Choosing new cables

I am looking to upgrade my current cables.  This should be my last system as I retired a few years ago and most of my components have been seriously updated in the last couple of years.  I have been in this audio hobby for about 50 years and have always have great sounding musical systems.

My current cables all work and sound great but are 15 - 20 years old.  So updating is what I need.  I am budgeting around $10k - $15k for all new cables.

I have always felt the i/c's were the most important cable followed by the speaker cables and the power cords.  However I am now leaning towards spending more on the power cords followed by the speaker cables and last the i/c.

  I know all cables are very important but how would you prioritize the cables?  Any suggestions on any brands would also be appreciated!



bob, we can help you best if you carefully list your system and your cables (as well as what aspects of sound you would like to improve)

may take a little time, but i think it will be worth it in the quality of responses you get

if you have a highly resolving system carefully assembled with already good quality cables, the generalizations around which segment to prioritze is neither here nor there, only the specifics matter 

Yes I should have listed my system and cables.

Boulder 866 integrated, Playback Designs mps8, Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 table and Dynaudio Heritage Special speakers.  All cable is Jade audio.  Power cables basic inexpensive  brands.  The jade cables were very expense when new and it still is a top performer to my ears.  I just feel that there must be some advances in cables in the last 10 - 15 years.  My system is  very high resolution so I would be looking for cables that would highlight the resolution but certainly I am not looking for anything that will be bright sounding.  I hope this helps what I am looking for.

You already know that choosing your your cables array is ENTIRELY bespoke system dependent. Anecdotal generalities or one-size-fits-all choice pontificating is an anathema to cable upgrade success and audio performance satisfaction.

When I changed speakers last year, my incumbent NORDOST FREY array ( array meaning all of IC, power, and speaker) just didn’t work anymore. It did involve experimentation with visits to dealers to separate the contenders from the pretenders . An upgrade step plan from silver coated to a premium OCC was done sequentially …. ICs first, then power, and finally speaker cables.
NOTE: an evaluation of the new cables was done at each step. …

- in my case, there was a clear improvement at each step.

- When I finally completed the trek with an upgrade of the last step (speaker cables ) an ethereal “ full system “ was added , and it was not subtle.

FWIW,,,,There are good reasons why NORDOST VALHALLA / ODIN and CARDAS CLEAR / CLEAR BEYOND usually form the major preferred choice at audio expos .

in MY system, an all CARDAS CLEAR plan was the preferred choice with a final tweak for speaker cables selected wherein I chose CARDAS CLEAR REFLECTIONs. Let me explain.

Completing the full Monty array with CARDAS CLEAR speaker cables was the plan intuitively,… however a new hurdle arose because the room acoustics and taming its bespoke warts will ALWAYS be a contributing factor.
Because I moved the system out of my mancave into a main floor room arena with a LOT of glass walls, a new irritating “digital edge” and “brightness “ for new added yucky reflection challenges affecting audio performance surfaced, that now needed to be tamed.

On the recommendation of Josh Meredith at CARDAS - who had the same glass wall chsllenges in his home,- he suggested from personal experience to go with CARDAS CLEAR REFLECTION ( one modeled down) speaker cables that have a “warmer” audio presentation signature without any loss of resolution, deatsil and slam.

Who knew? He was a genius IN MY UNIQUE CASE ,,,, problem solved on irritating rooom acoustic warts!

INTUITIVELY… OTHER BRANDS may be your pathway down the Yellow Brick Road to Audio OZ. There is no substitute for experimentation ,

Choose wisely, sir.







@bobheinatz  specifically which interconnects and speaker cables from Jade audio, I'm very familiar with Jade Audio. Depending upon which Jade Audio interconnects and speaker cables you own, the improvement might come from an upgrade with your power cords.

@bobheinatz if you are planning to buy new, I would highly recommend contacting The Cable Company and borrowing a full cable loom from them. The fees you pay for the loaner cables apply to your purchase if you decide to buy them down the road.


