Power Cord Flavors

Someone recently sent me an e-mail asking about warm and fullbodied power cords versus neutral, clear and extended power cords. I thought I'd post my opinion, and ask others to share theirs, too.

My system is tubes: VAC Phi 110/110, First Sound Presence Depuxe II, APL Denon 3910

Warm and full bodied in my system=
Purist Audio Dominus w/Fluid
Elrod EPS-3 Signature
Revelation Audio Precept
VH Audio Airsine

Neutral, clear and extended=
Shunyata Python and Anaconda
Electraglide Epiphany
Ridge Street Poiema!!!
Audio Indulgence Alpine Lace
TG Audio SLVR and 688
Z Squared
Absolute power cord

That's a scary list of power cords. I'm kind of shocked at how many I've owned and tried.
Tvad, which do you prefer? - "warm and full bodied" or "Neutral, clear and extended". Quite a listing of high $ PCs you owned and tried.
My preference differs with the application, the day of the week, the temperature, the humidity, and how much of the bottle I've consumed.

Translation- I'm still on the journey and can not answer your question with any degree of certainty...as evidenced by the number of cords I've owned and tried.

My Holy Grail sound preference is excellent HF extension and liquid midrange without brittleness or glare. I'm still searching. :)
I'd be interested in your opinions on the following power cords if you wouldn't mind offering them. I found the Elrod sig 3 to be close to neutral but towards the warmer side of things. Have not tried the others that I have listed below.

Purist, Elrod, Electraglide and Shunyata.

Thanks and Happy Listening.
Grant very good thread, thanks

Hi Grant,

I'm impressed you can actually remember all the power
cords you have tested. :)

Actually, folks, the purpose of the thread is for everyone to share their OWN opinions of warm & full bodied cords versus neutral, clear and extended cords. :)

I'd rather not go into more detail about Brand A vs. Brand B because I believe this is a system specific question better left to individual experimentation.

My list is offered as a general guide, based on my own listening experience.

Have fun, and please share your warm vs. neutral power cord lists.

Wow, it would be nice to have something like this for ICs and speaker cables as well. This could become a very nice reference! Kudos Tvad....
i would put silver audio wattmaster and ps audio statement as warm and full bodied, with vh audio flavor 4 and airsine as neutral, clear and extended.
i will have a mike wolff silver carbon source cord soon, we will see...
Wow, Grant. You've had more power play than Gordon Gecko in his heyday.

Of those I have tried in our system, I found similar results. The Purist Dominus was the warmest, and the most musical-sounding of them all. The Poiema!!! was the most neutral. Their IC's as well. The Z-Squared are also quite neutral. Great performance, well beyond its pricepoint, IMO.

The darkest (sort of choked, actually) were the Audience cords.

Great thread. A valuable discussion for people cable searching to get some bearings on the sonic spectrum. Naturally, results vary from one system/set of ears to the next. But as we all know, my ears are directly over the earth's axis of auditory neutrality. There, I said it. :-)
I forgot to add the Wolff Carbon Ribbon Source cord (copper version)...on the warm side of neutral.

Disclaimer: I have one for sale to a good home. With papers. House trained.
Others I've tried:

Wolff Source--agree, slightly to the warm side of neutral.
Van den Hul Mainstream Hybrid--neutral, great on amps, inexpensive.
Component Plus Premium PC--Similar to Z-Squared, slightly more bright, and a bit more airy sounding. At $195, this cord is also priced really well.
Signal--Dark, choked, similar to the Audience in our system.
Electrglide Mini Khan Plus--Neutral, more open sounding than the Wolff Cord/Z-Squared on the source. Great for jazz, vocals, not quite as good for rock, IMO.
Verastarr Signature--Slightly brighter than the Z-Squared. Not as open as the Component Plus.
Virtual Dynamics Nite I--neutral, though more closed off than the Mini Khan Plus, on CDP. Sounded less natural than the Wolff, or the EG cords.
Electraglide Ultra Khan Statement R/R--Every attribute of the Mini Khan Plus, just more of it.
I have found the Cardas quadlink PC to be on the warmer fuller side of neutral and a good match for shriller digital sources. The signal cable PC is a good budget cable. However for the price, my favorite PC is the Van Den Hul mainstream hybrid. It is neutral and quiet with excellent dynamics and works well on amps and digital sources. It so far has been the best bang for the buck in terms of PCs in my system.
Warm and full bodied in my system=
Cardas Golden Reference
Shunyata King Cobra V1/V2, Anaconda Vx, Cobra, Black Mamba
Elrod EPS-3S
Tara Labs The One

Neutral, clear and extended=
Virtual Dynamics Nite
BMI Shark
Shunyata Anaconda Alpha
VH Audio Flavor 4 Gold

These are of course, just IMHO.

