Dream system - but no aftermarket power cords

after tweaking many other aspects of my system, I have had to deal with substantial noise from my Piega C10Ltd speakers recently.
This has led me to order a Synergistic Research Tesla PowerCell 10SE which should arrive later this week.

So, after getting into the "power" game and reading up on some PC reviews, I am still lost with regards to the baseline strategy to upgrade the stock cables on all components.
Here's my current setup for my 2 channel speaker system:
[Squeezebox Transporter] - [McIntosh MDA 1000] - [Piega P1 Mk ii active subwoofer (RCA loop-through and cut-off at 75Hz)] - [Marantz MA9-S2 mono amps (2x)] - [Piega C10Ltd]
All active components will be powered through the PowerCell.

So here are my preliminary thoughts, please feel free to comment:

1. Order of upgrades
1.1 Frequently, it's recommended to "upgrade the transport" first. In my case, would that be the Transporter (I guess? Or upgrade last because it's only feeding the DAC?) or the MDA-1000 (which is serving double duty as DAC and preamp, so could I double the impact from a better PC??)
1.2 The Marantz amps with their massive capacitors ought to be the least power sensitive piece of gear (??? not sure about that), so it would make sense to upgrade them last?

Of course the whole question about order of upgrades is related to
2. good-better-best strategy
2.1 what's considered a solid baseline for a highend system like mine, I don't have the money for (new) Valhalla everywhere (I need 5 PCs total)?
2.2 back to order of upgrades: looking at the individual pieces of equipment specifically, where do I get to the 95% point of diminishing returns? e.g. Synergistic apparently recommend Tesla T2 on sources and T3 on (pre)amps, is there a reasonable "segmentation" strategy?
2.3 how high should I value system synergies, specifically considering the fact that I will use a PowerCell; in other words, are there unwanted side effects from other cords (e.g. LossLess) trying to filter out stuff that the PowerCell has already taken care off and leading to a "lifeless" sound?

3. Looking at the list of components above, any recommendation about what you have found to work well with any one of the components listed above would be appreciated (e.g. Jerry Seigel recommended PS Audio PW 10 for the Marantz amps, I am reluctant to go there based on my general preference to avoid too much shielding)

Any help/suggestions much appreciated (I promise to report back my findings after trying out some of your recommendations in return!)
I'd suggest that you first get a very good power cord on the Tesla unit as that is the first and one of the (if not the most important) cord in the system. Any component upstream will benefit in part from this purchase.
Currently running the main system MDA1000/MS750/MC602 with all Synergistic Research Tesla cables and PowerCell 10SE.

Highly suggest that you find a dealer that will let you do an in-home demo in order to determine what cable combination will work for your system.

I did try the T2 and it did not work out well in my system. Am using the T3 UHC on the MC602. Hologram D on the MS750. Hologram A on the MDA1000. Apex speaker cables and IC's and a Tesla D3 digital cable.

Take your time and have fun!
Zephyr24069, the Powercell 10SE comes with its own special power cord with a 32 Amp power connection that only can be used with the Powercell 10SE. Synergistics best power condition power cord.

Jofte, I dont think the Powercell is going to solve your substantial noise from my Piega C10Ltd speakers. That sound like another problem to deal with separately. You should not be getting substantial noise. Either a component needs repair or you have a bad ground loop that the Powercell will not help you with.

You need to experiment for yourself. Contact The Cable Company for demos on all those power cords and go for whats best for you and your budget. All systems are different. Seems like you are headed in the right direction. And dont forget to have fun with it, its a learning process.
Your noise is most likely cause from "things" plugged into your circuit(s). Could be your components or other things in the house. A power conditioner or something to isolate components should help. Unless your power cords aren't of sufficient gauge to carry the necessary current, getting different ones are not going to help anything.
after tweaking many other aspects of my system, I have had to deal with substantial noise from my Piega C10Ltd speakers recently.

Find out what "tweak" you did that caused the noise and address that before you start throwing money around on power cables and conditioners.Just a thought.
I agree with Trpreaves. The *substantial* noise from your speakers may originate somewhere in the system that can be addressed without the need for a power conditioner and upmarket power cords.

Describe the noise. Is it hiss? Is it hum? Is it crackle?

