You should also consider the MAC soundpipes HC power cords available on Audiogon auctions for $49 up. From my experience comparing them with lower price VD, ZU birth & Bok, DH Labs they can't be beat for the price. In fact sonically they give my far more expensive Lessloss Dynamic Filtering power cord a run for the money. If you google these power cords you will read that they have faired exceptionally well against substantially higher priced power cords in shootouts. Bottom line with regards to all cables:power, interconnect, and speaker - Don't waste your money on any expensive cords until you try MAC first to use as a benchmark.
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Zamdrang, not to diss any of the products under consideration, but you HAVE to consider DIY cables made from Cryo-Parts ACIII cable if you are considering available budget offerings. ACIII is now about $10 a foot, so you can make a very good ac cable with a male Marinco & female Schurter connector within your budget. It will perform at a very high level for a modest cost. Info is at Cryo-Parts.com .
I was in your position just a short while ago and bought the Signal Cable magic power for my NAD C372. Brightness in a system bothers me a lot, and I wouldn't describe the Signal Cable as bright at all. What I did notice was a tremendous increase in resolution, top to bottom, with a lower noise floor with increased micro- and macro-dynamics. There's increased resolution in the treble, but without a touch of emphasis.
All that said, I haven't tried the others you mention and would be curious about others' views on them. I'm happy enough with the SC that I plan to buy two more--for my power conditioner and the CD player that's plugged into it. The rest of my system for reference: Vandersteen 2ce Sig II, Sony Playstation 1, APC H10, Tributaries and Monster cabling.
Tvad, I'm not disputing your findings in the context of your system. But as someone as experienced as yourself knows, power cords and other cables do affect universally applicable results. I've tried the Volex 17604 on every component in my system and there is no comparison to the Cryo-Max cable. The Volex is a waste of money in my system, barely better than a stock cord. It's interesting how different ears perceive these things isn't it? I also tried every flavor of the diy VH cords and found them to perform not as well as the Cryo-Max ( in my system.) Now, I've not tried every permutation of connector available, so it's very probable that's a reason people experience different results too. Who Knows?
DH Labs sells their assembled power cord for about $220 but is to be commended for the fact that they'll also sell the raw cable for about $6.50 a foot.
Using high quality Marinco connectors you can build this cord for about $70, although I've also gone to the expense of having the cord cryoed.
A very good cord IMO-I use them throughout my system and it is very slightly warmer than neutral as the review suggests.
Among the cords I've used and prefer it to are: Blue Circle BC 62, Cardas Golden (plain Golden not the reference which I haven't used), Virtual Dynamics Power 3, DIY JPS labs built using the JPS in-wall cable (supposedly very close to the JPS Power) and the Volex. I'd agree that the Volex is not in the same league as the better cords or anything I've listed above, although it is cheap.
The MAC listed above sounds interesting.
It can be a vicious cycle. IMO cables are the icing on the cake for a system. I have tried several combinations of PC and IC with varying results. Some good, some really good and others well, not so good. Change is not always a good thing but I do understand the temptation to try something different.
The best advice I have received on this form is to try it for yourself and let your ears decide.
I have two suggestions for most bang for the buck plus new purchase protection:
1) Go to Audio Advisor to take advantage of a PS Audio trade-in sale. You can buy the PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3 cables and then trade in some garden-variety IEC PC cords to get a 50% rebate. You might also consider getting this IEC power strip to use one premium cord for up to three components.
I have been using a previous version of the PS Audio power cords and they are very good in a wide variety of situations. I used one with a switching integrated amp for two years, I use one with my HT pre/pro, and I use one now with my electric bass amp.
2) Go to eBay and watch for auctions run by ZuPromos for their Birth power cords. These items are new-in-box just like standard purchases on Zu Cable's website and carry Zu's same warranty and 60-day trial and return period. Typically these items sell on auction for about 1/4 to 1/3 of the website list price. Most Birth power cords sell for under $40 on eBay.
I picked up nearly $2K worth Zu cables this way for about $450 and am *very* happy with them.
You just have to be patient; only one such power cable may show up for auction every day or two. But in a week you'd have all the cords you need for about 30 cents on the dollar.
I have found the Tube Audio Design Iron Lung Jellyfish cord to be very competetive with cords up to $300.00.
I prefer these to Signal Magic PC, MAC HC, Audio Horizons PC, and just about as good as the Black Sand Violet and Synergistic Research Master Coupler.