KUDOS, on the expansion of your knowledge base and enhanced music reproduction/enjoyment. Never stop experimenting/learning!
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Yes, congratulations! Better late than never! The assumptions one holds in this hobby literally dictate the quality of the system. I have seen so much skepticism in the audiophile community that I developed a maxim; The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.
Marc Cohn and Jackson Brown are two artists I have used in reviewing. You may want to add Gregory Porter to that list. He has a clear, powerful voice. :)
I was fortunate enough to have learned this early on, around 1994.
Every piece of wire- be it power cord, interconnect, speaker cable, or even fuse- is just as much a component as the amps and speakers everyone knows about. Changing from a stock fuse to a Synergistic Research Blue Quantum Fuse is just as big an improvement as changing from the freebie power cord to a good, say $500, one. (Which, do the math, makes the $150 BQ Fuse a bargain.)
Late last year when I upgraded my phono stage from an old ARC PH3SE to a new Herron VTPH2A it was a monster, mega across the board improvement. Well for $3k it oughta be. (Which many times its not, oh well...) Then just now, literally just the other day, I upgraded my interconnect from an old Synergisitic Resolution Reference to a new Atmosphere Euphoria. Which some may roll their eyes but sorry if that's you because this was every bit as monster, mega across the board as the Herron. Or darn close. Well for $3k it oughta be!
This is why I have been saying for some time now that the wire in a system is every bit as important as everything else, and that therefore you want a great system you better budget the same as everything else. Yet for some reason people do nothing but dump on me for saying that.
Well, isn't that what you just proved is correct? Right. Thought so. Good for you.
I too was late to the power cable game. A few months ago, I splurged on some Mark Tunis Stealth power cables and the difference is absolutely stunning. It is not subtle. Much more bass, tight, well defined, and dynamic too. Much airier miss and highs. The black part of the music is now black. What a difference.
i remember laughing at Enid Lumly’s articles in the Absolute Sound in the early 80’s when she went on about how power generation statins sounded differently one to another, but now I think she was on to something. It was the cables. I humbly apologize to her now.
Hi, I have recently upgraded my systems and cables. System is in region of usd 30k. Through the journey, i can affirm that cables, power cables, interconnects, speaker cables, digital cables, n even fuses all audible differences. The extend of difference they make also depends very much on the quality of yr system n the items one buys.
Cables can range fm tens of dollars to thousands of dollars.
As budget is finite for many people, in my personal view, its important to make the max out of it by spending first on amp, speaker, cd player /streamers first. Then get the cables that makes proportional sense to yr overall spent.
I hv been rather happy upgrading cables recently, costing thousands. But its money well spent for the SQ upgrade.
There are many brands in the mkt, so it can be very daunting trying to find out which brand, systems, cables gives you max value. And remember the law of diminishing returns too.
To certain extend, the audiogon forum helped me in my journey of audio upgrades. Thks to audiogon. :)
I have learned rather recently the sound is considerably better without power cords. And without cables, fuses, transformers, and big honking capacitors. A simple ultralight battery-powered headphone system is the way to go if you’re looking for the lowest possible noise and distortion in your musical waveform. There’s no substitute for signal to noise + distortion ratio! 🤗
I was a power cable none believer for years, (its a piece of wire bringing electricity to my components) how could it possibly make any difference?
Then several years back Paul Speltz came to my house with speaker cables I was interested in trying, and also brought one of his Level 3 power cords. During our listening session we replaced the stock power cable on my Oppo disk player with his and then played the same song we were listening to again...…. well lets just say I became a believer at that moment.
I have found that taking my system one piece at a time, trying different power and interconnect cable combinations till happy with the sound. Then on to the next component till all have been updated, to work quite effectively. I have done this several times and may find it necessary to do again.
Enjoy the tweeks that bring your system to the next level!
I was a power cable none believer for years, (its a piece of wire bringing electricity to my components) how could it possibly make any difference? Then several years back ... During our listening session we replaced the stock power cable on my Oppo disk player with his and then played the same song we were listening to again...…. well lets just say I became a believer at that moment.It seems to be common that many who've discovered the benefits of improved cable started as skeptics. That really frustrates the measurementalists who claim "placebo effect" to explain why some prefer better cables.
The power cord only comes into play on amplifiers if of insufficient gauge for the current draw.So maybe you will explain to me why changing power cords makes so much difference on my CD player. It draws only a few amps. Yet power cords make a huge difference on every single CD player I've ever heard.
Or why power cords make such a huge difference on my phono stage. Which draws even less power than my CD player. Yet the power cords make a huge difference on every single phono stage I've tried them on.
Come to think of it, my Synergistic Research Master Control Center, which powers active shielding on my interconnects, draws the least power of anything, yet power cords still work on it. Why?
Without power conditioning, power cords can bring noise from switch-mode power supplies into the audio chain if filtering on each component is inadequate.D'oh. I coulda had a V8!
