I need cables for my 2 channel system

Hi all,

I find the cable discussion very confusing, and it's pretty tough to separate the snake oil from the substance. Here is my current system:

  • MacBook Pro (late 2016 - USB-C) --- <Generic Cheap USB Cable>
  • Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ --- <Monoprice Premium XLR> 
  • Rotel RC-1590 Preamp --- <Monoprice Premium XLR> (Runs to Headphone setup on Out2)
  • Rotel RB-1582mk --- <Monoprice Access Series 14 Gauge AWG CL2 Rated 2 Speaker Cable> 
  • B&W 805 D3
  • Considering getting an SBooster power upgrade for Mytek, but they aren't currently available (open to other options)
  • 805s will be replaced with 802 D3 at some point this year
  • Considering a different amp, if the Rotel doesn't pair well with the 802D3
  • I only listen to digital streaming music with this setup - usually Tidal
  • Occasionally use a Yamaha WXC-50 to AirPlay to the Mytek

Happy to hear any advice about the system, but in particular cabling. I am not looking to break the bank, but if there is substantial improvement to be had for a few hundred dollars, I'd love to hear suggestions. I am not, however, looking super expensive cables and cords. As for sound, I do love the sound of the 805 (and 802 when I've heard it), so I'm not looking to make some radical change to the sound signature. Just more of the awesome I already hear. Thanks!
Ag insider logo xs@2xmayoradamwest
I find the cable discussion very confusing, and it’s pretty tough to separate the snake oil from the substance ... Happy to hear any advice about the system, but in particular cabling.
The cable discussions are not really as confusing as they may appear and it’s not that difficult to "separate the snake oil from the substance." My suggestion is to visit a local dealer who will not only demo some systems for you, but who will also loan you some cables so that you can listen and decide for yourself.
I was hoping to buy on Audiogon if possible. Sadly, in the SF Bay Area, Magnolia drove pretty much everyone out of business. I can hear a few Audioquest cables at one dealer, but not through the B&Ws (only sold at magnolia) and Magnolia's cables (don't remember the brand) were far more expensive than I was willing to go. How do I sort it out? I believe I have some main points where it seems like improvement could be made easily
  • Power to DAC
  • USB to DAC
  • Power to Pre-amp
  • XLR 

The cable runs are all super short. I am even using 1.5ft for the XLR on 2, and 3ft for the other 2. Even the speakers are close. One is maybe 3ft and 10ft.
Give The Cable Company a call and discuss. Then move forward with at least two separate looms to cover your system (power and signal) so you can compare, within your own system.

The Cable Company will ask for a small deposit and shipping cost. You can apply the deposit to whatever you decide to purchase. 

Since you mention that you don't have local dealers, this is an easy and beneficial way to accomplish your goals.
I purchased some Zu Audio cables off Ebay pretty nice and around $30-40 for 1m rca’s
it may take some time bidding as they seem pretty popular
I agree 100% w/david_ten’s advice. The Cable Co. has a database on cable for equipment (based on user info, I believe). Do give them a call.

At the same time, there will be brands that "fly" under The Cable Co. radar. You might want to at least research some of these. They represent high-value offerings and won’t break the bank.

Power (for DAC & Pre-Amp) - Shunyata Venom (Actually, The Cable Co. does carry this line and has good pricing right now). Pangea 14SE power cords. Not everyone is in love with the larger gauge Pangea 9xx series but I think, for sources, the 14xx series is very good.

USB to DAC - I’ve been very impressed with an Oyaide NEO d+ Class A cable (Class A, not Class B). Noticeably better than an all silver Pangea and an all copper Audioquest I have.

XLR - Mogami Gold Studio Neglex Quad Microphone Cable. You can spend more, but why? Let your ears be the judge. In my system, this holds its own in the company of Cardas Golden Ref., AQ Columbia, Harmonic Tech Pro Silway II & Cabledyne Copper Reference. A killer bargain by comparison.

