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ZCable Lightning Power Cord vs. Quail Power Cord

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I guess it was about 3 months ago that Jude contacted me about doing a review of the Zcable Lightning Power Cord. Jude was contacted by Mark Hampton of Zcable to see if he would be interested in doing a review but Jude was too busy at the time so he asked me if I was interested. Since I have no life I decided to do it. I was going to write this review earlier, but I have been busy getting wasted for the past 3 months. Just kidding guys. In this review I will compare the Lightning to the Quail Power Cord. These are basically the same power cord, but according to the Zcable web site the Lightning has been optimized. What that actually means is anybodys guess but go to their web site http://www.zcable.com/ if you want to learn more. The Lightning can be found at Zcable’s web site for $125 for a 6’ cord while the Quail I picked up for free from Quail http://www.quail.com/greendot/ but usually goes for around $11 for a 6’ cord. Quail is a large supplier of power cords so that price is usually based on a large quantity of about 100. Both of these cords are green dot hospital grade power cords. I have included pictures of these 2 cords and as you can see they look almost identical. The one with the black velcro is the Lightning. You would conclude then that they would make my amps sound the same – well read on. I did my comparison using the following equipment and CDs.

MicroZotl Tube Amp
Stax SRM-T1 Tube Amp
MG HeadDT Tube Amp

Grado RS-1, HP-2
Sennheiser HD-590
Stax SR-404
Sony MDR-V900

DVD/CD Player
Toshiba SD-4205(yeah not a high end dedicated CD player but a very good CD/DVD player)

MIT 330 Series 1
Zcable Jazz 4(Mark sent me a pair of these with the Lightning which I will review soon)

Patricia Barber - “Companion”,”Café Blue”,”A Distortion of Love”
Diana Krall - “Love Scenes”,”All For You”,”Stepping Out”,”When I Look in Your Eyes”
BT British Ensemble – “Shostokavich/Chamber Symphony” HDCD
Eagles – “Hell Freezes Over” XRCD
Dire Straits – “Brothers in Arms” XRCD
Def Leppard – “Pyromania” MFSL Gold

Sound Comparison:
Well, what I noticed right away about both cords is that they did not subtract or constrict the sound of my tube amps. I thought both cords added richness and depth to the music. I noticed this when I compared them to the original power cords and to other power cords I had on hand for comparison. They both also added bass richness to the music. I especially noticed this with songs like “Use Me” from Patricia Barber's Companion CD. This song starts with just Michael Arnopol on bass and going back to the original power cords the bass sounded weaker and not as pronounced. I noticed the same thing on “Black Magic Woman” from the same CD. The other thing I noticed with these power cords was their ability to add some richness and warmth to what I was hearing. As you can tell I like the warmth of tube amps. They never made my system or the CD I was listening to sound harsh or brittle. When listening to great Jazz female vocalists like Patricia Barber and Diana Krall I couldn’t help but like the effect these cords had in my system. They just made both vocalists sound a little more lush and seductive. Songs like “When I Look in Your Eyes” from the Diana Krall CD by the same name was very lush sounding even more so then usual. In a nutshell, I liked what both of these cords did in my systems. I also listened to other CDs like BT British Ensemble – “Shostokavich/Chamber Symphony” HDCD so I could hear if the warmth and richness that these cords added robbed my system of dynamics. I was very pleased with what I heard. The violins on this CD still had plenty of bite to them. If you like violins then run out and get this CD, it’s amazing. Also, listening to the MFSL CD of Def Leppard “Pyromania” on my MG Head DT the sound was dynamic and loud. The way Rock is supposed to sound.

After going back and forth between these two cords did I really hear any difference? I would have to say no. Both these cords sounded similar to me and I couldn’t really distinguish any difference between them. They both were a nice match for my systems and I highly recommend them.
post #2 of 4
Nice review, man. Don't suppose you tried the power cords out on your source, did you? I'm actually more curious about your future Jazz review. What other interconnects are you gonna compare them to?
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
My source does not have a detachable cord. I was going to compare the Jazz 4 to the MIT 330.
post #4 of 4
I think you will like the Jazz4. I use several pairs of Jazz4 and I couldn't be happier. I use the Jazz4 from my TDS passive audiophile to my HeadRoom Home in my main system and also the Jazz4 from another TDS passive audiophile to my HeadRoom Little by the computer. I use ZCable's LIVE for most of my main system as well and the Jazz4 is no slouch compared to the more expensive LIVE.

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