what is the better cable?

Anti Cables,Morrow,Signal Cable,Mapleshade the list goes on and on!Using a mid to budget 2 channel system which budget cables would you use?Sure that I have but mention others if I left any out.Thank you.
There is no "better" budget cable in absolute terms.
The cable that works best in YOUR own system can only be determined by an actual audition test drive.

Otherwise ,

(A) it is merely a "pick 'em" choice , and
(B) without the hands- on experience, I would put nil to minimal reliance on any of these and all the other crowded arena choices, that are just heavily biased personal value judgements pushing their own faves that have a matched nil to minimal assurance that they will actually work in your system.

This is precisely where having a relationship with a quality bricks and mortar dealer works:
- The alternative choices are whittled down to a manageable number, and
- suggestions for a preferred ranking for a likely system synergy is offered up.
So no cable is adaptable to any given system?In other words your saying no cable works well in any system?
Crap-shoot. In the ear of the beholder. Try a bunch and decide for yourself.
Audition some, from the Cable Company: (http://www.thecableco.com/Catalog/Interconnects)
Thought maybe some would come to mind from your past experience.From reading these forums many of you have had many different setups.Wondered if any certain cables stood out from a budget standpoint?
John, check out Silnote Cables - there are ads here on Agon and while not budget cables if they are any within your price range I'd highly recommend - have a range of them in 3 systems I have - I am not affiliated other than as a very satisfied customer
Yes I've heard of them.I'm in Virginia as well so that is one good option, thanks.Home Grown Audio is in Roanoke right up the road from Boones Mill but there cables are a tad pricey.
Hey John, what would YOU consider mid-fi to budget system? I've had several Morrow ICs MA-3, MA-4 and they are very nice to listen to in most any system. They are not the last word in awesome, however. The Darwin Silver ICs were a quantum leap in detailed, dynamic yet beautiful sound when I bought them. I also have the newer, more expensive Darwin Ascension and Ascension Plus ICs. Each is better sounding than the Silver, but not near the jump in performance as going from the Morrow to the Darwin. I got my first pair from the demo section for $150. The Silver ICs are a best buy IMO. The speaker cable is MUCH more expensive. Another lesser known company is Amadi and their Phil Reference or even better Maddie Signature ICs are also fantastic sounding. I will be doing a test of them vs. the Darwins in the next few weeks. They are silver cables also and are not bright, just lucid, dynamic and maybe even go deeper in the bass. I just got my dream pair of speakers back after 8 months of missing them so I will be able to tell much better soon. The Maddie ICs can be had for about $220. They are VERY close to the Darwin's more expensive ICs and may be even better in some areas. The Amadi Maddie Signature SCs are silver also and are WAY beyond the sound of Morrow, Crimson, Harmonic Technology Pro 9+, DNM, Audioquest under $500 cables (don't know about their more expensive SCs), Speltz (my prior favorite and very inexpensive--under $100 for 8' pair). I guess that's why I asked what your idea of budget to mid-fi was in monetary terms. How this helps some. My system is very much not mid-fi, more hi-end except for the buying used cost saved me a boat load--about 65% overall. I have a custom turntable, cd player modded, amp modded , tube preamp, great racks, and all the cables including aftermarket power cords. I do have about $15,000 of my money in the system and for some that is way over the top, for others it is the cost of one piece of equipment. The previous replies are very accurate in that EVERYTHING is system dependent. Both Darwin and Amadi will let you try their cables for extended periods and still return them. Crimson also is very generous that way. To me Crimson and Morrow are pretty similar is sound quality if the Morrow cables are about the same price.
The suggestion of auditioning a number of cables via The Cable Company is an excellent one.

Alternatively, for interconnects a number of members here have reported that cables utilizing inexpensive Mogami 2534 wire, which is the de facto cable of choice in probably the majority of pro audio applications, provided results for them which compared favorably to far more expensive cables they had tried. It is available here in unbalanced (RCA) form (note the box near the bottom of the page in which you can select among various lengths and colors), or here in balanced (XLR) form.

Another low-priced choice which many members have been pleased with is Blue Jeans LC-1. Its very low capacitance per unit length would make it especially suitable for situations where run length is long and the output impedance of the component driving the cable is high.

-- Al
I saw this thread, immediately made an assumption, which proved correct when I read the thread. He's going to get many opinions, most of them different.

