Everything matters Stnergistic Research is doing some ground breaking work on Power cords.
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Yeah Mootsdude, I just wish all of the engineering type naysayers who insist powercords cannot make a difference because of their belief systems would simply quiet their minds and LISTEN to what a power cord can do. I've found that power cords have a bigger efffect on sound than interconnects. Of course, I freely admit that I've not experimented with mega dollar interconnects either.
Does anyone have an explanation for how a single power cord can transform the sound of an entire system? This defies logic for me. I've focused on what I consider crucial areas to build a good sounding audio system - well designed components, acoustical treatments, resonance control, dedicated power lines, and a balanced power conditioner. I wasn't prepared for the results that I'm hearing from this new power cord. Are there any quantum physicists that can explain or do we just have to accept it as one of natures unexplained mysteries?
I don't have an explanation per se but I can concur with your results. While I'm not a cable critic as you can see from my system, I nevertheless failed to see the logic in spending money on power cords as the components I bought all have substantial power supplies and associated components. As you can see, I have what I would describe as a respectable system but recently I haven't been enjoying it at all and was beginning to suspect the preamp or the speakers might be the problem (which turned out to be unfair as I would soon find out).
In any case, I've been changing my power configuration around and now have only one wall receptacle to work with (230V/13A) from my earlier three receptacle configuration. To deal with this issues, I ordered a Hot Box from VH Audio (you can see the configuration below) as I needed four plugs. When the Hot Box arrived (fantastic packaging btw, it's nice to see that some people still take value such things) I immediately unwrapped it, plugged it into the wall and plugged the Wadia 861se GNSC Statement CDP and Mark Levinson 326S preamp in (stock PCs) and went back to my seat and hit play on the beautiful new Wadia remote. The improvement was not subtle. It's as if the front end said, FINALLY. I had no idea what a well designed power cord and receptacles could do that to a system. Vocals were more intelligible, instruments more defined, decay enhanced, the bottom end had more power and it was as if the whole system was louder (granted the bass was a little overpowering at first but has settled in). More important than all that was that the music was back, PRaT appeared from its deathbed; I can finally enjoy my system.
My experience with the Hot Box means that I'll definitely be ordering some Airsines to compare against the Transparent and MIT products I'll be demoing soon.
I know it sounds overboard but I haven't stopped listening to my system since the Hot Box and for that there are no words that can express my appreciation regarding Chris' products (he's also very patient and frank in responding to questions). At the end of the day, I'm at the point that the science, while nice to understand, is irrelevant when the results are this good. Logic am failed and I couldn't be happier.
You will get no real scientific explanations, only psuedo-science, but yes, it is real. I fought it for years before listening for myself about 6 years ago. I am now of the same mindset that you are, that the power cord makes more of a difference than interconnects or speaker cables.
Even after hearing and believing, I still can't understand why, after traveling miles through crappy wire, the last 6 feet would make any difference. I've learned to just file it under unexplained mysteries.
jayctoy, your comments about PCs making a difference is interesting to me. I have the Pass Labs XA160s and I have found PCs to make a very subtle difference, perhaps a bit more dynamic. I expected this as most amps have massive power supplies and filters. I don't pretend to understand what is going on here. I would love to hear your thoughts on what improvements you heard on your amps with a new PC? By the way, thats one thing about this hobby I love/hate...everybody has a different experience.
Mootsdude I too was amazed at power cord results and did some research into it (MIT cables white papers on their website was one area of use to me as was the Equitech website explanation of balanced power.)I believe NASA and military reuirements have also pushed forward "noise reduction" techniques and Bybee Electronics and Shunyata discuss this as well. To my knowledge MIT has been an 'early adopter' of technologies for noise reduction and has numerous patents supporting their efforts. Like you I find the benefits wonderful.
Tboooe,I also wonder before why my Pass Lab X250 did not
improved much,when I replace the stock cord,that time I
am using the CPC model eleven,I just got exactly what you
described,I remember on one thread Pass Labs dont really
benefit much on replacing their stock cord,I dont know
why?Like I said maybe Audience powerchord and DCCA ref1
will do the trick..I believe Pass Lab are good amplifiers.
