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Male AC connector quality

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking into building an AC power cable for my Bottlehead Crack. The wire I'm not really having any issues with, but the connectors are something I'm wondering about. What are the advantages of going with a ~$100 Furutech vs a ~$13 Wattgate? Obviously materials are different, like gold vs copper vs rhodium. But what does that transfer to in terms of sound or cutting down on interference? There are plenty of threads on the benefits of interconnect materials, but not so many on power cables.

post #2 of 8

The issue is that audiophiles wont take you seriously if you don't have the $100 plugs. Once you have the right plugs and wires your circuit no longer matters, which is very convenient for the industry as a whole. 

 

In terms of reality, any difference that exists (do note that I am very deliberately leaving the almost guaranteed option of no difference whatsoever WIDE open) is nominal compared to the differences you will hear by changing amps.

 

If you have about $100 to play with, build a Cmoy or a SSMH - the differences between the Cmoy and the CRACK are *HUGE* and you will still have some money left over for records! SSMH is closer, but still more different than anything you will experience with a cable change. 

 

If you have a bit more than $100 on hand and want to mix it up every now and then build a CKKiii, Torpedo, or maybe a Pimeta. 

post #3 of 8

Hi,

 

This will get some reaction, I'm sure.

Assuming you are talking about the male end that plugs into the wall, there are 4 main differences between the two connectors you mention.

 

1) $87.00

2) Bragging rights

3) Psyco-acoustical

4) Bling

 

You may want to look into a filtered AC inlet, such as made by Schaffner or Schurter, if you are looking for some improvement.  But even this is debatable.  AMB, one of the better designers, has done some testing  with and without them.  He could not find any measurable differences between the 2.  I like them as they can accept IEC connectors and optionally come with switches and fuses.  I can't tell you if my gear sounds better with them than with out as I use them as a matter of course on all my builds.

 

Jim

 

PS; And what Nikongod said.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Correct, male plugs that go into the wall. I figured the prices would shoot up once things like carbon fiber barrel made it into the description. I have no doubt of improvement from a $50 plug vs a $1.99 home depot plug. My goal is always to but at the beginning of the spike of diminishing returns. I have no problem paying for quality, but don't want to pay for a placebo.

Reason behind this, my source is flac from jriver mc18-->rca out on essence stx--> bottlehead crack--> sennheiser hd650. I've been having a rough time with a ground loop and some interference, so I'm looking to minimize them as much as I can.

Ps.... Did u read correctly that a cmoy will out perform a crack, or did I misread that?
post #5 of 8

Hi,

 

I think that all Nikongod is saying is that your money could be better spent some where else.

 

I don't think a wall plug will solve your ground loop or interference problems.  I am not familiar with the Bottlehead Crack, other than reading about it, but there are a few "generic" things you could try.

 

1) Make sure input wires are twisted.  In some cases, shielded wire may be necessary.  I twist all pairs, signal and power (AC & DC)

2) Keep signal wires as far away from AC as possible.  Includes wiring  and transformers.  Sometimes crossing AC and signal wires at 90 degrees works.

3) Sometimes rotating a power transformer will help.

4) Using a single ground point.

5) I have seen a number of builds (mine included) where the volume pot will cause a ground loop.  Try running a wire from it to your ground.  A number of them are held together with screws, this is a good attachment point. If not, any metallic point you can attach a wire to.

6) Not sure what you mean by interference, but... Try switching tubes and see if the problem follows.  May be a bad tube.  Some are noisier than others.

7) The Bottlehead forums are a good source of info more specific to your build.

 

I mentioned bling in my previous post.  I do not want to put this concept down.  This is a hobby, period.  The only one you have to make happy is your self.  For example, I go way overboard on casing my projects, it makes me happy.

 

Hope this helps

Jim

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
The interference I was getting was apparent from the monitor. Whenever the cursor or anything else moved, I was getting a soft noise that was matched to any movement on the monitors. Not sure how to describe the sound, but it wasn't a buzz or static. It was a soft midrange noise that sound almost like digital data leaking through.

The bottlehead forums are great, but I kind of have a small issue. The impatient child in me didn't want to wait 2-3 months to receive the kit, so I bought one used in perfect condition. So I didn't build it, nor do I have the manual. Oops.

As far as spending money on cables, I mix 2 schools of thought. 1st: It can only make it better 2nd: If I don't spend it on this, she'll spend it on shoes and nails.

So the way I look at it, better shielded cables will only help. Then I'll eventually pick up a decent power conditioner on the cheap, and get enough set aside for a good dac so I can and problems with the internal soundcard altogether.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

The interference I was getting was apparent from the monitor. Whenever the cursor or anything else moved, I was getting a soft noise that was matched to any movement on the monitors. Not sure how to describe the sound, but it wasn't a buzz or static. It was a soft midrange noise that sound almost like digital data leaking through.

The bottlehead forums are great, but I kind of have a small issue. The impatient child in me didn't want to wait 2-3 months to receive the kit, so I bought one used in perfect condition. So I didn't build it, nor do I have the manual. Oops.

As far as spending money on cables, I mix 2 schools of thought. 1st: It can only make it better 2nd: If I don't spend it on this, she'll spend it on shoes and nails.

So the way I look at it, better shielded cables will only help. Then I'll eventually pick up a decent power conditioner on the cheap, and get enough set aside for a good dac so I can and problems with the internal soundcard altogether.

 

Yes, your issue is "digital data leaking through." The problem is that it is happening in the computer. 
 
Your schools of thought are fraught with problems. 
A new cable could (probably will...) make no difference at all. 

Even if you waste your money on cables she will still buy shoes and get her nails donest. 

 

So the way I look at it, your problem has nothing to do with your cables. Or your power supply not being filtered, or whatever you think a power conditioner does. Buying a new DAC is last on the list, but I would bet its the only thing that will help. 


Edited by nikongod - 9/18/13 at 12:04pm
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Buying a usb dac is what I would prefer to do first. My biggest problem is finding one that would be a marked improvement over the dac in the essence stx. I've read a lot of positive on the schiit bifrost and Peachtree dacit, and an kinda leaning towards them. I've considered picking up a cheap usb dac just to cut out the computer altogether, but I keep coming back to that would be money better spent on a good dac. There aren't a lot of stx dac vs other dac comparisons, it usually ends up being about the quality of the amp.

As far as making some cables goes, it's become a bit of an itch that needs scratching. I've done so much looking at wires that I actually just want to do it. Once I get ahold of a manual, I'll end up redoing the wiring in the crack to minimize internal issues.

So basically, as soon as I can find a dac that I like that I won't need to replace due to lack of quality, I'm all over it.
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