What do $2500 speaker cables sound like?

Sooo curious about this.  I now use cables costing about $200 and 20 yrs old.

dont want to throw out brands, but its well known.

what can someone expect?

It strongly depends on your system. Typically cabling is chosen for a level of equipment. For instance I had purchased some Transparent cables ($1,800?) about 25 years ago... they sounded terrible... because they passed through the harsh trebly signal to the very revealing ribbon speakers I owned. I ended up going with Cardas Gold Cross... probably cost $2K. Warmed the system up. Then I upgraded to much better speakers and electronics... immediately the treble was almost lost... too golden. I pulled out the old Transparent... instantly balance was perfect... clean, natural, perfect balance (like my electronics), silent background.


Since then I upgraded to Transparent Ultra Gen 8 ~ $4,500 (my speakers are ~$32K). I don’t hear the cables.. they get out of the way. That is the way of high end cables... they don’t pick up noice from the environment... they don’t accentuate any frequency... they make for as dead a silent background as your equipment will provide. So, high end cables from highly reputable companies like Audio Quest, WireWorld, and of course Transparent. They are wonderful if you have wonderful equipment. If your equipment isn’t so wonderful then some of the many highly rated intermediate cables can be synergistic with your system by emphasizing something that is underperforming in your electronics or de-emphasizing something. I spent years matching very good quality cables and interconnects to the benefit of my system overall. My system is of caliber now I just go up the Transparent hierarchy to match the value of my equipment, simple, easy and each level simply sounds better. Most of my components are around $20K and interconnects ~$2,800.
I have the MIT EVO One bi-wire speaker cables in two of my systems and they are beyond what one could imagine. Image solidity down into the bass and limitless highs. A real soundstage with not only left and right imaging but back to front and height as well. Of course, one does not purchase cables in this price range to put in an average system which goes to say that one has put some real thought into component/system matching and has spent considerable time on the room and acoustics of said room. The payoff is tremendous and well worth it and yes some will scoff at MIT but Bruce has never pulled any punches and is only using his knowledge in the service of music.
From Noel Lee promoting Monster Cable back in the late Seventies to today's Cult of Wire Believers ... with zero hard engineering evidence to back up a company's claims that their product is somehow "better" than the competition!
The only difference between a $200 speaker cable and a $2500 speaker cable is the number of zeroes in the price!
I’ve attended numerous audio expos, worked with my dealers, and demoed a variety of their cables in my home, And to me, there is no doubt of improvements through careful selection of cables that involved moving up to an expensive cables loom in MY system (emphasis added)

I stepped up to the “expensive price strata” cables too BUT ….AND ITS A BIG “BUT” …. Getting that system synergy is not about $$$$. As pointed out by @ghdprentice, big bucks alone is no assurance to audio nirvana.

Your Takeaways IMO:

(1) Capacitance, inductance, materials, connectors, screening, and shielding impact all cables including $$$$ cables, so there really are valid reasons for cables to have different sonic signatures.

(2) As previously mentioned by @nmmusicman, many less revealing systems simply lack the resolution capabilities and will not highlight the differences.

(3) Some people are born with better ears than others, so decide using your own.

Some validly point out the difference that “better” ($$$$) cables made to their systems. The audio forum fans are split in the cable wars about cable upgrades as a last link to audio performance upgrades.

A common voice is “Nah, it didn’t happen …you just wanted to hear an improvement and so you think it did…”

Just like how some want to hear a change, others already have their minds made up that cables make no difference. A key question is whether those people have arrived at that conclusion after thorough and careful audition bespoke comparisons. Expectation bias works both ways.

(4) The overwhelming intuitive advice is to try and demo the cables before buying. So if you experience the positive difference then go for it - Upgrading got me the added dynamics, ethereal airiness, elimination of sibilants / edge, added bass slam, presence and tonal character that was all a quality step-up for the better.

But If you try then and cannot hear that step-up, ….OR ….if you simply don’t feel that added drain on your wallet is worth it to you, then just don’t go there…full stop.

We are generally spared disagreement comparing a $10,000 amp to a $250 amp. But in that same extreme $$$$ comparison with audio cables, we predictably get contrasting opinions including hyperbole in heated argument BOTH WAYS when comparing a $10,000 SILTECH, CARDAS, MIT, TRANSPARENT, or NORDOST models to some 14-gauge generic cable. CANUCKAUDIOMART now warns that waging cable war forum posts will be culled and repeat occurrences will get you suspended.

