Mad Scientist "NEO" Power Cord Review

Review: June 2014

Topic: The Mad Scientist “NEO” Power cord from New Zealand.

I must start off by saying that I was one of the original skeptics about power cords improving Audio quality. The first power cord that changed my mind was the Synergistic Research Master Coupler. Back in the day I think they sold for about $150 but once I inserted it into my system, the bass was much stronger and I was a believer.

So through the years I spent a lot of time and money getting the power cords that seemed to grab reviewer’s attention. That list includes, top of the line products from Purist, Virtual Dynamics, Nordost, and Synergistic Apex power cables. I borrowed many more to try from the Cable Company.

Well, one day on Audiogon a thread appeared about HiDiamond power cables and the comparison to most of the cables that I had owned. I ordered a few HiDiamond P3 power cords (which were less than half the cost of my current cables ) and to my amazement they did in fact better my high cost Synergistic Apex cables with all the active shielding modules and such. One by one I replaced the Synergistic with the HiDiamond P3’s. Then a few months later HiDiamond introduced the P4’s. Now these were much pricier than the P3’s. But, eventually I accumulated 6 of the P4’s and defended these to all that these power cables are the best ever made.

A few months back I found a thread on Audio Asylum about a New Zealand company (Mad Scientist) that was sending out free samples of some little discs that when placed atop of cables were to improve the sound quality. The tweaker that I am, I had to try them. So, that I could get an ample supply to try them at several places I had my wife and daughter order some of the free samples also. Well the Mad Scientist noticed that the same address with different names was getting extra free samples. I fessed up to my little scheme, and was sort of embarrassed.

Anyway, The Mad Scientist later came out with a new power cord, the “NEO”. This cord appeared to have some actual technology involved other than just a different type of wire or braiding techniques, shielding, connectors etc that ever other Cable manufacture claims is what makes theirs superior to others.

No, the Mad Scientist NEO Power cord design goes beyond just wires and uses some proprietary black sticks, and bell shaped things woven in and out of the AC wiring. I ordered up one of the NEO power cords with upgraded AC / IEC ends and 11 gauge wires.
Surprisingly, though New Zealand is on the other side of the world I received them in a matter of days.

I was in the process of remodeling my Audio room and placed the NEO power cord on my Audiodharma cable cooker for about a week. Once my room was finished I remembered that I still had the NEO on my cooker.

Well folks, I first placed this Mad Scientists NEO Power cord on my Pass Labs X350.5 amp (which replaced a HiDiamond P4 Power cord). To my surprise, immediately, there was a marked improvement in bass, bass quality and definition. The midrange showed that special quality that brought the magic of the recording into my room. This is my belief that the improved tonal quality accompanied by a very large soundstage was of such high quality that when compared to the HiDiamond P4 power cord, it made the HiDiamond sound, well, HIFI!

Now, the HiDiamond P4 power cord had beaten all other power cords in my 15+ year journey through the power cord jungle.

So here is a power cord that looks sort of homemade and costs 1/5 of the HiDiamond P4 and was making my system sound way more real sounding. I’ve heard people use the word “organic” to describe sound quality and never really knew what that meant. But organic or “realganic” is correct for the sound of the new Mad Scientist NEO power cord.

I then tried it replacing the HIDiamond P4’s power cord that was on my Pass Labs Preamp XP-10 and later on my BSG QOL. In both places, the sound improved to quite a large extent with the Mad Scientist product. I then ordered 3 more of these Mad Scientists cords. Each and every place, be it digital, analog, power conditioner, power amp the change in sound quality improved.

I just received the newly designed Dac from PS Audio, called the “Direct Stream”. Placing this New Zealand power cord from the Mad Scientist on it made an already fantastic sounding Dac into extra ordinary.

I have no financial interest in this company. I paid the price for all of the power cords. The newly designed power cords with 11 gauge wire sells for less than $500 with the better quality AC ends(a must). But consider how much all of the other power cords that I have mentioned in this review cost and you can see how great of a deal these cords are.

They don’t look pretty. They have a cotton outer covering and several shrink wrapped bulges at the end that is holding in the black sticks, magnets, copper plates and the power kegs.

But boy, is it one great power cord.
Ozzy, Your review reads like it is a great cord with a willing to try price. I actually ordered one yesterday.

How many did you finally end up using in your system?
Good to know, thanks for sharing.
I wonder if you put a P-4 power cord back on your Audiodharma cable cooker for three days and then put it back into your system how it would compare to the NEO power cord?
good God an Audiodharma cable should try hooking up all your PCs to the audio-ramin-noodle cable cooker. Burns in your cords while enjoying tasty Asian noodle dishes for three days while they cook mmmm boy isn't high end tasty.
Thanks Ozzy for the review. I have never met an aftermarket PC I could live with long term. I have been using stock cords now for some time, but you have tweaked my interest especially with real world pricing.

Could you describe the top end? That is my biggest complaint about most PC's I have tried they seem to round off the top end and take out too much bite.
ozzy, where do you get this power cord from?, How do you get one?, for that price, why not?
Lak the P4's were originally cooked and have been in my system for quite a while. I still think the P4 Power cable is one of the best power cables made. I now own 3 of them I had 7.
I've moved them to my home theater equipment. Sometime later I will reintroduce them just to double check myself.

