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Kbuzz - rather than me just throwing out a name and model of a power cord like the previous posters did, how about you describing your system components and cabling and what component you are considering this power cord for - that way you might get an answer that is closer to relevent for YOUR system.
your stereo system has changed over time. what is the context in which you observed the performance of the kubala sosna power cord ?
that is, did you attach the power cord to all possible components--digital, preamp and amp ? did you have multiple components of each genre available upon which to base your conclusion ?
finally, please define warm . as i understand the term, it implies an attenuation in the treble frequencies and a slight boost either in the upper bass or lower midrange.
warmth , as i see it is an instance of coloration, euphoic in particular.
by the way, i want to complement you on your consistently reasoned and unpolemic comments regarding a variety of subjects. you are an asset to audiogon--a voice of sanity.
MrT, I agree with your definition of warm. However, the OP asked about a soft top end, which I assume means somewhat rolled off, or with less volume than the midrange and bass.
I observed the Kubala cord on an Atma-Sphere MP-1 MK III preamp. On this particular day, we were listening to only power cords on the preamp. Other cords included: Purist Audio Dominus Ferrox, BMI Hammerhead Gold MK III, TekLine Reference.
My system is presently comprised of: Silverline Sonata III, Pass Labs XA-60.5, Lamm L2 Reference, APL Denon 3910, KAB Technics SL1200 MK 2, Benz Micro Ace Medium cartridge, Heed Quasar phono preamp, various AC conditioning and isolation tweaks.
Thanks for your kudos.
On the Aesthetix Io, Callisto, CAT JL-3 amps, Manley Ref Tube Dac, both Dominus PCs had clearly less treble energy(soft top end) than the KS Emotion. There is detail heard with the KS in the top octaves that was simply gone with the Dominus. I had Joe Kubala here one day as we one-by-one swapped my cables for KS Emotion. A week later I got 3 Dominus PCs and 1 IC and compared to many of the KS cables Joe left with me. I stayed with the Dominus due to its 3D magic but that's a different issue.
As for other PCs, the Stealth Dream and Dream State top models, every one has significantly more top-end energy than the Dominus on every one of these components. It is not even close. With so many components tried, I concluded this was indeed a signature of the Dominus design as it carried through with the phono cable compared to the Stealth as well.
The issue of warm and frequency-extreme roll-off are two different issues. Warmth can imply a peak in the mids with or without treble accuracy/extension.
I would say that my experience mirrors John's (Jafox). I found both the Dominus cords, Fluid and Ferrox plus the K-S Emotion to be on the warm side of neutral, with the Dominus Fluid version being the warmest of the bunch. The Dominus, both versions, create a lovely 3-D soundstage, but IMHO, the K-S Emotion presented a more natural, extended top end. No, the Emotion was not as extended as the Stealth Dream, Nordost Valhalla or RSAD Poiema!!! Signature, but more so than the Dominus, IMS.
However, because of the OP's price range of under $500, I didn't recommend the Dominus or the K-S Emotion. I suppose one could get very lucky and find one for under $500 used, but it's unlikely. Since Kbuzz did not mention that he was specifically looking for used cords, that's why I recommended the Cardas Golden Reference, which is a good, warm cord which can be had new and/or used for under $500.
Thank you everyone for the replies and suggestions. I initially did not list my equip because i just wanted some generic recommendations. I am seeking a cord for use with my joule pre amp. Used or new.
In any event as a follow up, i have no objection to purchasing used. The reason for my inquiry is that I have a very very bright room and live in an apt. in nyc with children. So i have no/zero ability to adjust the room. In addition to the walls, a large picture window behind and to left of the listening position does not help. In other words if i was in the burbs, id be exploring room treatment. With that said, recently swapped out my basic signal cable power cord to my preamp with a higher end silver based cord. The differences were quire remarkable. The detail, transparency bass and depth increases were huge.
However, the downsides to the cord swap was that it added too much to the top end and does not make the music relaxing. So i love the change but my body and and ears would be dreading certain vocals.
The system is as a follows,
Bolder Digital Modded SB3 with modded Elpac PS & ERS Cloth>Signal Cable Digital Coax or VH Audio Pulsar>
John Wright modded Meitner/Museatex Bitstream Dac & Iego PC>Updated Audio Magic Stealth Matrix Mini
Joule Electra LA 100MK2>Reality Cables IC
RWA Sig 30.2 or Joule Electra Stargate Monoblocks>Reality Cable Speaker Cable> Omega Super Three Narrow Hemp on Skylan Stands, TBI subwoofer
as someone who has auditioned production and custom dcca line cords, i can say categorically, that none of his line cords are soft. while they are not frequency imbalanced, they are closer to neutral than soft.
the problem with audiophile terms is that soft to one may be neutral to another. i can only speak from my experience as a listener and reviewer.
I'm reasonably convinced after hearing the same power cords in two local systems that what might sound soft in one system (or aggressive, or warm, or...) can sound differently in another system.
Therefore, these discussions are helpful as a basic starting point, but there's no shortcut around hearing the product in one's own system.