It's pretty simple. Some people like to talk about how there is NO difference in cables and then there are those know there is. I been building cables for heavy equipment and powerplants, drilling equipment you name it I built it for over 50 years.

I learned a few tricks that would never be seen in stereo use.

BUT this is the stereo world, not NASA. There is ZERO in the stereo world that get to the level of tech in the track roller system on the crawler that drags orbital project to burn sites at the Cape.. People act like this is HIGH TECH... It's high dollar, NOT HIGH tech!!!

Again ZERO that makes the world go around.. JUST FUN...

The quality and TYPE of cabling along with quality control when assembling makes all the difference in the world.

The stereo hype is just that hype. It's on both sides of the isle. 

Are there 2.5k cables? Are there 20k cables, 20K amps? 40K amps
10K DACs?

Not for me. They only cost that much if someone pays for it, NOT UNTIL.

Do I think it's ok? Oh heck yea.. I've seen some true ART when some folks build a Turntable, certain Point to Point valve amps. There are some true pieces of stereo art.. Cables, gear racks,

Speaker projects. I've been on a few 20K cabinet jobs, netted 100k planar speaker systems.. Labor, exotic material and machinery are expensive.

@jumia - you asked...
what can someone expect?
The very best cables (i.e. IC, Speaker and power) will provide
  • very fast dynamics (or SLAM, PRAT)
  • improved clarity and details
  • deeper and more textured bass
  • huge image with improved artist separation and focus (more air)
  • The "overall image" will exceed the dimensions of your listening space
  • Improved venue acoustics give the illusion of height and scale
  • a more realistic presentation overall
  • The speakers will "disappear" and transport you into the venue
  • Live recordings will sound just like a live performance

All cables in your system (i.e. IC;s and power cables) must also be of a similar quality otherwise you will not achieve the maximum benefit.

Components play a role also, but many of todays components offer exceptional performance - it’s the cables holding them back.

Regards - Steve

Save yourself one half of the $2500 price point and audition Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cables. 30 day return privilege.
Read all the reviews on the Silversmith Website (and on this forum).
You won't be sorry!!!
Auditorium 23’s $1500/pr, well someday...for now my audioquest type 4 will do....
Post removed 
Life is way too short. If you aren’t taking food out of someone’s mouth to enjoy your hobby,have at it!  If some folks decide on others behalf how they should, or shouldn’t spend someone else’s money, step back and think about that for a minute....   If I read correctly,the OP was asking what could be expected in $2500 speaker cables.  Not ,please be my financial advisor.  Besides,last I checked,my wife’s name is on our checking account,not anyone on these forums. 

How do expensive cables sound compared to cheap ones?
I own 2 pairs of speakers.  With one pair, my Blue Jeans 10 gauge sounds absolutely fine.  With the other pair, they sound horrible compared to my Purist cables. The Purist cables sound great on both speakers, but if I only owned the one pair of speakers, I would have completely different opinions on the price/performance issue. 
Op, Do you really want to know?  A $2,500 dollar cable will sound like a $25 cable, or a $100 cable, or a $99 cable, or a $20,000 cable or a $49 cable, or a $199 cable if you let your ears decide. If you let your eyes decide I expect a much more linear as opposed to random relationship.

Look at the system pages of most of the people advocating cables. What percentage of them have really well implemented acoustics? Aren't these people the self claimed cream of the audiophile crop?

Everything variable that matters in a cable for how we are using it can be implemented and controlled inexpensively. 

Do you have a limited even if extensive budget? This is not where you are going to make a difference.
Your best bet is finding loaner cables or purchasing with a no hassle return policy.

Otherwise it's a yes,no and maybe Merry go round.
I have 3 speaker cables.

1) Benchmark cables with SpeakON connector ($150)
2) Audience Conductor SE (I think $1K)
3) Audience FrontRow with SpeakON connectors (around $3.5K)

The first 2 are very good for the price and when I use them I do not feel like I am missing out.

However, when I put in the FrontRow in the floor standing system I heard more detail and more clarity. Improvement on an already good sound.