John421, I noticed that you mentioned the word budget, and I assume you are on one. It seems that this point has been missed by some. I've got a box of cables in the basement, and if I could take back some of the purchases, I would save myself the trouble and just get Morrow cables.

You didn't mention the components that make up your system, but you really can't go wrong with Morrow MA-1. They go on sale for 40 bucks quite often, and you'd have to spend significantly more to get better sonics in a cable. They have a 60 free trial, and make them to order.

I've recently ordered my third pair, a MA-3 pair. But I've also got the MA-1, and was impressed at how detailed they are. Good luck.
Thought maybe some would come to mind from your past experience.From reading these forums many of you have had many different setups.Wondered if any certain cables stood out from a budget standpoint?

My "budget" system is probably different than yours. That being said, I don't think it makes that much difference. I recommend used Audioquest. Ebay my friend.
Do a Google search for "AR Acoustic Research Pro II Series Line Audio Cable". These are discontinued interconnects that are HUGE bang for the buck interconnects that are still available on line. Search for your best price. I have compared the AR that I mentioned to interconnects costing thousands of dollars and I don't think you could go wrong. Look for a price of between $15 to $25 dollars.
When using cables is best to use the same brand for IC,speaker and PC?

I have several pairs of those cables; they are extremely well made.
As they are balanced cables with three separate wires inside as well as a shield, I made a pair of balanced interconnects by removing the RCA connectors and installing Neutrik XLR connectors on a 12 foot set. Perfect for this application and definitely as good as I needed.
ones that matche electrical parameters of your components.
Cables are a vexing problem... No one has a more complete list of cables and their appropriate usage in a particular system than does The Cable Co. It is interesting that when I asked them very recently for a cable that works well with my Ayre components, they recommended Cardas......which is TERRIBLE in my system,..I tried many levels of Cardas... although most people tell me that Cardas and Ayre are a natural match. Ayre Signature cables are made by Cardas...and yet.... My favorite cables for MY system is Everest speaker cables and Sky interconnects by Audioquest. I found it interesting also that their higher branded William F Lowe Signature cables (an extremely high priced upgrade) is even worse than Cardas in MY system. I found that Anti-Cables top of the line silver stuff sounds so much like my favorite Audioquest Sky/Everest, at a very much reduced price...it was very difficult not to choose the Anti Cables. This post is being written to demonstrate the absolute necessity to listen to a cable in YOUR system to see if it touches the right places in your soul.
The Cable CO. certainly seems like one of the best options out there to help remove the risk associated with buying new cables, but I wonder how much of their usage recommendations is based on matching gear based on specifications, a more objective approach, as opposed to a more subjective approach based on "what sounds best".

What sounds best will almost always vary case by case and listener tastes and preferences is always a big factor.

So it would not surprise me if the information and advice provided is educated and useful, but I would be surprised still if the result was always "good sound" from teh perspective of the customer.

In other words, predicting how a cable will sound in a particular case is a hard thing to do and not always reliable, though there are some things that might still be useful to help find the right solution sooner rather than later and for a good value.
09-22-14: John421
When using cables is best to use the same brand for IC,speaker and PC?
As is often the case in audio, opinions on that question are divided, and there is no consensus. For example, see this thread, and also the thread linked to in my post therein.

As you'll see, for the reasons I stated in the linked post, IMO the answer to your question is "no." Other opinions will certainly differ in some cases.

-- Al
btw check the archives as this question comes up on a regular basis

in my limited experience:

Morrow was very detailed and extended

Signal was lusher with huge soundstage

this was a few years back on a mostly Audio Note system

of course YMMV
Sounds like maybe a mix of both cables could give you a little of everything?
Not necessarily. A lesser cable could have a detrimental effect on a superior cable, that's what had happened to me. It looks like several posters have given suggestions of good cable that worked for them through trial and error.

I'd add that speaker cables can have the greatest benefit.
Runnin....I can't agree......power cables have the greatest effect, interconnects next, speaker cables last.
Okay, I think we'll have to beg to differ, but at least we agree that cables make a difference!
I have done thousends of tests with cables in over 16 years of
time. I test cables because I want to know the properties they
own and the quality it can give.

The stage is build very differently when you compare different
cables with eachother. Stage width and depth is different, but
also how big an instrument or voice is in proportion.

Beside this the differences in resolution is big. But also how
physical an instrument or voice is being focused. Level of
black is a lot better than in the past. So the better cables
give you a much more palpable image than ever before.

