Power Cable ~ $300 - Which to get? Nordost, Audioquest, Furutech, Shunyata, Zavfino?


I just upgraded to an Audioquest NRG-4 for my amp, which already has made a bit of a difference, however, I am getting a new Audioquest Power bar/conditioner, and wanna connect the entire thing to the wall (will be wired nicely later).

I was told to get the best cable I can get from the power strip to the wall... hence looking for a mid-range power cord, say between $300-400 and not too bulky with some flexiblity... what do you guys recommend? Audioquest Monsoon? Nordost Blue Haven? Furutech, Shunyata in that price range... or Zavfino which is the only one making OCC cable in that price range! Even if a bit higher it's ok, as there are always specials here or there.

Any ideas? Suggestions?
alexb76
From looking at their web site, it appears that Synergistic Research no longer manufactures the Master Coupler; however, they do make the UEF Red AC Power Cord that retails for $299 (1M).  Anybody have this one or comment on it?
@milercarbon1 - a couple of years ago I got to compare these cables to top of the line products from highly regarded companies such as Cardas, Kimber Cable, Neotech, Audioquest and a few other commercial brands.

All of the Helix cables, power, interconnect and speaker cables outperformed all of them.

I have auditioned the Helix cables on various systems up to $50k on various products from companies such as Ayre, Gryphon, NAIM, Bryston, Magnapan, Tannoy, Gershman Acoustics, B & W, and a couple of tube amps. Each time the Helix proved to be better than the commercial cable products installed on the systems.

The only products I have NOT had the opportunity to try them on is any of the electrostatic speakers.

In one case, a fellow DIYer who tried them, replaced all their Nordost cables, a brand which I regard very highly.

The one thing that I cannot say for certain is - whether a person will like their sound - which is very neutral and extremely dynamic, maybe to their detriment because some people like the colouration and smoothness that some cables provide.

Some DIYer’s have used THEIR favourite wire to build them because they preferred that sound over the wire I have posted on my site. Other than that, everyone seems to be very satisfied that they tried the Helix Geometry.

I do agree somewhat with your comments - compared to the Helix Cables, my early DIY cable efforts were pretty "mundane".

So why did I continue building cables? Because of the great DIY information on this forum, which allowed me to "fine tune" my cables.

After many years of research and development, the Helix cables are in a completely different league compared to those early efforts, i.e.  from a performance perspective.

The Helix geometry is not the only style that provide benefits...
- Ribbon Geometry cables also offer extremely good performance, but that geometry does not suit power cables.

So I think we will just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that :-)

Enjoy the Music - Regards - Steve
I have an inquiring mind. Which is why I tried making a few myself. Then I met a guy, lifelong audiophile, whole basement with a great big work bench devoted to tweaking and building interconnects, power cords, speaker cable. Thirty years building, studying, reverse-engineering, you name it he's done it. 

One day he calls me up all excited, he has his Grail, wants to bring it over and show me how good it is. Well I guess it did sound pretty good in his system with all his DIY cables. At my place though he looked like his dog died. Even he had to admit his Grail wire sounded awful. 

But wait. It gets worse. 

I pulled some $75 interconnect at random from out of my old cable clutter drawer. It was head and shoulders better than anything he ever built.

Not that he really ever stood a chance. Some guy trying to save some money. Gonna make something better than, or even as good as, or heck even halfway close to being as good as the guy who has devoted pretty much his whole life AND come up with something people will pay their hard earned money for?

Never did make any sense. Go ahead and believe if you want. If you do though I highly recommend you not ever compare what you made to anything other than the patch cords the manufacturers throw in for free. 


There is no such thing as a good DIY power cord. Kit or otherwise. Cryo or otherwise. There just isn’t. Period
If you really believe the above statement then PLEASE - ignore the rest of this post because you’ll think it is nonsense and I for one do not have the inclination to deal with those kinds of comment.

HOWEVER: if you are remotely curious about high performance DIY cables then please take a look at this link...
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-power-cable.html

I am unable to offer definitive scientific evidence that this power cable will blow you away, simply because I do not have the resources of the "BIG BOYS".

I have received very positive feedback from many others that have converted every cable in their systems to the Helix cable geometry. 

People that have tried come from far and wide - Canada US, Austria, Bulgaria, China, UK in a variety of systems ranging from sub $1000 to over $70,000, Tube of Solid State.

I could share their emails, but I respect their privacy, so you will just have to take a leap of faith in that I am not just selling more "Snake Oil".

