I'm looking for a suitable power cord (preferably < $500) for my Audio Mirror Tubadour III DAC, as well as RCA cables (< $300) to connect the DAC to the Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II amp. Would love to hear from folks who have one or both brands.
@jjss49 Thanks for the reply. Actually I was thinking about silver ic's. Since both my DAC and amp are tubes, I wouldn't mind a wee bit of sparkle as long as it doesn't sound harsh or bright. Any thoughts on power cord?
My AMT3 is still breaking in, but already sounds miles better than previous DACs. It does such a great job of reducing digital harshness but not at the expense of details or resolutions. Just right, for my tastes at least.
I'm planning to upgrade to SE in a few months. Hopefully it'll be worth it.
Personally, I would finalize and break in my components before spending a significant amount of money on cables. Otherwise you are just optimizing the sound for components that will be changing in the near future. If you feel compelled to buy something, check out the Signal Cable digital power cord and silver IC's. Very good products for the money and not so expensive. Don't get me wrong - some expensive cables can yield transformative changes in a system, but I think you should match them to what you have - not what you are going to have. IMO.
Too each his own experience but I found Signal Cable power cord to be no better than the stock power cable that comes with components. I'll offer a suggestion of taking a look at Audio Art Cable power cords
I’d go with an Audio Envy PC and a used pair of Acoustic Zen Silver Reference ICs that together should come in under $800. The AZ will give you excellent imaging/soundstage and nicely detailed treble/air without going too far while maintaining nice tonality and heft, which sounds like what you might be looking for. Anyway, best of luck.
Audio Envy are very nice pcs.I do have a Tubadour SE also and a tube amp and used AE exclusively up until recently.I'm currently auditioning other brands of pcs,but recommend AE highly.You might like Audio Art RCAs,silver over copper for a little more sparkle on top.I like Silnote RCAs quite a bit.
Great advice! I agree that the best path is to get my AMT upgraded first before spending money on ic's and power cords. I'll stay put for the time being.
@pastorbob -- I ordered the Curious cable (reg version) and received it yesterday. I'm keeping my mouth shut tight until I've put at least 50 hours on it... lol! I reached out to Jaguar Designs who are the US distributors for Curious to ask if it's worth paying extra for the Evolved. They told me that unless my DAC is over $4000, Evolved might be overkill.
Audio Envy seems to offer two PCs - 2p which is ungrounded, and 3p which is grounded. It sounds like 2p is what they are recommending for DACs, but I'm not sure what all that means or if there's risk involved.
@yyzsantabarbara IIRC your headphones are Meze Empyrean right? What kind of improvement did you notice with the Wywire cables? I have Hifiman Arya and Focal Clears, not as high end as yours but still considered reasonably good performers. I do wonder if it's worth spending extra for non-stock cables.
@arafiq I had to look up IIRC, I do have the Empy. My frame of reference is the Empy and a Sennheiser 600 10 years ago. So not much experience with headphones.
I bough the Empy because a dealer told me to get that instead of the Focal Utopia which he also sells. I bought the Benchmark HPA4 and DAC3B from the same dealer and he said the Empy is great with the HPA4. He was correct.
I am prone to fatigue with bad sound and I was worried that the Empy would do that as the Sennheiser, which I had to give away. I was very happy to find that the Empy has 0 fatigue even after hours of listening. The Empy is a little dark on top with the stock cable, which is made of copper. It is more than enjoyable but I felt there was some restriction in the sound. I think the lack of fatigue was because of the darkish sound.
After some discussions with guys on Head-fi they steered me to the WyWire Platinum copper cable (on sale 40% off). When I first plugged in the cable I could hear a lot more detail but also got a ton of fatigue. This never happened with the stock cable.
I let the headphones play on the stands for a few days and then listened again to the same album that gave me fatigue (forgot which it was now). After the burn-in I heard the same details but also a more relaxed sound without any fatigue, even after every long hours of listening. There was a sparkle in things like drums that I was missing with the stock cable.
So these 2 copper cables had a different effect on me and sounded very different. I sent the WyWire cable back to WyWire to get a longer version since they have a buy back program. Great company and cables.
@pastorbob -- did you mean to say 2P is safe for any application, or were you referring to 3P? Based on what I read on the website, it looks like 2P is a better choice for DACs, but I'll certainly reach out to the AE.
So for Curious Cable, right now I don't notice any differences apart from a maybe a bit more bass. Unfortunately, I have been super busy lately and have not been able to burn in the cable yet. It'll probably be a couple of weeks for me to put on 50+ hours, at which point I will share my impressions. But right now, I honestly cannot hear any differences.
BTW, I have never had a power conditioner in any of my systems -- headphone or 2 channel. That's another avenue I still need to explore. Maybe after upgrading ATM3.
@yyzsantabarbara Thanks for your detailed response. Once I'm done with upgrading the DAC in my 2 channel rig, I might refocus on my headphone system. I really like the R2R sound, so I might be getting a similar DAC for the headphones too. Although, I've heard great things about RME. Or maybe a used Benchmark.
BTW, have you tried using Roon's DSP for your headphones? When I first got the Focal Clear, I really did not like the sound at all. But I set the bands based on rotary 1990's published settings and it made a world of difference.
I recently looked at the ROON DSP settings and did not try it for too long since it was for Audeze. However, now that you mention it for Focal. I will check it out. Though I must say I like the way the headphone sounds in the current ROON configuration.
I also use the headphones for FM tuner over the air and my SACD player that can only output analog (due to mods). So no ROON DSP available for those 2 sources. They also sound great,
BTW - PM me when you are ready to get your next DAC.
Hi @arafiq The 3p is the standard grounded cable. The 2p is ungrounded. It is useful for eliminating ground or audio loops traveling through the ground leg of the wire. As long as your amp is grounded using the 2p is up to you. But if you are experiencing no hum or frequency interference I would go with the 3p Because being a conventional grounded cable the 3p is good to go in any & all applications.
I ordered the AE power cord 2P and have been playing it since yesterday. Wow, what a difference! It's like everything opened up a bit further. More details even at whisper low volumes, guitars have more bite, piano has more weight.
However, I will add that the Curios Cable USB chord didn't really improve the sound anyways. I can't hear much of a different between it and the AudioQuest Forest cable I had before.
As I have a AM Tubadour DAC I am very interested in this thread. Regarding the power cords Audio Envy recommends use of the P3 for a preamp or Integrated amp and the P2 for all other equipment connected as a way to prevent ground loops. I wonder how this works when gear is on dedicated lines. In my case my amp is on it's own dedicated line, as is my preamp. The digital equipment is on a third line. All lines go back to the main house breaker box.
Hey @arafiq Yeah, the Audio Envy cables are about the biggest improvement in S.Q. for under 200.00! I just got a 3p I ordered last week.
I installed it, the last remaining A E power cord cord, today on the power supply for my microZotl amp.
Right out of the box the improvement is very noticeable.
I'm sort of glad I got these piecemeal as with each install I was able to hear & enjoy the improvement. Much, much better than the Signal cables I was using previously.
Sorry the Curious didn't work in your system. I would encourage you, however, to continue experimenting with USB cables. There are many that absolutely outperform the Audioquest Forest. Just have to find one with system synergy.