High end power cords do make a difference!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tom Littlefield, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. Tom Littlefield

    Tom Littlefield Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    OK I had not bought anything for my system in a while so I replaced the power cords on my amp and phono stage with DH Labs Silver Sonic Encore. I did notice a slight improvement in the sound especially the mids, total cost was less than $200.

    So I said what the heck why don't I replace the cord on my APC power conditioner. That is where everything is plugged into anyway.

    Originally ordered an Essential Sound Product MusicCord but Steve at The Cable Company got back to me and said that ESP did not have the 3 meter size in stock that I needed. He gave me a real good deal (almost 50% off) on the higher end Music Cord ES and I said go ahead. Total cost of this was $265.

    My system sounded great before (you can look at my profile to see what it is comprised of) but now the mids and highs have more detail. The money spent was well worth the ROI!!
     
    broshfab4, 33na3rd, Dave and 2 others like this.
  2. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Member

    Location:
    NJ
    There is no doubt that everything you use will make a difference, including power cords. I have def noticed an improvement when I bought a high end power cord for my power amp.
     
  3. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Member

    Location:
    NJ
    There may be some "tweeks" at $265 that could help someone's system more than a power cord but it would be a narrow group of options that would be better options for perhaps some systems with some specific issues. I'm assuming that this person has a decent sound system with decent setup if they are buying good power cords. If you are using a radio shack turntable and a $265 power cord, you certainly need to put that $265 towards a new TT.

    This person is not talking about $2,500 power cords. I think the amount referenced that they spent on power cords would not be eclipsed by another "tweek" if they have a decent setup. Even if there is something else that could be done to the system, the improvement of a quality power cord should not be considered unnecessary as it provides an improvement when the right cord is chosen. The hi-fi world is all about making many small improvements to your system since everyone tends to max out to the general system that they can afford and then do small things to make the system sound a little better. Decent power cords are a no brainer for your system IMO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2017
  4. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    My system has four chords, a good chord probably £100, I'd spend an extra £400 on a good equipment support table in fact the biggest improvement I've ever had is DIY isolation at a total cost of £50.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2017
  5. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Member

    Location:
    NJ
    You will def hear an improvement with a better power cord for your amp.
     
    Dave likes this.
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Audio Research Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Totally agree. I have had excellent luck with better power cables from Shunyata and Synergistic. Line conditioners matter too.

    And my latest tweak involves the grounding of cables and components into a ground block. That lowered the noise floor further. Synergistic and Troy make great products for this and I have a review pending on the Synergistic ground block. At RMAF, Synergistic demonstrated their new "active" ground block and that was turned on and off in the demo and you could hear the impact on the noise floor.
     
    BrokenByAudio and F1nut like this.
  7. plimpington2

    plimpington2 Member

    Location:
    Cleveland
    Yes, I suspect that items that draw tons of current theoretically may benefit more from a power cable IF you posit that the power cable represents some practical limit on how much current can be drawn through it. But you’d have to, then, also insist that the bit of cable that runs from the input socket at the back of the unit to the transformer is as high quality as the power cable. And if you take this position, you’d also have to surmise that lower current draw items (such as source components) don’t also benefit from fancy power cables.

    Judd
     
  8. Shivermetimbers

    Shivermetimbers Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Why amp in particular?

    I got an upgraded one for mine (primarily as needed a longer one anyway, and I'd just had a larger transformer fitted) was amazed at the positive difference. No doubting it all; especially with bass levels and dynamics. What I've not got round to yet is testing it on the CD transport and DAC too.
     
    cadeallaw likes this.
  9. Upstateaudio

    Upstateaudio Active Member

    Location:
    Niskayuna, NY
    Upgrading power cords intuitively makes the least sense in upgrading cables as there is so much wire between the power cable and the ultimate source of AC itself. I did not believe it until I tried it myself. It really works! Since I tried this, I also added a dedicated power outlet. That made even more of a difference.
     
    mreeter, BrokenByAudio, F1nut and 2 others like this.
  10. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    @Tom Littlefield When I stumbled, more like a serious financial commitment, into PC cable upgrading I was apprehensive to say the least. That is until I was sent a couple of PC's, one Copper/Silver Hybrid and one Silver. Immediately upon connection and play my critical apprehension was left at the door. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Funny thing is, if I reverse the arrangement from Silver, wall to LC and Copper/Silver Hybrid to amp, it doesn't sound anywhere near as good. They also made no difference when connected to my SCD-1 source.
     
  11. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Yes, every system is going to react differently to different cords. Silver is generally regarded as a "faster" conductor but it' not always for the better. I have gotten better sound with copper interconnects over more expensive silver ones from same maker.
     
    bradleyc likes this.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    I was hoping this thread would evolve to "What power cords give the best results for the least amount of money" or something along those lines. Instead, the usual, predictable trolls come along (one without even his gear profile filled out) and start the usual, predictable blather again ("It can't possibly make any difference because the power coming out of the wall but I've never actually tried it, blah, blah", or "I can't hear any difference so there isn't any, blah, blah, blah" or "I do hear a difference but I don't trust my own ears, blah, blah, blah".)

