Not always. Usually it's just a dealer trying to keep you from buying something he doesn't carry. It's always quickest and easiest to get you in, get you out, and on to the next customer...if you just buy whatever they say, and keep it all in the same series, in the same brand. Salesmen are always pushy (and sometimes subtle about it), and when you're dealer isn't trying to get you to buy something, that's when he's being honest........I would say, if you are staying in the same brand, it wouldn't hurt to get interconnects in the next level or two up from the speaker cable. The reason: the interconnect is upstream, and a better speaker cable can't correct what a lesser interconnect has done, but a lesser speaker cable will do very little harm to much of the refinement that the better interconnect affords the signal, which is then amplified by the power amplifier, before it gets to the "lesser quality" speaker cable. THIS IS PART AND PARCEL OF WHAT THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO HIGHEND AUDIO SAYS...although I think he recommends always staying in the same brand, since he thinks both ic and speaker cable will have been designed from the start to synergize well with each other. I DISAGREE, because I've heard some of the best NOT synergize, but instead exaggerate the relative weaknesses of each. Even the great Harley cannot convince me that I don't hear, what I DO hear. TRUST YOUR OWN OBSERVATIONS...hardly anybody really does, but I do, and I won't apologize for it. good luck...
On the technical aspect of things,speaker cables and IC's should be the same material[conductor,insulation] for optimun performance and coherence.Since cables have better chance of matching these factor from a same manufactors than a different cable company.For entry hi-quality playback music or HT i think it'OK doesn't hurt using cables from the same company.However,for top flight system i'd try to reserve the integrity of the original signal as far down the system chain as much as i possibel can.
I see absolutely NO reason that all cables have to be from the same manufacturer. Firstly, your components are surely not from the same manufacturer, right? (unless you have an all Naim system or something, in which case I would say stick with all Naim wire too...). Anyway, consider the different "jobs" of the different cables. At the least, you will have CD->Pre, Pre->Pwr, Pwr->Spkrs. A particilar brand's interconnect may work best with your CD to solid state Pre, but the same brand's cable may not be the best match from the solid state pre to a tube power amp for example. Then, what if your tube power amp is running high efficiency speakers, or instead electrostatics? There is no way a manufacturer will ever convince me that THEIR speaker cable will work well for both combinations, just because I happen to like their interconnect for my cd player. I agree with Carl to the extent that when someone tells you to buy all the same cables, it is either an easy way out for the salesperson, or a built-in tactic for the manufacturer. Personally, I have never had the same interconnects and speaker cable, although I have on occaision used the same interconnects from source through to power amp.
Unless you have a strong reason not to, i.e. you really know what you're doing, stay with the same manufacturer. My only qualification to this statement is that it applies to "good" wire manufacturers. As a system gets more complex and moves towards statement status, it is more likely to require some mixing and matching. However, for a large percentage of listeners the mixing and matching of wire, will not yeild better results than going with single brands. Find a good dealer (probably the hardest thing to do in audio) and follow their advice. Yeah, the dealer is trying to sell you something, but in our capitalist world everybody is pushing something, if only an opinion.
Carl's experience, which I think was that Audioquest Diamond did not synergise with Audioquest Dragon, proves there are no "golden rules" in this game. But equally, on two occasions I have experienced systems suddenly coming right, when the final cable was changed to match the existing cables. I suspect some manufacturers deliberately voice their cables to work synergistically - but that equally they could not survive unless their cables could stand alone - since this is how they will be listened to very often. My point is that I reckon it is better to find a brand that has an even-handed presentation (in my case I like the neutrality of Wireworld cables) and try a whole set of them to see if they work with your system. As opposed to putting an interconnect cable in your system that is too [insert anything here you like] and then be forced to limit your choice of speaker cable or even components to items that provide the appropriate form of countervailing distortion. I certainly have found that there is a significant benefit from getting a synergistic relationship between interconnect and speaker cables which, if you do not get it, cannot be overcome by playing elsewhere with your system. I have not found the same to be true of digital cables (ie. no real synergy issues with interconnects, for example), and I have found that power cords need to synergise with the components they feed, rather than with any other cable in the system. Hope this helps.
Yes, Redkiwi. And, how very astute that you remembered which cables I thought did not synergize well. Of course it was in my system context (always must be taken into consideration...most of us know this, of course), and I suspect that in a laid back system with some unusual tonal things going on in the upper bass, perhaps those two would be the ONLY cables that would work. Also, I totally agree about the AC cord being tuned to the corresponding component it powers, moreso than to the cabling in the rest of the system. Very good points.
Definitly not in my opinion. I've never had the same brand until recently and I've been through lots of wire with some satisfying results and not so satisfying as well. I do believe a synergistic match can be made but it takes lots of trial and error and you must trust your own ears - you'll know when it happens I guarantee you. I think Carl makes a good point, interconnects should be a step up from speaker cables unless your budget allows otherwise. That's my current setup; MIT Shotgun IC's and MIT 750+ Series 3. It is the best wire I've had in my system. Good luck.
