Vac_man, nice review, very well written. I'd really like to see some digital pictures of your power delivery system. Do you have any you can email me?
Though Fiddler seems to regard this thread as B.S., I've gotta tell 'ya- this cord is outstanding. I took one in on trial, connected it to my Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC and put it up against the following:
A. Shunyata Black Mamba V.2
B. PS Audio LAB II
C. Custom Power Model 11
In my system, this cord rendered vocals more lifelike than any power cord I've tried, with no penalty to be paid elsewhere.
Bass was defined and firm, lowering the amount of mid-bass overhang in the room when compared with the other cords.
Though the Carbon Ribbon Source was ( by my standards) expensive, I decided that I really didn't look forward to listening without it again. After much deliberation, I forked over the cash.
I recommend taking Wolff up on his free in-home trials if you think your system could use improvements in the areas I mentioned above. His customer service is a breeze of fresh air by today's standards, and his Carbon Source Cord may surprise you as it did me.
I also tried the same power cord on a home trial. I felt it was the clear improvement from my stock cord. Instruments and voices had more "body" and better harmonics. I did not hear any downside to using the cord. It was better, not just different.
I did not purchase the cord because it was my first audition and I want to try some other products as well. If I don't find any thing I like better, I will purchase the wolff cord.
I decided to take Michael up on his 3 week home audition offer. Glad I did. I'm the Audio forum moderator and Reviewer over on the Home Theater Talk website; below are my evaluation and review posts from the thread I started on Home Theater Talk.
First off I want to thank Michael Wolff, the designer of the Carbon Ribbon Power cord, for the opportunity to evaluate his product.
This review/audition thread will be done in stages. The first stage is the initial impression portion, which I've gotten a handle on tonight. This first stage is a direct comparison to the product that the Carbon Ribbon cord is in competition with for a permanent home in my rig. It's a bit unfair since what the ribbon cord is up against is more than just another power cord. For the first week I'll be doing a/b comparisons between Michael's cord and a combination of two VansEvers power cords and the Model 85 power conditioner. 3 to 1 advantage there for the VansEvers power solution So who won the first round? It was a draw, with the judges torn between two unique presentations, both worthy of merit. With both cords being switched out on different songs mulitple times, this on my SACD player, the following impressions were had by the Beav.
The VansEvers combo was very lush sounding, with some impressive dynamics, however what the Carbon Ribbon Power cord offered was also very appealing. Crisp life-like images of various instruments and vocals, also lush, but not the over riding impression as with the VansEvers presentation. Here things were more etched in definition, best term I can think of to describe it. The instruments took on a more vivid presence in the soundstage, especially the cymbals which had a sparkling zing to them. In all I'd say at this point the evaluation results are not about better, but preferences in sonic properties. This may and probably will change over the next 3 weeks as the ribbon cord breaks in. I've seen some pretty dramatic sonic changes with my Sahuaro cords over time, so I know this initial impressions comparison is just an appetizer for more meaty things to come.
There will be another match up in the last week of the audition period, this a direct head to head with the Sahuaro cord, which I will take from the pre-amp and move to the SACD player. The heavy weight match on the card more to come...
After a good nights sleep, feeling fully rested and eager to continue the evaluation process, I cued up Laurence Juber "The Collection". This is solo acoustic guitar, reference level recording. I'm in trouble Me thinks Michael is a crafty little audio devil, offering you his apple for a free test ride, knowing that once you take that free bite he's got your soul
I don't know what was going on with my listening skills last night, perhaps I was just too tired; whether it's 24 hours of burn in or just a fresh set of ears, the a/b comparison this morning revealed much more than last night. Quite simply, the word for the day is muddy. The Vansevers cord and power conditioner, compared to the ribbon cord, on this CD, revealed a muddy and recessed sonic portrait. The contrast was not subtle. I am actually a bit amazed again, as I fully expected last night's session to be the flavor for the entire evaluation period, slight sonic character differences....not this "trouble" Michael's got me in now. The problem you see, with putting something in your rig that creates a significantly positive contrast to what you have is, it's really tough to go back, to not purchase the "gear" that has brought about a significant sonic quality increase. And the fact that this is a power cord, which up till last year I wouldn't have considered such an item as a significant player in a rigs sound quality. And it does boggle my mind that these cords contribute as much as they do to the processing of an audio signal. Especially since we don't really have a solid scientific reason for the level of audio quality boost these PCs are exhibiting...at least in my system, with my listening skills.
