Doing the Power Cord Thing


Hey everyone,

So as you all know, I'm a DIY kind of guy when it comes to cables and speakers. I'll be building a new power cable using affordable parts from Parts Connexion and DH Labs:


https://www.partsconnexion.com/DHLABS-75520.html

and


https://www.partsconnexion.com/CONNEX-83387.html

They'll look nice, at least! :)


Testing will occur on the very last, new, Luxman 507ux in the United States.Will I hear anything at all? Or will this be just a wasted hour and wasted $100 assembling a cable?
erik_squires
So the Connex connectors weigh a combined total of a little over a pound!


Honestly, yes, you can brag about it, but is this really good design? It's significantly more stress on most outlets than they were designed for.


The DH Labs cable is very thick, but remarkably flexible. The printing is nothing to write home about, I've seen plenty of fake cables on Ebay with lettering as good.
I wish you well in your quest because you can save a fortune making your own cables. I made one for my new Dac a couple of years ago and was very surprised at the quality of it. I then put it up against a JPS Kaptovator that I had and found that I prefered the new one, it had more "life" about it.When I totted up the cost of each I was most surprised, the Kaptovator was£1,500 and the made up cable was £475 with the addition of an SR Blue fuse in each. I have now been going through my system and replacing the existing power wires with my made up ones. Oh and as an aside I have managed to recoup what I spent on the new ones by selling the old ones and getting more than I paid for the components of the new ones.
If nothing else, at least you can make custom lengths to help keep the routing neat.
Eric, what power cord does the Luxman 507ux come with, including wire gauge, or does it come with a power cable at all?
Hi @lak 
I had to go look, I never took it out of the box. It comes with a standard looking 14 gauge, 2 pin cable. That's a little interesting, meaning the unit is double insulated, and does not legally require a ground, and therefore, no ground loops!

I will be using a 3 pin to 3 pin set up. The Luxman won't connect the ground, but since this is a shielded cable that benefit will still apply.
@erik_squires, thanks for the information. I guess I should also ask what power cord are you currently using before to make the DIY power cord?
Hi @Jim204 !
Thanks. To be honest, I am not a big believer in the extremes people here will go to in order to get clean power, especially with power cords.


I know the cable will be pretty, but I have no expectation at all it will improve things.

On the other hand, I do have all sorts of video, network and USB cables in my entertainment center, so I can see the shielding reducing the EMI/RFI.
Hi @lak
I posted the parts I am using, including the cord, in my first post. It's DH Labs shielded, 14 gauge, and 6' (2 meters) worth of it.  Total parts cost is around $100. Pretty close to what DH labs sells off the shelf, finished cables of the same type.

All I can tell you about the current cord is that it is black.  :D


Best,
E
Happy to announce that the tools arrived on time today, and I was able to assemble the components. Installing a power cord is never just installing a power cord. You find all sorts of other things to fix up while you go along. In this case I re-routed the cable, making an optimal L shape between my Furman Elite conditioner and integrated. I found the USB cable which connects all of my music to the DAC was intertwined with power and network and signal cables, so this gave me the chance to clean that all up.


I'm not sure I hear anything, but if I do, I would say, enhanced tube like liquidity and delicacy for flutes and violins, darker deeper sound stage and faster energy when needed.


Am I making it up? Was the benefit actually from the power cord and not from re-routing the cables? I'm not sure I am glad I got to work on a project again though. :) For about $100 it's a pretty good deal.


I will say the cable construction is really nice. The outer jacket is super resilient and flexible. Clearly very protective and capable of taking a serious beating. The three main conductors are padded with what feels like cotton yarn. The male connector was tight, and the female slid in as if oiled. 

Hey Eric, Since you have been rolling your own, by now you prolly know if you buy cheap, you get cheap.
VH Audio has many different varieties of power, IC, and speaker cables and all the terminations one could ask for.  Contact Chris at VH Audio and see what he might suggest to you on your journey to nirvana.
Eric I would be interested to know how your cable turns out.
The male connector was tight, and the female slid in as if oiled.

