On a budget? My recommendation would be our Award-Winning Classic Series. These cables combine high purity wire with a foamed polyethylene dielectric, and quality connector parts. Not only does this make for excellent conductive properties, and a nicely balanced, musical sound, AAC’s Classic Series offera sense of refinement that will take your system's performance well beyond generic audio cables. Our Classic Series Cables are an ideal choice for the budget minded audiophile.
Looking to level up? My recommendation would be our Classic Plus or Signature Edition Series for exceptional performance and value. Both add top-line, brand name, copper-based connector parts by Eichmann Technology, Furutech, and DH Labs. Having copper throughout the signal path enhances conductivity, and makes for a sweeter, smoother, grain free, more organic sounding presentation. Classic Plus cables also include trickle down features from our top-line Statement Series Cables. AAC’s Classic Plus or Signature Edition Series cables offer excellent pathways to step up your system’s performance at affordable prices.
Looking to make a big impact? My recommendation would be our Cryo Treated and Enhanced e Series, Copper Cryo Series, or if you are looking for your last or the very best performance audio cables money can buy, our flagship Statement Series. All feature a patented process deep cryogenic treatment, which greatly reduces sibilance in the lower treble range, while increasing depth of sound stage, allowing the music to better fill the room, along with improved timbre, texture, and a more colorful, realistic sounding tone in musical instruments and voices.
I get this question a lot. It’s a good one with no completely clear answer. The old audiophile saying “if it doesn’t happen upstream, it won’t happen downstream at the speakers” is a good template to work with, making new analog or digital interconnects for your DAC, Streamer / Server, CD Player, Phono Stage, or Preamplifier a viable option. With that said, the right speaker or power cable choice will result in considerable performance gains as well.
When choosing speaker cables, heavier gauge cables are recommended for larger tower or stand mount speaker models capable of full range performance. These cables include our Statement, SC-5 ePlus, Copper Cryo, or Classic Plus Double models.
For smaller stand mount or bookshelf speakers with restricted low frequency response, a lighter gauge single wire or a double bi-wire cable, as well as an internally bi-wired speaker cable is a good option. For single wire, our Classic, Classic Plus, or e2.2 models are excellent choices. Our Classic is also available in a Double Bi-Wire configuration.Internally bi-wired cables are available with our Statement, SC-5 ePlus, Copper Cryo, or Classic Plus Double models.
With hi-fi power cables, most if not all audio components show a clearly discernable upgrade in performance when replacing stock power cords. However, replacing power cables system wide can be a costly proposition for hobbyists unsure of how much difference they can make. I suggest starting with an upstream component such as a DAC, Streamer / Server, CD Player, Phono Stage or Preamplifier. If you have a quality power distribution device, a power cable here can serve for a “global” improvement in performance for the entire system.
How you perceive your audio system’s tonal character provides a good place to start. Your perception of what you hear, what you appreciate about your sound, and what you don’t, will go a long way to ultimately finding a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in your hi-fi listening sessions.
If your system seems more neutral sounding, it’s detailed, clear, and open, yet not fatiguing, thin, or cold sounding, you have assembled a group of components that play well together tonally, and this well-balanced system becomes a good candidate for neutral sounding cables.
On the flip side, if your music sessions are at times cut short due to “listening fatigue”, if things can sound bright a little too often, your system is a good candidate for warmer sounding cable choices. Power cables can be a huge help in smoothing out any harshness in your sound.
If your system sounds a bit too warm, with high frequency and mid-band playback somewhat rolled off or obscured, with perhaps a loss of openness, clarity and detail, your system is a good candidate for neutral sounding cables.
Pure silver wires sound very neutral, and in many applications to an undesirable extreme, as they can sound forward in the treble, and threadbare in some systems. Pure, 100% silver signal cables (interconnect and speaker), or power cables are invariably a more difficult fit in audio systems when working with tonal balance.
