. If you have a brick and mortar within a decent drive work with them : not call the Cable Company. Use your ears. I have borrowed from the Cable Company for years and they are a very valuable resource .

10% as a budget for cables is something I've heard - take it with a grain of salt as 3 months for an engagement ring is also a marketing slogan....

Are you using balanced connections where possible?  I noticed a big difference from Transparent Music Link RCAs to Balanced connections - there is a few db in signal strength gained.

Regarding high end versus quality - I'm currently evaluating upgrading speaker cables.  My amp is a McIntosh MC 302 and my speakers are Sonus faber Olympica Nova Vs:

Incumbent - Blue Jean Cables Canare 4S11
Replaced Audioquest Rocket 33s. 

Auditioned
Kimber Kable 12 TCs - No go...overall sound seemed to was 'compressed' and when it wasn't high's were harsh and the bass was muddled.  

Kimber Kable Bifocal XLs - Still evaluating and the cost is a consideration - Good dynamics and range but not sure if they are worth the money.  I

Next auditions may be Nordost or Transparent Supers.  

Good luck and share your experience
10% is old school old. 

When I look over that component list again, quite honestly that is some good stuff, but you have no idea how much performance you have just laying there on the table waiting for springs to set it free.
Post removed 
Then, go and read my article published at Dagogo.com entitled, "Audiophile Law: Burn In Test Redux", where I showed through actual comparison that many of the oh, so important tweaks/methods do nothing. 

Your question:
... I have spent around $2,000 for cabling. I am figuring that those are what many of you would consider basic cabling. I see folks spending much much more for cabling. What does investing in high end cabling buy you? How does it effect the final outcome? Will the sound be richer and more realistic? What high end cables are recommended for the system I have? How much should one expect to spend for cables for the system I have assembled?

Your answers: Better sound; yes, it dramatically effects outcome; yes, richer and more realistic; approx. $10K thereabouts. I have reviewed many cable sets that are much more expensive, and with worse sound than the one I will recommend. 

I recommend the cables I just finished reviewing for Dagogo.com (review to be published soon): Iconoclast by Belden's top models of speaker cables and interconnects (either XLR or RCA), and BAV (Belden Audio/Video) Power Cords. 

You are in a position to do things correctly. Making a mixture of different brand cables is not doing things correctly; it's playing at system development. Compare entire sets if you wish to purposefully establish a baseline and advance your system. 


+1, jab & lwin

HRS racks provides excellent isolation. Reach out to Cable company for consultation and trial. The cables are critical link between your components, once you find the ‘right’ set of cables, expect more realistic and holographic sound from your existing components.

Good luck!
Get rid of that transparent stuff those boxes screw up the whole sound. If you want the best wire get OCC single crystal wire, they have no fractures in The wire like ofc cabling does which transparent uses and shears off the harmonics. Acoustic Zen prices are very reasonable everyone else that sells OCC single crystal is much more expensive.but OCC single crystal wire has been proven to be the best wire for audio for over 40 years now, it just a lot more expensive than cheap ofc wire.
@lawmnsuu. Send me a message with your address and I will send you a sample of high end cables so you can hear it for yourself.
+1 for working with The Cable Company (thecableco.com). They will let you audition different cables.

I'm afraid that I'm going to sound like a detective on the audio police force (APF.gov), but I'll ask anyway. You didn't list a power filter/conditioner - do you have one?
Transparent is a great cable if you like blanket over speakers sound 😄
I would recommend sonus concordia , could be somewhat difficult to get your hands on outside Scandinavia but it's a great manufacturer!
@lawmnsuu - Ha, gotcha. I only have experience with Audioquest cabling and power filters, so my opinion would be slightly biased. Safe travels on your audio cable quest.
I think I almost accidentally reported my own post...
Purist or Tara labs get the best for best sound.
Hi OP @lawmnsuu : you are in a good spot. You have built a great system, in a big room, figuring out best matched cables is a fun and rewarding experimentation.

As others have mentioned, you will have to try for yourself and see best match for your components, and most importantly, for your ears. Other people’s opinion, including mine below, is just their own preference, for their ears and their gear. So take them with a grain of salt.

My recommendation for you is to start with foundation, power. See if you can trial a Shunyata Everest power conditioner, and some Shunyata v2 power cords, preferably Sigma v2 NR (and XC for Everest).


