Are upgraded power cables really worth the money?

My system consists of musical fidelity a5 integraded and cd player, b&w 703 and a rel 305 sub. I'm Im using purist audio musaeus interconects and speaker cables. I understand and can certainly see how these cables have helped my system, but am a bit aprehensive about investing in upgraded mains cables. Do they really make much difference? With the system I have what would be the right amount to spend on them. Any suggestions?
Yes - you will find that good power cables make a similar difference to introducing good speaker cables to your system for the first time.
Imperative upgrade imho. I recall the day a few years ago when I first introduced a decent power-bar (appr. $ 150) and 2 after-market cords (each appr. $ 100) in my system. The dealer had lent the gear to me over the weekend and I never returned it; it was like drinking a nice cool beer from an appropriate glass when you're really thirsty instead of the bottle-neck or a can.
Try and find someone who will lend you cords for auditioning before you open your wallet. I think you'll find it rewarding if you went for something in the price range I cited. VooDoo Cable's entry level could be one starting point. One of many, I'm sure, but I have found Bruce's recommendations very precise and valuable, surely an advantage as you may have to lend special attention to the sub.
Good luck.
In my system, the power cords made the most significant difference. I started at the CDP with my best cord and added one at a time and listening to the same song over and over til I got the speaker cables added. I tested several cords and cables and the Shunyata got the place in my system. You could spend quited a bit on Shunyata power cords and they are worth it IMO. A budget plan for Shunyata would be an old Cobra Red label or python for the cdp, and a Diamond back for the integrated. this would be under $700 used here. You could go with python helix if you have more budget and put them everywhere like I did. I started with the budget cords I mentioned and eventually sold and replaced with new helix. you could get more lower on the budget. What would your budget be on PC's.

Yes, upgraded power cables are a good investment. I admit I'm spending a bit more on them these days then when I first made a purchase. You can spend from $10- $12 on a Volex or thousands of dollars on the exotic cables. I refuse to spend that kind of money. I started out with lower priced cables from Shunyata, even the dirt cheap Volex, but eventually graduated up the food chain a bit. In my opinion, of all the cables you will purchase, the power cord can reap the most benefit and also do the most harm. So, auditioning in your system carefully before purchase is critical. As suggested, buy a cord you can audition for at least 30 days in your system. If you don't like what it does when connected to your gear, then send it back for a refund. There are companies and dealers that provide auditions. I would look to dealers that provide demo power cords that can be auditioned. Also, the Cable Company will lend you cables for a small fee. DCCA and VH Audio sell quality power cords, have great customer service and also have audition periods on all their cables. Don't make the mistake of auditioning more than one new power cable at a time. More than one new cable in your system at a time makes evaluation of each cord practically impossible. I also belive in power cable break-in. (some don't) It's important that you allow a new power cable break-in time and time to settle in once you connect it to your gear. As you know, once any cable is connected, it should be left untouched and given time to settle in. The sonics of your system will change during these periods. After break-in is complete and the cable has had time to settle in, then make your final judgement. It takes time and patience (which I never had a lot of). Good luck with power cords.
I use PS Audio Statement Extremes on my cd palyer, pre-amp amd amp. There was a significant improvement to the cd palyer in the form of a much blacker backgound. I heard no significant improvment over the stock power cord with my amp or pre-amp. And I have not experimented with any other power cords.

Yes --unfortunately :)--can be a very dramatic improvement!
I've only ever tried one power cable on my transport which is 13 years old now and it was $150 XLO cable. I didn't like it and instead opted for some cheap $60 power cable cable. I found that the XLO made the sound edgy. Note I did this over 10 years ago and since then I've not looked into power cables.

Anyway, reading this thread made me think, it putting a power cable on transport any different to putting it on a CDP? Has anybody any good experiences with PC's on transports?

