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Power Cables... Do they really matter?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by PinkIsTheSky, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. SteveFord

    SteveFord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Shnecksville PA
    Grey ones have the most neutral sound.
     
  2. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portugal
    True, but anthracite brings out the details even better. :D
     
    tlowe and SteveFord like this.
  3. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Senior Member

    Location:
    Ct
    Power cables work. Buy with a free return. Try yourself.
     
    PoetryOnPlastic and Tim 2 like this.
  4. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    There are a million shades of grey. Does that mean there are millions of neutrals? neutral sound? sounds boring.
    I want diamonds on the bottoms of my cables, where they touch the floor.
     
  5. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    only if you listen to boring music
     
    tlowe and rockin_since_58 like this.
  6. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    would that included Norah Jones?
     
    izeek and Blair G. like this.
  7. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    The thing about power cables is that their effects, unlike other wire, are cumulative. While I can certainly admit that there may be systems out there that might not benefit from power cables, I also feel that evaluating them might actually be easier than evaluating changes in sound quality with other pieces of wire in a system (ie. speaker cables or IC's).

    Take a resolving system using 4 or 5 high quality components in a good room that truly shows off the differences in PC's, possibly run off some kind of power distributor like most of us do, run all the components on stock power cords, then swap out all 4 or 5 of those stock cords for carefully selected quality cords on the components and power distributor and see what would transpire.

    I'd be pretty shocked if most people in the hobby would not hear considerable differences.
     
  8. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stamford, CT, USA
    Very interesting. Makes a lot of sense (unlike so many anecdotal audiophile 'claims').
     
    Ilusndweller likes this.
  9. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    Absolutely, without filtering it's just another piece of wire.
     
  10. Ilusndweller

    Ilusndweller S.H.M.F.=>Reely kewl.

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I had the pleasure of talking to Roger Sanders a couple times. I was curious if I could think of an Innersound (one of his former companies) ESL 800 and Innersound iPower 750 as "sonic equals", answer is yes. Super nice and super knowledgeable.
     
  11. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Yes, including the miles of wiring from the power plant to the nearest substation, then to the transformer on your street, then to the circuit breaker panel in your home, then through all the wiring in your walls... of which that last six feet of power cord to your amp is probably about 0.005% of the total.
     
  12. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Well. Obviously! Does that even need to be explained to people? Maybe if you have an off the grid system with something like solar or wind power but otherwise we all know where the power comes from.
    You can only change the last pieces. Thats all you can do. Go as far as you can or want.

    All you are telling me is that you Cant hear it. And thats okay. Enjoy the music.
     
  13. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Most of my audio gear has permanently attached power cords. And on the ones which are removable, I only use power cords tested and approved by an independent electrical safety lab like UL, CSA, and/or ETL Intertek. If audiophile companies would rather make up conspiracy theories than submit their products for certification, like Paul from PS Audio saying that "UL is more about profit than safety", then they will not gain my business.
     
    Al Gator, Leroyd and tlowe like this.
  14. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Im sorry, No conspiracies. Thats not even reasonable.
    They just aren't for you to explore. Thats all im getting from many of you.
    Again, thats fine.
    Enjoy the music!
     
  15. jea48

    jea48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Not really.

    The utility power transformer is a step down isolation transformer. So noise on all the wiring from the power plant to the primary winding of the isolation transformer doesn't pass through the primary winding to the secondary winding. The 60HZ nominal frequency is a constant though.

    The isolation transformer's neutral leg is grounded at the house's electrical service which creates a new 'Grounded Conductor'.

    The power cord is not an extension of the branch circuit wiring. The power cord is an extension of the equipment's power transformer's primary winding leads.

    FWIW, most of the noise found on the AC mains in our homes is caused by equipment and appliances in the home. A lot can be created by poorly designed audio equipment itself.
     
  16. bdmcn71

    bdmcn71 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest
    Likely already said … always a good idea to have a dedicated line to circuit breaker. And adding decent power cables throughout system will yield improvements in systems that are revealing enough. I’m not an expert, but share my knowledge from personal experience: all cables matter.
     
