DIY power cord / cords - really good

How to make a phenomenal change in the musicality of your system, with the equipment you currently have!

The obvious changes will include; quieter/darker background (less noise), richer harmonic structure (closer to the live instruments), much more detail without harshness or a “thinning” of the sound, better hall ambience (when present), lots of things hidden in the mix (creaking chairs, droning air conditioner, musicians’ hands on an instrument, or page turning, etc.) become noticeable, better dynamics, an easier to listen to system.

But….. with all the above mentioned audiophile changes you will have trouble (at least I do) listening for all the changes. You will become involved in the music and when you get to the end of the performance you will realize you “forgot” to listen for that specific event or nuance that you usually listen to, to evaluate. You may have to play the cut 2, or more, times and work hard on concentrating to keep your audiophile hat on, otherwise you will keep getting lost in the music. Don’t you just hate when that happens?

Disclaimer: Please be aware. I am not intimating that you or I can produce a DIY power cord that is equal in build quality and/or sonics of any specifically available retail product. I am, however, saying, quite strongly, that with a little bit of $$ and a lot of labor you can scare yourself at how truly good your system can sound.

DIY power cords using “dynamic filtering” techniques – Dynamic filtering is a term/phrase coined by one well know manufacturer and copied by at least one other, I believe. I/we owe a great debt of gratitude to this manufacture for sharing with the audio community, and therefore me too, some of their technologies and assembly techniques.

As one goes up in a particular retail power cord line there are a number of additions. I have either not yet include, or don’t currently have a way to include, like cryogenic cable cooking; AVM damping, special contact treatment.

So far I have built 6 different power cords using the dynamic filtering, and the single conductor approach.

A company (that shall remain unnamed, you may contact me directly for more details if you wish; through Audiogon ) has graciously included a three part video on their website and YouTube on how to build their entry level power cord. They challenge the DIY’er to build two cords and compare them.

I took their CEO at his word and just went for the final cord, with a few changes. His entry level cord is a three conductor 14 awg solid core (single conductor per wire) cord. Because I have a “star ground” system, only one component grounded, and all the rest of the system grounded through it, I did not need 3 conductors in the first cord I built.

Because the four best cords in my system were Element Basic (about $60 to $70) 10 awg cords, which had bested 3 other PC’s in the under $100.00 price range and a $300 pc, in my system, I decided to start with 10 awg

Cord #1) Ungrounded, two wire
IEC = cheap in the range from $2 to $5, designed for 14 awg or less
Two 10-awg, single strand, slipped straight through outer sheath
1” od, ¾” id nylon reinforced vinyl tubing/outer sheath
Very fine steel shot used for metal polishing
Sturdy three prong plug end.
Placed on preamp. Big improvement in the directions mentioned above.

Cord #2) Ungrounded, two wire
IEC = same as above
Three 12 awg, single strand, braided, ground not connected at either end
1” od, ¾” id nylon reinforced vinyl tubing
Very fine steel shot used for metal polishing
Sturdy thre prong plug end.
Not as good as the 10 awg, although still quite good.

Cord #3) Grounded, three wire (for use on the grounded component)
IEC – same as above ($2)
Three 10 awg, single strand, grounded
3 runs of 5/8” od, 3/8” id nylon reinforced vinyl tubing
Very fine steel shot used for metal polishing
Sturdy three prong plug end.
Two ½” brass pipe nipples cut in half along the long dimension and clamped with hose clamp on the load and neutral tubing legs.
Better than cord#1.

Cord #4) Grounded, three wire
IEC = Marinco 320 much heavier brass and easier to work with at 4 to 10 times the cost.
Three 6 awg single strand, grounded. The wire was ground wire from Home Depot, I wrapped it in
Teflon plumber’s tape and then heat shrink (this wire is too big for the cheap IEC)
Three runs of ¾”od, ½” id nylon reinforced vinyl tubing.
Very fine steel shot used for metal polishing
Home depot, Hubbel Valise knock off plug $7.
Best cord so far, by far. I am sure the 6 awg makes a difference.

Cord #5) Ungrounded, two wire
IEC – same 320 type
Two 6 awg treated as above but entire length cleaned with Brasso before assembly
Two runs of ¾”od, ½” id nylon reinforced vinyl tubing.
Relatively fine BRASS shavings from metal finishing (not nearly as much mass)
Home depot, Hubbel Valise knock off plug.
#5 was not as good as #4. I believe because the brass was shavings and therefore contained quite a bit more air/less mass than the steel shot and the “dynamic filter”ing was not as effective.

Cord#6) Identical to #5 but with steel shot So much better than #5 that no A’ B’ comparison was necessary. I will take the brass out of #5 and refill it with steel shot. I am giving power cord #2 to an audiophile/engineer friend who has donated countless hours of his labor to my system, at no charge.

DAC, an AC conditioner, and preamp now all have 6 awg pc. Both amps have 10 awg, waiting for me to build some additional 6 awg for them.

So, at least for now, I have reached the end of my DIY power cord development. For about $5 per foot for a two leg power cord or possibly $7.50 a foot for a grounded power cord, plus the cost of IEC and plug ends and two to three hours of work per cord you can have a power cord that will most likely compete in the $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 range.

It is very simple to assemble. Special tools, other than a glue gun, are not necessary, but do make the job easier, (ie Dremel for polishing the brass and copper, heat gun for shrinking the heat shrink). If you don’t especially like DIY projects or earn more than $400 to $600 per hour than this might not be the project for you. You can buy retail, save a lot of time, potentially have better part quality, and an even better result.

However, if you don’t fall into either of the two above categories, for in the range of $45 to $60 for each power cord (don’t forget all the labor), you can make a sonic improvement in your system that will be hard for most to imagine.