Except, wait a minute! All the stuff above was with power conditioning. So just for the sake of the argument we will assume that I (and everyone else of the zillions who have compared) have one of those crummy conditioners that can't do ... whatever it is you think they do. So why then do power cords also make a difference even being used between the wall and the power conditioner????
It seems to be common that many who've discovered the benefits of improved cable started as skeptics. That really frustrates the measurementalists who claim "placebo effect" to explain why some prefer better cables.
"Measurementalists", good one! You make that up yourself? Whatever, I like it! Perfectly encapsulates the slavish devotion to ideology of those who put so much faith in something they don't understand that they aren't even aware it is in fact faith, and that they are worshiping instead of thinking.
I was brought up on Julian Hirsch and a staunch believer that wire is wire. Until one day, okay I can hear a difference with speaker cables but that's it, for sure my patch cords are fine. Until one day a dealer let me compare my patch cord to some $75 interconnect and my patch cord sounded so bad I thought for a minute I had somehow broken something. But that's interconnects.
Surely not power cords!?! How could power cords possibly make any difference? Its AC! There isn't even any signal going through it! And doesn't every single component ever made, the first thing it does is take that AC and filter and store and rectify it into DC? Its just Ludicrous Speed silly that a power cord can make any difference!
Until you hear it. At which point, either admit the reality that there's something here you can't really explain but does in fact exist or..... become one of those hard of hearing zombie brained measurementalists.
While I whole heartedly agree that cables of every description can and will make an audible difference it is not always for the best.
But that’s why it is SO much fun trying out new cables and tweaks, finding what works best with what components.
It’s all about individual synergy.
I do consider myself lucky to have stepped off the PC train by making my own from cable I obtain from work ( exorbitant price per foot so ought to be good ... Lol ).
Now have 9 home brewed power cords and sold all my boutique collection.
Never looked back from making my own speaker cables either from Western Electric tinned copper bought from the Bay.
Not gotten any momentum on tackling interconnect .... Yet.
Anyone else notice how many rave reviews the new top of the line Audioquest power cords get, like Hurricane? You know, the ones that are controlled for directionality. Do any other power cord companies do that? I tend to doubt it. What’s weird is it’s not even the audio signal that’s traveling through power cords, at least not as it’s usually thought of.
@geoffkait Many manufacturers do it. Every Furutech bulk power cable I have seen for instance, Nanotec does it. Supposedly derived from testing wires before wrapping and labeling. I guess its a thing. Hard to listen to pre-terminated PCs backwards. Has anybody tried to “reverse” ICs or speaker cables to see if you can identify a difference?
The discussion thus far has been positive re the power cables. I have no experience in this field and have no intention to find out why they work. All I know it the difference is not subtle. There is such a gain using them, all I intended was to show my surprise by how much for the outlay. I will leave the science to others. I can honestly say I wish I not tried to understand years ago and taken the plunge.
millercarbon: it was my observation, years ago, that more expensive (not available to me in those years) speaker cables and interconnects were "start broken in" (45-50 hrs or so) by the manufacturer, and and were then labelled with printed arrows on the cable jacket, showing the direction for installation from CD to pre/integrated/power and integrated/power to speakers. I have never experimented with reversing this - why would I? Obviously you can't reverse the power cable because of the differing connections... I personally think the reason that those listeners who do not hear the impact of swapping 'it' out, ('it' being) power cables, speaker cables or interconnects, is because the amount of time necessary for 'it' to fully break in is much more than they are willing to wait. I figure continuous play of at least 750 hrs - yes, a full month, is not an unreasonable amount of time before reasonable comparison is possible, and if a 'it' is not in use for several days or longer, 'it' will require at least 72 hrs of re-break-in ('it' has a memory? I believe so...) before it is back up to snuff, its full potential. Now I'm sure some/several/all those much more astute, learnered, experienced than me will scoff at my practice - that's fine: keep buying new products (from equipment to cables), throw it into your system without correct break-in efforts, be disappointed and drop it onto the open market at 1/2 the origional cost for me/others to snap-up and 'treat' it as it should have been. I believe the used market is misnamed: it should be called PRE-OWNED ('cause over the years, most of what I purchased USED was barely broken in...)
... the ball’s in your court to explain how these magical power cords supposedly work ...This is a hobbyist's group. No one here owes you a technical explanation for how audio components and accessories work.
Tbh I have really never understood how cables and some of the tweaks I have employed and purchased over the years have truly worked.
All I know and care about is just what my ears tells me.
If I then want to decide that it was a worthwhile exercise in both terms of SQ and cost then so be it.
It has NOTHING to do with anybody else.
It is my rig, my music, my ears and my house!
