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Do power cords have their own sonic signature? - Page 2

post #16 of 28
TaffyGuy, your post is one of the best by a skeptic. I agree that, having spent $$$ on a new power cable, one might want it to sound better badly enough that it would...but I can't convince myself that what I'm hearing with my new cords is just an illusion.

Your suggestion about using ferrite rings on a power cord is intriguing, and I'm hoping that someone with more handyman-type skills and time than I have, plus a very high quality system and actual positive experience with high-grade aftermarket power cords, will try it.
post #17 of 28
Well, by now most would agree that as far as power cables go, I AM a skeptic. I have also worked with test equipment, and power cables were never calibrated, but this was years ago.

1) I am willing to try. I one time was totally against the audiophile philosophies. My ears converted me, with patient nice audio shop.

2) I am willing to agree that a power cable is a good investment, within reason, to make sure the power cable you have is at least as good as the previous cables in the power path. Like having all 12 gage cables up to the plug of your power cord, then having an 18 gage power cord. I CAN see getting a heavier or "better" cord, especially for power amps. You have a big 20 amp draw power amp, you had better have good ac lines.

3) Tell me where I can get a cable that is known to sound better, and is cheap, and has a return policy. Maybe soon I will try one.

But audio is a hobby and can be a passion. If you want to top off your system with super duty quality liquid ac cords, go for it!
post #18 of 28
Doods,
Correct me if I'm wrong. I just reread Vert's initial post and I think that within the context of this thread it can be taken as a given that these cables DO make a difference.
post #19 of 28
BTW here are my personal views on the right person to review power cords and similar tweaks:
  • Years of experience with audio. Well-developed listening skills (yes, it's something that can be learned).
  • A very high-quality system, all around, no weaknesses (except maybe stock power cords!)
  • A scientific bent, to want to investigate things objectively
  • But not primarily a scientist, or an engineer; instead the reviewer should be a music-lover! Scientists/engineers get too hung up on measurements which may or may not reflect what we can hear.
  • A willingness to be wrong, and to admit it. That's a hard one.
  • An assistant to help with equipment switching.
post #20 of 28

who is the right person??

I agree with having developed listening skills but no sytem weaknesses is pretty subjective. What one person feels is a weakness in hifi, is a strength to another. I've only been into high-end home audio for about 3 years now and have what I consider to be a descent system. What you need to take into consideration, I use Kimber Select speaker cables, what I feel performs outstandingly in my system may not perform as well in yours.

Previously, I posted a reply about a power cable I found. When I put this cable on a friends DVD player, which is his source unit for 2-channel, he felt that it was as good as a component upgrade. That same power cable, in your system, may offer some benefits, maybe not as much. All you can do is give it a shot, I too used to be a skeptic, not anymore. I've learned that you need to look beyond what people say about the physics, the math, the whatever scientific information offered and let your ears be the final judge.
post #21 of 28
First, in answer to Vert's question, IMO when listening to the changes wrought by the power cord, you are hearing your component, not the cable. Can different cables affect your component differently? Sure, otherwise, there would be only one power cord, not dozens. But it's not in the signal path, so I don't feel it can "filter" the sound directly, blocking highs lows or middles. It's just allowing your component to operate closer to its optimum. As for which cable to try, I think you can guess my reco.

Also, we all agree that changing to better quality power torroids (as the do from the MOH to Max) and switching to better quality caps and replacing other power supply parts affects the sound positively, so we must also accept that power cords, as a component in the path of th electricity and an integral part of the power supply, can also affect sound. I was a doubter too, and had all the same arguments listed here. Do review the VD thread if you're interested in seeing one skeptic's conversion.

Cal,
IMO, anyone with a set of ears can easily hear the difference when adding a good quality power cord (Virtual Dynamics in my case). In my experience, the effects are much larger than swapping ICs (even VD ICs), or swapping tubes. Would you only accept an grizzled old "expert's" opinion on tube-swapping results? Of course not. The effects of power cable swapping are large enough that they don't rquire all the measures you suggest, and if it did, I'd question the value of power cord swapping period!

