I've been playing around with power cables for a while now. I've settled on Cardas Golden and Golden Reference. Nice musical sweet sound, not to all tastes, but work for me. Certainly a step up from van den hul mainstream, DH labs etc.
A good choice, unless you want to get into the Nordost/Shynata price range.
I would highly recommend that you consider for audition the Running Springs Dmitri power conditioner. I still have not found a better one in the last two years. For details on the Dmitri take a look at my review here on the GON.
Somewhat ironicly, because of the timing of your post, I just went through another round of auditioning power cords from two very highly regarded companies. One cord I did not like at all, sounded dry and grainy, the other cord was terrific, however it sonics were exactly the same as my present reference cords, but these other cords retailed for double the price of my power cords! I never wrote a formal review on the Combak Harmonix DX Studio Masters that I use throught out my system, but if you go to their website you can see how highly regarded these power cords are. They retail for around $1,500.00, however they often come up for sale here on the GON for around $500.00 or less. I now have tried around 12 different power cords and have not found one I like better any were at this price point. They offer great liquidity, natural timbres, a silent noise floor, and great dynamics on any piece of gear I have them on. By the way, on Meiwan's response he mentioned both Nordost and Shynata, I have tried both companie's reference level power cords and did not like either in my system. Thought the Harmonix Studio Masters were far better for alot less money.
Read the reviews of Shunyata conditioners and cords in Absolute Sound and Stereophile and consider their wide use among mastering professionals. Shunyata, Running Springs and Audience are widely considered to be the top three conditioner lines, depending upon tastes. If you have very serious power source problems, you might consider PS Audio's latest power re-generator.
I won't comment on specific power cords because they are so "component specific" and tastes vary so widely. However, I will say that claims that $50 boutique cords are as good as even Shunyata's $99 Venom 3 cord just don't stand up to a quick audition. ( see Neil Gader's survey of power cords) The folks at the Cable Company can send you a couple of things from the top two or three contenders and you can be the judge for the price of shipping.
I have a Conrad-Johnson CT5 preamp and a Shunyata Python CX connected to a Hydra 8 version II sounds sublime. I'm jealous of your ET 5! I hear it's stunning.
I can't speak highly enough of Nordost's power products, as they have transformed my system.
I started with a Magus loom. This beat a mix of much more expensive power cords (from ESP, LessLoss & PS Audio).
I next moved to a Vishnu loom. This was a big step forward.
To get the best out of Nordost cords, you should have a full "loom" of them: Nordost power cords should be used throughout. [Shunyata also recommends doing this - they just don't call it a loom]. Nordost argues that a loom of cords behaves more predictably. This has been my experience. I believe that mixing cords is a big reason why people find cords to be "component specific". I have a handful of friends who have Nordost looms. Each of them has reported hearing exactly what I hear from my Nordost cords.
The most important cord is the cord you use between your wall and power distribution device. The first cord sets the agenda for your loom, as it governs the flow from the wall outlet. I recently swapped a Brahma for the Vishnu I was using at the wall. This delivered one of the biggest upgrades I've experienced. It was as large as upgrading components.
Nordost's Quantum products are excellent too. I use a QB8 distribution device and a Quantum QX4. The QX4 is something I could not live without.
RS DMitri is a main stay in my system and you can plug amps into it with no loss but with gains.
Blue Circle BC6000 Conditioner, a musical plus to my system
Kimber PK10AG Palladian power cords and Sound Applications line conditioner for my system. Musical bliss.
Actually in my system there was nothing worse than Cardas. They were just awful. I made my own power cables - Furutech F1 end with Accrolink cable...wonderful stuff.
Can't go wrong with Shunyata. Either the Hydra 2, 4, 6 or 8. I owned a Hydra 2, 4 and now have owned the Hydra 8 for a year and a half. The older models are dropping in price because of Shunyata's continual new lines that seem to come out every few years, but that doesn't mean the older models aren't worth a serious look. Try a Hydra 8, pair it with a nice power cord and you may be really suprised. Also very easy to resell. One tip, make sure the Hydra you buy has the newer copper outlets that they switched to in 2006 or so. The older models before that time have silver plated outlets that have proved to be a bit stringent in the upper registers for many people.
I've read Running Springs is terrific too.
I use a Richard Gray RGPC 400 Pro and Transparent Audio Ultra cables.
My wife is my double blind tester. She says it is a great combo. It gives solid Bass, nice highs and a blackground.
I'm using a Torus CS-15 and JPS AC+, JPS ACX and JPS Pac Lite power cords.
At a friends he had a Purist conditioner (extrmely nice) and another guy had brought over a BC6000 and we compared. The BC was flat and lifeless.
Audience 6ts with Au24 cord the best my far.
I use Triode Wire Labs 8 guage cords and couldn't be happier. I have used countless cords over the years, many from highly regarded companies and some very expensive. Pete allows for a 30 day trial period and is very responsive to inquiries.
I use Bybee conditioner , tara labs speaker wire converted to Power Cords, simply magic.
For me the Bybee conditioner transforms your system from great to fantastic. Takes your system to a whole new level.
Equitech, the only real option!
There is only three choices for me if you don't want to add artifacts and compression to your music. Tripoint Audio SPARTAN, ORION, TROY.
Audio upgrade is a never ending journey. It all depends upon where you want to stop and get off, and whether the point of diminishing return is worth the price to you. Just like in wine, how much you are willing to pay for a bottle of fine wine depends on how much you enjoy that extra bit of aroma. Similarly, you can always get more improvement in the sound through an upgrade in something, whether a new cable, power conditioner, speakers, amp, preamp, etc.
Point here is that both the power conditioner and power cords make big differences in sound. So both are just as important. Even more amazing is that the power cord that connects the power cord to the conditioner and the wall socket is also extremely important. It sounds sort of counter intiuitive....
However, given that you have not upgraded your power cords or purchased a power conditioner, I would suggest that you start with power cords. Because once you start with a power conditioner, you already clearly have the audiophile disease because normal people don't feel the need to regenerate or condition the electricity in their home....
One of the best VFM power products I have used is the Monarchy audio AC regenerator. It can only support upto 150 watts so power amps are out of question but for CDP and preamp this one product is right among the best. The improvement in definition, smoothness, PRAT and backgorund blackness is just amazing. All this without affecting the existing warmth is rather surprising. And it costs only $750 or so (less than a decent power cord). I use it only with my source and I just cannot live without it.
Try Richard Gray and Transparent Audio - NT