... abit confused: how does a power cord affect the presentation of sound...


Hello to all...

I was shifting around components in my system, trying to squeeze out better controlled bass, more definition within the soundstage, and better define the "voice/midrange" presentation...

I presently have a tube preamp (hardwired with a wall wart) into an HT Receiver; source is a Marantz SA-8001 CD Player

Swapped out a Yamaha HTR -5550 (hardwired) for a Parasound HCA-750A (which needs a power cord).

CD Player is powered with a PS Audio Statement SC power cord, so I went in my closet and pulled out another PS AUDIO Statement SC power cord, hooked it up and expect to give it at least 5 days continuous re-break-in before serious listening.

Took a minute to lookup reviews about this power cord - and I read some rather confusing reviews: some luved 'um, some liked 'um, but some thought them " ...slow... " (?), and giving a veiled presentation...

I'm gonna listen and decide myself - but I'm abit confused: how does a power cord affect the presentation of sound - I know that interconnects and speaker cables would/could/Do affect sound presentation - but how could a power cord?

Explanation/thoughts please...
insearchofprat
No consensus to be found on practically anything related to the topic of audiophile power cords. 
insearchofprat,

It's really hard to explain without being technical.  Without a technical background, it would be hard to understand even with a good explanation.
My experience is that the better power cord gives me less electronic hash, more intense tone colors, and more three-dimensionality.  These differences aren't night and day, but I'm far from ready to dismiss power cord upgrades as snake oil.  I've never noticed the slightest difference with rhythm and pace.
Ok - that particular line of power cords by PS audio - the “SC” series - the jacket was impregnated with ferrite. While intended to reduce noise, ferrite also has the negative side effect of quashing dynamics resulting in the sound being “slow.” Pretty sure PS audio even admitted this flaw later, and ceased impregnating the jackets with ferrite on their subsequent line of power cords. Would use those only for video applications, or maybe something like a transport. Would not use those on a preamp or amp where the “slow” sound will be most pronounced. CD player/DAC - questionable. I know this from personal experience with these power cords. Most power cords for high end audio applications avoid the use of ferrite; you see ferrite donuts on a lot of power cords that come with computer equipment and other small appliances. Hope this helps.
There are many existing threads about power cords.
Here’s one.
Here’s another.
And another, with nearly 500 responses!
Aaaaaaannnnnd another.

And so many more. They might be a good place for you to start.
Here’s the best place to start, select electricity and magnetism.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
Cleeds

... Thanks so much - with 3132 posts, I appreciate your suggestion - oh, and thanks for sharing your expertise on the topic. No experience/opinion on this?
CD Player is powered with a PS Audio Statement SC power cord, so I went in my closet and pulled out another PS AUDIO Statement SC power cord, hooked it up and expect to give it at least 5 days continuous re-break-in before serious listening.


That was your first mistake. If you want to learn about power cords- or any kind of wire, or anything for that matter- do your serious listening immediately. From the first minute. 

That is how you learn once something is burned in it doesn't take no 5 days to re-break in. It takes like 5 minutes. Okay maybe a little longer. Depends how long its been sitting around. But minutes to hours not days. Most of which is nothing to do with sitting around but because of all the wiggling and bending the wire went through going on and off. Something you can prove yourself. Simply take any wire that's been used without being touched a while, unplug and wiggle around, plug back in, listen closely immediately. Immediately! Because it only takes a few minutes to stabilize again.  

I know that interconnects and speaker cables would/could/Do affect sound presentation - but how could a power cord? 
Your second and much bigger mistake, thinking how matters. How is a story with many parts, chapters, volumes. How is Alice in Wonderland. The more credence you give to how the more they will be yanking you left and right, up and down, back and forth, because after 30+ years let me tell you "how" is The Neverending Story. Everyone has their own favorite how, and however good their how is now the one thing I can absolutely guarantee you is if you wait a year or three it will be completely different. 

