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Iego Power Cords Review: All Five!

post #1 of 28
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

L80229 Cords





"There are 6 individually insulated strands plus 3 runs of heavier gauge silver plated gold/copper alloy wire per each hot or neutral. In addition to the complex alloy and individual insulation, the wire bundle is then wrapped up in cotton to fill up the voids (note the white fuzzy wrappings on each bundle) and make the entire bundle cylindrical before sent to be made into a cable. Then 2 runs of the complex (hot and neutral) and one run of the simpler cable (ground) is then bundled up again, and again all void are filled with lots of cotton to make the bundle cylindrical. The now cylindrical is then wrapped with copper foil shield and very supple PVC skin make it into the final L80229.
All strands are continuously casted via IeGO's exclusive PUM-OCC for the longest crystal and highest purity."



Cord A
8095 (pure silver + Rhodium plating)
1.5M/5ft of L80229 with 8095BU= $340 USD


Cord B
8075BU (Pure Furukawa copper + Rhodium plating)
1.5M/5ft of L80229 with 8075BU= $220 USD


Cord C
8085 (Pure Furukawa copper + gold plating)
1.5M/5ft of L80229 with 8085BU= $190 USD

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L70530 Cords



"The L70530 itself is made up of 14 strands of individually insulated copper, silver plated copper and silver alloyed copper in different gauges for the Live and neutral line, and multi strand silver plated copper of the same gauge for ground. With copper foil (not aluminum like most other cables) for shielding.

..copper used is sourced from Furukawa .., their 1020 Copper/Rose copper is rated at 4N purity. It is then alloyed with 0.1% of gold before it is made into wire (all the copper in the cabling have been alloyed with gold) and use OCC casting process with diamond drawing die to create it. The silver plated copper additionally receive between 120um to 240um of pure silver plating (plating thickness depends on wire gauge).

It is then cryo processed in liquid nitrogen for 22 hours @ -240C/-400F to relieve all internal stress, and then bundled up to make the wire you see above.

..end connectors (IEC & AC plug), which are also made with Furukawa 1020 copper. The copper plate is first acid bathed to remove any surface impurity, and then chemically treated to prevent oxidization/discoloration. In addition to the raw rose copper connectors, a heavy silver plate (240um on average) version is also available, the ultra thick plating allows silver to provide its best attribute without causing any over-brightness or sharpness in sound. Of course, the metal used is also cryo processed in liquid nitrogen like the wire is before assembly."


Cord D
L70530+8065CT, .. surface is chemically polished smooth, and processed before it is heavily silver plated to 240um thick.
1.5M/5ft = $95 USD + Shipping"


Cord E
L70530+8055CT, copper tone on 8055's pins made with furukawa copper. The pins are acid bathed to resist oxidation.
1.5M/5ft = $65 USD + Shipping"

*IMPORTANT READ BEFORE USE*

The IEC blades on Iego cords are quite a bit tighter-fitting than usual. Since a lot of equipment use flimsy male IEC male sockets, I strongly recommend that before using a new Iego cord, you should plug it gently into sturdy male IEC jack somewhere and leave it there to loosen up some before actual use. I used a spare IEC socket I had around. I asked about this, and this is Iego's explanation:

"The tightness is a necessary evil due to purity of the material used. As we use very pure copper and silver, it is inherently softer than bronze or brass, thus the design must make it a lot tighter to prevent it from loosening up after repeated use."
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LISTENING IMPRESSIONS



Cord A (pure silver + Rhodium plating)

This cord is ultra-smooth like baby’s bottom, which works especially great for recording that may not be immaculately clean. There is grace and refinement through the spectrum that seem to caress each and every note and float them to your ears. At the same time, detail resolution is superb in a self-effacing way; it’s the type of resolution that simply exists in the soundfield if you choose to listen for it but not the type that tries to throw “detail’ at you, which can sometimes distract you from the actual musical message.

Audiophiles who are particularly sensitive to digititus, harshness, and coarseness will appreciate this cord very much. Those who worship high frequency extension and air without grain will also love this cord, as the decay goes on and on, almost floating away. Just like a great silver wire, there is silky, liquid, feathery extension with gobs of refined information riding on the note.