A good power cord can make a huge difference, but many will add different sonic characteristics to a component. If your system is a bit bright, I would avoid cables composed of silver wiring because they will make it sound even brighter. Some PC's are neutral, some are warm. I have used Nordost Shiva & Vishnu, Virtual Dynamics NiteII, Electraglide Synapsis 1, Elrod EPS 2 and am now using Cardas Golden Reference. While all of these are very good cables, they also displayed different sound characteristics to the components they were attached to. I found the Cardas to be the best for my system. I have to say that I did not have a way to audition any of these, so I purchased many on press reviews and forums. If you can audition, you can avoid the buying and selling that I have endured until I finally found a cable that I can keep for a while. :>) I would also encourage you to avoid buying any cables at retail, just too expensive. Whatever you decide, you will probably be able to find it here on Audiogon. Good Luck!!
There are two camps regarding the efficacy of aftermarket power cords. Both will voice opinions here.

Why not buy one or two cords that are available with trial periods, or buy one or two used cords that are in demand and that can be easily resold, and try them for yourself?
I've only ever tried one power cable on my transport which is 13 years old now and it was $150 XLO cable. I didn't like it and instead opted for some cheap $60 power cable cable. I found that the XLO made the sound edgy. Note I did this over 10 years ago and since then I've not looked into power cables.

Anyway, reading this thread made me think, it putting a power cable on transport any different to putting it on a CDP? Has anybody any good experiences with PC's on transports?

Tvad's advice is excellent. Try one, if YOU can't hear A difference move it to another component and see if you can hear A difference. If after moving it to all your components you will have determined which components may be affected by a change in A power cord and will be able to focus on the specific cord you want to use on it. Not all (if any by some folks opinion) components will reveal a difference in PC's, nor all ears. If you can't hear a difference think of all the money you will save! :-)
Yes, power cords can make a positive difference. Is it a huge difference - no, it is subtle. Make sure your room is properly tuned and your speakers set up properly before you spend money on subtle tweaks like power cords.

If you have not treated the room yet, take your power cord money and spend it there first, you will get a MUCH bigger return on your investment...

Of all the upgrades and tweeks I have tried over the years absolutely nothing gave me more of a positive immediate differance than good power cords . I am currently using (3new) Virtual Dynamics Power 1,s on all my gear and I bought a used Nite power cord by Virtual dynamics for the power supply to my Tri Vista 300 integrated . For 1200 dollars total and the level of detail , black background and exceptionaly deep controlled musical bass with unreal vocals I would not be able to obtain upgrading any component for this price and have this quality of sound through my whole system be it analogue or digital . I was one of those very skeptical people till I heard the results . Like any product I,m sure there is a diminishing return to price ratio as some cords can be very very expensive but those lucky enough to afford them to get that last drop of juice out would say they are worth it . My cords would be conscidered mid to low priced and there is alot of excellant cables in this range that will give better results than upgrading equipment did for me in my experience. I suggest buying a used well reveiwed cable yourself and trying it out . Cheers
Agree with others here that you need to try them and hear for yourself as no one will convince you one way or the other; this hobby is just that way.

There are free trials avaiable from various manufacturers so I would suggest you partake and enjoy the experience.

tvad your advice sounds like my best bet. What would be an easily resalable cord to start with at a reasonable price?
Zeekzaak, it depends on your budget, but here are a couple that usually sell pretty well:
Shunyata (any of the models, but especially Python and Anaconda)
Purist Audio Dominus Ferrox or Fluid

These are good to try with money back guarantees (there are other excellent options as well):
Tel Wire

I'm sure others will share some ideas.
Does anyone have experience with upgrading/altering the installation hardwire between the fusebox and the wall outlet? Apart from installing dedicated lines, I could consider higher quality of the wires themselves ...
I am amazed no one has mentioned upgrading your electrical circuitry as the biggest bang for buck improvement in this area. I spent a few hundred dollars and added 3 dedicated audio circuits to my main listening room. I think that is by far the most cost effective change you can make, and the one an audiophile should consider first. For about half the cost of a mid priced fancy cable, you can make a permanent change that will likely dwarf what any one cable can do for your system.
I have always considered Audiogon members a great source of information and inspiration - I guess this is a chance to "give back" to the community. BTW, all of these changes and improvements are so dependent on individual rooms, equipment, wiring, etc., so you still need to match the advice to your particular situation - there really are no absolutes.
In theory I geuss the power supply in the equipment can only see maybe 5 feet. If you have a upgraded power cord and or a conditioner that doesn't detract from the music, this is all you need, and dedicated lines. You can upgrade wire but its not really going to help. Use 10 gauge wire for you dedicated lines of 20 amps instead of 12. This will ensure less power loss accross the run.