Now, I haven't totally surrendered to this apple, though I think the competition between the Vansevers combo is pretty much decided. I'm going to listen to the ribbon cord exclusively now for the rest of the week, getting myself as familiar with its contribution to the sound as I can. Then it will be on to the main event. Sahuaro vs. Carbon Ribbon.
It looks like the same deal that applies to Sahuaro power cords also applies to the Carbon Ribbon cord. Power Conditioners be bad for performance. After taking the ribbon cord off the wall outlet and plugging it into the Model 85 I began my listening session, and sure enough, the dynamics, detail, soundstage and instrument and vocal definition suffered, and suffered greatly. It didn't take more than a few cuts off of my reference CDs to determine that power conditioners were a very bad idea. Once the cord was plugged back into the wall everything returned to it's previous highly detailed musical state. And in that state, more changes have occured, detail has continued to increase, but what has really opened up is soundstage, both side stage and front and back. This cord continues to impress me greatly. It's a fairly done deal, based upon the performance increase over the stock cords and the Vansevers PC + Conditioner combo. The $650 asked for this product is quite a bargain when measured against the performance increase I'm getting. The only remaining factor is how it will fare in direct competition with the Sahuaro cord. I expect this comparison to be much closer, but who knows, this cord is proving to be one dynamic performer.
Patricia Barber "Verse"
Carbon Ribbon cord vs stock cord
First up the Ribbon cord. Stunning realism is my first impression, cymbals have a vivid livliness, horns come across smooth and tonally accurate, vocal presence is unreal, with some very pure transparency, bass is hitting very hard. Soundstage is dimensionally active and expansive, everything is reeking of vibrancy. Cool stuff, wonder how much of that is the cord's doing?
Stock cord, decent looking, solid shielding, not your average stock cord.
Oh my! Realism is severly diminished, sounds likes your basic stereo again with a pretty flat presentation, with a loss of transparency from before. Cymbals sputter and click, no realism there, and I'm not hearing the tonal qualities I was so impressed with, with the carbon cord. Brush strokes on drum and cymbal hits are thin and not life-like, vocal presence is ok, but it doesn't have that certain something that I heard before. Horns are screechy, not tonally accurate like before, bass is still hard hitting, but it's more mushy, less tight. Damned if the cord isn't a big percentage of what I was hearing.
OK so there's no competition with a stock cord, I expected that, though not quite to the level I just heard. I'm going to hold off doing the Sahuaro comparison till the weekend. I want some really dedicated time for that comparison. Again though, I'm markedly impressed by this power cord in and of itself.
The Gold Medal round.
Carbon Ribbon power cord vs. Sahuaro Prethrilla power cord.
Joe Satriani "Strange Beautiful Music" SACD
I had planned on waiting till Saturday for the big face off, but since I got home early today and had a few hours to myself I decided to have the showdown.
For this phase of the evaluation, in order to be able to a/b the two contenders, I used the Vansevers power cord on the pre-amp. Once that was set up it was Sahuaro time with the SACD player. I had just finished listening to the Satriani album with the carbon cord doing the duties, and had a clear picture of the sonic qualities I'd just experienced. I used track 8 which I'd just finished listening to with the carbon cord. It didn't take long to list the drop offs in audio quality, the guitar which had been diamond clean and fiery, with a defined and potent center stage presence, dropped down, literally to a lower level of the soundstage, and it didn't have the definition nor that hard to define quality called musicality which was so apparent before. Then the drums came in and what had been a powerfully deep and rich sound, became less focused more muddy in it's impact. The presentation of the instruments in the soundstage which had been laser perfect, became less focused in comparison, more of a wall of sound then the layered precision I was used to with the other cord on line. For the next 2 hours I switched in and out with the two cords and my initial impressions became solidified. The carbon cord was showing it's true metal against what I felt would be a very close call with the Sahuaro, but again as with the stock cord, the clear winner was the carbon ribbon cord. To be fair to the Sahuaro cord, once it was back on the pre-amp, the already impressive carbon cord sonics on the SACD player went up a notch in all the areas I was finding so impressive.
