I'd take their claims with a grain (or two) of salt, these are the same guys who also sell those $500 lacquer-coated potentiometer knobs claiming they make a dramatic improvement in the sound. Shyeah, whatever...
The Mapleshade top of the line power strip for front end components, and top of the line power cord for amplifier directly into the AC wall outlet have remained in a number of my systems through many other changes. Great transient speed, and dynamics, with amazing bass "weight" which startled me considering the flimsy appearance of the cords.
The more esoteric Omega Mikro cables are in a higher price category compared to the Mapleshade products found on the mapleshaderecords.com website.
The top of the line Mapleshade interconnects are also great value, but I have recently found those from firstname.lastname@example.org to surpass them, at super low list price of $120 per pair. Together with his speaker cables, his products have made me an enthusiast for this custom, small manufacturer who specializes in very few key items, selling directly and cheaply.
I think that the money back home trial policy of Gregg, and other sellers, finally allows the listener at home to be sure of what he is hearing in his own system. Let your own ears convince you who "blows away everything made by everyone else," as you phrased it. I think there is a big market for superb, bargain wire products that allow our components to deliver the musical pleasure they were designed to produce.
Not everyone will win the lottery, and be able to afford $2000 cables.
I know Pierre and he is a fanatic about sound and has excellent ears. I don't always agree with him but all his theories have reasons behind them. I buy all my stuff at list so I have no interest. I think his speaker stands are exceptional and very good looking. I have found his speaker cables and interconnects to be good value for the money and to be very good. BUT , cables are very subjective things and are susceptible to all varieties of system interactions. Why not start with some cheaper items and if they impress you exchange them for more expensive ones? With the return policy you will only be out the postage. Stan
Wire + saran wrap. Better have a generous insurance policy, especially if you try their power products. Note: I have not auditioned their products - the inattention to safety or anything approaching durability in their engineering (cables and power products - not opining on stands etc.) precludes me from doing so. I think their cable + power designs are frankly out to lunch. I mean, really and truly out to lunch.
Iasi, Although I have evolved to a higher plane of consciousness than my past Mapleshades provided, my previous Mapleshades included their better flat copper ribbon design, and the bass quite a bit upgraded from their hair-thin older entry level design.
Mwilson, I am not aware of any documented event requiring better insurance, but perhaps one could consider this to be the "extreme sports" corner of the audio universe? If there is a specific safety standard that you feel is violated then please let it be known, as most on Audiogon have no electrical design background. By pooling our collective expertise, or opinions, everyone can become a better informed consumer.
I'll second your research into Gregg Straley's cables. Listener57 turned me onto them, I tried 'em out and bought them immediately. The speaker cables were excellent on immediate hook-up, the IC's taking a little longer to burn-in but they really are impressive and ridiculously (though realistically for a change) cheap.
Listener, the safety standard that they violate is the lack of a durable insulating jacket over their power leads. Their power products have leads that are nothing more than thinly enameled conductors twisted around one another inside a plastic film (which I jokingly refer to as "saran wrap".)
Several audiophiles have experienced tearing of this film, and report that it's very easily damaged. The thin plastic film and thin layer of enamel are expected to insulate 15a of current - as compared to the more durable teflon or plastic casings used in almost all other power cord designs. If the Mapleshade's plastic film is torn, which is commonly reported, and the enamel is nicked, you have bare copper exposed, carrying wall current. This is easier to achieve with these flimsy products than it is with more robust power products (ie. almost everything else.)
Extreme sports indeed. While they can be used with care, I caution anyone against using a power product that doesn't feature a properly and safely insulated cord.
Mapleshade makes great cables as they get the directionality thing correct, but think their claims are a little strong as have replaced their speaker wire, interconnects and power cords in several systems....My customers like the tightness of my cables in the lower mids/upper bass in comparison to the signature softness of the Mapleshade wires......To each their own.......Nothing is perfect!