about to jump into the power cord foray

I am about to jump into the power cord foray. Since I’ve upgraded my IC’s and speaker cables most recently, I think the next step should be to look towards replacing the stock power cords. My system is as follows:

Dynaudio 52SE bookshelves
McIntosh MC2105 power
Audio Research LS-7 pre
Adcom GCD-600 cd changer
Lite Audio DAC 60 dac
Rotel RT-1080 tuner
Audioquest Diamondback & Kimber Hero IC’s
Kimber 8TC cables

I intend on putting IEC sockets on the A/R, McIntosh, and Adcom in the next week. If I could find a high quality changer, I’d probably dump the Adcom but I haven’t seen anything that’s really in my price range. Since I don’t have a new power or pre amp in the budget for the next 2 years, I plan on adding IEC sockets to the aforementioned devices. Will I notice any sort of improvement in sound quality, by going with Signal or Element cables with my current equipment? If not, should I look at a cable in the $100-150 range like the Virtual Dynamics Power 3 or VH Audio Flavor? I’m also open to any used cables on the site in the sub $150 dollar range
The VH Audio power cords are very good performance to dollar cables. Why would you put another CD changer in your setup? That will likely continue to be a weak link in your system. Hint: look at some low to mid fi single disc cd players for improved performance over a changer. Think: Rotel 1072, Jolida JD 100, Music Hall CD 25, Rega Apollo, and others.
You should notice an improvement in sound quality. Honestly you could make your own PC's using Belden 14/3 or 12/3 shielded or an unshielded SJOOW 14/3 16/3 from Home Depot. An AC plug will run apr. $4-10 and an IEC plug $20 (Solderless) and one that requires soldering much less. Of course you could spend ALOT more. What I have done on some of my tuners is use an 18/3 shielded cord which I bought used for about $4 from my local computer store to great effect. Tuners only draw 10-20w. (On my Yamaha T-7 I harded-wired 16/2 unshieled SJOOW and it sounds fantastic.) Good Luck w/your quest. Bill
Good advice from Kotta. The only reason you would need a new power cord is if the old one is frayed, the female end has become loose, or it is drastically undersized. Paying more than a total of $20 or so $ for a power cord is a complete waste of money. It is one thing for someone to throw money away that has no budget concers but when someone states that they have to wait to purchase equipment due to funds, it is a shame if they waste money. A 20 dollar power cord, whether bought or put together from home depot as Kotta suggested will do everything that a $500 dollar power cord will do or a power cord made for the space shuttle for that matter. I have heard too many ridiculous claims about power cords and cable. My undergrad was BSEE and I spent years in the field of electronics. If you approached any group of degreed engineer (that did not have a pecuniary stake in selling the cables and cords) with the stuff that gets posted about improvement in audio due to power cords and cables, you would have to wait for them to stop laughing to get a response. I recently read a post where a person suggested that a three wire power cord with the female end plugged into a two wire socket through an adapter was a good idea because the ground wire provided a partial shield. This is hogwash. To the OP -take Kotta's advice - if you need new power cords buy a bunch of 12/3 and some plugs and make your own. Put the money saved into something that makes a difference other than feeding the seller a large profit margin.
I really like Virtual Dynamics power chords which I have used 2002 - I have Signatures (discontinued) and Nites. There is a significant improvement with these cables. I have tried others, some more expensive and not been as impressed by the VDs. There is a Nite 3.0 on Audigon for $299. That is a steal and you would not be disappointed. Unless you really don't want to put out that amount right now, I would strongly recommend getting a Nite or a David ($200 used) and put it on your LS-7. If you buy both put the second one on your ADCOM Cd player or your MAC amp. I am so confident about the Nite that I would buy it from you if you are not estatic about the improvement. IMHO people who make their own cables are kidding themselves unless they are very serious electrical engineers.

If you can’t hear the difference… don’t pay the difference. Period. Some folks can, so they do.

I was an electronics tech for the U.S. Govt., and an industiral electriciain thereafter for some years. Disbelieving the talk of cables being a valid part of a system cost me a couple years worth of time & energy, and some good bit of money by not addressing cable needs throughout the system.

Folks who base their daily lives on imperical evidence tend to hold onto spec sheets and measurementsas the sole verifiable result. Attributing any said audible changes as mere illusion, or accounting them to a ‘placebo effect.

My own since experiences, has shown me the greater the resolution of one’s system the more easily the diffs of wires can be distinguished. A lesser resolving system will yield lesser significance to wire changes.

Sometimes the diffs are simply that… different. Not necessarily betterment. Although diffs can and are good things now and then too.

At this stage of the game my recommendation would be also the Power line from VD, the entry level cords from VooDoo, the Acoustic Zen Tsunami, or a VA Flavor cord. Once your system is improved upon, this rhetoric on wires either making improvements or not, will more easily be a call you will make for yourself routinely.

Always though when trying out any item you’re hot for or interested in, always put back in the original thing last… then decide.

Change any of the parameters of a cable… resistance, impedance, capacitance, inductance, or even the diaelectric of the insulating body, and changes have to be acknowledged… as all are measureable quantities. By both the human ear and insturcmnets.

Naturally, instruments will be by far the more sensitive of the two accounting sources.

Many so called ‘’digital power cords’ have higher capacitance figures than standard application power cords. Hence they afford a far greater tendency to be both darker and softer sounding, attenuating the artifacts on the power line itself or being introduced into the system from the digital components they attach to.

All the models I mentioned I believe have trial periods… so try and see for yourself. In the end it’s your ears that have to decide anyhow.
Basing your decisions on other than empirical evidence is not a very intelligent way to go about anything that is subject to science. People do it all the time, visit fortune tellers, try to treat disease through the use of herbs and 'liniments', avoid the use of the number '13', 'spot' reduce fat by doing situps, avoid housing near high voltage power lines, and a host of other useless practices. In an area where the science is well defined it makes no sense to base decisions on other than emperical evidence (as opposed to one's imagination). Science as applied to the field of audio reproduction and effects of various parts of a system is well defined. A field where there is less clear definition is that of medicine when it comes to many diseases. Yet would you go to a physician licensed to practice medicine who tells you "the only treatment for your cervical spine disc disease is surgery which will reduce the range of motion" as opposed to paying a "healer" or other witch doctor who suggests waving chicken bones near your neck, because although there isn't emperical evidence that the chicken bones work, science does not know everything about arthritis and the chicken bones really do work. The first choice is rational and based in science and emperical evidence, but doesn't give you the answwer you would like. The second choice gives you the answer you would like but is hogwash. Buying a new power cord promises to improve your sound system, but is hogwash. What is not defined in the audio hobby are things like the choices made by a conductor - whether it is more authentic to play Mozart on period instruments, or what Beethoven was conveying with notes to his works. The effect of cables and power cords is not subject to other than emperical evidence. The rest is akin to two headed babies, aliens from Alpha Centauri, and the treatment of arthritis with chicken bones. Basing your decisions on other than emperical evidence backed by scientific theory was the whole basis for the old sideshow - and the buyers of the tickets were referred to as 'rubes'. The only benefit to high priced power cords and speaker cable is to the seller.
Musicnoise-" In an area where the science is well defined it makes no sense to base decisions on other than emperical evidence (as opposed to one's imagination). Science as applied to the field of audio reproduction and effects of various parts of a system is well defined."

I guess the entire Audigon community can go find something else to do with their time and money.

Wait.........failed to factor in that hearing is mechanical and listening is mental.

Iggyminn-best of luck in your power cord quest. Blindjim gave you the best advise!.
Well so much for system synergy, all the revealed nuances with my new speaker cables, and the improvement with my new interconnects, not to mention the jaw dropping affect from my new power cords! I'm actually thrilled I can imagine big improvements into my system, boy did I save some money today!!!!

