Reasonable high end interconnects: without breaking the bank


I am in the process of updating my audio equipment and have realized my interconnects are probably not up to snuff; I use the ones provided by the manufacturers.  My current set up includes a Leben cs600 amplifier, California audio lab Icon Mark II CD player, Linn Akurate Streamer, Feikert Volare Table and Spendor SP1 speakers ( in final stages of upgrade to either Audio Note E, Devore O93 or Joseph Profile).  I have been investigating interconnects and have a bit of sticker shock.  So any suggestions on interconnects that won't  bankrupt me?  Is silver truly preferable to copper with respect to resolution and detail?
Thanks
MP

mpomerantz
Look at the thread on Black Cat Audio's Coppertone cables.
You can try Zu Audio.
They usually sell older models on Ebay and sometimes you can score a good deal.
Otherwise, you can look at Audioquest. They have a sizable lineup and though they can get pricey, even the lower models are very good for the money.
There is going to be a diverse opinion regarding silver/copper configurations. A lot depends on your system, as well as your tastes.

Bob
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Second Zu's offerings on EBay. 
You might want to try Cardas Cross which are not a ton of money and Cardas Copper and terminals. I love thr golden ratio Cardas cables. I think the cross ICs are about $399/pr new but I haven’t bought any in a while. Also check thr Audiogon classified there are a couple of $239 used pairsEbay for Cardas. If you prefer a silver soundimg cable I have no great suggestions.
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Cardas cables are a fine recommendation. The Coppertone is also a fine recommendation. Consider the Acoustic BBQ line of cable as well for a fairly priced alternative. Many with your amplifier have found nirvana with the Auditorium A23 speaker cables and interconnects. I have owned all of the above, several versions of Cardas. I find the A23 cables with Leben and Devore to possess a very special connection. YMMV.
Let us know what your price range is. If you can’t, then all I can do is recommend going over to Darwincables.com and checking out their discount section for demos, prototypes, and one offs. That, and give them a call and talk to them.

I’ve tried a few levels of their ICs and love how they sound.

All the best,
Nonoise
I like the Zavfino Arcadia MkII OCC cables, and the price is very reasonable.
Cables are system dependent and should be auditioned in your system. Determine your price range and see if you can borrow a couple different cables to compare at home. Unfortunately, it’s a very tedious process.
" in final stages of upgrade to either Audio Note E, Devore O93 or Joseph Profile)." I wouldn't select any cables until I selected the speakers. 
Audioquest. So many choices, So many price ranges. 
I really like Silnote cables. Well worth checking out. They were a vast improvement on the cheap cables I had originally
Chord makes very good affordable interconnects in the chord c-line and clearway. Also, atlas cable's elements and integra line is great. Lastly qed makes the qunex line of cables. 
The first ICs I bought that were clearly much better sounding than good cables were the Darwin Silver cables that were their original ones. These beat Morrow MA-3 and MA-4 ICs, along with Crimson, Audioquest, Magnan,  They would be about $295 new or about $150-175 used. New ones at this time I would recommend would be the Acoustic BBQ from Grannyring on Audiogon. His best are the Schroeder Method double ICs and cost $295 new.  His regular and also good sounding ICs are $179 for a 1 mtr. pair.  The doubles are much better sounding in all ways than the regular.  I've done the double method with Teo GC II ICs and with Teo GC's and JW Reference ICs and the result of using double ICs to one connection is way better than doubling the cost of a single IC in the same family of ICs.  Bill Dion's AB ICs save money by not needing extra connectors and just doubling up the wires going to the RCAs.  Bill's ICs have a very organic, real sound to them when I heard them in his system.  I have not heard them in my system, however.  The Teo's were heard in my system with a couple of my friends prior to buying them and made an incredible difference.  I bought their pairs right then.  If I were you, I'd contact Bill of Acoustic BBQ and see what he can do for you.  He makes them at his house and charges a VERY fair price for them.

Bob  
Elizabeth nailed it. I use Anticables in my system. Very happy with the sound quality of their the speaker wire and ICs. My source is a LUMIN D1 using Tidal HiFi decoding MQA files. Power is from my Krell integrated amp (class A) thru Magnapans (1.7is). The anticables helped with the high end clarity and bass is tight. Buy what you can afford - we have too much choice in this hobby. Your ‘ear’ is the final judge.
I like tempo electric pure silver. Look it up. 
I'm wondering if any of these recommendations would change if it was clear that the OP was going to use balanced (XLR) cables or was going to have a long run from pre-amp to amps.  I seem to remember that Elizabeth found the Cardas Parsec excellent at short lengths but not so at longer lengths (hence her purchase of the much more expensive Kimber cables).  Anyway, that's what I need: XLR cables at 5 or 6 meters to get from my stack of equipment to my mono-blocks, next to the speakers.  Using Morrow MA 4 right now, which isn't terrible, but I wonder if I can do better without going over $1000.
@tcatch


