What don't you like about the system/cables that gives you the desire to upgrade? Those MIT cables were around 400-500 for the interconnects. Those are fairly expensive already by my standards.
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Try the Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval. They perform way above their price point(IOW: they really get out of the way of the music and all it's nuances): (http://www.analysis-plus.com/prod_spkrcable.html) If you can find a used pair, they should be within your price range. If you can stretch a bit; they're worth it: (http://www.thecableco.com/Product/Big-Silver-Oval)
Westcoman, I think you will notice much more of an improvement by upgrading your speakers than the cables to them unless they are in a very small room. I like the Staffs but spending $1000 on cables to a $1500 pair of speakers seems extreme. I like Acoustic Zen speaker cables, They can often be found used or new discounted.
A perennial recommendation on another website is the Clear Day line of pure silver speaker cables at very attractive prices. I bought their "Double Shotgun" variety and have been extremely pleased. Dealing with Paul Laudati of Clear Day is a joy and the long moneyback period makes it an easy choice, at least to try. Mine replaced Morrow Audio SP-3sp;eaker cables and I liked them a lot (though not as much as the Clear Days), replacing them only because I needed longer ones.
I have to agree with Mcgal, spending up to a thousand dollars on speakers that are in the price category of the Totems is not money well allocated. In my experience, there are fewer significant differences among well designed speaker cables than about any other item in your audio chain. I'd save my money and buy better speakers, your amplification is of fine quality and the speaker upgrade will potentially reward you much more than new speaker cables. I'd also take all advice about speaker cables with large grains of salt, what works for another system may be irrelevant in your system. One of the cables being touted by another member in this thread was so breathtakingly mediocre in a previous system I owned I would have gotten as good a value throwing money down a hole. Luckily, they were easily resold. If you do end up buying cables, buy a well known and respected cable that you can try for yourself and resell for little if any loss if it doesn't work out.
I disagree with some of the above. No reason not to give the Totems the best cable they can sound right with. That does not have anything to do with the price though. Just what mates succesfully. How about "The Cable Company"? You can audition cables and apply the charges to your final purchase. Good way to get the best value for your money. If I was buying sight unseen (sound unheard?)I would go straight to Grover Hufman's website for his handmade cables.
FWIW FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
I've had both the ARROs and FORESTs in a prior system.
I swapped in and out many different speaker cables and I settled on three listed below (in descending order of preference)
(1) TOTEMs own "SINEW" cables + ATLAS ASCENT 3.0 cables bi-amped:
The SINEW are silver plated copper. Most if not all of the TOTEMs are internally wired these.( = synergy!) I had them to the tweeters with heavier gauge ATLAS ASCENT 3.0 to the woofers .
(2) TOTEMs own SINEW bi-wired
(3) CHORD Oddyssey bi-wired or bi-amped.
The SINEW and CHORD are very similar in both construction and in performance with silver plated copper cable.
I found the TOTEMs to be "picky" in favour of silver plated copper speaker cables and also to the ICs. I ran them with matched ATLAS NAVIGATOR all_cu ICs.
Thanks for the suggestions. I really appreciate what everyone had to say. I finally contacted the Cable Company and spoke to Ethan. He will send me some cables to try out from their lending library. I agree with the assessment that it's not necessary to go overboard on price. Ethan suggested some mid-price cables from Kimber, Purist Audio, and WireWorld for starters. I will also check out the speaker cables that Totem sells exclusively for their speaker line. Again, appreciate the recommendations.
I have all Kimber Kable in my system. Depending on length and termination, you can stay well within your budget. I use 12vs cables personally. You can call and talk to Nate Mansfield at Kimber. He will take the time to learn about your system, your goals, and give you recommendations based on that. Very nice people and highly recommended.
Kimber is a brand I sold a lot in the past. But to be honnest Audioquest is a lot better these days. I compared them a few times. The stage is wider and deeper, there is more decay. Individual focus of instruments and voices is sharper. And also in the low freq the timing is better and there is more drive and different layers. I hope Kimber will soon come with new and better cabels.
Take a look at DNM/Reson cables ( you will have to google it up, it is not in AG industry directory) Also, Audio Art SC5E. The lower level SC-5 are budge, but good; the SC5E are more expensive but they are a major upgrade/
Bo1972, which Audioquest speaker cable is the best in your opinion, or the best value???
I've had the Heimdall (love the interconnect, hate the speaker cable), Cardas Neutral Reference, Straight Wire Virtuoso, and Audience AU24.
The AU24 is the cable I prefer most. I've used it with several amps (Pass, Cary, Pathos)
It delivers the weight and warmth of Cardas with the neutrality of the Straight Wire, with the sound stage and clarity of the Nordost.
Once you put it in, I think you'll forget about speaker cable for a while...
I owned the Nordost Valhalla loudspeakercable for 12 years of time. And I sold Nordost for over 9 years ot time. In the past I sold a lot Valhalla and also Valhalla powercords. Nordost was and is still what i call; incomplete. Because it does not have all the different parts you need for all cables togheter. In the past Nordost loudspeakercable with Kimber interconnects was more complete and better liked by all my clients. I often talked about the limitations of Nordost with the people of Nordost. Recently I heard the Valhalla 2 cables. They still have the same limitations togheter. My recent Audioquest Redwood was superior in all different parts compared to my old Valhalla.
Getting the best sound is creating all the different parts which arer needed for the absolute sound. It is that easy and clear!
There are many great cables available out there. With your budget I hope you consider WireWorld. In the past I have used cables from Analysis Plus, Cardas, and MIT (good cables all). I recently put a full set of WireWorld cables in my system and have been very pleased. More than pleased actually, I don't give cables a second thought anymore.
The WireWorld are dynamic, smooth, neutral and very quiet. With you budget I would consider going with an interconnect and speaker cable from the same manufacture. The WireWorld Equinox IC and SC might be very good in your system. Good luck and let us know what you end up going with.