Now the place where I really notice the greatness of the FrontRow wire is when I put them with my Benchmark AHB2 amps to drive my RAAL SR1a headphones. With the other cables I noticed a bit of hardness and had some fatigue via the headphones. With the FrontRow the hardness went away as did the fatigue. So I have crazy expensive speaker cable for my headphones. With my floor standers it was not needed as much as with the headphones.

I cannot think of anything as more revealing than the RAAL SR1a so it makes sense that the FrontRow made a difference.
"...What do $2500 speaker cables sound like?..."

Cables are qualified by their sound qualities not their price. If you think $2500 is a lot of money for a cable you probably aren't going to buy it, so it's a moot point anyway. 
Will sound FAR better in your system as your brain won't let you are a complete fool.
Not a joke .
Don’t ask me. I don’t give sheet.

Maybe they sound like the perp lives in a McMansion. And you don’t.

I just put $66 worth of DYI 14 ga. AG coat CU in my office system. It's as good as it's gonna get.

7,140 posts
05-18-2021 5:19pm
Will sound FAR better in your system as your brain won't let you are a complete fool.
Not a joke .

Perhaps this has already been stated, but it will be only as good as the weakest link.
Quality cables will only help your system sound as good as it is capable of.

akg_ca and williewonka said it best.Also the most expensive cabling absolutely is not the best match for every system. The signal from the amp to the speakers never arrives unscathed.Finding one that does the least harm and allows the components to perform as designed takes trial and error.
"...Whatever happened to tone controls? That solves any problem you have..."

I haven't owned any equipment with tone controls since about 1972. Never needed to use tone controls but it doesn't mean I can't put the final tune on my system(s) by selecting the correct cable. 
You mentioned that your cables get out of the way. In my opinion, boutique cables do not get out of the way of the music. Quite the opposite actually. They're doing something to give the listener the illusion of more this or that or less this or that.
The wire inside your amplifier and inside your speakers is NOT your boutique speaker cable. Remember that.

Just my opinion.
The whole notion of cables "getting out of the way"...or, having neutral or "no sound signature of their own" is ridiculous.

I’ve never heard my system without speaker cables or interconnects. Have you?

P.S. obviously there are wireless speakers...but this is about cable.
"...The wire inside your amplifier and inside your speakers is NOT your boutique speaker cable. Remember that..."

Sorry, you are wrong. Electronic equipment manufacturers and loudspeaker manufactures often promote the use of "boutique" cabling in their products. 
@russ69  Inside amplifiers and speakers, is there $5,000 Kimber?  $10,000 Purist? $20,000 Nordost? Is there big, huge, anaconda thickness cabling woven in specific geometries with specific shielding and silver plated copper wrapped in Teflon etc, etc, etc?

When you add those cables between an amplifier and a speaker you are also adding a certain signature of sound. Those cables are not getting out of the way of the music. More specifically, they are not getting out of the way of your amplifier or speakers as if they weren't there.
It depends on many factors including the source and amplification quality going through the speaker cables and the speakers themselves.

I noticed a significant change using Kimber Kables over Blue Jean Cables with my current system and prior to the testing and audition of different cables I was happy with the sound.

So I'd suggest to you its about the 'system' versus just the cables.
Let me throw one more cable in Clarity Cable Organic SC's.  I have both the CCO's SC and jumpers.  I have loved the sound since they arrived.  I've had ample opportunity to try other great speller cables for s few weeks each in my system and room--Cerious Matrix, Silversmith Fidelium, Audioquest $4500 SC--can't remember the model, sorry.  All were great cables, BUT...I like the live quality of the CCO cable along with this--every other cable inserted sounds thin in comparison.  Not that the CCO's are thick or heavy sounding.  They just sound more like real instruments with body and texture than other cables I've heard.  I have a pair of VMPS RM40 BCSE speakers and a pair of SP Technology Revelation Mk V's.  Both are extremely transparent and dynamic, with excellent bass.  I also had the TRL DUDE as a preamp and with the upgrades done there, is a total buttkicker.  Amps are the Nuforce Ref 9 V3 SE mono amps w' TDSS level 3 upgrades.  I do not have Clarity Cables anywhere else in the system.  Do use the Schroeder method with all ICs though.  Teo GC II's and JW Reference ICs used.  I guess I'm breaking the rules in cooking my own combo up--I'll live with it.



"...@russ69  Inside amplifiers and speakers, is there $5,000 Kimber?  ..."