It might make a difference but since the original poster his/her amplifier is completely single ended, the xlr question is kindof moot in this case. If you want advice, start a thread, list your equipment and sit back and relax. Someone or several someones will likely have some suggestions.
Good point -- I hadn’t thought to check out the OP’s amp. Will start a thread.
Another lower priced option to audition is Morrow Audio cables.  60 day home trial, and generous trade in allowances, plus frequent sales that offer 30 to 50 % off retail prices.  They work well in my system, but YMMV.
I would say prior to spending even 10% on cables for your system, check out Gene DellaSala's (Audioholics, youtube) advise on what cables can and can't do. You can buy well made, basic cables for very reasonable prices.  
What I have been doing is buying the wire geometries all ready figured out .VH Audio uses the purestSolid Core ,not stranded 
-0 Crystal Copper,using ultra thin foamed Teflon  which is second only to air as a dielectric , then use top WBT ,or Cardas high Silvercontent solder,and Copper Connectors .not Brass like most companies .since cables are marked up often 4-6x the parts cost.
for $250 in parts cost these  better any $1k interconnects I have compared out there ,and speaker cables over $1500  to equal.
Check out The Cable Company and their affiliate Used Cable. I bought new and used Cardas from them. Got the Clear Light, Cygnus, and Sky. Made a very noticeable improvement over my Kimber Hero ICs. I still use Kimber 8TC for speakers.
Free tip - since all (rpt all) interconnects are directional, independent of the shield if there is one, you might find the sound is better by reversing your current interconnects. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
I would add three points:
1. It ain’t just the cost and the sound, it’s the stiffness too. I’’m a big fan of Acoustic Zen—reasonably priced used and well made. But in my system (housed in a Salamander cabinet) they were just too stiff to make the bends. Especially the power cables. 
2. Power Cables. In my experience, power cables easily make the biggest difference in sound, and I can’t explain why, it just is.
3. Second the comments on Morrow. Inexpensive fire what you get and very helpful people. My current system is all Nordost (great but expensive even used) with Morrow SP5 speaker cables. If I had started out with Morrow all around, I’d be just as happy and would have save al lot of money.
Hi,
make sure that you have the same brand and construction for all your cabling, otherwise you will be hunting your tail or pray for rain. You can get much better results by choosing same brand, even if you decide for a more economical solution.
Kimber tonik great bang for buc 
I have a few Audio Sensibility cables and thought they were really impressive given the fairly low cost. They better other similar or even more expensive cables in my system.
Wow you are still using California audio lab Icon Mark II CD player.

I had used that one from 1989 to 1998.

Teo Audio GC II has very natural sound with nice decay at 600$

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis92173-teo-audio-gcii-1m-new-model-upgraded-interconnects

Silnote Morpheus Ref Series II is also good with overall refined sound and excellent details at 400$.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9dga6-silnote-audio-morpheus-reference-ii-series-ii-rca-ultra-silver-24k-gold-top-reviews-wor-interconnects


Choice of Cable is dependent on system and personal taste.

Many cable companies offer return period.

Thus I recommend you to try them out audition in your system.
Kimber, Cardas and Audioquest all make good ones. I personally use the Cerious Technologies Graphene extreme and think that they are great balanced performers in every area, as well as good value for the money. Great support too.  
Custom with Mogami 2549 as the core wire. Get them with KLEI copper harmony RCAs from DouglasConnection or Furutech 126(g) from TakeFiveAudio. 

I usually don't play around with ICs at all.  I use a basic cheap brand that someone gave to me.  That being said a buddy of mine did a lot of listening last year to ICs in the $500 or less price range, he usually buys used and in his system the Harmonic Tech (one model up form the TRUTHLINK BASIC) was very nice sounding for what it is worth.

Happy Listening.

I am in the process of updating my audio equipment and have realized my interconnects are probably not up to snuff; I use the ones provided by the manufacturers.  

Patch cords! Good Gawd man! You may be having sticker shock now, but just wait. When you hear how much better your gear will sound with really good wire you will be SHOCKED at how much money and time was WASTED listening to those crap patch cords!

Might as well get over the shock. Not only the patch cords but the speaker wire and crap amp power cords need to go. Budget what you spent on your other components. 
All of the above are worthless because no one has your gear in your room with your source material and your preferences.

The outputs, cables and inputs are a complex impedance. They interact, so without identical parameters, recommendations are worthless.

You can audition cables in $x00k systems with top flight hardware and supposedly better cables [read pricier] may make the systems next to unlistenable.

