Which Cable Makes the Biggest Impact?


To all the audiophiles that have tried different power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables, which do you believe makes the biggest impact in your system in order of ranking? If you don't believe that cables/interconnects/pc's make any difference at all, and is all marketing hype and snake oil, you can vote accordingly, but my ONLY request is that you've tried different cables first!

Ok..My ranking:
1. Power cables - most important
2. Interconnects
3. Speaker cable
calgarian5355
The topic of the thread is "Which Cable Makes the Biggest Impact?"
The best speaker cables in the world and best IC's cannot atone for sins made upstream. i.e. If the source's signal is ruined for lack of serious power cables, then one is fighting a mighty battle trying recoup what's been lost.

Wireless200, I have been saying for quite some time that the configuration, gauge, and materials of cabling (including PC's) have a profound influence on the sound of systems. Many here would agree.

It really does seem counter-intuitive, but I wholeheartedly subscribe to the "Front End Influence" theory that high quality power cords must be used if one is going to have a fighting chance at reaching Hi Fi.

From the experiments with fine cables I have reviewed in the past couple years, If hard pressed to chose superior power cord or superior speaker cable, at this point, I would likely chose the power cord!

Now, Imagine, if a PC on a source is so important, what of the pre? the amp(s)? Truly, when one finds a superior wire, the benefits of outfitting the entire rig seem to be almost exponential.

Over the many years I've been doing audio, I also have come in the "back door" to seeing the significance of quality power cabling. I used to seek serious speaker cables and didn't appreciate the need to feed the source, then amp(s) with just as high quality power cabling. Now, it would be inconceivable for me to put together a rig without it. BTW, my virtual system here is quite old and I haven't updated it with the equipment I'm currently using.

So, allow me to break this down further:
Primary: Power on Source
Power on Pre/Amp(s)
Secondary: IC's
Tertiary: Speaker

Again, ALL are critical to a superb system. However, you pollute a river upstream and you'll be working multiples harder to clean it up downstream. Similarly, pollute the source, and you've made a problem for yourself by the time you reach the speaker cables.

Similar in concept to: Engine, Transmission, suspension. Without a fine engine, the rest hardly matters. Similarly, without a pristine source, the rest suffers.
The most important is the interconnect for your source like a CD player then pre to power,then speaker cables then Ac cord...
Power Cords.
1. DAC and Transport
2. Pre Amp
3. Power Amp

For interconnects.
1. Source to pre
2. Pre to power

In my opinion speaker wires are every bit as important as interconnects so if you need to make a significant change with just one pair of interconnect or one pair of speaker wire I'd go for the speaker wires first since this represents a complete change in one section of the signal path, assuming all other factors are equal. Conversely I see changing just one pair of interconnects in a standard two pair interconnect system (source to pre, and pre to power) as effecting a change to only half of the interconnect chain. As to which cable is of utmost importance, I think it really depends more on the state of your systems current cables with an eye for it’s weakest link, not an absolute standard. At the end of the day every cable in the chain is equally important and no cable can be ignored when synergy is your goal.

Hope this helps,
LM
Stumbled on this article and thought I’d share it with this thread.

An excerpt from the article is below.

http://www.edn.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA6418215

"Ordinary 60-Hz power travels miles from the nearest power station over ordinary, oxygen-rich, noncryogenically frozen wires laden with bird poop. It goes through a local distribution transformer (gobs more regular wire in there) and then travels hundreds of feet more through your house wiring to a local outlet. Do you think the last 6 ft of cryogenically altered, helically wound, hand-braided, eight-gauge wire makes any sensible difference?

You could probably solder together old, rusty coat hangers and do just as well, provided you don’t have any young children or pets in the house.

So what do you really need in a power cable? Insulation is a good idea. Stranding is good, too. Stranded wire is flexible enough to bend many times without breaking. That’s all the technology you need.

Ernie: How about shielding? A lot of high-end audio-power cables are shielded.

Howard: It’s a nice idea, but because all the other wires in the house lurking behind the dry wall remain unshielded, it doesn’t help to shield the last little 6-ft chunk."