Best to start out with cables purchased from monoprice dot com. That way you can forget about percentages. Monoprice cables will sound wise beat anything you pay mega bucks for. Try them, you can ship them back if not satisfied. Don't fall into the trap of more expensive is better.
Buconero, I too was naysayer, an open minded skeptic if you will regarding expensive cables...until I tried them. Actually it pisses me off that they DO make a difference...even power cords! I really, really... wanted to draw the line, cut some corners somewhere...but if you have decent separates, they can and will benefit from better cables. As for the % in question, list price of course, if I had paid list, 19%. If I had not got short speaker cables for monoblocks and kept my gear low and in the center it could of easily gone up another 5% of total MSRP. I don't think there is a formula that works for all but it seems like anyone with an optimized system ends up being at 15% on the low side and 25% or more on the high side. Tmsorosk...Don't feel bad I would easily be close to your % had I not used as short as possible runs wherever possible and I'm toying with "interviewing" some $$$ power cords.
TEN PERCENT is a good amount of money to spend on cabling.
More than that and you should have just spent the money on better electronics IMO.
Naturally some 'cable crazy' folks think nothing of spending way more on cables. That is their free choice.
But if you want advice, ten percent of system cost is a great way to avoid foolish cable excess.
My entire system audio and video, for interconnects, power cords, and speaker cables, is pretty exactly 10% of total system cost.
My powerline conditioners add another five percent to the equation.
So "IF YOU NEED TO ASK" then ten percent is a great choice.
For folks with a lot of experience knowing what they want and expect from electronics and wires, they can and do, do anything they want, andthose folks may have very different percentages. But, as I mentioned, for a beginner, ten percent is an excellent decision.
I've been studying this for over two decades now, and I've found that the sweet spot for percentage cable cost in relation to system cost comes in between 16.7432% and 18.6559%.
For the sake of everyone's safety, I implore you, DO NOT stray outside of those boundries!!
I've had Kimber 4TC 8TC, Morrow SP3 SP4, now have Nordost Blue Heaven. Like them all, but their no better than Best Buy or Radio Shack. The sound is the SAME! Get over it. If you want to spend money for nothing, go ahead.
To ensure that you have a very high probablity of attaining mediocre sound you'll want to abide by the 10% rule.
To attain superior sound you'll have to think differently.
Ten percent works in my HT but in my analog 2-channel it's closer to twenty five percent.
The cables do matter. Assigning an appropriate price is another matter. I am guessing that I have invested about 10-20% depending on the system they are in.
I can't imagine spending the kind of money I see spent. I think a more interesting question is how much is the most you have spent on an individual cable. In my case it's the speaker cables on my main system about $650 for entry level used Jena cable copper braid. To people outside the hobby I am sure that sounds insane. When I see speaker cable for ten times that -- well that's clearly over the top!
Out of curiosity, how many of you have ever done double-blind tests on cables? I suspect the results would be interesting.
Check the Stereophile website for a report on a blind cable test done in Minnesota. Good reading
I just read the test. Interesting, indeed. Not totally scientific, but the $8000 cable didn't beat the $3 cable by that much.
A few years ago, a noted economist did some double-blind wine tasting tests and found that even the so-called "experts" could often not distinguish between very expensive and very cheap wine.
Makes me wonder.
If I was still on the upgrade path 10% cost on cables is a safe bet. Before going higher optimize the room, a lot of what cables will add can be negated by reflections and standing waves. If unsure about major system changes in the near future stay on the conservative side as your needs may change. That being said once ALL system bottlenecks are removed or addressed that % can be higher and yield benefits as fruitful as any other big upgrade IMO. In my case of around 19% is also including power conditioning. My speakers, amps, and preamp will likely be the same for the next 10 years so this will be it for this system.
I do not see any valuein chosing cables based on a %. All that assures is you spend a certain amount of money, nothing else. Very good wires do not have to cost a fortune. Makes no sense really.
the proportion spent on cable should be related to affect cables have on the sound of your stereo system.
I have never gone by the "percentage" rule with cables. I think that an expensive cable is worth it when it's the cheapest way to improve your system. IMO, a box or speaker upgrade should sonically exceed the sonic contribution of a cable upgrade. But when your system becomes expensive to the point where better cables offer a significant sonic upgrade for much less then a black box upgrade, cables are the way to go. Cables are the icing on the cake, but you need to have the cake first.
I feel cables can make a significant difference, and yes, this has included double blind tests in my system. Current cabling cost varies from 10% - 15%. I do find that used cables hold their value extremely well, so ultimately have spent very little on cables.
I never decided ahead of time I was going to spend "X" percent on cables.. I bought cables I found to be good for my needs. After many years i have added up all my currently used cables, and my current system costs, and gee as if by magic the cost is 10%.
I also like cables which have been around. Like Kimber 8TC, Hero, etc..
Not the flavor of the day raved over today and forgotten tomorrow.