Do I need a power cable - if so what brand?

I am a newbie to high end audio and need some help in optimizing my setup. I have Yamaha V1800 bi-amped to B&W 683 and bi-wired to B&W center. Yamaha amp and other audio componets are connected via Monster HTS 3600 power center. I am using Xindak FS-1 for fronts and Monster Z2 ref for center. 95% of my usage is for music.

Based on the above setup, should I replace:
1. Wall to Monster 3600 power cable?.
2. Monster 3600 to Yamaha receiver?.

Which of the above will give better sound performance (if at all) and if it does, what power cable should I consider?.
I would consider before buying anything else to consider one or two new dedicated ac lines..Then try removing Line conditioner..Sometimes just with new lines and bypassing a conditioner can give you much more than a new power cord..Probably a bit cheaper too........
I have never met a line conditioner that didn't make matters worse. Power cords on the other hand, if carefully chosen can do great things. I have made my own power cords from Oyaide plugs and Accrotech cable. Go to and check it out if interested. Regarding your line conditioner...remove it and listen again, and hear if you like it with or without. Sure it changes the sound, but does it bug it as well?
Thank you guys for the suggestion. Appreciate it. I will remove power conditioner and listen to it on this week end. However, one thing I noticed when I introduced power center into this setup was that the improvement in sound stage.

Based on my testing in this weekend, three possibilities could happen. With direct connection, I could hear better sound or remains the same or worse. If it remains the same or worse, I will prefer to keep the power conditioner.

So, my question is will I see an improvement in using power cable with direct connection?. Looks like I may not hear any improvement in using power cable along with power conditioner - is it true statement?.
Dedicated lines (at least two) will yield a lot of improvement, Thorman is right on with this suggestion. Get the power right and proceed from there.

Next make sure you treat your room, even if it's just addressing the 1st reflection point.

Then start playing with cables.
The best bang for the buck power cord is the Pro-AC11 from Harmonic Tech, IMO. You will notice the improvement easily.

Next, sell your Monster 3600 and get the PS Audio Quintet line conditioner. It is still on sales for $350 right now which has a list price of $499. It is the best bang for the buck power conditioner on the market today. It really improve the sound of your system other than protection and it works wonder on TV as well.

Have fun.
I have an expensive conditioner [Tice Power Block] that was highly regarded in its time , sometimes it helped. I now have two dedicated lines and it makes thing worse. Lines are the way to go but may not be cheap. I have never been crazy about Monster products, I use to be a dealer for them; not that they are bad, but there are usually better products for less money. Even with dedicated lines cords still make a difference. I recently bought some of the Siltech cords being closed out and think they are a real bargain; $60 for 1 M , $90 for 2 M. If you are up for do it yourself then Stringreens suggestion would give you a really superior cord.
Take a look at Audio Art Cable power cords - only one that made a noticable difference in my system at a reasonable price
While I believe that those who may have contrary opinions are sincere, and many among them are astute judges of sound quality, for whatever reason I believe that opinions that power cords can make a significant difference in sound quality are utterly mistaken. I assume in saying so that your contacts are clean, plugs and jacks make secure contact, and wire gauge is adequate (all of which can be assured with some contact cleaner and a $5 power cord).

With probably hundreds of feet of wiring inside and outside of the house to the power company's transformer on a nearby pole (that steps down 10kV or so to 115V), and miles of wiring on the other side of that transformer to the power sub-station, what difference will the construction of 6 feet or so of wiring from the ac outlet to your system make? And even if it does make a difference, by what mechanism would the use of exotic and expensive materials in the cord correlate with improved sound quality? Putting it another way, are the differences essentially happenstance, which would mean that a cheaper cord might be just as likely to outperform a ridiculously expensive cord as vice versa?

I should add, to put my comments in perspective, that I have two degrees in electrical engineering and several decades of experience as an electrical design engineer, and more than 25 years experience as a high-end audiophile (Levinson, SOTA, Grace, Grado, various tube and solid state amps, Pentagram speakers, etc.).

