You don't know what you're starting.
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Throw a really attractive lure into the depths and lets see what we can catch. The joys of trolling. Seriously, if this a legitimate topic of interest, consult the archives of this forum and other sites. This subject has been covered, debated, and fought over at enormous lengths.
This was one attempt at summarizing what one person heard when trying to answer the question you ask.
DUCK and COVER!!!! The fight begins yet again!
Trust me check the archives to research this topic. It has been debated for years and will continue to be debated but there have been lots of threads about tihs.
Also to add onto what Metralla said. Definitely get your components straightened out and in your system. I then say listen to it all with the stock power cords for a long time. Once you are familiar with everything soundwise then go for aftermarket power cords.
HAve to agree to just not say anything would be best..
As has been said, this PARTICULAR 'discussion' has been aked and answered many times, along with the endless debates over whether wires do make a difference, or they are snake oil.
I will conceed to say i think decent cheap(er) wire is good, but skip the expensive stuff.
A good measure (so some say) is to spend about 10% of your equipment cost on the total wire costs.
Then you are in a middle ground, and fairy safe from madness.
Of course, there are those few maniacs who suggest spending MORE than the equipment costs on wire.
Mainly, if you can't hear a difference, why bother?
If you want to try a powercord Pangea or Shunyata make decent starter power cords.
I'm still here too (Or should I say "Hearing" too).
No one wants to kick a sleeping junkyard dog so we're not going to run with this again but you've already heard good advice: dial in your components with each other first; become very familiar with what it sounds like with stock cords and then, if you want to open up a new avenue of tweaking the sound you can start playing with aftermarket powercords.
Check out all the related threads for much more "vigorous discussion" on this...because you're playing with matches at the gas station right now.
All I will say is trust your own ears and NO ONE ELSE'S opinion via these forums (on this particular topic).
Good luck and happy Lissn'n
If in doubt, try it out! These have a 30 day, money back, satisfaction guarantee: (http://www.musicdirect.com/p-9670-shunyata-venom-3-power-cable.aspx) If you can't hear a difference, between them and your stock cords; count your blessings! You stand to save a lot of money, on upgrades, down the road.
Listen with the stock power cords in place to determine a base line performance of your system. Get a feel for the sound of your system first. I would say you should spend at least 1 or 2 months. Then try inexpensive aftermarket cords preferably those you can try on a 30 day money back. Compare the sound of your system with a new cord (one at at time) and see how the sound compares with all stock cords. Common wisdom says to put the highest quality cord on your source, so you may want to start there. Cords make a difference, but it is not always a "good difference." Finding synergy with power cords gets tedious. In the end, you may end up liking the sound of your system better with the stock cords. It's not unheard of. Also, your system needs to be resolving enough or you may not be able to hear any change from one cord change to another.
I never give the standard slap down of " search the archives", but I'm tempted to here. This thread is just the latest in a long line of incendiary conversations about power cords. Though I'm sure you're hopeful, I am certain you will not uncover any opinion that's not been expressed before, ad nauseum.
From his other threads, I don't think this guy is a "troll." I see that word thrown in quickly as a "knee-jerk" reaction to any thread that asks a simplistic and covered question. It's pejorative and I dislike it. Yes, he could review the archives for answers, but quite possibly the archives are a bit daunting for a newbie.
It's kinda like:
Does having a dog make a difference?
As you go door to door around the neighborhood talking to people, you get answers like:
Yes. A lot. They are part of our family. He/she is my best friend.
A little. I seem to be a little happier and my blood pressure has dropped.
Not so much. But I do sleep better at night knowing it will bark if anyone comes around.
No difference. How could a dog possibly make a difference in your life. I have no desire to try.
No difference, part II. I had a dog and now I don't. Don't feel any different.
Absolutely no. I've read on the internet that they kill people. You'd have to be really stupid to get one.
I *suppose* you could substitute cable for dog. (ya think).
That was Zen, this is now. Yeah, pc's "can" make a difference. I hear it on some equipment. Didn't believe they could for a long time then I got a dog, I mean pc. The first few actually hurt the sound compared to stock, then found some that helped a little.
Bang for the buck: Volex 14/3 around $10. Pangea at 50 on up.
assuming this is not a gag of some sort, i for one was IMPRESSED with the quality of the power cords that came with the equipment i bought. and those are the ones i used for MANY years while changing other things around. i always used a power conditioner to protect from surges and that piece supposedly removed some noise from the line to begin with. i also invested $50 for a sturdy power outlet to prevent plugs from drooping too much from the wall. the conditions warranting a really heavy-duty esoteric power cord seem to be limited to situations that i personally can't easily imagine. but i did eventually buy a chunky cord for my monoblocks when i couldn't get both of them attached to the same outlet- I had to hook them up 1st to a power strip and then the aftermarket cord went into the wall. a dealer then told me that the arrangement was "restricting power" (he had other ideas to make a sale no doubt), and to this day i have happily ignored that advice. can PC's make a difference? i have some really nice gear but i would say after a lot of years and a lot of listening that i am still not one to ask. but i admit i picked up a few PC's later on that were on sale. but i am only "praying" that they strip some low level noise out of the sonic picture.