I have found cables to be system dependent, so the Audioquest cables that I use for my system may not work as well as yours.
Given that you have Wilson and D'Agostino, I would try to find other owners with similar equipment in order to get the best advice.
B
Still use my Kimber 8TC from the nineties and when I change speakers they sound differently.
This is sadly the way a lot of us think. Yes there is a grain of truth in that sometimes there are interactions that can sometimes have an impact on the sound. There are indeed times when the design of one component makes it incompatible with another. For sure this can happen.

The vast majority of the time however a wire is a wire is a wire. Otherwise, what is the point of reading reviews, or asking anyone’s opinion of anything? If all these things interact so much then the only opinion that might possibly have any value is when every single thing right down to the color of the carpet and the chair is identical. Even then some guy will pop up and complain about expectation bias and demand a double-blind study, preferably one that runs till the end of time so we never have to reach a conclusion.

The plain fact of the matter is interconnects, speaker cables and power cords sound fundamentally the same no matter what system or components they are used with. There is no such thing as buying cables to go with speakers and amps. There is only buying cables to go with listener preferences.

If you like a big bold 3D sound there are cables that will deliver this, regardless of what components they are used with. If you like a lean analytical surgically sterile sound there are even more to choose from. Either way, same thing, don’t matter a bit what you use them with that is how they will be. No sterile tipped up flat wire ever suddenly magically became all warm and fuzzy just by being matched up with the right speakers. Or amp. It simply does not work that way.

I go on because this is one of the bigger hurdles holding people back. If you think it is all about the components then this eliminates a whole world of listener impressions. If you believe this nonsense then why would you care what I think? My speakers are different. My amp is different. Etc etc. You just eliminated a huge amount of useful listener impressions. Technically, if you think about it, you have eliminated all listener impressions!

But if on the other hand you wake up to the fact these things sound the way they sound regardless of where and how they are used, which by the way isn’t that our experience with everything else? Does salt magically become sweet when used with potatoes instead of eggs? So it is just nuts. Wake up to this simple fact, open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities.
Here we go with this bulls**t again Chuck. I’m sure you recall I had to light you up over this exact same topic a few months ago. The fact that, this time around, you admit there could be compatibility concerns when choosing cables for your system is indeed ironic. No one ever claims that a cable can or will change its inherent sonic characteristics.  At least not in any of the threads I’ve observed. Rather, people simply ask for advice on which cables might be a good match for the current components they have or the particular sound they are looking for. With so many cable options out there it’s impossible to know how they all sound. The most useful response you could offer would be sharing your personal experiences with various cables over the years and what they sound like. Then people could decide if that’s something they’re looking for. That’s all I was looking for when I asked my question.  And that response certainly would’ve sufficed here too. But instead you choose to be insulting and condescending and basically an a**hole....and just like that you lose all credibility in my opinion and probably in many others too.  Not today Satan. Not today. Don’t you bring that hate in here. Ha
Better cabling will have an effect on your sound as well as better power cords and a conditioner/regenerator but it will be great to find a good dealer to try and find all the cables and power products you need to make your system sing like it can. I hope you have the windows blocked off completely or that will really mess with your sound as you are sitting close to the windows.
03-21-2021 5:38pm
Still use my Kimber 8TC from the nineties and when I change speakers they sound differently.



The fact that 8TC's are said to be classics by many is the understatement of all time.  
You got 24 answers and 24 different recommendations.  Choose wisely.  
I am going to give you some additional advice that is very contrary to convention. Since you have already eliminated the cheap factory power cords I would try some speaker cables first . Find  a pair you like and then get the interconnects from the same company. Normally the advice is to start with the power cords first because just about anything will sound better than the oem included cord. Trying speaker cables first followed by interconnects might get you the sound you are looking for without replacing your current power cords. 
@lawmnsuu - take a look at Inakustik cables. They are extremely good and very articulate and open sounding.

Nordost are another company, but you would have to look at their higher end cables to do justice to your components.

Regards - Steve
i think you have a ton of money into thar nice system.  Just go buy a 
   brand.  i can't say brands 
in here.  just drop 5.5 K   on bundle up I.C., Speaker Cable ,Power cable   that will get you past the 2 k  products  
IMHO to make a substantial impact you could look to invest 20-30% of your overall MRSP budget on power delivery and cabling. That said you can look for deals on the used market to bring those costs down. 