What was the change you made in the system just prior to this noise appearing?
Thanks for your comments so far, this is already helpful in narrowing down choices!
@Klipschfan: I will seriously consider following your lead and trialing the Synergistic Cables, specifically for the MDA 1000 as you are happy with that in your system. Do you have a comparison for the MDA 1000 how well other cables would have worked? I guess part of this exercise is trying to avoid to "overspend" and just buy the most expensive cable (I am sure if money doesn't matter it's really easy to get great cables and be done with it; probably all cable manufacturers to some degree even depend on that convenience factor!).

To answer the question about what I am trying to achieve: I am calling the noise that I am getting as substantial because it is audible up to 2' from the speakers. It's some hum (constant, doesn't change with increase in volume, so it is a ground loop but too faint for a "straight" interference, if that makes sense -- so maybe just on the grid but not in proximity to the hifi) and a slight hiss, I will probably wait until I get the PowerCell to see how that is going to affect matters.

Now, to all of you who are purchasing any audio equipment that has a fan in it (I never do, as a rule), you might not be concerned about this as much as I am ;-) Let's say that this is what has gotten me started on thinking about improving power supply (cords and conditioner), not necessarily something that makes the system unusable.

One major change that has led to me noticing this noise is really the introduction of the Marantz mono amps (just bought them), previously I didn't notice hum or noise from a Denon AVC-A11XVA (230V) powered by a step up transformer/conditioner (again this leads me to believe that the issue is with getting clean power, of course without ground loops, into the components).

I have just gone ahead and bought 2 Black Sand Violet on Audiogon to be able to play around with "better than stock" aftermarket cables (they will be sold off or put into other systems if they are taking me in the right direction but not fully where I want to go).

Thanks for all your insights!
If you want to spend a ton of money, buy the name brand power cords. If you want phenominal sound at a ridiculous price that upgrades all systems, contact GTT Audio in New York--very high end store. They researched making the best sounding PC for use in any system and came up with the Absolute Audio Power Cord II and are selling it for 49.95. No drawbacks except it's royal blue color. It will absolutely amaze you in all good ways--like cleaning your windows when they're dirty. Try one--I now have 4. Amp first, cd player and on you go. They use these in all their systems no matter the price. I really couldn't believe the change in my Edge M-6 amp--much better clarity, cleaned up the bottom end, and increased dynamics. A fellow Agoner turned me on to these. If it sounds too good to be true, spend the big money. You could do all 5 PC's for the price of 1 average cable that doesn't sound as good or is system dependent. For another cheap, but no compromise SC, the Speltz anticable outclassed 1300.00 Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ cables--although the Ht cables are very impressive looking at 1" diameter. The anticables are much more open, live sounding, fun, and if the price were the same, a much better buy--at 80.00 for an 8 ft. pair, it's not much of a contest. Again, they don't look like much, however. Do you want great sound or great looks? By the way, my system is very resolving and dynamic with upgraded VMPS 626R speakers, VMPS 215/VSS upgraded sub, Sony Modwright 9000es Signature cd/sacd, Audible Illusions 2-C preamp with upgraded ceramic sockets, Avid turntable with Origin Live Silver II arm, and the Edge amp.
Try the Perfectwave AC-10 or 12, I use the AC-10 and it,s a very balanced cable favoring no particular frequency, it's sheilding is less than the AC-12 and has a removable ground that may very well end your hum problem!
I agree with the several people who have suggested that the noise issue, which does indeed sound like ground loop noise, probably originates within the system. Ground loop issues are usually caused by interaction of three factors: Certain characteristics of the particular equipment (specifically low level leakage paths that may exist between ac and chassis, in the components' power transformers and associated circuits); how the equipment is interconnected (balanced or unbalanced, and interconnect cable shield resistance if unbalanced); and how ac power is distributed among the different components.

Looking at your system description, what primarily strikes me is "Piega P1 Mk ii active subwoofer (RCA loop-through and cut-off at 75Hz)." Unbalanced (rca) interconnections are inherently prone to ground loop issues. Does this statement mean that you are NOT using balanced connections to the power amps? If so, I suspect that the problem will go away if you connect the dac/preamp directly to the power amps via their xlr connectors (which you should be doing anyway with that equipment, for best sonics), and connect the sub to the power amp outputs via the high level inputs which the sub appears to have.