Thanks for all of the advice. It is appreciated.

Foster 9: Your comments seem to echo what one of my buddies has been telling me for quite some time. He’s been begging me to try his Cambridge 840C for a couple weeks, to open my eyes to a better source. I guess since I’ve had this changer since college, I’ve always liked the convenience of loading five great discs and put the changer on random. The only changer that I probably would replace it with, would be the Mac MC-205. Another option would be to audition a music server.

Kotta: Thanks for the tip on building your own cables. I’d probably be more comfortable at first by putting one together on my tuner.

Musicnoise: I guess that everyone has their own threshold on wasting money. I don’t feel that spending up to $150/cable is really considered a waste. If anything, I can always reseller here on the site and only be out some pocket change. While I certainly could afford spending up to $500 for a power cord, I still am in the juvenile stage of this hobby. I figure that I’ve got a good 30 years of upgrading/swapping out components and cable a head of me. That’s assuming my fiancé doesn’t put her foot down.

Jimyork/ Blindjim: thanks for the suggestions on cable mfg’s. The try before you buy route seems to be the way to go. I’ve also seen a lot of great comments on VD cables and I might give them a whirl.
Listen to Blindjim (well put BTW Jim) VH Audio is a great place to start with your level of gear. Plus you can DIY all his Flavor series cords.

Get a good single disc player OR the new Wadia iPod docking port (sweet and pretty inexpensive) then you can have your cake and eat it too!
In an attempt to bring a bit of balance...
From a sheer science point of view, Musicnoise is quite right; the science (electronic theory) behind audio electronics is well defined and documented; if it wasn't, no audio gear would work, and designers would have no starting point to improve things.

I do believe good shielded IC's can make a difference over the cheap free cords often packaged with components, but remember they have to deliver a fairly fragile, low level signal, and they are the entire chain from one component to another.
That's not the case with power cords, which simply form a very short extension of your house wiring, carrying high voltage AC, hence a higher level of skepticism from many here.

However, to me the biggest problem is that we often get sucked in to thinking that "expensive" must always be better (not just in audio). It's so easy in a passion like this to get carried away trying to squeeze every last drop out of a system, and plenty of people out there are happy to take advantage of that.
The retail price of any consumer electronics is not based on just quality; it's largely to do with brand-name positioning, status, demand and so on. Any small scale or niche product (eg super-duper Power cords) has to be expensive to keep the maker afloat, given his low sales volume.
So does a $200 PC "sound better" (whatever that means) than a $20 PC? Probably not, but if the buyer thinks they hear a change, then I guess it's their money to spend as they please.

Final thought... my $500 Seiko keeps worse time than my $80 Casio, but it's build quality and finish is much better.

Some like chocolate, some like vanilla. They both come from the same size scoop.

How’d you pick your significant other? Did they mind the inspection and measurements taking process?

…or your favorite comedian, or food?

Intangibles comprise the vicissitudes of the space ship we live upon.

How do you measure the affectation of a movie? A roller coaster ride? The thrill attained from sky diving?

…or even simple pleasure itself?

Yeah.. it’s dopamine, and endorphins. Super. But we do it anyhow. Right? Why not just inject those substances into our being instead of proceeding with the act itself?

One can not apply imperical evidentiary assignments in areas wherein ‘perception’ makes the final call.

They remain only frail guidelines.

You’ve overlooked one vital ingredient, the human element. It often defies description in quantitative terms. By and large with all the vessels of learned experience at our disposal, all the seemingly immense strides so called science is so proud of making thus far, we remain infantile in our own scope and quests.

The world becomes a very scary place when it’s values are defined in terms other than black and white. Even scary is a good thing. It keeps us on our side of the road… from petting sharks… and walking off the tops of buildings.

It can prevent us from having other valid worthwhile and positive experiences too.

The world at large, is more than simple black and white. It’s in those grey areas where we find the dimensions that yield the true texture of it. Indeed that is where it’s qualatative state, and it’s mystery, it’s flavor, does indeed thrive.

Define attraction forinstance. Oops… sorry… that doesn’t get plugged into the wall outlet, so throw that one out.

I’ve seen any number of things which compare nearly exactly on paper, but are vastly different upon audition. Explain away all you wish or add in any other number of variables for that result, but it’s a very true thing.

So long as imperfect creatures construct their own imagined designs, the world will always be at the beck and call of imperfection and subject to perception. True or false, for good or ill, there we all are, adrift on a sea of human discernment and prefference.

Of course for those bound to strickly measured results, they will remain shackled to a less conflicted journey and feel quite safe along it’s way I suppose. Probably save some deal of money too for many mass fi equipment being built today is good in fact. The truly refined and beyond that the world class items, possess only marginally better specs in some cases, and not as good measurements in others, yet provide for many, greater perceived or real world, performance increases.

My Onkyo recover for ex. Has less reported THD than do my Dodd mono blocks, or Thor preamp. On paper the HT receiver even attains THX status! There’s no discounting the fact the separates out perform it however.

Specs and capacities don’t always translate to good or bad, better or worse in a world fueled by human desire and perception, nor do they equate to actual improvement at times by point of fact. By some dimensions, (oh by the way who’s doing the measuring?) it can be said the reported numbers are but marketing tools. If specifications or tallies are the grail by which all else is determined in accordance with the end value or performance, a lot of people will be either disappointed, or never experience those truly fascinating efforts being offered by the current artisan level of designers.

Few of us have either the acumen or tool set needed to perform valid testing of wire or components. Fewer probably would do it anyhow. The bottom line in this hobby is always a “see for yourself” thing.

After all, as I’ve said previously… “IF you don’t hear a diff, don’t pay the diff!” but if you never try out other things, you will never know what you might be missing either.

Numbers only matter if you mind, if you don’t mind, they don’t matter. Those numbers in my wallet do matter.
Blindjim-That was a well thought out & written reply that was quite enjoyable to read.
All the power cord, cable and interconnect discourse is simply "hype." The technology of the receiver or preamp are what counts--and the quality of the speakers---put your money here. To hear this for yourself---go to a good high-end audio shop that will allow you to listen to the same quality equipment and speakers with different cables, power cords, and interconnects---bring a friend to change the cables, etc.,close your eyes, listen to different combinations, and I doubt you will be able to accurately verify any notable differences. I wasted alot of time and money on this area, have done what I said above, and am convinced I am right. I have no biases in this area unlike many others who respond to these threads.

Some questions and answers.
Note: Sounds a lot like what Jon said in 2002.
Blindjim some assumptions that enter into this;
First there is the assumption "everyone" has a system revealing enough to hear a difference.
Second" everyone 's" hearing is anatomically able to hear the differences.
Third " everyone" wants to hear more detail, dynamics etc.,
Musicnoise,think of all the money you have saved.We power cord users sure are stupid.
Blindjim, while you make some very good points, I think you and Musicnoise are talking about different things.

You're 100% right when you talk about personal, subjective things like attraction, favorite foods, movies - even your favorite song or musician.

That said, the ability of a piece of AV equipment to work properly is highly dependent on objective electronics. For example, we can't deny that a CD player's ability to accurately retrieve and convert the data on the disc depends on it's specifications.
Whether we "like" the resulting sound of a particular player is a different matter; most of us are aware that the many combinations and arrangements of components in a CD player/amp etc can affect the sound in a way we might like or dislike, but it still has to adhere to basic EE principles or it wont work.

