Power cord length

I upgraded all my power cords to Nordost Red Dawn. My cabinet sits directly in front of outlets. I have McIntosh MC830 monoblocks. Originally I purchased 2m lengths but don't like all the extra cord clutter so purchased a 1m length for left channel amp. After the fact I read Nordost spec sheet which stated minimum length 2m is recommended. Dealer stated "2m works the best for it to really filter". Also, both cords must be same length for "time alignment"; when using monoblocks "different length wires will sound slightly different". I am thinking to buy another 1m for right channel to solve timing thing and additional clutter cleanup. Ok, that's my situation- I am requesting explanations/opinions/knowledge/recommendations-  I read a similar post awhile back and  seek additional clarification. Thank you.


I am requesting explanations/opinions/knowledge/recommendations

Well the speed of light is 300 million meters per second, or 1 nano second/foot.. so a 6 foot cord will be maybe 10-15 nanoseconds depending on the insulation.

I cannot imagine much of an effect to timing would happen… the outlets in the wall are usually on the same piece of wire and no one few claim to hear that.

I think they are having you on.

I have different length cords on my mono blocks without issue...I do try to avoid 3 ft cords as I always end up wishing they were longer at some point...

I have had the discussion with 3 different cable manufacturers and their consensus is the same 2 meter is the best from the standpoint of filtering (I am taking their word). I agree with @holmz that 2 different lengths on a short run will have zero influence on timing or sound. If it does it is all in your head 🧐


The cable manufacturers I've spoken with generally recommend using a short a cable as possible for cables except for power cables, where a minimum of 2 meters is recommended. I will be conducting some blind tests with some friends next weekend comparing 1 meter, 2 meter, and 5 meter power cables. I'm not convinced we'll hear any differences, but it should be a fun test!

My dealer recommended 2 meter for more “conditioning”. I had never looked at it that way. I have two AudioQuest Hurricanes, one one meter and one two meter. So I did a comparison with my stereo amp. I use them both when running the mono blocks. I can’t tell the difference. But audio is all about small additive improvements. So, one should definitely use the same length. 

The two meter definitely sounds better. While they are clearly the same power cord the 2 meter is a bit quieter. Definitely worth the money.

"Dealer stated "2m works the best for it to really filter". Also, both cords must be same length for "time alignment"; when using monoblocks "different length wires will sound slightly different"

Oh brother... if that's the case, then have ALL the  PC's the same length-that way everything is "synchronized" to get AC at the same time.

Sounds like nonsense techno babble to take advantage of non techie consumers.

A.N. at it's finest. 

Selling 2M cords makes them more money than 1 meter cords.  I would reterminate them myself to the length I want. 

Power cords should always be as short as possible and avoid loops.


Yeah, I ain't falling for the 2m thing, either. And I do believe that PCs can make a difference.

got curious and checked some AQ and Cardas prices...seems the second meter is way less expensive than the first...and 2M so much more convenient...and the price difference often quite small if you shop used…

No worries. I have a 27 foot cable from the rack to the amp out in front. Electrons are quick!! ha

My two monoblock amps, have 12’’ power cords. The shorter the better, different lengths do not matter. In my opinion power cords and speakers cables should always be kept as short as possible, that’s one of the many reasons for monoblock amps. Time alignment with power cords is silly. 😁

Dealer stated "2m works the best for it to really filter".

It’s the opposite, the shorter the cable the less chance of it picking up noise.


"The two meter definitely sounds better. While they are clearly the same power cord the 2 meter is a bit quieter. Definitely worth the money."

@ghdprentice  I can't believe you are saying this.  Gotta be a piss (miss)take.  Like, I have tested all lengths from 1.75001m to 1.9999m.  And I really love the 1.7836m cord.  Way better than 0.002m longer or shorter.  Make sure you get it right, down to the fifth decimal point.

OMIGOD.  Another power cord fetish.  Please help us.

Don't forget.  Before the power arrives in your outlet it has come 10 miles or more from the power station.  On all sorts of rubbish wire corroded like hell after 40 years in the ground, but big gauge for sure.

Just connect your stuff with a cord that can handle the amps being drawn.  To save your pocket book just make it regular 12 gauge cord.


Hello Wrighton!  Don't let anybody fool you. It's your home and your property. Measure carefully add an inch or two for safety (just in case you OOOPS), get out your screw drivers and wire cutters and shorten it so it fits better for you. Observe how they prepared the wires for connection to the plug and do it the same way. If one end looks easier to change, change that end. Don't Wory, Be Happy.

Bigger gauge for longer runs is about the only thing that makes sense to me. I can see about keeping speaker wires the same length but power cords!?! As to the 2m length being better than 1m I am at a total loss for words.

my question is why does Nordost offer standard lengths of 1, 1.5, 2 and 3m if less than 2 is 'out of spec'?

