No contest, the JPS Labs Aluminata. I've never heard an improvement like that from a power cord. I've been using Foundation Research LC2 filtered cords for a year now, and like them a lot - better than TG Audio SLVR (RIP, Bob), better than Argent Audio Brujo, better than the Elrod Statement II (of which I own a pair). Then I plugged an Aluminata loaner into my amp and it was like a whole new world opened up. They do everything better than the other cords I've tried. They are stupid money ($3500) but I have one on order.
I haven't tried some of the other heavy hitters - the Shunyatas or PADs for instance, but the Aluminatas were convincing enough on their own to get me to cough up the coin.
I have had good luck with the Pure Note Enhanced Paragon. It opens up the soundfield and lifts all the haze. A bit cheaper at 300 bux.
Shunyata, Shunyata, Shunyata. The more you have in your system, the more the effect compounds. Not cheap by any stretch though.
Some of the cables are component specific; for example, diamondback and amps are a mismatch while the diamondback is great with digital. I would recommend a couple Taipan Helix cables to start with, well worth the investment imo.
".....No contest, the JPS Labs Aluminata.."
JPS Labs Kaptovator PC is not far behind at half the cost, still a silly price but works well with my pre & power amps. I was using PS Audio Statement PCs & the JPS is a significant improvement; Timbre & PRAT factors are some of its strengths IMO.
Here's what I think people should do (in order of importance):
1. Put in dedicated circuits.
If that's not possible then:
1a. Put in a power regenerator (NOT a conditioner!)
2. Get the best PC you can afford that has:
10 AWG conductors and,
A floating shield.
Get one for your amp and another for the regenerator if you have one.
3. Spend the money you budgeted for PCs for your front end stuff on a balanced power unit instead, and plug all your front end stuff into it. If you have a regenerator, plug the balanced power unit into it. If you have dedicated circuits, plug it into one that's reserved for your front end gear.
If you want to buy one more PC, you could get another 10AWG shielded for your DAC or CDP. Other than that, I'd leave everything stock.
It is inconceivable to me that $3,500 spent on a component upgrade won't do more to improve your system than a $3,500 power cord.
For a system in the + $200,000 range then maybe, but spending that much for a power cord, in most situations, is sheer insanity.
Take a deep breath and come back down to reality.
Herman, I don't think they sell a lot of $3500 PCs. I use PAD Dominus. They're expensive (but can be had for $900 used) and so are any of the really good ones like Virtual Dynamics, Aural Symphonics, etc. The reason they're expensive is not hype (for the well respected ones) It's because they have to source small quantities of expensive alloys and other materials, perform additional processing like cryo treatment, and hand-build the product one at a time. All this gives them just a little extra performance in the 'energy transfer' department. Not enough IMO to justify all the extra expense, unless you own a highly resolving system -- in which case you WILL hear the difference.
Sorry , me dumbo , but what is AWG and what is a floating shield? The ground lead soldered at the male end of the cable and left unsoldered where it goes into the appliance?
Thanks for the enlightenment.
Greetings from Switzerland,
AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. The smaller the number, the larger the wire. Google "American Wire Gauge" and learn more than you really want to know ;--)
Here something on shields and OEM (stock) PCs from another thread:
All three conductors in a power cord are connected to the plug at each end. One to hot, one to neutral and one to ground. In addition, the cord may have a shield. This is usually a metal braided tube, or a metal foil layer, right under the outer jacket and surrounding the three insulated conductors. It will capture any stray RFI in the air and "drain" it to ground, by being connected to the ground pin of the AC plug.
If the shield is ONLY connected at ONE END (the ground pin of the AC plug) it simply CANNOT conduct any current. If the other end of the shield is also connected to the ground pin of the IEC plug, the result is that you have two separate wires (the "shield-wire", and the ground conductor-wire) connected TOGETHER at BOTH ENDS of the PC. If you draw a diagram of this, it's what's called (in circuit terminology) a LOOP -- in this case a GROUND LOOP. A ground loop can act like an antenna that will pick up electromagnetic radiation -- mostly 60 cycle AC from the cord itself, or other nearby sources of AC, and you get that lovely 60 cycle HUM that drives you crazy!
Some PCs (like Cardas for instance) employ a double floating shield. There are two concentric shields insulated from each other. One end of one shield is connected ONLY to the AC plug ground pin. The other end of the OTHER shield is connected ONLY to the IEC ground pin. Sort of "yin yang shields" ;--)
And while we're on the subject of PCs, most OEM (stands for: original equipment manufacturer, the stuff that came in the box with your equipment!) power cords aren't that bad. For one thing, the conductors are WELDED to the plugs before the molded casing goes on, so it's a great connection, but usually they are about one or two conductor sizes (AWG) too small for my taste.