Dude, that's just wrong!  Heh heh.  Be interesting to hear your thoughts after more break in and comparison to another PC.  BTW, what PCs were you using before?

Heres another thought.  Since you already have the connectors, if you're not sensing much benefit with the DHL cables, why not just order some "better" cables and see if they're any better?  I'm thinking of doing the same thing and was going to use the same connectors as per @grannyring recommendation.  But if I'm going through the trouble of doing this I was gonna pony up for a better cable maybe from the likes of Furutech or Oyaide Black Mamba -- something like that.  So, I guess what I'm saying is, if the DHL cables don't do much for you, stick a crowbar in your wallet and try better cables so I know what to buy.  Ehem. 

erik_squires
I’m not sure I hear anything, but if I do, I would say, enhanced tube like liquidity and delicacy for flutes and violins, darker deeper sound stage and faster energy when needed.


Am I making it up? Was the benefit actually from the power cord and not from re-routing the cables?

My favorite part is the way it went from "not sure I hear anything" to "enhanced tube like liquidity and delicacy" in just one sentence. Addresses bias, humbly expresses self-doubt, and declares victory all at once. Sweet!

Except, hate having to tell you this, but it was the re-routing. Done this a few times myself including last night when all I did was prop up a few cables for greater separation and it was pretty easy to hear the improvement. So your DIY power cable probably made things worse. But everything else you did made things even more better, enough for you to pretend the DIY was worth the effort. But you knew that. "Am I making it up?" Yeah. Sorry.

Which was of course the foregone conclusion. I had a friend spend 30 years toiling away trying everything he could think of all to "save money" and the best he could come up with sounded awful compared to the cheapest one I could dig out of my old discarded cables drawer. Whatever you spent, give it to me and I will send you back a cable that believe me, you will be sure sounds a whole lot better. Shipping included.

But hey! You faced down your fear of lethal voltage! I wouldn’t lose one minute of sleep over the lack of testing. I mean, not like its gonna burn your house down.


Be interesting to hear your thoughts after more break in and comparison to another PC.  BTW, what PCs were you using before?

@soix

The black ones. Except when I was using the white ones.
if you're not sensing much benefit with the DHL cables, why not just order some "better" cables and see if they're any better? 
Well, first, PC is having a sale, these are ridiculously cheap right now, about $50 / matched pair so I'd rather just make a new set, but then, honestly, I'm not an actual power cord believer so $100 into this experiment may be as far as I go.


My favorite part is the way it went from "not sure I hear anything" to "enhanced tube like liquidity and delicacy" in just one sentence. Addresses bias, humbly expresses self-doubt, and declares victory all at once. Sweet!

@millercarbon

I was auditioning for a future post at a gear rag, or maybe CNN analyst. :)

My point was kind of rolled into this. I can push myself to ascribing some sort of benefit even if none may actually exist. I had fun making this cable up. The part quality is really nice, and I got the high satisfaction of building it myself. Is it working? I don't know. Was it worth $100 plus tools to make this? I feel so, even if just for myself.

Best,

E

How about eliminating the plug, and just put in a junction box.
How about eliminating the plug, and just put in a junction box.


Apartment dweller here,and on top of that, I use a Furman between all  my devices and the wall. I'm on the fourth floor. There are so many power cables and junctions between my living room and the transformer it's not even funny.


I'm also not a believer in having a wide-band AC path to the transformer. I want a very narrow band transmission system. So, I will always use a conditioner like Furman which have incredibly low resistance at 60 Hz and very high resistance at 3 kHz. No use for Litz cables for me!
I guess I am confused or just lack experience.  But my question would be if a company can make a power cord for x amount of $ and sell it for $$$$, why would a DIY not be able to make the same cord if given the same exact parts.  To me and I say this lightly without offending anyone, why can't it be done. These companies that make cables have someone actually hand making them, given same parts I find it confusing why DIY would not have the same result,  if you believe cables matter. I dont want to get into the whole cable war, but I have heard a difference with a couple I have demoed.  In the end I kept the one that came with my amp because it the highs became to high.  I am a newb and I dont have the knowledge of you long time audiophiles. 
Hi pcc67 - Unobtanium.

