Speltz Anti-Cable IC. Buy them and keep them through out other system component changes.
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I'll second MAC at most price points, but burn them in or you'll never hear what they can do. Steve says he's burning them now: he's great to deal with: call him and double check. Also, BEL, "The Wire", if you can still get it. Brown recently died and he was a bit difficult to deal with, so stocks may be quite low. I've still got a bunch of the ic's: they replaced Transparent Ultras, Purist Colossus and Siltechs, fabulous for the price, a bit grainer than the MACs. HP used them for a long time in one of the Abs. Sound reference systems.
If you're up to making your own, Chris at VH Audio can sell you the components and you can make a world beater IC for the price, but you'll probably screw up one or two before you get the hang of do it yourself cables.
Frank at Signal cables is also great to deal with and sells no bs, good quality cables that, to me at least, are a bit more system dependent than the BEL's.
I used the BEL for years in many different sysems configs and they worked quite well in all of them. The MAC stuff sounds better in my current system, but I have little time with it with various different gear.
Second Audio Art... smooth, detils aren't omitted, for the $$$? Super.
also Goertz Micro Pearl, but shielding is almost non existant, quite straight forward sound without edgyness or stridency. Nice. Formerly Stereophile recomended component. I got a pair and they're quite nice.
AA & GMP are very different sounding cables, BTW. Both should be in your budget.
I also have had great success with the MAC Ultra Silver Plus RCA Cables.The Black Mountain cables are also good and their XLR(balanced) cables are a great value.While they are not inexpensive,The Granite Audio IC cables are the best I have heard and a good value because of the outstanding performance.Tom at Hudson Audio makes some terrific sounding cables as well.
I would also like to throw my hat into the ring for My Audio Cables MAC cables. I have had a great experience with them throughout. Personally, I believe that they compete head-on with cables at just about any price. I have tested them against a vast variety of other cables. I use MAC Mystic ICs, MAC Burley Power Cords, MAC CuQ speaker wire. Steve Hallick has made spec custom wires for my personal and particular applications as well. I have chosen MAC, after extensive listening, and have picked them over much higher priced and higher profile cables. I also fully appreciate that personal taste and system synergy has a lot to do with which cables are "worth checking out."
HI Mekong56: I have used both the MAC HC & the Burley. They are very different animals in my experience. It seems like the HC has a distinct "personality," and I happened to like it... after comparing it to many other PCs. Some don't like the HC, but I am not sure if they gave the PC a chance to "stabilize." I believe that the HC takes a *tremendously* long time to burn-in until one can really hear and rely on it. At minimum - 300 hours! Then the HC becomes very stable, it opens up and is predictable. The Burley on the other hand impressed me right from the start. My Burleys have benefitted from long play hours as well, but the Burley PC seems more stable from the beginning. I use Burley PC cords in two systems for power amps. Knowing that cords, like anything else, can be system particular and system dependent, I chose these after listening to others. The power amps that I use the Burleys with are all SMc Ultra Level Upgrades, McCormack DNA 0.5. I have mono blocks in one system and a single in a smaller system. Here's what I notice regarding the Burley in my rigs: a sense of relaxed authority, very very quiet, black, deep soundstage, no glare, no edge, smooth, etc. I could go on, because I really like these cables, but I will spare everyone, and I will quit with the superlatives. I use Furutech connectors with Burleys, which is an upgrade. Even smoother with more smooth sparkle. I find that the Burleys have both great top-end, as well as superb bottom-end extension. They do not struggle to keep up and reveal a lot of the information that is inherent in the music. These are only my personal experiences, and I am not affiliated with MAC other than being a very happy customer and a fan of the product. I do have other products in my systems as well.
There are many good ones in the price range, in my opinion. My 2 cents is that I plan to switch my entire system to the new MM2 version of Transparent Audio's Musiclink cables. The basic model is $85 per meter and the step up is $175, brand new.
To my ears they sound remarkably neutral and balanced.
Overall I think good speaker placement does more for sound than cables, anyway.
Heard good thing about the Paul Speltz products. I like how he turns his middle finger outward to the wire charlatans. I have gone into stores to listen to speakers and heard nothing but 90 minute sales pitches for high profit margin wires.
I would think that true blind testing would yield no difference unless you had the hearing of a basset hound.
Good cable's? how large is the signal traveling through cable? is this any better then that? assuming a couple things that your source is up to the task,a recording you like,experimenting is exciting the sound from a $12 pair of supra spea. cables just blew me away. my wrong thinking about expensive cables had to be corrected that and ran out of money.some great DIY recipes good luck
The new Antipodes company out of New Zealand has a unique line of interconnects. I recently bought a pair of their entry-level Katipo and although these have an unusually long break-in (300 hours), their claim of sounding better than most interconnects costing up to $1000.00/pr. is not exaggerated. These are extremely well-balanced, revealing, and above all very musical. I'm so impressed that I'm buying more to add to my system. One of the great bargains in interconnects.