Compared to other Iego cords to follow, this cord has perhaps the most impressive amount and quality of high-frequency ethereal energy while not being harsh or bright at all. There are people who will absolutely love this quality while some people's tastes will prefer a different presentation, perhaps a more obviously lush or warmer balance. Neither is right or wrong, and you get to choose what you like with all the Iego varieties.


Cord B (Furukawa copper + Rhodium plating)

Since the actual cable for 80229 cords are identical with differing plugs/IEC, one expects their sound to be very similar, and they are. For the purpose of trying to convey the differences that do exist, I will describe them, but do keep in mind these are not night-and-day differences by any means.

Two things struck me going from Cord A to Cord B. Firstly, the midrange stands out a tad more forward or noticeable but perhaps not 120% smooth like baby’s bottom as in Cord A. It’s rather similar to going from a great silver interconnect to a great copper one, just much less in degree; the former will be very “extended” sounding yet extremely refined in the mids, almost liquid (if silver is designed correctly) while the copper will be richer, bolder, yet a bit more brusque. Which you will prefer will depend on your tastes and system.

Secondly, it’s almost as if a bit of energy in high treble of Cord A was transferred to upper/mid bass in Cord B. Cord B doesn’t quite have the note float in air as high or decay as long, but it’s a bit warmer and feels a little closer.


Cord C (Furukawa copper + gold plating)

This brings up the question of the sound of Rhodium vs. Gold plating as the base metal is the same copper. It’s amazing that the exact same cord with the only difference being AC connector plating can sound perceptively different, but they do, even if just a little. Those of you who have worked with gold wire or gold-alloy wire will recognize this golden glow and tonal richness of Cord C. Once again, we’re talking about relatively small differences, but Cord C has the “largest” midrange and bass presentation with just an extra helping of richness and warmth all over.

Those who crave tube amplifiers for their midrange presentation with warmth will love this cord, especially when playing deep male vocals, e.g. Buddy Guy, Leonard Cohen, and Johnny Cash, whose vocal power will project straight into your chest. Bass is also a bit warmer than Cord A or B, and if you like your bass, this seems to have the most quantity, though none of these cords can be called overly bassy.

As can be deduced by now, Cord A and B both sound a smidgen more articulate, but hot dang, I’m sure many folks will simply eat up Cord C’s lustrous tone. All of the L80229 cords, including Cord C, do justify their extra cost by having more resolution available when one chooses to listen for them, like having an extra level of zoom power with a camera.
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Cord D (Furukawa copper + silver plating)

Now we are getting into the original, cheaper L70530 series. Given the rather large relative price difference between the L80229 and L70530 series, one might reasonably expect a drop in performance. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the initial excitement over the L70530 series was not hype at all. From what I can gather, the more expensive L80229 series has more silver-content in the wires, all with larger overall AWG.

Via Cord D, there is nothing amiss as music sounds well-balanced and beautiful. There is a sense of refined relaxation with all the Iego cords; thy are the antithesis to all those other cords we know that sound overly bright, tearing, forward, and grainy. I must guess that the copper foil shielding (vs. usual tinned braid shield), the supple and soft damping of the jacket material, as well as the “0.1%” gold alloying of all copper wire must have something to do with this refinement. Once again, the resolution is there for you, but nothing is being shot at you. Frankly, with a lot of music material, you would have to be somewhat concentrating to tell Cord D from Cord B or C. One caveat with this sense of refinement and relaxation is that Iego cords won’t come across as overtly “dynamic” or aggressive like some cords that have more forwardness and grainy detail, so you metal-heads may want to look elsewhere.

So why pay more for the L8 series? With certain music that is hard or grainy, especially rock/pop, the L8 series does seem able to show more musical “pixels” than L7 series and get in there to dig out just a wee bit more information from the poor recording without accentuating the recorded grain. With clean recordings, it’s more difficult to notice the higher resolution of L8 series b/c L7 already is quite detailed; however, rest assured that the more expensive L8 cords definitely arise from a more resolved sonic fabric when you pay attention.