The biggest immediate impact I experienced was when I changed my power cables, and then my interconnects and finally speaker cables. 

The overall background was quieter. The sound stage was wider and deeper. Details would seem to pop out of nowhere, guitar strings breaking, foot tapping, drum skins and high hat decay... 

Do some research before you pull the trigger. Its worth doing the homework for the investment you plan on making.

Here are a couple of companies to check out as well 
http://www.hb-cable-design.com/1_english/start.html
https://audience-av.com/conditioners/
http://www.stage3concepts.com/TECHNOLOGY_main_page.htm
https://www.highfidelitycables.com/technology/
https://www.tonarm.ch/en/products/accessoires
https://silversmithaudio.com/

Good Luck
lawmnsuu,
You have, I would think everyone would agree - nice equipment (though I'm not familiar with a few pieces).
Systems perform only as well as their weakest / limiting link. Components, wires, power supplied, system set up, room acoustics, software (recorded music) are all very important. And each part has to be at a high enough level to identify differences when something is changed. 
I had very high end cables and found a cable brand that was / is drastically better - so good I became a representative / dealer for the brand (I'm not going to say the brand because I gave up promoting them - a totally different subject). But what I am saying is that cables make a drastic difference.
Think of it this way - and I'm using extremes to make a point.
Let's say you have "THE BEST" equipment, set up very well with a room that's acoustically treated very well and that you have extremely well recorded music. All this is connected using cheap speaker/power/interconnect wire, the kind that comes on a spool and has one silver and one copper colored conductor with transparent insulation - and for argument sake, let's say it's 18 gauge wire.
I think we can all agree that, in this example - that system would be limited / severely impacted by the wire's performance.
Another extreme example is having the best wires. Even moderate systems would produce their best results.
In very simple terms, signal wires are supposed to transfer the signal while doing the least harm, or stated another way - with the highest fidelity. In this hypothetical issue, we have to ask - do our components perform / reproduce music with the highest fidelity? If a component in the system has poor high frequency performance, then selecting signal wires with the most fidelity could make this system performance sound worse because they are actually revealing that component's poor high frequency performance (as opposed to a wire that reduces high frequencies and masks the component's poor high frequency performance).
Now I'm using over simplified examples to demonstrate a point.
However - when you have very good components and you purchase the best wires you can, then those wires will most likely stay in your system for a long, long time even when other components are upgraded.
Let me bring this to an actual system, and I'm not bragging because there are many other systems that are much, much more expensive then ours. Our system includes Sasha I's, Meridian 800 and 861v8, Pass XA-200.5's, Sound Application TT-7 Power Conditioner and great wires. Our system is very well set up and I have a selection of well recorded music. When I play music, our system not only has what I would refer to as "the basics" (frequency response, dynamics, speed, cohesion, bla bla bla) but it also images as if a real performance was occurring in our room. Would you mistake it for a real performance? No, but it's close.
When we play music - the singer and instruments are spread out on the stage from side to side and front to back just like a live performance with 3 dimensional images just like the real thing. You can't tell where the speakers are - very very literally. Last audiophile friend I had over, after 5 seconds into the first song put his face in his hands and continuously repeated "oh my God."
With the quality of your components, your system should be performing like this. If you take the time to set up your system and room well, and find well recorded music - it will. I know this because I was able to do it and I'm no one special (no bs here).
Regarding wires - if you invest in great wires, depending on the wires you select, they'll be with you for a very long time and it will be a good long term investment. This is what I've experienced and my family and I have enjoyed the great performance of our system.
There's a lot that goes into identifying and selecting components and identifying high fidelity but that's for another subject / post.
Most sincerely :-)
After clicking on this link provided by a ggc:
http://www.hb-cable-design.com/1_english/start.html
I would like to comment (as a licensed engineer - who is far from the smartest, most knowledgeable in electrical systems).
Making wire to perform well in a very high performance system isn't an "unknown art" like is alluded to by this manufacturer. Far, far from it. Applying specific engineering principals such as metallurgy, dielectrics, electro mechanics, geometry, construction, etc. all impact wire performance. The article states a specific parameter measures better but the wire sounds / performs worse - that's because only one parameter was measured and most importantly - the correct parameters weren't measure or weren't measure precisely.
Another issue is sometimes we get things wrong and empirical results (actual performance tested after a product is made) teaches us to identify why the performance was different from what was predicted. That's how science advances.
Make no mistake - wire design is done using science. Sure - there are people and even companies that don't use science but that's most certainly not the norm. Do you really think power companies use non-specific wire to transfer high voltage power for many miles? Power transmission wire is indeed very specific.
Doesn't apply to audio? It most certainly does.
Just one example (my posts are already too long) - shielding wire. Has anyone tested well designed cables, the exact same cables, exact in every detail - except one is conventionally shielded and one that isn't? I have - and the shielded cable reduces dynamics. Anyone care to guess why? Consider electromagnetic interaction. What I'm referring to is induced electromagnetic fields - it's what makes a magnet using electricity.
Simplified - current flowing through a wire induces a magnetic field around that wire. Signals flowing through a wire change rapidly when music is played. The induced magnetic fields expand and collapse very very rapidly.
Now, just like the mechanical inertia of a physical object on earth (with gravity) in motion requires a force to stop it - electromagnetic induced fields have what we can refer to as an electromagnetic inertia. These fields expand and collapse within fractions of a second. Shielding impedes the ability of these electromechanical field to expand and collapse - stated another way - the rise and collapse times of these fields are effected. I presume AudioQuest uses active shielding fields that are directed and spaced far enough away from the signal carrying wire so as not to significantly compromise the expanding and collapsing of these electromagnetic induced fields. 
Not sure if I'm doing a good job in trying to explain, in over simplified terms that science is very much used in making wire that performs well.
But please realize any entity that states science isn't used as the primary method to design and construct wire - I'd recommend avoiding.
Kindest regards :-)
When choosing cables-- for speakers, components, or power, beyond a point (based upon materials and workmanship) you will not get better sound by spending more and more money on cables. What you will get are differences-- like flavor notes on wine. So you might as well try a few brands and just settle on what you like (and ostensibly you can afford).