Oh, and don’t forget YMMV.
Have fun,
P.S. My current virtual system
Better link to system.
Thanks for the tips. I am also putting together diy power cords with some success. I just can say yes its worth the effort if u have the time and patience working with the project. Mine has proven to be a worthwhile substantial improvement in my system sonically in every parameter,
and it has awoke my little 1.8 watt SET Integrated Amp to new life.
I hope others will carefully give it a try and do more diy for power cables and ic's as well.
Another tip is installing Deflex pads on the outside of the sleeve and tighten down with tie wraps and then cover up with heat shrink tubing.
The Deflex will really drop the noise floor way way down and add as a great damping material for ic's and I suppose speaker cable and power cords. Although I have only tried it on my power cord with tremendous success.
Don C.
Happy Listening

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience. I need more info. I will email you.

I know I saw somewhere, someone was using 4 awg. It may be you. I was reticent to try 4 awg, but with your encouragement I think I will.

I was going over my system in my mind today and realized I need at least 7 more power cords. A custom USB cable, some speaker wires and a pair of ICs to compare with my carbon.

I'm wondering if we can sell our DIY cables here at A'gon?

Well I am sure you could, but I would feel a little bit weird doing so.

The un-named, but well known, cable manufacturer listed above has graciously shared some of their research (possibly intellectual property) and results with the audio community allowing me, and others, to benefit from our DIY efforts.

I think building a cord so similar to their's and selling it for our profit would be a disservice to the manufacturer.

Now if you had built a few as you experimented your way up the chain and did not need some of them. I think moving those along to someone who did not have the skills nor interest for DIY, at a nominal price for your labor and materials, MIGHT be OK.

But as an ongoing "retail" enterprise, well I am not so sure.

Additionally, these cords are quite labor intensive, when done correctly. What I would have to charge to get me to build them for others, might not make them any bargain at all.

Just my $.02 (before the coming hyperinflation) on the subject.

As to the cost of a 4 AWG grounded cord.

While the parts could be under $70, given the hours it takes to do it correctly, and factoring those hours away from family, friends, or what other activity I might be doing, LIKE LISTENING TO MY SYSTEM, I imagine I would want $750 to $1000 per cord. And then it still might be difficult to get me to build one for someone else.

At that price there are a lot of extremely good power cords on the used market that I am sure would compete well with my 4 AWG DIY and might even have a much better synergistic effect in certain systems.

Having built 6 of these cords, so far, and now with plans for some additional experimentation and at least as many more to build, I think what the manufacturer charges for their cords presents a VERY FAIR VALUE.

Hi, Bruce, I'm sending this to a friend, he's a big diy-er, sounds most interesting, so thanks for that. I did look at your system, and noticed the acoustic fins you have around your ceiling. What effect did you notice from using them? Easy to make?
Thanks again

They are really easy.

I made them over 15 years ago. I think I got the idea from Michael Greene and his "audio flags", corner tunes and other things.

I took some wall insulation fiber glass, from an extra roll I had laying around, and removed the aluminum. Then I went to the fabric store and bought some really cheap fabric. Then I asked my wife to show me how to use her sewing machine.

I made a bunch of the right triangle shaped cloth sleeves. I used some scissors to cut the fiber glass to fit, stuffed it into the sleeves, and then sewed up the short length of the triangle. Done, completed, and used for the next 15+ years very successfully to kill slap echo.

I use push pins to put them up. It takes just two.


Forgot to answer the other part of your question.

They help get the reverberation from the edges of the room out of the sound of your system/music.

Well worth the effort. One could use 3 to 5 per wall to ceiling interface. I used a lot more, because I could.


I have a 6 page word doc with 9 pictures, some simple captions and the link to the manufacture's 30 minute video on assembly.

It is about 3 mb. Email me if you would like a copy.

If your email severer will not accept a 3 mb let me know and I will see about breaking it into 6 smaller pieces of a page each.

Thanks Bruce, I'll see if I can whip a stitch! I do have the old corner tunes from michael green I still have up, they blend in so well I forget they're there. But I do like to experiment, so I'll let you know if I have a breakthrough.
I had a guy ask me what tubing was used. I didn't really know. I bought all the different sizes I used at Home Depot in 10 foot rolls.

I Just checked. The vinyl tubing, which is reinforced with nylon thread, is for low pressure water use is made by Watts.

The price tag/skew lists I checked there but did not quickly come across their water tubing.
Several have asked me for the Word doc with pictures. I have that as a single file, which is about 3MB or six individual pages that are 0.5 to 0.8 MB each.

It is easier for me to send the all inclusive file, however, if your email account will not allow you to get a file that larger just ask me to sent each page individually.
Hello, and Bruce or someone send me the files please? I'd like to try this as my weekend project. Happy listening :)
I just sent the file out to a couple of Agoners. If you were not one of them email me through Agon and I will get back to you.
Posted online. You can see pictures here;
I'm dying to know how your cords are made (specifically) and even more curious about the steel shot...where on earth does that go?

Just paste the link in the post above yours into your browser. It should give you all the detail you need, along with pictures.


I made several DIY PCs similar to Bruce's approach, and packed with Brass powder Cu70Zn30 -300 mesh with very good results. “Dynamic Filtering” technique works well on speaker cables also.
The first DIY or non stock power cord I made consisted of 12/2 romex, a cheap dime store male end and the stock iec from the crappy Quad 63 power cords.

Quite the improvemnt.

This led me to numerous experiments with different ends and wire configurations.

I never could better my Annacondas, however I did get very good results with top of the line male and female connectors and cables from Furutech, but that wasn't cheap.

My suggestion is to replace the molded ends on stock cords with better ones from Furutech,WattGate,Oyaide etc.

Then experiement with cabling choices.

The other tip, is that once you settle on a pleasing sound, replace all your power cords with this recipe.