Pros: Great build quality, looks cool, fantastic customer service (Rob is a very friendly guy), noticeable positive impact on sound quality
Cons: Cable is a little heavy, yeah... there is no way around the fact that you are paying $$$ for a power cable
Now, I know what you are thinking, "audiophile power cables? Snake oil! Horse crap! You're an easily duped shill!" And let's be honest, it is easy to see why someone might think that. Just a few months ago, in fact, I had the exact same thoughts. It never made sense to me how a power cable could actually improve the sound of my audio gear. That's crazy talk, I thought. On the other hand, like many people here, I am a curious soul. I didn't believe that a power cable would make a difference, but I wanted to hear that non-difference for myself.
So, I stumbled across Audio Art cables. I had heard some good things about them, particularly that the owner, Rob Fritz, was a really friendly guy. Of greater interest to me, however, was the 30 day, no-questions-asked return policy. That sounds pretty safe, right? I get a couple cables, give them a quick trial, and then return them for my money back. No harm, no foul, and I could dispel any power cable stupidity that might come my way in the future.
Well, the first red flag appeared when I reached out to Rob to see what he thought might be a good fit for me. Well, he was quite personable, and what's more, seemed very confident in his product. Of course, I told myself, if one is selling snake oil, one better be good at selling it. A couple options were banded about, but ultimately, I settled on the subject of today's review: the Power1 e Cryo. I ordered two: one for my Bifrost 2, and one for my Gilmore Lite mk2. This isn't TOTL or anything, but they are very nice sounding, and make a fine pairing for the price. My main headphone was the Hifiman Arya. I also use a Keces BP600 power conditioner, and a Cayin idap 6 for my music player.
So, upon receipt of the cables, I let them burn-in for a day, and then dove into some listening sessions. Just to reiterate here, not only did I not expect to hear a difference, I didn't want to. This hobby is already expensive enough. I don't want to add power cables to the list!
$hit, I believe, was the first word I spoke after I started listening. Not only was there a difference, but I didn't even find it that subtle. After a couple days, I switch back to the stock cables, assuming that the placebo effect was in play, or perhaps I just forgot how good my gear could sound. But nope, the improvements were real.
Well, what improvements, you ask? Well, what I think it was is a noticeable increase in clarity. The background was cleaner, and as a result, things like the sound-stage, imaging, dynamics and detail all took a small bump as they stood out more clearly. When taken as a whole, it makes for a really nice improvement. This is certainly not what I expected or wanted to hear.
$hit, I said again, and ordered two more: one for the BP600 and one for the idap 6. Whether adding the power cables here made much of a difference, I am not sure, but, in for a penny, in for a pound! I did hear some minor tweaks, but not as significant as with the amp and DAC. My Gilmore Lite mk2 has since become the GSX-mini, and my Bifrost 2 just became the Sonnet Morpheus, and with the upgrade in gear, the advantages over the stock cables became even more clear.
I liked Audio Art's power cables enough that I also added a pair of their e2 Cryo XLR cables and their AES cable for connecting the Morpheus to my idap. I am a very happy camper here.
So, should you give this, or perhaps another of Audio Art's power cables a try? If you are like me, and are endlessly curious, the answer is an easy yes! Maybe you try them and don't hear any worthwhile improvements (and I really hope you don't, as I said before, this hobby is already expensive enough), then you send them back, and all you are out is a couple bucks for shipping, and you now have piece of mind that this is, in fact, all snake oil. But tread carefully, or you could end up like me, and falling further down the rabbit hole than you ever thought possible.
The Audio Art e Cryo AC cable starts at $400, but Audio Art has sales like fish lay eggs. I would say once a month, at least. I would wait for one of those to take the plunge.
PS. Audio Art offers a burn-in service for $25 per cable. I would avoid this unless you are sure you are keeping the cables; because, as it is a service and not a product, it is non-refundable.