I just got a Zavfino FINA 1m PC for my DAC - it was a custom order, same price as 2m - happy camper here.


You do believe tonal quality can be addressed simply by manipulating the AC wires coming from the final wall socket going into your equipment ? And of course same with the noise dragged from never never land. Lol 

The 2 meter lenght is required so you can also tune the tonal balance of your speaker output by folding the AC power on itself according to some mystical patterns.


Most of mine are 5 footers for connectivity purpose to anywhere from my furniture to the AC outlets.

Time aligned power? Filtering per unit of conductor length?

What physics text books are on that dealer's shelf?

Isn't the AC power going to be converted to DC in the amplifiers?

Oooh... I get it now.  Timed Aligned Direct Current.  Ah, now it all makes sense.


Now you've gone and done it, you've created a new standard....The TADC - Time Aligned Direct Current......coming soon to an audio manufacturer near you......

I think that's what the Doc used in Back to the Future to power his DeLorean....

"Time alignment" for a power cord! So tell me how the genius's at Nordost determine this hitherto unknown factor?

The problem is Mcintosh monoblocks are not very resolving so your dealer is using bright power cables on them. 2m easier to resell. Get some better amps from Audionet before power cables. Also the fact your dealer would sell you that low of a gauge thickness level power cord on monoblocks tells you that that is not a very caring dealer having a fiduciary duty to protect your sound system because that’s the worst cable for monoblocks and really used more on preamps or dacs.


Threads like this remind me once again that snake oil sells well among we music lovers. Buyer beware.

@wrighton  I do find a difference  in the sound between  different  lengths of powercords and the sorter ones I don't care for as much but a good short cord is better than a cheap computer  cord. Remember  it is your system  and what you like not what I would choose  nor any other poster. They best advice  I could give you is try it yourself then you know for yourself and your tastes. There are many poster that as soon as something costs money it is all false could never be anything correct about this or that product  because  it is not free. Keep that in mind when reading  on here. What's best forum seems to have a group with passion  for the hobby and not as many pretenders.  

"The two meter definitely sounds better. While they are clearly the same power cord the 2 meter is a bit quieter. Definitely worth the money."

"I do find a difference in the sound between different lengths of powercords and the sorter ones I don’t care for as much..."

Let’s try to assume for a moment that the above observations ARE correct. Perhaps we give those who claim to actually hear something the benefit of the doubt and there ARE differences in the sonics of 1M and 2M cables. If an "error" exists, perhaps it is in our attempts to assign cause and effect with our limited knowledge base, thus disqualifying those conclusions in the minds of many? Or, to take it a another direction, maybe those explainations are correct but are simply ahead of the curve and could be months (or years) ahead of our current understanding of what makes things sound how they sound? Years ago, one reviewer, who’s name escapes me, was an engineer very comfortable with the fact that he could not explain in engineering terms the differences he was hearing in equipment.  Maybe there are still lessons to be learned?

I like the poster’s plan to get his hifi buddies over for listening tests this weekend. I, for one, am very interested in the results.

As expected, we got the usual comments from those who think premium power cords are the industry equivilant of Ford Pinto exploding gas tanks.

Perhaps a little intellectual humility would prove to be beneficial, and we toss "what we know" out the window, and just listen?


I made all of my power cords to length with Furutech components. The cords to my mono blocks are different lengths and I cannot tell any difference. I was trying to cut down on cord clutter behind my racks. 

I have one of the older style, braided Audioquest Hurricane Constant Current (source) cables that is 2m, and the rest are the new non-braided 3m Hurricanes.

I don’t know if it’s the length, or the fact that the Audioquest’s design changed (no longer braided). But, the new 3m power cords do sound clearer with more dimensionality. The old 2m cable was flatter sounding, but also more immediate. When I did the test, I was actually expecting the opposite. It pains me slightly not knowing if the differences I’m hearing are due to length or the fact that Audioquest adjusted their design.

I only started considering cable length when I, totally by accident when I wasn’t considering cable lengths, discovered that a 2m Nordost Valhalla 2 USB cable sounded far superior to the equivalent 1m USB cord. Another case where I would have been expecting the opposite if I was actually testing for it. That’s how big the difference was: I wasn’t even testing for the lengths or comparing between cables. I have a USB reclocker so need two USB cables and I was trying my system without the reclocker. I noted my system sounded worse than normal even without the reclocker, so I tried replacing the 1m cable with the 2m, and was quite stunned by the difference. I also tested the Audioquest Diamond .75m cable which sounded closed in compared to the 1.5m version.

A few audiophile contacts I have that are technically inclined and have nothing to gain by propagating myths tell me that for USB, 1.5-2m is best because of “reflections”. Something about the signal handshaking and having to “reflect” back I think. I don’t know if this applies to all digital cables or just USB. For what it’s worth, Nordost recommends 1.5m for “digital cables”.

