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Power Cord Shoot-Out: 14 Power Cords Reviewed - Page 3

post #31 of 193
Terrific and thoughtful review, Mark, but I finished and groaned with irritation that I can't afford just to go and upgrade all my power cables now. Uggh, damn you headfi.
post #32 of 193
Man, that is just a very comprehensive review. Thank you. It was interesting to read your comparative review as I have the VH Audio flavors 1, 2 and 4, and would not know how they stack up against anything else. They are stiff, BTW, but I did not find them unbearably so like you did. They are flush where I want/need them to be, and it was not difficult to arrange them as I intended. I guess perhaps plugging them into a very tight outlet, like the PS Audio powerport, has kept the male ends in place (but I'd bet you have a tight outlet as well...sorry for the potentially perverted reference!).

- walk
post #33 of 193
I ordered an Iron Lung Jellyfish to shoot out (shooting blanks?) with the Quail... and have talked with Tek Line...

A truly inspirational thread... :-(

There is a lurking question, not too far afield - IF I were adding an IEC to my CDP, any suggestions as to what would stand up to a majority of cords? Surely an inferior IEC would defeat any cord upgrade...
post #34 of 193
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the kudos. I welcome any and all opinions on any power cord I've reviewed so far (or any others for that matter). Anyone is more than welcome to post their findings in this thread. Cheers.
post #35 of 193
Thanks for the great review - it was a great read. My wallet hates you though. LOL.

BTW, if you're still willing to take a Quail cord for a spin, let me know. I know I have at least two of them lying around in my place.
post #36 of 193
I'd just like to add my thanks as well. I've been looking out for a review like this for a while now.
post #37 of 193
Thread Starter 

Straight Wire Blue Thunder review complete...

OK, I've added my review of the Blue Thunder from Straight Wire to my shoot-out. I've pasted it here below so you don't have to sort through the whole review if you've already read it. I've also adjusted the final rankings to reflect the presence of the Blue Thunder. (FYI, you can purchase my Blue Thunder 2M cable, it is in the For Sale section now! )

14. Straight Wire Blue Thunder

Website: www.straightwire.com (Blue Thunder is not yet up on the site.)

Pricing (2 meter cord): $250.00

Straight Wire has been around for some time, they have lots of distributors and can be found in many of your local hi-fi shops. For such a (relatively) large company in the cable business, their website is surprisingly incomplete. The Blue Thunder power cord is still not listed (though they tell me it will be soon), despite being on the market for almost two years.

Straight Wire sent me the skinny on the cable separately, so I can share it with you. It's a solid-core design with several ultra-high-purity 18-gauge solid-core copper wires wound together to form each 12-gauge pole. The use of these relatively thick solid-core wires is said to help combat strand interraction that plagues many multi-strand designs. It has Teflon insulation for the best EMI/RFI rejection, and the conductors are encased in a professionally molded cord for reduction of vibration, topped off with Hubbell terminations. These conductors are not just loose inside a techflex outer sleeve like many brands of more home-brewed-style recipes. One would assume that this construction method would increase Straight Wire's costs for producing the wire that makes up the Blue Thunder, as obviously, the wire would have to be professionally built and molded. The cord can also be used for both high-current multi-watt amplifiers *and* front-end equipment.

I would describe the sound as remarkably neutral tonally (as I have discovered and detailed here, most power cords are not). This makes it harder to describe its "sound". It's extremely clean, with lots of body and firm, if controlled bass. The Blue Thunder puts a lot of "flesh" on the musical bones, somewhat like the Virtual Dynamics cables (which are also based on even thicker solid-core wires). But the Straight Wire lacks the VD cable's tonal coloration that depending on the listener is either very pleasant, or an annoying deviation from neutrality.

It is not a slow or a fast cable, it's just about right. It has a very unfatiguing, mellow sound due to its relaxed but firm and authoritative nature. Image stability is excellent, as is soundstage height and width. Reasonably detailed, but it does not force those details in an "in-your-face" sort of way, its laid back nature leaves them there for you to discover on your own.

Overall, The Blue Thunder is a strong performer, offers above-average value at a reasonable list price ($250). It is tonally neutral, if a bit "thick"-sounding, which may be advantageous for folks trying to alleviate a slightly "thin" system. I think this cable would appeal to many who value a relaxed and engrossing sound, rather than a head-banging hyped-up "exciting" or forward sound. Definitely worth a look for the right listener.

