Spkr, interconects, or power cable upgrade first?

Hello all,

Originally posted this in amps form mistakingly, apologies if you have read this already.
I am just looking for some advice on upgrading my 2 ch setup.

My system so far consist of Quad 22L2 speakers, YBA Design YA201 Integrated Amplifier, and a Musiland md10 USB DAC with HTPC for source. RCA's are cheap Radio shack gold plated set. My speaker wire is also a less expensive monster cable 12 ga running bi-wired. I am also running stock power cables to AMP and DAC.

So whats first to upgrade here? I'm in collage so on a budget so looking for best sound for buck.

I would upgrade the ICs first and PCs second
Agree^^^ Search for best budget cables. There are endless threads on this topic.
Power cables will make the most difference. I would then replace the speaker cables with solid core cables - I'm not a fan of multi-stranded wires.

Replace your power cables first, you may not need to replace anything else.
Seems like mixed opinions so far. I can only cite my experience which was: replaced speaker cables first, then interconnects and finally power cables. I too was using Monster cables for speakers. They'd developed quite a bit of oxidation over many years. Went with JPS Labs for all cables (speakers and inteconnects). Some purchased used. Built a DIY power cord for my CD player (go on-line to Parts Express for instructions). Bought a MyAudioCable (MAC) powercord for my integrated amp. Along the pricing continuum for this stuff all the above are definitely to the lower cost end but good value options - at least in my opinion. For me changing out the speaker cables made the biggest improvement.
As I agree with Ghosthouse that upgrading speaker cables first is the way to go, you have an even three-way split so far. And like Metrella I also prefer solid core speaker cables; they are the only type of cables that I hear a distinct improvement with.
Concerning PCs, they are last on my list. All of my equipment is plugged in via upgraded PCs from various makers and if they make a difference it is subtle (please don't take my Audiophile club membership card away).
power cords first..
I ditto powercords, they make the biggest difference, if they are quality powercords!!
I suspect IMHO that folks that say powercords don't make a difference or at best a subtle difference, are not using the best powercords they can get for the money.
I say this because I was the same way until I heard what powercords like shunyata, fusion, purist etc.. can do.
It is also important to note where you put the powercord first. Again, IMHO you get best bang for your buck, if you start with the preamp then CD player and finally amp.

Power cords, very surprising change in any system!

:) listening,


I know PCs are important (and recommend VenHaus DIY) but how good can cheap Radio Shack ICs be?

I wonder if some of you guys have considered this...
If you are looking for very good inexpensive interconnects, Paul Speltz anti-cables is the way to go (not anything from Radio Shack)
Anti-cables easily have bested cables costing 25x their cost($100 for 1 meter pr.rca's)
Power cords first, but if you do decide to change interconnects & speaker cables. I also second Paul Speltz anti ic's preferably terminated with Eichmann bullet plugs. His anti cables are also hard to beat price & performance wise if you're on a budget.
Would highly recommend Audio Art Cable PCs - IMO you will hear a difference at a moderate price
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Power cords first, i/c's second, s/c's third, IMHO.

Not arguing with those advocating addressing power cords first. I do suspect benefits of the change will depend on which (PC, IC, SP) is the "weakest link" in the chain...that is, which is doing the most to limit or degrade signal generation or transfer. In my case, I doubt I'd have heard an improvement had I changed power cords prior to addressing speaker cables given their oxidized state. Maybe the generic answer is to change out that piece first that is furthest away from "state of the art" - or maybe make that furthest away from "best of the art" available with a specific budget.
if you can borrow a set or sets of cables, that is ic, spkr and pc, listen to the differences between each one and decide for yourself.

my own experiences point to equal weight on all cables.
therefore, i don't think it matters in which direction to go at first.
There is always noise riding on the AC power. Removing it is a 1st step to enable better analyzing other possible upgrades. A used MIT Shotgun AC1 proved economical & effective in my system. Experienced pros know the hierarchy of improvement starts at the source-power.Good luck.
Thanks for all the advice.. You guys are great!! I really love this site and have enjoyed reading and learning from others advice and experiences.

Decided to go with some PBJ interconnects found at good price, next looking at some power options. I know when I have the system cranked at -8 or so and it starts dimming the lights in the room. So trying to solve this and maybe improve sound? Some sort of AC conditioner or something would prob be best before the actual cable? Also thinking of running ext. cord for the lamps and everything else except audio equipment on that breaker.

Hi Clint,

IMHO, the first thing you should do is have an electrician install a 20A dedicated line for your audio system. This should come before all three cable options. Second, buy a good receptacle for the electrician to install, like a Powerport. This should cost about $150 depending on where you live, including the receptacle.

After that you can worry about power conditioners and cables. No sense putting the cart before the horse. Power cords won't fix your issues with lighting, you need to isolate the circuit. Just my $0.02.

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