Which is the primary reason to buy used wire, IMO.
ambiguity , or lack of communication is often exacerbated when a term is used in a relative manner. thus, if "soft" is precisely defined, there is no misunderstanding. soft is difficult to define. as i understand it,it is a vague adjective, meaning somewhat unfocused. how unfocused, i don't know.
my comments about the dcca cable imply that the cables are not unfocused.
Mr Tennis, there can be no absolutes in this game. It's simply not possible. Nobody here has the tools nor the power senses to relate to anything here in absolutes. The best we can do is to compare a product under evaluation to one whose "levels" of performance we are familiar.
There is no communication issue when one reports the findings of two SPECIFIC problems. At least the test can be repeated by anyone through the purchase or borrowing of the 2 products. No test can be run where a product is described by nothing more than a list of words.
"Soft" is indeed difficult to define. But the differences of this parameter between two products should allow us to determine which one is "softer".
If we find that we do not agree with a reported conclusion, that is a different issue altogether. And ultimately, this latter issue all but makes many comments here moot other than we learn the likes/dislikes of the reporter.
my comments about the dcca cable imply that the cables are not unfocused.Yes, until sometime in the future you hear this cable compared to another which ultimate has more focus. Then you will conclude your current cable is unfocused. Such is progress.
threre is a dischotomy here. either a cable is soft or it isn't. if the term is to be a valid descriptor it must be consistent. thus, if i audition a cable in my stereo system and say it has the characteristic of being soft and you attempt to corroborate my findings, by replicating what i did in my system and you come to a different conclusion, the term is invalid. many audiophile terms are invalid unless there is a definition and the application of the definition is consistent.
when eliciting opinions about the sound of a compoent, without objective confirmation, the results can be subject to disagreement.
thus, there are two problems, namely differences in stereo systems and differences in perception. such a state renders many "audiophile" terms invalid, in the psychometric sense.
a term like "bright", reasonable definable and subject to measurement is an example of a useful term. one must not confuse the sound of a component from the sound of a stereo system. it is wise to consider the affect of a component upon the sound of a stereo system, rather than claiming knowledge of the sound of a component, which is impossible to attain.
thus, one can say that stereo system a sounds less focused than stereo system b, and yet cannot say that a particular line cord is unfocused.
threre is a dischotomy here. either a cable is soft or it isn't.But there are differences of softness as such differences can be detected by higher resolving systems.
Let's look at the color red as defined by the RGB triplet (255, 0 0). This is as RED as red gets. But (235, 0, 0) looks mighty red on a display as well. If we each only lived with one of these, but not the same, we would debate forever here that these were both red. And yet only one can "truly" be red. But compared to (0, 255, 0), they are both red. Only when compared directly side by side, would we observe their difference....and end our debate.
Brightness is no more useful a term as soft. In the RGB context, what is bright? ... (255, 255, 255)? ... (250, 250, 250)? ... (240, 240, 240) ? They might all be bright and yet, in absolute terms, only one at most can be bright. And how do I know which one of these you are experiencing in your reported evaluation? I need your reference against my reference, with all other system parameters equal, to determine the relevance of your observation.
thus, if i audition a cable in my stereo system and say it has the characteristic of being soft ....Your statement would be solely based on a difference to the sound with the cable previously used in that link.
by replicating what i did in my system and you come to a different conclusion,...If we are talking in absolute terms, the only way I can come to any conclusion in a case like this, whether my conclusion was the same as yours or not, would be to hear the effect in your system the same time you did. But if you add detail in your report as to the product you used before, then I have a fair shot at hearing the relative differences as reported by you. Our systems' capabilities would likely show differences in magnitude, but these would likely be in the same "direction".
thus, one can say that stereo system a sounds less focused than stereo system b, and yet cannot say that a particular line cord is unfocused.Agreed. My previous comments that a cable is focused or unfocused implied its affect on the system's resultant sound. We don't hear power cables. We hear their affects in a system that differ to other power cables in that same system.
When was the last time you heard a system unfamiliar to you ... and it had a characteristic that annoyed you. Knowing nothing about the products in that system, could you point to a power cable or tonearm and say that one product was the cause of the fault?
let's take a term like loud. it can be both qualitative and quantitative in nature.
suppose i define loud as 85 db of sound pressure. thus unless there is 85 db of sound pressure the word loud would not applicable. in addition there is the quantitative louder, obviously 90 db is louder than 85 db.
the word "soft", not in the sp sense, but in the focus/defocused connotation is also quantitative and qualitative. in this case it is difficult to measure focus and almost impossible to define soft in quantitative terms.
the word "soft" is highly subjective, ambiguous and amorphous.
if you and i audition the same stereo system, our perceptions will differ. thus many audiophile terms which accrue from listening experiences are not necessarily useful to a third person who does not share an experience.
in the case of line cords, if i replace line cord a with line cord b, i might describe the effect as softening the sound or i may say that my stereo system sounds "soft", in the qualitative sense. if you share my experience, you may disagree with my perceptions. you may say my stereo system does not sound "soft" and you might also say that the affect of introducing line cord b did not produce a softening affect.
this hypothetical situation raises the question i indicated, namely the validity of audiophile terms.
their usage is often accompanied by inconsistencies within and between listener experiences.