Hi,thanks to the Cable Company and some friends, I have had the opportunity to audition the following cords in my system. All of these are good cords in their own right, each with their pros and cons and represent a wide range of prices. Based on what I heard in my system, this is how I would place these cords in the thread's suggested categories(in no particular order):

Warm and Full bodied=
Tara Labs The One (very full bodied, very rich midrange, but perhaps a little loose in the bass)
Elrod Signature 3
Elrod Statement (compared to the Taras Labs - more neutral and extended with deeper/tighter bass)
Cardas Golden Reference
PS Audio Xtreme Stmt (more dark than warm compared to the others and closed in on top)

Neutral, Clear and Extended=
AQ NRG-5 (neutral yes, but with some grain on mids and upper frequencies)
Electraglide Epiphany (as open and neutral as I have heard)
Synergistic Research Resolution Reference Active
Shunyata Python Alpha
Shunyata Anaconda Alpha (to my ears, richer sounding with a slight mid-range bloom compared to the other cords in this category but without loss of detail)
Purist Audio Venustas
Tara Labs RSC Air (similiar in sound to the AQ NRG-5)
Virtual Dynamics Nite II (a little closed in on top compared to the others)
Nordost Valhalla (very open, detailed and beautifully extended on top, but relatively thin in the mid-range compared to the others in this category)
Kimber Palladian PK10
John, this hobby never stops confounding and amazing me. A perfect example is how we can each have completely different opinions about the sonic flavor of the Shunyata Anaconda Vx. That's why it's so important to try these things in one's own system.
Tvad, agreed. It is indeed a strange hobby. IME, the Anaconda Vx was more neutral than the King Cobra series, but I still wouldn't put it in the neutral category.
The Anaconda Alpha is even more neutral yet, and I feel safe placing it in the neutral category.

There are varying degrees of warmth, just as though there are varying degrees of neutrality. I would say the Cardas Golden Reference and the King Cobra V1 are the warmest cords I've heard. The Anaconda Vx is probably the most neutral cable that I placed in the warm camp. The VH Flavor 4 Gold is probably the warmest cable in my neutral camp.

Of course equipment can change any of these I guess.

This is a nice thread. I have been contemplating trying out some aftermarket PC's in my system (right now all stock). This gives me a good reference.

Thanks guys'

It will be very interesting to determine where the new Shunyata Helix series fits in the continuum.
It will be very interesting to determine where the new Shunyata Helix series fits in the continuum.

Interesting why? I imagine Shunyata will be maintaining their house sound, so the comments above will certainly still apply.
Grant (TVAD), for 2 reasons
1. I am a curious doode and want to know what Shunyata has done with a PC I already love.
2. The only way to subscribe to a thread is to post to it.
Guido, that's understood. Welcome to the thread.

I'm going out on a limb here (tongue firmly in cheek), and I'm going to postulate that in my system the Helix cords will still be neutral, clear and extended, and in Jmcgrogan2's system the Anaconda Vx Helix will still be the most neutral cord in the warm category.

Wanna bet?

Do you have any power cords that you have heard in your system that you'd like to add to the list and categorize as warm and full bodied, or neutral and extended?

TVAD, I thussly confess that I am one of the doodes that buzzed around BabyBear during his analysis. I concur with all his findings. I should only like to add the following: One of the chords he lists is the Kimber Palladium, which we found to be extended but also having a lot of harsh upper glare, so much so that in works having legato treble lines, such as Violins, flutes, etc. . . the treble was so glaringly prominent to hide the detail of midrange and bass.
BabyBear's characterization of the Tara The One is right on. in addition, with that PC on the amp, Jean-Pierre Rampal's flute in J. S. Bach Flute Sonatas sounded somewhat unnatural and bloated/boomy, more like a trumpet than a flute. Nordost Valhalla was delicate and extended, but trim to the point of sounding anorexic in the midrange. Conversely, a phenomenally graceful result, having controlled top to bottom extension, just the slightest tuneful bloom in the midrange, and a vast and tightly-defined stage was finally achieved with an Epiphany on the digital source, Anaconda Alpha on the linestage and Elrod Statement on the amp. Needless to say. . . your mileage may vary
Guido, I can imagine the combination of Epiphany, Anaconda Alpha and Elrod Statement was outstanding. I'd be curious to know how substituting just a Python Alpha for the Anaconda Alpha would affect the results.
Norm, I will let BabyBear comment about Anaconda VS Python on his system. I did an Anaconda VX versus Python VX comparison last year on a Teac Esoteric X-01. By comparison the Python had a smaller soundstage, less defined imaging, fuzzy bass, less detail and was in genral less involving than the Anaconda. Note for posterity: my findings were with the old Python, not the new Helix version.
Who's Norm?