Speaker Cable - Clear Day Double Shotgun cable. Very impressed with Paul’s wire and prefer it by a good margin over Morrow Audio SP-4 cable. Others that are well regarded but which I’ve not heard: Signal Cable and Audio Art.

No guarantee what sounds good with my gear (or to my ears) will work for you.  Just some ideas to check out.  ALSO - Opinions about cable are like a certain bodily orifice. Everybody’s got one. Good luck in your hunt.

Thanks, Ghosthouse!

One thing I've been trying to figure out is who makes a USB-C cable for Hifi? If I get any of them on Audiogon that I see, they all use USB-A from the computer, but that would force me to use the standard Apple USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Sorry Mayor!  I'm clueless about that Type C termination.  I had to look it up.  See link here.  


That might be a question to post as a separate thread on A'gon and/or to ask about over on the Computer Audiophile site.  Before starting a new thread though, enter Type C USB in the "search discussions" box and see if it has come up here.  If so, I missed it but then I always was a "late adopter".  Good luck.
BTW Since we are talking about this, I understand from forums that the best improvement I can make to my Mojo is adding a power supply.  The problem I read was that the cost of the power supply would make the mojo no longer as big a bargain. It would push it up against units that would best it. Any ideas on power supplies that wouldn’t 
mayoradamwestNice system. Transparent Audio cabling is a sonic match for Rotel / B&W speakers. Keep us posted on which brand(s) purchased.
Happy Listening!
@jafant thanks!

I also sent this same question to The Cable Company to get their feedback. I just have a hard time justifying spending more on cables than the Preamp (new is $1900). 
Mayor - a caution...
I've not had much success getting responses to emails sent to The Cable Co.  Maybe that is just me.  On the other hand, dialing in and talking direct to one of their sales people (Stephen, usually for me) has worked very well.  They've been very generous with their time.  Good luck.
When it comes to interconnects, cables, and PCs, there's really very little reason to not just buy used and flip as necessary.  You'll save a ton over buying new, so I just don't see the value of something like the Cable Co. because used wires are such a better value and so easy and cheap to ship. 

Ok, so, here's what I'd do.  Read reviews of cables and find the ones that you think possess the qualities you'd like to improve upon in your system.  Be a little patient and wait for them to become available at a good price here and go for it.  Short of that, I can wholeheartedly recommend Acoustic Zen cables as a great place to start.  Why?  Because they offer a solid glimpse into high-end cables at a very good value used.  Specifically, buy some used Silver Reference interconnects (series 1 or 2) and either Satori or Hologram speaker cables (whichever you can afford), and just start there.  I've tried lots of wires over the years, and I just find these to be a good tipping point between budget and expensive wires while being relatively affordable and easy to sell used.  

As for B&W, look, I hear that you like the sound and that's great.  BUT, there are a BOATLOAD of other options out there, and given where you live you really need to get out there and hear more speakers.  I'll give you four examples right off the top of my head.  I've heard Joseph Audio, ProAc, Silverline, and Vandersteen speakers directly against B&W speakers and there is nothing -- and I mean NOTHING (at least to my ears) -- the B&Ws did better than any of them, and the others imaged and soundstaged so much better than the B&Ws it was silly.  My point is this, get out and hear more speakers.  You live in a great area to go hear stuff, so go do it -- even if you need to travel a few miles (I think Silverline is not far from you at all, and Alan Yun is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in high-end audio)!  If you still think B&Ws are the ones for you, great.  But at least you have a good frame of reference for making that decision.

All that said, you're in a good place now to start seeing what better wires can bring to a system, so go for it.  Just dive in and buy used and you can experiment at very, very little cost or risk.  And by all means keep us posted on what you find, and enjoy the journey!  The more you try, the more you learn. 
@mayoradamwest My recommendation was specific to CALLING the Cable Co.

has given you the reason why.

They will not pressure you and you will learn through the conversation(s), even if you don’t go that route.