markl
post #22 of 28
fredpb,
You don't have to accept audiophile philosophies, or even regard yourself as an audiophile, to buy powercords. For me it is mainly an empirical question, if it improves the sound in my system in some way that is worth the money. I found it did.
Many have found that powercords have most effect on digital components and not on the power amp, which one could expect, but this is based on an assumption that all is about power delivery. I prefer to regard the physical processes as not well known.
Which powercord should one buy? I think this is a jungle and pray for good luck! Why not borrow some from the nice audio shop, they may cost a little more but home auditioning is a good value. There is a standing recommendation in the THREAD: Virtual Dynamics. PS Audio has a 30 day money back guarantee. You could also use the cable library option of the Cable Company and they will send you some for evaluation. This is only a few suggestions.
As always you must match components in you system. I don't think there is any real person who has a $900 powercord connected to a $300 CDP. I calculated that I have spent 27% of the total system cost on cables and powercords. This was based on list prices. I bought some used cables so the actual spending should be about 20%.
TaffyGuy and Calanctus,
I have some AudioPrism ferrite rings that I have tried on stock cord, mainly on my phono preamp and the tuner (powercords are too thick). They seem to make a slight improvement, but little compared to a powercord. It is the kind of difference where I don't feel really shure about the result. I was now to say that not even Audioprism say that they make a major improvement and looked for their description. They seem to have discontinued them and only sell the WaveGuide cable enhancer for $100 each.
Still, ferrite rings may be cost-effective, but only in relation to the few dollars they cost.
I may pass some of Calanctus demands on a reviewer, but if all took them seriously, very little would be written here. The points are good and something to strive for. The simplest thing to confess is that I did't have an assistant during my tests.
post #23 of 28
this is another one of those things i won't dump on, but will have to hear for myself, because i just can't bring myself to trust anyone's word on it. and i haven't even been here for very long, so i think that is understandable.

i hate cables in general. i think they're messy. i suppose if i had bank up the wazzoo i'd go around buying all the prettiest cables, just for the hell of it. guess i'll have to wait and find out if they really change anything.
post #24 of 28
TaffyGuy,
It is entirely sound to be sceptic about that. I think nearly all satisfied owners of powercords have been. It doesn't comply with common sense, but you don't have to say good bye to rationality. My criteria for selection is like this: If you test a cable that costs 20% of the price of the CDP, is the improvement at least what you could expect from a CDP costing 20% more? No exact science, but I think a good framework for decisions.
Of course, investment in cables is not always the best choice. If some major component in the system sucks, this is the point to start.
You must listen to cables and powercords yourself. I have read a lot before I tested at home. It didn't sound like I dared to hope, it sounded different and better! I had expected a more refined hifi-sound, but now it sounded less hifi-like and more in the direction of music.
post #25 of 28
Some more on the right tester:
  • Ideally, s/he should have 2 or 3 different systems at his/her disposal, with different character. For example, s/he could have one system with horn speakers and SETs, another with dynamic speakers and hybrid amplification, and headphones with SS. This will help get a broader base of inputs

markl and zspradlin, it's not necessary to meet the ideal standard to have valid inputs. But the closer you come, the more persuasive the insights will be--as always, IMO.

Quote:
[zspradlin] no sytem weaknesses is pretty subjective. What one person feels is a weakness in hifi, is a strength to another.
I meant that comment to apply on a macro level. Of course, it's all subjective, but someone using an MP3 player with 96 bitrate files playing through a clock radio is not as well equipped to assess impact of power cords on sound as is someone with Martin Logan Statements and an Accuphase CDP. Again, IMO.

Quote:
[markl] In my experience, the effects are much larger than swapping ICs (even VD ICs), or swapping tubes.
Sure, I agree.

Quote:
[markl] anyone with a set of ears can easily hear the difference when adding a good quality power cord
Maybe you have been listening critically for so long that you are more sensitive to the differences than most people are. I bet that what's super-obvious to you might not be so obvious to someone else. I've made changes in my system which are blatant to me but which are not even noticed by my friends.
Quote:
[markl] The effects of power cable swapping are large enough that they don't rquire all the measures you suggest,
No, they don't *require* them--those were an ideal. Should all the requirements be met, I'd say the case for accepting, without hearing yourself, that a change in power cords makes a significant improvement in system sound would be far stronger.

BTW I think you probably meet most of my ideal requirements, assistant excepted. But I'm happy to listen to opinions from lots of people who don't meet any of the requirements--I'll just give them what I think is due weight.
post #26 of 28
You have some good points Cal. When I think of the definition of the non-audiophile, I picture my mother. Couldn't care less about all this stuff, but she tolerates my father (it's all his fault) and my own obsessions because she knows it makes us happy. You're right, someone like my dear old mum might not be able to tell the difference. Perhaps, a better way to put it is the "average" Head-Fier could easily tell the difference. I often forget that I'm a geek and a freak and that most mortals just don't pay that much attention. Rock on.

markl
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, looks like I'll be splurging on a Shunyata Taipan. Should be fun. Next step: power regeneration, very possibly a BPT Jr. for starters. After that, my headphone system may very well be complete.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Vertigo-1
Well, looks like I'll be splurging on a Shunyata Taipan. Should be fun. Next step: power regeneration, very possibly a BPT Jr. for starters. After that, my headphone system may very well be complete.
I bet you "snagged" that one for sale at Audiogon yesterday, already sold now. No magic dust in the taipan (must get black mamba for that) but I believe the sound will be similar to Sidewinder which should give the sound you are looking for.
If not easy sell at Audiogon.

Or, maybe you got this from Cable Co library?

The BPT Jr is much more useful product since it now has two duplex outlets (4 plugs) and I may try one soon, ultra version of course..........or get used PS Audio P300 for $700, but then you have that fan noise
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