Read this http://ielogical.com/Audio/CableSnakeOil.php
PM questions.
Audio Note Lexus,or Isis  Interconnect cables.
I second the dh labs silver sonic I think the cable company has them on special now.
No disrespect intended, everyone has good intentions, but are people recommending cables because they have heard them with the equipment he lists or because the cables worked for them on unrelated equipment?

The OP can buy what they want, I get that, but some of the recommendations made here I have heard with Leben and Devore and some of these recommendations like the DH Labs I tried and they were shrill. Again, this is on Leben and Devore...they probably work wonderfully on other equipment. I also freely admit a bias toward smooth and warm. Horses for courses.
Easy, what teajay said in his post...Coppertone by Black Cat cables...a no brainer recommendation.
Has anyone on this thread conducted any Double Blind Testing of the cables in their system? You might be surprised at what you find sounds good, when you can’t see the beautifully designed "looks" of some of these interconnects.
Uh, I never met anyone who was so impressed with a cable’s appearance he psyched himself out. Most audiophile cables look great, it’s part of their appeal, even inexpensive audiophile cables look great. Look, if someone reports bad results for a Double Blind Test my instinct is to throw those results out. Is that wrong?😳
Correct! If you blind test and fail to hear the difference in a between a $15 cable and a $300 cable you must throw the evidence out. What will be attacked next? Perhaps walnut speaker wire elevators? Special on eBay now. 8 elevators for 
There's nothing wrong in being subjective. Why is it we are just that in every manner of life except when it comes to audio? 

The fallback position of being an objectivist is merely a facade for being subjective in that belief. Those that say only blind testing and "the manual" are to be believed take it on faith and refuse to actually listen.

Søren Kierkegaard would just shake his head at all of this and buy what his ears told him sounded the best since all truth is subjective. 

All the best
Nonoise
@nonoise 

I agree with you completely.

I admit as well to purchasing premium unleaded gasoline! Hi-end coffee on occasion without knowing if I got the best coffee at the best price. I don't have a clue if the vehicle I drive is approved or not by Consumer Reports. I buy plenty of things by only overlaying my decision points on the subject, of course, failing each time to overlay the values of others. I buy a certain cut of meat and when I am unsure, I buy the more expensive cut to play it safe. My mechanical watch cost more than a Swatch and the Swatch keeps better time. I have multiples of the sames shirts, suits, slacks, jeans, etc.

I give $20 to the homeless guy each time I'm caught at the red light he frequents. He takes the bus here from 20+ miles away because its a great corner. Its a game we play each day. We smile at one another when I catch a green and he almost laughs out loud when I catch the red. Maybe I'll buy him a huge box of interconnects to hand out to those who give him $15 or more. That would surely please @tobor007 wouldn't it? We could have a daily double blind interconnect test at the stop light. My guy is honest, he will tell me the truth which cables sound better.
@ghasley 

That's a rich and, truth be told, beautiful story. If only we could all afford to be that way, but, truth be told, we could, in our own way.

It's all a matter of perspective (there's that subjective truth at work again). I've always loved models as a kid so things like mechanical watches, analog cameras, and cars made before the advent of OBD devices piqued my interests. Things made well with the intention of being well made. I'll always fell back on them until I couldn't figure them out. 😄

It was then that I relied on what my senses told me and it's served me well all these years and will continue to do so. If I had a sensor built into my shower that'd regulate the water to a perfect temperature setting so I'd never get burned, I'd still stick my hand out into it to make sure, no matter what the manual states.

All the best,
Nonoise
@nonoise 

LOL...I just get tired of the double-blind fans yelling from the left field bleachers.
@ghasley 

Me too.
Being out in those left field bleachers allows one the luxury of arm chair refereeing. If they sat up close and paid attention, they'd witness, first hand, what's going on. 

All the best,
Nonoise
tobor007
Correct! If you blind test and fail to hear the difference in a between a $15 cable and a $300 cable you must throw the evidence out. What will be attacked next? Perhaps walnut speaker wire elevators? Special on eBay now. 8 elevators for

>>>Do I detect a faint underlying sarcasm? 😬
It is interesting how many responses (many) come from a question about cable performance. I have had 45 years of cable experience.  During that period of time I have learned a significant amount about cable brand performance.
The obvious key is to match Cable performance With price/return.
all that said, here is a simple answer:  The pricing of Audioquest cables is well matched with their market level performance.  You cannot go wrong at any price point when purchasing an Audioquest product.  Unfortunately, this line of cables has been bashed in terms of their price/performance balance...This is far from accurate. The key is to match the right Audioquest cable(s) to your system.
I have no association with Audioquest outside of respecting their product line.