Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Power cable swappers: please quantify the improvement...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Power cable swappers: please quantify the improvement...

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
...you experienced with swapping power cables in your system.

I am anxiously awaiting my Virtual Dynamics Power 3 and Power 3 Cryo for my Melos Maestro and my Modwright modified Sony SCD333-ES. They should arrive next week from Canada.

I'm very neurotic about this purchase because I remember swearing some time along the line that if I ever got to the point of swapping *power cables* my hobby had gone too far and I required hospitalization. Funny thing is, I feel fine. Muah-ha-ha-ha!!!

So help set my expectations. Does the level of improvement equate to any of the following:

1. Adding a power conditioner.
2. Adding a new fancy audio interconnect to the signal path.
3. Upgrading your component to the next level up in a manufacturer's line
4. Uhhh, I'm out of examples, but you see what I mean.

Please state the name of the component(s) you added an aftermarket cable to, as well as the name of the cable and it's price.

That sounds like homework. Sorry. Thanks in advance for any thoughts...

markl
post #2 of 28
Nothing to worry about, VD has 14 day return policy I believe, so all you loose is shipping if you don't like. The AC cord you ordered is only $50 so don't expect miracles, like the Absolute AC cord these are starter cables suitable for less expensive gear, if you have a $1-2,000+ piece of gear you should consider a $300 cord there are many that improve performance vs entry level AC cords.
I still predict you will hear noticeable improvement.

I currently own AZ Tsunami, Analysis Plus Power Oval, Absolute AC cords......in the past 5yrs have had 8 different cords in my rig. I use them on every piece of equipment, and they improve sound regardless of what type of power conditioning is used.
Good rule of thumb for first cables is start with the source (CDP) and work your way down to the amp. Like ICs they all sound slightly different, so I keep a few around.

What they mainly do lower noise floor, and allowing more detail to emerge from a blacker/quiter background, in the process they remove grain and hash you are not even aware of till it is removed. Don't try to rationalize why, just listen.

I can definitely hear the improvement, but you must keep cost in line with equipment used, since at a certain point money is better spent upgrading equipment.

The "HOT" cables currently are Virtual Dynamics at Audiogon, and TG Audio at the Asylum (Bob Crumps high end cables) or those HMS cables from Germany, but these go in cycles 6 month's from now there will be the new hot cable, 1 year ago everyone was hot on Shunyata, BMI and FIM cables.
post #3 of 28
As a devil's advocate.....
I don't see how a short power cable can make a difference.
Power conditioner, yes. Power supply, yes.
But a friggin' cable? eeehhhhh...NO!
post #4 of 28
Fred, we've been over this several times already... if you'd like to take issue with a particular explanation, go ahead... but I don't see how this type of response is productive.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
On the one hand, the title of my post clearly states who should respond to the post. Instead, we have someone with *no* power cable swapping experience making cracks.

On the other hand, I don't really mind all that much, but I would be irritated if this thread became a debate about the value of swapping cables.

markl
post #6 of 28
Hm, I'm going to have to say upgrading power cables makes as much a difference as putting isolation equipment under your cd player... whatever that means for you...
post #7 of 28
The Tek Line PC I have with the Wattagate plug has completely transformed my MG Head... It really opened up the sound, before everything sounds smallish, constrained, veiled in comparison... People have not heard what their MG Head can really sound like... I had used DIY power cables with hubble hospital plugs and also an old Tara Labs AC Affinity... These cables sounded a lot closer to each other, but the Tek Line blew them all away, it is not even really close of a comparison. This might have been one of the biggest improvements to my system so far next to removing NF. I think the Head is quite sensitive to the PC, and I was even suprised by the results of the Tek Line. But of course YMMV depending on the equipment.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by DanG
Fred, we've been over this several times already... if you'd like to take issue with a particular explanation, go ahead... but I don't see how this type of response is productive.
I am entitled to my opinion. I have electronics background (hardware) and have been listening to audio for almost 40 years.
A power cable, won't make a difference. How about the many many miles of cables between your expensive power cable and the power station? Or the few hundred feet to the transformer?
Or the run in your house with cruddy connections and a circuit breaker?

