Where to place your best cables

I’ve read elsewhere here that you should place your best cables upstream, because you can never get back what you’ve lost upstream. Although this makes perfect sense, I don’t think it’s always the case.
When I purchased the BHK preamp a few years back I needed another set of ic’s besides the one pair I was using to connect the DSD directly to the BHK 250. The pair I purchased was of higher quality than my current set, and to test this out before setting up the preamp, I ABed the two cables connecting just the DAC to the amp. It was obvious that in fact the newer ic sounded much better than my current pair. However, after the preamp was completely broken in, I tried switching the cables around, placing the better cable downstream, to connect the preamp to the amp, and the lesser cable between the DAC and the preamp, the improvement was immediately obvious. Just recently I decided to try switching them around again, since I had made several upgrades to my system since purchasing the preamp, and this time it was even more obvious that the system sounded much better with the lesser ic upstream.

Trying to figure out why this may be the case. Could it be because, electrically, the cables are a better match to the components they’re hooked up to?

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Hey Gary M

For me it is that the better cable will ususally benefit where it is placed whether
upstream or downstream…

This was my experience when I first tried a Pangea AC14SE Mkll going from Oppo
205 …to regenerator, then moved it to preamp as yourself found improvements here
as well so then ordered another AC14SE Mkll to complement the Oppo and preamp.

Liking this as well then went whole hog and ordered 2 Pangea AC9SE Mklls to go from power amp (then my Parasound A21 regenerator and regenerator (then a P5 upgraded to
P12 then to P15) to wall…Parasound A21 upgraded to my wonderful Parasound JC5.

The overall results are really excellent in every way we would wish it to be.

Results will be along the line of ymmv from system to system.

As you go along go ahead upgrade your cables…improvements should follow.

Hope this helps you some Gary

Best wishes

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Definitely plan on upgrading the lesser of the two cables, which I’m sure will further improve the sound of my system. I guess the conclusion that can be drawn is, the preamp/amp connection benefited more than the DAC/preamp connection, from the better cable.

What really surprised me was how much better the system sounded with the better ic between the preamp/amp, it was night and day. Soundstage completely collapsed and the bass became anemic with the cables switched around the other way.

I don’t think is a question of better or not.

I found that preamp/amp or phono/preamp may require different cables from DAC/preamp. It’s always a matter of synergies and balance.

IME digital rig (DAC/preamp) benefited from AQ Dragon XLR cables while on the analog path (phono/preamp/amps) UPOCC Iconoclast XLRs provided the best results. After lots of experiments, see the thread where I report my thoughts

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Gary M ,

I need a time out …how in the world could I read ic as power cable…
jeepers creepers mama mia …sorry Gary!!

In my case of ics pretty much as yours tried Nordost Red Dawn xlr from
Oppo 205 to preamp was an ear opener…figuring that Red Dawn xlr from
preamp to power amp would also benefit …ordered it as well with another
ear opener…outstanding all of it…

Best wishes friend!!

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You’re obviously doing it the right way, Gary.
Start with the “rule of them” and then let your ears decide.

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My experience of IC mirrored others here, there is more improvement with better IC between Pre and amp than upstream. However, it is better to have the same brand of IC linking all components. When I added a second pair of Iconoclasts UPOCC xlr between Dac and pre the improvement was huge too.

But the power cord is a different story. Other than the generator, the best PC happens to be at either PST, or at the streamer in my case.


Experienced the same thing with power cords. The PST benefited the most from the best power cord.

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First money power conditioner and power cables.

Interconnects first