That's one angle. The other one is, why do you think there's any difference between the power cord and the interconnect- or the speaker cable? Is the signal only in the interconnect? Really? So the power comes out of the wall in one absolutely unvarying fluid stream? I don't think so! Power draw pulses and fluctuates right along with the demands of the music. Think about it.
PCs are going to have less of an impact on the sound of your system than ICs or speaker cables.  Optimize after those are set.
PCs are going to have less of an impact on the sound of your system than ICs or speaker cables. Optimize after those are set.
Not if you have such an oddball PC that has a characteristic that permeates the entire sound, which is what the OP has.
@nicotico , 
+1.
So much of this is system dependent, but so much is dependent upon the power cord's design.
I, in all honesty, never thought power cords would affect the sound of a system until I auditioned some AQ power cords. 

Bob
It takes the sound from the amp to the speakers.
Or if you mean the cord plugged into the wall...it takes the electricity from the wall to the amp/components.  No audio signals run in the AC power cord.  As long as it's fat enough to handle the current you're good to go.
It does not.

As long as your cord is thick enough (low resistance) for the maximum power of your load, power cords do not in any way affect the sound. Think about it..... you are constrained by the romex house wire coming to your mains outlet from your main panel.

A 14/12 gauge mains wire will be more than adequate for 95% of home audio (15 amps at 120 volts = 1800 Watts, https://www.cerrowire.com/products/resources/tables-calculators/ampacity-charts/ ). If however, you have a gazillion watts/channel amplifier, even the thickest cord will not save you. Then you are effectively running a welding machine and you need to change your mains panel and all the internal wall wiring of your house.

Otherwise, it is just snake oil.


The Neverending Story.

Got that damn song in my head now.


I don't know how, but at least in my system, power cords do affect the sound.
Power cords:

Some Audio components have a poor AC line filtering. It’s a shame that an expensive component is so, but it is what it is.
A good line filter would do most of the job, the components went short of doing.
The power cord is practically supplies power to a Power Supply (PS). this is a unit, that rectify the AC, filter it (by capacitance) and mostly regulates it too.
The internal circuitry, supplied by DC power and if the power supply is good, the DC is stable and clean.

It would be a waste of money to invest in an expensive power cable.

I’ll take it to the opposite direction:

If you take one of those extra expensive and recommended power cable and connect it to your kitchen’s cattle, boil some water, and make a cup of tea - would it taste any different from the original $ 1.50 power cable?


unison77,

Your original system either came with an extremely bad cord in the first place or you are experiencing what is known as the "placebo effect".


Expectation Bias.

i witness a friend of mine make a fool of himself when I took his over prices Power Cord to a Hifi meet-up.    JPS Allumiti or something at around £6k.

The magic chord was switched back & forth numerous times against a bog standard kettle lead.   Only the chap behind the kit knew which was connected.

No one in the room could hear a difference, aside from my pal.   When he exclaimed “Oh come on that’s night & day...”.  It was revealed the £3 kettle lead was in...


My pal learned nothing from that day.   A fool & his money are easily parted.
Hi,
they do affect the power supply of a component, wire and plug quality has different sonic characteristics, EMI control is not the same in different powercords connected to a component.
My very limited budget prevents me from believing in any of the PC or interconnect bull about SQ improvement. I do enjoy reading all the opinions though and even the scientific ones which are fairly indisputable but does the science reach the eardrums? 
Let's be logical.
It is possible that active power conditioners affect the sound of the system.

But if you are talking about 6 feet of power cord with no active component, this can have nil effect as long as it's large enough to carry easily the power being drawn by the system.

Think about it.  Behind the 6 foot power cord there is a (usually) much longer connection to your meter.  Won't that foul up the power?  OK you can up-specify that and many of us do.  But probably not with wire costing $1,000/foot.

The meter is connected in the street to the local transformer that may be 400 yards or more away. A quarter a mile of wire fouling up your system.  You don't own that wire so there is nothing you can do about it, even if you could afford the $400,000 to improve it.

Even if you improve the power cords local to the system, there's a lot more wire carrying your power that you can't touch.

Like bits are bits, in the digital domain at least, power cord is power cord, as long as it's thick enough for the job.

And snake oil is snake oil.
6 feet of power cord can easily affect and audio system, depending on where it is in the system.

The deal, ie, how it affects, how it happens... is about the instantaneous delta of the inductive collapse of the field integration of the complex model of the power cord, under high delta draw from the DUT.This area of draw or complexity of the signal in the given 'moment' is how we as humans, hear. 

