Power Cords

I am considering changing out my stock PCs. I don't want to spend a mint on them though. But I do think that upgrading to an adequate guage and having them in the correct lengths should be an upgrade for my system (MA 6500, Hydra 6, ML Vantages, Marantz BD 7003, Vidikron VL-52, and to come a Cambridge 840C).

I am considering Signal Cables, Zebra Cables, Pangea, PS Audio Jewels, and Element Cables. They are all around $50-$60 each and are within my price range. Also, I am considering just buying some Volex 17604s. They are less than $10 a piece and seem to be highly regarded.

Have any of you used these diffent PCs and can you comment on their sound? I've also thought of Shunyata Diamondbacks. But the cost is at least 2X as much.

Any comments or direction are appreciated.
Frankly, among the group you mention, I wouldn't expect you'd hear a difference worth the expense.

I'd recommend spending your combined power cord budget on a used Shunayata Python for your Hydra 6, and then possibly purchasing several Volex cords.
VenHaus DIY PCs are very good in my experience. They were about $70 each a few years ago when I made mine...
Pokey, Read "Shorten those lengthy power cords?" 2-08-10.
Let the debates begin!
Have you sorted all other things like components, room, speaker positioning and and and ....before you consider power cables?
Let the search function be used!
work on the room first then after that its your amp and speakers that do all the rest. Thinking that a power cord change will make a difference is in the wrong direction..think about all that wiring in your wall and running back to the power provider.
upgrading to an adequate guage
The cords that came with your equipment are of adequate gauge.The mfgr. would not include a cord that couldn't handle the current required for the equipment.There are codes and regulations that govern this.

having them in the correct lengths
You can easily make your stock cables any length you want.

Have any of you used these diffent PCs and can you comment on their sound?
I have to agree with Tvad that at this price range you will not hear much,if any,difference in sound quality.

When I bought my equipment(used) the stock pc's were a little loose so I bought 2 PS Audio Power Punch cables to replace them(PS Audio has replaced the PP with the Jewel,BTW).I was not expecting nor did I hear a difference in the sound but the connectors sure fit good and tight, which is what I wanted.Remember,these are just my opinions,humble as they may be.Good luck in your endeavors.
changing powercords is not always for the better.

Buy used or make sure there is a retun policy on new cords
As you improve the quality of your Components the difference betweeen power cords will improve.
Your system appears to be of the beginners nature and will not benefit as much with $$$ power cords.

I agree with Tvad. Put all your money into a quality power cord for your Hydra 6 and then plug all of your items into the that Hydra 6.
ALso, a dedicated line and a quality outlet that the Hydra 6 plugs into will be a plus.
Try some Pangea cords, both the AC-9 (real thick) and AC-14 (thick enough). Audio Advisor sells these at dirt-cheap introductory prices with a 30-day moneyback. They're a lot better than their prices indicate. Good luck, Dave
Ok first let me say on the subject of crazy expensive power cords...........

You know, I'm just going to leave it alone this time.
"Upgraded" from stock to Wireworld Aurora 5 squared power cords on my McIntosh MC501 amps and PSAudio PPP. Didn't make one bit of audible difference. PC upgrades are a waste of money.
Come on Mac,tell us how you really feel !!!!!!
I'll try to answer some of your questions or respond to some of your responses below.

I have my system pretty sorted out. I will add the CD player that I mentioned above hopefully on Friday. Hope to do some room work this summer.

I really don't think spending $600 for a used Python would be better than spending a few hundred on cords to upgrade the lot. I have two Venoms, one each on my Hydra 6 and Hydra 2 already. My system may not be the highest resolving, but it does a pretty good job.

"Read "Shorten those lengthy power cords?" 2-08-10." Did that a day or two ago.

I don't really consider McIntosh/Shunyata/ML to be "beginner" but whatever. I've been into High End for about 30 years. But I can't be accused of overspending either. I'm looking for affordable high end products and will most likely never spend $50k+ on a high resolving system. In the end, I just want to clean up my system a bit (have Harmonic Tech speaker cables and ICs). That's why after many years of occasionally frequenting this forum, I signed up yesterday looking for some advice.

And finally, I'm not spending my hard earned $$ on "crazy expensive power cords". A few hundo to outfit my system isn't going to break the bank. But a few Pythons would...

Again, anyone have experience with some of these and have favorites? And why?

