I was re-reading your OP and noticed that you actually liked the cheaper cable best. Cheap cables are just a shielded piece of low resistance copper connected at the ends where the more expensive cable may have unique "technology" that affects cable impedance like the use of thick 50 Ohm cable which looks nice but is meant for impedance matched video transfer.
Realize that most and (I mean most) of these boutique cable vendors are founded and run by people without any traceable electrical engineering or materials science credentials. Check out the bios of Bill Lowe at Audioquest and JPS labs for example.
Where's the beef?
Look at the electronics industry as a whole. Why are these wild cable claims strictly limited to consumer audio and video gear? You mean to tell me a revolutionary break through in speaker wire conductivity has no application in the electric car or solar panel industry? How about the multi-billion dollar computer networking industry. Don't you think these audiophile claims of superior digital signal transmission would be applicable there too?
Ditto that for power cords. Why do companies like the one I work for spend millions in UPS systems to provide clean power yet we use $3 Belden power cords to plug the gear in. BTW, I work in one of the world's largest teleproduction facilities. We generate the BluRay master and broadcast programming you watch and listen to. We don't buy boutique cables and neither do our competitors. Get a tour of a Google data center and tell me how much was invested in their power supply system - many millions in large industrial grade UPS systems. Then tell me who's boutique cables they use to plug in the gear? I also had the privilege years ago to tour NASA/JPL in Pasadena. I didn't see any $300 wall outlets or high end power cords in the labs there either!
When you take this into consideration, the Best Buy cable rap falls apart doesn't it?
Edited by Glimmie - 11/20/13 at 9:51am