One line of cables not often spoken of on these forums but worthy of serious consideration is Purist Audio Design.  They are not glamorous looking and come in a canvas bag.  You can audition them through The Cable Co.  $15k might not be enough depending how far up their line you are willing to go.  Based on my experience I recommend this:  Start with Power Cords.  They have the most impact and then speaker cables.  Interconnects (balanced) can fill in that last little bit of gain in sound.  I'm at the middle grade of Purist Audio Design cables.  I find them detailed and open but very clean with no sibilance or irritating harshness in the highs.  I heard a big change switching from their lower grade to mid grade power cords.  Their digital power cord was like an upgrade to my DAC.  Just know that once you hear them- there is no going back.

At your budget a mistake could prove really costly, audiophile1's advice is a good one. Now i am more inclined to Japanese thinking of cables so if it was for me i would chose cables from, Kondo, Acoustic Revive and Furutech. I believe The Cable Company has some of these brands.

Before you change cables I would check out Add-Powr products which upgrade the actual signal in your cables and your gear. Might as well start at the source. Does @cohsystms have any suggestions?:


Given the high quality of your components I would recommend either Transparent or high level Cardas. Nordost must be high in their levels… so those will cost you… I don’t find lower level Nordost that good.

Definitely an AudioQuest Hurricane or Dragon power cord for your amp. This could easily be the biggest difference you hear.


Definitely try these… the differences will likely be subtitle but very important. The Cardas even at the highest level will be slightly warm… this could add a touch of musicality your system needs or not. Take your time. I’m retired as well. It took me well over a year to slowly zero in on perfect… positioning, cables, interconnects, and power cords and room treatment… worth every moment. My system sounds sooo. Much better in comparison to how it started it is astonishing. You can see my system under my ID. Put yours there and we could probably be even more helpful.

@kota1 Indeed, one needs to start at the source of power in your system. A dedicated power circuit with a reliable ground is a good start. Cables have tonal characteristics that greatly affect sound and influence how you perceive and listen to sound. Cables should be neutral in the task of delivering an audio signal to a loudspeaker.

The problem with cables is that they are an essential accessory and are an expensive investment at that, in most cases. Interconnect, speaker, and power cord cabling can amount to a huge outlay of tens of thousands of dollars.

Now there is another solution to achieving great sound that doesn't break the bank.

The goal of ADD-Powr products is to increase the musicality of the audio system from the AC power source to the delivery of the signal to the speaker. This increase is verified and measured by spectrum analysis which examines the frequency response in terms of s/n (signal-to-noise) response.

What is missing from the AC power entering the audio and video system? Answer: The ability to supply harmonically rich power. 

Sorcer and Wizard products will deliver harmonic rich sound. And you will save yourself from breaking the bank and start experience the full potential of your system. In a word, true enjoyment.

Thanks for the feedback so far.  This will be a slow process one that I want to do right.   Keep them coming.

@lak I really don't know which Jade cables I hav.  It's been so long I simply don't remember.   They did sound really good.


The goal of ADD-Powr products is to increase the musicality of the audio system from the AC power source to the delivery of the signal to the speaker.


@bobheinatz , I have invested in cables, power conditioners, and add-powr products. When I upgrade a cable I it upgrades 1 pathway and then you have power cables, interconnects, digital IC, HDMI, USB, and ethernet. It is time consuming and yes, worthwhile. When I plugin an add-powr product it upgrades the entire system, from my PJ to my speakers. It doesn’t take any time, is a single product, and upgrades the actual SIGNAL that is carried through every cable and component in the system.

@bobheinatz you have some good interconnects and speaker cables that you should feel very good about. What you are about to do is spend additional funds for a different sound and jump down a dark rabbit hole. With that said, I'm very guilty of having done that several times myself. If I were you I'd phone Collin at Gestalt Audio Design in Nashville TN and discuss this with him. He can give you some excellent choices and he is a wealth of information.

In addition to that make sure you upgrade your power cords and make sure you are using one or two dedicated circuits with good AC outlets. Your power filtration is very important.



Thanks for your reply.  I do have dedicated lines and very good AC outlets. Yes I know Jade is very good cable and I also realize that  I could be spending alot of $'s  with the possibility of no improvement.   Collin has been on my radar for cables after reading a thread here on one of his cable lines.  I will be very cautious on my next move. 

