I've recently been asked by several of my clients (I make part of my living working as a consultant to home studios) if cables really matter in the grand picture. I thought I'd share those thoughts here. My answer is yes, it matters. It matters a lot. Now, I'm not talking about falling for some of those "mythical" cables, the ones that price out at $100 per foot... these are usually brought to you by the same companies who have invented other "audiophile" nonsensical crap - like the "crystal wand", which, according to the people that manufacture it, will effect the positive and negative particles that reside on vinyl albums, and in order for you to really hear the way the album was meant to sound, you have to wave this "magic wand" over your LP's... if you want them to sound good. Or, the guy who sells mahogany or black walnut knobs for the pots on your electric guitar, insisting that by using this expensive wood on the volume and tone knobs, you can get a better sound. Uhm.... ya. No, I'm talking about things that make sense. Factors that have been proven, like distortion, signal to noise, hum, buzz, and... how long a cable will last under normal operating conditions. Cheap cables will not only not last, but will also very often introduce noise caused by all kinds of external (and internal) stimuli. The results can be noise - hum, buzz, hiss, along with Snaps, Crackles and Pops... just like Rice Crispies. IMO, it's just not worth it to buy cheap cables. I'm not saying that quality cables "sound" better than cheap cables. What I'm saying, is that quality cables are better because you don't hear anything at all, other than the signal itself. Recently, I spoke with Phil Tennison of Mogami, and he put it in the best way I've ever heard it described: "Properly designed and executed cable should not have its own 'sound" . And he's right. Other than passing the signal in the mot accurate way possible, it shouldn't have any "sound" at all. A quality cable doesn't "sound" like anything. A cable should be able to pass signal as transparently as possible, and, it should be whisper quiet while doing so - there should be no noise, no hum or buzz, no crackling. Our recording rooms, whether or not they are pro or hobbyist level, all share a common issue, and that is that noise really wants to get into your recording system. With all the cables we use (even in small home/ hobby studios there's quite a few) - we risk becoming one big antenna. Quality cables also matter in terms of reliability and solidity. You want your cables to last. Good cables will last virtually forever, if they aren't being yanked, kinked, knotted and otherwise abused; but cheap cables can develop problems out of nowhere, with no warning, and without having been put under any undo stress. So, the next time you're in a music store, and you see those cheap $8 mic or instrument cables, consider for a moment just how long you need or want them to last, or, if you're willing to accept the results of poor shielding, weak solder points and cheap wire. You may very well end up replacing that cheap cable two, three, maybe even four times - in just a few years - as opposed to getting good cables to begin with, and only buying them once. FWIW d.