The trouble with PC's for people like Musicnoise and me is that they are not complex electronics; they are just copper wire with a plug on each end, carrying raw mains voltage to your hifi's power supply, and don't carry complex signals like speaker cables and IC's.
To me it's a bit like thinking my car will run better if I use the gold-plated gas bowser hose instead of the rubber one; as long as the fuel gets from one end to another unchanged, then the car will go as intended.
my advise is to try a mid priced or low priced model from one of the internet vendors that offers a trial period. If you hear the diff, great then move on the experimenting between brands. Try voodoo, signal, element etc.

If not, return it, your only out the price of shipping...
The item at hand that I take issue with is the one wherein a person says adamantly, “… it’s the numbers only which matter’ in determining good from less than good, or bad… or better for that matter.

My own background says nearly the same thing mind you. Some eight years ago I would likely have sided with Musicnoise completely. I’ve since found out otherwise for myself… and much to my shigrin in some cases. I’d not wish to restrain another from some greater experience either.

I doubt too many of us are looking at possibly suspect specifications at point of sale.

All of us need to find these things out for ourselves and in accordance with what ever level of gear or satisfaction we wish to attain.

I thought much of my notions to be not so much assumptions, but as commonly accepted pre-requisites…. Resolving system, and good hearing need be had right up front.

For instance with either of my two receivers, only one shows greater sensitivity to power cable exchanges, the Sony es. My Onkyo TX SR 805, on the other hand, has less responsiveness to power cable swap outs, though it does afford changes in the sound … just to a lesser degree. With it only my most expensive cords seem to show improvements. Therefore I don’t have to spend much on it as I’m unable to justify the expense there.

On the bench side of this issue let’s take Stereophile reviews to task for a second here… JA does the testing usually. A review of the Audio Physics Virgo III shows it’s numbers were well, far less than good on the bench, but translated very well during listening sessions, defying the numbers JA revealed.

Most recently, JA said the Bel Canto DAC 3 was the most accurate DAC or was it component, he had ever tested. Yet, he holds onto the Benchmark DAC instead… and I feel if JA wanted the BC D3 he’d be able to get one, don’t you?

One last point… I’ve spoken with at least one cable maker for some years now, off and on, and given his experiences with cable cobbling, he says he can see a cable on the oscilloscope and determine what it will sound like before hearing it, but in the final analysis he withholds his judgment for the listening sessions. I suspect he is not alone in those exercises.

For the greatest percentage of us audio hobbyists, enthusiasts, and flat out nuts… the listening session (s) are in fact our ‘final analysis’. Our own personal measuring tool. Consequently I hold fast to some precepts which have served me pretty well these last 8 years now, one’s I have learned from the good people here at A’gone, and proven to myself here at my home and at dealerships where applicable.

Basically, I’ve found everything can and usually does make a difference. Isolation, cabling, power conditioning, tubes and sure, the components too, all add up and are integral to the end result. Replace one thing in it, or if one thing is not acting as before, and I’ll surely know somethings up immediately. Somethings less, somethings more so.

And just for the record here, ALL my own listening – testing sessions are done in the ‘blind’. It ain’t all fun either. No pun intended.

System resolution of and by itself will aid in determining these ‘differences’, knowledge and experiences, will assist in deciding upon, ‘what’s really better’.

On my PC system, and a lesser degree my BR HT SYSTEM, all of my CD’s can be played there with great results. My main system is a mite more picky. Well, it’s lots more picky truth be told. Poor recordings are shown up there for what they really are, poor, very easily.

One gets in where they fit in… there’s little sense in my own mind to place for good and all, a $1,000 power cord onto a $100 source. Or spend thousands on cabling for a $500 receiver or integrated amp with bookshelf speakers. That being said, there’s someone somewhere that has done just that.

So my own designs on system building aside, the hearing is the true decider. The final analysis. Why you will pay more or less for anything in audio.

To not try however, or be contemptuous before the fact only limits your own exercise. Keeping an open mind and acting with some degree of prudence opens many doors. Prejudice closes them all.

I really do enjoy very much so, all of the rigs I have, just on differing levels of performance. Just like I used to really dig my first 125 cc dirt bike, but it didn’t compare to my drag bike.
Blindjim, that was eloquently stated and your patience factor for trying to explain this segment of our beloved hobby of ours to people locked into their narrow roads of "safe numbers" is very admirable but I'm not optimistic anyone will likely be reformed on these threads.... although years ago I was so intrigued by all the talk about powercords and what they could do, I had to give it a try. Formerly I was adamant in my mind that there was no way they could make any difference. Today I am so grateful for the immense rewards power cable swapping and matching have done to custom tailor and DRAMATICALLY improve my system that anyone who says it can't make a difference is simply wrong. It does make a difference. Different brands do, different sizes do, different materials do, even different male and female plugs do.... Iggyminn: I would start with Signal Cables MagicPower power cord on receiver/pre-amp and/or power amp and a Magicpower Digital reference on your CD. These are all excellent values and amazingly better than stock cords. You have a 30 day trial with all of them (and you should give them a good 50+ hrs of break in)but there is absolutely no way you will not hear a significant improvement over what you have. Period. From there you might want to work up to the VH Audio Flavors and there's much more after that as your system and its resolving power evolve. In trying to stay as PC and inoffensive as possible I will finish simply by saying "If you consider yourself an audio enthusiast and own a reasonably credible system and can't hear an improvement between typical stock power cables and a decent (or better) aftermarket replacement, you should probably take all the $$$ your saving on not buying them and consider expanding your interests down a road that fits your "safe numbers" a bit better. What about croquet?" Happy Lissn'n
Thanks much.

I'm not trying to convert... just open eyes or perhaps, remove some blinders.

I wouldn't think anyonw should take at face value, any opinion here as the exact truth or last word, anytime on anything. I would think however the dedicated ones will ascertain for themselves their own truths.

opinions here are but likely options, and occassionally, answers.

An open mind to the in's & outs of audio system building definitely reveals it's own truth for the possessor of such a perspective. However, to each their own...

Thanks for the tip on Signal Cables. I'll definately keep them in mind. I ended up placing an order for a Virtual Dynamics Power 3 yesterday on their 45 day trial. We'll see how it goes.


"How’d you pick your significant other? Did they mind the inspection and measurements taking process?"\

The image this sentence conjures will keep me laughing for a month. It probably helps me that my wife is 3 days overdue to give birth.

What a great line. Thanks for the entertainment! :-)


Life... and audio... ain't always just a numbers game, IMO.

Except during a divorce.
I can't let the "use of herbs to treat disease" comment get by unimpeded. So, for all those thousands of years that herbs were used in just that way, people were wrong? Don't they call that arrogance?
My turn to weigh in... Arrogance masquerading as superior knowledge. I see fair bit of that here. Could it be that the superior knowledge is none other than the received wisdom, ("everybody knows" or "we data-driven people think...")? As for actual experience,well, that's not necessary!

How many of you who dismiss cables have actually conducted tests yourself, using entire sets of cables to swap and compare? No? (I know, I know, you have your well placed excuses: Too expensive, Rediculous idea, So & so can't hear a difference, Not logical, etc.) Well, then, I would suggest you have not much to say in the matter, except a lot of hot air.
I think we'd cut through a lot of the crap surrounding the measurements/hearing debate regarding cables if people would actually DO the listening tests for themselves instead of prattling on about measurements.

Blindjim, I have a special affection for you - I like your down to Earth style and humor. I also like your openness to admitting your earlier prejudices against cables and that you were open enough to examine them by actually trying. I really tire of the blowhards who pontificate "scientific reality" when they have zero experience (after all, why try something that you KNOW is wrong?).