Although I appreciate the AnacondaVx versus Python Vx comparison, it doesn't apply to the scenario presented in your earlier post. The Vx cords sound different than Alpha cords, and a Vx cord used for a digital source has little in common with an Aplha cord used on a power amp. This has been my experience anyway.
Tvad, I compared the Python Alpha to the Anaconda Alpha on my preamp - VAC Ren MK II. This was with the Epiphany on the CDP and Elrod Stmt on the amp. To my ears, in my system, the Anaconda delivered a richer sound than the Python with the slight mid-range bloom that I mentioned in my earlier post. I felt that the Python was more neutral sounding. The overall result was more pleasing to me with the Anaconda than with the Python. Hope that helps.
Babybear, that's exactly what I was curious to know. Nice, succinct description. Thanks.
great thread indeed. I am using a combination of open and extended (electraglide epiphany) on my digital front end and preamp and also slighly sweeter, warmer (but not too sweet) on my power conditioner and Nagra VPA monoblock tubed amps - ISOCLEAN SUPER FOCUS - This one is a relative steal and you shoudl add it to your short-list, and a 6' length is "only" $1800 list.
To add to the fray, I am using a CRL FIM fold cord on my source, which provides a worm midrange thundering bass, and sweet highs!!!

Just for today
O Dear. . . not again! Grant, I am afraid this is the 2nd time at least I call you Norm on these threads. Rather than sending you custom apologies each time, I should generate abject apologies automatically. Apologies once again!
That's OK, Alphonso.

Thanks Grant, I knew you'd' understand. Yours, Dante
hey, there's too much luvyduvy i n this thread, whatabout da cables?
my would put my mike wolff silver carbon source into the warm and full bodied department.
A question,regarding Electraglide.My pal,who is obsessed with PC's has recently upgraded his pre-amp connection,formerly using a top($3500 list)electraglide cord,here.He has recently replaced it with an Epiphany,and,as he does with virtually everything he gets,he is raving about the "upgrade" in sound.He has done this on many occassions,with other products,that have proven to be downgrades,and has eventually gotten rid of them,along the way.He has a good ear for other people's systems,but in his set-up,he is overly impressed with advertising hype(though he is changing,a bit).

Do any of you experienced Electraglide users feel there is any REAL merit to moving away from an existing great PC(Electraglide,yet not Epiphany),to the Epiphany,on Pre-amp?Is this a bit of overkill?

He lives in a different state,so I don't get there that much.

Thanks,for any responses!
The answer to merit can only be answered by you after listening in your own system, because each of us has our own idea of the investment/improvement value scale. Almost everyone will tell you the Epiphany is a better sounding cord than the less expensive Electra Glide cords, but only you can decide if it's worth the extra expense.

Also, in my system, changing power cords on my preamp has the least effect of anywhere else in my system. The greatest effect of power cord swapping in my system is realized on the source and amplifier.
As follow-up tp my prior post, in which i raved about the Isoclean Superfocus, I tried swapping the epiphany (previously on my digital front end and preamp) to the amps, and now have the Isoclean superfocus (previously on the amps) feeding the the Reimyo cdp and Nagra preamp.

WOW. I should have thought about this before. After all, the VPA monoblocks are fairly sweet compared to the neutral Nagra PLL (preamp), so it makes some sense to try the more open cord on the sweeter gear, and the slightly warmer cord on the front end and preamp.... The result is a much more natural and enjoyable (less hifi-ish) presentation that is not too recessed or slow (after all the more open epiphany is still in the mix), and yet has tons of air and information, since the superfocus is nearly dead-center in the open/fast/clear versus warm/liquid/palpable continuum and is heavily shielded to be a good fit on a front end and preamp.

In other words, I am tempted to say the Isoclean is smoother and more natural sounding, with rock solid, weighty images, though perhaps with slightly softer bass than the epiphany. Again, I highly doubt my system would sound as good with 100% Epiphany or 100% Isoclean.

As to position, in my system, the front end and preamp are the most sensitive postions as far as power cords and vibrational isolation.
Having tried most of these brands and cords, I would add the Jena Labs One pc to the "warm and full bodied" column. It's more neutral than the Elrod Sig 3 as a point of reference. I use them on my amps but many like it on digital or system wide. Its strengths include strong bass, life-like vocals, and a sense of depth. It's most noticeable trait is a blacker ground. It's my favorite cord so far.
The Shunyata Taipan is an excellent choice for power cable. It really brought the detail and dynamics out. Compared to what I had previously tried with a Michael Wolff Silver Carbon power cord which was dull and smeared the midrange.