The L8 series also has a bit more high treble air and decay and more defined bass; but once again, you wouldn’t notice this with much recorded material. How much is this cord again? $95?! I’ve spent more than that on ONE footer/cone.

Cord E (Furukawa copper + acid bathed)

So here we have the cheapest, no-frills, most basic Iego cord at $65. People sell certain AC plugs alone for TWICE that price! So is Cord E the ugly child of the Iego line they hide when guests come over? Absolutely not, as it also shares the Iego line’s refinement and ease. Cord E is the same as Cord D, just without the thick silver-plating of the AC plug and IEC, and as such, the two do sound very, very similar.

However, Cord E is perhaps the most vivid-sounding of the Iego line. That copper “brusqueness” is smidgen more present in the upper-midrange and low-treble, still much less than many other cords I’ve listened to. For example, this region is still smoother than Black Sands Violet Z1, which has its own charms including dynamics and vivacity, albeit at the cost of exacerbating certain recording’s hardness and brightness.

Black Sands Violet Z1


Of all the Iego cords, Cord E is closest to the Violet Z1’s signature, and since I enjoy a vivid sound, I kind of like what the Cord E brings to the table with the unplated copper plugs. In fact, I think it would be an interesting exercise to compare Iego’s unplated copper connector’s to Furutech’s unplated copper connectors.

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Lessloss Power Cord



It's particularly problematic comparing Iego cords (any other cords, really) to Lessloss due to what seems to be a unique property of Lessloss: it seems to sound its best plugged directly into the wall, not power conditioners. I assume it has something to do with their "dynamic filtering," reportedly accomplishing AC filtering in the cord itself without need for a conditioner.

You can read their theory at their website:
www.lessloss.com

If you plug the Lessloss into a power conditioner, even good ones, it sounds over-filtered, i.e. losing too much sparkle and air, becoming too warm and too rich. Plugged into the wall, however, Lessloss is a great cord with its uniquely dense, full tone and warmth as well as "analogueness." It doesn't lack detail resolution, either, conveying plenty of texture and body.

On the other hand, Iego cords, just like other cords, sound better to me plugged into my power conditioner. This is especially true of digital gear, in which case Iego+power conditioner sounds silkier with quieter background and deeper, denser tonal hues compared to without power conditioner. Thus in order to compare the best of each, it has to be Lessloss+wall vs. Iego+conditioner, so it will be the case. For those purists who feel the conditions have to be exactly the same to gain any information, let me state for the record that Lessloss w/o power conditioning is significantly preferable to Iego w/o power conditioning, and that Iego with power conditioning is just as preferable over Lessloss with conditioning.

Given their respective optimal setup, Lessloss still has a bit bigger tone and body in the lower-midrange/upper-bass area, which is its unique sound, even compared to Iego's tone cord, the Cord C (gold plated). Iego's counter with overall smoother, more silky extension with more liquid presentation. It's difficult to say which presentation one will prefer b/c Lessloss has a good vinylesque, matter-of-fact, dense presentation whereas Iego's have more like a 24bit/96kHz type of finely-delineated "airy" sound. Luckily, I get to use whatever I feel like at a given time.


SO WHERE ARE WE?

Power cords are somewhat like tube-rolling or capacitor-rolling. Ask 100 audiophiles, and you're likely to get at least 50-60 different preferences and "rankings." In all these cases, it would be counter-productive to music-reproduction and enjoyment to obsess over which is the "best" and so on. The trick is to try as many different ones as you can in your own system with your own music and pick the ones that meet your performance/price expectations. This is where Iego cords completely shine, especially the lower-priced models. I have auditioned and bought many cords in past that easily cost 5-20x the cheaper Iego cords, and quite a few of those had glaring colorations that were unacceptable. Some of these were quite famous and sought-after in their own time.