Two statements:

You will find that despite the opportunity to test and see (hear) for themselves the reality of the situation, some will never do so, for they are absolutely certain of their own disbelief. They will argue until blue in the face, yet not be willing to TRY it for themselves. Their doubt is their intellectual master. I find that many times sheer cheapness, maybe we could call it "Tightwad Syndrome", is at work. This is an ardent opposition to different cables due to simply being a cheapskate. In such cases any argument against their efficacy is glommed onto, for it supports the notion that they can get just as good results on the cheap. It's not universal that these two go hand in hand, but I would say the majority of cases.

They will lambaste those whom they deem to be "unscientific" and subjective, all the while not realizing they hold a priori (i.e. Not verified by science) assumptions. Are those assumptions based on hard evidence. No,they are not. They are assumed. Yet, somehow these assumptions, i.e. "Electrons flowing through wires sound the same," or regarding Power Cables, "...the last three feet of wire cannot effect the sound." etc. are supposed to be accepted as fact. I would like for any of these intelligent people to kindly supply the answer to my second point.

Please supply the answer, if you can. Well? Does an electron make a sound? Is the sound variable or constant? Do materials such as dielectric, conductor, or geometry effect the sound?

How many of you ardent skeptics know these answers? Does ANYONE know the answers? To my knowledge no one does. Then why the dogmatic demands that measurements have demonstrated anything about the inability of cables to sound different? The last time I checked we do not yet have a standardized test to demonstrate that the sound of (caused by) an electron is a constant.

Am I supposed to believe that we live in a Nano world (visually, temporally, materially) and yet sonically we are to be kept in the 19th century where there cannot be an infinitude of refined gradations and nuances? Do you have any clue how archaic the perspective is that, "...all wires sound the same"? We have the new science of Chaos Theory and yet sound is somehow exempt from being touched by such complex influences? Come on! Get with it!

Musicnoise, please present for us your personal experience in testing suites of cables to demonstrate your rather pointed assertions, which I quote:

"Buying a new power cord promises to improve your sound system, but is hogwash. What is not defined in the audio hobby are things like the choices made by a conductor - whether it is more authentic to play Mozart on period instruments, or what Beethoven was conveying with notes to his works. The effect of cables and power cords is not subject to other than emperical [sic] evidence. The rest is akin to two headed babies, aliens from Alpha Centauri, and the treatment of arthritis with chicken bones. Basing your decisions on other than emperical [sic]evidence backed by scientific theory was the whole basis for the old sideshow - and the buyers of the tickets were referred to as 'rubes'. The only benefit to high priced power cords and speaker cable is to the seller."

Care to expound for me on the sound of an Electron? No? Then, I think you've gone to a lot of bother to produce worthless analogies. However, you have clearly demonstrated your incredible faith in your doubt.

Finally, if anyone is going to do such comparison tests, do them correctly, by using sets of cables for the entire system. The influence of cabling is cumulative; swapping them individually will not always produce the consistent results in hearing their distinctive qualities, whereas swapping sets will almost universally reveal differences. This is the primary reason I seek to always review cables in complete sets.

If you're not going to bother to do your homework (actually working with the gear and testing things), then maybe you should preface your comments with, "I'm ignorant about this, but I think..."
An additional thought; I find it remarkable that so many engineers and experts in acoustic theory who work at designing cables are written off as hucksters. Of course the industry has its share of bad apples trying to pawn off knock offs, etc.

But I'm taken aback by the hubris of someone who knows virtually nothing of the laws of acoustics dismissing persons with degrees applying their knowledge. The more contact with cable designers I have through reviewing, the more I am humbled by their knowledge and inventiveness in addressing what they see as intractable problems in conducting a signal.
One can be overcome by seriosity if one isn't careful. It can sure ruin an other wise fine system too.


Nope… The 'Lost Medical Arts' aren't lost after all. Chicken bones, leeches, a petrie dish of maggots, & the occassional Newt are still in my Doctor’s office! They’ve been passing it off as a new slant on an older theme, but these days they’re calling it “H.M.O.”. The bones & wings are cheap… it’s them darned poltace’s where they really slam it to ya.

A decent poltice can run as much as a pretty good power cable. Don’t even ask about what they want for a private session with Madam Celeste and her crystal ball. Just between me and you, her Ouija board is just as good, a bit less stimulating, and you do not get the light show… but for half the money? Well, I can’t kick. The savings alone got me my EPS Sig III & Shunyata Python VX. Not to mention a fine return on my wager for the Giants over the Pats in the last Super bowl.
Blindjim, yeah, I'm not normally so intense. That was debate and rhetoric. I do enjoy rhetoric and debate (possibly subsumed under the category of seriosity), upon occasion.

I guess I'm intense in arguing for the merits of cables; it seems to me over the years that of all components they get the shaft the most. Having denied their differences for years, now that I'm working with them on a daily basis and hear the changes constantly, I'm more aggressive about defending what I'm experiencing. Similar to a smoker who quits and is intense about how harmful it is.

I try to distinguish between a good argument/debate and a fight. Rhetoric and persuasive talk is fine, but personal name calling is not good. I don't want fights; they're no fun. Most of the time I try to be relaxed, like a fine audio system. :)
Iggyminn, I would try used power cords one at a time, starting from power amp first. You may want to research the characteristics of various power cords and then determine what to get next based on the sonic signature of your system and what you want to achieve next. Power cords are not the solution for all, but they do make significant differences from my experiences.

It is laughable to me that someone with a BSEE degree and yet claims that he/she knows everything about science. Go get a couple advanced degrees in EE and then you will look at every theory you know with a different look. The theory you studied is often based on a lot of assumptions, which may or may not be true in the real world.
Actually, skeptics have no use for the word "faith"; true skeptics simply say that they wont blindly believe anything without some type of unbiased and controlled test or demonstration, which doesn't seem that unreasonable to me.
It's also not up to a skeptic to prove someone else's statement or assertion is true/false; that is the responsibility of the person making the claim, and that's where this cable argument often falls down because:

1. Several 'skeptics' (including the infamous James Randi) have for years offered million dollar rewards for any audiophile who can correctly identify different audio cables in a double blind test, yet no-one has even taken up the challenge, let alone got it right, and

2. Many fence-sitters like me simply don't have as much money and spare time as certain people above, who suggest we're 'cheap' for not doing our own tests on multiple PC's and IC's. We shouldn't have to do the tests, the claimants should. Us "cheapskates" must rely on published reviews and tests of hifi gear to point us in the right direction, but when the prices of some of these cables can cost more than many components, I don't think it's unreasonable to want a little more than a string of glowing adjectives, that can't be backed up with any demonstrative data or science.

And by the way, using the "herbs to treat disease" analogy is actually a counter argument; for every witchcraft type remedy that science has proven works, there must be hundreds that were just true hocus pocus (like sacrifices to the gods, crystal healing, pointing the bone etc), my point being that in general life it's often a very low percentage of claims that turn out to be true, especially when there's a sale behind it all.

Just my 2c worth!
Carl, semantics doesn't get you out of the problem; faith/belief, confidence, whatever you want to label it. I called the question on the topic of the "confidence" of the skeptic that all cables sound the same. So, I'm the skeptic's skeptic (in other words, I'm not going to blindly believe everything that is proffered as "fact" by those proclaiming there's no difference). I placed the burden on you and anyone else to demonstrate that an electron has a sound that is a constant. No reports? No measurements? Then, the issue is not air tight, is it? Then, pronouncements that cables all sound the same are unsubstantiated, but rather are subjective opinions.