The Taipan had controlled and smooth full bass. While the Wolff cord was thinned bass and uneventful.

Good job on the Taipan desgn.
IMO, the main sonic differences between power cables are due to gauge and length. Too heavy of a gauge will darken the sound un-naturally, while too light will bring out detail, in much the same way a dynamic range compressor pushes detail forward, at the expense of 'punch'.
In my experience so far, comparing PC's of different gauges and lengths is very enlightening. After you've established what gauge/length a certain componenet 'wants', then you can fine-tune by trying different wire compositions/strandings/geometry/terminations etc, etc, etc.
You'd be amazed how many times a cheaper cable of optimum gauge and length will blow away the more expensive competition.
As always, JMO.
From the short list of cables I have tried :

Full bodied and warm :

Neutral and extended :
Synergistic Research AC Master Coupler
Full bodied and warm:
Shunyata Python (original), organic, musical sound with midrange bloom,
PS Audio Lab cable (original), but it is also slowing down the rhytmic pace of the music
HT Fantasy AC10 - One I liked this cable, but I was very happy to get rid of it. Too dull.

Neutral and extended:
Nordost Valhalla,
NBS Signiture II,
Elrod EPS-3
Nordost Shiva and Vishnu (both brigthens the sound with a lot of detail at the expense of bass extension)
Siltech SPX-30,G5, lesser extent the SPX 20-G3 (which has a greyish tone compared to the spx-30, G5 model)similar effect like the above mentioned cheaper Nordost cables, but a more neutral way.
From the short list of cables I have tried :

Very good full bodied and warm :
EG Fatman

Very good Neutral and extended :
Synergistic Research Reference

The Bottom very disappointing power cords which did not perform well:

Michael Wolff Silver Carbon
Very bright and thin sounding especially in midrange.

Absolute power cord
Not that dynamic.
Hey Tvad, you want neutral, clear and extended, try a Nordost Valhalla power cord. After only 4 hours of listening, I'm speechless. This is the fastest, clearest power cord I've ever heard, bar none. Granted, I haven't heard an Electraglide Epiphany X yet, but I'm stunned at this point. The Valhalla is MUCH more quicker and agile than the Shunyata Anaconda Alpha that it just replaced on my BAT VK-51SE preamp. Size of the soundstage is incredible! Unbelievable what changing one power cord can do!

Again, it depends what you're looking for. Some will prefer the fuller body of the Shunyata, in fact I traded my Anaconda to the Vahalla seller. He was looking for more musical weight, I was looking for more speed. My system is currently loving the new found speed and clarity of the Valhalla.


John :-)
Hello John,

I also just bought 3 Nordost Valhalla power cords for my BAT 150se mono-amps and my 51se pre-amp and I am as stunned as you are. I can tell you this is not just a different flavor. It was like a major component upgrade!

I'll add the DCCA Extreme Reference power cord to the "Neutral, clear and extended" column, although it contributes some weight to the music similar to the Elrod cords, but with less coloration. Therefore, it shifts toward "warm and full bodied" without falling into that category, in my opinion.
Hi Grant,

Thanks for the heads up. I expect my DCCA Extreme Reference in on Wed/Thurs of this week.
How long have you had yours? Did it take long to break in?
I guess you putting into the neutral camp means that I can expect to put it into the warm camp, huh? J/K :-)

John, I've had the one DCCA Extreme Reference I own for about three weeks. It sounded darn good straight out of the box, and frankly, I haven't paid much attention to the break-in since the arrival of the cord corresponded with the delivery of my updated APL Denon 3910.

I guess you putting into the neutral camp means that I can expect to put it into the warm camp, huh? J/K :-)

It's possible, John. We all have vastly different systems, and we all hear differently as well. The DCCA Extreme Reference is certainly warmer than the Shunyata Python cord it replaced, and I'd say it's not as warm as the Elrod EPS3 Signature cord that feeds my other Hydra 2 conditioner, but it's a matter of small degrees.
John, I would like to hear from you, what is your
impression of your Extreme,it looks liket the DCCA ref1,
and the Extreme are very consistent performer,Grant Iam
glad you are happy.My seacrh of pc is over with these
cables.Thanks 711.
John, I would like to hear from you, what is your
impression of your Extreme,it looks liket he DCCA ref1,
and the Extreme are very consistent performer,Grant Iam
glad you are happy.My seacrh of pc is over with these
cables.Thanks 711.