Another unconventional power cord test?

As I continue to experiment by recording noise in my system by placing a sensitive mic about an inch away from my right channel tweeter, I've stumbled upon an interesting finding: my computer, a simple windows laptop, when plugged into my PS Audio Duet filter, adds a tremendous amount of noise - relative of course. So I plugged the computer into a different circuit and wouldn't you know it the noise is gone. Very interesting, and I never would have guessed or heard this without this listening method that I've been toying with.

I've just bought a shunyata viper high current cable - $265 - and did some testing with it plugged from the amp to the wall, then into the Duet. I then did the same test with one of my PS Audio Lab cables. Again, my findings are interesting: hands down the ps audio lab cable is much quieter. And in all configurations there's less noise with the amp plugged directly into the wall.

I'm still breaking the shunyata in so I'll repeat the test soon. Anybody have any thoughts on this approach or the findings? Will the break in of the viper cord really make that much of a difference or am I sending that cord back to Musicdirect?
That's a nice find. Computers are inherently noisy and are best always isolated from hifi gear.
If your end game is to find the lowest noise floor, then it sounds as if you will be sending the Shunyata cord back.

Personally, for me, a lower noise floor is nice, but it is not really what I listen to an audio system for. I prefer tubes to solid state, and while in most cases solid state are quieter, they don't sound as musical to me as tubes. I also prefer vinyl over digital, though digital is quieter. I listen to music the same way through cables/cords. I'm trying to find the one that sounds best to me with music playing, not simply which one is the quietest.
Whatever floats your boat though.

John, I've read your posts over the years and you seem to have been through more pc's than most anyone here. I've been through what I call the "PC Jungle" too over the years, but not as extensively and expensively as you, and I've just about had it with this area of audio. Just went through some trials in the past 3 months. At this time, I've lost patience, but I've dabbled for years with various pc's, so it's not like I haven't given them a serious time. They make a difference, but finding a pc to maximize the potential of the component and your speakers is rough.
Foster_9, I agree with much of what you say. I know other audiophiles who feel the same way, and I can't say that I blame them. At times it can be frustrating and overwhelming, there are just too many variables involved. I know one fellow who has very expensive cables who just went back to all stock power cords and tuned his system around them. I've played with enough combos to know that this could certainly be done, and would remove one more variable from the confusing mix.

That said, I still find power cords to be very alluring. Though I was late to the party, I have more money tied up in power cords than I do in cables. This certainly doesn't mean this is the right thing to do, I haven't heard my friends system with stock cords and much more expensive cables than mine. However, I've seen how I can use cords, interconnects and speaker cables to balance the sound to suit my tastes over the years, and I am sure that I could probably still get great sound by removing any of those three variables. Either going with stock cords, interconnects or speaker cables, and still get possibly just as good of an end result.

Many times simpler is better. I've heard integrated amps that have embarrassed much more expensive separates. So I would never suggest that someone keep playing the game until they find just the right combination. That game can be so frustrating, and to make it even worse is the fact that when I do hit the magic combination, I still can't stop. I have to keep on experimenting until I lose all of the magic. LOL! I'm getting very close now to the sound that I like again....and this time I want to jump off the merry-go-round for a while, as I'm starting to get burned out too.

Strangely enough. many of my cords today are not the latest and greatest, but mostly older classics, Elrod's, Nordost, etc. One's that I discovered years ago, moved on from, and now have come back home to. I think that may be a sign that there is hope for me....that I may be settling down. LOL!

"finding a pc to maximize the potential of the component and your speakers is rough. "

PCs/any general purpose home computer or laptop are good at storing and sending data, but are inherently noisy. Best to isolate them from gear that produces HiFi sound. USe ona separate circuit, physically isolated from hifi gear, and connect wirelessly using Wifi to a network player that IS designed to connect to a stereo and deliver high quality sound. This is the only safe bet! Mating computers and hifi gear is alsways risky business otherwise. You might get lucky, but why take the chance? Isolation from sources of noise is always a good thing with good hifi gear. No different here, just a lot of potential problems.
I know you're giving Robpriore good advice Mapman. I've also known I needed a dedicated line for digital for a long time. Just haven't made that move. I must get a separate circuit installed for my Macbook Pro and cdp's. But, I finally got a vintage turntable delivered today (Sansui SR-222). First turntable I've owned since 1979!
You're right John, this can be frustrating! What's even more puzzling is the fact that if I don't like the sound I'll reboot my computer and refresh the room correction software and the sound is better. So weird, and almost silly. I typically make that part of the experience: reboot and relaunch correction software each time I engage in a listening session. Better safe than sorry.