As to point #1, I assumed the topic of blind testing would arise, and it doesn't hurt my argument in the least. I assert that blind testing works. I also assert that cables have distinct sounds to them which are easily ascertainable. Both are true. However, the human is notoriously incapable of the precise recall necessary in a DBT to successfully isolate and match specific sounds with a low margin of error. I believe Randi knows this and uses this to his advantage. The fact that we humans are far less precise in matching sounds (There are plenty of studies showing our inconsistent recall visually, so why should it be different with hearing?)has no impact on the question of whether cables sound differently from each other. So, I hold that both are true: Cables sound distinct, and people are poor at DBT. In other words, the methodology is inappropriate to the task. This is yet another reason why examining sets of cables is far superior to individual cables used in a DBT, as the cumulative effect of a collection of cables is far easier to hear - in fact, so easy that no blind testing is necessary.

As to point #2, I'm not so rich, but in this instance I already have put my money where my mouth is. I have laid out the bucks to perform the comparisons with sets of cables prior to reviewing. I continue to compare sets of cables as a reviewer. To date I don't recall (ha, get it?) any set of cables which was not easily/clearly distinguished from another set. (This is assuming an approx. $30K+ system, as this IS a factor in assessment!) In some cases the distinctions are alarming, every bit as significant as box component changes.
I'm sure you find that hard to believe, or shall I say, have confidence in, or have reason not to doubt...? :)

So, now I ask you: What does the price have to do with legitimate distinction in sound? You say, "...but when the prices of some of these cables can cost more than many components, I don't think it's unreasonable to want a little more than a string of glowing adjectives." I take that to mean that when someone might describe a difference between economical cables, you would be more inclined to believe them, but if the price is high your suspicions are aroused. So, then, it's the price that triggers your suspicion, disbelief? You don't trust reviewers or individuals who have tested these things with all manner/prices of cables? The higher the price, the higher the doubt? So, a cable which costs more is more suspect in terms of performance because of its price. Hmm... Sure, the wallet speaks to us, but we should acknowledge the bias, that we tend to disbelieve the report merely because of the price of the product. So, the claimants do the tests, but they are not believed when the price reaches X dollars... I'm glad I discovered this information about cables on my own dime; I can say that I formed my opinions on this topic apart from reviewing. No chance for anyone to suggest ulterior motives. I paid for the information; consider yourself benefitted, as though I did a self-funded public study. If you don't want the benefit of the information, so be it. Some will take it and find out I'm right.

Many (if not most) reviewers acknowledge that occasionally there are cables which are true bargains (Stereophile in its 2008 Recommended Components issue, April, had alongside pricey cables one "DNM Stereo Solid Core Precision" - at $12/ft/pr). Surprising? Only mildly, as there will be a spread of performance from wires ranging the cost spectrum. Occasionally a 'freak' cable is found which does perform at an incredibly high level. But it is sheer nonsense to suggest that typically bargain/run of the mill cables perform the same as cables that are designed to perform better. Now, if only someone could prove that electrons all sound the same... Again, I guess these engineers, designers know less than the average Joe. I guess they're all hucksters and rip off artists, without any sincerity built into their designs. Especially, when the price reaches X dollars!

BTW, I have developed my own "Law of Efficacy" to guard against insignificant distinctions in cables. I assert that the difference in sound must be immediate, clear, repeatable. One should not have to question if things are different, it should be obvious that its different, and immediately so. It should also be demonstrable to others, whether audiophiles or the uninitiated. If one has to strain or wonder if it's different, then it's not different for practical purposes.

Carl, do you mind sharing what components, cables and speakers you're running? Why not post your system; pics are unnecessary.

Wishful thinking does not make cables sound the same.
There are plenty of inexpensive alternatives in cabling people can acquire. If they will or not try them in their own system hangs in the balance. A still more difficult hurdle is acquiring ALL likewise cabling, I believe.

Front to back, ‘same same’ wiring isn’t something I see in the majority of systems. However more synergistic is that approach. Just as any number of systems congregate various components, so too is the amassed wiring fueling it. Circumstantial purchases and subjective assignments conjure up a pot we sound chefs believe we can cook to a quite satisfactory bill of fare.

The system’s cabling can be both it’s limiting, and enhancing factors.

The question in all of this is usually, Which or What goes with this or that? I’ve asked that same self serving question many times. For me it’s driven by economics. Well, that, and impatience. Now and then by ignorance too.

However I think in more general terms a lot of the time too these days. To date I’ve found no particular rhyme or reason mandate which is always applicable aside from this: Either try something else or be satisfied with what one has in house. AND “Everything makes a difference… to some degree, more or less”.

I own a fairly ambiguous slice of wires. Ranging from well under $100 to well over $1500. Each has a purpose and it’s own qualities. Were my curiosity and patience levels commensurate with one another, and the funding available, I’d try a lot more cabling than I have so far.

Further hamstringing me is the sheer numbers of wires that present themselves to the end user for trial or comparison. I have noted an inherent synergy via the use of all the same brand cabling in the singular event I was allowed a couple years ago. Yet even then the types or models of the cabling differed some. The results were unexpectedly rewarding. Though improvements were surely evident, and system performance was improved a good deal, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in the end. Neither could I justify the overall expense. So I kept those which gave me what I wanted and moved on to find the remaining and still, “missing links”. I’ve managed to find them sometimes on purpose, other times coincidentally.

I don’t feel it really matters what the particular wire actually costs, as that will always be a relative concern, I believe it does matter about the fit itself, and the desired goals. There’s the rub indeed. The goal itself. Realistic ones are attained without much issue. Unrealistic ones might not be found out at all. Honesty is one of the keys. Experience, is another. Ego for me also plays a formidable part… it’s the dog that is always barking at my heels. Feduciary means usually keeps my Ego to just an annoying murmur.

I mean to take no one to task for their belief system. Only to share my own experiences and give some voice to the notion of gaining such experiences is the only true and sure way an answer will become a reality.

I simply maintain anyone whose mindset says a thing is this or that without some due course of trial and effort, is not on the beam, as it were, and has become mired in in a myopic state of affairs.

With the little to no cost in home trials and the low cost option of the A’gone “buy and try” shuffle, it’s just to easy a thing to do and verify personally, that I’m concerned with those who say “No” and wonder why it’s not, “Try…. ”.
As usual, Blindjim, you see quite well...
Interesting that you also found the efficaciousness of grouped cables. Yes, it's tougher to gather all those "loose ends" via second hand purchases.

Your comment is spot on: "The system’s cabling can be both it’s limiting, and enhancing factors." The voice of someone who has experienced it.

Conducting proper tests of cables as suites is not impossible for the average man. Yes, it ties up some cash in the interim. I had $4k extra tied up in used cables (beyond the price of what I had put into my current cabling) when I was comparing them. That's not chump change, but neither is it a home wrecking amount. I have been an audiophile for more than a quarter century, so it was commeasurate to my experience and budget. I knew that once the comparisons were over I would liquidate the cables and recover nearly all my money. The price paid to conduct the tests was marginal, well worth it, and in the end I wound up with a slightly less expensive brand and recovered some of the costs of the prior set! When I did comparisons, I sold off the loser and moved on to the next. Financial limitations restricted me to comparing only two sets at a time, but that was enough. After several rounds I knew far better what appealed to me in a cable design - one of the most enjoyable for me was one that I have not reviewed, Harmonic Technology. It's sound is similar to the Wire World Cables that were just posted in my review a couple days ago on Dagogo.com. (They also have a striking similarity in design - use of larger numbers of small Gauge conductors to achieve a larger total Gauge, which I feel is more than coincidence).

