Somewhere in this thread there was a discussion about cables used to connect the DHC-80.3 to external amps. I thought I would weigh in with my experience...
I first connected my DHC-80.3 to my Halo amps via the RCA ports. The RCA cables I was using were decidedly cheap as they were the only ones I had. I remember buying them many years ago to connect some low end components to a low end receiver in my garage. For that setup, they sounded fine.
The next weekend, a friend came over to my house and brought with him all sorts of RCA cables. I previously told him what I was using for an interim connection to my amps. In his box of cables were 2 cables of 3 conductor, gold plated RCA terminated cables, for use with component video (I think that's how to describe them). I decided to use these cables until I could get the "right" cables. Anyway, my friend said he thought these cables were good cables, they were matched and would better than the cables I was using. Hooking these cables into the Integra and the Halos, there was a definite improvement in sound. Whoa! What a difference, I thought. My friend is a retired Physics/EE oil company engineer, who is also a big proponent of XLR cables. He can talk for hours about balanced cables and he did. Hearing the difference these no name RCA cables made and listening to his arguments for XLR cables, I decided to order some XLR cables. After much reading of reviews and such, I chose Kimber Kable Hero cables with XLR termination, in 1.5 meter lengths.
Yep, the Kimbers are stupid expensive, but I justified it this way... What the heck, this is a critical connection in the sound equation and I am going to amortize this cost over a bunch of years, keeping and using them forever. Typical argument, eh? The Kimber's arrived and I hooked them up. The result? I could NOT tell a bit of difference in the sound quality over those video, no name, gold plated RCA terminated cables. I'm telling you, I heard NO difference at all. I am not sure what I expected, but if you read anyone's justification for these expensive cables like the Kimber Hero's, surely something should have sounded different, sounded better. Heck, the sound stage should have been "wider and more expansive". The difference Miraculous! Magic should have happened! But no, I couldn't tell the difference in going from the RCA ports to the XLR ports and changing the cable material to a "highly rated/highly recommended" cable. Tell me again who is rating these cables!!
I had that awful feeling I wasted my money. So, after two weeks, I decided to RMA the Kimber Kables and order some Blue Jean Balanced XLR cables. This is the link for the Blue Jean Cables I ordered: http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/...udio/index.htm
The Blue Jean Balanced cables have a huge price advantage over the Kimbers and I was praying the Blue Jeans Balanced cables were not any worst than the Kimbers. I really didn't want to go back to my friend's RCA cables.
When the Blue Jean Balanced cables arrived, I decided to play some music I like before I made the change to the Blue Jean cables. After several songs of several artist, I swapped out the Kimbers for the Blue Jean cables and then played the same music. This is where it gets weird... there was an unexpected, yet definite difference in the sound quality that was a real improvement to my ears. It just sounded better. Not a night and day difference; rather, a richer, fuller sound is the best I can describe the difference I heard. Even now when I play music or listen to a BD movies' audio track, I am still amazed that there is this difference in sound. A difference I like better. Crank it up or leave it down low, it all sounds better now. So much better than with those so much more expensive Kimber Hero XLR cables. Weird.
This has to be the checkbook syndrome...
FYI... I am not associated with Blue Jeans Cable. In fact, it was while I was reading a thread elsewhere on AVS Forums that I "discovered" Blue Jean Cable. Honestly, if I didn't like the Blue Jean cable performance, I felt I could throw them away and not feel the pain of an ignorant purchase.
Oh yeah, I haven't compared my friend's RCA cables to the Blue Jean Balanced XLR cables. I am really happy with the Blue Jean cables, cost and performance wise. And since it is a real pain in the arse to swap out cables in my physical setup, I am happy to move on to other issues.