The claim of exclusivity in the copper, insulation, construction methods.

Interesting you heard a difference and didn't like them, what cables were they?



It was a couple of months ago, dont remember the brand. Was from audio store and on sale from 749.00 to 499.00
Hey pcc67 -


I seriously wonder if sometimes these gadget cables aren’t made the entirely wrong way. I mean, to transmit MORE noise.


Ideally we want 60 Hz and nothing else. Copper does great. Using Litz or fancy conductors, etc is the opposite of what I want my power cables to do, and yet, a lot of what I read are like this. Building power cables like high bandwidth interconnects is the wrong approach, but that's what sells.


Maybe you got cables which helped transmit, or were more susceptible to EMI/RFI ?
Quite possible, maybe it had silver in it.  Whatever it was made my highs almost ear bleeding at high volume.  Put my original cord back and problem solved.  If I was to build a power cable I would make it 12/3 and good connector.  I was at audio store this weekend and a guy I met there said he uses a power conditioner,  I guess the same as hospitals use and it works. He said he bought it from Amazon for about 600.  I'm thinking maybe that's the place to invest if u already have everything else. 
I am a believer in DIY for certain things and save the cash for equipment.  Cables seem pretty easy to make. 
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with DIY. I’ve done my share. But why on Earth do folks do things by halves? If you’re going to make DIY power cords please, gentle readers, the least you can do is cryogenically treat them and try to figure out which direction they should be BEFORE you attach the connectors. Don’t forget a nice, long break in period.  And suspend them. I don’t know how you guys tolerate all the distortion. Seriously.
@geoffkait 
I'm all for doing it right and I would not waste my time or money, if I thought i wasn't going to do it right. So I totally agree with you geoffkait. If you cant do it right, don't do it at all.  I am a complete research freak, that's why I am always here asking questions from the experienced crowd. 
This is what my buddy was taking about. I said conditioner, but its isolation.   
Isolator Series 120V 1800W UL 60601-1 Medical-Grade Isolation Transformer with 6 Hospital-Grade Outlets. Tripp lite
pcc67
  I guess I am confused or just lack experience. But my question would be if a company can make a power cord for x amount of $ and sell it for $$$$, why would a DIY not be able to make the same cord if given the same exact parts. To me and I say this lightly without offending anyone, why can't it be done. These companies that make cables have someone actually hand making them, given same parts I find it confusing why DIY would not have the same result, if you believe cables matter. I dont want to get into the whole cable war, but I have heard a difference with a couple I have demoed. In the end I kept the one that came with my amp because it the highs became to high. I am a newb and I dont have the knowledge of you long time audiophiles.


Confused? Well, think about it for just one minute. Let's say you could build something even as good as one of the most basic entry-level been around forever power cords, Synergistic Research Master Coupler. After over 20 years you'd think someone would have figured out how to make one. As would a whole lot of people. Then with their parts only, zero labor, zero overhead costs a lot of people would be making them, and in no time flat Synergistic would have to figure out something else to make, or lower their prices, or quit making them altogether.

Instead of selling more. At higher prices.

Because its not so easy. Which you and everyone else would know, if it weren't for the dismal state of public education.

But you don't, and so I have to resort to stories. Like how hard I tried and how bad I failed. Like how my friend who spent THIRTY YEARS slaving away on his workbench (I do not exaggerate) yet in all the hundreds if not thousands of attempts the best he could do was crap compared to what I was able to pull at random from my old discarded cables drawer.

This is beyond settled. You can DIY if you want. Just take my advice and do like erik and ask for examples of the most horrible stuff you can find to compare with. Even then be careful. It still might be better than what you made.











So, lets see, either I didn't follow the rituals needed to magically activate the cables, or I'm using parts and methods so far beneath good sounding power cables that I'll never get close to decent performance?