The other factors are time and inconvenience; as a hobby many want to simply sit and listen, not chase wires, conduct deals, run the comparisons, and then sell the unwanted cables. It did become a pain having to work all the deals to pull all the used cables together. For those who are not up to that I will not call it laziness. However, if one wants to learn a great deal, push their rig to the limit, etc. then it is necessary (unless you purchase from an audio shop and let them outfit you). But, just as there are tightwads, there are also lazy people. Between the two, most are not willing to actually DO what it takes to get the job of comparisons done. I'm not hacking on anyone! It's just the reality of it.

I don't put in any significant time/money at all on hobbies/activities I'm not deeply passionate about, and I don't expect others to either. So in those areas I'm cheap and lazy. i.e. Sports clothing; I don't spend a penny beyond shoes and discounted jackets, cheap sweat pants for winter, etc. for running outside. I am a casual jogger, not a hard core runner. I'm cheap with money and uninterested in pushing to new levels of distance, intensity on runs. So what? We all have our prioreties and marginal activities. I can say I'm a "runner" but even though I do it consistently, when it comes down to it, I'm not a "runner's runner".

Similar, I begrudge no one to take the title "audiophile"; we all want the community to grow. But, being a casual listener is a far cry from someone who's trading gear, running tests, etc. for self-education on component matching, cables, syngergy, etc. Someone who's doing years of that is going to gain a lot of hands on experience. That's just the way it is. And along the way the once very strongly held beliefs will change quite a bit from their experiences, a maturing process.

You are absolutely correct about even "sibling" cables being different enough to make purchasing decisions complicated even though buying one brand.

If the universe of cables is seen as a frustration, since finding the perfect cable can seem impossible, take heart, people, because that same sea of wire is also your opportunity! It's a tremendous blessing that so many affordable cables from so many manufacturers are floating around. Anyone, at any price point can do the comparisons for themselves. One caveat; I have said consistently that the nuances in cables begin to reveal themselves on rigs of at least $25-$30K on up. This is not elitism, it's practicality; it takes a certain level of gear to lay out the intricacies of cables. On rigs of $75- $100K these things are usually apparent. It's just mechanically the way it works. It's crass to put dollar signs on it, but it's a realistic, practical gauge that's born out countless times, and those who have heard very high end gear know it.

I have not made a final decision on whether proper cable selection is dependent on the genre of one's system (i.e. low powered SET amps with high efficiency speakers, or full range speakers with high power tube or solid state). I must study that, hopefully in the near future by hands on experimentation. I was surprised to find that David Salz of Wire World does not voice his cables with a true full range system, but concentrates on the midrange, knowing that with his design if the midrange is correct, the full spectrum will be correct. From the sound of his cables I cannot argue with his method.

I have learned something surprising, which was not anticipated - that just as certain box components appeal to me, certain cables appeal to me, and I prefer them on ANY system to date. At this point, it seems that when a particular brand of cables appeals to me, it is universal and not subject to the normally expected "system synergy" idea. I did not expect that. Also, consistently, cables which do not appeal to me sonically are less enjoyable on any rig. I do not believe I would have found that out if I had not pursued testing sets of cables. In a mixture how can one isolate the pleasing sound of a single wire? Years ago I would never have dreamed that I would say I prefer certain cables no matter the selection of components. It is happening now in my reviews, and I will watch that dynamic carefully to see if/how long it holds up with different electronics.

So, comparing sets of cables has a tremendous benefit for the person who really is keen on learning and pushing their system to the "brink of perfection"!

Wow, I've nearly written a book here; I need to step away and get back to listening and writing. :)

Douglas, I'll try to answer a few of your points. You're obviously a very intelligent man going by your thought out responses, but I have to take up a couple of issues.

1. You ask about my system; well it's what I'd describe as budget - Cambridge cd player, NAD amp, B&W 602 speakers and monster cable - all up less that the $4K you had tied up in unused cables. I hope to keep adding to it, but at the moment it's all I can afford.

2. You made the statement "but personal name calling is not good", yet you keep referring to anyone who wont spend $1000's and hours doing exhaustive tests as 'cheapskates'. I don't know what your income and commitments are, but believe me with a mortgage and two young boys, $3000 is all I can afford on a system right now, so spending big $$$ just to test cables is simply out of the question. It's nothing about being 'tight' or a 'cheapskate'.

3. Those of us who don't have the time and/or cash to do exhaustive tests of cables/components still have the right to make educated comment and opinion on the subject, based on our own experiences, education and of course reading; that's what these forums are for. If I want to buy a new digital camera, I can't go and test every single camera available; that's why we have review magazines and websites.

4. Yes, high prices for any consumer item that claims amazing results make me suspicious. I adhere firmly to the 'law of diminishing returns' on just about everything you can buy these days. If two items claim to do much the same thing (eg good quality IC's), but one costs $100 and one costs $1000, as a consumer I want to know why the latter costs 10x the former; is it really that much better, or is a lot of the price due to low production, expensive but un-necessary exotic materials, or maintaining a company's "status" as high-end? I'd love a real Rolex, but I know it wont keep time better or last longer than my Seiko; I'd be buying because it's a Rolex, not because it's a watch.

In CD playback via an amp, cables and speakers, there has to be a theoretical ceiling where playback exactly matches the original recording. The quality of most well-made consumer hifi these days (eg Cambridge, Naim, Cyrus, Marantz etc) means even midrange systems would be reaching very close to that ceiling, and spending twice as much on cables or components may only achieve another 1 or 2% improvement. That's why people like me and Musicnoise urge caution when A'goner's ask the merits of some of these high-priced IC's and PC's; it can be a LOT of money to spend on an item that may make little or no improvement, and may not be easily returned or resold (certainly the case here in Australia).

5. I simply don't know what you mean by "the sound of an electron". My vague memory of high school physics tells me that an electron is a negatively charged particle that usually exists in an electron 'cloud' around an atom's nucleus. The flow of these electrons from one atom to the next can result in energy release - heat, sound or light, depending on the situation - but does an electron have it's own sound? I don't know, do they have their own color or temperature? I don't know that either, but I'd be asking and trusting a physicist for that, because true scientists use rigorous testing before they state something as fact, something that marketing people don't have to do.

That said, I do love the debates some threads start!
Guesses and conjecture are no substitute for experience, and no, "midrange" systems do not get you anywhere near the ideal ime.

I don’t think DS was picking or pointing to anyone specifically.

I don’t see anything wrong with your priorities or the amount of money you have into your system. Not at all. That’s why I recommended commensurate power cords from several outfits which may yield you some greater level of performance.

I guess being in Australia can pose some added issues in availability & expense, regarding trying various items, be they cables or components for that matter.

True too is the point of diminishing returns. It’s a floating point however. It seems to travel about in accordance with the price point of the overall system too. Years ago in my first few efforts I found wires at and beyond just a few hundred dollars did not provide me much betterment at all. Sure some changes were apparent, but little bettering was evident… in a system with BW 602, and 604’s. in fact the 600 series of BW were quite forgiving speakers and many sources worked ok there. The power was from my still in use Sony es HT receiver.

Moving up the food chain to the 9NT’s… things began to change. By then I had tried BK 220 Ref amp, and Krell KAV 250. Still using the rec as a preamp. About this time wires began to matter a lot more. Lots of things began to matter a lot more… not just the wires either.

I tried various other sources, and processors, still holding onto the notion wires weren’t the issue. Moved onto the Monitor gold 60’s too. Things still weren’t near satisfactory though. It was about then I found this site.

All the clamor here about system matching, power conditioning, cabling, and so forth astounded me. I thought to myself, as so many opinions were vastly apart from my own “Am I the only one right here, or am I missing out on something important?” Feeling my notions were in the minority, I figured to give credence to opinions outside my own… and just try some of them. Still prejudiced on many accounts, I did just that and began with cabling. Power cords to be exact. Enter Voodoo Cables.