Actually, I am not selling anything, just sharing the construction process.

There are a few references from people that have tried the Helix cables on my web site

My latest power cable changes incorporate a 12 gauge Duelund wire with polymer insulation, designed specifically for power cables. This proved to reveal a significant improvement, so I can highly recommend that Duelund wire for any power cable project.

I have spent the past 5-6 years trying different cable geometries that DIYers can construct themselves. I have had feedback on which wires provided the best results and have incorporated some of the more affordable options into my web site, so treat is as an ongoing evolving resource.

So - if YOU have an enquiring mind, take a look at the link above and maybe give them a try.

If you have any questions - just ask and I will try to provide an answer.

Regards - Steve




Sorry just realized I posted this in the wrong thread! 
Okay, with multiple individuals, on a HiFi equipment forum of all places where people discuss gear that costs more than cars, basically going “whoa dude, slow down, that’s too much money”, that is giving me a reason to be concerned :)

As such I tried pairing the Transparent Reference power cord with the Valhalla 2 speaker wire.  The  Transparent cord is WAY less expensive than the Valhalla 2.  And guess what, it worked!

While I definitely heard a bit less space and breath around vocals, the bass and focus that was missing with the Valhalla 2 cord came back!  And I still had the accessible warm sound from the Valhalla 2.  I actually think I like the sound slightly better this way.

I did not notice a difference switching between the “cheap” Nordost Reference and expensive Valhalla 2 jumpers, after switching back and forth a few dozen times and imagining I was hearing differences.  Maybe I did hear some differences but I couldn’t quite  pinpoint them.  It is possible the much cheaper Reference jumpers were thinner in the mids, which made them seem like there was actually better separation of tones.  Again not sure if I was imagining this.... So another place I can save.

Finally, I did one last test of my Audioquest Hurricane cord vs the Transparent Reference cord to further pinpoint what I don’t like about the Hurricane.  In short I found the Hurricane to be a bit bloated by comparison.  Bass not as tight, upper frequencies were missing, and there was a slight accentuation in the mids that can be annoying.



Thanks orenstein for the extra info about Luna cables.  I have used some of the 1940s Western Electric wire in waxed silk/ cotton and it is very good. 
The ZU Audio version 1 cables are still being made and sold on ZU’s eBay page at reasonable prices. I purchased two and they are fantastic
There is no such thing as a good DIY power cord. Kit or otherwise. Cryo or otherwise. There just isn’t. Period.

Look, this does not need to be so hard. You get a Master Coupler. You try it out. You get a few others. You try them out. At some point, which will vary depending on how good you are and how quickly you learn, it will become evident there simply is nothing anywhere near the price that can touch it.

soix nailed it:

You just simply can’t go wrong buying an excellent $2k cable for around 300 bucks.



Alex, Have had some nice experiences w/the genius of David Schultz's products, so I was curious to see his DIY video on youtube on power cord building. Since you mentioned an interest .. it might give you a step up in the level of cord your produce.
I built a couple based on Supra cables raw p.c. .. Defintely a step up from base cords, but found them not quite in the same class as Shunyata Python. Also used Ice Age Audio 20A (heaviest gauge p.c. at the time), but replaced that as dollars and equipment evolved w/ a Shunyata Python also, it performed well, nice construction too. Ice Age offers raw p.c. & I think his DIY cord is already CRYO'ed.
I have just been migrating toward a Shunyata "loom", and like what I hear w each step. (if you just want to throw the dollars in & not mess around, the Shunyata Deltas are an awesome value)