In the low freq. the differences are also big when you compare
them. In timing and speed you will find big differences as

I started to use blindtest since 2002. I wanted people to show
how big the influences are of better cables.

So I started to make a set with an amp/source of 5000 euro
with our most sold powercable of less than 100 euro. Against
an amp/source of 2000 euro with a powercable of 2600 euro. And
yess you can influence the overall sound with powercables the
most. Most people are not aware of this.

All people choose for the second option and always were very

I give another example I did this year. I have a client with a
Wadia 7Si. He owns an Heavensgate powercable of about 2000
euro what he uses for the Wadia. He took the Wadia to my
house. First we listened to this player with his powercable
and after this we listend to the same numbers with th Purist
Audio Limited edition with Oyaide F1/M1 plugs of about 4000
euro. The differences were stunning. We are not talking about
10,20 or 50% better. We agreed that it was superior in every
single aspect you judge a cable/ source for. I said: it is
almost doubling the quality with the Purist Limited
powercable. I learned that most people only get a low level of
the full potential of a source or amp can give. For speakers
same story.

My focus is on the endresult. I always want to create a
superior level in sound than any other competitor can achieve.
With good cables this is the most easiest way. That is why I
say: The best sound always will win.

Soon I will write a review about the new Audioquest Wel
Signature. It took listening to music to a new level. A much
more expensive poweramp or source cannot achieve this. I will
explain in details what it does and what it makes so unique!

You need to understand the properties a cable owns to use it
in your set. When you are aware of the properties you will
know better what it will do in your set.

Most brands do not own all properties you need in your system.
I call them incomplete. I will write about the properties
Audioquest owns soon in the review of the Audioquest Wel
Signature XLR cables.
I'll tell ya, it's quite the revelation to know that in a blind listening test, those with 'golden ears' can hear the difference easily in one cord that costs 50 TIMES what the other one does. That was truly funny!!! I can't wait to hear the findings upcoming. AND THE BEST PART IS, YOU WEREN'T KIDDING. Thanks, I really can't wipe the smile off my face. I'm serious. I needed that at the end of the day. Sorry, I'm not usually one for sarcasm, but I just couldn't leave that alone.
@Bo1972...wondering if you could give some advice about powercords...

"The stage is build very differently when you compare different
cables with eachother. Stage width and depth is different, but
also how big an instrument or voice is in proportion".

I am seeking a powercord that will yield a fuller sound. Especially one that is known to give a BIG instrument and voice size. Non edgy. Balanced sound...neutral.

Budget...UP to $500...new or used.

Thank You.
The problem in audio is that in my opinion the % what is really good is very low. These days I do consulting in sound and vision. I try to sell and use always the best products in every price range.

I know very well what the best things are in audio. I hate the average quality stuff. When you use the best quality it is very easy to win from any competitor.

When you use the best stuff it is very easy to understand why it is that better. I can teach every single person ( men or female) what the differences are. When people have less knowledge it is very easy to understand when you use the best stuff.

Since 2007 I only focus on 3 dimensional audio. This is the easiest way of selling audio. Even people who never spend a lot of money on audio love it. The difference between 2 dimensional ( most sold quality in audio is 2 dimensional) and 3 dimensional is huge. Because you are that much more focuses to the music with a 3 dimensional stage.