The audio does not run on your power cables. Power does. It goes through a transformer and a power supply, then gets fed your circuitry.

A power conditioner can help. Power cables. Nope. Snake oil.


I can see how my stance can be unpopular. It's also not a mode of hostility, just logic. Saying "no" based upon technical background is just a valid as "yes" from someone using ears and a hopeful imagination.

A good test would be to use the power cables that contain the magic wire for a while. Then have someone sneak in and put the old ones back on, without telling the listener/owner. If a difference is noticed, then. Well, use the magic cables.

I keep an open mind, as well as open ears, but I can't afford to experiment in this case, so, I am open to convincing, but my wallet is shut. Sorry cable sellers. Your 100000% markup ain't coming from me.
post #9 of 28
I use Absolute Power Cords ($50). Differences are subtle, but present. The biggest difference I saw was with the Sony 9000ES. Notice I said "saw" not "heard". The picture from the DVD player seems to have less grain and richer color with the APC instead of the stock cord. Audio differences are present, but less obvious. Sound seems smoother and less fatiguing. Maximum effects appear to be preamps/digital sources...less on a power amp. Seems to enhance the effects of a power conditioner.

I have not done a lot of A/B testing with this. I tried it, liked it, started using it, and went on to other things. If someone wants to think differences I've seen and heard are all in my head, it's fine with me...as long as they remember that my eyes and ears are also part of my head.
post #10 of 28
I have experimented with many power cables and line conditioners and I'm a proffessional electritician.I have yet to see/hear real quantifiable audible improvements when a power cord is used in conjuction with a conditioner.I have seen cords offer improvemnets where no conditioner is in use.Acidtripwow and others I know who are stuck with apartment level power supply have benefitted greatly from power cords.the audio club I belong to here in Chicago rents space in a hotel for the meetings.the room that is used has some of the worst outlet level power I have seen in many years.When we experiment with cords straight from the outlet there are definite improvements.those improvements are very difficult to quantify when used with a conditioner(in this case a BPT2.5).

As I have said before,I think that "tweaks" like power cords should be added to an already optimised system as one of the last "improvements".If you want this gain offered in the terms you have set forth,I'd say a power cord is much less effective than say,listening to your system after 9:00pm when the power is ALWAYS cleaner and more stable.I 'll add that here in Illinois where we have Comed power we have some of the worse power in the country.I have seen voltages vary as much as 18 volts in daylight hours during the summer on the same outlet in a house.I must leave it to my imagination as to how bad this can get in an apartment.I think your audio dollar is much better spent on a good line conditioner or best yet,more music.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
"Hm, I'm going to have to say upgrading power cables makes as much a difference as putting isolation equipment under your cd player... whatever that means for you..."

he he. I do actually have those silly Vibrapods under my DVD player and SACD player. Not much difference discernable to these ears.

"The Tek Line PC I have with the Wattagate plug has completely transformed my MG Head..."

Now that's encouraging...

"A power cable, won't make a difference. How about the many many miles of cables between your expensive power cable and the power station?"

That was one of my chief reasons for putting off the power cord purchase so long. It's a very valid point.

"I have experimented with many power cables and line conditioners and I'm a proffessional electritician.I have yet to see/hear real quantifiable audible improvements when a power cord is used in conjuction with a conditioner.I have seen cords offer improvemnets where no conditioner is in use."

The gentleman from Virtual Dynamics also recommended his cables should be plugged straight into the wall, by-passing my power conditioner. I'm going to do some experiments, but I won't make a huge study of it.

"As I have said before,I think that "tweaks" like power cords should be added to an already optimised system as one of the last "improvements"."

I completely agree. That's why they're basically the last tweak available to me, and why I haven't tried it before.

