Cables can be the icing on the cake

I’ve always experienced cables to make a difference in SQ. I just never realized that really good cables can be components that make other components in the chain really sing.

I have a DSD DAC going into a BHK Preamp, then into a BHK 250 amp driving Focal 1038be speakers. All are connected to a P15 regenerator. My connects included an AQ USB Coffee from PC to DAC, AQ XLR Yukons going from the DAC to the preamp and the preamp to the amp, and AQ Castle Rocks to the speakers.

This week I replaced the Yukons with AQ Earths and the Castle Rocks with AQ Robin Hoods. Changing the Yukons for Earths alone made an audible difference, particularly in clarity and staging.

However, the base extension was not quite there. Speaker placement did not get it for me. I thought perhaps the Focals were not as capable, as some reviewers have reported, of going down deep.

Not wanting to give up I replaced the AQ Castle Rock speaker cables with AQ Robin Hood Zeros. I hoped for an improvement in bass extension, what I got was a transformation. My Focals are in fact quite capable of reproducing deep and natural bass.

The AQ Castle Rocks are hardly a shabby cable. Neither are the Yukon interconnects for that matter. They just don’t have the resolving power of their higher grade and more expensive relatives.

From now on I will look at reviews and comments that claim audio components lack or have too much of an SQ trait with more critical eyes, looking at cables as components that can enhance or detract from the resolving potential of fine gear.


Cables can affect performance for sure. AQ makes great stuff. I have a few of their power cables. Most of my stuff is Cardas. Nothing crazy, mostly the mid-priced stuff. Most of my listening is through headphones, so I don’t have much invested in speaker cables - homemade Canare 4S11. I do have a mint invested in Cardas headphone cables: Clear, Clear Light, Cross, and Cardas Blue 4x24.

Cables are a pricey tweak, but they do make a difference. All comes down to how much you want to spend. I try to prioritize the better cables into the most used positions. (e.g, DAC to preamp; preamp to headphone amps).

Be safe. Hope they get that Snow Fire out soon in Palm Springs…I’m about 40 miles SW near Temecula.

Thanks. We are so tired of fires everywhere. You know what it’s like. I think you’ve had some near you.

I have Cardas Irridium interconnects and Parsec speakers cables in my storehouse, as well as Canare 4S11. They worked quite well until I changed all of my equipment to the PSA components I mentioned. Then they sounded veiled. That is why I tried the AQs.

Honestly, I did not expect the improvement I got. Fortunately, PSA now sells AQ and they can be returned according to their generous return policies so it was a no-brainer to try them.

They are pricey but so worth it. Thanks again for your comment.

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110% agree! Cables can truly transform a system from ok to OMG! I replaced a pretty decent set of Cardas speaker cables with a crazy expensive pair of Cardas Clear Beyond and I definitely wasn’t ready for the huge difference. Now my entire system is wired with Cardas Clear and Clear Beyond.

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Whether it’s Cardas or Audioquest or some other reputable brand, going from their standard to premium versions can be an eye-opener. Hearing is believing!

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I’ve bought most of my Cardas cables used. Did you notice a big jump in performance off the bat, or was there a break in period. Curious, since I have a couple of Cygnus ICs being assembled right now.

Allow me to interject. My direct experience is with AQ. However, I’ve read (in Stereophile I think), and can confirm, that there is a break-in period and that, if cables are not used for an unspecified amount of time, they require break-in again to sound their best. Have not read about what that idle time is or if the second or subsequent break-ins take less time than the first.

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