Now, who else has some constructive help for me? Thanks....
The only constructive advice I can give you is to do as Snofun3 suggests and learn how to use the search function. Many of us have been through these wars before, and cable/cord threads can turn very volatile. There are believers and non-believers, both strongly entrenched, neither side willing to give. It can get ugly and it's not worth re-opening another can of worms.

Type "power cords" into the search function and get loads of information. Of course, just like anything else in audio, you will only get opinions, which you may or may not agree with. Since synergy is so important and musical preferences differ, take others opinions with a grain of salt. Just my $0.02.

i have to third or fourth agree with tvad. pool all you were going to spend on cords and get the best one you can for the hydra. it is going to be the most audible and, imo, effective way to address what you have suggested is your goal. i realize it is not what you want to hear.

for what it's worth, i think you have a great system. welcome to the forum. as mentioned, you did pick a volatile topic!
I appreciate all of the comments everyone has provided. Based on spending the whole lot on one very good PC, it sounds like the PC is not only providing power, but it is also filtering the power as well. So maybe the better cords provide the best filtering or cleaning of the incoming AC?

BTW I have a Hydra 6 and Hydra 2 and both have Venom PCs. That's why I was thinking of upgrading my other stock PCs. And also want to upgrade the stock cords on my MartinLogan Vantages as well.

I know this is a volatile topic... And I appreciate the advice. Keep it coming.
If you have a revealing system, please please stay away from any Hydras... I have heard them in a few good systems, and trust me they don't do justice to your them...;)
Having owned Hydra 3 and Hydra 2, I suggest taking your power cord money and purchasing a Quantum Reference Power Center from Alan Maher Designs. The Quantum Reference Power Center includes a captive power cord, and it has eight receptacles, so it would replace at least one of your Hydras and a power cord, if not both Hydras and two power cords.

During next week Alan has a sale on everything he makes.

He offers a 30 day return with a 15% restocking fee, although you have to ship the item to a US military base in Europe, so postage is more than if the item came from the US. Also, my experience has been that Alan is prickly about returns, although he'll honor the policy.

However, his products work well, and if you buy them on sale they provide an excellent value when compared to other power conditioning products.

02-13-10: Tvad
Having owned Hydra 3...
Should be Hydra 4.
Thanks all, I appreciate the comments. On the post above, I do not have experience with other modern power filtering/protection systems, but will read about the one mentioned above. I can say though that I have read nothing but good about the Shunyata's. With the MA6500 Integrated and my MartinLogan Vantages, it is a fairly nicely resolving system, but it is not near what it could be with some more $$. My system does double duty, home theatre most of the time and two-channel when I get the chance to sit down. I am just hoping to move to the next level by removing the weakest links (and cheapest parts to upgrade). The best I can do for now is a the 840C to substantially upgrade my current universal player and possbily clean up the power a bit. Again, I appreciate the advice. I'm still reading and researching.
You should really audition some of the pricier Shunyata CX power cords to mate with your Shunyata6.
You haven't heard what it can do yet.

I have experimented with DIY power cords for both the Hydra and Guardian 2,and if you don't skimp on the connectors you can come up with some nice sound, but all the DIY designs I have tried were compromises.

I auditioned the entire Shunyata power cord lineup a few years back and at the time, the Annaconda Helix were the ones I ended up buying for all my electronics.
I've put pangea ac9 on a pair of quicksilver v-4s. I've noticed a cleaner presentation over the entire frequency spectrum. I thought a pc up grade silly and just another way to seperate me from some cash. So I tried the pangea with a 30 day return policy. I'm happy with my choice.Concerning cables the major improvement I notice the removal of grunge that my ears have trouble descerning until its removed. This is something I've noticed with the pangea and nordost cables I've switched to. Just my 2 cents worth. System Quicksilver full function pre,vandy 3A sigs.,2wq sub,sony scd777es with vsei level 5+ witch is quite a step-up over stock in paticular with redbook.
I just purchased an amp, that I'll leave unnamed, that was DOA. I opened it up and found the power wire had come unclipped from the IEC outlet. Before I'd spend money on a PC upgrade, I'd solder those connections into place. Just something to consider. The weak link may not be the cable.
I would look at spending your budget on a Mojo Audio power cord. They've replaced Tara Labs The One, LessLoss Signature, Tel Wire HC, Argento FMR $7k, DCCA Master, Shunyata Anaconda, Shunyata King Cobra, Virtual Dynamics Genesis, and probably others that I don't know about. They're much cheaper than any of those cables also. $350.