Based on your components, I would try Audience powerChord. These should also do good on the amplifier. You should be able to determine with these power cords what they do and do you like what they do. they can easily be resold.
No, the cabling should be changed to the source, that is the power plant, anything short of this is a waste of money.

Remember, always be most careful of what you can't hear.
Previously, I had no opinion on the matter because I had not tried quality commercial aftermarket cords in my system.

Just got some Black Sand Siver Ref MkV w/ upgraded Oyaide plugs.

These cords made an easily noticable improvement in the sound, esp. the bass which is much deeper and tighter.

I can't beleive that someone couldn't, with the right but still simple test equipment, measure this effect and put this whole thing to rest, the change seemed so significant.

Only you can decide if it's woth the $$.
Should have added - One cord for a VAC PA100/100 amp and one for VAC Standard LE MKII pre. In comparison to Volex 14 ga that I had put upgraded ends on.
Here's a question from a skeptic on the issue of power cords. Given that your house is wired with standard residential wiring (extremely inexpensive stuff), and that that wiring comes at the very end of a line running from a power station located miles away, how is it that 3 feet of expensive power cord is supposed to offer some kind of upgrade? And if it did upgrade things, why wouldn't it make more sense to build a power cord that was, say, 2 feet 11 inches of house wiring, and 1 inch of super-expensive power cord?
That is a very old question which has been answered many many times. Do some research.
"That is a very old question which has been answered many many times. Do some research."

I took your advice, or perhaps I should say, followed your order, and discovered two things. 1)No blind test has ever shown that anyone has ever been able to distinguish a $10 power cord from an $800 power cord. 2) Wolff Auduio sells $800 power cords.
I live in a 50 year old house with 50 year old wiring. And yes, I was skeptical about power cords. I tried a couple when I was first assembling my system and wasn't too impressed. Part of my skepticism was an engineer friend telling me since my source power was crap already, that was my ceiling so long as I plugged into the wall.

That said, I decided to give a power conditioner a try (Isotek G2 mini sub) and added a couple of very inexpensive Transparent Audio power cables for my amp and DAC. All I can say is...WOOOOW. The low end had punch and clarity, the high end sweetened up and allowed the previously foggy midrange to present a very clear and very defined stage.

Different strokes for different folks. I don't think you have to go overboard with power cables, but I had great improvements with a relatively cheap investment.
Hey Stewie.

What'd you do...pick a couple of threads and pick the one that's most comfortable to your presupposition? LOL!

I really don't believe your original question is sincere. Your mind is already made up. Too bad. Given all the feedback and info available regarding the performance benefits of good AC cords, the question in your first post coupled with your response to Mr. Wolff reveals your lack of desire to really understand and your contentment with ignorance. That's okay...lack of desire and contentment with ignorance will probably save you more than a few bucks.

Here's a suggestion: If you're sincerely looking to see if good AC Cords could have any benefit to YOUR system, seems one of two things - or both - should be on your plate: Look to barrow or buy a good after market cord that comes with a return policy and/or, change the approach when you respond to someone who's trying to help you.

For the record and in no uncertain terms, I believe, and I'm certain others would affirm, well designed AC Cords with an appropriate design premise will serve as the foundation to not only the cabling system but the entire music system. And, there IS good reason for that. For the sake of you enjoying your music playback (my assumption) to the max, I hope genuine investigation regarding the benefits of good AC Cords matters to you someday.


I was looking into some very inexpenive ones today.(signal cable magic cords.) The guy gives a money back guarantee with them and they will only run me a couple hundred refundable dollars to try them out. Does anyone know anything about these. Are they worth a whack. I also saw some that were put up for sale here and all of them had already been scooped up? Huh?
The Signal Cable Magic in my experience lacks smoothness refinement and extension.
Yes they are.

04-29-08: Foster_9
The Signal Cable Magic in my experience lacks smoothness refinement and extension.
This is my experience with the cord, too.