Pops, I don't think these cords will disappoint you.
The Mad Scientist also makes an even less expensive version called the "First" I have never tried that one, but on AA there is a favorable review on that cord. That review sort of prompted me to do this review.

Ronnjay, I now have 6 and one prototype.

Mr Schipo weren't you OJ's lawyer?
Ever heard of Google?

Try this link
Bing works best, I asked earlier because I did not know they HAVE a site, Awsome, I binged this after my first post, I like their humor on the site as well, pops, I bet this would work for you, I am going to try them out to, If it can beat out a $5,450.00 AC power cord I have, I, of course will be very happy, I always have said,All cables are over priced!, It's a shame I have to spend all that I have to get state of the art results, that said, I am tired of it, I hope this mad scientist neo power cord is a winner!, I will laugh my self silly if it is, Ozzy, I bet you are laughing too!
Audiolabyrinth, As per my review, you do need to let it burn / break in but you will be impressed. What power cord are you presently using?
I just requested the free disk. Looks like there is a little DIY too to show what their technology can do in a power cord so I will try that as well.
@ ozzy, A 3ft Tara Labs Cobalt power cord with factory terminated top of the line Oyaide IEC and plug.
Ok I got the free disks and must say I am impressed with the improvement I got after placing them on the + side of my speaker cables closest to the amp. I am not saying the differences are huge but I did notice a little improvement in a sense of realism and a more holographic soundstage. For the price I will definitely be buying some for my system. I admit that in the past I have paid much more for much less benefit so these are a no brainer for a crazy audiophile like me!
Tboooe, try placing a small magnet on top of the disks.
Audiolabyrinth, Tboooe, have you ordered the NEO power cord?
Ozzy, I will try one of these cords, not at the moment, I have all info written down to order one when I am ready, thankyou for bringing this power cord to my attention, cheers Ozzy.

I took a leap of faith and ordered four of them. With the 30-day money back guarantee, why not give them a shot? I will post some impressions once I have them, and give them some time to burn in a bit. They will be replacing HiDiamond P3s and DCCA Passion Masters in my system.
Ozzy, what did adding a magnet to the disks do? And I have not ordered the PCs yet. I am thinking I am going to order some of the disks first and play around with them.
Waltersalas, I had mine on my Audiodharma cable cooker for about a week. Not sure if they really need that much time though.
I hope you are as impressed with them as I have been.

Tboooe, adding the magnet to the discs is supposed to enhance the effect.

Thanks for the tip, Ozzy. It will be interesting to see how they change during the break-in process.

I should have them next week, according to Bob.
Ozzy or anyone that can assist, please answer this question for me.

I received the Mad Scientist Audio free Black Discus. I did not really find much information on their website unless I totally missed it.

Exactly where and how are you suppose to use this tweak and where is the most benifital location?

BTW; I picked up one 6' NEO power cord that I have had on my amp since yesterday (7/1) (as per their suggestion). All I can say for now is it sounded really good out of the box!
I found the disks worked best on top of the IEC on a power cord. But, you can also try them on top of your speaker spades/banana. Use the blue tack to attach them.
Those of you that have ordered multiple NEO cords, what I have found that too many on the same outlet may actually reduce the soundstage. I think its due to the magnets in the power cord.
I have a PS Audio P10 power conditioner and I have placed a NEO on each individual outlet and it sounds much more open. My Amp is on its own dedicated outlet so I have a NEO there.
I was finally able to locate this:
Ozzy, I see you have obtained a High-fidelity cable, I believe it is an interconnect?, Instead of being on the High-fidelity thread, I want to know your honest impressions of that cable here, that way there will be no bias interference from others, I believe you will say it like it really is, so as the cable burns in, I look forward to what you have to say, I understand cables are system dependent, what may not work for you, may work for someone else, However, I like your post and believe you are a seasoned audiophile, so lets see how this cable works on your system, can you do this for me?
where are you ozzy?
Ozzy is in the ? you guessed it! 'The Land of Oz"

I'm still trying to give this digital cable its due. Today, I got no signal for a while, but after I rebooted, it seemed to be ok. I hope the cable doesn't have a short...

Anyway, thus far I have the digital cable and it is Ho-Hum. Definitely not worth all the hype. But it is a good cable but for the price and all the hoopla I really expected more.

I guess maybe I disturbed it and it has to go back through its breakin changes. Kinda sounds like my wife! LOL.