One more company to research is ZenWave. Dave will discuss your needs and recommend a few to try.He'll loan them to you to compare with others and all you're out is shipping them back.The power cables are especially wonderful.


you are getting some good responses, now that folks see what you have in place currently in terms of gear and cabling - excellent system btw! 👍

that the responses are all over the map is to be expected, but i think i am seeing a developing convergence of opinion among the more experienced folks here

i have actually never heard jade cables in my own system despite my extensive travels in the hobby but i do remember they were held in high regard as a small maker

i would say try some well reputed power cables first (amp first, then sources) given that yours are presently low-tier ones as you state (you might still name them for us to know), whereas your signal cables are jade, and you know they are good and you like them

after figuring out the upside from ac cables, then i suggest trying other interconnects from your most used source, trying different well-reputed brands via demos or loans, then go from there - i concur with user support given here so far to purist and cardas, not cheap, but excellent and lean towards musicality as opposed to unearthing more detail

i would not say modern cables are much of a leap over what was top tier stuff from back in the day... more different than better in my view (and just stupid expensive)... my favorite ic’s are still straightwire maestro, purist dominus/colossus, and cardas golden helix and 5c ....and vampire silvers when called... have tried much new stuff... but always go back to my faves above

have fun happy auditioning...

Might as well throw in Hemingway as a viable contender for that budget. Z core Alpha cables would come in around or a bit more than your budget. Lot of interesting cables through Gestalt though…

I think the obvious thing to do is spend the entire 15 grand on one cable (pair, unless it's a 15K USB or something), as it would sound SO good as it would lift all the more pedestrian cables up.

You could buy so much music and get some decent cables (that don't make any difference anyway) for a lot less  money. But hey, you do you, as they say.

I don't have the years of real-world experience that a lot of guys have here, and this is not a recommendation, just my own journey.

My jump from lower end Nordost started by looking for high-end OCC conductors.

This led me to Zavfino. IMO the value proposition is highly competitive. I'll be good for quite a while and you could go top of the line for a small fraction of what you are proposing.

Details in my profile should you be interested.


@bobheinatz Unless I'm reading your original post wrong, it seems you love the sound of your system now.  So why bother spending another 10k - 15k on cables that don't seem to need replacing.  The simple fact they are old is not a good reason, unless you just want to spend a lot of money?  Take a nice vacation.  Make some memories.  So many other ways to spend your retirement funds.  IMHO  At the very least, make sure everything can be returned if you find the improvement in sound is not there.  


Recently I went from the top Morrow Audio cable for the interconnection between Amp/Streamer to using Cardas Beyond Clear. Here’s another transparent vote for that line. Everyone touts their stuff so there’s that too.

Power cord(s) into Amp(s) can and do color too and there are lots of great cords to be had. I also had a great experience with ZenWave and use one into Amp. My wife and I picked the same one. How you like ‘dem apples?

Cords into PSU’s should be very good but the AMP and what you listen (TT, phono pre, Pre Amp, streamer) to deserve the best. A interconnect or power cord change may/may not matter but your big dogs deserve finery. One way to find out. Sure the rest of the cord gang matters but some matter more than others. Does a sub need a 4K power cord?

But you know all of this.

15k buys a lot of room treatment(s). If you’re happy but hankering for more, have you been there?

As far as IC's are concerned, I have tried Jade.  They were very good and as such, may be difficult to exceed, even now, without spending perhaps much more, or not, as the case may be.  Cost and auditioning results, rarely correlate. 

I did a fairly recent speaker cable comparison.  Based on their pricing and their uniqueness, I bought a pair of Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cables to trial for 30-days. They’re competition were Nordost Tyr II’s and Iconoclast by Belden  — an OFE wire pair and a SPTPC wire pair.  Although the Fidelum's were less costly than the Belden's and much less than the Tyr's, I found the Fideliums (with my SoundLab speakers) to be more to my liking and returned the other two loaner pairs.

