Like expensive video cables, premium audio wiring is one of consumer electronics' great placebos. Do you want to be a sucker? Of course not. CNET's Steve Guttenberg provides some illuminating advice on buying and setting up cables on the cheap.
I always make fun of a friend of mine who buys expensive plain white socks, because unless you have some sort of mutant feet imbued with millions of extra nerve endings, you will not be able to tell the difference from their bargain store equivalent. The same goes for sound cables.
Guttenberg points out that, beside "audiophile" equipment not appealing to the way most of us consume anyway (jogging, working, drowning out the complaining of a loved one), we probably don't have a nice enough setup to potentially benefit of "better" cables.
So instead of audiophile gold plated audio cables filled with diamonds and elephant bone marrow, where should the level-headed consumer head instead? Guttenberg suggests MonoPrice, where you can pick up a 30m roll of 18 gauge wire for $US17.34. You'll have to add your own plugs if you don't feel like breaking out the wire stripper, in which case Guttenberg recommends Blue Jeans Cable's "preterminated" cables.
Guttenberg insists that, ultimately, the audiophile quality difference does exist for those brave enough to break the bank while wiring their sound system, but for us with the eardrums of a mere mortal, this should suffice. [CNET]