Try before you buy and be independent enough to judge the difference and render an honest verdict. At least buy used where you can recover invested funds. Lastly, be patient and let the new wire break in.
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Trying first was not an option. However, you are right about the break in period. With the exception of the Iridium power cable that I connected to the 650D, which I doubt would make that much of difference, and the High Diamond 2 RCA interconnect that I continued to use on the NAD M4 tuner, everything was brand, spanking new, and cold out of their respective boxes. Yes, time will tell.
It was an incredible sounding system two days ago, and remains one today. I'm just not sure what I'm hearing. However, I can say that I have peace of mind and no more lingering questions as to whether or not I should upgrade the cables to something more appropriate to the level of equipment that I have. I believe, if nothing else, the system has simpatico.
After having run the new cables for most of yesterday and all of today, I can definitely say that I now hear a difference. I'm not sure what adjectives to use, but there is even greater clarity than what was there before.
Given the number of cables that were changed simultaneously, it would be difficult to say which one made the most impact, but I'm inclined the think that the speaker cables and the phono pre amp cable are likely the biggest contributors to the improved sound. I can only imagine that with additional break-in, the sound will improve more. I believe the break-in period for cables to be in the 100 hour range. If I'm wrong about that, please feel free to chime in.
A few comments that I'd like to make and I agree with your conclusion other than I have no idea which cables made the largest impact.
IMO it takes perhaps 150 hours of use and non-movement of all cabling for the system to settle in. I know this is a debated theory but you know what I have found to be true for myself.
It's very had to tell what differences the cabling makes if you made more than one change at a time. I realize when we purchase new cabling etc no one wants to wait for one item to break in before we add the next new piece.
I truly believe with a lot more hours of playtime you will hear an additional improvement.