Power Cords: A Skeptic Looking to Dabble...


Even though I am generally a skeptic when it comes to a lot of audiophile related things, I am curious enough to consider dabbling a bit in the coming months.

Here's my current system for reference:

(1) APC H15 Power Conditioner
(2) Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J SACD player
(3) Blue Jeans Cable LC-1 interconnect (6 feet)
(4) Yaqin MC-30L integrated amplifier (EL34 tube)
(5) Blue Jeans Cable Belden 5000 Series 10 AWG 5T00UP (7 feet)
(6) Focal 836v speakers

The SACD player and amplifier are plugged into the power conditioner (used primarily for surge protection) and all equipment is using the stock cords. The power cord on the power conditioner is a beast compared to everything else in the system.

I would be looking for recommendations new or used in the sub-$150 price range.

Is it reasonable to assume that a power cord could make a difference in my system at this price point? If so, which ones should I be considering? Also, please provide any reasoning and experience that you have with any recommendation.
mceljo
Is it reasonable to assume that a power cord could make a difference in my system at this price point?

Sure, but remember, different is not always better. I do not have much experience with current cords in your price range, so I will defer to others who are more experienced with your quest.
From my experiences years ago, I was once a skeptic too, I didn't really find power cords to have much effect on the lower priced cords in lower priced, less resolving systems. It wasn't until I tried better cords in more resolving systems that I found the true benefits of having upgraded power cords.
I look for UPOCC wire, teflon dielectric and good connectors, e.g., Oyaide P-004 & C004. Unfortunately, you won't find these things for $150. Suggest you try Signal Cable cables.
Jmcgrogan's comments are absolutely spot on. I will add the following. It has been my experience that the PC's that will make a clear difference (improvement) start at about $600 new, #300 used. I have had very good success with VH audio AirSines, Voodoo Cable (various models) and an Audience e. The funny thing is, its not terribly predictable. The Audience e was a really good PC for my ModWright Sony CD player, but was nothing spectacular on anything else. The AirSines were great on my Cary amps and Audio Magic Mini Ref power conditioner, but was not a good choice at all for my coincident pre amp. I have also used Signal Cable PCs and they are much better than 16 gauge lamp cord for sure, but really don't match up well against the other cords I have mentioned.

My suggestion would be buy one used VH audio Airsine used, rotate it through your system to see if you can tell a difference. If you can't don't go any further and resell the AirSine.
I would recommend plugging your amp directly into the wall. As for PCs, I like Anticables new ones and Shunyada Venom 3
Stealth power cords try V12.
At $150 and under I will second the Shunyata Venom 3. The Venoms are easy to find used and sell easily if you don't like them. I also agree that plugging your amp into the wall is better. If you don't have dedicated lines I would look into getting one for your amp and another for everthing else. In my case this was some of the best money spent so far.
Mceljo - are you handy? Can you strip wire and screw on iec/mains connectors?

If you can do these relatively simple things you can make your own from bulk cable.

DH Labs makes great power cable....
- Encore for source
- Power Plus for pre/amp

Although my favourite is Furutech.

Silver plated copper Sonar Quest Connectors I have found to be very cost effective and can be purchased on eBay for $30 a pair - I use these on all my cables and they work extremely well.

There are sites on the web that can show you how to wire the connectors

How effective power cables will be depends on many factors, but I have found that ensuring the power cables are good quality will allow other changes to be more easily noticed and is an excellent place to start.

BTW - I have a Pioneer Elite DVD that I upgraded the power cord on using the DH Labs Encore and it made a noticeable difference

Do you have a dedicated power line?
Do you have quality outlets installed?

You'll probably get more noticeable results if you tackle these two things first. At least replace the outlets.

The outlets I use are Pass and Seymour MRI grade outlets - grip like a vice
- see Take Five Audio for these
- there are many other brands that do a great job

Does the power conditioner have a hard wired cable?

Just another option
If, like me, you're not that handy with building your own PC, then check out Cullen Cables. They're in your price range and are very well made. No hocus pocus, just solid design.

