|I used to be an unbeliever. I didn't believe that an expensive AC power cord could change my life. But when I tried Brand X I fell to my knees, my jaw dropped to the floor, and I heard.....the Voice of The Infinite!! Well, maybe not quite. Audiophile cable reviews sometimes mimic a religious conversion. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see. Or hear. Anyway, it's easy to become cynical after falling for endless testimonials and spending thousands of dollars to try the latest/greatest meter of wire. It's hard to find a brand of cables that does not have its adherents and zealots, and if there is any core truth in CableLand, it seems to be buried in a din of exaggeration. Only the diet industry seems to offer more hyperbole and a more confusing array of untested theories and anecdotal evidence. Yet hope springs eternal.|
I should state at the outset that I am not an a priori believer in the efficacy of expensive after market power cords. For most of my audiophile life I used the stock power cables that came with my Audio Research gear. They seemed to work just fine and could be replaced for about $15 if rodents or kids gnawed on them. On occasion I tried some after market cables, but couldn't hear sonic improvements that I could reliably identify. Sometimes the more expensive cables looked cool or laid out more smoothly; but I couldn't hear enough improvement to justify the extra expense. Damn. I also noticed that the big heads on the heavier custom cables tended to droop out of the back of my equipment and needed to be supported. Ordinary molded cable heads didn't have this problem.
I should point out that my indifference did not extend to interconnects or speaker cables as they could produce very definite differences in the sound of my system. However, as far as I was concerned, the jury was still out on the efficacy of after market AC cords.
Nevertheless, like any midnight infomercial junkie, I still got intrigued by the theories and the claims. After all, some of it sounded so plausible and so scientific. Ultimately that is why I decided to try the AC power cords from LessLoss. I liked their theories and the informative writing on their website. It was intelligent, and seemed credible. In a nutshell, LessLoss uses the skin effect in silver coated copper wires to isolate high frequency interference on the AC lines. Then they filter out the high frequency hash traveling on the surface of the wire, leaving the AC power in the wire's core unimpeded. It seems like a simple, elegant idea that requires no transformers or capacitors, etc. Exactly how they filter out the hi frequency interference was not specified and there were no graphs to quantify the filtering effects. Nevertheless, I was hooked. I was also intrigued by the fact that these cables were from Lithuania where they might be privy to mystical knowledge not revealed to ordinary mortals. So I decided to order two Dynamic Filtering Power Cables from LessLoss.
I should mention that Liudas at LessLoss was very helpful, and a very responsive communicator. I live in central Mexico most of the year, but the two LessLoss AC cords I had ordered arrived while I was back in the States. Upon first inspection the braided cables appeared very well made and the transparent, red Oyaide heads are gorgeous. The cables are also a bit stiff, although not ridiculously so. However, I didnít buy them for the cosmetics. Fortunately, for testing, I had access to a stereo system almost identical to my home system; the only difference being the substitution of an ARC LS17 preamp for my own LS26. The rest of the system was an ARC CD3 Mk2 CD Player, the new ARC HD220 hybrid power amp, and Gallo Ref 3.1 speakers with the Gallo SA subwoofer amp. Everything was rigged with Analysis Plus interconnects and speaker cables.
First I powered the system with the standard Audio Research power cords. Everything was plugged directly into the wall. I listened for about an hour to establish a sonic baseline and then installed both LessLoss AC cables on both the CDP and the Preamp. I could not try the LessLoss AC cord on the amp since it has a 20 amp IEC inlet and the cords had 15 amp terminations.
The envelope please.......To my surprise, I could hear an immediate difference in the sound with the LessLoss AC Cords in place. I did not have to switch back and forth to be sure I heard something. It was obvious and immediate. For the first time in my experience, changing the AC cords on my system made a positive difference. What difference? The LessLoss cords lowered the noise floor, providing a quieter, blacker background for the music. The imaging was also more precise and focused, there was improved ambient detail, and the bass sounded tighter and less diffuse. In general, there was more clarity and less muddling, but the effect did not go so far as to create a sterile or artificially barren sound. It was as though there had been a light fuzz on the sound before and the LessLoss AC cables had shaved it off.
The LessLoss cords even passed my toughest test - my wife. She is not an audiophile, hadnít read any of the promos, and had no reason to imagine differences if there were none. I didnít even tell her which cords were which when switching between them. However, she consistently described hearing a clearer, cleaner sound with the LessLoss AC cords in the system. My friend and fellow audiophile, Steve, had a similar experience and felt that the LessLoss cords created a more natural, relaxed, and realistic soundscape than the stock cords. Voila.
But thatís not all. A few months later I was back in Mexico and got to try the cords again on my home system. In Mexico, our AC power is supplied by a brand new power plant. The demands on the power are much lower than in the States, with fewer computers, and other devices on the grid. The wall voltage in my house runs hot at about 130 VAC, but I donít use a voltage regulator for fear of hampering dynamics. The point here is that I wondered if the LessLoss cords would still have the same effect I had experienced in the States? If not, I would have to consider the possibility that the cords are designed to remove AC interference that isnít a problem here in Mexico.
My Mexican stereo system was the same as used in the States, but with an ARC LS26 preamp, and the addition of a Benchmark DAC1 USB to convert Apple Lossless music files playing in iTunes on an iMac. The room was also very lively with solid brick and concrete walls, large windows down the side walls, and a rug-on-tile floor. I had recently installed Cathedral Bass Dampers in the corners of the front wall to reduce bass boom.
Again, I used the stock ARC power cords initially. Then I inserted a LessLoss Filtering AC Power cord on the Benchmark DAC and the LS26 Preamp. And..............I fell to my knees, my jaw dropped to the floor.......just kidding. But, lo and behold, the effect was similar to the effect I had experienced in the States. The sound got clearer with more focused imaging and better ambient detail. The LessLoss effect was equally apparent on both the CD player and the DAC1 USB, although in my opinion the CD player was a slightly better sounding front end in general. There is no doubt that the LessLoss AC cord is doing something definite, doing it consistently, and doing it well. Even when the LessLoss AC cord was put only on the LS26 preamp, it made an improvement to the sound.
In conclusion, the Lithuanian magic works, and I would recommend the LessLoss Dynamic Filtering Power Cables for those who have a finely tuned system, and want a significant sonic improvement. The crew at LessLoss has definitely taken a step in the right direction with their new AC cables. I have heard the Light.
ARC CD3 Mark2 CD Player
Benchmark DAC1 USB with Apple iMac
ARC LS26 Preamp
ARC HD220 Hybrid Amp
Gallo Rerence 3.1 speakers
Gallo SA amp
Bright Star speaker stands
Analysis Plus Solo Crystal interconnects
Analysis Plus Big Silver speaker cables
A variety of other AC power cables.
by Esharp on 02-14-08