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Power cable swappers: please quantify the improvement... - Page 2

post #16 of 28

Powercord changes

Hi Markl,

When I changed my powercords - the *difference* was instantly recognizable. It took a while though, before I could work out if the difference was any *better*.

The things I noticed were much blacker background, smoother grain-free treble and with some cords deeper smoother bass.

To the unbelievers out there, there are many scientific research establishments throughout the world which use very hi-resolution measuring equipment. This equipment invariably is wired up to the mains with a power conditioner and *special powercords*.

With audio, you hear the difference in the cord, with these labs, they get different measurements...

post #17 of 28
Ok, power cables make a difference in my experience.

They make a very noticeable difference in my house, I don't know how a system that already has exceptionally clean power would benefit though.

I spent $18 bucks on my DIY Belden power cable and instantly heard better bass and cleaner overall sound. Maybe it was just the shielding maybe not. All I know is the sound got better!!

I love these guys talking about their technical background... Technology changes, and most of all our understanding of it changes. We still don't know if light is a wave or a particle. Doesn't mean we can't take pictures! It just goes to show that science is just as much of an illusion as anything else. The only thing I trust is my perception, and even then I am often doubtfull.

If you look at the cheap cable that came with the melos the wire is unusually small on the inside, the Belden is much more substantial and obviously capable of better handling a more powerful electrical current. So it stands to reason that there would be some improvement if only from that and the cable is also double shielded I believe.
post #18 of 28
Just wondering, for those that attend the Headroom sponsored meetings across the country, when they bring all their headphones and amps anyone notice what power conditioner and
AC cables are used?

Do they demo thier high end amps with those AC cords they include with amps when you purchase?
post #19 of 28
Well, even my Rega Planet CD player has a captive cord, so what to do about all components with captive cords.

If so many say there is a difference in power cords, well, where do you start??? I am willing to give a listen sometimes if I can find a place that will let me audition cords.

Could you say, for instance, that the greater the current draw of the device, the more an optional power cable will make a difference????? That would indicate that first place to try an exotic power cable would be the power amp?

Also, what about any extention cords between the wall and your new cable???? I have only one good power conditioner and I use all my electronics through it. I do have an outlet behind my audio rack. But that would mean buying another $250+ Brickwall unit and then the big bucks for a power cable.

I would like to give this stuff a shot. But it is just not feasible to me.

So I comfort myself by saying..... humbug!!!
post #20 of 28
check out past threads for answers or start a new one so this one doesn't get hijacked, mark's done a good job of keeping this on topic. i'll respond to the next pc thread with your name on it.

post #21 of 28
Like I said fredpb, my belden cable and plug was only 18 bucks. A few minutes of DIY and you can make and install your new power cord for a very reasonable expenditure in time and money.
post #22 of 28
Well since no one wants to answer my previous question, I had to search myself. In the Headroom thread someone asks them if they recommend using different AC cord for MOH, here are responses from Todd & Tyll:


There is some admission that cords make a difference, but then there is this theory/rationalization put forth that power cords really effect power amps but have little effect on other items (like headphone amps) because they draw so little power. No mentions are made of what cords were tested, or any other details about system used to draw these conclusions.

Now I am no electrical engineer, so I won't get into any theories, but I know from testing various cords in my system over the years that some of the most dramatic improvements are gained on gear that draw very little power like CDP and DAC, and no way am I going back to stock cord on my MOHR! Thank goodness Headroom didn't wire that stock AC cord as a captive cord.
post #23 of 28
Perfect timing.

For those interested over at Cable Asylum a well known AC cord skeptic, Dan W, becomes an AC cord believer after reviewing in depth with friends several under $400 cords in his high end system which uses AC conditioner, here is his response to how much these improved over his stock cord from SACD/CDP:


Here is the enitire thread from beginning:


I have seen this happen many times as skeptics think there is no way AC cords can make improvement, then they actually try them in their system and listen.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Good links, thanks. It's doubly interesting to me since I have a modwright mod-ed 333ES that has a IEC connection thanks to Dan. I had hesitated in putting a good power cable on it. Now I'm really excited!

post #25 of 28
Great links!!!! I use power cables in my stereo system that are a little more costly than those reviewed, but I will keep those cables in mind. I am currently trying to get aquainted with an MG Head OTL and will probably look to upgrade the power cable on it. In my stereo system I use Ensemble and Virtual Image power cables and love them, but would surely be willing to try some of the cables list in the review. Thank you..
post #26 of 28
When I first posted the AA links, I had no idea that Dan W was the guy from Modwright! You would think with all the CES shows he attends he would have tried this AC cord comparison sooner.

The "absolute truth" mod he describes for his Sony SACD/CD player sounds tempting doesn't it.
post #27 of 28
You write:
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!!!
I think this is a common problem with power cords and some other tweaks that do not seem to have a reasonable physical explanation. I didn't either want to be a freak going too far but said to me that if you want to know the truth you must try (do not mean some kind of absolute truth but how it would work in my system). It worked very well. Typically as you connect more or better power cables, bass becomes tighter, you get better resolution and soundstage and most importantly, listening becomes much more enjoyable and involving.
Basically, good power cords clean up some of the distortion in the AC induced before the wall outlet and shields against RFI and EMI affecting the power cord (stock cable is not shielded). Wire acts as an antenna both before and after the wall outlet, and also collect disturbances from a large number of appliances connected to the power line, in your home and outside your home.
Effects of power cords my vary with local conditions. I live in an apartment in the inner city. The power line is shared by many users and there should be a lot of RFI from cellular phones and many other kinds of radio transmitters.
I have only three power cords so I can't say so much of the relationship between price and effect. I think there is a relationship but there is obviously also a lot of marketing hype about power cords as well as IC.
A common advise is to spend 10 % of the budget on cables. I calculated that I have spent 28 % on IC and speaker and power cables. This is 18 % more than the standard. However, the system improved substantially by the cable upgrades and I doubt very much that I could achieve the same improvement by buying 18 % more expensive components.
I do not think that it is meaningful to compare component upgrades with cable upgrades. Cables cannot improve components, only show what the really go for. But it is easy to suspect components to be insufficient when cabling is the real problem. I will give you an example. When I upgraded my CD player I moved my components and unplugged and replugged them. When I reconnected the AC to my Headroom Maxed out Home a fuse blew in the service panel. The MOH worked but sounded so bad that I suspected it had been damaged. Later I discovered that the problem was solved by a power cable. The much higher resolution and dynamics in my new CD seem to have made the powerline noise more hearable. I can also hear a clear difference when I A - B two power cords on the MOH, one is clearly better than the other. And the same when I change power cods on the CD. I have repeated this with the same result on another CD and on the power amp.
So, if it doesn't sound good, suspect cabling and system synergy in the first place and components in the second (if these are not obviously mismatched).
I don't think powercables should be the last step of finishing. Power cables primarilly removes distortion and do not change the character of the system. It doesn't become too bright or warm by this but rather reveals the character of the system. For example, a neutral, high resolution IC may sound too hard without power cables but very pleasurable when AC noise is decreased by power cables.
post #28 of 28
If you have a power amp you may want to do some measurements on the power line that feeds it. The voltage fluctuations can be significant and this will impact the sound considerably. Especially the bass where the current draw is highest. The best solution is to use a dedicated 20 amp circuit for your power amp. The lows will be greatly improved.
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