I switched to tubes though..
I think that there are reasonable explanations for how custom power cords can positively impact the performance of even (or especially) high performance audio equipment. They have mostly to do with the electrical environment OUTSIDE the components in your system. This topic has received much attention on Audiogon and elsewhere (see this recent thread for example http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1190049515&openusid&zzKnownothing&4&&).
Also see the Guerrilla Audio site for the most logical description I have seen from any vender as to how well designed PCs work to improve performance
Perhaps, in addition to transmitting the power better, they also serve as a filter and compensate for and clean up the grunge of miles of cable that end up at the wall and keep it clean from conditioner to component. After all is said and done, audio is transforming electricity (energy) to mecanical energy (speakers ad sound). Garbage in - garbage out. Bottom line, I believe; and the acid test, my wife can tell when I put in new PC.
I have the Impulse on my Cdp. After 200 hours of break-in, there was just as much improvement as on my tube preamp. It seems that the more Fusion cords in my system the better. The manufacturer, I believe, has a return policy if not satisfied. Talk to Kirk or Eric. It's difficult for me to describe the overall improvements in words. Just imagine all the superlatives and adjectives used to describe the musical qualities most audiophiles crave and these cords give them to you. I don't hear any drawbacks. The tonality of these cords is very neutral, so if you're looking for some cords to add additional warmth or added brightness, then look at other cords. To my ears, dollar for dollar, superior to Elrod, Electraglides, and many others that I've tried. But then again, your equipment, room, listening preferences might be different from mine, so your mileage might vary. Have fun experimenting.
Thanks Sherod. I actually have the Impulse on my DAC right now and I had it on my previous one box cdp. I am going to try the Enchanters next. I was told the Enchanters are really meant for high current applications like amps but I am going to give them a shot on my transport and cdp.
I was just curious what other Fusion Audio users have heard.
There was a time that I said that people who heard difference because of power cords were nuts. Well, I must be one of those nuts, because as my system got better and matured, and as I became more educated on what to listen for, good power cords absolutely make a difference in sound, some better, some just different.
That being said, I ended up with Fusion Impulse and Enchanter power cords on my front end, and DCCA power cables on the power amps. You won't find bigger "bang for the buck" cords from amyone else. imo!
I have the new DCCA line for 2008, the Reference One on my CDP and the Reference Master on my VAC...Don has outdone himself here...really cool new look, far more flexible than his previous cords, and he's taken the sound further with impr4oved imaging and staging and just more body throughout...I am very pleased to have these in advance and suggest DCCA fans (and onyone looking for PC's) check these out as soon as possible!
I currently have the Synergistic power cords and Fusion Audio power cords on demo.
The Precision AC beat the Fusion Audio Enchanter in my system on my power regenerator. But what I liked about the Enchanter is its liquid midrange and organic nature.
Everyone that is trying Fusion must try the Synergistic power cords as well. I borrowed them from The Cable Company. All the hype is right, these power cords are revolutionary!!!
I long ago thought I had discovered the potential of Power Cords. They made an incredible difference. I tried a number of Mid Fi (around $500) an they all helped. I then added just one Dynamic Design PC to my power conditioner and everything improved an order of magnitude, from imaging and tighter, more coherent bass to crisper, less distorted TV picture. I had never heard of them before until recommended by a trusted friend. Now my other PCs are for sale to be replaced by Dynamic Design. Does it ever stop??
More on the 'Fusion Audio' power cords.Seems most responses are about these great power cords.After buying like about 30 different cords over the last 5 years, I found out that they all do different things to your system.
Just like diferent capacitors or tubes and on and on.
However , I do really like these cords.Very flexible although they don't look it.I have an 'Impulse' on the cdp and an 'Enchanter' on the amp.As Joey above said an 'organic' sound, so it matches the Audio Aero Prestige quite well.Smooth yet dynamic and do not remove/mask micro details.
I have also removed the Line conditioner from the system and feeding direct ac from Dedicated AC Circuits ,complements and adds that last bit of realism.
You could probably get a demo. I just took a chance.I'm happy I did.I've had them for 6 months,and I don't post unless I find a product above any thing else I have used.
