Upgrade Cables or Just Upgrade Equipment & Live in Shame?

I have a perfectly adequate hodgepodge of cables.

Basically a dog from each town.


Kimber 8T speaker cables

Mismatched length Transparent Audio I/Cs. DAC to Integrated

Basic Shunyata Ethernet cable. DAC to Streamer

Cable company Ethernet lines from Router to Streamer-Yes the ones from Comcast, Cox, Infinity etc-Amir says they are lovely BTW.

GR Research Power Cable + Assorted Pangea A9s

Some Chinese Fiber from TV to DAC.

StraightWire Digital- DVD to DAC


The only thing I have two of are the Pangea Power Cables!


Believe it or not I am pretty happy with the sound overall.


I use SolidSteel Tables and Dynaudio Stands + assorted room treatments.


Gear list just so you have a complete picture:

Pass Labs INT25

John "Fritz" Heilor Carerra 7 BE standmount Speakers

REL 5Ti Subwoofer

Innuos Zen Mk 3 Streamer/Burner/Storer

ANK 4.1x DAC

Balanced Power Transformer

Uptone Audio EtherRegen


If I avoid going the "Cable Envy" route I would instead buy 3 more subs

to have an array


What say ye???

Anyone with a system analysis ??






No need to buy more cables! Adding another REL sub is a good idea! I am not convinced that using four sub's is necessary. 

Jasonbourne52 has wise advice.  Sounds like your cables are doing the job.  

you have many good cables...some feel using same brand "full loom" helps sound, some don’t...same with subs, in some rooms and systems one is fine (especially if you have single listening position), in others more is better...you can add one at a time or get a single better one...I don’t like Pangea cords...you gotta try stuff out, you will get every possible opinion here...you might love 4 subs and full loom of good cables, or you may not...your gear is certainly good enough that it might be fun trying it out, buy cables you can return or easily sell...

Here’s my opinion:

You have a really nice system.

The mix and match cables are fine.

Opinions vary about 3 vs. 4 subs, but the best way to determine this is to measure your room with a microphone and then play with placement and adjust room treatments. Good bass traps and mini-DSP on my 3 subs made the difference for me between ok bass and excellent bass.

I would make sure that you’re certain that everything else is not the weak link before spending on cables.


If an either/or proposition, i.e., cables or subs, IMO you will move the ball much further with the subs than with new cables. 

As to the number of subs, do your research.  The manufacturer of my subs believes two is a big improvement over one, and three or four can enhance things further.  IME, going from one to two was a very significant improvement.  I would like to try three.  You could also look up The Swarm Subwoofer System for more perspective.  

The swarm will likely make a much bigger difference than swapping cables.  Do the swarm!  I would, however, rethink the generic Ethernet cable from your router to streamer.  That can’t be good.


I guess the big question is what is it that you think could or want to be improved? Is it bass, soundstage, dynamics? All of these will take you down different roads.

If you are happy with your equipment, then, AC cleaning, power, room treatment and speaker placement will give you more bang for your buck.

I am not a proponent of using all the same brand of cables unless your equipment is made by the same manufacturer and the same vintage. And cabling would be the last thing, but when everything else is good the cables will enhance the system.




After re-reading your post. It seems you are interested in more subs. I have 4 JL-Audio F-113 subs in my room. I chose those so that they could be eq’d to the room. I’m not sure if the Rel has that feature. If not, you may experience more issues trying to have the subs blend with the mains.

I also have the JL CR-1 Electronic crossover to further enhance the transition from the main speakers to the subs.


If you're happy with the sound why change? I use a hodgepodge of cables myself.

+1 on 1 more REL. I have 2 - I believe in stereo pairs -  and they are nicely/easily integrated with the mains, and get some bluejeans ethernet cables cut to specific lengths. 

As others have said avoid spending money needlessly. You say you are happy with the way it sounds. If you think it could be better start with speaker positioning experiments. Each room is different and If you get that right it will save you lots of money.

Coupla points:

Swarm was developed to provide even, not necessarily good, bass.

Cables, along with everything else contribute the system sound. Change is not necessarily always positive. See ieLogical CableSnakeOil for reasons why.


What Soix said regarding the ethernet cables. Take a look at Supra. Available on ebay, seller is Zenda? Reasonable pricing and a nice upgrade.

Contrary to what soix said the cat6 between your router and streamer is fine! No need to change it.

Another vote for room treatments. And as far as subs, your room plays a big part in how many you need. I have one about 6-7 feet behind my listening position. If you stand near it, it’s a bit boomy, but where I sit, it blends right in.

@ieales Wrote:

Swarm was developed to provide even, not necessarily good, bass.

I agree!


Sell everything and start over.  "It is the Path to.  Not the Destination."

Have fun!

A lot of good thoughts to mull over, thanks to you all.

I happen to have a bunch of cables in hand that were sent

by folks who sell them.

From a scientific approach I should use one at time and judge the



Well I did add one at a time and listened for 1/2 hour before I added the

next item.

I now am using New I/Cs, New Speaker cables, New USB cables,

new Ethernet cables, New power cables, new power distributor.

I figured if they all add little to nothing I would send them all back.