All the best,
Nonoise
OP -

a power cord could make a difference in your system. Remember, it is a filter (of sorts).
I use a MAC (formerly My Audio Cables) HC PC with my Sophia EL-34 plugged directly into a Furutech outlet on a dedicated line. It matches really well and can be found used.
IMO you can change the sound of your system for much less by installing filter chokes in your components (CDP, Preamp) and by changing a few resistors. My current system uses belden molded end power cords and Walmart extension cable for speaker wire and while I agree that all this makes a difference, I change components so often that I would make myself crazy mixing and matching each time. My preamp has a selector switch that allows me to change the sound to add more resolution, emotion, air, etc., similar to what some people describe their cables doing. If you are looking for resolution, separation, better tone, air, etc., that is what your components should be providing and the last piece of the puzzle IMO are cables.

Happy Listening.
Mceljo - if DIY is not your bag - take a look at Signal cables - they offer a couple in your snack bracket

Regards
I realize that folks have different skill sets, but I find it hard to imagine that someone could not build a power cable. If you can handle a box cutter, a pair of pliers, and a screwdriver, you can easily build your own and save serious money doing so.

Or, look here for used PCs at down to earth prices. Paying retail for something like this just does not make much sense...

-RW-
I was early in my sound journey when a mentor said to me: Go out and get the cheapest audiophile power cord you can find, and put it on your amp. I was skeptical, but ordered a Pangea AC-7.

As soon I connected it and turned on the system, I thought, "Oh crap, I'm in a lot of trouble. If I can hear this much improvement from a freaking power cord, there is no telling where all this will end." Still very happy with the Pangea stuff.
Pangea is worth checking out. Prices are very reasonable. Audio Advisor has a 30 day return policy.
Rlwainright - some folks are just not comfortable with the DIY approach - for example, I will not mess with anything gas related - I get the gas tech to come around. Watching is aways educational - but I wouldn't try it!

But for me with a background in electrical engineering a power cable is a no brainer. I have been known to take shortcuts with electrical connections - after the first electric shock - the rest are just a nuisance :-)

It's all about comfort level.
Problem with building your own is that if you don't like the result you're pretty much stuck as you probably can't return them and probably can't sell them for very much if anything. That said, I plan on doing that with some Supra Lorad 2.5 or DH Labs power cables and some decent Wattgate connectors and see what happens. Has to be better than stock cords and I'm only out around $75 or so in the event they don't work out.

Another alternative to buying used is to try some of the direct sellers who generally have good money-back trial periods. Companies like Triode Wire Labs, Grover Huffman, Morrow, and whatever MAC is called these days would be some good ones to try. Their 10AWG cables are a little more than twice what you're looking to spend (you can use a smaller gauge for source so will be less), but you get to try them for very little cash outlay (other than possibly return shipping) and they may very well end up being keepers given the fairly consistently positive feedback from owners here. You could even try several at the same time if there's enough room on the ol' credit card, which would probably be the thing to do given how differently PCs can work in various systems. Just another thing to consider.

By the way, while we're on the subject of power you might also consider upgrading your power conditioner at some point as well. I also have the APC H15 in my home theater system and tried it briefly in my audio system and it's not the most transparent unit out there (compared it to an Audience unit). It'll probably help you reap even more of the benefits of better power cords as well I'd think. Always something. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Thanks for all the responses. I'm not opposed to a DIY option when the time comes, but I do prefer to try a manufactured product as it seems that there should be some science to it that could be missing when simply mixing and matching from DIY parts, but on the flip side so much of audio is placebo anyways it's sometimes difficult to know what's real and what's contrived.

I don't have dedicated circuits or outlets, the outlet could be an option, but I'm certainly not planning to get a dedicated line for this project. It's simply beyond what I'm willing to spend/do given my happiness with my current setup.

My goal is to affordably dabble in power cords in an effort to see if I can tell any difference in my system. I guess what I should do is visit my local extreme high fi store and see if they would be willing to swap out one of their "small car priced" power cords for a basic one just to prove that it makes an obvious audible difference. It should be obvious in a system like this, right?
'the outlet could be an option, but I'm certainly not planning to get a dedicated line for this project'. :). You're just dabbling for a little better sound, right? Maybe a better power cord, right? You really don't want to notice an improvement, do you? Because you're happy with your current setup, right? Understand that if you take this step and things get better with just a little dabble, it won't be "a" step, it will be the "first" step. 8^). Enjoy.
I'll 2nd Pangea for your needs. It is a quality cable and will be a noticeable improvement over a stock PC. They make 2 types; a heavy gauge cable ($59) for amps and the ac-14 for lower current components such as preamps and CDPs. Costs about $30 and it compares well to a $100 PC. (needs a burn-in period).
If I were in your position I would proceed as follows...