Regarding power line conditioners, I'd imagine that their effectiveness or lack thereof would be dependent on the design of the power supply sections of your preamp and amp, and on the quality of the ac coming into your house. Which would mean that trial and error is the only way to tell.
Hah, I leave AudiogoN for two and a half years and return to find that the same arguments are still going strong.

Over the years, we've had EEs and physicists arguing both sides of this topic without resolve. It's funny when two physicists resort to insulting each others credentials.

SOMETIMES I notice a difference in power cords. The ones that have worked well for me are the original, affordable Virtual Dynamics Power series and the DIY VH Audio Flavor 4.

Boy, I missed this hobby!!!
In my 45 years in audio I have heard arguments like Almarg's many times. Better quality resistors cannot make a difference. Why would you put good wiring inside a speaker? How can a dedicated line do any good if the current has already traveled miles over transmission lines? This is usually called the objectivist position, if you cannot give a good reason for what you hear then you can't be hearing it. It is , however, not to be confused with science; it is a philosophical position unless you can prove that there could not be a difference. When I hear a difference between any item of equipment I always keep in mind that I may be deluding myself but generally when I hear a difference there is a difference. If Almarg is right then dedicated lines are a waste of time.
I can readily envision that in many homes dedicated lines for the stereo system may be helpful, notwithstanding my comments about power cords not making a difference. For instance, if other devices such as heaters or refrigerators are pulling large currents through lines in the house that are also supplying the stereo system, the system would see less voltage than if fed via dedicated wiring. The miles of wiring outside the house are typically much larger gauge than those within the walls, and are designed to support much larger currents without significant voltage drop. Also, dedicated lines could conceivably help isolate the system from rfi produced by those other devices.

In general, the better the design and quality of the power supply circuits within the system's electronic components, the less sensitive I would expect those components to be to dedicated vs. non-dedicated lines and ac line conditioning.
Yes, Yes, Yes...I know it doesn't make sense...BUT...the power cords I made and included in my system was as though I changed 2 major components in my stereo. I am using Ayre equipment with very beefy power supplies, and yet...
I know it shouldn't be so, but unless you hear what a good power cord can do you will not believe it.
Dear Almarg,

I find it interesting that you repeatedly assert that power cords make no sonic difference based solely on your keen deduction abilities derived from your graduate-level engineering education. You make no mention of experimenting with at least one reputable power cord to validate your conclusions.

This 'method' was certainly not considered to be a sound design of experiments (DOE) process when I received my Masters degree in engineering, nor would it be given any credibility in the half-dozen successful high-tech electronics companies that I have managed over the last 25 years, with dozens of graduate-level engineers like yourself working for me at each one.

Had those who made revolutionary discoveries over the last hundred years or so used your logic - it is controversial and/or it cannot be measured with current technological methods and/or I do not understand it - there would be no electricity, no computers, and no internet through which to communicate or debate our beliefs on this topic.

But this thread is not about your and my respective credentials or who can mount the most logical argument to substantiate their position. Satiger started the thread by soliciting opinions on the effect of his power conditioners and power cords on his system's sound.

As I have actually experimented with several very highly regarded and expensive power conditioners and power cords, I will offer my humble opinion to Satiger: follow the wise advice of others on this thread - install at least one dedicated power line to your equipment (20 or 30 amp with 10 gauge Romex and a good audio-grade receptacle), ditch the power conditioners, and buy the best quality power cord that you can afford. You WILL hear a difference!

Based on my experience, I would recommend a Tel Wire power cord or one from Synergistic Research. Both companies offer fantastic products and customer service and also provide customers with the opportunity to try their products in your home on your system at no risk.

Perhaps both of you could take advantage of one or both of these companies' in-home trial and then post your experiences on this thread.

I'm a big sceptic when it comes to tweaks.
I did buy an expensive power cord and it did increase my low frequency.
A window in my room was not installed well and when I added the PC, it started vibrating, buzzing the moment I started listening.
Strange but true.
I also want to run a dedicate line for my sys.
What should I tell my electrician to do, what kind of wire, outlet...
Thanks for your help

I recently installed three dedicated lines - two 30 amp and one 20 amp. I used standard 10 gauge Romex. The whole job cost $500 through a licensed electrician who does new construction work and he and his assistant completed the whole job in about 2 hours on a Saturday morning.