An in-home audition is mandatory, especially given your very good, but felt to be old cables.  Many dealers and manufacturers offer in-home trials.  And the Cable Company -- as has been mentioned herein -- is a good loaning source.  Cable auditioning isn't a task that I enjoy.  But it is a necessary one.  Good luck!   


Very good cables :  digital 75 ohm :Chord Epic ; interlink: I prefer Audioquest, Wireworld, powercables: Furutech , speakercables : Kimber. But first off all: try different cables , before you take a decision. Good luck !!

I used nordost valhalla, atlas assimi and crystal cable Dreamline as interconnects.  I tried the Gekko Cables and changed everything!!!  I only use Gekko Cables and nothing else as an interconnect!  I am planning to change the speaker and power cables too!


Emphasis on power cables is simply wrong.  Yes, spend money on active power conditioners if you have a dirty supply, but not on passive cables that just pass raw juice.

Spend money on active cables, ie those that pass signal.  My order would be


Speaker and, a poor third

@wolf_garcia    Please explain how one cable can 'lift up' other cables.

Clearthinker...not clear enough for irony or satire? Don't chew the fun outta my gum.

@OP, though they don't seem to have a big market presence in the US, Van den Hul cables are quite resolving and definitely not bright. The mountain interconnects and cloud speaker cables are excellent. Some people find them too soft sounding but one person's soft is another's natural/uncoloured so, as always, people's preferences and perceptions differ.

All three levels of Cerious cables are great for the price...though the Lumniscate are worth the price and your stated budget will work...and they are manufacturer direct with 30 day home trial...

Just because your cables are 10 - 15 years old and your happy with them doesn’t mean you should change them.  I wouldn’t change them on age alone. There’s no reason. 

@bobheinatz I have the Boulder 866 in a simple system with the Project RS2 CD Box transport and Joseph Perspective2s.  I just initiated a cable upgrade with a similar budget. I have tried a number of different power cables with the 866, including an older Elrod (my favorite with my previous amp), Core Power Diamond Extreme (a relative bargain), Audio Envy Whale, and a few others.  Two weeks ago, I ordered a Hijiri Takumi power cable.  It is still settling in, but was a substantial improvement from the get go (which, given the price, was a relief).  My investment in the Takumi followed a review of the various threads, talking with Colin, and also a back and forth with another Audiogon member who had tried the Takumi on his 866, with great effect (as he told me, "Believe me, there was a big part of me that kind of hoped it would just be another overhyped cord, but its impact was just undeniable."  I concur).  

For speaker cables, I have been using the Silversmith Fidelium.  I love them, especially at the price, but they may be a bit light on the bottom end.  I am currently in the market for an upgrade.  I just started an audition of a set of Argentpur cables made by Ernie Meunier (  I think they may be what I'm looking for, but I haven't had time to assess them yet.  Another cable I was looking at is the Inakustic 4004.

I use an AES/EBU from the Project to the DAC in the 866.  I don't know if you need a digital cable.  If so, I've had great experiences with both the Hijiri Million, and also Bob Grost's Cerious Lumnsicate cable. 

I hope this helps.  Good luck in the search!

Post removed 

I like the way you guys think...but...i would do speaker cables after upstream is a done are only as good as what fed.

1.) Good power cables/conditioning.dedicated if possible.

2.) Ic’s that are keeper’s

3.) speaker cables to me are cherry on T😁


I do remember reading about the Hijiri PC on the Boulder 866 and I will talk to Colin very soon about different options.   Can you tell me what changes it made to the Boulder 866.   Btw I have been a hard-core tube guy for 40+ years and I can't believe how much I am enjoying the Boulder 


From the 27 review done in Aug 2017   

  • Use the power cord with the truest timbre at your source. It’s impossible to correct timbre after this point.



@bobheinatz I love the 866 too.  Really happy with it on all counts.  The Takumi is still breaking in, but most prominent to me so far is increased detail and musicality.  To my ear, there is a better sense of flow without loss of precision with regard to leading edge transients and decay.  Like you, I've had tube gear before, but I felt like the bloom (which I liked) obscured the detail, which didn't work for me.  Here, I don't feel I'm sacrificing anything...well, except $$. 

