First "Audiophile" interconnects taught to me by Stan Warren (the S of PS Audio in the early 80's) at their facility. Three gauges of magnet wire(motor or coil winding wire) in something like 2/2/3 strands, wish I could remember exactly, braided and silver soldered into the cheapest Radio Shack RCA connectors, the ones with little metal wings and no outside insulation. Cost back then, about $1 for 3 ft pair.
We listened to his set on their shop system and compared to the best other cables they had on hand, they were better:) Also go to listen to the original cigar box preamp as well:)
Later 90's I learned about using Star Quad raw cable and decent but low cost RCA connectors to make dang fine cables for around $10 a pair or less. I have used it for balanced cables as well.
I have no plans to spend more on cables, have plenty of raw cable to make all I will ever need.