Let's talk power cords


Does a upgrade really make a difference over a stock cord?
thirsty93
No. This is a scam. Think of what is between the wall socket and the generator plant.
It’s unlikely a scam since ensuring proper direction of the individual strands of the conductor in power cords (e.g., AudioQuest new Hurricane power cord) - just that one simple thing - can mean the difference between blah sound and great sound. Of course, geometry, purity of conductors, dielectric material, quality of connectors, cryogenics, burn in, things of that nature, just as for ANY cable, are also important. Besides, AC doesn't mean the flow of current that is going towards the wall goes all the way back to the power plant. Most of the action is in the power cord! And the electrons hardly move at all! Hel-loo!
Geoff, you are a voodoo priest with a business.
A voodoo priest? I was wondering what all those robes were doing in my closet.

Besides, I don’t sell power cords. I’m only trying to set the record straight. Can’t you produce a real argument instead of name calling and silly one liners?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
Advanced Audio Concepts

No but you keeep insisting that normal science does not apply, and you keep coming up with scientific nonsense. It is a bit like Russia’s continuing online campaign of falsehoods, aimed at undermining people’s confidence in facts. It obscures the divide between facts and ’alternative facts’ and thus creates a breeding ground for delusions.
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My brain tells me power cords make no difference.  My ears tell me they do.

willemj wrote,

"No but you keeep insisting that normal science does not apply, and you keep coming up with scientific nonsense. It is a bit like Russia’s continuing online campaign of falsehoods, aimed at undermining people’s confidence in facts. It obscures the divide between facts and ’alternative facts’ and thus creates a breeding ground for delusions."

>>>>Uh, willem, you’re doing it again. Name calling and calling someone crazy does not an argument make. I never said normal science doesn’t apply. Where did you get that from? You’re making stuff up.

Look, maybe when you present real facts then I’ll undermine them. Speaking of facts, here’s a fact. Electrons move only a few centimeters an hour. and since the power is AC they can never make it back to the power factory. They never even make it off the power cord! That's normal science. 
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 They make up the change in all systems!!!
Yes, they do make a difference and it is easily heard. Aftermarket power cords are very affordable used. My advise is to invest in one and try it in your system, something that the naysayers rarely do as it is much easier for them to quote science, physics and opinion instead of giving advise based on experience.
 Make a big change, stupid talk to text…

 If you don't have the one end plugged into the wall. 
The biggest scam going in high-end audio. And there are quite a few scams to choose from! Anybody who any idea about how the equipment and electricity works realizes how ridiculous the whole thing is.
It would be wonderful to live in a world where changing a piece of wire improved sound quality. Alas ...
"Anyone who insists he knows how electricity or quantum mechanics works probably doesn’t." - Richard Feynman

"Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel prize." - Richard Feynman

"Electricty is really just organized lightning." - George Carlin
Geoff,
If you think you are a candidate for the Nobel Prize in physics, let alone for two like Richard Feynman, go and publish your great insights in Science or Nature.
Why does Audiogon not employ fact checkers? Not that I expect much, given the current culture of aversion to facts or expert opinion in the US.
good thing it's essentially free to try for yourself, as you will get no agreement here...you can look up many old threads, they will be the same as this one...and yes, used power cords tend to hold their value a long time
willemj, you’re doing it again! Don’t attack me. I didn't invent electricity.  I’m just the messenger. 😃
They make a big difference all day long. It is so easy to hear even in my relatively "budget" system.

It was easy to hear on my "cheap" system as well. For any new guys here or those "sitting in the face" do yourself a favor and try one. Doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. The Cullen Avius power cord I have cost $129 with a thirty day money back guarantee.

Cheers,

Scott
Thirsty,
Without question over the years through a number of audio systems (mine and friends) I have heard the positive impact of using well designed/made power cables. I’m surprised when I read comments from those who say they do not hear an improvement with better power cables. The comparisons were quite stark in contrast in some instances and subtle in others.

