A friend who has both AC-9s and AC-9SE power cords told me that the upgrade is well worth the difference. Haven't decided myself ... yet.
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I have a Mcintosh MC602 600 watt amp, and a C500T preamp plugged into a PS audio PPP. I was using AC-9's on all but the preamp. I tried replacing the amp power cable with an AC9 SE first. All I can say is that's all it took to get me back on the phone to replace the one on the PPP. I tried it on my C500T pre, and it brought more improvements compared to the Signal Audio Silver Resolution power cable.
The music just became more dynamic, clearer, and with deeper bass. It was a significant upgrade, and worth the price, in my opinion. I took up Audio Advisor on their upgrade plan where they give you half the retail price of the AC9 when you return it.
Finding a great power cable on the pre was most difficult. Most of what I tried (within similar prices) made the overall sound dull. The Signal Silver Resolution, despite being like an icepick in the ear on disc players and my dac, brought life to the music when used on the preamp. The AC9 SE further refines the sound (especially the bass) without making the sound dull. I'll still be revisiting the Signal when the AC9 SE has burned in adequately, but I think the Pangea will win out at this point.
I have moved from AC-9 to AC-9SE for my power amp (W4S ST 500) and appreciate the upgrade.
I liked and still like the AC-9 very much, only the SE version improved things noticeably. Tightened the bass and improved clarity across the spectrum without any drawback that I can detect.
I dare say that everyone will notice the sonic difference, the contentious point remaining only whether the difference is "for the better in their case" and is worth the extra cash.
For me, the sonic difference was in the right direction and the price difference well worth it.
Those with bright(er) systems might say that the AC9 is better, for its relatively looser bass will give the impression of more bass.
YMMV, but this goes without saying...