I agree with what he and @soix and others are saying in the details within their posts.

However, since you are ’new’ to cables and starting out The Cable Co makes the most sense. They have one of the widest selections available (though they don’t represent everything, and some brands they carry do not allow for representation in their Lending Library) and they make it easy to compare and contrast.

Will you spend more this way? Initially, YES but likely not once you factor in what I state below.

It is going to take time and energy and frustration and money (over time) to get it right. Synergy within and between components and system capability also factor in. Buying and returning has an upfront financial cost and hidden costs tied to time. We audiophiles are most expert at denying and ignoring the drips from the faucet. The drops add up fast.

I believe, in your case, it is far smarter to start with a ’decent’ baseline for yourself (within your current budget). AND THEN start with the trials (and tribulations) and experimenting.

All the best, whichever path you choose.
If you were an analog die-hard, it would mean a rotary dial phone.
Agree about The Cable Co. precisely because what works for one person in their system given their preferences may or may not be the "right" choice for you. As to "right" there are all kinds of reasons offered for why different cables sound different, but in the end, it’s pretty subjective and it’s your money. There’s an affliction that pervades most hobbies and pursuits, variously known as ’upgraditis,’ ’gear lust’ and the sincere desire to extract that last iota of performance from your particular combination of components.
I use fancy cable on my main system and beer budget stuff on my vintage system. I’ve also started trying some brands, like Analysis Plus, that offer very reasonably priced cable starting at less than boutique pricing.
SF area has some pretty serious hi-fi, or at least it used to; there must be some audiophiles there willing to invite you into their homes and let you listen to what they are doing-- all of it is a learning experience. One fellow who posts here periodically-- with a museum full of rare, top flight gear, eschews audiophile cable altogether--not because he is a cable ’denier’ (he acknowledges that different cables change the sound), but for that very reason, uses the basic, run of the mill stuff.
There is also a DIY camp that has momentum-- you can buy raw cable and roll your own. The main issue there is proper terminations. Easier perhaps with some analog wire than digital. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you start making your own power cables, but there are plenty of folks that do.
A very famous manufacturer of the old school- Peter Walker- who developed the legendary Quad Loudspeaker- arguably the first full range commercial electrostatic speaker, was once asked what he considered to be important about cable. He said there were two essential criteria: did it conduct signal and was it long enough.
Between the extremes of argument and price, there is some cable that is right for you. Who was it that tried the beds in the bear’s house and found the one that was just right? That’s your mission. Have fun.

Ask Blondie. She was born before you. : )

I’m a millennial. What’s it mean to “call” something?

"Call"...i.e., use your mobile device for something other than texting, Facebook, taking selfie’s and other nonsense. Use it as a telephone and engage in a real time, person-to-person, spoken conversation. Weird concept, I’m sure.

I just bought two power cords and some Audioquest RCA’s from the Cable Store. Did it online, with a bit of email traffic because the RCA’s were on back order. Peter was the sales guy who took care of me. Turns out everything came together and on time.

Good people to do business with.

Soix, are you sure the B&W speakers you heard were set up correctly?  Mine image with remarkable accuracy and I had Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures for almost 15 years prior.  I have Nautilus 801s which I would say are better in every way to my ear in my room.  Different price point, sure, but you made the generalization.  I agree with the general advice to go listen but being in Sac I have been wondering if there is a great Bay Area dealer left.
Great advice from everyone so far, but would love to hear more about cables. Yes, I get that I should contact the Cable Store, but they are incentivized to sell me expensive cables. I'd love to hear options here from others, and also even specific ones that might be available on Audiogon. I bought my Pre-amp here on Audiogon for $1400, practically new. I can't imagine spending more than that on cables, but maybe I'm wrong?
I have a nice set of kimber select ks 1111 for sale go very well with b&w went with the newer ks 1116 love both cables i have 803 D with 12tc speaker wire and the ks 1116 great combo great bang for the buck 
The point being made by many is that only you (repeat: only you) and your system can drive this.