It is because of these ideologies that Audio Art Cable uses high-purity silver plated copper wires, or a hybrid fusion of pure copper and silver-plated copper wires for all our cable designs.
We whole-heartedly recommend any of our cable models as performance and value-oriented additions to any audiophile hobbyist’s system. Please see my specific recommendations above depending on where you are at on your journey and visit the individual product pages for complete details on every model.
High-quality cables only get the signal most of the way there, and then hand the signal off to a connector part, which then hands the signal off to the downstream component. Connector parts also originate signal hand off from the upstream component.
To simplify connector choices to balance your system’s presentation to your liking, consider this:
- Gold plated connector parts sound warmer.
- Rhodium or Silver-plated connector parts sound more neutral.
- Pure Silver connector parts also sound more neutral.
I recommend giving these options mindful consideration when choosing cables for your system and for your preferences. Many of AAC’s cable models feature optional connector plating, allowing you to dial in the sound to suit your system’s existing balance, as well as – most importantly – your preferences.
Despite its inferior conductivity properties, brass serves a purpose in audio connector parts for its rigidness and cheaper material making for a lower cost part, and ultimately a lower cost assembled cable. AAC uses brass in some of our designs, to create a value-oriented product that offers solid performance.
Do beware as you shop. Brass based parts are spec’d into many designs by hi-fi cable manufacturers. These low-cost parts are then used with quality wire bought in bulk at a low price, and the finished product is then pitched with the wire type factor out front. I have found this to be common in the hi-fi industry, but it may be changing some now as consumer awareness is increasing with accessible information online. AAC has used high-performance copper-based parts as standard equipment in its upper-level designs since our early years. The reason was to satisfy the demand of fellow hobbyists who contacted us and wanted to see that option in cable products.
I cannot advocate choosing high purity cables made with quality, copper-based connector parts strongly enough.
Upgrading stock, power cables that came "in the box" with your component to quality aftermarket power cables make a profound impact on your system’s performance and make for the easiest boost in performance to discern. I have done A/B tests with several “non-audiophiles” over the years, and it always rings true. And yet, it’s the last frontier for many audio enthusiasts. How could a component perform (sound) any better with a different power cable if it’s plugged in and operating? This phenomenon may not even be measurable, who’s to say. I attribute this unmistakable performance enhancement to “the quality of current delivery to the device being improved”. Regardless, you need to try a power cable in your system if you are a skeptic, or you need to go all in if you are convinced. Try a power cable in your system and join the movement!
RCA vs XLR
XLRs are called balanced connections, and have 3 pins while RCA’s are unbalanced, or single ended, and have 1 center pin.
But what is the difference between these two types of cables? A primary benefit of balanced XLR cables is the ability to transmit audio signals over longer lengths or runs, without signal loss, or interference from noise. Balanced cables can have a lower signal to noise ratio as well, resulting in a blacker background to the sound. This helps to distinctly portray images in space, populating the sound stage with more palpable, realistic, and tangible sounding instruments and vocals.
Some components do not allow for a choice between connecting components with XLR’s or RCA’s, and only have single ended (RCA) or only balanced (XLR) inputs and / or outputs.
If you do have the choice, it is wise to choose XLR connections over RCA, although I have talked to hobbyists who have preferred the sound of RCA’s. As with all high-end audio choices, you will need to experiment to establish your own preferences for your own system.
One brand vs mix and match looms
If the sonic character of an interconnect or speaker cable leads you to a greater sense of listening satisfaction, you are on the right path. When your system comes alive, and you are hearing your favorite recordings in a brand-new way, it makes perfect sense to try a second cable from that company’s line-up.
Acquiring knowledge from a manufacturer’s website, reading consumer reviews, and trade publication reviews is a good place to start. Gathering more information puts you in control and prepares you to make informed decisions.
Have fun with the process. The audiophile journey is all about good times listening to your favorite music! And remember, Audio Art has a return policy in place if a cable choice turns out to not be what you want. We are always a phone call, email, or text message away to answer your questions, and to help you decide.