The second problem is that they are (generally) unshielded; although in defense of the manufacturer, let me explain that if they WERE shielded, the shield would have to be connected to the ground pin of the plugs AT EACH END! Otherwise, the manufacturer couldn't get UL Approval on his product. If the shield IS connected at BOTH ends (as mentioned above), guess what?? You have a giant ground loop!! So even though all digital equipment (DACs, processors, CDPs) should be supplied with shielded power cords to keep them from radiating digital RFI (hash) into the air, they usually are not. Therefore, I feel that OEM cords on that kind of equipment should be replaced with PCs that have a "floating" shield (which I described above.)
For the DIY inclined:
If you got a shielded OEM cord with your digital equipment (it will say "shielded" on the jacket), then do this: cut off the IEC connector and strip back the jacket AND THE SHIELD an inch or so. Slide some matching black shrink tubing over it and connect the conductors to a new IEC plug of good quality. Voila! You have an OEM PC with a floating shield!
>>They are stupid money ($3500)<<
Nsgarch, Great post. Thanks.
Nsgarch, thanks, I'm now so enlightened that my surroundings need shades! Great! Now I'm going to google to find out what the different AWG sizes mean in terms of cm....
There aren't any $3500 upgrades left to do. I did them all before I even thought about this kind of tweak. That goes for all my cabling - you should get good wiring as you develop your system, but IMO the only time you should even think about splashing out for megabuck wire is if the rest of the system (including the room and the power delivery to the wall) is right where you want it.
From my personal experience over the last 2-3 years during which I've heard many different brands of expensive to ridiculously priced power cords is that my personal prefs tend toward Shunyata powersnakes all around. I owned Taipan, Python and Anaconda (non-Helix) cables with a Shunyata Hydra8 and Hydra4 for well over a year and was extremely happy with the results pushing power for my Esoteric sources, Edge amps, Classe SSP-600 pre-proc, Sony Direct View CRT and Lumagen processor.
I recently made a jump to an Esoteric P-03/D-03 combination along with an Edge NL 12.1 amp; during this same timeframe I also was A/B comparing the new Shunyata Helix line of Alpha and VX cables. I have found final state based upon all-Helix level Shunyata cables as they've managed to improve an already impressive line of powersnakes. My system has the following;
Anaconda Helix Alpha 20-amp (to power conditioner, most important cable in system)
Python Helix VX's (for all gear with digital circuit)
Python Helix Alpha's (for all amps and non-digital gear)
Python Helix Alpha for REL Britannia B1 sub
This combination kicks ass quite candidly and (to my ears) gives me the same performance as cables costing even more per meter.
The real surprise came when I changed my Hydra8 for a Furman IT Reference 20 active power conditioner; all I can say is that balanced, symmetrical power is the way to go. The entire system, even my CRT jumped drammatically from the beginning.
A dedicated high-throughput circuit for your system is also a prerequisite no matter what path you choose.
What power conditioner and equipment do you have?
Send me email if you want to chat further...I've spent alot of time in this area for my home.
Getting back to the original question, the JPS labs cables are great at increasing a soundstage, because they highlight the top end a bit more than others. They could be an issue if your system is on the brighter side though. The Shunyatas have very defined imaging, but won't give you any more perceived soundstage depth or width, because they're pretty 'thick' (but not necessarily slow) in the mids. Purist is great if you have a system that is very revealing up-top, and you'd like a more 'organic' sound.
Without knowing how your system sounds, that's about all I can add.
JPS Labs Aluminata. Once you try this pc in your system, you will understand. I got mine for half of retail here. Yes that still is a lot of $$$.
What is the status of your own line of power cords?
I'm still talking to the beta-testers to try to get the clearest picture of what they're hearing, and then integrate those ideas into what I'm hearing. I specifically chose people that I know and trust, and who have systems that run the gamut of what's out there. So far the majority of them have found at least one model of our PC's that they've liked, and wanted to keep, which makes me very happy, as I really am trying to create PC's that don't sell the 'one size fits all' philosophy, although they will all share a 'house sound'.
Honestly, I'd really hoped to have my cables out there by now, but like the audiogeek that I am, I just can't help trying different permutations. And now we're approaching the worst time of year to introduce a new product. :(
If you'd like, I could send you a pre-production model in a few weeks, just to hear what you think. At this point, I'm already prepared for cheers or boos, since I know that it's impossible to make an audio product of any kind that will please everyone.
What PC's are you using now, and on what gear?
I'll email you privately. Thanks.
Tplavas, Will the PCs be just new models/products or a new brand as well? In other words, do you have other products/PCs on the market that I may have heard of?
I will be introducing a new brand of power cables, and am in the early stages of developing a speaker cable. This is a brand new startup.
Try the DCCA ref 1, call Don from DCCA, one of the best
Ive tried compare to brand expensive cables.In my system
the soundstage is unbelievable plus some dynamics, air,
it does flesh out the music out of your system..
Try Audio Horizons Transparency AC Power cord. It is not expensive at all and they offer free home audition. I end up bought 3 after auditing.