[I] would love to hear more about cables. I’d love to hear options here from others, and also even specific ones that might be available on Audiogon.

I could throw out any number of recommendations...but I’m not. There are very good reasons for not doing so.
Hey Mayor - 

Everyone is happy to spend your money for you , but you're asking about cables and not speakers ( your B&W's are great ...keep them until you're ready for B&W upgrades ).   B&W's love Kimber Kables . I know because I use the Hero's for my interconnects and speaker connects ( bi-wired ) for my 802 D's and I love the clarity , the headroom, and the wonderful soundstage.  

I agree with grinnell that Zu Audio cables are excellent. I use their Mission A/C cables for most of my system and Cardas Gold Reference for my amps.  ( You can get Zu cables for great prices on eBay ! ) 

Happy hunting and listening my friend ! 
Ah, I get it now.  So, you want an "improvement" in your cables.  What exact aspects of sound reproduction are you looking to improve upon versus your current cables?  If you can't answer this specifically, I think you may be putting the cart before the horse. 

IMO you shouldn't even be contemplating wires or whether Rotel electronics are compatible with B&W 802s (a complete mismatch BTW).  If Magnolia is your current frame of reference you haven't even scratched the surface of awesome sound, and you really need to get out and hear other systems.  As I mentioned earlier, search out and visit other true high-end dealers in your area (you definitely have some around there), even if that means driving an hour or so.  That will start to give you a better perspective of what you like and what you're missing, and then you can identify what your next logical step should be.  I'm on the other coast and have no idea where your good dealers are, but as I mentioned earlier I'm pretty sure Silverline Audio is in your area and at the very least you should go there and hear what Alan has set up.  I'm confident that it would be a very valuable experience and one I certainly wish I could take advantage of.  

Sorry to be preachy here, but I'm really just trying to save you some time and money. 

Silverline is in Walnut Creek according to their website but isn’t in Google Maps and only has a P.O. Box on their website.
Call Hugh at Music Lovers. 510-558-1000. They have two stores in the Bay Area. Tell Hugh Jeff Kalina sent you!! He is very special musical genius.
Post removed 
Post removed 
[dammit, Audiogon keeps messing up, hence the deleted posts above.]

@mayoradamwest where in the Bay Area are you? If you're in SF, you can borrow a couple things from me to try. An upgrade to Mogami Gold for XLR that doesn't cost crazy money would be something like the DH Labs Air Matrix, which also comes in a DIY raw version you can terminate yourself if you're handy. There is also the retro tinned Belden wire which is cheap and sounds pretty good, though I think that comes only in RCA.

TBH with a B+W and Rotel combo, I'm guessing your system is quite bright and you probably want a warmer, less neutral cable to balance it out. BTW since people mention Silverline, I have their SR 17 Supreme speakers in my house and they are superb, if you'd like to give them a listen.

I spent hours reading, searching, scanning discussion comments, and researching before I ended up buying all new cables from James. I’m very pleased with them and they didn’t cost a fortune. I went with the vintage Western Electric wire for my Interconnects and the 4x10 Reference 100 for my main speaker cables. Solid, handmade, quality stuff in my opinion. Good Luck!