Just some thoughts, Have fun!
ypingping......
At their higher levels (red and black) they use "old new wire", meaning wire that was originally produced back in the 40's.  As you can imagine, this is very rare, but is supposed to have properties that newer wire does not have.  I'm no expert on the technical aspects of anything, but Danny Labrecque, who is a co-owner of Luna and the man who actually builds all of their cables can surely address any and all questions you might have.  You can reach him at [email protected] .
But orenstein it would be good to know what wire Luna use in their cables.  They say it is tin-plated copper but don't give much further description than that.  DH Labs have full disclosure on the power cables they produce.  I have no association with DH Labs - I just like companies that tell you what they are doing. 
alexb76 - yes, you can do that and shouldn't have any problems.  There is no soldering in power cords and the wires should be clamped in the sockets in the plugs.  It is not difficult to do this but you should check whether it is legal to change power plugs in your country and also that you know the wiring convention: e.g. the USA hot wire is reversed compared to some other countries. 
There are a lot of good power cords available mentioned above. I haven't tried that many of the ones mentioned but they do make a huge difference. I have a whole set of Shunyata Venom HC power cords. The difference from stock cables is dramatic. I am now using ESP Music Cord Pro because I felt that they were more transparent than the Shunyatas. A lot depends on your system. The Venom And ESP Music Cord Pro are entry level affordable cables from these companies and  are great for the price. I'm sure there are a lot of other affordable great cables from the other companies mentioned too. Also, it depends on how  the music you are playing is recorded and mastered.
Be patient and save some money and buy your self an audioquest thunder 
u will thank me later lol
@alexb76 -   Got it!   Have fun experimenting and happy listening.
apples to oranges maybe, but I have an AQ NRG-3 and Cardas Clear (used and pre-conditioned $250-$300), ended up liking the Cardas for amp to power conditioner (PS Audio UPC-200, now probs the weak link in the power chain) and the AQ feeding the power conditioner, which gave me a bit more smoothness and mid bass presence.  My DAC is fed by a Cardas Clear M,  I also upgraded the outlet, chose a mid price Furutech, that made a difference as well.  Was thinking about another Cardas cable until I read through the above, now there are too many choices!
What about if I bought a bulk cable (like Furutech, or Oyaide) and my own plugs and built my own? I think I can get an OFC, or even OCC cable and plugs under $300 and make one. Just curious if I can make the cable-plug connection as good as factory does?
@rodman99999 
Hey, sorry if I combined my responses, I didn't mean the snake oil cable comment towards you at all.
You should really consider Luna Cables.  I did, and bought an entire top of their line set.  They make 5 grades:

Grey
Orange 
Blue
Red
Black
Their entry levels are quite reasonable 
Mark Tunis makes very high quality cables for much less than those commercially available.  He often has something listed on Audiogon,
but can be found direct at 770 212 0865.  He has made me power cables, interconnects and speaker wires and I am very pleased.  It is worth a call...
Mark Tunis makes very high quality cables for much less than those commercially available.  He often has something listed on Audiogon,
but can be found direct at 770 212 0865.  He has made me power cables, interconnects and speaker wires and I am very pleased.  It is worth a call...
WireWorld series 7 MSRP is ONLY $300

They power all my kit

Highly recommended

I saw someone here post Cullen Cable. I have 1-2 too sell
Check out Silnote. I have three of his power cords and they are excellent. 
http://www.silnoteaudio.com
It's likely that a Ping cousin will be along shortly telling you about an expensive to buy (but cheap to make) SY industrial cable from his favourite audiophile company.  But moving along, I've found that DH Labs PowerPlus is good value for money.  You can buy it by the metre in some places and then use your own choice of connectors - if you understand how to connect power cables or have an electrician friend. 
You don't need to spend more than $50... check this out. It's a 16mm (10 awg) Hi-End Rhodium plated 4N OFC 99.997% pure power cable. I don't think anyone (even Mozart) can tell any difference between this $50 power cable and some stupidly expensive (treated with snake oil) AQ or SR power cable.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/BLE-Design-16mm-10ga-Hi-End-Rhodium-Plated-Audiophile-Mains-Power-Cable-6-f...

@alexb76 - I almost envy your inability to hear the differences, that biasing a cable’s dielectric can make(etc). I’m assuming you considered the vast plethora of variables, that may have made that so. I suppose, I could have saved a lot of money, were that my story. However; my ears were my primary source of income, for about four decades, so- I really have no regrets. Perhaps you missed it: The cable I suggested IS a, "$300 cable". It’s just been favorably compared, to the upper crust. Happy listening!
Post removed 
@rodman99999  Thanks, I will try both. I am getting the new Audioquest Niagra 1500, which has two high current outputs and apparently those don't impact the sound like others do, but only way is to try.

