Interconnect and/or Music testing recommendations (RCA)

So I have been using XLR forever and prefer it. However I got a great deal on a nice DAC w/ a different topology (tube) and I really am enjoying it so far. These are made to order, I got it from a friend on AGon and it is RCA only. So this weekend I thought I would try a shootout with what meager cables I do have and see if I can hear any difference before I spend $$ on “new” cables (will look used and new of course). My stuff is pretty old:

Auricle Audio Kapton Teflon with twisted design and silver/copper wire.
“High end” (lol) Monster cables that look and feel good but may suck…
AudioQuest Red River & Carbon and other various unknowns

My questions are:

  1. What RCAs do you recommend/use between DAC and amp?
  2. What music do you play to try and discern differences when you add cables?

My guess is there is room for improvement over the “stellar” choices I have on hand. Price range is sub 500 which I certainly hope would do it. I would rather they be a bit bright than dark and would love to preserve the detail and image I am hearing, maybe improve on it.

Here are my test tracks (HD). Additions or thoughts?

Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart
Boz Skaggs Thanks to You
ZZ Top- Blue Jean Blues

Thanks for any input…!!! I’ll research all suggestions…

I just used The Cable Company to make new speaker cable upgrade and it worked great. Just give them a call, tell them what you have, your budget, and musical preferences and they will give you suggestions based on your answers. I think they use a database of previous customer comments and experiences to see what feedback has been for comparable systems to what you have. They will make suggestions on how to compare different cables as well. After making early swaps and comparisons I left the cables I liked best in for 10 days or so before I placed an order. You have to send review samples back. I could not wait for my new cables to arrive as I could not listen to my system anymore with my old original cables back in. Have fun and good luck. Just FYI - I have some AudioQuest Red River RCA’s in my system and like them a lot.

I’ve discovered a very good cheap RCA terminated interconnect to use in my audio visual system which needs a well-shielded interconnect due to the environment I’m forced to put the components (behind a cadenza wtih not a lot of space arrange power and signal cabling with good separatation.) I have been using two sets of Audioquest YIQ-5 coaxial component video cables. Obviously as a component cable it has one more RCA plug than needed, I just let the extra sit unused. The conductor is solid silver and there is excellent shielding and insulation. Of course it’s no longer made but that means when you find one they are a third or a quarter of the original price; I got two sets for less than one hundred each. Really impressed with the resulting sound.

As for music for testing. . . I generally use recordings I made of two groups I was in in the late 'eighties, recorded in my then garage apartment–I know so much about the recordings themselves that it gives me a lot to consider in evaluations.

Otherwise I use recordings I have had in several formats over the years and have listened to dozens of times over the years, knowing the material well and how they have sounded on the systems I’ve had. For example “Kind of Blue,” “Crescent,” “Ellington Indigos,” or “New Morning” or a number of Gershwin or Beethoven recordings I’ve had for decades.

Let us know if you hear a difference between your current cables. If you don’t, it’s less likely a more expensive cable can be heard.

If you can hear a difference, find several brands within your price range that have trials or generous return policies and listen to them for the one that sounds best to you. Some that come to mind are Blue Jeans, Anticables, Audio Envy, Wireworld.

There are plenty of brands discussed on many threads in this forum. A search will yield nothing short of at least two dozen threads with observations on character.

I do have a HD of Kinda Blue…Good one to add. I have definitely heard of Blue jeans and Anti cables. Another one that seems well respected is Mackenzie and of course Yukon. And your right Vee, If I cant hear a difference between Aurlic, Monster and Golden Gate then 15K Wireworld won’t do much. My system can “hear” it I’m sure but these old ears may not. I listened to the silver/copper so far. I got the 1990 Monster on there now for a session later.

BTW- I did a quick search before I posted but did not try by Mfg. I’ll do some research this afternoon and apologize for any redundancy…

After trying Iconoclast BAV cables, it took less than a minute for them to best 3 other cables I had been using for years. Very dynamic and detailed.

Jeff Healy Band does a pretty smokin cover of Blue Jean Blues if you want a different version of a track you already use for system tests