Rather than buying a power conditioner I'd recommend a Topaz Isolation transformer. I've heard Tripoint Audio's Spartan power conditioner ($35k) and my isolation transformers win hands down in terms of noise floor reduction and neutrality. Did I mention I bought mine for around $200? Now I did. Shoot me an email if you have questions about what the heck I'm talking about.
The PS Audio AC-12 delivers good results for me.
The Statement cables, are great too. IMHO.
I got them here, for a HUGE discount, Brand NEW,
In The Original Box.

I Love Music!
PS Audio, like Audioquest and others, have me very concerned about buying at a huge discount due to Chinese knockoffs. How would you ever know? Even used from Agon, how do you know where a good feedback seller got his cable from, perhaps unknowingly? I am in search of answers, not making a statement.
There are some chinese pieces of gear that are really nice. For the amp I built I use pure copper unplated binding posts that I sourced from china.

Really the only way to tell if something is a knockoff is to open it up. Or you can always ask where the guy purchased it!

I used the PS-audio stuff, it was decent, but fairly colored like most of the PSA stuff.
I use a Grover Huffman PC on my EAR 834P and it opened up in 3-D bigtime. I've order two more PC, set speakers cables and phono interconnects (those were another one of those WOW! moments I had recently.
I can't offer much in the way of power cord recommendations, but I swapped the stock PC on my 840C with a VH Audio Flavor 1 and have had good results.
A big part of the benefit of replacing your stock power cords, aside from the larger gauge that you usually get, is the better shielding. cheap power cords spew out tons of 60 cycle garbage into your other cables. Just buy a cheap power sniffer and you will easily see this. Even nice fat stock power cords sometimes have terrible shielding. Sometimes thinner cables have better.

PS Audio has great shielding in their cables and their attention to the details that matter, connectors..., is obvious. Even the Jewels benefit from these improvements.

Cleaning up my cable routing and getting better (non-leaky_ power cords made a profound improvement in my system's sound.
If you want better shielding just tightly wrap three coatings of teflon tape around the whole power cable you have now!
Teflon for shielding? I guess you could use aluminum foil . . .
Shielding only works if the shield is connected to ground. You need to make sure the power cord is grounded, and then connect the shield at the female IEC end. Or even if the power cord is ungrounded make sure the shield is only connected at IEC end to avoid ground noise being induced into the lines from the wall.

Better option: don't ground your power cables. Build a grounding device and attach a wire from the chassis screws on your gear to a binding post on the grounding device. It would function as a star ground for your whole system and only a single grounding point. No more ground loops either. That's more work obviously. And all power cords should be grounded otherwise.
I've had lots of experience with power cords, and will say they are essential to getting the best sound, but are also a gamble.

Some don't sound much different than stock cords, some sound worse (usually silver), but the right ones will take your components up a notch in quality and be less fatiguing.

Most of the advice on this thread are good, and a few not.

Do not shorten your power cords. That is stupid. You will get less of the power cord's effect, and more of the wall, panel, and service drop.

I would tend to agree that the Alan Maher power center may be better than the Hydra, based on some experience of my own and other threads. But try to get both in house. The upper range of Shunyata PCs are really good, but expensive. Definetely try that from the wall to the Hydra, and you will have it for experimentation on other equipment.

Most of all, if you run into a PC that really make a significant improvement, keep it there. Don't be BSed into selling it before comparisons.

I have a Mojo-Audio power cord on order, and will give some feedback on it soon.

Best of Luck
If you want better shielding just tightly wrap three coatings of teflon tape around the whole power cable you have now!

perhaps the most mis-informed advice I have seen in awhile.

Teflon has no shielding properties whatsoever, none, zip, zilch. What it does have is a very strong negative triboelectric charge potential so when it comes into contact with a nylon or wool carpet etc., a strong static charge will form. Not really what you're shooting for.

Tel Wire
Wrapping tin foil around your power cords doesn't do anything that I could hear.

Find an audio store that will loan you some power cables and don't be afraid to try some that you can't afford to buy.

Only by trying the best, the one's that do work, can you discover the ones that may not be as good, but are similar and affordable.

I was hoping that the lower level Shunyata's would yield a sweet spot, but after I heard the Annacondas it was hard to take a step or two backwards.