First step - replace the outlet
Second step - replace the source power cord
Third step - replace the power amp power cord

Pretty soon you'll be running :-)
In one room where replacing the wall wiring and AC faceplate was not possible due to wall construction, the addition of Machina Dynamica "Flying Saucer" ($12 list price) RFI blocker for unused AC outlets including the one adjacent to power cord, worked wonders for system performance.
This benefit was in addition to any enhanced status already reached by my choice of power cords, power conditioning.
This micro-priced tweak is worth considering once you have established your own PC preferences, or even before you begin to change power cords/conditioner--when you least expect to be able to hear a significant difference.
Mceljo...
"seems that there should be some science to it"

Without getting too complicated - The science is related to a couple of
main factors...

FIRST- component power supply and it's ability to store enough energy to
handle transient demand

High-end components have a large power supply with lots of headroom to
handle transient demands.

Modestly priced components have power supplies with less headroom.

With these components, what happens when transient demand excceds a
power supplies capability is a fluctuation in internal voltages that result in
distortions in the audio signal.

Being stereo, the distortions in the left and right channels tend to be
different and that causes a lack of focus in the image. There can also be
phase variations that also contribute to a poor image

A good power cord will contribute to those transient demands being better
satisfied resulting in a better image, which in turn improves clarity and
image.

SECOND - The quality of the conductors and connectors used on the power
cord

High quality copper in the cable and the connectors will ensure the best
performance from the power cable, in that they will quickly respond to
transient demand to replenish energy in the power supply from the mains.

Some of the more exotic power cables use conductor geometries to further
enhance their conductivity abilities.

In very general terms the improvements that power cables can make in
modest systems will include a tighter control of bass frequencies and a
more precise placement of instruments in the sound stage

Improvements that power cables can make in high end components can be

much more subtle and generally result in improvements in clarity, texture
and depth of image.

To complicate matters the quality of interconnects and speaker cables play

a huge role in the performance of a system and may not allow the full
potential of a power cable upgrade to be fully appreciated.

Lastly you have to understand the resolution capability of each of your
components and how that factors into the equation and how they may
allow or prevent the full potential of ANY cable upgrade to be fully
appreciated.

Bottom line it's complicated - many people will arrange an "at
home" audition in their system - that's the most fool proof method of
assessment.

Trying to apply "some science" takes many audio engineers a
lifetime in their quest for the ultimate component, interconnect, cable

Be smart - Let your ears be the judge.

As I said at the start, this narrative is a very generalised comment-
"without getting too complicated"

The issues are many and the combinations endless - the budget, a
constraint - generally :-)
I'd go with PS Audio Premire. Good deals to be found for this cable used.
One for the APC H15 power conditioner and another through to the
Yaqin MC 30L.
but I'm certainly not planning to get a dedicated line for this project.
Dedicated lines should be the first step for power upgrades. Think of it as the power cord to the system from the service panel. Typical house wiring will be 14 gauge wire with many connections as it routes from one inexpensive outlet to the next, then finally gets to the system. Even if you upgrade the outlet at the system, you still have the connections through all the other inexpensive outlets. A dedicated line eliminates this.

Also, does it really make sense that you will achieve full benefit using a 9 gauge heavy duty power cord on the amp, when 14 gauge is feeding your wall outlet. Maybe a 10 gauge dedicated line should be the first step.
I was a skeptic about powercords. But tried making a few of my own. No difference noted. Then I bought a Pangea (the price was about what it would cost me to make one)
And i am sold on pangea. the prices have gone up a little bit since first introduced.. But not by much.
As for sound, I noted a big im[rovement in the sound from my amp with the Pangea. Now all my powercords with IEC are Pangea.
They are a decent value for the money. CHEAP.
Skip the AC14 and get AC14SE. or for tube preamps or any power amps the AC9.. The AC9SE is twice as expensive.. but can add a little to the powercord equation.
I still use some AC9 as well as a few AC9SE, and some AC14SE.
Mceljo - for an affordable DIY project try making a power cord from Romex (household wire)

I made up some braided 12 and 10 gauge cable. They performed much better than expected, but they were a little stiff

The braiding rejects RF

They will prove that better power cables improve performance.