If you install more than one dedicated line, be sure to discuss the grounding scheme with the electrician to avoid 60 hz hum.

As for receptacles, this is somewhat controversial. From my experience with different power cords/different plugs/ different receptacles, I believe that the way the metallurgies interact makes a very big impact. Certain Hubbell products (but not all)are good bets for low $$. The Hubbell CR5352IG isolated ground outlets work well for me and can be found on ebay - I paid $50 for 10. Next step up is cryo'd Hubbells, say from Albert Porter or Jena Labs (both under $50). Synergistic Research has a new Quantum Tunneled receptacle for $75 that should be good.

IMHO, the most desireable receptacle is the Oyaide R-1 at $130. It is very neutral and extended and also extremely well built with SOTA materials.

The key to picking receptacles and power cords is compatibitility with each other (and with your equipment). Scan the threads by Duster on Audioasylum for great advice on this.

Good luck.

Dedicated lines do make a positive improvement, if for no other reasson to get the dimmer whitches out of the line, or to get the loose fitting AC receptacles and wire out of the front of the audio. Many homes are equipped with very low quality AC receptacles and they are fire hazards too. With regards to power cords, they are more hype than reality. Change something important like caps to v-caps or amps. A power cord is just a filter to change the sound, not necessarily more accurate or true. The only one I have heard to help digital was the Cardas Golden Reference in a high RF area and the noise was markedly reduced. In the absence of the nosie, it would not be needed. Spend money wisely, there is much hupe to "filter" it is your money, I like mine to do real good.
I am not an electrical engineeer or a rocket scientist, but in my experience, power cables can be as substantial as speaker cables and interconnects in a system. This is my experience and my reality and if anyone says that I am deluding myself, what's the difference between delusion and reality if I believe that I hear it!? There are many out there that also believe that zip cord is as good as any of the high priced speaker cables that are available.
So who or what do you believe? I trust my ears and my own judgment and I know that power cables do make a difference, just find the right one for your system!
As a follow up to Jallen's post above, I have experimented with many power cords, and have found that Cardas is the very worst. It closed up my system, added grain, reduced the sonic picture, etc. Maybe it will work better in other systems, was very audibly just awful in mine.
Dave (Dlcockrum) -- Let me answer your well phrased thoughts about my not validating my opinion via experimentation by drawing an analogy to the businesses you have successfully managed. You were no doubt required to frequently and almost continually make decisions as to what tasks should be given priority in allocating limited personnel, time, and financial resources. In so doing you used reasoned judgment that drew upon your experience and education, and upon analyses and thoughts that others may have presented to you.

Similarly, I choose to allocate my audio-related investments of time and money to where my judgment tells me it is most likely to be most productive. That is why I choose to not devote time and money to assessing the sound of power cords.

I cannot explain why many sincere and intelligent people believe that they hear significant differences between power cords. I do feel, though, that the marketing hype surrounding them is generally techno-babble that fails to provide a rational correlation between the cord design and the claimed sonic effects. Therefore, as I implied in my earlier post, if there indeed are effects, they are likely to be system-dependent, they are likely to be findable only through trial and error, and they are likely to have no signficant correlation with price.

-- Al
Hi Al,

You are correct: I did (and do) make decisions based largely on my intuition and judgement. However, I also remain open to input and give the opinions and experience of subject-matter experts high priority in the decision matrix. Then, I often test both my intuition/judgment and the recommendation of others on a limited scale before fully investing.

Why not try a Tel Wire or Synergistic Research power cord on your CDP (at no risk) and see for yourself. I would be interested to hear what you think.

Best Regards,
Wow, thanks guys for all the responses. Last night I had an opportunity to test the system with and with out power conditioner. I hooked Yamaha receiver directly to the wall outlet and let other components (CD player, ML Grotto subwoofer) connetced to power conditioner.

