Re: How much difference do you think cables makes in the audio quality of your system
Welcome to the forum, FWIW I am an anesthesiologist by day....
I have seen and heard demos like you spoke of, in fact Wavac was using an MP3 disc to demo their gear @ HES 2005 in NYC and it sounded great!
As for the cables, Josh Clark of Transparent cable does a demo where he takes identical systems of several levels and swaps out cables and the difference IS audible, even to the untrained ear. I used to think cables were total BS, but as my system evolved to higher and higher levels I began to experiment and can say they do make a difference. In fact, ALL cables make a difference, power cords, IC's, speaker wire....
Are the differences comparable to component upgrades? That will depend on the level of your system and the level of cables you are using.
FWIW I DO feel cables matter and have A-B'd different cables in my system and found differences, so I use good cable. I know others who think I am a raving lunatic for beleiving this, and in some ways and at some times, they might be right!
Stereophile has also done some blind tests of cables and the results were almost completely random, some of there reviewers picked the cheapest cables, some the 'best', by now we all have heard the long running phenomenon of HD-14.
Ken Taraszka, MD