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Thanks for the article "Benchmark Systems, Part Three: The $5000 Full-Ranger."

I recently got back into music. I spent a few months performing some research and sound tests. When I purchased my core components, the dealer threw in some Monster Cable speaker cables and suggested that at some point I may want to consider upgrading speaker cables. I saw some of the prices (this dealer carries Kimber) and thought Ya, right. The first thought that came to my minds was: snake oil!

Anyway, after reading this article (the system you put together seems similar in price and performance to the one I have started building), I decided to give some DH Labs Silver Sonics a sound test. I located a DH Labs dealer in my area, and he provided me with a pair of biwired Silver Sonic Q10s to sample in my system. (I know, this is the next step up from the T14s used in your system.)

Once I got the demo Q10s home, I simply plugged them into my system and used them for about a week for casual listening. My first opinion was snake oil, no difference. But, being the detail-oriented individual that I am, I wanted to do my due diligence and once and for all put to rest (in my mind) that speaker cables make no difference. So I took a day of vacation to compare a few songs that really seem to excel on my system.

With the Q10s in my system I grabbed a notebook, pen, and a cup of coffee. I lined up my CDs and prepared for the sound test. I figured it would take an hour at most. I started with my Raising Sand CD (Robert Plant/Alison Krauss) and played "Please Read the Letter." I played this song four times in a row, each at a different volume, and clearly drew the soundstage in my notebook. I also made notes as I followed each of the instruments and the various melodies. I then moved on to a few other CDs and listened to three other songs at various volume levels, and again drew the soundstage, and made notes. Wow, I just burned three hours! It wasn't tedious; it was enjoyably engaging. Now it was time to swap to the Monster Cables.

With the Monster cables, I put in the last song I had listened to with the Q10s (since it was freshest in my mind). The first thing I noticed was more treble: "cool, the cables I own sound better." Another 30 seconds of listening, and wait: ya, more treble noise. The soundstage was a lot more difficult to hear, the cymbals had a crashing, screechy sound, and higher-pitched vocals became harsh. I popped CDs in and out moving from song to song (almost frantically), because something had stolen the rich sound of each instrument, and the clearly discernible soundstage! Songs with electric guitars no longer had individual strings: they all bled together. No way!

I powered down my system and put the Q10s back in, powered back up, popped in Raising Sand, and grinned: the rich sound and stage were back!

I ordered a new pair of Silver Sonic Q10s, internally biwired with banana connectors. The new cables are now in my system. Thanks for the DH Labs recommendation: it made a noticeable difference in my system.