Regards
DIY cables here except my amps which use the cords that came with them. I purchased the IEC ends from Parts Express, then went to Loews and got various sizes of Carol Cable, 16, 14, 12 and 10 awg. The 16 & 14 awg performed the best in my system. Plus, all the cabling is UL approved!
My advice is to forget about Pangea. I've had the AC9 for
years and on every piece I've tried it on, it ended up being
removed and left laying somewhere. For mids and highs it's
barely ok, and for bass a let down. I suggest in your price
range, the Wireworld Stratus which is entry level and less
than $100. You may be able to find one on a 30 day trial,
which for any cable is preferable.
Vegasears - you identify something most people often forget about - UL Certification

Fact is - any DIY project, like power cables, are not UL certified - even if the actual cable is.

Most cables, like Furutech, DHLabs, Nelson etc.. are subject to rigorous testing and scrutiny beyond that imposed by various agencies - i.e. except those fake cables that are appearing for sale on the internet.

Buyer beware!

Even store-bought power cables may carry the UL certified sticker, but even that may be counterfeit these days.

I once purchased a nicely constructed and packaged power cable from one store and when I tested is it was incorrectly wired.

From that point on I decided the UL certification sticker does not quarantee quality and to make my own

When it comes to power - ya never can be too careful.
Patrick at Cullen cable here on this site has some great and inexpensive cords that will make a nice difference for you. He also has an outlet filter that will be much better than the PC you are using. I think its the Cullen ultimate outlet. Trust me the outlet is like $100 and his cables are around $100. Get the gold series 10 amp cord for your tube amp and copper 15 amp one for your source and with his outlet will be VERY happy and it is not much money. Plus he is a great guy to deal with. His dad owns Cullen circuits and he has made stuff for his dad, W4S and PS Audio, etc. Really helped my system and I have some semi-expensive gear. Thanks
Despite claims to the contrary let me be the 3rd to endorse Pangea, a lot of cable for a very reasonable price. I bought a Triode Wire cable with copper connectors (not plated) recently and like it very much but it wasn't cheap.
I am also afraid of making my own cable but after all these exhortations to try it I may. I have a real nice Audience cable which you should be able to buy used. And for the third time, different sound, doesn't mean better sound.
Vegasears - It makes absolutely no sense to me that smaller AWG power cords would outperform larger AWG power cords. If the primary issue is the ability to transfer power and I'm assuming that configuration/design of the cables you were comparing was essentially the same, then this is exactly opposite what I'd expect?
Williewonka - "A good power cord will contribute to those transient demands being better satisfied resulting in a better image, which in turn improves clarity and image."

What are the design parameters that allow this to happen? What is a good power cord designed to do that a cheap power cord doesn't do?

If I understand what you wrote correctly,a good power cord is likely to make less of a difference when used with equipment that has a power supplies with sufficient headroom to not be reliant on the incoming power to support transient demands. It seems that one could then make a general observation that a power cord upgrade is likely to make more of an improvement on a less well designed and likely less expensive piece of gear. This makes sense to me because I would expect the margin of improvement to be significantly less on a really expensive well designed piece of gear where nothing of spared due to cost.

I made a similar suggesting at my local audio store that Nordost Sort Kones should have less of an effect as the equipment design gets better because I wouldn't expect a $500 CD player to include the same level of care in the design as I would a $10,000 CD player.
You are getting plenty of suggestions with no way to know what to do, so try to buy cables with a return policy.
12-05-13: Mceljo
I made a similar suggesting at my local audio store that Nordost Sort Kones should have less of an effect as the equipment design gets better because I wouldn't expect a $500 CD player to include the same level of care in the design as I would a $10,000 CD player.

