StanleyS wrote:Or just get some cheap zip cord from your local hardware store.
Agreed. AV trade journals have conducted informal A/B/X tests between high-end speaker cable and coat hangers, and no one could tell the difference. I do usually go with fine-stranded speaker cable, but I choose the "off brands" like Monoprice or Pyramid because it doesn't impact sound quality. I just choose the fine-stranded cable because it usually has a smaller bend radius, being far more flexible. As long as the wire gauge is heavy enough for the power levels you expect to run, is flexible enough for your install and you don't care about matching decor (or bragging rights - let's face it, that's why a lot of people buy monster cable, so they can get technologically ignorant friends go geek out and awww and ahhhh over it) zip wire is fine - and monoprice wire is an excellent choice if you need more flexible or heavier gauge speaker cable.
Same with interconnects: if you're doing S/PDIF or HDMI, bits is bits is bits. As long as you are within the length constraints of the interconnects, as long as they meet spec they will all sound absolutely identical.
Line-level analog audio? Cheap monoprice or Amazon Basics interconnects are all you need, unless you are wiring in parallel to high current/high voltage lines, or unless you take your gear on the road doing sound for gigs. In either case, you would benefit from professional (not, botique brands like Monster) interconnects, with special attention paid to terminators and stress reliefs. Other than that, home users should pick cheap shielded interconnects, with gold-plated terminators providing a minor benefit in tarnish-resistance (which is debatable since interconnects usually form a weak "contact weld" when plugged in, which will be nearly oxygen-free, shielding it from corrosion) and electrolysis (which does slowly corrode dissimilar metal contact points).