Some say scam and I disagree based on my listening experiences. If you are truly interested to determine for yourself, borrow 3 or 4 samples from the Cable Company and compare them in your system. There is a modest fee but worth it if you’re really curious. Good luck.
Charles
Here we go again!
This has been debated many times...
@jmcgrogan2, I could not stop laughing at your post, my friend!
@thirsty93, IMHO power cords do make a huge difference period.
Anyone that has not experimented with power cords should not comment about this question based upon common sense.
If one can’t hear the difference between several upgraded power cords and/or a stock power cord then I believe one of several factors come into play here.
Equipment isn’t up to the task to produce the differences in music.
Your ears are not trained to pick up the finer detail.
You have a hearing deficit and don’t realize it.
I would always recommend that if a stock power cord can be easily replaced, eventually do it when you have the cash. Many stores will allow an additional trial period so you can decied for yourself.
Sorry for all you "hopfuls" but they do make a difference.  Heard it significantly 15 years ago when I put in one SR Master Coupler.  No fake news here.
This is the same controversy that involves the issue of cables generally. There are people here who do not hear the benefits of cable burn-in. It doesn’t align with their adherence to science, believing that all parameters of sound must have a measurement of some type to justify what we hear.

@thirsty93 Like others have suggested, I would borrow some power cords from a place like the Cable Company and judge for yourself!

Bonne Chance!
Willemj,
No need on this forum to introduce politics and snide condescending remarks about the United States.  Please stay on topic if you don't mind. There are many available venues for political discourse. 
Charles 
Power cords definitely make a difference. I was sceptical, so I made cheap DIY cords. I heard a difference. Then I made great DIY cords and heard a bigger improvement. Supplies for the basic cords were around $30/cord and somewhere around $60/cord for the great cords, including connectors.
This was not about politics but about culture. And I do like the States, and spend a lot of time there. America’s top research universities and research institutes are a haven for innovative research and academic freedom. But there is a counter current of disrespect for scientific facts and expertise, and I observe it here too.
Speaking of FACTS, willem, you haven't presented any. Science is simply an interpretation of reality. Real science doesn't pretend to know everything. It's only an approximation of reality. Real science is not arrogant but curious and investigatory. I broke two laws of science just yesterday. No biggie. I suspect the bigwigs of science probably have too much on their plates to start a whole investigation into audiophile power cords or fuse directionality. Just in case you might consider contacting NASA, MIT, AES or DARPA or NIST the next time you're in the states and see if they would settle this dispute. ;-)
In the many threads that have addressed this subject over the years here, IMO the best and most informative single post that has been made is the following one by Atmasphere, which I'll quote in its entirety from the following thread:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/audiphile-power-cords

It should be noted, however, that his comment pertains mainly to power amplifiers.  And nothing in his statement means that a very expensive power cord will necessarily outperform a much less expensive cord.

With power cords its all about voltage drop across the cord. Some of that is at 60Hz, and some of that is much much higher- well above 30KHz-100KHz depending on the power supply in the unit with which it is being used.

I've seen a 2 1/2 volt drop rob an amplifier of about 30% of its output power. The cord was rated for 10 amps, and the draw was about 6 amps. This measurement was done with a simple 3 1/2 digit Digital Voltmeter.

The more insidious problem is high frequency bandwidth. The power supplies of most amplifiers have a power transformer, a set of rectifiers, and a set of filter capacitors. The rectifiers only conduct when the power transformer output is higher than that of the filter caps. So:

When the caps are fully charged the amp is able to play. As it does so, the caps are discharged until the AC line voltage waveform gets high enough again that the rectifiers in the power supply are able to conduct. Depending on the state of charge of the filter capacitors, this might only be for a few microseconds or it might be a few milliseconds. Either way, the charge is a spike which has very steep sides- and requires some bandwidth to make it happen.