    This is a place to discuss, not shut down. So, moderators, do your clean up duty. Clean up this thread; keep it open!
     
    Tlay, Tullman, hi_watt and 18 others like this.
  13. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut

    26 posts deleted. This not a thread to debate opinions on the value of tweaks or upgrades, as the conversation always devolves to the "don't waste your money" or "voodoo" back and forth that ends badly. If you have nothing of substance to add to the conversation, please move along. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    That was quick, thanks.

    I would NEVER spend a fortune on power cords. Always buy slightly used for a big discount. Some audiophiles tend to change gear with the wind and that can work in our favor.

    What brand of power cord works well for you?

    For many years I have been using (gifts) Kubala-Sosna "Emotion" power cords for the most part but I have a few less expensive ones that work nicely, usually in the area of bass dynamics..

    I also have a Audio Note UK Sogon mains cable for my Ongaku amplifier loaner that came with it. It's wonderful but costs a great deal of money.

    Whatever you do, don't go through life without trying an upgraded cable. Could improve your sound for not much money (especially if you buy it slightly used!)
     
    hi_watt, GyroSE, broshfab4 and 6 others like this.
  15. 62caddy

    62caddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    I would have thought the viewpoint of "trust but but verify" would be the subject of applause rather than disapproval. o_O
     
  16. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Do you believe an isolation transformer can make a difference on how an audio system might sound? If you do then you can pretty much discount everything ahead of the utility power transformer that feeds your house and any other houses fed from the same isolation transformer. Yes, the high voltage step down utility power transformer that feeds your home is an isolation transformer.

    Now to the aftermarket power cord. It is not an extension of the branch circuit wiring found inside the wall of your home. What it is, is an extension of the primary winding leads of the power transformer of a piece of audio equipment it is connected to.

    The design of a power cord can add capacitance, or inductance, and can effect the primary winding of the power transformer. Sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. The design of a power cord can help control EMI/RFI from entering the power cord. RFI can cause a piece of equipment to sound bright and or edgy. Example of equipment that benefits from an aftermarket power cord, that is designed to control EMI/RFI, would be a CDP, DAC or even a CD transport. A power cord can also help control EMI/RFI from going back out on the power cord from the power supply of the equipment. Especially SMPS. Example the garbage sometimes found on digital equipment power supplies.

    A shielded power cord can also help EMI/RFI from inducing noise onto nearby ICs or speaker cables.
     
  17. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Member

    Location:
    NJ
    I noticed a significant improvement with my system with an Audio Art Signature power cable ($500 new) plugged directly into wall socket. I use a power conditioner but the system sounds better with my amp plugged directly into the wall. One thing to be aware of with power conditioners is that some have input plugs that do not go well with those big barrell plug jacks. Specifically, the type of plugs on the Furman power conditioners seem to just let the plugs sag to point where they can fall out. The input plugs on Panamax fit the barrell plugs tightly. It was a problem for me at one time and I had to get rid of the Furman.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
  18. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Napper Valley, WA
    I'm running a Transparent Premium from my integrated directly into the wall. Did a/b testing and couldn't believe the difference (from stock).
     
    ThorensSme and Dreams266 like this.
  19. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Many people don't trust - which is fine; but some also don't try to verify - which means borrowing a cable and trying it. Those are the subject of the disapproval.
     
    F1nut, Dreams266 and Guss2 like this.
  20. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Amen.
     
    Linger63 and Dave like this.
  21. vwestlife

    vwestlife Member

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Wouldn't most of the difference be noticeable in the bass, since low frequencies require the largest amount of current from the power supply?
     
  22. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Not necessarily. It depends more on the sonic characteristics of metal(s) and build involved.
     
  23. 62caddy

    62caddy Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    Verifying comes after the "trying" has been done.
     
    Metralla likes this.
  24. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USSA
    It makes a difference unplugging and replugging in power cords, IC's etc as well. Resets the connection and can clean up noise quite a bit. I was getting terrible buzzing and unplugged/replugged DAC from Pre and voila, noise gone. Unplugged/replugged power amp and the noise floor dropped to a deep black. Nice!
     
    HiFi Guy 008 and Dreams266 like this.
  25. Dream On

    Dream On Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Canada
    PS Audio XStream Statement worked for me. Moderately priced power cord, bought used. I also wouldn't spend too much on cables but I swear I hear a difference. It's a heavy, inflexible cord, so a bit of a pain to move around.

    Would love to own one of their regenerators...a bit too expensive though. Perhaps some day. I suspect that would make a big difference.
     
    F1nut likes this.

Share This Page