Thanks so far for responses. I know there are more power cord swappers out there. C'mon, what were your results?

markl
post #12 of 28
hey mark,

in regards to the mg head dt, i've used four aftermarket cords, the tek-line pc12w (silver, $450), pc5w ($250), empirical audio magnum 22 ($400), and a diy cord using wattagate 330 termination. while i heard a major improvement in dynamics with the above cords compared to stock, the differences between the four are non-existent to my ears.

with the rest of my components the story has been different. i prefer the pc12w on my arcam alpha 9 as i find it smoothes the player out without sacrificing speed and extension. my njoe tjoeb has been less responsive with power cord changes, and i currently use a diy receipe based on doc b.'s design.

my anthem pre1l preamp and conrad-johnson sa250 (both with upgraded power supplies, the former with extensive mods) each respond to heavy guage cords... currently i'm running the pc12w to the preamp (12ga) and the magnum 22 (11ga) to my amp. swapping the two does lead to subtle changes (mostly a recessed upper frequency spectrum and slight loss of impact). using the pc5w on my amp results in a very audible and negative response bass-wise. audience's powerchord ($300) blew my mind with it's control of the bottom end, but for whatever reason i passed on buying it. for the record, i always plug the power amp directly into the wall. i use a monster hts2500 on and off for the rest of the components, the tradeoff being increased dynamics or a lower noise floor.

i have a fairly revealing and extensively tweaked speaker system (silverline sr-11 speakers on lovan stands, chris venhaus' cat5 2x27 pair speaker cables, tara labs air and master series ics, various isolation/damping, mods to most of the components, premium nos everywhere) and would say that power cord swaps are in the ballpark of switching between different well made interconnects. the most major improvements to be had from stock cords are in blackness of backgrounds and frequency extension.

as i've stated before, from a scientific point of view the improvements could simply be due to better contact area between the outlet/plug and heavier guages. before experimenting with high dollar cords i strongly suggest building a diy cord for reference (designs aplenty on aa's cable asylum, make sure to use quality termination) and upgrading to hospital-grade outlets (once again for better conductivity). you will probably be surprised at how well a good outlet and plug will grip each other.

hope this helps.
carlo.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks, carlo! I'll have to re-read now to soak it in.

markl
P.S. I've got that Jonathan Richman best of on my CDNow "wish list". Must get it.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by carlo
hey mark,

in regards to the mg head dt, i've used four aftermarket cords, the tek-line pc12w (silver, $450), pc5w ($250), empirical audio magnum 22 ($400), and a diy cord using wattagate 330 termination. while i heard a major improvement in dynamics with the above cords compared to stock, the differences between the four are non-existent to my ears.

carlo.
Hm, that is interesting to know but not suprising since isnt it said also that the sound characteristic can come mostly from the plug... maybe that is all you really need is a good plug...I've had different DIY PC with the same hubbel plugs and they sounded very similar to each other even though they were different guages and different material, what usually changed was just the dynamics.
post #15 of 28

swap'em out

I just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in... A friend of mine, who does not have a very high-end home audio set-up, a Denon reciever and DVD player, asked me about changing cables out. I told him that if he wanted to change out his power cables, it probably wouldn't have as great an impact on his system until he upgraded his IC's, he already has decent speaker cables. So, I took over some of my cables, IC's and power cables. I started by swapping and doing an A - B comparison with the IC's, Straightwire Crescendo's, HUGE difference right there. After that we left the Crescendo's in and installed an Ensemble 2M Mega Powerflux power cable, we didn't have to do any A -B on this, he noticed an instant difference. Now, I'm fairly new to the head-fi world and haven't yet started swapping cables out on my MG Head OTL, so I can't say exactly what type of change you'll get. Changing the power cable on a Denon reciever, my friend noticed a tighter bottom-end and was very please, this was after changing his IC's. I would recommend changing you power cables out, but ONLY after upgrading your IC's. And one more thought, I've come to realize that you get what you pay for, so don't have too high of hopes with cheap cables. Please do let us know what you think of the Virtual Dynamics cables, I've seen them on Audiogon and they have peaked my curiosity as well.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Power cable swappers: please quantify the improvement...