When I switched between power conditiner and direct wall, I did hear a clear difference in low and high frequencies. When connected to power conditiner, subwoofer sound is much tight, precious and clean. Also, high frequencies were very forwarding. I didn't hear any difference in mids.

Based on my limited testing, I could say power conditioner did improve sonic. I will do more listening over this weekend.

Also, I found out that the wiring that supply the power to my syetem is shared with only other outlet - that's being used for lighting. So, if I turn off the lighting (while using the system) or re-direct the lighting wire to some other source, could I say I have a dedicated line to audio system?. That outlet voltage consistently remains between 120-121 haven't seen gone below 120 yet.

As suggested here, I will do home-trial of few power cables and report the result here. If I were to do that, should I replace the one from wall to power conditioner or power conditioner to receiver or both?. I will also try direct from wall.

Please note that I go by my ears and not by any measuring equipment.
Dave -- Thanks for your response and your suggestion. I'll try to do that, perhaps in a couple of months because right now my pre-amp, amp, and phono cartridge are all in the process of changing, and obviously I want to become thoroughly familiar with the sound of the new components before trying to evaluate subtle cable differences.

Satiger -- I'm wondering if perhaps the reason the receiver sounded better through the conditioner was not the fact that it was connected through the conditioner per se, but the fact that it was then connected through the same path as all of the other components. I presume that the conditioner has some inductive as well as capacitive filtering in it. The inductors would be in series between the ac line and whatever components are plugged into the conditioner. But when you plug the receiver directly into the wall, with the other components plugged into the conditioner, the inductors create an isolation at high frequencies (probably much higher than audio frequencies) between the ac power and neutral going to the receiver, and the ac power and neutral going to everything else. It's hard to predict what sort of sonic effects that might lead to, but it seems conceivable to me that that could be the cause of the differences you heard.

I have always used a mundane but good quality power strip/surge suppressor to protect my system from lightning strikes, power surges, etc., with all components being plugged into it. Corresponding to the question you raise at the end of your last post, I'd welcome opinions from the others as to where a quality power cord would be likely to do the most good -- between each component (or at least the most critical ones) and the surge suppressor or conditioner, or between the suppressor/conditioner and the wall, or both.

-- Al
You guys really need to stop trying to find a reason for everything and just enjoy life. If it works, great! If it doesn't, catalog it and try something else. Don't talk yourself out of something before you've tried it.

Just do it. If we stopped to think of the whys of everything we'd never get around to procreating.

You guys need to be more like me.

When people ask me how and why the sun rises every day, I just say, "it must be magic!"

When I put a plastic card in a machine and I get cash out of it. "It's magic!"

When I type something into my computer and a week later a big, heavy box with stereo equipment in it arrives at my front door. "It's certainly magic!"

And, when I push a button on a machine and Coltrane sounds like he's blowing that horn in my room...

Gunbei, great to have your sense of humor here again. Welcome back.

And when the bill arrives for the box that showed up, that's "Audio's Greatest Secrets Revealed"!
You guys need to be more like me.


I wanna be like you.
Audio Advisor has a deal on Tributaries Series 9 Power Cable on sale. They are 10 AWG and looks great. For under $30, it seems a great opportunity to try. Anyone has any experience with the Tributaries PC?
Tube Audio Design also has a sub $30 cable. Fish something... Jellyfish.
Doug, yeah, I guess I'm back.

The world wide financial crisis has motivated me to do my part in sparking a comeback by inducing useless, unrelenting spending into the economy. Sure that kind of thinking is part of what got us into this mess in the first place, but what better way to counteract it?

I like to think of it as Spy versus Spy economics!

Shadorne, that is one cool video. It must have been great being part Louis Prima's band. They must have gotten a kick out of seeing their studio antics reaized in animation!

Now, back to trolling.

Like wise I said earlier, I did some detailed listening between direct wall power vs through power conditioner. Definitely I did clearly hear tighter, clear bass with power conditioner. On highs, it is more clear and detailed and could easily say that sound waves lingered around my ears more than one without power conditioner.

I am no means an expert in audio/electrical engineering but based on my testing that is what I found out. I am getting an Oyaide SWO-GX outlet from another audiogoner.