In terms of some of those magical cables with snake juice and unicorn dust... SORRY, not only I don't believe in any of it (I am an engineer), but also I didn't HEAR any difference. While there IS a noticeable difference in sound between stock OEM throw-away cable and Audiophile power cables with good construction, good conduction and shielding, I haven't heard any difference between those $300 cables and $20,000 cables.... sorry, either my ears haven't had the unicorn dust embedded in em, or they're a scam! To me, better copper, better conduction, better shielding would have an impact, but that's it... it's not rocket science! 
In addition to the recommendations I made above, I'd give a big +2 to @millercarbon Synergistic recommendation.  You just simply can't go wrong buying an excellent $2k cable for around 300 bucks.  Cables just haven't progressed that much to overcome that price big of a differential IMHO. 
@alexb76 -   btw:  Generally speaking: connecting one's power amp, directly to the wall outlet, will sound better than through either a power strip or purifier(when combined with a number of other devices).
@tablejockey - Actually, Michael Spallone, our resident Synergistic MPC guru/AudiogoN member, does upgrade the Synergistic MPC(wall wart) and it makes an audible improvement(with interconnects anyway). https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/modding-synergistic-research-mpc-to-galileo-status-2 However, I wouldn’t expect those attending or spinning, at a wedding or Bar Mitzva, to notice the differences(totally different objectives/style in, "cooking").
A power cord that requires additional power....Irony?

Lets think one step further...better wall wart.  Perhaps the aftermarket  cryo'ed MKII.

NOW you're cookin....
Synergistic Research Master Coupler +1. I’ve had one connected to my Audio Magic Stealth XXX, for the past few years. Not the most flexible, but- I don’t move it around much. No plans to replace it, ever(and I’m picky). Here’s one that you could audition, in your system, cheaply: https://www.usedcable.com/synergistic-research-ac-master-coupler-x-series-active-15-amp-iec-5ft-1-5m-power-cables-12293.html Just be certain that the MPC(wall wart) is included, as this is an, "active" cable and there’s a major difference without it.
Bang for the buck, I like Nordost Blue Heaven,
Triode Wire Labs get consistently high praise and you can have an in-home trial, which is always nice.  Here's a model near your price range and a review...
https://www.triodewirelabs.com/product/ten-plus-american-series/

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0813/triode_wire_labs_power_cable.htm

So here's a curveball.  I've always been intrigued by Mad Scientist cables as they employ some unique features that actually seem to do something positive. 
http://www.madscientist-audio.com/pc-nitro.html

https://www.soundstageaccess.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/769-mad-scientist-audio-heretical-analo...

Cullen Cables are another high-value cable also not seen here as much and also get consistently positive reviews from owners. 
http://www.cullencable.com/crossover-series-ii/

http://www.stereomojo.com/Cullen%20Crossover%20Power%20Cable%20Review/CullenCrossoverPowerCablesRevi...

If it were me?  I'd take a flyer on the Mad Scientist, but I'm a bit mad myself.  Best of luck!
One question on Nordost, WHY are they so much thinner than typical other Power cords? 
Thanks guys, so, Amp, HT Receiver, Bluray, DAC, HDBox, Xbox, Streamer ALL go into the power bar, then go into the wall which is going to get a dedicated line with some Furutech AC plug.

What I want, GREAT connection to bring power to the bar, DARK background and ensuring enough current gets to my Amp. I could also connect Amp directly to the wall, but will test to see which works best.

what is getting plugged into the 'bar'?

everything?

sources only?

amps only?

checking out wires is the 'due diligence' of this past time. it gets very tedius but this area will pay off with effort and paitience. personnally I'd look into the used PC arena first. you'll get more value and performance for your money.

my reasons for asking what is the application revolves around the 'kinds' of PCs.some are aimed squarely at deadening the noise, others at elevating other aspects of the bandwidth. not all PCs are the same and with EXP you'll find this out pretty quickly.

if I liked AQ and already had some in my rig, I'd probably look towards them initially. possibly even exchanging one already in use to the duty of supply, from where it is already in use perhaps.

lastly as the main supply PC keep in mind too, it will add its sonics to everything downstream of it.

Good luck.
If you decide on Nordost, the Blue Heaven has similar construction as their upper end.

I use Nordost from the wall to speakers. If you put in the time, you can find decent used prices. 
Synergistic Research Master Coupler. Hands down. One and done. Not that I would ever recommend buying anything like this without comparing several contenders, preferably in your own system. 

But look. SR has been making this same power cord for over 20 years. In all that time one would think it would have been superseded or faded to obscurity. But no. Instead they are still out there selling at higher prices than originally and commanding good prices even in the used market. Like it or not, it is the gold standard of power cords. Nothing endures like that for no reason.

I notice you mention OCC. Sorry, but who cares? Someone who hasn't been around long enough to see that for the marketing BS it is. None of that malarkey matters in the least. All that matters is how it sounds. Get a Master Coupler and find out.