If the power cord has poor high frequency response, it will current limit on these spikes. This can result is subtle modulations in the power supply or even a sagging power supply voltage.

Romex wiring found in many buildings actually works quite well. So it really becomes all about that last few feet and also how well the power cord is terminated- molded cords generally are not terminated very well. If the ends of your power cord get warm after a while, you know you have a problem!

This can be measured, its quantifiable and also audible as many audiophiles know. Anyone who tells you differently probably has not bothered to do any measurements- please refer them to this post.

I can go into more depth but this is it in a nutshell. Incidentally, Shunyata Research is refining an instrument that does a more in-depth analysis of what this is all about. At the link you will see that their tests essentially confirm what I have said here.

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/visits/shunyata_visit_interview.htm
Regards,
-- Al
 


Hi!

Following a couple upgrades in amplifiers and one or two in speakers, I changed out one pr of ICs. I heard that difference.

I changed another pr of ICs to the exact same version as before and violin… another gain in overall presentation. Albeit, not quite there IMO.

Next I began meddling with speaker wires. Found some I liked. Again, quieter and nicer less grainy and stark.

Now semi convinced wires do seem to do something besides pass signals and electricity, I heard here of power cords.

Sure, the debates were prolific. Intense and varied. So what? Its not unlike any other topic. Cars. Guns. Bikes. Trucks. Tires. Canoes. Kiaks. Tents. Boots. Steaks, fishing gear, power tools, toaster ovens, Knives. Flashlights. Etc.

Until you get out there and try several from several makers, you ain’t ever gonna know for sure. Well, I actually tried only one toaster oven. It got things hot so I was OK with it.

Yep. Having a decently appointed rig, and its resolution being above average is key.

Following PCs for the sS amp, I opted for passive power line conditioning. What I had been told about it/them was right. Less noise. Things began to pop in the sound stage.

I tried more power cords. Different ones. Then went back to ICs. Made some gains there. Then back to power cords and another passive line cond. From another maker a little mo’ better model. Then went OFF on some spaker cables.

And all of this rhetoric means squat… until… one finds out if its all bull or not by doing some first hand evals in a system that tells you of any changes in the upstream gear, wires, isolation, etc.

The Cable co as suggested is cool. It will cost a bit but consider it education.

Many power cord makers have a trial period. Find one or a few. Buy em. Try ‘em. Send em back. Do it again. Then go back and buy the ones you felt had the attributes which complemented your arrangement, based on your notes.

The last thing I’d offer here is this… just as with any other component wire folks have figured out how to charge for increasing levels of influence and or gains. Consequently, as prices rise in wire land, so will performance. Arguably.

Then too, there is that synergy bit. As I said, try some from several makers or brands. At about the lower middle on up usually, is where distinctions between them becomes more evident. Just like pushing the pedal down in a Corvette is different than pushing it down in a Cadilac. Some will be more subtle.

The deal here is trust your own judgement, your own ears, take notes, don’t rely on memory and above all be honest in your assessments changing but one thing at a time..

Very lastly…I’ve found many preamps don’t need the level of pc one might add to a source or amp (s). just decent ones there will usually do.

EX:
In terms of MSRP only
Amp & source = I tend to choose about the same level of costs here, though each pc may be vastly different in brand and model.
My DAC has a $1K pc
Amps = $750 pc ea.
Preamp = on my line stage it’s a $600 pc.
Power cods… here it varies for a few reasons. My main PLC has a $1600 pc on it.
None of the above began where they are now. Initially, all were under $400 - $600 . the very first ones were only $200 ea. And those were sent back quickly.

Enjoy.