I would disagree. I believe that the better performing gear will be better able to demonstrate the sonic differences. Just as a Ferrari will better be able to demonstrate the difference that performance tires will make than a Ford Fiesta. From my experiences, I have an easier time hearing differences between cables and cords on hi-fi gear than on low-fi gear. Low-fi gear tends to homogenize the sound and make many things sound similar.

+1 to what Foster_9 says. Talking about jumping into the pool starts to become boring after a few days.
Either jump in and get wet, or put your clothes back on and go home. ;)
It makes absolutely no sense to me that smaller AWG power cords would outperform larger AWG power cords.
And why would it matter that the power cord be 12, 10, or 9 gauge when it is the last 6 feet to the amp with 30, 40, 50 feet or more of 14 gauge feeding the system outlet through connections of inexpensive outlets? As I said, dedicated lines should be the first step for a power upgrade.
jmcgrogan I think you are wrong. Look at how many people responded to this power cable question. Everyone has been over a hundred times but we still want to talk about it. Indeed it doesn't seem like new manufacturers are shy about it either, though I would have thought the market quite saturated by now.
Tls49+1-A dedicted power line is the correct first step. If your an apartment dweller or renter and can't have a dedicated line, invest in a PS Audio Power Plant. Back to the original question... ask yourself what are you looking to improve? And don't forget plugs play a big part in sound shaping(Wattgate-dynamic/bold-Oyaide(037-079)laid back.
I'm not in this with the specific goal of improving the sound of my system, but rather to evaluate for myself the reality of sonic difference from a power cord with a secondary benefit of potentially improving my system.

Jmcgrogan2 - I guess what I'm getting at is if I'm going to spend $10,000 on a CD player I would expect that the product be designed such that a $150 in Nordost Sort Kones not make a significant improvement because there is no excuse for the design to include this "technology" or at a minimum for them to charge me $10,150 and include the stupid cones as a package deal.

My observation from what Williewonka said is that the power cord becomes more important when the amplifier is relying on it for transient demands making it a more significant factor for potentially less expensive equipment that doesn't have virtually unlimited overhead in the power supply.
Mceljo - what I was trying to highlight is that installing a quality power cable in a modestly priced system would reap a certain set of benefits

But taking the same action with components capable of higher resolving power would result in a set of benefits that would differ from the first instance.

In all cases the power cable is addressing the transient requirements that could not be handled by the power supply alone.

Here's some of the important tweaks I have made.
- it all started with the purchase of a power conditioner - I immediately noticed an improvement in bass detail - mainly due to the outlets having better clamping of the plugs

- I next installed a better power cable on the amp - again I noticed more bass detail and the imaging improved

- after upgrading all of the power cables I had a nice image left to right, but it lacked depth

- I replaced my interconnects with silver cables and the image finally got some depth

- I then installed a dedicated line and ditched the power conditioner and the depth improved even more - but I thought I could improve on the micro details

- I then replaced all of the power cable connectors with silver plated copper connectors - the micro details, like venue acoustics, became much more apparent and the image again got more depth to it

- and last - I replaced the banana connectors on my speaker cables with silver plated quality copper - right now I have a very good 3D image that is very focussed with lots of detail - on my modestly priced system.

BTW - those are just the major tweaks - there are many more

My problem now is I think I have extracted every ounce of performance out of my existing components - the new phono stage arrives next week :-)

What I have found with power cables...
1. - 12 gauge extension cord from Home Depot - better than stock cords
2. - braided romex cables - surprisingly good and much better than stock cables for bass control and image - very cost effective

3. - DH Labs - better than the romex - improved details and bass control for a reasonable outlay

4. - Furutech - provides the most improvement particularly with micro details like venue acoustics, instrument timber and better control of the higher frequencies, but the cost is starting to climb

5. - Silver plated copper mains connectors - really added focus to the positioning of artist and instruments in the sound stage and yet more venue details.

So - now you have a wealth of information from the various members in this thread with some excellent recommendations

What you have to do now is decide what your budget is and what direction you want to take (DIY or buy or forget about it) - your choice

Try some out before committing - it's worth it

Hope this helped
Williewonka - Thanks for the information. While I struggle to wrap my mind around the objective reality for what you're saying, I do greatly appreciate your clearly written posts from your experiences. It definately gives some credibility to the possibility in my mind.

