PAD Dominus power cord experience - long
A few weeks ago, I obtained a PAD Dominus power cord. Some fellow Agoners (thanks, Albert Porter) shared their experience with aftermarket power cords, and indicated that the greatest benefit would likely be obtained when combined with the power amp. I did a little experiment last week. With my local electronics tech, my Counterpoint amplifier (power consumption: 260w at idle) was modified so that I could directly A/B compare the stock hardwired power cord against the PAD Dominus power cord, by adding an IEC recepticle in the power supply. Previously, the Dominus was plugged into the Sony CDP (power consumption: 43w at idle), being used as a transport, and earlier I described this as a "nice" improvement in performance. Based on this experience, I expected a similar subtle improvement with the power amp. I was wrong.
The benefits were NOT subtle, they were dramatic (sorry about the "hype", but this description is accurate). I, and my very skeptical electronics tech listened to the amp with the stock cord, and then again using the Dominus power cord, on the same music in the same system. We were able to switch power cords as desired, with the modification. The difference was clear on the first notes. Specifically in much improved dynamic range (more delicate ppp and powerful fff), much quieter background, and very physical, toneful and dynamic bass. Strings are more vibrant, piano is more percussive, and drums have more raw impact. Crescendos are more stirring, and diminuendos more, well, diminuative. The overall effect is a substantial improvement in musical dynamics, which in my opinion is one of the most important characteristics in reproduced music, and that most audio systems fail to capture. At home, I play (poorly) a Steinway piano, and like to use solo piano recordings, among others, as benchmarks to gauge changes in my system performance.
I am not claiming that the Dominus makes music sound live - I do claim that in my system music sounds more "alive" than ever, in a natural and unforced manner. The effect is physical. Naturally, I proceeded with removing the stock power cord and permanently installing the IEC socket in the amplifier, and am enjoying the benefits as I write this.
Downsides? The cord is on the large, heavy and inflexible side, so it is not convenient when there are bends or twists in the pathway. My amplifier is heavy (~ 65lbs) and anchors the Dominus, but in a smaller, lighter instrument like some preamps, the weight of the Dominus might be impractical.
So, should I conclude that the stock power cord (circa 1986) was vastly inadequate? Or that the Dominus is vastly superior to stock power cords? I can't say, perhaps it is a combination of both. But I trust my hearing, and my ears were corroborated by a second pair of ears. We heard what I described.
Guys (and gals), in my system, this upgrade was the real deal. And I entered into this experiement as a skeptic. Highly recommended.