I have to agree that the stock one is for the birds. I upgraded to the Modwright Truth Umbilical and it was a huge improvement over stock and well worth the $300 it cost. I haven't tried Liquid air products. How much are they?
The Truth Umbilical Cord is not even close to Audio Magic entry level Liquid Air Umbilical and they're a little more costly depending on length than the Truth but the performance gained is 2-3 fold!
I have read on this forum that the MW Sony 5400/Oppo challenged $10K players and I believe with this cable, challengers can't touch it...
My arsenal of PC contains some very elaborate and technological engineering and what this Audio Magic cable does is mind blowing.
With my VR-4JR I just bi-amp and dispense with the umbilical as Albert suggested.
Wig, Thanks for the tip. As you know, I have both the MW 5400 and the MW HAPZ1, with two truth umbilicals and both a PS 9.0 and 9.9 power supply. I am also a big fan of the Audio Magic gear, but haven't tried a LA power cord yet. If the difference is anything close to what you say, it sounds like I better give one of these a try.
It was a very nice improvement when I upgraded my MW 9.0 to a 9.9 PS but switching to a liquid Air or Illusion Liquid Air draws you into the music. The refinement and sense of being part of the performance is uncanny and I found the Truth cable to be glossy and vague in sound-staging/imaging.
You will not be disappointed.
Wig, so I take it you tried both the Liquid Air and the Illusion Liquid Air umbilicals? If so, how substantial was the improvement of the Illusion over the LA?
It always seemed to me that PCs for DC would afford even more improvement than PCs for AC. Also, I wanted to ask you what rectifier you are using in your 9.9 now.
I lived with the LA for a year before moving up their line but I can tell you that the LA is very good and moving up to an Illusion will get you more refinement, precision and blacker backgrounds. But with the level of your system, I would get the Illusion.
I'm in agreement with your comment about DC verses AC improvements; all of my AC PC has made a difference in tonality and removing the veil but the LA changes are heard the moment you install it and gets better with 200+ hours.
At the moment I'm using the Mullard for their texture and ambiance retrieval but I have re-issue Gold Lions and Create that I like also, especially the GLs.
Thanks Wig. I take it you are sticking with the GZ34s rather than the 5U4-G type rectifier.
I have been tempted to give the EML 5U4 a try, but it is rather pricey for a rectifier. Pretty cool looking tube, though!
I have not considered the EML 5U4 but I may read up on it to see what folks are saying...
Wig, I found some older references on Audio Circle to a fellow using the EML with his MW transporter. He had some issues due to the voltage to the rectifier being too high.
I'm having a little trouble figuring out what the deal is with the 5U4 tube, and if the 5U4G tube is actually a suitable tube for the 9.9.
I did mention once to Dan that I wanted to try the EML tube in the 9.9. He didn't dissuade me from doing so, but I would want to know more before shelling out that kind of money.
The eml tube is supposed to be a superb rectifier. I am still using the Gold Lion 5AR4s in my 9.0 and 9.9. Every once in a while I roll the Mullard back in, but I just prefer the GLs hands down to both the Create and the Mullard.
I will give Jerry a call soon on the umbilicals and see what he says.
The 5U4G is a drop-in replacement if you have a hole cut in the top of the case to allow for its extra height. The 5R4GYS is also a drop-in replacement; it needs both a hole in the top and a piece of the back panel cut off to fit. There are also some 6___ series rectifiers which are electrically appropriate replacements but need pin adapter sockets.
Which Mullards are you using? There are many different ones and they are far from equivalent either in price or performance. The consensus I have been able to gather suggests that pre-1960 is best except for the relatively rare 1962 4-notch Blackburn made ones which are also good.
Can you go into a little more detail about these Audio Magic umbilicals? Where do you get them and what connectors do you specify? It appears to me that at least some of the models are quite pricey LOL.
Our (Wig's and my) systems are pretty similar; we should share some more information about tweaks and tuning.
Rbbert, Thanks for the info on the 5U4G. Don't suppose you have any experience with the EML tube?
I do have the hole in the top, so I should be ok. BTW, (not to answer for wig) I just got off the phone with Jerry at Audio Magic. I ordered two Illusions, one for my HAPZ1 and one for my 5400. If you give Jerry a call, he knows exactly what connections are required for the MW power supplies and he is aware of this thread.
Jerry sells direct to customers as well as through dealers. Personally, I find it easier and faster just to buy directly from Audio Magic, but to each his own.
Contact Jerry at Audio Magic and he know which 4 pin connectors the MW units need. There is no price list on his sight regarding umbilical cords and a call would be needed for a quote and the price is very reasonable for the performance you get.
I have done some tweaks like Steve Blinn Maple shelves and Symposium HDSE roller blocks which are phenomenal in expanding soundstage, cleaner midbass and tighter image focus plus I'm planning on adding two Symposium shelves to the mix...
I'm more oriented towards Stillpoints these days; 3 Ultra SS under my speakers put my previous Rollerblocks to shame.
Thanks for the info for Audio Magic; (for comparison) I was looking at the power cord prices on his website
As for my rectifier, I'm using a 1958 Dutch black base Mullard GZ34. I can't say how it compares to any 5U4G's because I haven't tried any yet. I do like it better than the Gold Lion; IMHO the sound is both smoother and more dynamic. As for the 5U4G, other Modwright owners have extolled the virtues of NOS TungSol.