After my experience, I begrudgingly accept the manufacturer recommendations on 2m for power cords (even though I’ve not proven length to be the reason for the difference I heard) and that digital cables should be 2m, and that analog interconnects should be shorter.


OK, "Just for clarification."

Most here seem to believe that keeping the (Speaker cabling), the same length makes sense. "Time alignment".

Me too. 
But that keeping the power cabling to (Mono-Block), amplifiers the same length is a 'a wee but nuts.

So, you believe the charge in the speaker cabling (signal).

And it is somehow moving at a rate that you "can" hear. But the charge which first amplifies that exact same, (signal), and then sends that (Packet), of charge, on it's merry way, "Via- your speaker cabling" to your musical transduction system, (speakers), does not matter?


If one set of cabling which allows your signal to get from one place to another at the same time matters, (Coherence). The they (ALL) matter. 


"Unless you have a rig that cannot resolve to the point where this would ever matter.

But that is another discussion entirely..."

But do realize that all of the power, "As it regards to your home power system".

 Each and every circuit, is always classified by its particular "Phasing".

And before anyone shouts, "Snake oil".

There is a piece of equipment called a "Phase Rotation meter" where even "You" can see in real-time, that it is not snake - oil.  

 That this is a real thing. with a speed that a piece of equipment costing only a few hundred bucks. Can read and then express to you, - The rotational value of any and all circuitry in your homes electrical system. And also, the (Order of Rotation).

And regardless of the nomenclature used, - (Phase/ing, Time- Alignment, Coherence, Stereo Imaging and on and on,,,etc.). These are all adjectives expressing the 'Exact", same variable and it's value, (Time).

Because most of this particular hobby. Is about time!

Am I getting any traction here?

I made all of my power cords to length with Furutech components. The cords to my mono blocks are different lengths and I cannot tell any difference. I was trying to cut down on cord clutter behind my racks

^this makes sense^


OK, "Just for clarification."

Most here seem to believe that keeping the (Speaker cabling), the same length makes sense. "Time alignment".

Me too.

Most us?

The reason to keep the speaker cords the same length has nothing to do with “Time Alignment”, and if it did there would be many HT systems that would suffer.

The reason to keep them the same length is because the current on the speaker side is higher, and any capacitance or inductance makes the cable a filter, and we do not want a different filter on the left than the right.


At least I think that would be “most of us”.

On a most practical side, 8', or ~2.5m is one of the most standard power cable length, so it is simply easier for a manufacturer to harmonize on the standard length than to have a large inventory of different lengths that won't make any difference in performance (unless you are designing a front end circuit for a very particular type of wireless communication - then an extra inch makes a difference).  Take it from a manufacturer who supplies power cables with our products (filters).

@jeffstrick    Thank you.  Your first post is incorrect.  Your second post is entirely correct.  Power cables cannot have sound.  And in particular, changing the lengths cannot change the sound.  Even if you install 2 miles of power cable of suitable current carrying capacity.

@clearthinker no it is interesting, who are you to say that it is not. I find both sides of this coin interesting. This is a discussion forum is it not? To discuss ideas, theory and experiences. I find it all fascinating. 



Let me make this crystal clear… I have two Audio Quest Hurricanes power cords of the same generation, one is one meter in length and the other one two meter in length and the two meter one sounds better… quieter, greater depth and dynamics to the sound. Makes my system sound better. 

@jeffstrick   You ask how power cords can have sound.  They cannot.  Unless someone here comes along and tells me how it all works.


@ghdprentice     I can only think they had a bad day at the factory when they made one of the cords.

Not power cord related, although it involves timing- why are the windings in inductors and voice coils never mentioned as causing timing errors then? There are relatively vast differences in wire lengths between even a common 4.7mH inductor, a woofer's voice coil and the few wraps in a tweeter voice coil in a two way speaker. I've never met a vendor mentioning the timing variances about this, although again relative to the speed of light or electricity it also wouldn't be much.

An old friend of mine-a very talented audio engineer-a guy who has been designing and building A-List tube and ss gear since the 1980’s-told me that without question, the most important specs for any power cord is that it be minimum 14AWG, and long enough to reach an AC outlet.



I have always heard that all cords, especially interconnects and speaker cables should be as short as possible with the exception of power cords that benefit from being longer. I wouldn't go crazy beyond a few meters though.

Pierre at Mapleshade maintained that 8 feet was ideal for speaker cable...not more, not less

@nyev I can confirm I experienced the exact same thing with the AQ Hurricane. The latest unbraided HC Storm series sounds better than the old braided NRG series HC cord. The new cable sounds more balanced, less bloated and clearer.