Here's a little story of mine. I had used Virtual Dynamics Power 3 for several years. I am open minded, and willing to accept what I hear. And I do hear differences various interconnects and speaker cables. But I haven't really heard difference in power cords yet. The only reason I was using VD cord was because I got a good deal, and thought it wouldn't hurt the sound. The main drawback using VD cable was the weight and stiffness of the cable prevents good contact on the wall. When I moved into my current home early this year, I did not use VD cable because the location of the component made it impossible to use such a stiff cable. I didn't think I was missing anything without VD cable then.
A few weeks ago I rearranged the components, and decided to put back VD power cord. My friends and I listened to music for a while, and thought the sound got better. It has gotten decidedly more open, transparent, and clear with VD power cord. We then switched the cords back and forth to confirm that the power cord really caused the change in sound. And then we thought it would be fun to switch the power cords in DBT environment. So we did. We took out a blindfold, and did several iteration of the same music that we thought clearly showed the different power cords while the listener was blind folded. Unfortunately, we all failed to identify the cord in DBT environment.
We were all in shock afterwards. Then we did more iteration of power cord switching without blind folds, and I was not really sure that the sound really changed with VD cord any more. I then sold my VD cord next week to raise funds for something else..
We can draw our own conclusions on this story. Wearing my "skeptic hat", one thing I have realized was that placebo effect, and the power of the brain can really influence our perception. Playing the same music on the same day using the same equipment can yield drastically different impressions. First we all thought the sound was different and better with different power cords. After the DBT "incident" I wasn't sure if I heard the difference again.
Another thing that I would like to add, now wearing my "open minded" hat, DBT is very hard to conduct, and the result really does not prove one thing or the other. There is a nice story of JA from stereophile about conducting DBT on two amps, which pretty much concludes that the results of DBT is inconclusive. I would agree with him. With blind folded, and under the pressure to "guess" the correct answer, I got somewhat nervous and really could not concentrate in listening. Also we did it as a fun, not as a serious experiment.
I remain open minded, and do not want to dismiss the power cord theory. In fact I happened to have just acquired three VH audio power cords a couple of weeks ago, two flavor 4 and one flavor 1 for my Shunyata Hydra, EAD PM2000, and CAL front end. The hope was to "open up" frequency extremes and remove veiling on my newly acquired EAD amp. Flavor 4 for CAL was a bonus, just in case the new set of power cords really does wonders to the sound. It's been burning in for a couple of weeks now. So far I can't say that the new set of power cords improved the sound drastically. But it's still too early to draw any conclusion. Stay tuned.
Jylee - Interesting story. I guess the thing that makes me a believer is I've been piecing my audio system together for the past five years. I've done this in a very logical way, starting at the source and moving downstream. Over the years my ability to hear small changes has gotten much better. Some of the tweaks have had minimal impact on the sound. I've learned not to expect much change, just fine tuning and subtleties. Sometimes the change is so subtle that I question whether it even exists.
My guess is that tweaks and system changes can be synergistically applied and may have an exponentially cumulative effect. In other words, you may have a "bottle neck" somewhere that is inhibiting the audio system. Once the kink in the system is addressed, other tweaks may reach their full potential. This could explain why one single change (power cord) can transform the sound of the entire system.
Is there any scientific merit to my assumption?
jylee, consider yourself lucky that you do not have to spend money on power cords!!!! Thats what makes this hobby so fun/frustrating. There is no formula or right or wrong. For me, I was not a power cord believer until recently. From my experiences, power cords make the biggest difference on the source, but I think this is dependent on the source. In my system, power cords made a big difference on my Esoteric cdp. I have found power cords to make less of am impact on my Pass amps. I will audition the SR Precision Ref and Hologram A on my amps though just to verify that I do not hear much if any difference. The same with my previous preamp, Audio Research Ref 3. The stock cords sounded best.
But as mootsdude pointed all, power cords (and everything in this hobby) is dependent on synergy as well as a myriad of other factors and variables. If the right mix of variables allows power cords to make a positive difference great. If not, consider yourself lucky!
