power cables? What can I expect?


I have a pair of Martin logan speakers, and a Audio Refinement amp, they have only the original cables that came with them, I do however have all nordost interconnects and speaker wire, I am only able to spend $50, per cord at this time since I have a new daughter ( and new bills ) I know I can't afford nordost what about monster or just something else that would be good? Thanks for any infor, Nick
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Check it out. In my opinion this is the best bang for a limited budget. Retail $59.95 Internet Special $49.95

The Absolute Power Cord is a joint effort between Damoka International and GTT Audio & Video. Both share similar philosophies about the “Absolute Sound.”[1] While auditioning much of our super high-end gear we noticed a sameness to the sound, we call it coloration. Power cords were found to be the source of this coloration. So the search began for the “Absolute Power Cord.” Whether it is well-known manufacturers or home brewed power cords we came to some conclusions after auditioning many different types from both sources.

We found that for the best sound the conductor had to be oxygen free stranded copper with the correct proportion of strands per gauge. We also tested all the top brand plugs but again all seemed to have coloration to them. Then we started soldering the conductor to the connector instead on screwing it down. Now we were getting somewhere. There was less microscopic electrical arcing going on. Then we tried different dielectrics and shielding to make the cord look COOL. We discovered that the more we put around the conductors - the more coloration we got and the more it seemed to choke the sound. Knowing what we wanted in a power cord we needed to know where to get them. After all, our expertise is selling High-End Audio - not manufacturing power cords. Sure we could have been happy with our home brews, but how would that look to our clients? What we demonstrate is what you can have at home.

After contacting some US based wire manufactures and realizing the enormous cost involved we decided to go to the Far East and take advantage of the low labor cost. We contracted Cheng Chang in Taiwan to manufacture the “Absolute Power Cord.” Cheng Chang is one of the largest OEM specialty power cord manufactures in the world with the capability to pump out over 6 million cables per month. We knew that we were in the right place. So the Absolute Power Cord is a Hospital Grade 14 gauge stranded copper cable with soldered and molded Hospital Grade IEC and Plug. Most of the well-known power cords in High-End Audio are not UL Approved. Try explaining that to the insurance company when your house burns down. The Absolute Power cord is UL Approved[2].

These cords do not sound the same as a 14-gauge hospital grade Belden, in fact quite a bit different. You can not buy these cords out of a catalog etc…The plug, wire and iec were put together to meet our specs specifically for sonics but don’t just take our word (ears) for it.

As avid audiophiles and classic music concert goers that are in the business of selling super high-end systems we would like to think that we know what sounds neutral and what sounds colored. It was time for a reality check. We went to musicians and recording engineers. Chesky Productions has wired their equipment with the Absolute Power Cord.[3] Also Classical Music Hall of Fame Composer, Conductor, Pulitzer Prize Winner and Recording Engineer George Walker has wired up his systems with the Absolute Power Cord. In addition, his son, Concert Violinist and Conductor of the Boulder Symphony Gregory Walker is also using the Absolute Power Cord.

At: Retail $59.95 Internet Special $49.95

The Absolute Power Cord is a joint effort between Damoka International and GTT Audio & Video. Both share similar philosophies about the “Absolute Sound.”[1] While auditioning much of our super high-end gear we noticed a sameness to the sound, we call it coloration. Power cords were found to be the source of this coloration. So the search began for the “Absolute Power Cord.” Whether it is well-known manufacturers or home brewed power cords we came to some conclusions after auditioning many different types from both sources.

We found that for the best sound the conductor had to be oxygen free stranded copper with the correct proportion of strands per gauge. We also tested all the top brand plugs but again all seemed to have coloration to them. Then we started soldering the conductor to the connector instead on screwing it down. Now we were getting somewhere. There was less microscopic electrical arcing going on. Then we tried different dielectrics and shielding to make the cord look COOL. We discovered that the more we put around the conductors - the more coloration we got and the more it seemed to choke the sound. Knowing what we wanted in a power cord we needed to know where to get them. After all, our expertise is selling High-End Audio - not manufacturing power cords. Sure we could have been happy with our home brews, but how would that look to our clients? What we demonstrate is what you can have at home.

After contacting some US based wire manufactures and realizing the enormous cost involved we decided to go to the Far East and take advantage of the low labor cost. We contracted Cheng Chang in Taiwan to manufacture the “Absolute Power Cord.” Cheng Chang is one of the largest OEM specialty power cord manufactures in the world with the capability to pump out over 6 million cables per month. We knew that we were in the right place. So the Absolute Power Cord is a Hospital Grade 14 gauge stranded copper cable with soldered and molded Hospital Grade IEC and Plug. Most of the well-known power cords in High-End Audio are not UL Approved. Try explaining that to the insurance company when your house burns down. The Absolute Power cord is UL Approved[2].