P.S.- a very high-end manufacturer's representative told me that their (amplifier) was tested for sound and performance with the power cord that came in the box, and that all of the specifications were met. he said that if they encountered a problem they pulled the AMPLIFIER apart to find out what needed improvement. i don't know what other proof one would need since their claims of sonic excellence were extremely high (and reviews of their equipment further confirmed those results).
I asked this question because my system sounded like their was a blanket over it and I just couldn't figure it out. I had narrowed it down to my IC's or maybe I needed to swap power cords or something (although I have always used stock). Changed my IC's and it DID make a difference in overall sound. Not night and day, but their certainly was a difference and now the sound isn't muffled.
I've never put much thought into the power cord dilemma, but this muffled sound had me down to two possible problems. I never believed too much into IC's either, but I was proved wrong. That got me thinking, maybe there is something to all of this????
I never thought it could make a difference untill I tried one in my system. I now have after market power cords on all my equipment, and yes I'm crazy and like to try almost every tweak that I hear about, but if you add up all the little tweaks one does to their system it starts to make a big difference
Sometimes a huge difference sometime small.
Noticed a big improvment on power amps the most.
ah, another philosphical discussion. it has no conclusion. it generates heat but very little light.
i t does not matter what component you discuss, be self reliant, do your own research and answer your own question.
it has been said many times. use your ears thay are a useful appendage, especially in audio where the mouth sometimes can get oneself into trouble.
some questions don't have to be asked.
sometimes it is wiser to conceal ignorance. there are exceptions, of course, and health is the paramount one.
it is certailnly more important than a component.
This is the answer to your question:
There are 2 widely disparate "camps" about whether power cords can make a noticeable change in the sound of your system (assuming adequate gauges/capacity for the accompanying component)
There are those who swear up and down that there is NO WAY in the world there will be any noticeable difference and you can not convince these people otherwise...no matter how much anyone tries to prove to them it IS so...
Then there is the opposite camp who are absolutely convinced, with no doubt in mind because they have purposely proven to themselves over and over by trusting their own ears, that aftermarket powercords obviously make a considerable difference and marked improvement in their systems because THEY TRUST THEIR EARS.
I suggest you listen to NO ONE but YOUR OWN EARS, but please, do yourself a favor and TRY IT.
PS And keep in mind, the entire aftermarket cable industry exists because people CAN hear improvements and if they COULDN'T hear the difference it would go by the way of the Tice Clock (It's a DoDo bird from years ago)
Good luck! Try it!!
A word of caution with the newer Volex 14/3 or Volex 17604 power cords. I purchased a pair of Volex 17604s a couple of months ago and just noticed recently that the ones I had purchased look a lot like the stock power cords that came with various amps I had bought previously. The markings on both cords said Baohing and some other specs the only difference being the female and male ends on the Volex cords had Volex on them. When I compared the ends visually they looked of the same quality. So if you want to try something different then stock in the real budget price range may be look elsewhere then Volex.
I was able to find Hospital Grade 14 AWG power cords with purple ends that looks like the Iron Lung Jellyfish Power Cord for a lot cheaper. About $17 shipped per cord. I don't know if they are that much better than stock but they definitely didn't degrade the sound from the system I put them in.
Foster_9 and Jedinite24,
Good points. I have tried the "newer" Volex's that came with some amps I bought. They do not sound like my older brass bladed ones. The newer ones are a little skinnier (still 14/3 though) and have a nickel plated plug. Nickel seems to hurt the sound to me. I lopped off the end and replaced it with a $5 Home Depot Pass & Seymour brass one. Moved it toward the the old ones sound. I still think the newer one is okay, especially for a street price of $5-7.
Seeing as the can has been emptied and we have worms crawling all over the place :-), how about shielded vs unshielded cords? It "could" make a difference in "some" systems. That's about an hour past vague but could be dead ball on accurate.
08-15-11: LissnrI would submit that there is a third camp, to which I happen to belong. That camp believes as follows:
1)There are sonic differences between power cords, for reasons that are technically explainable (e.g., shielding, resistance, perhaps inductance), and probably for reasons that are not technically explainable.
2)The differences reflect interactions between power cord characteristics, the characteristics of the particular incoming AC, and the particular components in the particular system, especially their power supplies.
3)There is no reason to expect much if any consistency of those interactions from system to system, and therefore no reason to expect much if any consistency or predictability of the sonic effects of a particular power cord.
4)While a power cord may have effects on the tonality of any given system, it is incorrect to attribute tonal characteristics to a power cord, because those tonal effects will vary from system to system.
5)Given a reasonably good system, the ability of a system to resolve musical detail, and its ability to resolve differences between power cords, are two different things. Which may sometimes, in fact, have an inverse relationship. An ideal power supply, were it to exist, would have no sensitivity to the quality of the incoming AC, and would send no rfi or other spurii back into the power cord, from where it could couple into other parts of the system.
6)Given the foregoing, there is no reason to expect a high degree of correlation between power cord performance and power cord price.