I must say that my experience with both the 6SN7 and the 5AR4 (GZ34) mirrors that of many others, i.e. no current production tubes match the better tubes from the '40's, '50's and '60's.
Best tube combo I found for the MW 5400ES was 1966 Mullard (Hammond) 5AR4 rectifier with 1940's VT-231 RCA's (sourced from Brent Jessee Supply). Just sold my MW 5400ES for EAR Acute II CDP. Apples and oranges comparison... both very nice. The MW 5400ES having more bloom, warmth & color... and the Acute II being very fast, more neutral very detailed without being fatiguing at all, alowing you to hear deeper into the recordings.
Wig, I finally cleared enough time to get a good critical A/B in on the Illusion and Truth umbilicals with the ModWright HAPZ1. I posted a review which should appear shortly. Bottom line is that this was a very nice find, and my enthusiasm for this cord on the HAPZ1 matches your experience with the 5400. As you know, I also bought an Illusion for my 5400, but a serious A/B on that source will have to wait a while. Thanks for drawing our attention to the AM illusion!
Thanks for the update! IMHO, Audio Magic should be the standard PC for MW units, the "Truth" umbilical is not in the same league...
Wig, I agree. The Illusion is a substantial and very cost effective upgrade for the MW HAPZ1. Based on your comments, it is clear the same applies with the MW 5400.
How long does it take to break in an Audio Magic Illusion Umbilical cord?
It comes alive after 200+ hours
It comes alive after 200+ hours
Jerry shipped mine today so hopefully get it Friday.
A bit off topic ... I already got Brownsfan .02 between PS 9.0 and 9.9. Wig, how does PS 9.0 compare to 9.9 in your system? What tubes are you rolling in 9.9?
Upgrading to the 9.9 is like removing a bed sheet from your speakers, more clarity, wider/deeper sound stage and more palpable imaging; using Sylvania 13EM7s and Philips 5R4GYS rectifier.
Also, replacing the stock fuse with an Audio Horizon premium 1.6a fuse makes a nice improvement in sound quality but experiment with fuse direction.
I found the Phillips 5R4GYS to be a good tube in the 9.9 driving the 5400,but I did not like that tube in the 9.0 driving the HAPZ1ES. I also don't like the 9.9 driving the HAPZ1 regardless of rectifier, although I haven't tried it with the Phillips yet. I need to reevaluate the 9.9 vs 9.0 again. Preliminarily, I preferred the 9.0 to the 9.9 with the 5400 also. Maybe the Sylvania voltage regulators would change my mind, but to me the 9.9 is a very solid state sounding piece. I haven't found image and stage to be anything special.
Both of these power supplies are sensitive to tubes and ac/DC cords. Maybe I don't have the 9.9 dialed in yet.
Surprisingly my Illusion Umbilical cord arrived today and after 3+ hours, it's a nice upgrade from stock. NOT inexpensive but definitely worth the $$. On familiar recordings, it's easier to decipher complex and compressed passages. Sound is more coherent, better tone, separation, 3D ... very happy!
Have you guys demo Audio Magic Illusion IC or SC?
I have PS 9.0 with TS NOS 5U4GB, SR Red fuse and it's excellent. Too bad can't demo 9.9 in my system before purchase.
Sylvanias are much better than stock tubes, better dynamics and a quieter tube. In my system the 9.0 sounds two dimensional in comparison to the 9.9.
I'm using a SR Tungsten PC on mine but the AH fuse is amazing...
Knghfi, how do you find the TS 5U4GB in terms of stage and image? I tried a cheap 1960s GE 5U4GB and the image and stage was crazy good. Best by far that I have heard in my system. Unfortunately, there was far too much sibilence.
Best rectifier overall I have found yet is a 1944 vintage V71 (military 5U4) Westinghouse Canada I got from Brent Jesse. Great tube in the PS 9.0.
Wig, I will look into the Sylvanias.
It's going to get even better, just leave it running for the next 10 days and you should hear much better midrange presence at the 72 hour mark and detail will start to open up at 200 hours.
Brownsfan, I find TS 5U4GB has the best combinations of attributes I desire. Great detail and resolution but still very musical. Excellent imaging, dynamic and big sound stage. I bought several from Brent Jesse. In general, I find GE and RCA warmer than TS.
I also have a RCA 5U4GB tall glass from Brent Jesse but haven't try. Too many moving parts.
I was planning to order a Philip 5R4GYS from Upscale with my KT150s. What didn't you like about it?
Please update once you roll Wigs Sylvanias in 9.9. I'm very happy with 9.0 but like options when I get bored. :-)
I have extra Philips 5R4GYS, shoot me a PM if interested.
Knghifi, the Phillips 5R4GYS was rather grainy and had too much sibilence in the PS 9.0. Imaging was not as good as the 1944 vintage Westinghouse, which BTW was the last one Brent Jesse had. The Phillips is a very good tube in the PS 9.9, but not a very good tube in the 9.0. I've only had it for a week, so it may change with a few more hours.
I found some RCA voltage regulators but am still looking for Sylvanias.
Brent Jessee should have some Sylvanias
Thanks Wig, I will give a look.
I have extra Philips 5R4GYS, shoot me a PM if interested.
Interested in an even trade for a 1950's NOS Sylvania Black Plate 5U4G bought from Brent Jesse? It has ~50 hours MAX.
Like you, I like to roll different tubes.