Well, what a frustrating experience. I received two 0.5-meter pairs and one 2-meter pair of Audioquest Diamondback RCA interconnects today from Audio Advisor. The plan was to replace Monster Interlink 400mkII cables with the Diamondbacks in my main stereo system, which consists of the following: * NAD C 370 integrated amplifier * Energy Active Crossover Network (EAC): allows me to connect my subwoofer to the NAD integrated amp and control the crossover frequency * Totem Arro floorstanding speakers * BetterCables Premium speaker cables (single run, not biwired, with Vampire banana plug terminations) * Sony SCD-777ES SACD/CD player The two 0.5-meter pairs of Diamondbacks were bought to link the pre-outs and main ins on the NAD C 370 to the inputs and outputs on the EAC box (i.e., pre-outs on C 370 --> inputs on EAC and outputs on EAC --> main ins on C 370). The 2-meter pair was bought for the '777ES. I had been using Monster Interlink 400mkII RCA cables for these connections before getting the Diamondbacks. I went with Audioquest because they are a well-known cable company and chose the Diamondbacks over the less expensive Copperheads because I expected the Diamondbacks to be better. After listening to the James Taylor Hourglass and Alice in Chains Greatest Hits SACDs for awhile using the Monster cables just to get used to the sound, I connected the 2-meter pair of Diamondbacks between the '777ES and C 370. I made sure that the arrows on the Diamondbacks ran in the direction of signal flow (as I had done with the Monster cables). I'm not sure that the arrows make a difference, but I figured I'd give Audioquest and Monster the benefit of the doubt. With the Diamondbacks connected to the '777ES, I listened again to the James Taylor and Alice in Chains SACDs. Truthfully, I did not detect any difference between the Monster and Audioquest cables. Let me say that I was not disappointed with the sound using the Monster cables, but I was hoping that the Audioquest cables would improve the sound. I found the lack of improvement disconcerting considering the fact that a 2-meter pair of Monster Interlink 400mkII cables is $50, while a 2-meter pair of Audioquest Diamondbacks is $110. Next, I replaced the Monster cables between the C 370 and EAC box with the Audioquest Diamondbacks and listened again to the James Taylor and Alice in Chains SACDs (with the Diamondbacks still connected between the C 370 and '777ES). Again, I heard no improvement. To my ears using the Audioquest Diamondbacks with the '777ES and between the C 370 and EAC sounded no different than going with the Monster cables all-around. I found this experience to be somewhat puzzling and, of course, disappointing. My system is not high-end, but certainly is not bottom-of-the-barrel either. I hear a lot of detail with this system, so I thought the Audioquest cables would help. Based on my observations, a few theories present themselves: 1) The Audioquest Diamondbacks are not as good as I thought they were. Maybe I need to look at Audioquest cables higher up in their line such as the Coral or Viper. Of course, those cables are quite a bit more expensive than the Diamondbacks. Alternatively, I could look at other brands such as CATCables, Kimber Kable, etc. 2) The Monster Interlink 400mkII cables are not as bad as I was led to believe they are. Everywhere I go outside of mass-market retailers (Best Buy, Circuit City, Tweeter, etc.), I hear bad things about Monster cables. The salesman I bought the Totem Arro speakers from in August said, "Monster cables have no place in high-end audio." Maybe he and others are right about Monster cables, but how much do I have to spend to get a better-sounding cable than the Interlink 400mkII, and where do I have to go to get it? I did not buy the Diamondbacks because I was absolutely sure they were the best cables in their price class, but I expected them to beat the Interlink 400mkII, again because of Audioquest's reputation and because the Diamondbacks are significantly more expensive. 3) My system is not good enough to bring out the differences between different cables. I would certainly hope that this is not the case. Again, my system is not high-end, but each component, including the speakers, have garnered high praise on the web and in hi-fi magazines and are not run-of-the-mill. I am hesitant to adopt theory number 3 because I have only tried one cable outside of the Monster Interlink 400mkII. 4) Cables do not make a difference. This certainly is a controversial topic in audio, and I do not want to open up a can of worms here. I just raise the point because it is a possible deduction one can make in this situation. However, I am hesitant to adopt this theory because again, I have only tried one cable outside of the Monster cable I have been using. 5) The Audioquest Diamondbacks need time to break in. Another controversial topic in audio, and I don't want to open up this can of worms either. I've only had the Diamondbacks for a couple of hours and have only listened to music with them for about one hour. Audio Advisor has a 30-day return policy, and the salesman who took my order told me that Audio Advisor wants to give its customers ample opportunity to fully test cables in their systems. Maybe I should give the Diamondbacks more time. Now that I have delved into cables, I realize that I could be chasing a dream. I guess those of us who are into audio beyond casual interest are doing that all the time anyway, whether or not we open the Pandora's Box that is cables. If I find over time that the Diamondbacks do not yield an improvement over the Monster cables, the question is, "Where do I go from here?". I could always return the Diamondbacks and go back to the Monster cables. However, there would be a part of me curious as to what other cables might bring to the table. It doesn't get any easier, does it?