A different view of power cords


Hi All,
I read a recent thread here on power cords and it reinforced a view I have that most audiophiles use aftermarket power cords and the vast majority recognize that they make a very big difference in the sound of their system. I'm definitely in this camp, but a recent experience has changed my view of the merits of that difference.

I went back and compared my Transparent power cords to the stock cords I got with my CJ amp and pre and was surprised to hear that with the stock cords my components delivered more natural and tonally "correct" sound. There was more "air around" the instruments and the vocals, overall better clarity and depth and less glare.

The Transparent Premium Power cords gave the sound a very "hyped up" quality that, while exciting and rather appealing at first, wore on me over time. I didn't realize this was happening until I tried the stock cords again which I'd never done before. I even went so far as to try the power cord from my VPI RCM with my amp and that even netted an improvement. Crazy!

Has anyone else had a similar experience? 

If you're interested, I wrote an article about this recently here:

https://www.thebrokenrecord.net/power-cords-the-sound-you-want/
thebrokenrecord
Honest reporting.  
Thanks.

May sound weird but some of the old PC were just heavy copper with cold welded copper terminal ends.. 15 amp rating..  A lot of amps are voiced for just that.. Heavy copper.

It's what they used at the factory to test them I bet....

Regards
Been reading your site with great interest.
A similar experience: I tried a Shunyata power cord, with and without one of their conditioners. They sounded impressive at first, but after a while, the change struck me as hyped and un-natural.
Hey thanks slaw! I appreciate your checking it out!
Wrong power cords, at least for those particular pieces of equipment.
This is one of the many major challenges involved in building a really good system: weeding through all the BS! I don't mean just the usual BS, people who know next to nothing blathering BS at a rate 10X those with actual useful information. This version of BS encompasses all the many products out there that pretend to be really good when in reality they are just not all that. 

When I was starting out there was no internet so hardly any reviews and near zero user reviews. It was pretty much all word of mouth. Which I now know for the above reason (10X nonsense to sense ratio) doomed me to failure. But you have to learn this one the hard way it seems. Some never do....

Another challenge, the range and variety of audio characteristics we are able to hear is near infinite. That is why so many reviews resort to describing how much different and better certain music sounds with a certain component. There are so many different aspects to listen for it is too much to try and do any other way.

So one thing that happens, people latch onto one or two things they find easy to recognize. Like in this case tone. Didn't notice at first the wire was hyped, probably never would have bought it if he did. So it is a listening skills exercise. 

Freebie rubber power cords are so absolute crap that I have to think even if the Transparent is worse in being hyped (it is, that is Transparent, that is the way they sound!!!) still it is better in a slew of other ways. It just got so bad now you can't stand it.

There is a saying, sins of commission are worse than sins of omission. It is easier to live with rolled off than hyped. Lots of reasons for this. 

Anyway, that's the story. Do not draw from it the bogus conclusion all power cords are like this, or that freebie rubber power cords are any good at all. They are not. They are junk. Absolute horrid waste of space junk. Bring yours over any time, happy to prove it to you.
I"m not sure if your use of the phrase "rolled off" was in reference to the sound of my system without the aftermarket cords MC, but I can assure you the effect was just the opposite. I'm hearing much better top end resolution than before.

In any case, I remain completely open to the possibility that a different power cord would improve the sound of my electronics and would love to know what those cords are. Perhaps once I recover my footing after this discovery I'll venture back in.
Transparent is one of those brands where after hearing a couple awful examples they never even get my consideration. The hyped sound you describe is what I heard even however many years ago it was. How some companies stay in business never once making anything good I will never understand.    

Still and all, the factory power cord you are talking about, unless CJ does something very unusual it is a standard off the shelf black rubber piece of you know what. I don't say POS lightly, the cheapest power cords I have ever tried handily beat the rubber POS. 

If you managed to buy the one power cord on the planet worse than a rubber POS you simply need to do a lot better job of selecting your power cords. You could start with the cheapest oldest Synergistic Master Coupler, which in spite of being 30+ years old they are so widely regarded as excellent they sell today for what they sold for new back then. That simply does not happen without it being a lot better than the freebie you are using now.
Personally, I don't like power cords/ICs  that have a "network box". Seems to me that a well designed cable shouldn't need these things.
Thanks for your suggestions! I appreciate it.
thebrokenrecord ...

Thanks for the link. Nice job. 

Frank

I’ve done extensive:
- tube rolling
- cable swapping
- capacitor changing

If I were to do it all over again, I’d start with understanding the basics - and importance of - clean power. It is the fuel that runs through the power cords. High performance requires high octane.

Unfortunately, I didn’t. But, I’ve spent the last few years remedying that. Now, with clean power, I can really hear how a cable, tube or capacitor affects the SQ.
I appreciate that steakster. How have you managed to get cleaner power for your system?