@bigjohn9095 thanks! Will check them out 

as for my selection in speakers. I already have he 805D3 and love them. I have listened to many many speakers on my way to deciding on 802D3 next but will keep listening. For my ear, as a professional orchestral and jazz musician, nothing comes close to reproducing an orchestra sound than the 802 in my price range. There is just something right about the brilliance and clarity. If listening to older recordings, that ets lost regardless, but if listening to modern recordings there is something special about the B&W sound. Love it. I’m still considering Focal Sopras (which I have heard) but wasn’t convinced on clarity on my first listen. Anyway, I was trying to focus this discussion on cables. I am already quite happy with direction the sound is going with the Rotel, but admit I’ve got my eye on a Pass Labs X350.8 for when I get the full range speakers. 
I used several different good for the money cables including Morrow MA-3 and MA-4, Crimson, DNM, Audioquest Ruby, Magnan Type-2, Mogami, Randall TX Symmetrical, and Speltz. All of them sounded a TAD different. None floated my boat. Then I read about Darwin Silver cables. They don’t look like much, but it’s part of their design--minimalist sounds better. I tried their basic silver cables and the jump in performance across the frequency spectrum was truly amazing. I then bought their Ascension and Ascension Plus ICs and a second Silver. All their cables use silver wire. Each one in the lineup was better than the previous one. The largest jump in performance was by far going to the Darwin Silver. You won’t dazzle your friends with their impressive looks, but wait until they hear your system with them in it. My good friend in Rockford took home a set of Silvers from me and put it in his system. He called me the next evening and wanted to know what it would cost to own them. He is now VERY happy with the sound they brought to it.

I happen to have one set each of the Darwins used and thus broken in that your could try in your system. At the used price, they are a super steal. I guarantee you will love them compared to what you’re contemplating. All the discussed cables have RCA connectors.

Amadi Maddie Signature silver cables are amazing for the money. They replaced MG Audio Planus III copper cables in my system. The MG’s were the first speaker cable that made a quantum leap in performance over many others I had tried previously. The Amadi’s were much easier to use and less fragile, had just as much performance increases as the MG’s, and even had a deeper, more potent bass with better dynamics to boot. Other speaker cables I tried were DNM, Morrow SP-4 and 5 biwired, Audioquest Midnight biwired, Crimson, Harmonic Technology Pro 9+, Speltz Anticables, and a few others I can’t even remember. The Speltz sounded the most articulate and live of all the cables until I tried the MG’s and then the Amadi’s. They were way beyond the rest in performance. The MG’s were a wide 3" ribbon and were also only 6.5 ft. long. They represented a sincere tripping hazard as they has to hang in the air to reach the speakers, plus they are very fragile where the ribbons to connectors lie. In my system, a friend brought over cables that just gelled a hair better than the Amadi’s to create a touch more organic sound. I have ribbon speakers that are very revealing. By the way, the MG’s were over $1600 a pair. The Amadi’s were less than half that much. The Morrow cables sound nice, but there is very little difference in one model to the next in sound IMO.

If you consider your system to be a little less than live sounding, the cables I’ve mentioned will definitely make a big difference, all for the better. At used prices, you can’t get more for the money.

I highly recommend  Blue Jeans cables (BJC) from Seattle. They're a great cable to use while you figure out how much you really want to invest in cabling. Some people spend many thousands on them.

BJCs are ultra-low capacitance. I've yet to find a cable at any price with as low a capacitance (12.4 pf / ft). For connecting components that's a key concern. And I don't find they color the sound at all. And they're very low cost for the quality. They're even available on Amazon Prime recently, so delivery is quick.

All my cables are BJC. At some point I'll try some higher end stuff to see how much difference they make, but in the meantime, there's no rush cuz everything is sounding very, very good. Good highs, mids, and bass; and very large, detailed sound-stage.
Anyway, just my opinion/suggestion.
Happy listening.


Yes, I get that I should contact the Cable Store, but they are incentivized to sell me expensive cables.

The used market is great for bargains but it requires knowing a bit about what will work for you (your gear & your ears). The Cable Company is another good resource for getting grounded in "cable lore". Contrary to your concern quoted above, I have not found them to promote cables that are way above my budget.

Just about all my conversations with Stephen at the Cable Company include him asking, early on, about associated gear and what I wanted to spend. He then makes a couple of suggestions in my price range. Will even tell me if something worth considering is available at Used Cable.com. Yes - he might suggest something that is just above my proposed spend, but not outrageously so. I’ve yet to encounter any strong-arm, pushy tactics with them.
I'd be open to calling the Cable Company, but I'm pretty skeptical of a business that can't answer their own email or even worse in this case, their own internet question form. My salesman at Magnolia is super responsive on email and text messages, as is the other high end audio shop nearby.

