Re: How much difference do you think cables makes in the audio quality of your system
There are simple speaker cable guidelines that eare easy to google--and price has next to zero to do with sound. The guidelines have to do with cable gauge, the ohms of the speakers (don't buy speakers that go down to 2 ohms), and the length from the amplifier. If 99.9999% Copper wire mattered, the miles of 99.9% copper that the signal goes through fromthe recording studio, the mastering studio, and the hundreds of feet in each speaker would overwhelm any length of wire you used, as long as it is adequate gauge for the length from the amp.
As far as standard interconnects, just but ones with good shielding and solid connectors. The shorter you keep the interconnects the better. Less chance of picking up RF interference and who wants a mess of excess cabling?
No point in making yourself poorer and phony expensive cabling companies richer. Most buy their cables from 3 major companies, such as Belden, and just put on fancy jackets. Good solid connectors that make a good connection are far more important.
Similarly, try to keep your HDMI wire connections as short as possible--no more than 2-3 Meters. Otherwise you may have to buy boosting cabling which is far more expensive. So don't keep your preamp or receiver, dvd player, and HDTV too far apart. For most people this is not problematic.
Quality HDMI cable manufacturers will supply throughput info which is especially important if you are running longer distances. If they don't or won't supply this information, don't buy from them. If they can't afford to have their HDMI cables tested they aren't worth dealing with. But most people shouldn't expect problems anyway, exceptfrom the connectors. Buy HDMI cbales with quality connectors that give a good tight connection.