I shall see...or hear...
I like your sence of humor ozzy, I got a good laugh, I look forward to what you will say about the HF digital cable, is the cable forward sounding to you at this point?
What happens to the NEO dudes when they leave the planet without reporting on the sound results of their listening secessions.?
They become Audiogon forum critics...
@ Ozzy, so what is your impressions of the High-fidelity digital cable now?
I see there is a Neo OCC available. Has anyone tried the OCC version yet?
I've got one on order.
I think this cord is good, but I am not quite as enamored as Ozzy. For the money, yes, it is good but I don't find it to be a "giant killer". The CH Acoustics X-20 is substantially better in terms of dynamics, resolution, soundstage, bass, and detail--basically, not much of a contest if you don't care about price. The cord Ozzy compares the NEO to is the HiDiamond P4. I bought two from Ozzy and find them to be warm sounding, euphonic, and bass-heavy. I prefer both the CH Acoustic X-20 and the HiDiamond P4 to the NEO, although the P4 is really best suited for taming a bright component and for adding bass heft. If you don't need or want that, the P4 is not an ideal choice or a great baseline for comparison. Almost any cord, including the NEO, will sound more neutral than the P4. The NEO performs at about the same level as the Fusion Audio Enchanter or a fully upgraded Mojo Audio Enigma. New, both are a bit more expensive than the NEO, but in the same general ballpark. Anyway, that is my 2 cents after extensive power cord demos and trials in recent months.
good post Mcondon.
Mcondon, have you received the LessLoss Reference cord from the Cable Company yet?
I'm anxiously waiting to hear your thoughts about that power cord vs others you have listened to.

I have four NEO cords in my system and have been waiting to post my impressions/conclusions until they are fully broken in, but since this thread popped up again, I thought I would check in with a few thoughts.

First, while part of the character of these cords becomes apparent fairly soon after they have been installed--they are uncannily natural with excellent imaging and resolution--until they get at least a hundred hours or more on them, they are a bit light in the lower end and ever so bit a tad "thin" sounding. IMO, if you plan to try the NEOs, make absolutely sure they have at least a hundred hours before drawing any firm conclusions (and this remark is not directed at Mcondon or anyone in particular).

I've been in the hobby about fifteen years or so and have grown increasingly skeptical--and weary--of A/B testing. I prefer to live with gear for awhile and see how it develops over a period of time. I can say for sure that the NEO cords are continuing to deepen and fill out in terms of texture, while their clarity and natural qualities remain intact. I think they are quite special and an amazing value.
Lak, yes, I auditioned the LessLoss Reference from the Cable Company. Sorry I didn't post impressions earlier. Frankly, I don't think it quite competes with CH Acoustics. I didn't find music to be emotionally engaging when using it. It sounded a little flat in terms of soundstage and a bit grainy. One possible explanation is that my amp has an internal power conditioner and is not supposed to be used with a separate power conditioner, as the overall sound quality is degraded. So, the LessLoss cord may do too much power conditioning for my system. I actually was much more impressed with another power cord I borrowed from the Cable Company, a top of the line Silent Source cord. It shares many of the attributes of the CH Acoustics cord. Ultimately, the CH Acoustics X-20 was better, creating a more open soundstage and the best dynamics I have ever heard, but the Silent Source cord was pretty close and is a little less expensive than the X-20. If money isn't a big constraint, the CH Acoustics and Silent Source cords are both worthy of demos.

Sorry to derail this thread. I am discussing power cords that cost over $2000, and this thread is about the NEO, which does deserve praise for performing so well at a non-stratospheric price.
Mc tells the truth1 NEO is a Mickey Mouse cable!!!
Maybe you're right, Glory. Since I got mine, my listening room has become "The Happiest Place on Earth"!
Audiolabyrinth, I only had the High Fidelity digital Ultimate and I am using the PS Audio Direct Stream Dac.
I mention this because PS Audio claims that all digital inputs on this Dac sound the same.
And in fact, they do. I could not find any difference between the High Fidelity Ultimate and the High Diamond Reference digital cables. Maybe they are equals or maybe its the Dac.

So, I'm trying to get my hands on a High Fidelity Ultimate interconnects to compare.
Glory, I thought you were more open minded. Try one of these power cords...

I will.
"So, I'm trying to get my hands on a High Fidelity Ultimate interconnects to compare."

I for one would like to hear what you think of the HF cable as there are 4 or 5 guys beating to death the praise of this cable over on another thread. Seen this happen over and over and then it just dies out as fast as it starts and a new wire takes the Mt.
07-28-14: Glory
I for one would like to hear what you think of the HF cable as there are 4 or 5 guys beating to death the praise of this cable over on another thread. Seen this happen over and over and then it just dies out as fast as it starts and a new wire takes the Mt.

LOL! So you've noticed that too, huh Gary? The cable of the month club has been meeting regularly for over 10 years now. I'm already wondering what the hot new cable will be in 2015....
Jmcgrogan & Glory, such blasphemy. Magnetic conduction is a literal quantum leap for audio, and the $12K HFC "Ultimate" power cord surely elevates Rick to the pantheon of audio gods...move over Nelson Pass and Arnie Nudell. Oh, ye of little faith. It is only a matter of time before the old rule of thumb gets turned on its head, and we all realize we should be spending $15 on audio components for every $100 we spend on cables, not the other way around.
Ozzy, keep me posted on your opinions, I look forward to it, cheers.
Oh no one leaked over here. I am sure the HF AC cable is killer but no one needs to move over. Mc calm down and report back in two years.
Ozzy, I too have a Direct Stream DAC. Do you still like this power cord best overall on your DS? I'm thinking about trying it. I have a Lessloss Signature on it right now.