AudioQuest CarbonPrices: $695 per 1.5m (Diamond); $159 per 1.5m (Carbon).

Website: www.audioquest.com

Doug said: While the degree of sonic improvement wasn’t large in absolute terms, it was just the sort of improvement that keeps audiophiles on the upgrade path. Kudos to the AudioQuest Carbon cable for bang-for-buck performance, and to AQ’s Diamond cable for cost-no-object performance. 

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: We know, it makes no sense.

DH Labs White LightningPrices: $3.50 per foot (Odyssey speaker cables), $60 per 1m pair (White Lightning interconnects)

Website: www.silversonic.com

Hans said: These entry-level offerings from a company already known for its rather humble pricing policies are as unassuming in performance as they are in appearance. Doing nothing wrong and a good deal right, they offer value in the form of affordable performance, a quality sure to be appreciated by any listener.

Great Buy

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Sanely priced, good audio cables. Imagine that.

Hemingway AudioPrices: $7000 per 3m pair (speaker cables), $5000 per 1.5m pair (interconnects)

Website: www.hemingwayaudio.com

Michael said: Hemingway Audio’s Prime Reference Mk.II speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords were sonically revealing and an absolute joy to listen to. They’re extremely well made, and their connectors all fit tightly and snugly, but not too much so. They performed optimally with both tubed and solid-state gear, which not only allowed me to hear the strengths and weaknesses of electronics of any type, but also made it easy for me to enjoy whatever music I was listening to. More important, they not only made an incremental improvement in the sound of my system, but would make excellent reference tools: They helped me dissect what I was hearing without pressing their own agenda.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: Another good expensive set of cables.

Synergistic Research Element CopperPrice: $1200-$7500 depending on model

Website: www.synergisticresearch.com

Howard said: Are the Synergistic Elements the best cables that can be bought for the money? I have not heard all the cables out there, so I can't say for sure. What I do know is that they make my music sound better than any of the many other cables I’ve tried in my system.

Select Component

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: A new generation of Synergistics for the Ted Denney fans.

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