Review: Kaplan GS II Power cord

Category: Cables

Like many other audiophiles, in the past I was pretty agnostic about cables, undecided on whether they had a significant impact on an audio system or were just "snake oil", so to speak. Spending more time listening to cable shoot outs, as well as, over time, upgrading my system to one of greater resolution, have convinced me that cables can indeed have a positive (or sometimes adverse) effect on sonics. Various trials and experiments with interconnects and speaker cables lead to the current wire I'm using in my system now, and it was only a matter of time before I experimented with power cables (and, later, outlets.) This seemed especially to me to be the most incredulous thing: that AC components like cords and outlets can have an effect on the sound. But, hey, that's what I've found out (and I'm sure a number of the people reading this have found out this out.)

Long story short: after using various designs by Virtual Dynamics, Synergistic Research, Harmonic Technology, and VH Audio, I ended up settling with Kaplan Cables. First it was the HE, a cord that I felt yielded the best (natural sounding) detail, harmonic timbre and soundstage, as well as best bass depth and control out of any cables I tried. That is, until I traded up to the GS cables. Ah! More of what I liked about the HE, definitely extra detail and more of a 3D soundstage (my Innersound Eros III, when set up properly, can display a large and dimensional 3D image.) Also, especially noted was extra heft in the low end, something I would chalk up partly to the larger gauge cable of the GS as opposed to the still fine HE.

So I finally felt I had reached the end of the power cable search. That was it. Until I learned that Kaplan Cable had an upgrade for the GS. The reasonable price for the upgrade made me consider trying it out on one cable. A discussion with Paul Kaplan ensues, and we agree I should start with the cable for my CAT SL1 Signature MK III tube pre. And thus my GS cord became a GS II for source components.

After getting the cable, I fired up the system, let it warm up for half an hour, then listened to music for a while, first with an original Kaplan GS on the CAT tube preamp, then switching the power cable out for the MK II GS source component cord. Even though I was expecting a change in sound, the GS MK II did surprise me. While it did not "smack me in the face", so to speak, the change was more than subtle. Everything I liked about the GS was there, but presented cleaner. It was as if there was some slight noise reduction going, letting everything through with a notable increase in clarity from the original GS. On the CAT pre, I noted improvement especially in the treble (even more lacking in grain) and midrange region (more sharply defined, especially with vocals, which were better delineated in the mix.) All less subtle changes then I had expected.

Happy with the improvements with the GS MK II upgrade, I upgraded the rest of my GS cables, with excellent results overall. Especially notable afterwards was an slight increase in bass articulation with my Innersound crossover amp. Nice.

While I have noted that the Kaplan GS and GS II cables excelled at detail retrieval, I want to stress that these are not the sort of cords that appear extra-detailed by being thin/lean sounding. The GS cables instead come closer to perfect neutrality, if anything leaning ever so slightly to the warm side, with a realistic, full bodied yet detailed/resolving presentation. It's the best cable I've experienced in it's price range, and anecdotally has acquitted itself quite well when compared to some more expensive power cords. If you can't start yet with a GS cable, an HE will get you in door, so to speak, but if you have a resolving system and can step up to the Kaplan GS MK II, you can settle down with the last power cord you'll need. I know my search is over, now I can relax and enjoy the music as it should sound.

Associated gear
Convergent Audio Technology SL1 Signature MK III preamp, Redpoint Audio turntable with Triplanar tonearm and Dynavector XX2 cartridge, Modwright Sony 777 cd/SACD player, Innersound amplification, Innersound Eros III electrostatic hybrid speakers

Similar products
Synergistic Research, Virtual Dynamics, Harmonic Technology, Furutech, VH Audio