Are premium audio cables worth the investment?

Author's Note

I went to college in the mid-1970s, when stereo mania was in full flower and having a monster sound system in your dorm or frat-house room was the height of perceived coolness. Guys I knew literally would work the entire summer at some grueling job, such as waiting tables or selling vacuum sweepers door-to-door, just to be able to afford a 100-watt Pioneer receiver, a Technics turntable and a set of man-sized Genesis III speakers. The funny thing was that some of them weren't really that much into the music itself. The extreme was a classmate of mine, who had an eardrum-bursting sound system crammed into a room the size of a large closet. Oddly, judging from the sounds I heard coming out of his room, he apparently only owned three records -- Steely Dan's "Aja," the eponymous Pablo Cruise album, and the soundtrack from "Star Wars." He played those three discs over and over again, at top volume, with the bass cranked to the max. For those of us within earshot, it approximated the sound barrage that U.S. forces used years later to convince Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to surrender.

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