Flexibility: 5
Build quality: 8
Tonality: 8
Soundstaging/imaging: 7
PRAT/dynamics/speed: 7
Resolution/detail/transparency: 7
Value: 7
Overall Performance: 7.5

Here is how I would rank the cables under review:

1.Split decision between the TG 688 (for my source), and the Wolff Source cord (for my headamp)
2.Virtual Dynamics Reference (since replaced/superseded by the David)
3.KAS Audio Primus (on my headamp)
4.VH Audio Flavor 1 and Flavor 2
5.Custom Power Cord Company Model 14 Series 2
6.Tek Line Eclipse
7. Straight Wire Blue Thunder
8.Audio Metallurgy Gold Alloy 9
9.Iron Lung Jellyfish
10.Analysis Plus Oval 10
11.Absolute Power Cord
12.Zu Cable BoK
13.PS Audio XStream Plus
post #38 of 193
This is just the kind of post I needed to run across this afternoon. Many Thanks to Mark for all the hard work. Comparitive listening is a pain in the butt. You should have charged for this info.

I have played around with PC's for years since the father of them all, Synergistic Research came out with one. The only thing I know for sure is that 9 times out of 10, just about any after market cord improves the sound of a component over it's POS 18awg molded OEM wonder cord.

I got a new SACD/CD player at the first of the year and totally forgot about changing out the PC until a couple of weeks ago. I had an older ZU $150 power cord in a drawer (forgot the name, probably replaced by now, visible twisted wires in see thru panty hose, kind of a brown or yellow tent to the whole affair). All I can say is WOW!. Whole component upgrade. Soundstage got wider and more 3D and bass goes lower and got tighter.

I have replaced other OEM cords with Volex and other OEM computer/server power cords. All are either 12 or 14 awg and all sound better than the stock cheapies. These computer cords were free from my company's junk bin. Seriously, they throw these cords in a 50gallon fiber drum and if they can't sell or auction the drum when it's full they throw it in the dumspter. The cords come from desktop pc's and servers that get replaced with new technology. You have to sort thru the crappy and skinny ones to get the 12 and 14awg ones. These are the best deal going in power cords.

The Crumps are great. I have one HSR on my power amp. Immediate tightening up of the sound. I have Synergistics of various price points on my Levinson gear with their screwy rt. angle inlets on the bottom.

There really is no magic to PC's. Twist and gage are the primary ingredients that mirror noise rejection and basic DC electrical parameters such as resistance, capacitance and inductance. The alchemy of twist, insulation and termination is where it gets interesting.

Now I have to unplug everything and play around with all my different cords on my headphone rig. Thanks a lot.
post #39 of 193
Warning about the TG 688...

Despite sounding quite good, mine had a rattle in the wall connector end so I opened it up. Low and behold, the one I have is a cheater cord, no ground. The rattle was the unused terminal had backed out and the play produced a rattle effect.

No harm no foul, but good to know depending on the connecting equipment. I can't use it for my source, but my amp could care less.
post #40 of 193
BTW, for power cord doubters: Headphone-related gear uses very little electricity (even sources don't pull very much wattage), and I recommend going battery power whenever/wherever possible to avoid this whole issue. So much cleaner than AC. In fact, if I ever get a good full size CDP I'm going to try and mod it (or have it modded) to use a large battery pack instead of AC power. I hate AC power! Hate it with a passion. Why spend big to try and clean up that dirty stuff, when you can get clean DC directly from batteries?

P.S. the above doesn't apply to tube gear (which I think does draw significant wattage) and probably not turntables either. Common sense is the key word here...
post #41 of 193
Originally Posted by fewtch
I hate AC power! Hate it with a passion. Why spend big to try and clean up that dirty stuff, when you can get clean DC directly from batteries?
LOL, I heard it hates you too!
post #42 of 193
Originally Posted by gpalmer
LOL, I heard it hates you too!
Heh, last time I got shocked was it! (j/k)
post #43 of 193
dare i say it *batteries have noise*
you could do much better than a battery by replacing your 7*15 with one of the new regulators from linear technology.
post #44 of 193

works from google, look a few links down.
post #45 of 193
Originally Posted by omedon
Do you realize that if you perceive a difference then there is in fact a difference? A difference is a difference no matter what.
This is not actually correct, unless you are referring to a difference in yourself. The difference most people care about is a difference inherent in the power cord, not a difference in the listener.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Power Cord Shoot-Out: 14 Power Cords Reviewed