I was sincerely moved by that experience. Seeing for myself what can happen to the rigs sound by simply adding a cord here or there. It was and still remains my only regret… that I did not possess more open a perspective. Had I then, perhaps I wouldn’t have sold off everything I owned then… but it is what it is. Just another lesson. In the end it always works out and where I’m at now is much better. It could have happened a mite quicker though… perhaps.

As my confabulous conglomeration of componentry has grown my current point of diminishing returns seems to reside, in regard to cabling, around the $1K +/- retail mark. Though this is my current exp. It’s not cast into stone either. There are some wires that over achieve. If they are right for this system or that. Or, more appropriately I suspect, for this or that person’s tastes, is the usual query.

The answer will always be, “Try it and see for yourself.” I’m a big proponent of getting in where you fit in. How much one spends is optional always. I’ve heard stuff at dealerships which cost many times the value of my own rig, and I wouldn’t buy them with Doug’s money… and surely not how they were set up.

Like the Flatlanders tune… Now it’s now again. It’s the set up more so than the dollars being laid down… and that’s where the finer art (if there is such a thing) in a systems building, rests. Isolation. Power conditioning. Cabling. Acoustical treatments. Not solely the components.

One of my deals can be had for about $1500 total. I’ve no problems listening to it at all. I do on a daily basis. It doesn’t take a lot of $$$ to have a very enjoyable outfit, just an open mind, and some attention to otherwise neglected peripherals.

Finding some folks in your area with whom you can swap cables and ideas will help immensely. I just borrowed some ic’s from a friend a few states away to try out, and sent him a pair of mine too so he could do likewise. That just cost shipping to and fro. Hard to beat that deal. A dealership might well assist you as well. Or simply sticking to popular brands so resale doesn’t pose a tremendous issue can reveal good results too.

There’s no time frame, no number of products which has to be encountered, and no specified dollar amount which needs be cast into a construct, for one to become either serious or involved.

My own constraints are purely fiduciary. If I ever hit that ‘red neck’ retirement (lottery) some Saturday night, one of my first thing to do is travel. Travel to here and there to see as many different systems and components as I can. In the end I fear, it won’t matter much aside from the fun of the travel itself, only having the items in my house will actually tell the tale.

… and yeah… then I’ll spend a lot of money most likely…. ‘just cause I could.

Good luck.
Concur. The resolution of the system is critical in terms of the need for higher quality cables. For example, when I was using B&W 804S speakers, I could get away with bettercables.com cables (and they sounded good) but when I moved up to B&W 803D they sounded horrible and were replaced in short order. So, essentially, be happy if you have a lower resolution system as you can get away cheap on cables (I know my wallet wishes I would have stuck with the 804S :))
Carl, very good thoughts, all presented politely. We're having a friendly debate - it IS possbile on Audio forums!! :)

Brief answers to your points:

#1 (without any trace of condescension!) You have a sonically limited system (i.e. small, bookshelf speakers), so will hear almost no distinctions between cables. It takes a much higher end collection of gear to reveal well what diff. cables do.

#2 I believe you are personalizing/misconstruing my comments. I was for over a decade extremely finanically limited in audio expenses. I had several permutations of cheap rigs. For many years when entering the local audio shops I announced myself as the "Bottom Feeder" (as in aquariums, picking up the leftovers). I admit I was a cheapskate in terms of cables. My cheapness was not solely due to budget, but also my perspective. I didn't believe in them and wasn't about to spend on them. Of course, my rig couldn't show what they could do, so it was a circular conundrum.

#3 You do not have enough experience and the correct gear to make the sweeping declarations about cable performance that you did. That's ok, prior to my conducting the tests and learning it, I pronounced similar errors. At some point, you have to trust someone who's done the work if you haven't.

#4 While subjectively high priced for some, loftier prices can be justified for almost any technology that offers elevated performance. Indy car costs a BIT more than my car, and drives quite differently. My office system is worth a fraction of the equipment I use at home, and it's priced accordingly. It offers enjoyment, but that is not to be confused with elevated performance.

Your "theoretical ceiling" is too low. At least three times, maybe four, I have had to radically alter my conception of what is possible in terms of performance in audio systems. Each time I thought I was near the "ceiling" or limit. Each time a new system absolutely destroyed the previous experience. The range of quality/performance is FAR larger than you think.

#5 Re: What does an Electron sound like?
The question is based on the sarcastic statement made often by cable skeptics, to the effect of the constancy of cables being, "electrons flowing through a wire". The thought is that the signal is merely electrons and metal, so it can't have variability.

My point is WHO has established definitively, objectively that Electrons flowing in various metals cannot sound differently (i.e. have a constant sound)? It is presented by skeptics as fact, when it has never been demonstrated. AS such, it should be kept to opinion, rather than stated like it's some kind of law.

IF experience is not in the speaker's background, then they are off base to declare something as fact if there is no data to verify it. I have had enough experience with rigs and cabling that I am unafraid to challenge the status quo or perceived wisdom on the matter. I do not believe anyone has actual data showing that cables cannot sound differently. If so, I want to see it.

To my knowledge, only DBT is used as the "evidence" of "all cables sound the same", and this is woefully insufficient to me to prove that claim, for the reasons I stated earlier.

I'm thinking of adding a PC to my system as well, I'm unclear on one thing. Do I use shielded or not? I'd like to change the stock cord on my Jolida 202a and possibly my cd/dvd player. I've been looking at some diy cords as well, anyone have any experience with the asylum cord? Any other diy recipes you'd recommend?
Douglas, my next question to you (and others with highly resolving systems) would be: is all the time and cash worth it, given the questionable quality of many modern CD's?

Even with my basic system, many CD's sound superb. Yet I've found an increasing number of recent CD's that sound aggresively loud and compressed, and I tend to listen to these once or twice and give up.

Does having a much higher level system improve things, or render these poorer masterings even less listenable?
Carl, I listen to a narrow niche of music, mostly Smooth Jazz, Solo or small group Instrumental, and Synthesized instrumental. Many of these discs are from the past 5-20 years old, so they have escaped the "Compression Wars".
Most of these discs not to have the compression issues that are being encountered. So, I may not be the best one to answer from that perspective.

However, the principle is that a better system will sound better will all kinds of music, and with all media. In my experience the time/effort has been extremely well worth it, very well rewarded. The most rewarding of all was the investment of time and money to build a dedicated listening room. It took my experience to a completely new level, FAR more advanced than ever before. I have had manufacturers, distributors and enthusiasts comment on how good the room is for audio. I poured my heart and soul into it, and every single piece of equipment I use presents itself wonderfully.

In the cases where the music has sounded "worse" due to a major upgrade in components (which include cables!), I judge whether ALL music sounds worse, or just the poorer recordings sound worse. If it all sounds worse, the upgrade is no good, and the sooner you admit it, the better it is because you can move on. If just the poorer recordings that sound worse, it's because the equipment got better.
Just because you swapped out a component for another that someone says is better does not guarantee better performance. The whole system is just that...a system, and you can easily swamp some very likeable abilities with a component that has different atributes. Go back to where you enjoyed the music...that's the bottom line.
As to DIY cords… many are just that but we’ve missed calling them OPDIY… and just pony up the bucks for’em instead.

There’s a ton of power cords available for not much money… the key question remains though is it right for you and your system?

Given the expense, I guess it comes down to how you value your time and expertise in pursuing such an endeavor.

Try this link http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/archive/index.php/t-103597.html for some greater insights into power cords sonics from one perspective, it’s a review of 22 inexpensive power cords.


Does having a much higher level system improve things, or render these poorer masterings even less listenable?

