From your list I have only experienced the AQ king cobra's. In my opinion a great value for the money. BTW nice speakers (disclaimer I own C1's too). In fact a nice system for a basic beginner.
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I second AQ King Cobra. It was much more expensive when it was called Python. AQ, to stay competitive, moved production to China and lowered prices renaming cables. King Cobra XLR, I had before, might be not as refined as Acoustic Zen Absolute XLR I have now, but is very good for the fraction of the cost while keeping similar neutral tonal balance.
I too use Mogami Gold Studio xlr cable. A good source is B&H Photo Video.
For unbalanced cables, I've been pleased with Markertek's terminated Mogami 2534 cable.
Sam (C1Ferrari) -- FYI, my understanding is that the main differences between the Mogami 2534 and their AES/EBU cables are:
1)The AES/EBU cables have somewhat lower capacitance, which would only make a difference if cable length is long AND the output impedance of the component driving the cable is high. In that situation it would provide a more extended upper treble.
2)The AES/EBU cables have somewhat higher inductance, which shouldn't make any difference in a line-level interconnect.
The higher inductance and lower capacitance are a consequence of the AES/EBU cable's higher (110 ohm) characteristic impedance.
3)The AES/EBU cables do not have a star-quad configuration, which might mean a slightly increased susceptibility to noise pickup.
I second Clio09 on the Mogami cables. When I decide to move from RCA to XLR, I tried a couple high end cables, borrowed, and then tested very cheap XLR cables and only heard a slight difference. Because there was a difference, I then rushed to Guitar Center and bought Mogami Gold cables to complete, the now oh so tempting, A-B test...could not hear any difference in the $36 cable compared to the $$$ XLR cable. I really tried to hear the difference too...I have the funds and wanted to justify more cool toys but I just could not.
My buddy who I borrowed the cables from was also a bit chagrined as we tried guessing what cables were playing and it was a 50/50 toss up in accuracy...in short, just a guess as to what was playing. :)
My system retails for some $35K+ so I think it was somewhat worthy of making good use of the $$$ cables.
For now, until I can find something that just wows me or I just have an itch to burn some cash, I am sticking with the Magami cables. My nice RCA cables will move to a 2nd system I am putting together.
I agree with others that suggest using pro studio cables. I use Mirlin (sp) (not the same as the speaker company?).They are very high quaity pro cables with Neutic XLRs (dont forget those too - dont use any other brand.) I noticed this is what Albert Porter uses! (not shure if they are made anymore. I got a real good deal on a close-out sale from a local shop that was getting out of the brand about 10 years ago.
I was recording the live audio for a weekly cable music/interview show and, although using perfectly acceptable pro mic cable, I tried a better mic cable one day. Mogami Neglex with gold plated Neutrik plugs. LARGE improvement on nearly every level. I've stuck good single ended cable from various high end makers (MIT, Straightwire, AQ, etc.) in my hifi rig for years but recently added a preamp with balanced outs to match a balanced input amp. After experimenting with a few borrowed options I tried some short 3' Mogami Gold mic cables I had lying around for rack ICs...perfect. In this rig anyway, I thought they sounded as good or better than some otherwise well regarded balanced cables costing multiples of the Mogamis, although all 4 cable brands in my little test group seemed fine. When people say stuff like "these cables sound thin" or "the soundstage width was compromised by exactly .346 meters and the oboe player seemed to have a sinus infection" or whatever when comparing Mogamis to something they bought for $850.72, it brings to question my fellow audiophile's sanity or ethical cred. I'd love to hear about a "blind" listening test of well made balanced cable, but nobody does that sort of thing...no no no...
For what my opinion may be worth, as someone who's been system building for 35 years and, as most of us seem to, has tried out all sorts of different cables along the way, most of them rather expensive but ultimately unsatisfactory, I don't think you need to spend anything like $100 or more for a pair of interconnects.
A quality cable made in the UK that's not only very popular with many recording studios but is also the cable of choice for PMC loudspeakers (in conjunction with Bryston amplifiers, which they import and distribute here) is Van Damme. Between my pre- and power amp's, I use balanced Tour Grade Classic XKE (code 268-020-000) with Neutrik XLR's with silver-plated pins, available to order fully assembled (using high quality silver solder) from Connect Audio for about $60/pair.
There may be better cables out there, but I very much doubt if there are any that aren't a great deal more costly. Don't spend more until you've tried these. Van Damme speaker cable, which I also use, is also inexpensive and very good.
I'm wondering about $100 cables with the components and speakers you've listed. What's the point of going cheap with the cables?
I'm not saying you can't get reasonably priced good cables but $100? What's the deal? Monster cable? You're wasting the money you spent on the rest of the system! What a shame!
It's all a matter of opinion, why is your opinion more valid than any other opinions? The original poster asked for opinions, I gave him mine. He can do with it what he wants, including ignoring it if he wishes, no problem. Opinions are opinions, nothing more, including yours.
My opinion is that the listed components cost over $10,000 and some effort is warranted in finding a synergistic IC.
If an excellent IC can be found for $100, great! But perhaps $250 to $500 might be more realistic. I'm talking used here.
Would you put $29.99 tires on a $100,000 car Mr. Know-it-all?
Your only bone of contention, was the MSRP of the cable. You said he 'wasted' his money on the system because he did not buy an oracle-endorsed cable. I stand by my categorization of your statement. Apologize to the OP and say you spoke in haste without thinking it through. I have done that and offered an apology. And if you want to recommend a cable, give some reason other than MSRP, which is just haphazard at best, and has no relationship to performance or cost to produce.
"Would you put $29.99 tires on a $100,000 car Mr. Know-it-all?"
I would put whatever tire the manufacturer recommended. They engineered the car to perform with a certain type / size and even brand of tire. Do audio makers do the same? I assume the cord they ship with the gear has been found to be entirely satisfactory.
And I wouldn't say I know it ALL.
All Opinions are not equal. Sometimes a person does not even have enough information to have or offer an opinion.
I quote: "Monster cable? You're wasting the money you spent on the rest of the system!"
I stand by my opinion and feel no need to apologize for anything nor do I feel that I have insulted anyone.
Additionally, I never mentioned Oracle or any "endorsed" cable.
All I am saying is that the quality of the components deserves some experimentation in selecting an appropriate IC and that $100 might not do it. I see nothing controversial about that OPINION! And it is just an opinion, based on personal experience, which may prove to be incorrect. Perhaps there is an outstanding IC in that price range that I don't know about. I'm always open to that possibility! In fact I would welcome it!
You should learn how to read accurately before getting hot under the collar and making groundless accusations.
I did not make a recommendation. I use Monster ICs on my CDPs now. Because I needed 4ft length. I have had Monster SC. it was seemily Built to Mil-spec, however the pre terminated bananas did not fit my amp or speakers. If I slightly touched the cable, the connectors would fall out of the speaker or amp. So I have my only 'high-end' cable hanging in my closet. This is not about a certain brand, just the knee jerk reaction to certain brands. Monster, polk, and Bose being the most maligned. AND MOST OF ALL, the If It Cost More, it's better, mentality. We have no fight. I consider the matter closed. Sorry for any misunderstandings.
I second the Cable Company loaner program. Their loaner program includes a very wide variety of ICs in all price categories. I've borrowed and purchased cables from them over the years. Their reps are knowledgeable and courteous.
Also, if you have dealers near you, many have cables that they loan out for trial periods.