Well, I think it's a matter of taste and how good your ear is. Mine's pretty shot I guess, so I can't really hear much difference between two GOOD cables. I'm not going to say you should use the freebie interconnect that comes with the closeout CD player you got from Best Buy or a penny-a-foot speaker wire. However, do listen to some different stuff and see if you CAN hear a difference. There's no reason the same manufacturer is all you should listen to or feel locked into buying. I bought two different manufacturer's interconnent just to see if I could see any difference. The system sounds just as good either way. 10% of your budget should be spent on cables. That sounds fair to me. Buy what you think sounds good. You're the one who's going to be listening to it!
I must agree with Audiolover on this one, he makes good points about different loads and tasks each cable faces, I say mix and match, best of class etc. I wonder if all those recommending interconnects and cables from same company have their CDP, DAC,Preamp,AMP from same company using the same logic, if the answer is no aren't you giving up the same "synergies" you feel cables provide? And why have interconnects and speaker cables match but not AC cords, this is a contradiction of previous rationale. You guys just killed the used cable market, as I must now have matched set of interconnects and speaker cables.....regards Sam BTW matched sets are fine, but mixed sets can often sound better for less money.
I understand your points Megasam. The issue of "components from one manufacturer" is interesting. In the case of Naim gear in particular I reckon you are wrong. Naim gear never sounds right to me except when everything is as per the Naim philosophy - but even then I am not a big fan. I have found that pre and power from the same manufacturer is usually beneficial, and while mixing and matching can be fine, that there are often problems. The caveat is that often manufacturers are good at pres and not powers and vice versa. But there is usually a synergy that is recognisable when both are from the same manufacturer. An even more extreme case is transport and DAC combinations where using the same manufacturer is almost always better. The point is surely a simple one - some manufacturers (but not all) will spend some time trying to voice their components together, and since they have more variables at their disposal, are likely to have some measure of success that is hard to replicate by random selection from the used components sites. But with the exception of say Naim gear, there is no "must be from the same manufacturer" about it. Carl, I wonder if you are so keen on the T2s because you are getting some synergy with your MIT interconnects (I'm not trying to wind you up, I am just intrigued by your reports on this cable), have you tried them in combination with other interconnects?
Redkiwi: I am about to try some Synergistic Research interconnects, yes...don't expect much, though. But, I don't see why it should necessarily be presumed that the speaker cables should "only" work with MIT interconnects (your'e thinking that only something very unusual would allow such high performance from such an affordable speaker cable? Guess I can understand that.).............................It's certainly not been the case with the MIT interconnects, which work with every speaker cable I've tried, and help even to point out the imperfections in those speaker cables (that I HAVE noticed with other interconnects a while ago, but it was harder to "see" those imperfections). If that's not "reference quality" (in my system anyway), what is? I'm sure there is some synergy, but these T-2's are making my brother's cheap Sherwood receiver sound very nice and "real" without loosing detail, and this is with NO interconnect (internal FM tuner)...so, unless it unusually also synergizes well with cheap and colored internal circuit board traces (besides "only" with MIT's interconnects), and NOT with interconnects from other manufacturers...then it would seem that these T-2 speaker cables might just be better than everything else I've heard!...........................Redkiwi, I'm more than happy to try your Wireworld Gold Eclipse 3 speaker cable. Just send it to me, I'll pay insurance and shipping both ways. I could send you the T-2's or T-3's to use in the meantime. Let me know...
Hi Carl,P.. mmk, I am considering the Synergistic Research analogue interconnects for CD output and would like to compare them with Harmonic Technology Truthlinks. I have H.Tech. Cables, interconnects and power cords and think it would be interesting to compare, except the Synergistic Research dealer here does not lend out a demo pair. Do you know of anyone who does lend them for auditioning?
I got the Kaleidoscope 2 from the Cable Company, but had to wait a while for them.
Carl, I have been intrigued to hear about the T2 and have been wondering about buying a set. Thanks for the offer, but I doubt you would be interested in the Wireworld cables as they are only about 30 inches long (for my mono blocks). But I need a biwire pair of cables for my other system, say 8 foot and the T2 may be it. I have heard the T2 are on the warm side, and this makes me leap to the conclusion that they will be warm in the way that the Cardas Golden Cross are - which I do not particularly like. I didn't really expect there was any unusual synergy going on, but wondered how a relatively cheap cable managed to perform so well for you. Every rave I have heard about a cheap cable has turned out to be disappointing when I listened to it - great for the money, but not great at all (eg. HT, DH Labs, JPS Superconductor). MIT is not common in NZ and my only taste was a pair of "330 Extended" (or something like that) interconnect, which I don't think you could give away - it was so lacking in coherence.
I might have known you'd only have really short ones. I wish I had monoblocks. I have the 330 Shotgun interconnect, and both RCA and balanced are terrific, and better than everything else under $3100.