Are those really my only two choices?
millercarbon…."This is beyond settled."...., "Just take my advice"....

I understand where Erik is coming from about enjoying and sharing his DIY projects.  What could possibly motivate you to criticize him for making a power cord?  Really weird.  You and your buddy failing over 30 years makes you the last one qualified to drag his efforts down to your level or to conclude his next attempt won't be a total success.
@erik_squires 
Erik can you please make a good cable so we can follow.  I think it's great  that you can do this.  Even if its failed attempt its still fun to DIY.  
As far as PC go, I'm fine spending 100 or 200 on a cable, but I dont have the funds to drop 1k on a single cable.  And if I needed 6 PCs that's 6k. I'd rather buy another amp. For all of us in this hobby, it's all about the wallet and some just have bigger wallets.  All my other cables are transparent.  All my PCs are the originals, which I really would like to upgrade.
When it comes to DIY cables, It’s just take bit of effort and some very basic knowledge. I have been building power cords intermittently for last 15 years. 

I started out with DH Labs bulk wire and Wattgate connectors. And those PC’s served me good for 6-7 years. Then i moved on to Furutech’s power cords and connectors. IMO, they are the best DIY power cords I have experienced.  

Another member here @grannyring has extensive experience with Duelund bulk cables. 

@pcc67,

With your budget, take a look at AudioEnvy cables. His IC’s are stupendously good. After playing with IC’s, I am about to try his powercords. At those prices and 45 days money back guarantee, why not?

http://audioenvy.com/store/
hi @ppc67 - My cable wasn't a good one? $100 DIY (on sale so original would be higher).


Here's the issue : Assuming power cables "work", they are going to be very noise and device dependent. It is possible that my amp's power supply is so good that I'll not hear a difference. How much money until I convince myself I can hear better?


If any power cables work, you'd think that going from a random personal computer cable to a shielded one from a decent brand would make a significant difference.


What if I spend $1,500 and can't hear a difference?? I don't think anyone's going to be happy.


I'm instead considering getting a PC scope so I can measure and talk about the noise coming out of the wall and the power conditioner, and amp.  I think this will be a better spend of my money and effort. :)


Best,

E
On a site I was on, some stated to use a cable that had semi conducting foil, like aluminum polyester or ferrite. But u probably already know that.
hey pcc67 - That is exactly what I used.

Best,

E
Erik - a power cable using the wire you have selected was one of my first DIY projects

It's performance was better than stock cables that came with components, but did not compare favourably to cables having more advanced geometries, like Braiding adn Helix spiral.

I have evaluated a couple different cable geometries and conductors found the Helix geometry to provide superior sound across the board, besting many cables from companies like Neotech and even Nordost.

I now use a combination of Silver plated stranded Mil-spec wire for the neutral/ground wires and Durlund stranded tinned copper with polmer insulation for the live wire

I also use silver plated copper Sonar Quest connectors, which are very affordable compared to many others and offer extremely good perofrmance/value

If interested ands for more details take a look at...
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-power-cable.html

If you have any questions - just ask :-) 

Regards - Steve
Hi williewonka
Seems like your solution is high inductance and high capacitance.

Do you have a power conditioner? What kind? Do you notice the cable has more of a difference vs. the wall than the conditioner?


Best,

E
Lalitk, 
The price is affordable.  Let me know how you like them.
@pcc67,

You bet, my order is on the way 😊
@Erik_squires - I do not have a conditioner - i run straight into the wall outlet. But I do notice a considerable improvement over some very well respected commercial cable products.

I have to ask - how did you come to the conclusion that the helix cables were both high inductance and high capacitance? Normally it's either one or the other.

The reason I ask is that a fellow DIYer actually measured the Helix interconnect cables and found them to be very low capacitance, so I would have to guess the power cable is also low capacitance.