I just put the new bpt L10 --has new oyaide plugs with the same material as my ri oyaide outlets --20a ded line into furman ref 15 IT--took the old L10 and put it on my sub --bass has tightened and bass speed on the sub is better and now is more seemless with my stats-- the first L10 I put on the furman was nothing short of spectacular --great bargain--fast and dynamic --have them on my stats and cdp--will eventually put them on my other furman and amps
i hear difference among all my cables - both ICs and PCs. i think for some i would have no problem telling the two apart, whether in a blind test or otherwise. for example, for a while i used a pair of signal cable silver resolution XLRs. they were fast but had an unmistakable lean sound to them which, although may be beneficial on some systems, was not entirely to my liking. i then purchased and now use a pair of audio quest jaguars. the sound of these cables could not be more different - very warm and full sounding. i think in a blind A/B i would have little difficulty telling the two apart. but that in my experience is not the norm. generally differences are more subtle than that - although still important in terms of overall sound quality, and doing an A/B, as mentioned, often does not show anything other than this - that differences in audio are not and generally never night and day. although i doubt i would be able to pass most blind tests with my cables, i still believe that i can pick out differences - meaningful ones - among and between them.
to further my point. imagine a blind test between two drinks. in the first test, one is milk and the other is water. i guarantee that 100 times out of 100, people will be able to correctly identify which is which, because the differences between the two are so stark. but this is not audio. audio is a blind test between coke and pepsi. although there are clear differences between the two, if a person does many A/Bs back and forth and back and forth, the traits that made each stand out individually start to blur because the two although different are also by their very nature similar.
this is my take on cables and most audio equipment in general.
If ya can't hear a diff with various power cords... things should be far cheaper for ya.
I do hear diffs with power cords.
I always do blind testing when I get cables from the Cable Co. as they all arrive at the same time, and I can't read the tags on them. Same way with ICs. But that's just me.
it's a good thing I think however, and I'd reccomend people start doing just that... don't look! Just listen... after the initial bloom wears off from the first few days of integration of the ??? cable.
The results from not looking, might well be beneficial.
The one obstacle to all this how long it takes for a cable to run in... and then run in on the component you wish to hear it on... adapters help on the former... paitience and time are the only paths for the latter. I find the second or third session of playing a well run in cable on a particular conponent is about all that's needed... they're usually acquainted well by then.
The caveat is finding "better", as different is always handy. Pluggin back in the existing cable once again is prerequisite before a 'final' decision should be made.
Aural memory is not what I'd depend on when the $$$ is getting up there, and the betterment is succombing to but marginal increments.
my friend brought his Lessloss filter PC to compare my Tara Labs Cobalt PC last week. I was surprised by the performance of Lessloss for its value.
Lessloss is a well balanced PC with articulated/strong bass performance. Overall, my friend and I both still think Cobalt is better, more musical, more presentations, but Lessloss is very close. Considering the price difference of these two PC, I would recommend Lessloss for less budget users.
We investigated this interesting problem
years ago and found that the power cord(s) affect
the 'ground-floor' noise of the equipment.
SWR has been over-looked as the culprit, due to the
length of the cord being 'too-short'. None the less
the power cord has a different 'resistance' than the
equipment in use. The resultant mis-match will still
cause a reflected energy, of about 250-375 m-Volts.
This reflected energy - noise - is impressed upon the
ground plane of, for example, the CD player.
The circuitry of the CD player is affected by this - noise -
causing / changing the audio signal enough to be heard by
We have a complete white paper written up we could send
to you about this process and pictures of the
- measured noise- .
We, as posted before, investigated this problem and
were amazed that power cords made a difference.
We used a network analyzer to check power cords
for the low end testing of common L,C,R measurements
are of little value as we found out. Our first tests
were to measure SWR - SMITH Chart - displays. Wow
what a difference in SWR and cable designs - geometries
in particular. ZIP cords and regular 3 wire power cords
were our first cables tested.
LONG story short - we eventually designed an
award winning power cord - but more importantly
learned why the short power cord affects(ed) the audio
systems. Noise from the resistive mis-match of the
power cord and the equipment in use. Even though the
generated noise is low about 250-375 m-Volts this
is enough to cause havoc with the audio signal.
We have a white paper if you would like to see our
full details of how we did this test.