  17. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Senior Member

    Location:
    Ct
    Only problem is you need to spend ten grand to get a pre/power combo. Also very few amplifiers are spec'd at full frequency, usually at 1kz, or they give an average, where there may be non-linear gain at different frequencies. He states we can hear .3db different, so I agree that's an issue. In his product descriptions he is basically reiterating all the classic Audiophile stuff, good power supply, low rf etc. I don't think this is any different from the rest.
     
  18. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Senior Member

    Location:
    Ct
    Well said. Power is going in and out of the conductors of a components power cable at a rate of 60 HZ, that's noise into the system every time. Switching supplies obviously can introduce even more. A good cable will keep this noise out of the system both ways.
     
    MGW likes this.
  19. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Most modern consumer electronics are double insulated (as indicated by the square within a square logo shown below), so the chassis ground is floating and does not have any connection to the ground of your home's electrical system. They contain a transformer which steps down the 120 or 230 volts to a low voltage, which is then rectified, regulated, and filtered into DC.

    This isolation is done both for electrical safety and to eliminate any noise that might get picked up from the AC line. As long as the one it comes with is of an adequate gauge to meet its current consumption demands (and I see no reason why it wouldn't be), a double-insulated device will see absolutely no benefit from an upgraded power cord, other than perhaps its aesthetic appeal.

    [​IMG]
     
    realgone and rockin_since_58 like this.
  20. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Senior Member

    Location:
    Ct
    And you would be wrong. See any well done measurements section and you will see 60hzs spuria as well noise from the harmonics as well. The Mola Mola Tambiqui for example had amazing numbers, but even still the noise gets in. I'd love to see this repeated with different cables attached. Do listen for yourself. It is counter intuitive but they heavily affect sound. Notice I did not say improve, though I have found some that do..
     
    MGW and jfeldt like this.
  21. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Was this done using double-insulated audio components? Because that's specifically what I was talking about. Not components whose chassis has a direct connection to the AC line.
     
  22. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Senior Member

    Location:
    Ct
    That was the best example lately, but I believe it uses a switching power supply, not sure if those are double insulated. All my stuff has transformers. In every component review you see 60 hz noise and harmonics. The Mola Mola was interesting because that was the only noise and it was 110-120 db down if i recall.
     
  23. jea48

    jea48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest, USA

    / / / / / / /



    Not all noise comes in on the EGC (Equipment Grounding Conductor). If Harmonics/distortion is on the AC current carrying conductors, (Hot and Neutral conductor), it can get through the power transformer to the power supply if the designer of the equipment didn't spend the extra money to filter it out. Even then the manufacturer may cut the filtering to save money.
    Not all audio equipment manufactures use the highest quality power transformers. The cheaper transformers will have a higher capacitance coupling leakage through the primary to secondary winding. So noise on the mains can get through to secondary side of the power transformer. And back out the other way of the transformer onto the AC mains. A common problem with cheaply made Switch-Mode Power Supply (s).

    As for the EGC.
    Most of the time the branch circuit EGC gets a bum rap. The EGC is for electrical safety, Period. It does nothing in the way of improving the sound of an audio system. Often an EGC causes harm when the wrong type of branch circuit wiring is used and or improperly installed. That's usually the real cause of a ground loop hum problem.
    No EGC is better... But it costs more money to build double insulated power wiring equipment so manufactures still use an equipment ground.


    FWIW:
    It only take one piece of equipment that uses the wall outlet EGC that is connected to equipment by wire interconnects to ground double insulated equipment chassis that doesn't use an EGC. Double insulated power wiring equipment's signal ground is connected directly to the chassis of the equipment. The problem then is equipment that uses an EGC, if poorly designed, the signal ground is also connected directly to the equipment. Well designed equipment that uses the EGC does not connect the signal ground directly to the chassis.
     
    jfeldt likes this.
  24. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    So I should I use the power cord and RCS cables Marantz shipped with their flagship amp?
    $9k component but those are fine, right?!
    NOT!


    [​IMG]
     
  25. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    Look at the great parts Marantz put inside that PM 10. Nothing but quality. Cats sleeping on the Marantz because of the amps used…but none the less….it’s quality in and out and sound. Now look at the “ freebie” cables. Worthless. You have to get quality cables and interconnects , but I know you knew that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022

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