As I said before many manufacturers have or offer Kimber or Cardas cable in their products. Is it 5000 dollar Kimber? I don't think so but it is "boutique" cabling. 
$2500.00 cables emit no sound by themselves :). But when connecting high quality amplification to good speakers, the sound should be more transparent, in some cases dramatically so. You should be able to pick up little details in the music that were muddy or not even detectable with the old cables.

There is a great debate over cables. I do not need to be a "believer" in cables because upgrading cables has produced objective proof for me.
Maybe i just use telephone wires.

soooo many brands. Cant be with all of them, my cable love is limited.
2500 dollar cables are a revelation in the right system but on most systems you will not hear much of a difference but when you have good enough equipment and speakers the difference can be quite amazing and stays that way.
" The only difference between a $200 speaker cable and a $2500 speaker cable is the number of zeroes in the price! "
  Well there is another difference. The number of suckers goes down as the price tag goes up. You can still find labels on some high dollar wires as the proud owner wants to make sure you know they are better than your zip cord. You see you are to stupid to grok the wonderfullness of the audio voodoo in front of you so the subtle $$$ reminders of your ignorance must be displayed. Golden ear syndrome.

  I am in the zip cord camp and clearly unenlightened.
  Really enjoying the sarcastic topics here lately and hope they go on.

Rather than rely on the informed and hugely helpful opinions of geniuses like JasonBourne, spend $125 (5% of $2500) with The Cable Co. and rent some cables made by the likes of Audioquest, Cardas, or Analysis Plus and the like.  Let your ears tell you what they sound like....in your room with your gear (results do tend to be system dependent).  Even a good list of characteristics like WillieWonka put together is no substitute for your own experience.  
"...I am in the zip cord camp and clearly unenlightened..."

I can forgive the unwashed but try not to express your unenlightenment because it reeks of a person without the experience to comment on this topic. No offense, in the early years I was in that camp but now I am an experienced cable user and have formed more enlightened opinions, to use your words.  
Why hasn’t somebody made a grid that shows how  s stereo system I is affected by their speaker cable? If you buy a system and it’s too bright and you want to warm it up what brand do you buy? Or do you just look at the cable that looks like the packaging is nice and warm and then take that one home and hook it up and hope that it warms up your system? Is that how it’s done? I’m trying to figure out the logic. Isit like gambling you go into A dealers place and you ask the dealer what does this cord act like? Is it like when you buy weed can you smoke a little bit of it before you take it home to make sure that it’s good weed? Seriously somebody please express the logic to me of how this works. I don’t know because I have Macintosh equipment and it has tone controls
In double blind testing, it’s amazing to watch all of these supposed differences vanish 
Just thinking aloud here but if spending more on cables is sufficient to make a buyer believe their system sounds better,  then the secret of improving our systems is revealed. Wish it were that simple. 

More seriously, invest in some samples from the Cable Co as Ghosthouse says above, and have at it.  Nothing like comparing different cables in your own rig and room to learn how much impact cabling might have for your ears. You'll save money in the long run and give yourself an education.  If so inclined, try some A/B testing with friends too, but don't confuse that with relaxed listening, unless of course your idea of relaxed listening is cable testing. To each their own. 

Malman, it’s not surprising that you are in the zip cord camp, IF your system is setup for listening as it is pictured in your system profile!

This post interests me. I’m kind of middle of the road on the subject, yet I get super tempted to spend more. I have Analysis Plus something or other loudspeaker cables. I cannot even recall the model. Price was likely <$300. I’ve also run and made Canare and Mogami cables. They made me pretty happy too. So curious to what I may be missing. No question, though, and outlay for me of $500 to $1500 makes me cringe. I can afford that but it feels like buying an actual component. ’

I suppose pro cable folks would say, You got it! Treat cables like a component. And that creates my dilemma: Even though I can appreciate that a cable can sound better as you spend more.... If I treat them like a component will I be swapping cables for a few years ’til I figure that out too? I’ve spent a ton of energy and time finding component symmetry, and it took numerous purchases, education, buying/selling, FUN, and at times meaningful frustration. This part of my audiophile journey feels a little out there for me to spend thousands on cables trying to figure out a match.  I cannot be alone!
One more thing--the romantic thinker side of me is impulsively pushing my decision maker to buy some Fidelium cables.   If I got out of this for $1400, AND the upgrade felt like a component upgrade, I would be happy as a clam spending that. 

Looks like I need to try these!