None of the Iego cords have glaring colorations and most would fit in nicely into most people's systems without causing undue stress and deviations that will require tweaks elsewhere. I realize many folks simply cannot try some of these cords themselves, so I would say a safe bet would be something along the lines of Cord C (L8 gold plated plugs) and Cord D (L7 silver plated plugs), and then move up or down the line as you see fit in your system. It wouldn't surprise me if somebody said the cheapest Cord E was what worked best for their tastes, either, b/c in the end, it's still the synergy and personal preferences thing.

post #2 of 28
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post #3 of 28
Thank you Jon L nice job.

Quote:
If powercords made such drastic differences in sound wouldn't you think highend manufacturers like McIntosh, Meridian, Levinson, etc... would include them with their products?
Same reason they don't include fancy ICs. Why? Add to the cost with a power cord of *their choice*. No thanks. Give me the cheapie cord I can discard so I can use the cable I choose. If they didn't want people using aftermarket cords, they would hard-wire the stock cable rather than giving you an IEC.
post #4 of 28
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post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Know Talent View Post
What makes a bigger difference to noise reduction and sound quality....your PS PPP with standard cord OR a fancy pants boutique cord costing the same $$$?
PS PPP?
post #6 of 28
PPP= PS Audio Power Plant Premier.

As I say in the review, aftermarket cables placed on the PPP still make as big a difference there as they do on any other component. Because it is the furthest upstream, I recommend putting your best cable on the PPP as it's performance in that position will affect everything down stream.
post #7 of 28
Thanks Jon, great review. I have had my eye on these guys for a while, and appreciate your efforts in describing the differences. It seems we have a new batch of "giant killers" to choose from. Do you know if the 8 series is cryo treated, like the 7 series?
post #8 of 28
All of them all cryo treated, AFAIK all IeGO products are treated at -240C/-400F for over 20hrs.

What I'm told, they are treated before assembly (as bare metal parts/wires), thus the expensive cryo process won't be wasting money on treating the plastics, screws, cotton fillings and such.
post #9 of 28
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post #10 of 28
Thanks Maniac...yeah, I don't suppose treating plastic would be a good idea, lol...
post #11 of 28
For those of us that can't afford the PPP, it seems the matter of "condition or not" is still up in the air. I have a Furman PL-8 II rack mount condtioner. Right now, I have my DAC and source on it, and have my hp amp plugged directly into the wall (people claim that surge supression and/or conditioning affect sound stage, dynamics, the weather in the Amazon, etc., and that most amps do ok with "dirty" current due to internal bells and whistles). I'm using 14 AWG shielded power cables (big fat Dell server power cables). The results seem pretty good, but I'm wondering if I should:
A) plug everything into the conditioner, amp included - it has separate analog and digital sections. Would this really cause much of a problem for the amp? I'm not trying to power a gigantic rig, just a little hp amp.
B) Upgrade my power cords to something like these ones reviewed here. I can only swap cords on the amp and DAC, as my source is hard wired with a stock Denon cable. Will this help improve things enough to justify the cost? Should I rewire my DVD player in order to fit an IEC socket?

Thanks for the advice in advance...
post #12 of 28
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post #13 of 28
Quote:
Since you've reviewed many powercords and are now running the PPP, If you had to start from scratch and had $2000 to spend would you buy the PPP and stick with factory cords OR instead purchase 4 powercords?
That's a toughie. Let me put it this way, if my choice was between both of the aftermarket powercords I have on my components (more than $2K) and no PPP, vs. stock cords and a PPP, I would still probably pick the power cords if contribution to sound is the only criteria.

OTOH, I just love the way the my PPP handles power outages/surges. I feel very secure with it in place, and that kind of peace of mind when you have such nice components is no small thing...
post #14 of 28
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post #15 of 28
Quote:
Have you tried running the PPP with the stock cords?
I used the stock cord on the PPP itself when I first got it, because that was all I had. Swapping in a better cord made just as big a difference (to my ears) on the PPP as it did on my source and amp. I also tried switching the cords (different makes/models) between my amp and source when they were attached to the PPP and heard the same differences in sound as I did before the PPP was in place. In other words, the PPP didn't magically remove the utility or erase the sound of the better power cords.


OK, let's please give Jon L his thread back, he's done some great work here! Cheers.
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