These cords do not sound the same as a 14-gauge hospital grade Belden, in fact quite a bit different. You can not buy these cords out of a catalog etc…The plug, wire and iec were put together to meet our specs specifically for sonics but don’t just take our word (ears) for it.

As avid audiophiles and classic music concert goers that are in the business of selling super high-end systems we would like to think that we know what sounds neutral and what sounds colored. It was time for a reality check. We went to musicians and recording engineers. Chesky Productions has wired their equipment with the Absolute Power Cord.[3] Also Classical Music Hall of Fame Composer, Conductor, Pulitzer Prize Winner and Recording Engineer George Walker has wired up his systems with the Absolute Power Cord. In addition, his son, Concert Violinist and Conductor of the Boulder Symphony Gregory Walker is also using the Absolute Power Cord.

At: http://www.gttgroup.com/avframe.htm

Just my opinion, I am not associated with any company other than "trial and error of hard knocks". When you have a larger budget look at the "BMI Whale Elite".

I hope this is helpful :-}
Nick,
Congrats on your new daughter. I would save your $50 I am not sure that you will get something worth keeping at that price. I am using Kimber pk10 gold and I love it but it is about 5 times your budget. Check out some of the diy articles on audio asylum.
Happynick,

You are in luck, but not for $50/cable. I was very skeptical about this upgrade until replacing mine. The MLs tend toward brightness and the cables smoothed them out considerably on my friend's setup (CLS II). Same effect on equipment. I run the Ensemble and LAT International on my tube gear. The LATs can be had for under $100 per at echohifi.com. Work a deal for multiples. It is truly a no brainer.
Nick: I will second the Absolute cords (I own three and replaced my $150-$200 PC's with them). I also use a couple of the BMI Whale Elites and consider the Absolute PC's to be a good choice if you cannot budget $450-$500 per cord. What they do not have is the full bass and extended HF's of the mega cords (the HF's are still very good though, just slightly soft), but again they are $50 a pop and I feel that they outperform the old HT, Stealth and Silver Audio power cords that I owned and used in both of my setups. I also compared them to the least expensive "snake" cord (an early Sidewinder) and again preferred this $50 cable. Mine were purchased @ $40 when they were first introduced. The cords are 8' long which can also come in handy for going direct to the wall.
The Asylum cable from DIYcable.com might be another choice. The Asylum cable is touted as a great value and I believe its priced near the Absolute cord. I haven't used the Absolute so I can't comment but as the other posters have indicated it would appear you will have to spend considerably more to get better performance. I will say that some gear is less likely to realize any sonic improvement. I've had good success with aftermarket pcs on my preamp's power supply and my modded 333ES cd player but no luck on my Bryston 4B-ST amp - the caveat being I've never tried any of the big boys on it but all pcs priced at $200 or less never did a thing. If you can audition one before buying that would make more sense but if you can't buy used as you will lose less if anything at all if you can't truly find there is a difference...
You may be able to go one better ... if so inclined. If you have the skills, run a new dedicated circuit for your audio system. Stop sharing power with the vacuum cleaner, noisey dimmers or (heaven forbid) a computer with laser printer! If you can do it yourself, less than fifty bucks will make a bigger improvement than a box full of kilobuck power cords.
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The Absolute Power Cord's are a bargain. I have a couple I am not currently using, write me if you would to give them a try.
Jab,

I'm not sure that's globally true. I have two dedicated lines and different power cords make significant changes in my system. I heard less difference at the time when I moved from a non-dedicated line to a dedicated one (that is, with no power cord changes). I will say my system then was less evolved than it is today. I'm not saying there aren't very good reasons to move to a dedicated line...because I completely agree that there are.

Another area for improvement is a good A/C outlet.

-- Greg
I purchased a new Audio Refinement Complete Int amp in Sept and found that the cord that came with it was not well shielded and was causing interference with my tuner reception. I did not want to spend a lot on a cord and while I was tempted by the Absolute Power Cord, I am skeptical about some of their claims and I am not sure they offer a right of return. I ended up getting a Volex 14 gauge cord which is the same cord that Belden used to make. I think the model# is 17604 or something like that. If you search the forums here and on Audio Asylum, you will learn more. I bought two of them which I believe cost me around $40 including shipping. My radio interference went away. I did not get a night and day improvement in sound, but it certainly did no harm. I have gotten more benefits from changing speaker cables and interconnects. I am not sure what type of improvement you are trying to achieve, but I will offer that the Audio Refinement would not be my first choice to drive revealing electrostatic speakers. It is very competitive with solid state amps up to and beyond it's price range but it does not have the characteristics of good tube amps. I am using it with far less revealing and demanding speakers than yours (B&W DM602s2) and it works fine, particularly for backround music which is its primary role. I also have a young child and cannot devote as much time and effort to audio as a hobby anymore.