Dorkwad I understand your sarcasm. I hate the low quality at shows so much that I will make the people clear how bad it is. I will talk in details why it is not good. These kind of people ( in audio there are still too many) create the lower level in quality in audio!
Well I can't afford $1000 dollar or more cables!
1000 dollar is enough money to buy good cables. Try to audition the Audioquest Rocket 88. It is the cheapest cable with DBS72. It is within your range.
The hardest part is getting by the fact that you just paid say $400+ for a darn power cord or $900+ for a used 8' pair of speaker cables, etc. Good cables in the right system, can do as much for the sound as costly upgrading a particular component--yet knowing you just forked over that kind of money for the complex circuitry inside a sometimes heavy chassis seems more palatable than spending the same amount on a stinking wire. It took me awhile to even try going past good-for-the-money wires because of that, call it prejudice, but did find considerable sound quality advances in SOME of the higher cost cables again IN MY SYSTEM. The ICs and speaker cables I now use were each transforming in making the sound sound so much more alive. When the Darwin Silvers first came out, they were absolutely an incredibly great sounding IC at even lower prices than I was using--not so much now--they just keep jacking the price up on a small improvement so you buy the next model up--starting to sound like Morrow which I had prior. Anyone get to hear the new Morrow MA63 ICs? They will cost around $450,000 somewhere about 6 years from now, but will THEY ever sound great. At this point, I'd have to give the best sounding at somewhat sane price cables to Amadi and his silver wires. They are incredible and he hasn't been struck with total greed yet like so many others. The newer Darwins are still great sounding, but where's the cost? Come on!!! They went from $150 ICs that look like nothing (it was cool that they sounded so good--if a thief broke in and saw them, he'd think the stereo hosed you on their throw-in cables and gave you these instead) to charging over $1000 for a pair that still looks almost the same homebrew look but has been zapped by an arcwelder in Greenland, sounds somewhat better, but is not worth it IMO. I've found that practice very disappointing--"We're tired of the high cost of wires so we got smart and came up with a simpler idea and it sounds great." Within months it has quickly morphed 4 times, still looks like 20 dollars worth of parts, but has jumped in price to the $1000. Your fabulous find is IMMEDIATELY last week's news and as a purchaser, you feel cheated--like they had all 5 sets of cables already made in the first place and then marched them out so the moment you buy the one, it's obsolete and you feel cheated. Thank you Philip for making great cables in 3 price ranges and a sensational SC--silver, mind you, and 3 different PCs and just have a cost upgrade that's similar to the materials used. The Maddies and Phil Reference cables would easily cost WAY MORE in the hands of most other manufacturers. I love this hobby and listening to great music, but some of the practices that go along with it pisses me off. I build decks and patios for friends and others who come to me, and I build them like I would my own. BUT..I don't raise my price as I go unless they want me to do something excessively more costly after we had a plan and it was half built already. I charge a very reasonable fee, but it's not my only income--I'm a teacher and coach and run intramurals for the school. Regardless what I get paid, I do the best that I have to give and at times, I received no pay because the school system had to cut back. What has happened to being happy with a fair wage for a job well done? Why do most manufacturers of this stuff have to get greedy and receive WAY more money than they should? Brian Cheney of VMPS speakers could have done this considering how good his ribbon speakers sound, but he gave an incredibly fair price compared to most any high end builder would have charged for the same. Thank you Brian, and although I was a moron more than once selling the speakers in my ignorant quest for perfection, rebuying my pair of RM40s from the guy that bought them from me was my final piece and I now know they are MY idea of musical perfection. Plus, I love what you stood for as a businessman. To own one of your finest achievements, get to enjoy it, and cause me to remember you for what you stood for, is worth more than the speakers alone. Greedy people would say you were stupid to sell so cheaply. But I say you had very high principles of how to do things. I hope you can hear me, Brian. All the VMPS owners should get on their knees and thank God Almighty that you were a man of integrity--you did the best work you were capable of and charged a fair price. You also stayed in business a long, long time. Kind of got off track again on the thread, but praise should go to those who've deserved it.
Thanks Almarg for the links posted on 9/21. Just bought some Canare 4s11 speaker cable and 2 pairs Mogami interconnects 1.5’ to try in a budget system.

System: B&K St260 amp, Schitt audio SYS passive pre, older Sony CD player, MF V-DAC, MF VLink, Pioneer SP22 speakers with heavy metal stands, Emotiva coax, Belkin Gold USB, fed by a Macbook Pro w/Itunes. Cost of system, including all cables, not including computer, ~$650.
You're most welcome, Mesch. Enjoy!

Best regards,
-- Al
Just bought some Canare 4s11 speaker cable and 2 pairs Mogami interconnects 1.5’ to try in a budget system.
At a "budget" level, the two cables listed above make a lot of sense, IMO. The 4s11 speaker cables are a star quad configuration (connecting the wires across from each other for each polarity), which is known to reduce induction (a good thing for speaker cables and power cords).

A good budget power cord is the Volex "AC Power Cords 14AWG 15A SJT 6FT 7IN (2.0m) BLACK" that can be purchased from Mouser (part #686-17504) for $6.52 with molded plastic terminations. If you want to upgrade, simply cut those off and add hospital grade Marinco or WattGate plugs and IECs. Be sure to connect the shield only at the plug end but the ground at both ends.

I have constructed quite a few cables and tend to like solid core wire better than stranded for ICs and SCs. Below are a couple of "budget" solid core options.