The rules of the game are quite simple: you have a new idea that you want to be viewed as scientifically true? Publish it a respected journal (Science or Nature if it is really a great idea), with all the measurement data, and a theoretical explanation. If you think you can make money from the discovery, apply for a patent.
There are no rules in this game. If you require approval for some idea or another that’s your problem. We’re going where no man has gone before. We’re going back. Back to the future! The scientific community is bogged down in their own trivia at the moment and cannot be bothered with audiophile trivia. 😬

Geoff wrote that "real science doesn't pretend to know everything " ,  nor is it arrogant but rather curious and investigatory.  This is absolutely right. Willemj  note the spirit of what this implies, you should rethink your smug attitude and name calling. Just give it some contemplation. 
Charles 
willemj, love it when one’s premise sounds like a dictate.
Not everything in life needs your Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.


willemj
The rules of the game are quite simple: you have a new idea that you want to be viewed as scientifically true? Publish it ...
Pardon me, but neither you nor I make the rules here. Provided they follow Audiogon's guidelines, everyone is free to post here without complying with your dictates. This isn't a scientific forum so if that's what you seek, you might want to look elsewhere.

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@willemj - there is no economical reason why we would want to publish and prove in a scientific journal.  High-end audio companies have a hard enough time keeping in business with the tough internet market as it is.  We do not have the same path as scientists, who need their published results to show "proof" and justification of their existence.  This is typically the path in the scientific community where published articles provide ability to get more funding/time for future projects.

I suggest you look elsewhere.  This forum is not meant to "prove" scientific facts, but to share audio experiences.

Those are the rules of science, and to be honest, it is not because of funding, but because we really want to get at the truth (we are pretty tough on each other, and that is a great benefit to society). If you want to set up your voodoo church here, go ahead. It is a free country, but do not expect to be taken remotely seriously.
All the more so, since these snake oil products somehow have to cost a small fortune. In the UK a cable seller was recently convicted of consumer fraud.
That’s it for me, I have nothing more to add.
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willemj wrote,

"If you think you can make money from the discovery apply for a patent."

Patents are probably good for something but not for good ideas or discoveries. Why? Because you have to give away your good idea or discovery, you know, in the patent. Patents were invented by the Government to steal other peoples' ideas. I prefer not to give away my ideas or discoveries, thank you very much. Even if I wanted to I couldn’t afford it.
The way to obtain a small fortune in the high end audio business is start off with a large fortune.

small fortune ??? I bought my first SR Master coupler for $125, sold it 10 years later for $125 !!!
there is a huge difference between not respecting science, and believing that science is not yet able to explain and measure with complete accuracy all sonic variables, and then perfectly correlate all these measurements with individual human hearing...
@willemj   Feeling the overwhelming gravity weighing heavily upon you?😔
Continually citing this "rules of science" stance is like saying "everyone knows" or "it's common knowledge" but it's nothing more than a crutch to fall back on.
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Power cords and conditioners can help if you have

1) Inadequate power supplies in your components
2) Poor quality power from your utility/ bad house wiring
Not at all likely, spendy AC cables are a scam and they do not make a difference on well designed equipment.

But the confirmation bias is easily heard.

The only way an elec. signal can make across a transformer from 1o to 2o is by EMF (and leakage thru gnd). Good transformers will have a shield between those windings.

If there is a an issue an AC power cord helps with, then you need to rewire your entire house - maybe get the elc. co. to rewire back to the substation too.

BETTER solution is to buy an isolation transformer that a hospital has removed from service - they are all over eBay and cost $300 or less - I know a guy who got an xlnt one for $75.

You then get a simple, plain power strip with no devices inside it, and plug everything into that to get rid of gnd. loops.

DC power cords from wall warts can still be an issue - make or buy a star quad DC power cable to reduce that issue & galv. isolate your DAC.

Lots of real ’tweeks’ to do and they are not spendy. No reason to buy overpriced snake oil.  Science is well able to explain and measure these sonic variables.

In the broadest sense, science serves and is subordinate to observation; i.e., experience. When observation isn’t supported by current science (in part, a body of "rules" or principles that help us understand, order and predict reality) the rules have to be amended.

I think most of us get poor quality power from the utility and/or have bad house wiring...