As for the inductance - I might agree with you IF the helix coil was used for the live conductor, but it is the neutral conductor and therefore connected to the ground (basically), so the actual voltage in the coil is very close to zero volts and therefore the current flowing is very very low, which would minimize the inductive effect - wouldn’t it?

All reports of the performance of the helix Interconnect and speaker cables from other DIYers highlights the neutrality and natural sound of the helix cables, which might be another idicator of the low inductance and capacitance characteristics of the Helix cables.

If you should know how to measure inductance and capacitance of these cables easily please let me know, because I would like to determine the actual values to share with others. It’s a question that comes up from time to time and I do not have a difnitive answer as yet.

Many Thanks - steve
@Erik_squires - I forgot mention that I had tried a couple of entry level power conditioners a while back, but found them to compress the sound and made little to no difference in the noise in the system.

Since they had better outlets, there were some improvements in their clamping of the mains plugs.

My power is pretty clean, so I really had no need for them

Regards
Well, no way to actually know without measuring. :) And AFAIK, you can be both.

I run a Furman Elite 15i, so there's a lot of cruft it should take out first for me.
@Erik_squires - I use a Panamax M4300 conditioner on my A/V gear. But I could not tell you if it is "effective" in any way - I use it more to isolate (i.e. turn off) the system when away on vacation :-) 

FYI: I recently built a 14 gauge helix power cable for the TV, which resulted in darker shadows, with more noticeable details and a brighter, more vibrant picture. 

I initially used the Panamax on my audio system at the old house, but found it provided no benefits once I built a power distribution box with high quality outlets and an internal power bus (i.e. it's like a mini distribution panel)

See the end of this page for construction details if interested...
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ayou-need-a-good-power-supply.html

Fortunately, my new house seems to be very well wired and I do not experience any noise from the HVAC system, water heater, fridge/freezers/etc..

I did have a house-wide surge supressor fitter to the breaker panel, but that was for protection purposes in the event of blackouts and I did not notice any improvements in system performance once installed

Regards - Steve



Hi Willie :

I have those Panamax units too. If you ever get a chance to, try the Furman units.

They actually filter noise down to 3 kHz and are some of the few that do. I've opened them up, they are built like a high current low pass filter.

This may have something to do with why I'm not hearing much of a benefit in my apartment. :)


Whole house surge protectors are nice to have. ;)
Post removed 
There IS no ’saving money’ making them yourself. Just a different sound, maybe.



When you are not buying $2,000 power cables, but DIY'ing for $100, you are saving money. :)

But you are right in that it is difficult to take a DH Labs cable and make the exact same cable they do for less. However, buying Connex (Parts Connexion) connectors you can actually save a little, plus the ability to make custom lengths can be really convenient.

Post removed 
For PC, I can see myself not spending much over 100 to 200 per cord. Truth be known its carrying power and I personally believe like mentioned above u change one thing for another.  Really the change in sound is personal preference.  As far as me buying new cords in that range would be, because I need something to buy. Lol, got to keep it fun. If I was to make my own PC cable, it would be for fun and satisfaction of making something.  Same satisfaction I get when I do wood working.  Building something I can call my own. Keep up the great work Eric and anyone else who is a DIY.  If it wasn't for DIY crowd, your car stereo would be in a horse and buggy.
I tried several different power cords in an audition process. Did not hear any difference despite hearing large changes in various interconnects and speaker wires in the system. Since you have no control over the miles of transmission lines, the local transformers, the distribution wires in your neighborhood and the wiring in your home spending big money on the last few feet of electrical cable seems silly to me, unless you are doing a full power conditioning setup where you can dial in voltage and cycles, other than to make sure it has very sufficient conductor size for maximum power needs. I don’t think I would use anything with a capacity less than 12 gauge on any amp of respectable power.
Midareff1,


Were your tests straight to the wall, or after a conditioner?

Best,
E

When you are not buying $2,000 power cables, but DIY'ing for $100, you are saving money. :)

I assume this is a typo, and you meant $200, not $2000.
Nope.

Plenty of $2,000 power cables out there.