On every forum that I'm involved with I find that there are people to be ignored and people that you can learn from. At this point I consider you in the group of people that I can learn from.

Now, once I get my debt paid off in my budget for my tube amplifier purchase I can save a few dollars and then look into some options in the power cord or outlet world.
"And why would it matter that the power cord be 12, 10, or 9 gauge when it is the last 6 feet to the amp with 30, 40, 50 feet or more of 14 gauge feeding the system outlet through connections of inexpensive outlets? As I said, dedicated lines should be the first step for a power upgrade." - Tls49

This gets back to the argument for why any power cord of higher quality that what's in the house wiring could ever make a real difference. I'm not saying that a smaller gauge power cord couldn't sound exactly the same as a larger gauge one, but if the only difference between the two power cords is the gauge it would be expected that the larger gauge one would at least be equal and have more potential than the smaller gauge power cord.

A water large water pipe has the potential for more water to flow through it, but if a smaller pipe has adequate capacity to carry all of the available water then having a larger pipe wouldn't result in a benefit, but would have more potential.
Jmcgrogan2 - In theory, if the goal of audio equipment is to reproduce the original signal as close to the original as is possible then it would be expected that as the various pieces of equipment get better and better the resulting sound should become more and more the same among different pieces of gear. A well designed pieces of gear where no expense was spared should have less room for improvement than a middle of the road piece of gear would.

As an example, I used to own a 2000 SS Camaro and there were quite a few aftermarket bolt-on options for upgrading the intake and exhaust with a real improvement in horsepower and torque. I had a friend that worked at Dinan working with BMWs and at one point they were trying to improve on the OEM exhaust and after they essentially stripped the system do to what you'd find on a race car could only document 2 hp on the dino. BMW had designed the exhaust system so well that there really wasn't any room for improvement with a bolt on product.
A water large water pipe has the potential for more water to flow through it, but if a smaller pipe has adequate capacity to carry all of the available water then having a larger pipe wouldn't result in a benefit, but would have more potential.
True, but you need to take this a step further. If you are listening to test tones, no problem, however a bass drum requires an instantaneous burst of current in a fraction of a second. Obviously, having that larger pipe will deliver more water in that fraction of a second than the smaller one. Also, the multiple connections prior to your system outlet will limit the potential for that instantaneous demand. No doubt that dedicated lines will improve bass definition, but other aspects of the sound will improve as well.

I have encouraged many local friends with quality audio gear to install dedicated lines and told them if they didn't think the improvement was worth what they spent, I would pay their bill. All have thanked me, and some said they wish they had not waited so long to do it.
Mceljo - one last tidbit

I tried 13, 12, and 10 gaude cables on my amp and although the details were pretty much the same, the bass response and dynamics improved as the thicker gauge cable was installed.

Would an 8 gauge improve performance any more? Probably, but I think the law of diminishing returns kicks in and the gains may not justify the expense - gotta draw the line somewhere :-)

What gauge to select really depends on the power supply of the amp and it's ability to address transient demands. It also depends the the design of the amp. Tube is very different from solid state and even the different tube designs differ immensely in their power requirements and transient handling abilities.

This is a key reason why so many people promote auditioning cables in your system.

In my case, I also found that the 10 gauge did not offer any improvements for any of my sources.

Someone mentioned how can the last six feet of cable make a difference. That is the one mystery I have not yet been able to figure out, but having tried a 10 gauge braided Romex cable and found the 10 gauge Furutech to perform better, I can only assume it has something to do with cable design.

FYI my dedicated line is a 20 amp 10 gauge romex with a Pass and
Seymour outlet running off a 200 amp service.

Good luck with your cables
Tls49 - I think you missed that my example included that the smaller diameter pipe had adequate capacity to carry "all of the available water" meaning that a larger pipe would never be able to carry more in reality because it simply wasn't available.

For example, if the water source was a water truck with a 6 inch outlet there would be a restriction at the source that would limit the benefit of having a larger hose attached. It's possible that having a hose that is larger than 6 inches might be an advantage, but at some point going larger would have absolutely no effect.

