cheap thrillsI see high-end audio as a hobby. All hobbies are confined by inclination and cash. So if you are so inclined, you might check out
This site is home to people who want to sell their high-end in order to get higher-end, and hobbyist who want to gear at a legal steal.
There are retailers there, but I am personally more interested in the classified. After I research a cable, I just buy it around half off of retail and see how I like it, for as long as I want, on my own equipment. If I don't like it, I can just sell it for the same price that I bought it for, and everybody's happy. Of course, if I love it, I keep it and it becomes the reference to what all other things in its class will be judged...and may eventually be replaced.
Going through the discussion forums will bring you into another place (the link below) where cables are discussed, and if you are into it, verbal shoving matches unfold like we have seen on this site, but good personal experiences might eventually be found.
Audiogon is after all how I found head-fi.
If you find that you are irretrievably sucked into a certain hobby, the web has suddenly made it possible to get guidance from someone else who is excited enough about what they are into to offer their time and advice...for free.
In the end, I think that you like what you like. And, if you like what you have, be happy. It's not all that great to be sucked into paying big bucks for copper wire, plastics, and teflon.
But if you are bitten by the bug, personal experience is the only thing that will give you an understanding of what others are talking about and the only way you will have a personal understanding of what is available and what is reasonable.
I once though that if I ever spend more than $100 on a pair of cables, that I would have completely lost it. I think that it is clear to say that I have lost it quite a while ago, and the journey is still fun.