Any benefit to partial system interconnect upgrade?

Thought I would see what experiences anyone has had with upgrading some, but not all cables within a system. The reasoning for this is that in my setup I have my sources and preamp components on the side wall with the amplifiers in front between the speakers. This results in an 8 m run between the preamp and the amp. I’m thinking about upgrading the 1m ICs between sources and preamp but the cost of an upgraded 8m IC would be prohibitive for me.

Historically, I have always made sure to have the best IC between the preamp and the amp since it is the final link regardless of source. This would break my pattern by having the higher quality IC upstream. So the question is if anyone finds the proverbial “weak link” theory come into play or not in this scenario?

Some of the interconnect/speaker cable pairs I’ve used definitely work better from the same manufacturer, which doesn’t surprised me 1) that manufacturer may understand something significant that others don’t and 2) that manufacturer isn’t likely to release an interconnect that doesn’t work well with their speaker cable and vice versa. In the case of the ICONOCLAST, Galen was definitely suggesting to me that I wouldn’t be hearing the best of his interconnects with his speaker wires (or was it the other way around? :slight_smile: ) Still I think that depends on the other cables and I didn’t find that mixing ICONOCLAST with the rest of my cables was significantly different than an all ICONOCLAST system.

I’ve always felt that the interconnect after the preamp would matter the most since it (typically) has a lower level signal in it, but with the ICONOCLAST I was better off with the higher quality interconnect between the DS and the preamp.

If you have the option, you may find that the longer lengths matter less on balanced connections.

Thanks for the info Ted. All my ICs are balanced. It is interesting to hear your impressions with the DS->Preamp being the most significant particularly. As I replace my standalone SACD player with the DS Memory Player, that removes one set of interconnects from the system, so it is that very connection I am most interested in addressing.

The whole matching cable matching notion certainly makes sense from a marketing perspective obviously. The manufacturer should honestly believe their design is superior, unless they are just in it for the $$. I’ve never had all wire from the same manufacturer, mainly because I don’t upgrade often. My PCs are all PSA, my speaker wire has been Kimber for 20 years and my ICs are a mish mash I’ve collected as components have been added. As I’ve streamlined, thanks to PSA mostly, I’ve paired it down to just two ICs and the various digital cables, which is why I’m contemplating an upgrade for the DS->BHK. I can swing a 1 M pair of most non-stratospherically priced cable, but not so an 8 M run.

Certainly changing the IC between the pre-amp and power amp yielded such a noticeable improvement for me that I then went and upgraded the IC between the DAC and the pre-amp, which also yielded improvement. Fortunately I don’t have an 8m run between the pre-amp and the power amp because at $5000/m for each IC pair would have been economically insensible (I’m using Crystal Cable Ultra Diamond XLR, which is about their 3rd tier IC).