I have MAC Palladium interconnects on my SET-horn system. Sold here on the AudiogoN auction site for $159.00 A nice detailed balanced sound. Another good choice would be Grover's cables. He has a good return policy. I think the best approach is to order 2-3 types and do your own evaluation. Return the others.
A lot of their stuff is not cheap, but it is manufacturer direct, that is Ridge Street Audio. http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fb.pl?user=Ridgestreetaudio
I bought one of their interconnects and really like it.
I have also bought from http://www.usedcable.com
and have had good experiences.
Zu cable and Ridge Street Audio are great choices. I really want to add Morrow speaker cables to your list. I bought some sp3 speaker cables and am blown away by the sound ( or lack of it.
47 Labs OTA Stratos. Complete kit to do your entire rig for ~$700 (IC's and speaker wire, not PC). Interesting stuff of the 'less is more' camp. I use it and like it a lot.
Analysis Plus, three (I think) U of Michigan science grads. Check out the website, my Bryston sings with these cables. If you call you might find the president answers the phone, I cannot say enough good things about company or products.
i think you need to do your own research. try as many as you can without thinking that one brand will be better than another. call the designers and ask them what they think their cables are doing, or not doing. if you don't trust them, buy at random, given your budget.
I agree with Mrtennis. I currently run various ICs and PCs including Virtual Dynamics. My speaker cables are by Zu Audio. I've taken the time to audition various new cables and by chance came across Clear Day cables. I currently have the Shotgun (solid silver core) speaker cables in my system and even as a newbie I can clearly hear the difference and I'm very happy with the results. Paul has been great to work with. Not only has he extended the demo session (now running just over three weeks), he has offered to send over his Double Shotgun cables for me to demo. He is either the worse business man or the smartest because he has put ZERO pressure on me to make a purchase.
These may or may not be the cables that I ultimately go with but it's a clear demonstration how some of the "little guys" will bend over backward to accommodate their clients. Companies like Clear Day have earned my respect for their business model and I wish them nothing but success.
Ultimately,,,,you need to spend the time before you spend the $$$.
Good point. Most 'little guys' are cool audio nuts themselves that will let you demo for a period. If I'm buying new, I never buy w/o one.
Consider contacting John P at KoolCables (KCI). Great guy, great products.
DCCA PCs are very good, I like the one I purchased very much.
I use KCI Silkworm IC's and DCCA power cords and speaker cables, I also have Element Signature Speaker cables. All of these might fit your description of "little guys" and I can't recommend all 3 of them highly enough...John at KCI, Don at DCCA, Anthony at Element are all excellent people to deal with and their products are exceptional.
One point the OP made was that he would like everything from the same brand.
Pure Note has been my fav for many years. The design, build quality, and sonics are outstanding among other brands. Pure Note cables compare to the top brands for far less dollars. They have no dealer markup up and you can buy online. Do a search for more opinions. JMO, YMMV.http://www.purenote.com
Watch for a Verastarr Auction. Money well spent.
Ridge Street Audio. I own several sets of Poiema ICs and have no intention of changing them out. I have read that his top PCs and speaker cables are awesome too, but I don't have that kinda cash right now.
Ehaller... I agreee RSA Poiemas, especially the USB and ICs are perfect for particular systems. I have one, and what a joy.
I love Roberts gear ..good guys as well
Ocellia Silver Silver Signature gets my vote...but I do agree with Mr. Tennis on doing your own research
Here is another vote for Ridge Street Audio. I will also add a recommendation for FIM/CRL cabling with the caveat that you can manage to get them wrestled into place. They are very stiff cables but sound excellent.I have tried many cables in my system including Analysis Plus Solo Crystal and Silver Oval, Crystal Clear Master Class, Revelation Audio Lab Prophecy, Gabriel Gold Revelation, Virtual Dynamics Master 'R' series, Signal Cable Silver Resolution, Sonoran Music Note, QED Silver Spiral, and probably more that I am missing.
I have bought many of these cables to compare against the Ridge Street Audio offerings and have always ended up with the RSA's back in my system. My entire system is cabled with either Poiema 3 or Alethias cables. Some of the other cables listed sounded more impressive initially, but to my ears were not as satisfying in the long run musically. The RSA's do everything that one could want from a high end cable without sounding forced or etched. Tight bass, yes; balanced frequency response, yep; inner detail, absolutely; imaging and soundstaging, check; micro and macro dynamics, another yes. The biggest thing that I feel they do correctly is establish the correct relationship between the fundamental and the overtone. None of the other cables I auditioned were able to keep up in this regard. When I was finally able to put my finger on why I liked these cabels so much, and heard perspective properly done, I found I could net settle for cables that could not do it as well. It is like hearing speakers that are phase correct, it is very difficult to go back.
On top of all of this, Robert is a great guy to deal with and he offers a 45 day return policy for his cabling. His products are not inexpensive, but are worth every penny IMO.
Thanks, these are all good examples of smaller companies that do quality work. I guess what I'm looking for is to try cables that are known to exceed their price. I've noticed with a lot of the smaller companies, the cables are not cheap and sometimes more than larger companies although they may compete with the higher cables of the larger companies at a fraction of the cost. Needing 3 sets of XLR's and a set of RCA's I don't want to spend more than $200/pr. I should have stated I'd like to keep the interconnects the same to start and would consider mixing and matching the PC's and speaker cables if it improved the sound.
There are tons upon tons of aftermarket cables out there. My advice? Start by seeking out the companies that give you the most generous money-back guarantees and go from there.