@thebrokenrecord

I approached clean power – OCD style.

Years ago, I was intrigued when Transparent Audio launched its ‘Power Isolator’. It had only a single receptacle (non-duplex) – for accommodating only one component. TA believed that it was important to filter the power to each audio component individually - as well as to isolate each audio component from each other. A later model, PIMM, had a duplex outlet, but the TA owner’s manual still recommended only one component for maximum filtering - and isolation.

Over the years, as my tight budget allowed, I purchased several used PIMM’s. I now have a dedicated PIMM for each audio component in my rig. Pitch black background. Whenever I experiment by putting two components on a shared PIMM, I can easily hear the degradation. Whenever I change power cords, I can easily hear the change in SQ. This has allowed me to find power cords that synergize well with each component – and those that don’t.

Additionally, I have dedicated LPS’s for each component that had a wall wart. Too many other tweaks to mention. Since I have a dedicated man-cave, I’m able to get away a lot of black boxes. The rig is butt ugly looking, but beautiful sounding. IMHO.

This approach is totally inefficient & too expensive for most level-headed music lovers. A one box solution is much more preferable. If I understand correctly, the Puritan PSM156 power conditioner manages each receptacle independently. Maybe that’s why it’s received such rave reviews.

Of course, there are many different approaches to procuring clean power. Whatever way works for your ears - is a good way to do it. YMMV

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Dirty power = Distortion (noise) comes from 3 primary sources:

- The utility company – coming into the utility box.

- Appliances within the house – eg: TV’s, computers, fluorescent lighting, refrigerators, HVAC, hair-dryers, etc

- The audio components themselves – especially, the digital ones.

Each digital component – modem, router, streamer, bridge, DAC, etc – regurgitates noise back into the audio circuit – as well as throughout the house – and visa versa. Eventually, this noise creates distortion in the audio signal.

Dirty power = Distortion (noise) comes from 3 primary sources:

- The utility company – coming into the utility box.

- Appliances within the house – eg: TV’s, computers, fluorescent lighting, refrigerators, HVAC, hair-dryers, etc

- The audio components themselves – especially, the digital ones.

Each digital component – modem, router, streamer, bridge, DAC, etc – regurgitates noise back into the audio circuit – as well as throughout the house – and visa versa. Eventually, this noise creates distortion in the audio signal.

Very well observed...

I concur with your experience...

But my budget make me unable to cope with any other solution than homemade peanuts costs...

"Golden plate" all along my electrical house grid main stations...

I am very proud to have created it.... It is not perfect but very audible for me...

Shungite plate+a copper taped sheet on the external side of the application...

I cannot afford 2 PIMM’S

No need now....
In my experience only solid core power cables are producing clean sound. Acoustic Revive, Furutech, Oyaide, Nordost etc.
steakster ...

I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of the importance of clean power.

There’s nothing we can do to clean up the power from the transmission lines to the circuit breaker box, but when Perfect Path Technologies was still in business, there was plenty that could be done from the circuit breaker box to the audio system, that’s for sure. Starting with "The Gate" in the circuit breaker box to "Total Contact" on all of the connections.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take care of some of the pre-circuit breaker box power though. My electrical transformer is in a locked metal vault in my backyard. It feeds the neighbor’s homes as well as mine. Tim Mrock was very generous with me prior to his passing. He actually sent me a tub of TC with enough product to paste the entire outside of the transformer box.

I used a 2" paintbrush and spread a thick coat of TC on it. Tim told me that the improvement would be dramatic. I had no idea until I fired up the system. Dramatic? I’ll say. Since then, so much has been done to further clean up the power for further improvement in sound.

My audiophile friends are pretty astounded at how quiet the system is ... without rolling anything off. So, I concur ... If I were starting over, cleaning up the power before anything else is well worth the effort.

Once one experiences his/her system operating on clean power, the compulsion to constantly upgrade the system with more and more expensive equipment is no longer there.

Want to get off of the equipment merry-go-round? Address the dirty AC power and you’ll be done.

Frank
@oregonpapa,

totally agree with everything you say on cleaning up the power. In lieu of TC you might try madscientistaudio.com‘s Graphene Contact Enhancer with like effect. For me passive power conditioning using Acoustic Revive power cords and Rtp-4 or RTP-6 strips has worked wonders. Another winner are WA cable chips on the power cords and Acoustic Revive REM-8 EMI busters on power transformers. The Mad Scientist supplies Blackdiscus Donuts for torroidal transformers with very beneficial effects. Lastly using EMI/RFI rejecting material on the junction boxes and power supplies has proven very beneficial. Unfortunately cleaning up power is a multi-step process but well worth it
@antigrunge2,

Those are some great suggestions, and I appreciate all the details. Thank you for your input!

I wish those AR Rtp strips weren't so expensive! Are they that good?
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