ICs - If you want to move up the line sonically for a very low investment, purchase some Belden coaxial cable with a solid core inner wire that is in the range of 20 to 24 awg in size, and with foamed insulation (I like PE but many like PTFE). Cut two equal lengths (you need longer than the cable you want to make because you will lose length by twisting), twist the cables together and hold the twist with periodic pieces of heat shrink (or good electrical tape), place a braid shield over the twisted pair (you can purchase tinned copper braid shield material from McMaster-Carr or Mouser), and connect the ends to the positive and negative terminations of whatever rca connectors you choose to use. The braid shield should be connected to the ground side at the source end only, making your ICs directional cables so mark them so you remember which end is which. Finish with Techflex, heat shrink and "Bob's your uncle."

The combination of good quality, solid core copper used for the inner wire, plus foamed insulation to provide a constant distance spacing between the two inner wires and between the wires and the braid shield, will result in a very nice interconnect for very little money.

If you need balanced cables, simply counter-spiral a small diameter ground wire (near or the same gauge as the twisted pair wires) outside the braid shield and connect it at both ends. For XLR cables, pin 2 is positive, pin 3 is negative, and pin 1 is ground.

Good inexpensive solid core speaker cables can made from bulk solid core Audioquest wire using either their Type 2 (17awg) or Type 4 (15awg) cables. These are both made from long grain copper in a star quad configuration. If you want to bi-wire, double up on the cable, DO NOT internally bi-wire using the four cables in one jacket. For even less money, you can look up how to use solid core CAT 5 wire as speaker wire - some construction methods are easier than others.

For a little more money, you could consider the Pangea line of power cords where you can find their original line of cables (check Audio Advisor) at pretty deep discounts, compared to the newer SE line. You might also consider Audioquest Type 8 (12awg) speaker cable that you may still find in bulk if you look hard, or that you can purchase terminated (to your desired length) from Audio Advisor.
Like I said earlier John421, you're going to get lots of opinions and suggestions. It helps very little as the suggestions very so much. Start simple, get some speaker cables. I have Audioquest type 4, the type 8 listed above would probably be even better.

I forget what all you have, and how many cables you'd need, but if you go to the Morrowaudio.com, go to their products, then cables, then used cables. You can get trade ins for less as Morrow has a great trade in program. Get the MA2 or MA3 one meter length( 3 feet), a max of $140 per pair, unless they come with the upgraded Eichmann RCA connectors.

I'm sure Audioquest has come great RCA cables too, but at retail they will be expensive by comparison. But the solid conductor based cables really have wonderful sonics.
DNM Reson
Thanks for all the options.I have thought about DIY cables as well.
Kimber PK-10 is a good powercable in your price range.
Since you are on a budget, I would heartily recommend going with the Signal Cable Silver Resolutions. Really nice cables with lots of details and open sound stage. I still use their RCAs in my system. Recently sold their speaker cables and XLRs after upgrading to much higher priced cables.
Milpai,your cables have the bullet plugs and he no longer offers them.Will they still be a good choice?
john they have a 30 day trial period
Many cables nhave a 300 hours burning in period. So you have to wait before you know what you will get!! Some even take longer.
I had a full set of the WEL sigs in my system, and thought they were awful sounding. ..just goes to show you how cables have to be listened to in your own system.
Hahahahahahahaha......WEL aweful sounding. You don't know were you are talking about. How can you compare WEL with simple copper Anti-cable loudspeakercable.

You also don't have the quality to use them well. I can't imagine that it would make sence in your set.

Copper never can get the level in endresult what silver cable give.

Soon I will write a review about this!!
You should add Clear Day cables to your list.
They no longer make IC cables I thought?
It is impressive how many cables there are in the U.S. In Europe we don't have that many.
Don't worry Bo,
Eventually you will have same in Europe.
add tara labs to your list of auditions.

Clear Day/Paul Laudati is again selling ICs. See the Audio Asylum trader for listings by vonwaffen.

Link here:

Hahahahahahahaha......WEL aweful sounding. You don't know were you are talking about. How can you compare WEL with simple copper Anti-cable loudspeakercable.

You also don't have the quality to use them well. I can't imagine that it would make sence in your set.

Copper never can get the level in endresult what silver cable give.

Soon I will write a review about this!!

Wow, the complete arrogance of this statement is sickening. Am I the only one offended by this?