Need help on which cables where??

Hello All,
I have two sets of xlr cables for my set up. One pair is a very good pair and the others is not as good of quality. My questions is should I put the better pair from the cd player to the pre. and the not as good pair to the amp. Or the not so good pair from the cd play to the pre and the good pair to the amp?? which way will work the best and not lose to much detail? please let me know
Hi Harnellt, this one has been asked many times and answered many ways, so check the archives if you dare.

The simplest, most relevant answer to your particular conundrum is (drum roll, the envelope please...): Just do the auditioning both ways and find out for yourself. You may find it doesn't really matter, but if you subjectively prefer things arranged one over the other, there you go and ignore the rest.

However, my own 'in principle' answer is to use the lesser IC from the player to the preamp and the better IC from the preamp to the power amp. I say this for two reasons. One is that if you use more than one source, then all of them will benefit from the better IC if it's between your pre and power amps. By the same token, if you want to experiment with something like swapping tubes or power cords on your preamp, or trying some other interconnects between the pre and the player, placing your best cables after the preamp will give you the 'clearest window' through which to evaluate those changes accurately, making it easier to improve your system step by step in a logical fashion without being led astray.

The other, more esoteric reason is that, with most systems most of the time, the line-level signal coming from the player into the preamp will be higher in level than the signal going out from the preamp to the power amp (in other words, the preamp's output is most often attenuated below the unity-gain point in most systems during most listening). So in theory the better IC will be more critical with the lower-level signal going into the component (the power amp) that is always going to apply a fixed amount of positive gain (which will equally amplify both the music signal and any noise that accompanies it). Even when you turn up the preamp volume past the unity-gain point, the net gain from your preamp will in the vast majority of cases still be considerably lower than the gain applied by the power amp, and in that situation, noise introduced prior to the preamp will always be more attenuated than noise introduced after it. So provided the 'better' IC truly is better, then your final S/N ratio should be higher if you use that IC to the power amp.

Now, let me sit back and wait for someone (who doesn't read my post, presumably) to come along with one of those useless little chestnuts you see every time this gets asked, presented as if they were cogent arguments regarding this question: Either "garbage in, garbage out", or "the chain is only as strong as its weakest link"...
Who 'da frig knows? Garbage in, garbage out. After all, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Ya know?
That's what's known as a roasted chestnut :-)
Zaikesman, is all that stuff still true, if like, I turn my amps down so I can turn my volume way, way, up? You know, like to impress my friends? I heard some guy say that his amps went to '11', so I had my preamp screen-printed with 11 AND 12!!!

(seriously, excellent answer)