Power cord heiarchy

Which power cord is the most important, or alternatively which PC position makes the greatest difference in your system? Here are your choices:

1. wall outlet to plc
2. plc to source (CDP/dac)
3. plc to preamp
4. plc to power amp
Would go with number 1. Since that feeds everything else, better power to it, should give better power to everything.
#1) Power cord from wall to amp. this is where the most pwer is used and the most improvement gained from an aftermarket cord, in a general way. Most amps do better from wall than from conditioner. (I do use Furman Ref20i for amp... but I am crazy for clarity. It does inhibit LF a bit makes it all thinner...)
#2} power cord from conditioner to pre.
Agree with Elizabeth on 1. Then say 2., 3. And 4. A tie after that. I am a big believer in good power cords in proximity to gear and interconnects. I would upgrade my outlets before cords, YMMV.
You have to try it out. There is no rule that I have found to be consistent, not to mention that the science around all this is nebulous at best.

The front end will help the entire system and often this is where you have most of the interconnects, phono stages etc. Good isolation counts here but that should be easy to assess as most of these sort of problems are very audible.

I have found power cords making a difference even before power regenerators (shouldnt they make zero difference since power is completely regenerated?!)

But the most important thing about power is that your own home electrical system, noise etc is unique. And your equipment may be excellent or not but its interaction with these issues is component-specific and it relates to how good, isolated etc the power supply is. It also will depend on the design itself, ie are you using tube SETs or some ss baanced system or what.

Having said all that, I find that the biggest difference I can discern in my own system is when I power the phono stage, especially my Goldmund ph3, with different power cords. The effect is less with the wavac phono, maybe because of its extreme design on the power supply (3 boxes.)

Enjoy, this is worth trying out, it makes quite a difference.

I would have thought that the design of any highend amp with their sophisticated power supplies would not be in need of a power cord upgrade.You would think that an amp going for thousands would already have an upgraded cord, or if it needed one would not the designer after listening to it included into the amps price. I mean what are we talking about penny copper no more then 6' with upgraded hospital grade connectors at both ends. I am sure if needed it would have been part of the DESIGN and included in the whole package.
If you want to consider an answer from a manufacturer's representative, then this is one opinion:

09-18-07: Samuel

Based on years of trials and feedback, we learned that if you are plugging multiple(3 or more) components into a Hydra, the power cord going to the wall is the most important, and by a wide margin.


Shunyata Research
Samuel (System | Answers)
The Power Line Conditioner should not be a given. One must try out both ways, with and without plc. There is no guarantee that the plc will bring an absolute improvement. Then, any power cord from the wall is most important as a general rule.

HOWEVER, what one's ears considers to be the best sound may vary widely. Individual preference will vary concerning placement/sound of PCs. I have had instances when the sound of the system using a "lesser" power cord upstream was just as enchanting, though dramatically different sounding, as putting the "more capable" pc upstream.

There are meaningful differences in sound especially between copper and silver OFC power cords. Though the silver is typically much more expensive, it is not guaranteed that it's placement ahead of other power cords in the system will bring the most satisfactory results. This does not mean that I think the silver PCs are not worthy. The bonus with a mix of silver/copper PCs is the ability to tune the rig to a higher degree than with all one type.

Schipo, just TRY it! :)
Schipo, the designs always have tradeoffs and conditions in the design facilities may differ than the ones at home. Good manufacturers generally address that but i know of more than one amazing sounding amps that do benefit from power conditioning, better current etc. That is quite clear and not a psychoacoustic phenomenon. Now, extending that argument to power cords is a bit more artistic as the science is not yet conclusive. nordost recently made some efforts to prove their point and I am not well versed enough with electrical theory and practice to be able to fully comprehend what they are saying. That in itself may be an issue.
In any event, imho power cords do make a difference and one that is often not subtle. In my system and my conditions, I find that they make a bigger difference than even interconnects.
no human can hear much past 20 KHz. Few microphones respond to frequencies beyond that, and even fewer loudspeakers can reproduce that high.And your telling me that you can hear the small difference in power cords. Every competent circuit designer knows how to filter out power line noise, and such protection is routinely added to all commercial audio products. Spending hundreds of dollars on a six-foot replacement power cord ignores the other hundred-odd feet of regular wire between the wall outlet and power pole.
How about this question: What if you're using a voltage regulator/regenerator which corrects the waveform to 120v 6o hz? Theoretically, it wouldn't matter if you used a two dollar cord or a two thousand dollar cord.
Spending hundreds of dollars on a six-foot replacement power cord ignores the other hundred-odd feet of regular wire between the wall outlet and power pole.
Schipo (Threads | Answers)
That's an oft repeated argument against after market power cords.

Grant Samuelson of Shunyata Research recently addressed this:
Power cords are designed to act as sympathetic, noise-isolated extensions of the primary winding within a component’s power supply. Seen this way, their function takes on a more understandable role. They represent the initial outward electrical interface for each piece of electronics in the system. That raw wire interface can either act as an antenna for radiated HF and ground-borne noise or it can be engineered to isolate the power-supply port from internal and external EMI, RFI interference.

There is no such thing as a power supply that is adequate to filtering or isolating itself entirely from the huge volume of gigahertz noise that surrounds electronics systems and comes from within them. The bigger and more powerful the system, typically the larger the problem an unshielded or unprotected AC port can become. That is not to say electronics systems cannot sound great without after-market cords, or that tons of money must be spent on them, it's just to say that there is real-world science that explains why that they "can and most often do make an easy to hear difference or improvement in recorded or reproduced sound".

In general, power cords do not represent the last few feet of an AC grid leading to a component; they are first few feet from the perspective of each component’s power supply. Due to the fact that your AC is in principle the_source_ of sound for any music or sound system--AC rectified to DC which carries the signal through the system--it would seem imprudent to ignore the possibility of a difference and not perform the simplest of empirical experiments for oneself--unless the point of discourse is only to make funny asides under strict internet protection :o).

Since no product of this or any kind are being forced on anyone, each is free to try for themselves and make their own determination. Certainly the fact that many of the finest recording studios, mastering professionals, electronics engineers speaker manufacturers openly use and endorse them would seem to dim some of the more ardent "internet posting professionals" erm, arguments...

Shunyata Research
Samuel (System | Answers)

Having turned into a thread on the merits of powercords, i can only say I did not believe. Then I tried some. Now I know. Same with Power conditioners. (My caviat is that I have ONLY experimented with the lower half of the price range) They can change subtle aspects of the noise result: (most folks call that noise result music)
i would say in general, my experience is that cords clarify. Powerconditioners clarify AND tighten up the LF, sweeten the HF, and lessen the strength of the LF slightly. The LF becomes leaner, tighter, less 'wool'ly. And the Lf quickly can become too thin very easily with nearly any multiples of cords and conditioners i have ever tried.
really...again? i can understand (sort of) that some folks are unable to hear the, what i perceive as significant, impact of power cords but what i do not understand is the need to constantly post in threads where others are exploring how they can best utilize the impact they do hear. that was not intended to be such a long sentence, happens sometimes.

to answer the op's question, depends. not what you want to hear i know. it really does depend on the cord, the gear and how it all interacts. it can really screw things up or really tie it all together so, for me, it takes a bunch of messing around. i still am struggling with finding the right balance/combination. i am starting to lean towards using all of the same cords which seems to be the right synergy for me.
I start with the digital source first.See what sounds best there.Then the preamp.Power amp last.This works for me.