If I am not interpreting the setup correctly and you are presently connecting dac/preamp to power amps via balanced cabling, try changing the sub inputs from rca to hi-level anyway. ALTHOUGH WITH A FULLY BALANCED AMP, IF THE SUB'S HIGH LEVEL INPUTS ARE UNBALANCED YOU HAVE TO CONNECT BETWEEN THE AMP'S RED SPEAKER TERMINAL AND AMP OR PREAMP GROUND (CHASSIS), NOT BETWEEN THE AMP'S RED AND BLACK TERMINALS, OR YOU MAY DAMAGE THE AMP.

If none of that helps, or isn't applicable, temporarily eliminate the safety ground connection of the sub's ac power plug, using a cheater plug. If that solves the problem, consider getting an audio (not power) ground isolation transformer from Jensen Transformers to use in series with the rca cables to the sub. That would allow you to do away with the cheater plug, which as you probably realize creates a small but non-zero risk of electrical shock if an insulation fault were to develop in the sub.

-- Al
If you are thinking about adding high-end power cord(s), I suggest that you at least audition an Elrod Statment Gold.
I am scared about the Perfectwave AC-12 after reading the review on Polkaudio by DarqueKnight; he found that it constricted his preamp and transport and was only happy using it for his amps. Also not happy to hear that the cable wasn't able to power a turntable without causing speed drift -- do I really want to let a cable with such side effects anywhere near my equipment?
Another consideration is the built-in shielding -- very hard to predict if it would work well (i.e. not sounding stale) after my PowerCell conditioner or only "straight from the wall".
Finally, seeing how 2m AC-12s are in steady supply for $250-300 on Ebay, I am not sure what to make of this. I wouldn't expect such a drastic price cut without a reason (?? just speculation, but a bit irritating to watch ??).
So in total too many cons (for me).
I have to admit that the temptation is great because at $250 every other cable in the same league as AC-12 (supposedly) would cost 2-3x more.
Solve your noise problem before you buy power conditioning and/or power cords. You will be much happier in the long run if you know the problem is solved rather than simply band-aided.
Thanks Al, unfortunately the subwoofer already only has a groundless connection (factory default) so I know it's not part of the problem.
I cannot use balanced connections to the amps because I need the low frequency separation at the subwoofer (so there is only the preamp-RCA-subwoofer-RCA-poweramp route or putting the subwoofer in the chain after the poweramps using the speaker wires (IMHO worse than RCA); this 80 Hz split yields a big performance improvement for the speakers similar to the effect of bi-amping. Not happy that the sub doesn't support balanced in-out for this purpose, but things are what they are ...
At different times of day my issues with the hum are almost unnoticeable so one of the next steps will probably be to get a separate line (or better two) from the main distribution box to the music system (I don't think that this can be avoided).

Spending money on power related improvements so far has been worth it (PowerCell performing better day to day after settling down).
Following your lead, just ordered Hologram D for the Logitech Transporter.
I never understood why power would affect digital as much as analog, I will let my ears decide if there is something to be gained (... of course noise will stay the same and I am already using a balanced digital connection to the MDA1000).
I cannot use balanced connections to the amps because I need the low frequency separation at the subwoofer (so there is only the preamp-RCA-subwoofer-RCA-poweramp route or putting the subwoofer in the chain after the poweramps using the speaker wires (IMHO worse than RCA); this 80 Hz split yields a big performance improvement for the speakers similar to the effect of bi-amping. Not happy that the sub doesn't support balanced in-out for this purpose, but things are what they are ...
OK. Given that I would suggest that you perform an experiment in which you completely disconnect the sub from the setup, and connect dac/pre to power amps via a pair of balanced xlr cables. If you don't have any suitable ones presently, buy a pair of inexpensive pro-oriented cables such as these Mogami's.

If that results in the noise issues going away, then buy a Jensen Iso-max, similar to those shown near the bottom of this page, configured and specified in consultation with them to adapt the rca outputs of the sub to the xlr inputs of the power amp.

Their transformers have an excellent reputation for sonic performance, and using one between the sub and the power amps would allow you to drive the fully balanced amps with balanced signal pairs (be sure to make clear to them that that is part of what you are trying to accomplish, so that you'll get the right kind of transformer), which will improve the performance of the amps as well as presumably resolve the noise problem. If that doesn't resolve the noise problem, then also add a transformer between the dac/pre's balanced outputs and the sub.

See this paper for some good background on interfacing balanced and unbalanced equipment.