OK can't resist:
Do powercords make a difference in sound? Yes; no powercord, no sound.
Do they make a difference by upgrading stock power cords in amps, ect versus aftermarket power cords? Don't know, never had a powercord in an amplifier.
If so, can anyone advise a good bang for the buck upgrade? If you find a powercord in an amplifier, remove powercord to improve sound.
Should have resisted: They do make huge improvements. Open your ears.
May I tactfully suggest that if someone can't hear a considerable improvement between a good quality aftermarket power cord in their system utilized in place of the typical stock cable... that perhaps
I've got to resist suggesting you might try "an additional" hobby besides audio...
I didn't say it..it was just such an automatic response to someone saying that they "couldn't tell" that an obviously better component in the audio chain was added and yet went completely un-noticed!!! Truly mind boggling!!!
I'm afraid saying that would potentially initiate so much hostility; I had better keep it to myself...
it's just that....The improvements are SOOOOOOO noticeable in any decently resolving system (which most people reading this thread probably have...)
that I'm stupefied by those that swear it can't be when it so IS!
Oh well guys.
Nothing personal aimed at anyone here...please...
just general comments...
About 10 years ago I did not believe that a power cord could make a difference. Did not make any sense to me at all.
I saw that a online audio store was having a sale on the older version of the PS Audio power cables. The price was hard to beat. For less than $75.00 I bought a cable to see what all the hype was about.
To my ears, on my system I could hear an improvement. I used the cable on my amps.
I would suggest that you buy a power cable, used or on sale, and try it in your system. You only need to buy one to try, you do not have to spend a lot of money.
If you hear or think you hear an improvement that will be the only test or opinion that you need. If you do not hear an improvement, then you know for sure what your ears are telling you.
If you were to have a pair of mono amps, just get one cable and put the cable on only one of the amps and give a listen.
For under a $100.00 you can find out for yourself if it is hype or a reality.
Wow lissnr, you read a lot into my comments. I was just having a little fun with the language that was in the original post.
I agree, power cords can make a difference, often a substantial one, and sometimes more so than interconnects or speaker cables. Anyone who has tried a power cord shoot out in their system and noticed no difference probably has tin ears or a not-very-resolving system. The differences can be obvious when moving from one cord to the next.
i spoke to a cable designer and asked him which cable he thought had greater impact on the sound of a stereo system.
his answer, the intreface between source and preamp.
there are many ics and ac cords, so it is a bit presumptuous to make such a statement which includes the word "undeniable". obviously, it's your ears and your opinion.
however, another philosophical discussion could ensue which has no conclusion.
many of these discussions have as their subject a rhetorical question. in this case there is no definitive answer to the question : "which cable has greater impact on a stereo system ?".
one can discuss the merits of ics ve ac cords, but there is no way to remove reasonable doubt as to which cable is more critical in its effect upon a stereo system.
there may be cables which produce consistent results from one stereo system to another.
perhaps you haven't found one, but if your hypothesis is as stated, and un proven, i.e., an opinion, all it takes is one exception, i.e., one cable which gives consistent results when placed in different stereo systems.
it is impossible to listen to all cables and so your propositions are based , i assume, upon inductive reasoning.
i have heard cables which have similar effects in different stereo systems.
for example, a cable that has some subtractive colorations in one system, will probably exhibit these colorations in other stereo systems.there are so many variable that it is highly conjectural to propose cable--stereo system relationships as if they are facts or knowledge.
it's more useful to have an open mind and not be bound by constraining propositions.
Hi Mr. T,
Let me make clear that my comments pertained strictly to power cords, not to interconnect cables, speaker cables, or phono cables. In those cases, IMO, it is certainly conceivable, and even expectable, that consistent results (differing in degree, but not in kind) would occur across multiple systems.
Foster_9 & Kijanki, thanks very much for your kind words.
i am reviewing some line cords which might be the exception to the your experience. that is its performance in different stereo systems might be very similar.
i will not mention the product until it has appeared in review form on audiophilia.com.
one would expect that as a cable becomes less and less "colored", its performance would become more similar when placed in stereo systems.
"one would expect that as a cable becomes less and less "colored", its performance would become more similar when placed in stereo systems."
How does a cable become less and less colored?
Maybe the stock power cord is the least colored since that is the cord the equipment was voiced with and all aftermarket cords are colored since they are adding or subtracting from the original sound.
"there are many ics and ac cords, so it is a bit presumptuous to make such a statement which includes the word "undeniable". obviously, it's your ears and your opinion."
It's your ears and your opinion providing you have a clue. There is one thing I have noticed. When something sounds good everybody knows it.
To the OP: Powercords do have noticeable and reliable effects: they noticeably and reliably start threads just like this one!
Although I won't presume to say what you *should* do, I'll presume to say what you *will* do. If you stay in the hobby, you'll fool around with powercords, simply because it's fun to play, and wire is a comparatively low cost way to do so: much easier to get a $300 PC past the home administration than a $3000 amp.
The wire skeptics have all played with powercords (if they haven't, they shouldn't be posting about powercords). Why shouldn't you have fun too?