I am a total novice in hifi but I do have some education in Physics. My practical experience tells me that if something cannot be measured, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Data is only as good as the instrument it is measured with and I would give as much weight to a pair of well trained ears as any laboratory equipment. And I do mean trained ears... I think a lot of the arguments about placebo come out of a comparison between pairs of healthy ears and pairs of experienced ears. They are not the same thing. Ask any experienced amateur astronomer, they will tell they see more through a telescope with their older, experienced eyes that they did with younger eyes because they have become better at seeing. The mental component of seeing (or hearing) has become stronger. Also much of what we sense is not the wave (that which usually is measured), but the modulation of the wave, which, if it is measured, data is one thing, interpretation of data is another.
Anyway, the most recent modification to my humble system was to install a homemade power cable to the amplifier, replacing the 10 amp (if it's lucky) kettle cord it was supplied with. The difference, if qualitative or subjective, was unmistakeable. I don't know why, but I have a theory. We talk about components being 'fast'. I assume a reference to their responsiveness. To my mind the realism of reproduced sound has a lot to do with transients. The attack of a snare, the blast of brass. Or bass clarity requiring greater and more agile power to reproduce accurate low frequencies. These qualities require momentary spikes of power (transients). To my mind, an amplifier cannot deliver it if it cannot draw it. Your amp will have a hard time draining a lake through a drinking straw.
Markgw, here is something to check out related to speed of transients relative to spikes in power draw, how different cable designs might affect this, and how it can be measured.
Here are some more conceptual overviews on power system concepts and optimization for audio from the same manufacturer. Full disclosure, I own some Shunyata products and currently like and use several of them, but have some in the box, replaced by various power cables assembled by me or a small vender on Agon that provide high value at a reasonable price point. This is not an endorsement of their products, just a reference to what I see as some sensible and simple descriptions of how well designed power products do their job to improve overall system sound.
markgwYes, I'd totally agree with this. A lot of it is about transients and the quick draw on the power that is needed at the bass end. The straw analogy was good; wire gauge I think is vitally important for the equipment to perform at its best.
Yes I’ve been surprised by power cords. It’s all about experimentation in most cases and when I’ve swapped a thicker or more well constructed power cord for the stock cable, I don’t want to be surprised because I think (thought?) that it was a bunch of nothing. But there was a change. And often I liked the change. Ditto for interconnects. I even tried some vibration control for the first time by just experimenting with small weights on my DAC to see how it affected sound. I was kinda shocked.... Some extra layers and depth opened up in the music that I swear to god were not there before. When I take the weight off, the veil goes back on. Small changes can have big impacts.
@ypingping- Apparently, that post contained too much fact for the, "moderators"(or someone's tender feelings). Obviously, the truth regarding Science/Physics just doesn't wash in these threads. I suppose this will be deleted as well, though it contains no profanity and doesn't violate any other of the site's, "policies." Pathetic!
I have training in electrical engineering as part of one of my doctorates - I am a professor at a medical school. I am an experimentalist as well as a theorist.
My audio system is relatively expensive, all digital with a master clock. The power cord and the ground station made a huge difference, as did the power cord to the master clock and the BNC digital cable from the master clock to the DAC/CD/SACD/network player configuration.
My experience was that the line was quite noisy including injection of noise from the components, but now there is no noise and all recordings (streamed or from a hard copy) sound spectacular. I think that folks with very inexpensive audio systems may not experience the benefit of expensive cords and many who are critical of such upgrades do not actually listen to music with the same intensity that we do...
I was not surprised with the improvements brought to SQ with power cord upgrades bc of the authoritative experiences of so many posters on this site, and the very basic understanding that everything that makes these black boxes work is driven by power ('cept for maybe the cartridge but I don't know anything about those yet), and power like anything can have induced variability in countless ways for countless reasons, none of which could help with the fidelitious reproduction of music. Wouldn't good cord design help remove or avoid some of that?
Plus I did one a/b comparison and yeah, no reason to even try a again other than staying objective with the methodology.
A tougher question for those with limited time and money is what's the best bang for the buck with their chosen equipment? How do you know you've gone far enough on the cost/return curve and it's time to move on to something else? I could in theory spend the next several months comparing power cords, conditioners, receptacles, noise reducers and whatnot, but would this be time well spent or not compared to say room treatments or other cables or isolation devices?
And btw I loved the straw analogy, I will be using that one for sure!
I don't mean to be combative, but I just don't see how a large wire gauge power cord can supply more power to your amplifier than a smaller gauge power cord as long as both power cords have equal or larger size wire than what is the wall from the circuit breaker to the outlet.
It would seem that putting a larger pipe on a smaller supply pipe couldn't increase the available supply. Am I missing something?
...I just don't see how a large wire gauge power cord can supply more power to your amplifier than a smaller gauge power cord as long as both power cords have equal or larger size wire than what is the wall from the circuit breaker to the outlet ...I don't think anyone here has claimed otherwise.