100% of our hearing is coming out of what is effectively approximately 10% of the signal.

If you measure in engineering terms, this represents a vanishingly small amount of the signal, as it is weighted as a comparison to the entire signal.

If one, during measurement, ignores 90% of the signal, and then concentrates, or confines 'the entire measurement and comparison of signal' cycle, to the transients ONLY, then the measured distortions creep up into the many full percentage points area.

This is critical, as this is how the ear hears. The ear does not hear the bulk of the signal, it does not work with the bulk of the signal.

The ear hears EXCLUSIVELY via the transients and micro transients, and the differences in level and time, between said transients. It does not hear, acknowledge or know anything about the other 90+ percent of the signal.

So, when measuring... THROW OUT the 90% of the signal that means NOTHING to the human hearing system.

When we measure cables for differences, it turns out that the biggest area of change or behavioral differences between various cable,s is happening in the inductive transient collapse of the signal as it propagates in and via the cable.

Well, would you look at that. What a coincidence: It just happens to be exactly how and where the ear utilizes the signal.

Out of all the cable types in the world, there is one that is head and shoulders above the rest, in dealing with inductive collapse.

And that is Teo Audio's liquid metal audio cables.  It is utterly unique and different.

For example, if one tries to make an inductive coil out of the liquid metal, it fails to operate in the same manner as wire, it fails to behave like a known entity, in expected inductive behavior. It is unique in this characteristic, regarding all other high lass metallic and/or 'solidus' conductive pathways.

The only relatively similar pathway, the only relatable known pathway, mathematically and in pure physics descriptive terms..... is that of a gas.

A literal quantum response and behavior characteristic, not Newtonian.
High quality power cords do not impede power to the unit hence high impedance/low impedance with the root word being impede
if power is less impeded to the component the more stable and efficient the signal from that component will be    At least this is how it was explained to me
good luck 
Wow, the website lists no prices and no ability to purchase from there, no dealers listed or found when googled. Saw some older reviews and one forum showing some prices from 2017. Definitely on the upper end of the spectrum, but not sure which of the three series shown on their website that could have been. Liquid state is definitely different, though I wonder what the conductivity of the medium is compared to copper. 

Can we think about this logically (can we?)?

So long as the metallurgical properties of the cable are capable of carrying the AC, and so long as the size of the wire is sufficient to the current draw, then it seems to me that the ways in which a PC can affect the component being powered by it (and possibly components downstream) are two:

* the cable is acting as some kind of filter on the AC it's getting from the receptacle

* the cable is acting as some kind of shield that is rejecting some kind of outside electrical interference

What other possibilities are there?

CAKYOL+1 i hard wire my mono blocks to the mains no power cord no drfference in soumd no power cord is the best sound for audio
The cable could "starve" the component which would affect the sound but I don't think anyone would want to go that route or shouldn't. Rejecting interference I don't get since the main is filtered by the components transformer and capacitors or should be. 
Here is something by brother taught me on power cables he uses in construction. By using the proper cable, my skillsaw would come up to speed quicker and have more power available for the work it was designed to do. This was very apparent when I used a lower amperage cable vs one that could deliver more power to the tool being used. Again the saying is a chain is only as good as its weakest link applies here as well. Or the analogy of a fat garden hose vs a smaller, more restrictive garden hose. Voltage is the pump and current is the rate of water flowing through the hose.
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I'm new to the whole power cord thing too.
I've been learning quite a lot in this forum about how the power cable affects performance of the devices they power.

One of the first ideas that I hadn't even considered is the fact that the power cable is pretty much somewhere  in the middle of the circuit past the circuit breaker.

Alternating current goes through a conductor of the Romex in the walls, to the outlet receptacle, through the power cable plug, through the power cable, through another plug, into another plug in the device requiring current, and to close the loop for the potential, through the other pin in the plug on the device being powered, into the plug on the power cord, through the cord, to the plug into the outlet receptacle through the other conductor of the Romex in your power box.

The AC power has 4 connector points through which it must travel from the circuit breaker to get to and from the device requiring current, not taking into account the ground. The materials and quality of those connections is also a contributing factor.