It is pure BS that a $5,000 cable sounds better than a $500 cable. Pure BS. I expect this post will be likely pulled because I have stated a plain fact bluntly that some advertisers take offense to-- especially those that make wild, impossible to substantiate claims for products that they sell for obscene profit margins. Yes, I do feel it is a little obscene to create a product that, lets say costs a few hundred dollars in materials and labor only to be sold for 10x-50x that at the retail level based upon fantasy claims that have nada to back them up.

The OP has a very nice system and no doubt small changes in the sound will come from trying different cables-- but when you receive advice like- spend more than $2k per cable to get better sound-- that is, again, pure BS.

So spend whatever you want, but do not for a second believe anyone that makes the claim that by spending more on cables that it will guarantee you a better sounding system. It will if you are using really cheap cables, but since you are already using very good cables, what you should expect are differences-- and they may be real or just psychoacoustic-- so I recommend "living" with the changes for a while to get a more complete sense of whether you prefer the sound as it is or as it was.

In the end, sometimes all someone wants is change for change 's sake, and there's nothing wrong with that either.
It takes an awful lot to make me pen a comment but having read and re-read MillerCarbons contribution to this question I am compelled to say, if anyone needs an example of a person in love with the sound of their own voice/messages/opinions look no further. MC you seem to state everything you think as if it's a proven fact when it's more often it's just another subjective opinion. To the OP you need to get a decent selection in to your system on a sale or return basis and give each set a reasonable amount of time. If a certain brand does not offer this forget them, there's already far too much choice. Iconoclast cables are definitely available on a sale or return basis and the Cable Company will offer you a good selection. I hope you find what you are looking for. Ps you have some wonderful components and the making of a great system.
wesheadley - I agree, cable margins are to an extreme. Extremely unreasonable - even for the research and development involved (I was in the pharmaceutical R&D field).
From experience, I've learned there are drastic differences in fidelity - wires and other components.
You can choose to believe and share what you like - based on your experiences. I will not post further to contradict. Every time I try to share experiences, someone always contradicts - always. Sharing experiences and information shouldn't be this difficult - but it is. I guess it's just human nature.
This is exactly why I gave up promoting cables. I'm not trying to convince anyone, I don't need to. I do wish a fraction of the individuals who contradict would visit me with their own wires and listen for themselves and then post here what their experiences were.
Without it - it's merely a bunch of people writing of their own experiences, mostly disagreeing with each other.
I really appreciate everyone’s feedback, opinions and dogma. It all helps me make an informed decision. I can and will give each it’s appropriate weight. From the beginning I was intending to spend around $35,000 to build the dream system I could never have afforded as a young person. I recall going to my rich uncle’s huge holiday parties in the 70’s and listening to his Macintosh equipment and being green with envy. Well $35k quickly morphed into 100k! 🤩🤩🤩 such is what happens to my well intentioned plans.
MC said HRS RXR Maple rack w/ isolation shelves is after all just a rack. I assume he was simply trying to make a point. Because even this audiophile neophyte knows that a 15k rack is more than just a rack. In fact HRS is trying to do exactly what he has accomplished with his podiums and pods. Namely isolation and vibration reduction. It’s possible that podiums and pods can accomplish the same for less. I suppose it’s also possible that adding podiums and pods would substantially increase that isolation.
That will be for another day. The sales team I am using asked me to wait on that issue for the time being. They believe that the Sacha speakers are designed to be spiked to the floor and are constructed with materials that already have created superior isolation. For now my focus is on wires, Cables and interconnects.