In audio, at some point a power cord will either be adequate to supply all available power (probably unlikely in reality) or it will be capable of handling an amount that is sufficient to supply everything that the power supply could ever ask. I think this is where Williewonka right on when he talks about dimenishing returns.
12-06-13: Mceljo
Jmcgrogan2 - In theory, if the goal of audio equipment is to reproduce the original signal as close to the original as is possible then it would be expected that as the various pieces of equipment get better and better the resulting sound should become more and more the same among different pieces of gear. A well designed pieces of gear where no expense was spared should have less room for improvement than a middle of the road piece of gear would.

Whatever dude, however your engineering, scientific mind wants to rationalize it. I just know through my experiences, that lower priced, less resolving gear has a more difficult time exposing differences in tweaks (cables, cords, etc.), than higher priced, higher resolution gear. As with all things in this hobby though, YMMV.

It sounds as if you are looking for reasons NOT to try a power cord. I would say by all means then, don't try them. If you like what you have now, don't tread any further. Just listen to the music and be happy. Many folks wish that they HADN'T heard differences. LOL! This hobby is MUCH cheaper if you do not hear differences, or better yet, you don't even attempt to hear differences. LOL!!
Mceljo - high-end components are able to reveal details that more modestly priced components are unable to.

Therefore, other posters are correct in their assertion that being able to hear the effect of "cable changes" is easier with hi-end gear - if you are listening for those details.

On a system that is unable to resolve this level of detail - you would have to listen for some other indicator of improvement.

However, even today's modestly priced systems are capable of revealing so much more detail if they are allowed to perform to their full potential - and this is where getting the right cables come into play

E.g. I have a Cambridge Audio 651p phono stage - cost $225
- it came with a wal-wart power supply
- it performed as good as it could - with that supply
- some people might upgrade to improve performance
- I built a power supply with quality cables and much better transformer
- the performance is now equivelent phono stages several times it price point and it reveals details never before heard.

However, it wasn't only the power supply & cables that allowed me to hear the improvements - it was everrthing else in the signal path
- interconnects, amp, speaker cables, connectors...

Even changing the RCA's on the interconnects allowed the micro details now being conveyed buy the phono stage to be heard.

So power cables are just one part of the puzzle

If you were to change a power cable and you didn't hear a change - it might not be the power cable - it might be the interconnect, or the speaker cable or one of the other components in the signal path

My first higher quality cable I installed was my speaker cable - at the time I didn't realize just how good it was - since that time I have replaced every component and every other cable in my system and each time the speaker cable has revealed the improvements of each of those changes

My cables and connectors have revealed details I did not know my system was capable of and I consider them the single best investment in my system - without them it would sound like - a stereo :-)

It's the hobby that just keeps on taking :-)

Mceljo, I didn't miss anything, and if you think the power available at your current wall outlet is adequate, then I agree with this recommendation,
It sounds as if you are looking for reasons NOT to try a power cord. I would say by all means then, don't try them. If you like what you have now, don't tread any further. Just listen to the music and be happy. Many folks wish that they HADN'T heard differences. LOL! This hobby is MUCH cheaper if you do not hear differences, or better yet, you don't even attempt to hear differences. LOL!!
You said the outlet itself might be an option, so why, all that is going to do is give you a better connection for the transfer of power. So think about this, what would be better if you had to plug the system in at your service panel?

1) 3,4,5 or more 14 gauge extension cords connected together to reach the system

2) A single 10 gauge extension cord to reach the system

Connections and distance are degrading to power transfer, and what has the greater potential for benefit with that upgraded power cord, 1 or 2?

I have had plenty of experience listening to systems before and after dedicated lines, one in particular that was even upgrading the actual dedicated lines. IMHO it is a very cost effective upgrade to achieve better sound when you are using quality equipment. Oh, but I forgot,
I'm not in this with the specific goal of improving the sound of my system, but rather to evaluate for myself the reality of sonic difference from a power cord with a secondary benefit of potentially improving my system.
Sorry, I just don't understand why anyone would have thoughts about spending additional money on a system, and not be looking to improve sound quality.

Nevertheless, good luck with whatever you decide.