This is why I must logically agree that running dedicated power runs (also isolating it from other devices in the home), and higher grade plugs will allow for better electrical connection, plugs at the wall and plugs in the cable where any deficiencies can be overcome.

I wanted to discover for myself if any benefit could be observed by changing my factory issued power cord out for something different? I can't remember names, but a few suggested Synergistic Research Master Coupler as a good start for a test.

The Master Coupler X2 did improve the system sound when I plugged it into my power amplifier. I was converted to power cable upgrades, because my ears told me there is something to it.  
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To answer the OP's question, I found that PCs can and will affect the dynamics and the size of the soundstage. Doing that, all manner of lessor effects happen.

Don't fall for the red herring of "all that romex and junk" the power goes through before you get it. All that came before it is moot since what you need to do is get the best you can from where it all terminates: the outlet.

When you cook a steak, do you worry about the rest of the cow that came before it?

All the best,
Nonoise
This is just beyond me. Nothing matters but the power cord from the receptacle to the component? The panel box,  wire in the wall, transformer in the component that isolates the primary from the secondary, filtering in the component none of this makes a tinker's damn only this freaking 4 foot power cord?? Jesus Christ people  learn how electricity works. 

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/ecircon.html#c1
I can easily hear the differences when changing IC's or speaker cables in my system but struggle to hear any change at all when inserting a new power cord....and I don't know why nor do I really care.

I repeat: if a PC is supplying enough juice to a component (sufficient awg and OK metallurgy), then if you hear a difference it must be because of one or both of two reasons: the PC is doing something to the current flowing through it, and/or the PC is protecting the current from some sort of contamination from outside.  What other options are there?

For instance, Wireworld says their PCs block (outside) interference and absorb (inside) tribolectric noise.

This is just beyond me. Nothing matters but the power cord from the receptacle to the component? The panel box, wire in the wall, transformer in the component that isolates the primary from the secondary, filtering in the component none of this makes a tinker's damn only this freaking 4 foot power cord?? Jesus Christ people learn how electricity works
.
That was assuming that everything is to up to snuff and to built to code.
Of course, you can put in a better panel box, better grade romex, etc. but how many have the funds to go that far? The OP just asked about PCs in a normal setting, not how it figures into the universe.

All the best,
Nonoise

djones51
This is just beyond me. Nothing matters but the power cord from the receptacle to the component? ...
Don't be silly. No one here has stated that.
Read again. 

Don't fall for the red herring of "all that romex and junk" the power goes through before you get it. All that came before it is moot since what you need to do is get the best you can from where it all terminates: the outlet.

Read again,
That was assuming that everything is to up to snuff and to built to code.
Of course, you can put in a better panel box, better grade romex, etc. but how many have the funds to go that far? The OP just asked about PCs in a normal setting, not how it figures into the universe

Would the power cord be in a normal setting in a new house assuming it's up to snuff ? Do these special cords only work in old houses? 
Sorry, no tangents for me today.
from Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata Research:

https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/why-power-cables-make-a-difference/

Hopefully attention span of some here is bigger than a tweet (or audio forum message)
Hi,
first 6ft or so are very important (measuring from component to oulet). If you want to continue up to circuit breaker even better, and so on. But starting point is not outside the house.
Yes! Spot on @petg60! Power cord is not the last 6 feet. It’s the first six feet. Think of it as an extension of the component’s power supply.

There is no sense in talking about theories of operation if we can't agree that there is an audible effect.
You don't begin with the conclusion but a premise. This is circular reasoning or putting the cart before the horse. 

The power cord is not the last 6 feet, it is the first 6 feet from the perspective of the component. As stated in #1 the local current and electromagnetic effects directly affect the sonic performance of the component.”
This statement is idiotic the component has no "perspective" , it can't differentiate between a 6 foot cord or a 50 foot cord. Current isn't local it oscillates all the way back to the power station. This is another conclusion,  he hasn't proven it affects the sonic performance just states it as fact. 

NOT EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE COUNTED COUNTS, AND NOT EVERYTHING THAT COUNTS CAN BE COUNTED."
- ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Then end with a false attribution to a quote is sloppy research. 

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/26/everything-counts-einstein/
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