Btw, since I didn't specify, I live in Campbell.
This is why calling is better. In the old days, we used carrier pigeons, but what a mess! :)
I did business with them-- Robert Stein there is a good guy--
Canare/ Blue Jeans Cable.

USB cables don’t matter.  It’s 1’s and 0’s.
@dimora as a tech guy I’d normally agree about USB, but I’ve seen some reasonable arguments about transmission of unwanted signal across the wire with the 1s and 0s. This is why it’s so tough to separate snake oil out. It’s easy to find people who swear all of these things make huge differences. I’m going to call the Cable Company today to at least look at a starter kit and will keep my eyes open on Audiogon. Again, appreciate all the advice in this thread. 
Ok so I didn't read all the suggestions but I'm sure someone mentioned cable company for loaner cables. .but they charge a non refundable deposit of 5 percent so if you don't like any of the cables you have money you can't get back...screw that, go to a great audiogon member /seller highend-electronics talk with Alfred about demo cable's they won't hit you with a fee and he gives you  30 days to decide! Man you can't beat that.best of luck on your journey. 
Alfred of High End Electronics is superb. I've purchased product from him and will likely do so again in the future. My full signal cable loom is all SR, a line he represents. This post is in no way meant to detract from him, his business, and his product line.

He carries 3 lines of cables. Let me repeat that: 3 as in THREE!

His least expensive IC comes in at $699. 

Johnny B Serious! Yup, "can't beat that." 
My 2 cents. I agree generally with those who say that the best cable for connecting device X to Z is brand S. IOW, one cable very well may not mate well with your gear. I recently went through cables some of which costing north of $600, and below between several components in my system. I slightly preferred Signal Cables which are Copper clad in silver. I have heard the "diode" chatter on line, but it sounded the best in my system. The differences seemed small, but I just upgraded my 801M&W Matrix V.2 with heavily modified crossovers to stock Thiel CS-7's. I was wondering how the Cardis Golden References might sound. With the Thiels the difference was no longer nominal. If you want high quality at a reasonable price, I would seriously consider Signal Cable's Silver Resolution cables. It was actually LAT International's silver/copper cables, where they sent both through a die that pressed them together which made me realize that I generally find that the combination sounds better than either on its own. LAT closed its doors for retirement, and I have honestly only made my own from their hookup wire, so I have never done a toe to toe between them and Signal. Bluejeans is said to be hitting above its weight class, and while I am not wild about their silver cables DHLabs copper ICs are said to be a good bang for the buck. All that said, results in your system, and even between different components may vary! Good luck!

I have never bought anything from the Cable Co., But I have gotten some great deals on Zu interconnects and speaker cables on eBay. None of them made HUGE improvements over the Audioquest ICs they replaced or could best a pair of WireWorld Oasis 7's. Once you get above a certain relatively low price point the law of diminishing returns seems to follow an exponential curve for me. But I only paid what I was willing to gamble and loose for them and I'd do that again, especially for speaker cables. The big fat Zu Libtec cables in single runs were an  improvement over the Auvui Delux 14g silverclad cable I had in a bi-wire set up; but I would have been really disappointed if I'd paid list price.
I didn't start thinking about spending much money on cable upgrades until I'd upgraded my Rotel 100 receiver (an oldie, but goody) For a Primare I32. I know there is supposed to be a synergy between Rotel and B&W, since they share ownership; but the Rotel sounded very capable with my Canton Ergo speakers.
Long story short: I'd look at other things before I spent on cables, were I you.
I did get a hold of someone at the Cable Company and they are going to put together some options for me. I'll make that my first pass and see how it goes. Additionally, I'll be keeping an eye on Audiogon for some deals that might come up. I'm particularly interested in the effects of USB cables on sound (as I am going directly from the MacBook Pro to DAC) and also, if there are some better options for USB-C, though that might not actually matter.