-- Al
After 6 or 8 months of trying all sorts of power cord configurations, brands, price ranges and everything else...I have settled comfortably on 2 cables. One is the Acoustic Revive Power Reference and the 2nd is the MIT Oracle Z3. The other thing I have learned in this process is that things seem to sound more cohesive, just more correct, when using all the same pc's, or at least close. My next step is to narrow this pair down to 1. Either way, I think very highly of both of these cables and really for a lot of the same reasons. So many of the cords I have had color things in one way or another. They all do good things too but not many seemed capable of remaining neutral while doing them. these 2 cables do and do very nicely.
Jofte, the AC12's on ebay are fakes. I have been checking this out the last couple of days. The real AC12's have a long barrel and the fakes have a shorter barrel like the AC10. I bought one from a member here before realizing that there are fakes out there and what the differences were. The ad was removed immediatley after payment which makes me a little nervous.
Re: AC-12s on Ebay, bought 3, received them after 3 days (perfect shipping), they definitely look like the real deal (no obvious signs of forgery) and sound good?
Also in the running now are 2 Cardas Golden Reference, Synergistic Research Hologram A and D (one each) coming tomorrow. Will report findings on all cables after burn in.
Just installed the Synergistic Research Hologram A (MDA1000) and D (Transporter): Wow, residual noise is almost gone. Makes me want to consider putting the AC-12 up for sale again and going SR all the way (sub + 2 mono amps currently on AC-12) -- will keep current setting for a couple months + start tweaking the "backend" (replace socket, investigate dedicated line.
Run two dedicated lines from a 20 amp breaker and use 10 guage wire.
One line to power up just your amps, and I would suggest you try them straight and leave the power conditioner for the other line and all the other stuff.

The manufacturer of my amps suggests using your best power cords on the amps, and I agree.

I eventually upgraded all my power cords to the same level as my amps and haven't regreted it.

Power conditioning and power cords can only do so much,but combined with dedicated lines and isolating some components from others really does improve things.
Your AC-12's need 270hrs of play time 390 idle then and only then consider a sale, if you like the sound now out the box when they breakin they will blow your mind!even at this stage you have to admit they are special, act prematurely and the blance you have acheived will be gone and you will miss them trust me on this one. LOL!
I will get a lot of SH-t for this, SAVE YOUR MONEY ON PC OR JUST ABOUT ANY CABLE! At best the differance is slight an most common not at all. I have tried the most expensive and what has been consided the best, HYPE!
Koegz, please refain from common sense when talking the benefits of the most import piece of any audio system; The power cords. They are MAGIC!!

Here's you budget breakdown:

Speakers 10%

Preamp 5%

Amp(s) 8%

Transports(all) 7%

Power Cond 5%

Interconnects 20%

Power Cables 45%

That will give you the best sound quality. In fact, buy the power cables first and build you system around them.
You do make sense.
Buy the best power cords you can, and only do it once.
Then swap all the amps and gear you want after that.

I think you mistook Macdadtexas' post as being a sincere attempt to contribute to the OP's issue. Unfortunately, he just trolls all posts on hi-end power cords (and cables in general) and insults everyone who has positive experiences with them. The post above is just another example of his unwelcome sarcasm.


The Powercell 10SE is an incredible power conditioner. Great choice as it does a wonderful job of cleansing your power without the usual current limiting issues of other conditioners. I run my entire system through mine (including a Plasma TV, two subwoofers, and a 1200 w/ch Krell FPB-600C amp).

I think you will find that continuing to add Tesla power cords, ICs, and speaker cables to your system will consistently improve your system's sound quality, lowering the noise floor and vastly improving soundstaging and transparency. The new SR Galileo MPCs are also recommended, especially for your Powercell and the included Precision AC power cord.

I have an excellent SR dealer that will let you experiment with different SR cables and other products if you wish to email me for his contact info.

Good luck.

Dlcockrum, I love the ability to look through others' posts on Audiogon, it is very telling, and can reveal when someone posts something ignorant, and baseless.

First of all, I post very little on cords, because I think they are snake oil in general, especially on return for $$$. But sometimes it's just too easy and fun to actually answer some of the ludicris posts asking which power cord has the biggest soundstage? LOL, that's just too much fun when someone asks that. Although this hobby is really subjective, some things really are just too crazy to leave alone.