To answer you best I'm going to have to put it in my own perspective. Higher resolution can easily become the main thrust of a systems build. Been there and definitely ‘done that’. Yes, it severely limited my disc selection… and to some extent the times of day I could listen as well. I swore I’d not go that way again. I had all the analytical and sterile you could want… and darn little satisfying involvement to the musical recreation. tons of info but not much fun.

There is indeed a fine line between having a critical or analytical rig and owning a highly resolving musical system. Resolution and detail are required to retrieve ambient venue information, spaciality or dimensionality, if you will. In a word,’ Immediacy’ or another one could be ‘presence’.

There’s back ground who cares music, there’s the you are there! Type, and then there’s “They’re standing right there!” or as I call it “Could you make this out as to my best friend in the world?”.

The first two are way easier to be had than is that last one. I don’t get that last one with every disc but do on a good many… and that’s with tubes for power and preamplification.

The devil himself may well live in the details, for exploring details simply for their own sake yields lesser the involving experience if taken too far. IMO

A balancing act of a kind is required, contingent upon the whole of the ingredients. As 'Stringren' has just said here, it’s the whole of the gear being used, and not usually one item as a rule.

Pressing one’s arrangement of fine audio devices seems the way to go… extracting more of what’s in each component is done in many ways, but a safe and practical one is with external wiring. I’d say isolation follows, and acoustical treatments are needed too. Some however press on immediately to modding their gear. Some sooner, some later. Investigating the effects of power cords is a great place to start.

I have found when the resolution and detail becomes dryer, I’ve gone too far. When it becomes difficult to discern a performers geographical location, and/or the soundstage begins to darken up, or condense, I’ve gone too far the other way. There are other minutia, odds and ends, but those are the ones easily noticeable.

In audio, familiarity does not breed contempt, it breeds boredom… or so it would seem. It’s invaluable however. That well-known signature of your own stuff will lead you along and it is very honest in how it goes about telling you these things. It’ll pay you to listen to it more so than listening to others… when it comes to finding a ‘keeper’ cord or cable… or other component for that matter. I’ve found it very special to explore just what can be done with a certain device via isolation and cabling, rather than just pluggin’ in and out new gear if it doesn’t float your boat right off.

In the end those recordings which aren’t good, are sure revealed by high resolution systems. Will they go from so-so, or hmmm, maybe not tonight, to “Hey! Someone dial 911! I’ve gone deaf!”?

Probably not. It will sure make you a more discerning media buyer, I’ll grant you that much. In all, I can listen to everything I own on my main rig. How long and how often, is another issue altogether. It’s also why I have lesser systems at my disposal… though these others came more by way of trickle down effect, than a premeditated act. Well, that and the fact I’m a pack rat at heart.

So don’t be scared of high res rigs. Just ‘member, How high is high anyways, and ‘who’s high we talking about here?’

You’ll definitely know when you’re getting too much of a good thing, I assure you. The smile goes away, the knee quits bobbing up and down, and you start wondering what’s on TV.
Thanks gents, some very eloquent and thoughtful posts. Perhaps where I sometimes miss the point is by looking at my system as a collection of separate bits linked in a chain, when I need to consider the thing as a whole.

I suppose in some ways changing even a minor component (like an IC) is like transplanting an organ in a human body; it will still work as intended, but may have interesting, perhaps unexpected, effects throughout the entire body. By that I mean that even slight differences between two components become exaggerated once working within the whole system.

I know I will continue to raise a suspicious eyebrow at the extravagant claims and prices of many hifi components for years to come. But if I try to remember that like any 'machine', an audio system's performance has as much to do with the way the components interact with each other, as it does with the specifications of each individual part, my setup might not plateau quite so quickly.
Contact Virtual Dynamics. You cant find a better cable for your dollar.

Being mindful or even skeptical isn’t a bad thing as it allows for caution and prudence. Don’t allow it to paralyze you however. There’s an amazing amount of pickiness involved in ‘audio nut-osis’. I feel it’s more the nut behind the wheel than it’s the desired component (s).

Not everything needs be done at once either.

There’s tons of stuff around which works quite well with other stuff. The items which require closer management and selection are well into the minority. Flea powered amps + high eff speakers, Passive preamps, and some SET amps need a mite more care be given to their selection and integration for a given system… and some speakerage is a bit more

Racing, for me, is the parallel analogy to high end audio. Both arenas protest for greater performance. The former has a narrower aim in that regard than the latter yet both are appended by the same term. Racing, requires but a stop watch to determine a winner. In audio, the owner ALWAYS is the stop watch and judge.

12 second quarter mile times ain’t too difficult to come by. It takes some doing, and expense depending upon the starting rides own ‘go’ level… the 10’s takes some more doing and a bigger investment. Lots bigger. The 9’s? Well, that’s where things start getting exponentially pricey. You’re well past the point of diminishing returns if you get one of those 9 second time slips from the officials, I guarantee.

Nine second rides aren’t ‘grocery getters’ and require tons of maintenance routinely.

When it is no longer a hobby, and the fun isn’t in it any more unless the next ‘buy’ is amazingly good, I feel then I’ve crossed the line.

I also doubt seriously anything out there holds the title of "Best in the world" or "can't be beat". Those are usually the ones I'm most suspicious.

Pitch what you can, when you want, at your own rig, and have fun in the doing of it. That’s the real deal I think, and where the fun truly lives…. when it’s a ‘want to’ rather than a “need to”, thing.

Just about anything is gonna be ‘up’ from where you’re at now, so try whatever and hear for u self. Have fun and good luck.
Let's keep our perspective on the subject of audio. It is suppose to be fun. But it has become many, many times more complex over the last 40 years. We did not have as many options in equipment and cables were not even on the radar scope for most of us. And, of course, the range in cost of equipment has widened significantly. There are certainly a lot more room for opinions. Not all of us are able to invest or want to invest that much in audio. There are other things in life.

That said, I think it is important to keep an open mind. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. Sometimes the self-fulfilling prophecy plays into the equation - "It can't possibly work so I won't hear the difference" or "it is suppose to be better so I will hear improvements".

I think it is also important to appreciate other folks right to an opinion. And you never know what you might learn if you listen.

So combine the complexity of human beings with the complexity in today's audio world, you have the possibility of a lot of variance in opinions.

So if you are happy with what you have now - great! And if you want to improve your system, listen carefully to the different opinions and determine what makes the most sense to you and go with it. We are all giving our honest opinions.


Iggyminn - I will interested to hear your opinion of the VD Power 3. Just remember that it will take 80 - 100 hours to break-in.

I’ve put about 150 hours into the burn-in time on the cable now. Of course, I had to hook the cable up right out of the box. Even though it was a bit on the bright side, it was obvious it was much better than the stock cord. After having the cable burn in on my pc at home for about seven days, I plugged her into the IEC socket on my changer (soon to be replaced). I was nothing short of amazed with the Power 3’s impact on my mid-fi system. I noticed a significant increase in detail and clarity. While listening to Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism release, some of the notes on the track “Lightness” became more pronounced. Prior to installing the cable, they were greatly muffled or absent altogether. I also noticed the bass was tightened up a fair amount in the Dynaudio’s. About the only complaint I have at this time, is the cable is rather stiff. Of course I knew that going in, but it’s mostly a non-issue.

I also purchased a VH Audio Flavor 4, of which I have a couple more days of burn-in left. I noticed the VH came in brighter than the VD cable out of the box, but that should disappear after about 200 hours. The VH cable also demonstrated great clarity and speed. It'll be interesting to do a comparison between the two. It's also drawn an inquisitive look from my girlfriend as to why I keep replacing cables on the pc at home.