Next, I will get a good power code before trying for a dedicatied line (wife factor :) ). Atleast, my outlet is not shared with any other gadgets such as fridge/heater etc but for lighting the room.

I also used Isotek CDs few times and that helped a lot is soundstage and localization of soundfield. As of now when I play music, my speakers disappear - I could separate the instruments and localized them (based on the recording). Hoping power outlet and a cable improves it further.
Good! But in your most recent assessment of the power conditioner, did you compare the sound with everything connected through the conditioner to the sound with nothing connected through the conditioner? If not, and you had some things connected through the conditioner and other things connected directly, as I explained earlier your findings may be misleading and your setup is probably not optimum.

-- Al
In my most recent testing, I followed the same steps as earlier i.e receiver connected directly to wall and rest all connected via power conditioner.

In few days I will connect everything to wall and repeat the testing and report back.
What I find interesting on Agon...particularly in the cable forum.... is how quickly a simple question turns into a debate completely off topic. I doubt Satiger was interested in degrees, objectionist opinions etc etc...

Debate it in a new post, but keep the discussion on the question at hand.
I used to have a Ultimate Outlet and Hydra and experimented with different powercords. Then a buddy of mine let me use his RSA Jaco. One by one I plugged components into it. 1st the cd player, preamp, and then amp. Each time a noticable improvement was easily recognized. When the amp was plugged in everything came into focus. I never thought a power conditioner could make a large improvement. I ended up buying a Haley.
Almarg, is it possible that a power cord can act like an antenna? Remember that we used to use wire inside a plastic covering to pick up radio signals for our tuner.
Almarg, is it possible that a power cord can act like an antenna? Remember that we used to use wire inside a plastic covering to pick up radio signals for our tuner.

People do sometimes have problems with phono inputs picking up radio signals, due to the very high amplification that follows, the highish impedance levels, and the fact that those lines are directly in the signal path. In fact there are two threads presently ongoing here involving that kind of problem.

But it seems extremely unlikely that a similar situation would arise with a power cord. First, impedance to ground is low, which would tend to "short out" any rf that was being picked up. Second, there is no subsequent amplification. Third, there is no direct path between the ac input to a component and the signal path. Assuming the design is well done, the power supply section would include filter capacitors that have good performance at high frequencies (in addition to the large electrolytic "cans" that provide energy storage and ripple filtering but don't do much at high frequencies). And the amplifier stages themselves presumably all have "decoupling" capacitors that filter out high frequency garbage from the power going to those stages, right at the point of use.

-- Al
Satiger (the original author of this thread, we almost forget you,eh?),
Krell and Nordost brand are great but they're no longer on my number 1 pick due to their unique characteristic. However, as a beginer who wants to see if there's any diff, I highly prefer to give Nordost a try. Any entry level models would probably be ok.
Try it on your source (CD,DVD) first.
I recently changed amplifiers and have been a bit dissapointed with the results of the upgrade. Rather than run out and buy a bunch of expensive cables, I am pursuing tweaks such as Room acoustics and power. I admit to being very skeptical about spending absurd amounts of money on wire and interconnects.

So today, I ran out, bought some Romex and added a dedicated circuit for my amp and DAC still using the stock power cable. I have to admit, it did make a difference. My amp is plugged in direct now, the transport, DAC and DVD player are on a power filter/surge protecter, the TV and cable box on a separate plug. I notice an improvement in transparency and separation between instruments, soundstage is clearer. Cost - $15 bucks as I already had an open breaker and the run was 15 feet plus a couple of hours of label running the wire and hooking it up. I may even try buying a decent receptacle!.

Thanks for the reasonable and thoughtful input - there are ways to improve sound without spending a ton of money and buying into the myths - next is DIY acoustic room treatments.
Almarg, as you probably realize, I'm not very knowledgeable about electronics. I do know that one cannot just use theory without the practical. For instance, before people could measure conductivity, they may have preferred silver over copper, and didn't know why. Later on, they found out that silver was a better conductor. There may be something going on that theory doesn't currently support. If it turns out to be true, than we have to look at why. This allows us to modify that original theory.