Looking through your posts, you comment more on cords, power cords in general, than anything else. It seems you are obsessed with them, and that's fine, good for you. I on the other hand talk quite a bit about real equipment. You know, the stuff that turns power from the transformers into music, that's called equipment. Changing out that equipment can really affect the sound more than anything else; You should try it.

Also, since you don't post your system on here how are we to take you seriously when you comment on anything? Do you own or have you ever tried any of the cords you obsess about? I can't tell.

Sorry, I have to get back to "trolling", sorry I think your obsession is pointless, if you bought some new equipment, maybe a preamp, turntable or amp, you would probably find you get more bang for your buck than mess with a cord that brings electrons to a tramsformer.

Good luck.

You can find my system here:


I believe you will find my equipment credentials to be in order.

In direct opposition to your view of continuing to trade/upgrade equipment (and therefore never optimizing any of it AS A SYSTEM), I feel that once you get a rig of equipment/speakers that pleases you, it is best to focus remaining funds on improving cabling/power/acoustic treatment/stands/tweaks etc to bring out its full potential AS A SYSTEM. Thus, as you have observed, my posts are focused on that pursuit.

You may not recall, but I also live in the Houston area and even once invited you over to hear my system but you were unable to make it. Offer still open.

In the meanwhile, give the sarcasm and unresponsive posts a rest, huh?
That's someone's system on Audio Asylum, not here on Audiogon, I have no idea's whose that is, or why they would put a link to a competing site on here. That seems rather rude.

Do you hate sarcasm, or just cry when someone disagrees with you? Also, are you going to admit after looking through the postings on here that I not only don't "troll" for your precious power cord posts, but I seldom answer any of them, especially because I think they are baseless.

I have answered 18 posts on "Cables" out of greater than threads (with only a few of them 'dis'cussing power cables. That's a very small percentage, especially compared to your 33 posts on cables (pretty much all discussing power cables) out of only a little over one hundred. So actully, you are the one trolling power cables to pimp them.

Your acusation is baseless, not well thought out, and sounds very petty.

Also, it is VERY bad form to post a link to a competing website. If you have a system, post it here.

I have provided my system for your review (must have blown your mind based on your irrational assertions above).

I have invited you to my home TWICE to hear my system. You declined the first invite and totally ignored the second one. Yet, you have taken time to map the demographics of my post history. Very telling and troubling, to say the least.

Seek professional help and go away.
There will be no end to cable debates. Someone once challenged me to a $10,000 bet on whether or not I could hear a difference in power cords. The problem was that the system they were providing was not mine and their system was full of switches. The point being is that you only need to be able to tell if cabling makes a difference in your own system. If it doesn't then be thankful that you have saved a lot of money. I wish this was the case with me. I really wanted standard stock cords to be the end but that didn't happen. I realized I was in trouble when I installed dedicated lines and an Oyaide R1 outlet. Once I heard the "hash" in my system substantially diminish I knew there was something more to just electron flow through the system. Both my dad and brother retired from the local power company so skepticism ran deep. They both have told me that electricity is not as simple as just electrons flowing through cable and flowing is not a good term to describe electricity. It is very forceful and violent like a jackhammer and wants to escape the cable. They have seen friends die from electricity without actually grabbing the cable. Static electricity in the air at the time caused the connection between an arm and cable and sucked a limb into the 480v cable like a magnet. This is from not paying attention to safe practices at the time. Tenticles comes to mind here. When you can hear electricity going through cabling and it scares you to be around it then you know it is an unconrollable force. As a matter of fact, when you clamp down tight on high voltages the sound and vibration of the cable does change from a loud buzz to a less vibrant buzz. If a wire comes a little loose from a transformer the transformer can become unstable and really get loud. Strand jumping comes to mind as well as arching. Are we just dealing with this on a smaller scale to where our ears can pick up on this through speakers? I know that there are properties of electricity that can be measured but I also feel that there are things within the violent flow that we can't see or measure. How would you measure the amount of arching or strand jumping? Or how much rfi is actually being absorbed into the flow? Does magnetic interference affect quality of sound and who determines what the quality consists of? There is too much going on regarding electricity force that nobody will ever be able to prove that soemthing is happening inside the wire or not. IMHO I don't think it is a matter of just electrons moving from point to point. This is to easy to say about something that is so violent! If you ever want to feel what it is like to be a jackhammer try holding onto 120v then tell us how much static, rfi, emi you sensed at the time.