From that perspective your many opinions are vastly disparate. Everything from you have spent enough already on those components to you need to spend $30,000 to find the most benefit from those components. Somewhere between those two extremes lies my answer.

I will say this Wilson audio constructs their speakers using Transparent as their wires and interconnects within their speaker cabinets. I imagine they have done their research and have determined that Transparent provides the best component wires for their equipment. Or perhaps they’ve simply gotten the best deal from Transparent. Though when you’re constructing $38k speakers I can’t imagine that saving some money on wires makes much difference.
I will start by trialing 3 price categories of transparent cables and wires. I really want to hear if I even can detect a difference. I will choose that set which I believe gives me the most bang for my buck. However, I will only agree to keep that set if I can then compare it against other manufacturers to see if transparent really is the best set up for my equipment. Stay tuned. Again, I really do appreciate each and every person‘s perspective.


Yes, D'Agostino/Wilson work well with Transparent cabling but you have to go higher compared to where you are now. You could also consider Synergistic Galileo. Purist and Tara might be a possibility as well. You might need to spend $20k - $25k, new cables prices, to do it right, for cabling, including power cords. 
Do you have D'Agostino Momentum integrated or Progression ?
@lawmnsuu try to take your Transparent cables up to the Super level to start and maybe up to Ultra. There is a vast difference between Wave and Super. A fairly good jump from Plus to Super. Above Ultra you are getting into custom networks specifically for your system. I will say, without doubt, you are not getting everything you can out of your very nice system with your current cabling. I also don’t agree that all cables MUST be the same, or of the same level. It really depends. Though Transparent has really taken strides to create a full “system” of cables. Other companies not so much. Take a look at Shunyata Research cabling too, similar price point...
I also think the speaker wires should come before choosing interconnects and power cords. Cable co is a great recommendation. They're really knowledgeable and helpful. 

Transparent Ultra RCAs are a good step up from the Supers (I've used both), but you can do better with that system. Even a G5 Siltech SQ-110 is better than the Ultras (I just A-B'd them both in 1.5m size)  

As far as power cords I'd recommend Shunyata. The CXs are very good, Zi-trons are better. I've found its beneficial to go to the lowest gauge in whichever line you work with. I'm using Zi-trons in my system with a Shunyata Sigma to the amp. Just put the Sigma in recently, but not hearing a big difference from the Zi-tron Anaconda so far.  Maybe I've maxed out what I can do there. 

Good luck and have fun with that great system. I have DAWs too and they're very revealing so you'll hear the impact of these changes. 
Check out Siltech 770 interconnects. Smooth, detailed and full sounding. 
Again thank you all for your input. As a neophyte it is still hard to imagine wires, cords and interconnects can make such a significant difference. At first I told the company that sold me the equipment no way will I spend significant money on wires. The last system I put together in the 70’s/80’s I used monster cable. After listening to all of you I will make the investment. I now expect I’ll hear a difference. I hope that’s not causing me to have expectations and bias. We will see next week when I begin this process. I of course will report back my impressions.
Dean