In terms of isolating the PC, plugging the power cord into a different circuit is totally necessary. Getting it to run on battery is even better, not very convenient though.

I don't typically buy in to very expensive cables but I did buy a Wireworld Ultraviolet for my usb to Dac connection. I am not spending $1000 for the Light Harmonic USB cable, even if it does make your morning coffee!

I've taken it a few steps further by incorporating a USB to SPDIF converter that supplies power to the converter with a battery. So i've completely isolated the sensitive clocks in the converter from computer noise.

Taken together it sounds great. Now, i mentioned room correction software - i'm using the ARC system 2 - and the difference is astounding. I can't listen anymore unless the software is engaged. Had I known this in the past I would have hung on to my old Adcom amps and most of my other components since the room correction makes the MOST difference I've ever heard in one component. I've verified all this with many test subjects. Nobody can hear a powercord difference, everyone can hear room correction difference. And ARC 2 is cheaper than a single high end powercord - at least it was!

I use Jriver 16 - too scared to update since everything works now, no point in ruining that! But I have the software load 10 seconds of data into RAM - prebuffer - to add stability to the data output. I have no idea what difference this makes to the big picture but prebuffering prevents any issues related to the computer itself taking resources away from streaming that data. Even though I'm using the preferred asynchronous USB protocol it makes sense to prebuffer.
I’ve had the problems in even believing in the theory that PCs do make a difference. Then I’ve tried to build one,and it sounded way better then 2$/piece power cords I’ve had until then.
Tried a better version, it was even better sounding. Built a few versions, improved the design, and got the idea of "what changes and improves the sound in a which way"...
Now I’m on the end of a journey, using only OCC copper and best quality connectors.
The change in my system is dramatic, also in my office system.
Filtering and blocking noise from one device to another is done by few power conditioners, most just hook the sockets in parallel, a design choice but IME not a good one. Audience adept Response have all filters in each socket just to avoid electrosmog pollution.

As for good sound from PC, there are tons of advice on CA. Free and certainly worth a look is the Fidelizer tool. IME, best bang for the buck is to have first a good USB bridge between PC and DAC, Supra (hand made) USB cables are great value/money, power supply of your DAC is crucial, there are plenty LPS around to feed the little monster. USB noise harvesters et al can help. The UpTone Regen is a must for mid-fi DAC and up.

Back to PC, best bang/buck is a dedicated line, then comes the AC wall sockets. Evaluating PC can be addictive and one has to be careful not to end up with more worth in cabling than gear so a regular sanity check helps. For my second system, I was not aware that I drifted up to nearly 60% for power conditioning and all cabling in terms of total value of the system until I did a tally and keep now everything in a spreadsheet per doctor's orders. 
Thank goodness the linestage I am using currently has a captive cord.  One less thing to improve on!  Or should I say worry about.  I have tried about a dozen PC's and most offer an improvement or change of some sort.  The characteristic I listen for the most is a relaxing or smoothing out the presentation.  That gives me long term acceptance/enjoyment.

I agree with Jazz, I have had dedicated lines for a while and that was a noticeable improvement, darker background and a relaxing nature.  That is why I look for that in a power cord.  Also, I am embarrassed to say what I will spend on an interconnect - I just do not have that same feeling with a PC.  I can't get my head around it.  For example, my phono stage has a separate power supply connected with a captive power cord.  I cannot tell a difference between any PC I have tried in that spot.  The reluctance to spend big bucks on PC's has probably saved me thousands, but regrettably have spent it on IC's or SC's.  That's another subject but I have burned through more than a dozen of those!
Pops, as always, design matters and PC won't make (much of)  a different if the design is excellent. You have probably a such a linestage.
Indeed I have noticed with some great power amps (e.g. Jeff Rowland) that there is little the PC can influence but with most not-so-expensive or well designed gear the PC does influence the characteristic quite a bit.

With IC, another important factor is the impedance matching between the source and destination device that comes into the equation so there is not just about metallurgy, isolation, skin effect, etc. Lately I have spent a fortune on cables with magnets (too much talk already on this forum), they are indeed transformative and addictive. The question begs - and John is spot on here - if I can achieve the same result with other components. I have been longing for a one box solution like the Devialet so finally can get rid of those expensive accessories but am afraid my old ears are used to (those lush sounding) tubes. Maybe those ingenious French buys will add an option for an iFi iTube type module. 

In fact, all cabling matters (don't forget the fuses!).

Sometimes we forget to listen to the music (our better halves will remind us of that) but the kid inside us wants to venture onwards....

I concur w/ Jazz,

all cabling matters and we all have to find the most synergy that is out there. Keep me posted & Happy Listening!