Purist Audio Design 20th Anniversary Contego PC Power cord and/or Stealth Dream. Both sound great in my system.
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The standard ARC reference power cord is exceptional and it might be to your advantage to simply use this cord throughout your system if at all possible (it is a 20 amp cord). I have compared it to some of the more expensive power cords and it is as good if not better than the cords priced less than a $1000.00.
Everyone here is using a different PC and some are relatively expensive. Why? What difference did these quite different cords make over the stock ARC cord which is quite substantially made? Did you purchase these cords for evaluation specifically with the Ref 3, or were they left over from previous uses? My only complaint about the stock cord is its excessive length in my application.
I use the Purist 20th Anniversary Contego Power Cord. I have compared it against the Stealth Dream, the Shunyata Anaconda Alpha Helix and the stock AR cord. My amps are the Lamm Ref 1.2 monoblocks. In my system, the Purist is a slight flavor improvement against the Stealth and Shunyata, and a significant across-the-board improvement against the stock cord. If you are using a Ref 3, you owe it to yourself to audition as many PC's as possible. These PC's are not cheap, but do make a difference. Just my opinion.
In over 30 years of using ARC amps & pre's, I have always found that changing the stock power cords afforded a significant improvement in the clarity and bass. I started out changing the old hard wired PC's as they deteriorated with visual surface aging of the natural [back then]rubber outer covers.
On the Ref 3 I changed to the Nordost Brahma, after trying the Nordost Valhalla. Brahma made a big difference, Valhalla did not.
However, Valhalla PC's were tried and kept in my phono stage, VPI SDS & SDS to VPI HRX motors, did make a very significant lift in the clarity.
I will attempt to answer your question.
I have eight dedicated 20 amp circuits in my main listening room. These are run from an isolated subpanel. My Ref3 is connected to its own dedicated 20 amp circuit. After running the Ref3 for about 650 hours, I compared the Purist, Stealth, Shunyata and stock power cords. All power cords were previously broken in with about 250 hours of current. Compared with the stock cord, the other cords were significantly better. As for the Purist, it allows the Ref3 to shine, with greater upper and lower frequency extension (about 1/4 octave, according to my sweep tone disc and my Rat Shack sound level meter), much purer tonality, much greater clarity, somewhat greater space between instruments and air, a sweeter yet more detailed presentation, a much darker (quieter) background, and overall more relaxed experience.
I have used these aftermarket power cords both with and without the benefit of dedicated circuits. Aftermarket power cords used without dedicated circuits offer greater overall benefit, but even with dedicated circuits are a significant step up from stock Audio Research power cords.
Your geographic location and power grid anomalies also affect the benefit of aftermarket power cords.
Your answer is very informative and helpful to understand the environment of your evaluation and what you learned. Thanks for clarifying it.
Like you, I have a dedicated circuit to each component, however, I also have the option of connecting each dedcated circuit either direct to the subpanel or through a 4kva iso to the subpanel. Perhaps I will try some cords and see whether they make a difference in my system and whether they are sensitive to the iso conditioning.
I looked up the very expensive prices on some of the power cords recommended. I am still wondering if there is someone out there using a Signal Magic power cord on their ARC REF 3. They also offer a Silver Resolution Reference power cord. I wonder what more that one could do compared to their standard power cord. Can someone tell me the length of the stock cord that comes with the REF 3. The back of my system is so cramped that I don't want to trying gettin' back there.
Give Leonard a call at ARC. He told me that the stock ARC power cords are really good and they also use the snake cords with their equipment in-house. There seemed to be some preferences in which of the none-stock oily cords they preferred with different ARC equipment. Oneobgyn, the SR power cords may be a good fit for your system, give them a try and let us know.
I am very interested as to how you know that ARC gear is voiced using Shunyata Anaconda Helix Alpha power cords. Can you elaborate please.
I toured ARC factory back in 2007 and have talked to ppl. Both of their systems - the one in the big room with Wilson Maxx speakers, and the one in a smaller room with System 8 speakers, are cabled throughout with Shunyata Anaconda Helix power cords. They also use Shunyata V-Ray.
I know that the female end of the ARC stock cord is 20 amp.
Is the Male end 20 amp or 15 amp? The new cord I want to get is going to go into a Furman power conditioner which in turn goes into my 15 amp wall outlet. I am assuming I want a new cord with a 20 amp female with a 15 amp male end. Can anyone confirm this. Thanks