Ric Cummins of Argent/Rosinante Audio has recently introduced two new power cords to the world of high end audio. They are called the “Brujo” and the “Brujo HC”, the addition of the “HC” designation on the second cord denoting a “high current” version. Over the last several months, I have had the opportunity to audition these new cords in my system, both on source components and amplification components, and compare them to a number of excellent and highly regarded aftermarket power cords. By the end of the tryouts, the Brujo cords had “won the battle” at two stages of my system: the standard Brujo now providing power to my phono amplification stage (Tom Evans “The Groove”), and the Brujo HC powering my main stereo amplifier (Art Audio PX-25). It is possible that had I had a combination of about 8 of these cords at my disposal, I might be using Brujo cords exclusively, but it’s not likely. Perhaps the most valuable insight I gained in months of power cord testing is that, although the differences may be subtle when comparing truly high quality cords, different power cords do sound different and different combinations of power cords can be used effectively to “tailor” or “fine tune” the sound of one’s audio system.
First, the nuts and bolts - The Brujo cord is a woven conductor design without massive amounts of shielding and protective covering, so it is thinner, lighter and more flexible (though not extremely so) than most purportedly high-end aftermarket power cords and thus is fairly easy to use. The Brujo HC is of similar design but is thicker and more substantial than the standard Brujo and significantly stiffer. Still, the Brujo HC is less bulky and heavy than most of the reference quality cords out there and far less cumbersome to use than many of them, especially the big ribbon cords and those with heavy reinforcement near the terminations. Both of these cords take significant time to "break-in", the standard Brujo about 100 hours and the Brujo HC at least 200 hours. I ended up running a light bulb on each of the cords, which did work, as Ric Cummins assured me it would. The cords are made to order and therefore come in made to order lengths. The last I heard was that the standard Brujo has a base cost of $125 plus $95/foot, which means a 6 foot cord would cost $700. I do not know the current pricing of the Brujo HC, but I believe a 6’ cord is likely to cost somewhere between $1,250 - $1,500.
As for what one gets for that kind of money . . . ?
Both the Brujo and Brujo HC have all the qualities that a reference quality power cord should have, to wit: wide frequency response, noticeable quietness, fine rendition of detail, full-range dynamics, full-bodied tonality and even tonal balance. If I seem to be “brushing over” these important qualities all too quickly, it’s because there are a decent number of high quality (and expensive) power cords out there that also enable high quality audio systems to reproduce music with these traits fully in evidence - with maybe a tad more of this, or a tad less of that; or maybe being a smidgin better in one area of performance, but not quite as good in another - but generally speaking, with comparable ability to unlock most, if not all, of the potential of excellent audio components.
On the other hand (and much to my dismay), I have tried at least a dozen power cords in the $200 - $600 price range in an effort to find the “cheap” solution so many independent cable manufacturers are touting. However, I have yet to find a single one of these "inexpensive" cords that really comes close to matching the overall performance of the truly top quality (and top price, unfortunately) cords. Even worse, I also have heard some very expensive cords that are really mediocre sounding at best. Which is all to say that the recent months of concentrated testing, added to a couple of years of now and then trials, has convinced me once and for all that power cable design is not all smoke and mirrors or voodoo, as many of the sudden plethora of “inexpensive” cord makers would have you believe. Some designers really know what they are doing, and some don’t. Ric Cummins is certainly one who does. Whether or not there is anything “special” that Cummins has achieved with his new power cords is the question. Obviously, I think there is.
Both Brujo cords impart a very seductive “silkiness” to the sound of well recorded music, which is most apparent in voice reproduction. This silkiness is not to be confused with forgiving smoothness, which may be a product of high frequency roll-off and/or loss of dynamics in the upper midrange/ lower treble regions. Rather, it is a special quality of tone that simply makes reproduced music sound less mechanical and more “lifelike” in a refined and engaging way. Some might infer that I am actually describing a certain coloration imparted by the Brujo cords, but I do not think so, and neither does anyone else who has listened to my system with the Brujo cords in place.
Indeed, if the Brujo cords have an identifiable edge over other reference quality cords, I believe that edge is in quality of tone and instrumental (and vocal) timbre. As far as I am concerned, these cords are the tone and timbre champs. Well recorded instruments and voices sound like they are supposed to sound with extraordinarily lifelike fullness and complexity. And when the music is truly musical, using the Brujo cords help to make the music nothing short of magical. The effect of the Brujo cords in this regard is subtle, but clearly noticeable, and it has been so, not just in my system but in 3 others systems to which a number of my friends and I have listened and which had a Brujo cord in the line somewhere. Moreover, these systems were quite different from one another, except for one common element. All had tube amplification. I have not heard the Brujo cords used in a system with solid state amplification. It should be noted, however, that the Brujo cord was not always used on the tube amplifier. As I indicated earlier, the Brujo cord won the battle for use on my solid state phono stage mainly because of the magical tonal quality of my analog playback with the Brujo on my phono stage (but nowhere else at the time). In another system, a short Brujo cord was used as the “jumper” between two filtration banks of a Bybee Pro line conditioner. Go figure.
Another edge the Brujo cords appear to have is in the way they deliver and control bass. With two moderately large single driver horn loaded main speakers (Beauhorn Virtuosos) supplemented by a pair of subwoofers (REL Stadium IIs), my system does not really plumb the depths, but it is capable of moving quite a bit of air and creating quite a bit of sound pressure from about 28-30 Hz or so on up, and it is extremely fast from about 60-70 Hz or so on up. When either Brujo power cord is used to power my amplifier, the bass of my system does not necessarily go lower or play louder in absolute terms than it would with another cord on the amplifier, but the bass is noticeably more resolved throughout the entire low frequency range with seemingly just the right balance of speed and resonance to make the bass sound lifelike and “tuneful”, for lack of a better word. With the Brujo HC on my amplifier, the bass probably goes slightly lower, but more importantly, it is fuller, bigger, more authoritative and more powerful sounding without becoming one whit slower or more “soggy” sounding. It is not “tight, punchy bass” with a “sock”, but rather a “fulsome bass” with a palpable “oomph” to it. The feeling of bass power and authority is incredible and unmatched in my system with any other power cord. And with increased bass authority throughout the range, the sound of my system has much more lifelike proportions.
Finally, the ability of the Brujo cords to accurately reproduce the dynamics of music from the softest to the loudest is superb, and in the case of the Brujo HC on my amplifier, truly special. The exceptional imaging and soundstaging capabilities of the Art Audio PX-25 amplifier, which has been noted by all professional reviewers of this amp, are enhanced to such a remarkable degree that my single driver horn speakers, which are not designed to produce and are not normally very good at producing a deep, layered soundstage with three-dimensional images of instruments and voices playing space, now does a very credible job of doing just that.
Perhaps the Brujo HC cord is ever so slightly quieter than the standard Brujo, or maybe it dampens reflected resonances from my amplifier better than the standard Brujo. I really have no idea. The standard Brujo was indeed better on my amplifier than any other power cord I had ever used there before, but with the Brujo HC on my PX-25, the sound of my system is even more “lifelike” and beyond what I realistically thought I could achieve.
Still, if I had to single out one special characteristic of the Brujo cords that make them worthy of, and in fact a recommended addition to, the very best audio systems, it would be the improvement in tone and timbre that they seem to bring out. Perhaps the conclusion reached by a friend of mine, who helped with my testing of these cords and probably tested the standard Brujo and a number of other cords more extensively than I did, says it best. He used the Brujo all over the place in his system in many different combinations with different cords, and in the end he said, in so many words: “Somewhere there's just gotta be a Brujo.”Associated gear Click to view my Virtual System