Your point is correct. RELs do not offer infinite phase adjustments.

I also received some ridiculously misguided advice from REL CS

when I asked about how to best isolate them. I plan to sell the one I have

and buy a Non-Chinese made set of 4. Unpowered and to employ a second power 



My goal is to achieve more "magic".

I have listened to some other home systems

that I want to emulate as best I can. 

All had multi subs. 

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I'm a big believer in good cables, but getting the bass correct is more important.

Also, if you find listening to cable changes boring you're already in trouble on that front. What kind of cables were they using in the systems you enjoyed?

Of course good cables will change the sound Jeff it’s up to you to experiment on cables. Good cables makes a difference.Some of the posters here are not Cable believer. This hobby will require to do your homework to learn. When you read our post it’s up to you to discern which one is right or wrong.Reading Agon post especially on cables topic it’s like between Good and Evil.


Getting subs dialed into the room is more than just getting the phase right. There are anomalies in every room, and it is nice to be able to tune the subs to your room, i.e., smoothing out peaks and dips. That’s when they will sound the best.

If you read my history on the gon, I am a very big believer in cables and what they can add to the enjoyment of this hobby. But I don’t think you are yet ready for that trip.


What kind of cables were they using in the systems you enjoyed?



Cables interface hardware. Without the same hardware in the same room with the same program, all bets are off.


Jeff before I settle for 3 subs , I read audiokinesis SWARM sub system. It’s very interesting to learn, I did not pursue the swarm because I don’t have room for the extra amp to run the system, plus I don’t want to spend that much.I end up buying the pioneer modified reviewed by Teajay in addition to my Wharfedale sub. It took awhile before I was able to familiarize how they react with each other in my room.Now I can adjust the bass I want from every sub that will work for the music and my room.This hobby is a journey go for it.


My goal is to achieve more "magic".

I have listened to some other home systems

that I want to emulate as best I can.

All had multi subs.

I added subs to fill-in the bottom octave, but for me the magic is found in listening to voice. Subs can be a step backwards and should be added after your system is magical and should have a subtle effect when added to floor standing speakers. Your speakers are 3dB down at 35Hz, so close to my small floor standing speakers (31Hz).  Room acoustics and power would be more a focus for me. When I say power, I mean clean power where large amounts of current can be supplied when needed and all components are isolated from each other. Many people dabble and put together their plug to component power supply in a piece meal manner. The most transformational change in my system was adding the Shunyata Everest and NR power cables. I had to work hard at taming my subs, which included a heavy/massive equipment stand and bass traps. Choice of streamer/digital cables were critical with streaming and upgrading my DAC greatly helped. My cartridge choice and phono preamp were critical for vinyl play, but all of it depended upon clean power and room acoustics..not the subwoofers.

Post removed 

OZZY- yes you are right about me and cables. I am liking the sound I am hearing today. Will have to swap back to my dogs and see if I think it is as good.

I was hoping to find someone in the Poulsbo, WA area to Jon in the fun.

Spoke to Swarmers in 2019 when the now $4k kit was $1,800.

Too big for my needs. 4 smaller 8" subs will be better for my needs. 


I have my room treatment needs met, thanks.


I think I have had the right advice here from a couple of you about

doing the Bass 1st. I never believed that cable choices should be about

fixing tone issues. I want more realism if I upgrade them. Or why bother?


I believe that or friend Wendell at Magnepan may be working on a Swarm style

sub package offering. Or maybe I just wish he would. 


More experimenting tomorrow!!




The SVS SB-2000 is offered often at $499 del'd and I've no doubt that four of those 12" driver individually powered subs would do well as a distributed bass array with independent volume control, variable phase, and low pass filter.

I think you'll hear and enjoy a great DBA a lot more than fiddling with cables. Good luck; your system is very nice already.

I've owned $150 power cords and $3,500 power cords. I've owned $400 interconnects and $4,500 interconnects. Two things emerged from this experimentation and experience: 

a) if you can afford it, and you hear a difference, then enjoy it

b) it might be a bit silly to spend as much on the cable as on the component

People spend 50% to 100% of a component's cost on tubes. The rationale is that the tube is what produces the sound. Fair enough, but I still don't go there with my tube equipment. 


That logic is unassailable.

Spent all day today A/B/C'ing the three I/Cs I have borrowed.

Leaning toward keeping what I have!! 

Shopping DBAs now. Looking for smaller, non powered, non ported. Downfiring would be ideal.

Any suggestions?




jasonbourne52 is on point.  Don't go drastic & do a swarm.  Try adding just 1 more REL 5Ti Subwoofer and evaluate.


Best of Luck

Try adding just 1 more REL 5Ti Subwoofer and evaluate.


OR try subwoofers with a full set of controls and rolling the lows out of the mains to allow proper integration.


Decent cables for sure are needed, but a lot of what we experience when changing cables are the TCE(Tone Control Effect).  If chasing your tail sounds fun and burning cash is a must do then continue pondering 🤔. Get a great EQ and you will be extremely happy with all of your music for a very long time.

Thank you all for offering overall very good advice.

I am still listening to cables but have pretty well decided

I want a boat more than some cables so thanks!