After my above post, I recalled using the following website as a primer (if you will) for making cable selections for auditioning purposes:  Audio Bacon 

Obviously, like all reviews, the outcome is subject to the reviewer's ancillary equipment, room and their presentation tastes and preferences.  However, the question of where to begin the auditioning process is always a foremost one.  Thus, the more information that can be amassed and analyzed, the better. 

Prior to upgrading all my cabling from Wire World (4 Electra 7 @$260, Series 8 XLR @ $600 and series 8 speaker cable @ $1500+, and 2 x 15 yo Boutique PCs @ $500) I applied Mad Scientist Audio's Graphene Contact Enhancer to all of them (ditto to all the new cables). That alone was revelatory, and dirt cheap compared to replacing cables, but I read a Agon forum thread about Counterfeit Chinese Cables and tried replacing just my Pangea Premier SE coax ($169) with a Nordost named brand (only the name is copied, still bad, but...) Nordost Odin 2 from DIY HiFi Store at ~ 1/3 the price + free shipping. The only knock being it took 3 weeks from China to S FL, but it was WORTH IT.

I then slowly proceeded to replace everything with the exception of 2 PCs; one to my CorePower 1800 PLC and one to my Audio Alchemy DDP-1 external power supply both from Amazon < $35! and amazing. The XLR interconnect is Odin Gold as are the PCs to my Audiolab CDT6000 and Tweak Audio EVS 1200 power amp. Finally I bought Nordost Odin 2 speaker cables which I eventually replaced with Odin Gold. All in < $1000

since then, Verifi Audio has introduced 2 products that from the user reports are amazing and relatively inexpensive; the Swiss Fuse and the Puron AC power conditioner (see the Agon forums). I haven't gotten them yet, but these plus Graphene Contact Enhancer seems to be must have upgrades before upgrading cables


Check out the Inakustik Reference line. My speaker and IC cables are Inakustik and I like what they bring to the system. The power cord from the wall to the power conditioner is Inakustik. At some point I will change the rest of the power cords to Inakustiks.


This may sound counterintuitive, but we have found the best cable upgrade path is:

Power -->  Speaker --> ICs --> Digital

In case you are interested, Finley Audio (I am one of the owners) will be partnered up with a Boulder 866 this year at Axpona 2023.  We will be using our Cirrus family of cabling to connect the whole system if you want to stop by. 

If you cannot make it, please feel free to call or reach out to us.  We would be happy to discuss your specific system and help you in any way we can.  We also have a trial period for our products to make sure they synergize well with your system. 

Good luck in your search and happy listening!



My suggestion would be do audition several.  The Cable Company has a library that is perfect for this. They charge for use of the library but will credit that to your purchase.  This is definitely the way to go.  The last time I purchased interconnects, I borrowed several cables, all in the $1K to $4K range.  Based on reviews, all were very good but a few were supposedly exceptional.  I ended up purchasing Cardas Clear Reflection because it was the best balanced and best sounding option in my system.  To me, I liked the Reflection's sound better than the Cardas Clear and some of the other more expensive cables.  Others in the group were Audioquest, Acoustic Zen, Nordost, and Kimber.  I would have definitely selected a different cable just based on the reviews.  Reviews are a good place to start but you really need to have the cables in your system and do some critical listening.  

Before you buy I suggest you look at Vogue  Audio 12 awg Pure Silver Interconnects , Power, and Speaker Cables!   They're very reasonably priced to say the least and the quality is top notch.  Just Google Vogue Audio and read all about them. 

Obviously some of the responders to your post have a favorite cable brand and a route to your cable quest. I really, really encourage you to contact the cable company (like a couple of other goners have recommended). John Pharo at the Cable Company is really a goldmine when it comes to recommending cables with your specific equipment. Also take your time to listen to a few different brands and have fun with your quest. When I recently auditioned some new IC's  I had some buddies come over and listen with me to different IC's. (NO ALCOHOL)!!!! One of them heard things way before I was able to detect them in the music used for auditioning so friends help!  

Enjoy the journey!