For many audio enthusiasts, one of the most exciting aspects of developing a high-end home audio system is searching for the finest components, attempting to perfect the system one piece at a time. Fine audio accessories are not hard to find in Chicago, but there is a lot of debate about which accessories really enhance your listening experience and which ones provide only a cosmetic difference.
Cables seem to be a frequent subject of debate among audiophiles. Some say that the music you’re listening to is only really affected by the major equipment it’s played on and heard through. Others think it’s ludicrous to suggest that what connects those pieces of equipment to each other—in other words, the cables—somehow doesn’t matter.
As is often the case, there is some truth to both of these positions. It’s true that even the best cables probably won’t make much of a difference on a standard stereo system. They just aren’t as integral to the quality of playback as speakers or electronics. But particularly if you already have a high-quality home audio system, upgrading to the finest cables isn’t just a logical next step—it may take your listening experience to a level you couldn’t have imagined.
When considering the various cables that are used in any home audio system, there are three main types under discussion: interconnect cables, speaker cables and power cables. The function of each is clear:
- Interconnect cables connect and carry sound from a source such as a CD player to an amplifier or pre-amplifier.
- Speaker cables connect the speakers to the amplifier, thus allowing the sound to transmit.
- Power cables carry electricity from a wall socket to any number of electronic components.
The interconnect cables will provide the most opportunity for improvement. Provided that your system is already arranged in your home in a way that allows for an ideal listening experience, the benefits of high-end interconnect cables will most often manifest as increased clarity. Maybe a singer’s voice will be easier to understand, individual instruments will be easier to hear or the band members will sound like they’ve been arranged around your room. This newfound clarity can come about as a result of upgrading your interconnect cables.
Once you’ve done so with your interconnect cables, upgrading your speaker cables is the next step. The differences you’ll notice with higher-end speaker cables aren’t as dramatic as you might hear with upgraded interconnect cables, but a sensitive, expert ear will likely pick up on them.
Power cables have substantially less effect on your listening experience, and should be the last thing you upgrade, cable-wise. Some audiophiles don’t even go this far, but others reasonably argue that leaving this potential weakness in a high-end system isn’t worth it.
Although studies of high-end cables have had inconclusive results, on the evidence of innumerable audiophiles who swear they hear a difference—and, even more importantly, who find themselves genuinely moved by what they hear—high-quality audio cables can be a rewarding and life-enhancing investment. When shopping for top-of-the-line audio accessories in Chicago, you can’t beat the knowledge and expertise of an established professional. Turn to the experts to help you determine what types of cables and what brands are best suited to your home audio needs and budget.