Are these impressions faulty, based on long-term memory limitations, am I just entranced by a new component? Who knows, I can only go by what I hear, and what I hear is a clear improvement in the performance of my rig when I use this cord. This improvement is not subtle; it's distinctly impactful to my senses. So where does that leave me in regards to this audition. The balance sheet has nothing but check marks on the Carbon cord side, and all in the strong improvement column. $650 does seem like a lot for a length of wire, but when you put it into perspective, looking at the evaluation balance sheet, it doesn't look like the ratings for a 5 foot power cord, it looks like the comparison sheet for a new amp or source component, with all baseline areas of musical performance peaking up. So what am I going to do you ask Write Michael a check of course. I really appreciate the opportunity he gave me to audition the cord, I never would have gotten exposed to this innovative design otherwise. I'm not going to address all of the technical issues brought up in the other thread, they are good for the intellectual appetite, and learning more about the science of it all, but they do not relate to my skill area. My skill area is critical listening, and those skills that I've honed over the years are telling me I've got a very special component here. It does put me in a quandary though, knowing what this carbon cord technology can do; I look at all my Sahuaro power cords and wonder....what if it were all carbon cord....I knew I was in trouble when I first heard this cord now I'm in deeper than hot fudge poured over vanilla ice cream.
Five days ago, I put the source version of this power cord into my system based on a three week home demo offer. Today I bought the cord. There is no way that I am taking that cord out of my stereo system. I faced it off against an Omega Mikro Active with LCX, Silverline Reference, VH Audio Flavor 4, KAS and a Shunyata King Cobra. At this point (and it is not totally broken in) it has a beautiful combination of dynamices and detail while remaining very musical. I love it and will buy more!
My review reflects most of what has been posted already. This cord has unleashsed the beast in my older Counterpoint transport that I did not know it had. I had not found a cord up to this point to do what Michaels source cord is doing as I continue to listen. I believe we need to add Michaels name to the list of designers who have contributed to the trek of reproducing music in all it's glory. Again I say bravo to you Mr. Wolff
I tried the home trial offer, what could I loose? All previous cords, thats what!! As the cord burned in the system just sounded better and better. Its amazing that a source power cord could do so much. The sound stage is so open and deep. My Thiel CS 6's have disapeared in the most wonderful seamless three dememsional listening experience.
I'm using the Carbon Source on a heavily modified Shanling T-200 powered by VAC Standard 220's and CAT SL1-Mk3 pre-amp. This cord has brought it all together in a most pleasing way. I had no business spending any more money on audio gear right now but there was NO WAY I could bring myself to take it out. Other cords I've tried include Signal Cable (great value), PS Audio, JPS Labs, Virtual Dynamics. Have not ever heard such a profound power cord effect until now. GO MICHAEL
I have a Carbon Source on trial now with a dCs Verdi. The cord was new when it arrived and has been burning in about two weeks now.
The sound is wonderful. The big test comes when I try replacing it with the some of the other power cords I have on hand, ranging from stock cords to BMI Whale Supreme and several in between.
I'll post a follow-up on whether I can live without the Carbon Source or not :)
I have tried a number of Power Cords - some less expensive than the Wolff and some more. This time I specifically compared the Source to one costing 50% more which I had been using on my CDP and one of about the same retail price that I have been using on my pre-amp.
I don't know whether it is because I am getting older and experiencing the natural decline of hearing at the extremes but I have tended to grow towards a somewhat clean (I think still neutral) sound. I perceived that this "clean" type of sound gave more dynamics and detail certainly compared to the warmer type of sound, which to my ears often reduced the excitement of the music. Having said that, I have never liked a very forward presentation.
Although it is somewhat odd talking of the difference of sound made by a Power Cord, generally speaking I found the Wolff a degree warmer (or perhaps the word "darker" conveys it better) than mine but funnily enough I could not detect any loss of dynamics or detail in any frequency range. In fact as far as the bass is concerned very much the opposite. The bass dynamics were the best that I have experienced. It was fast, not at all ponderous, it went low with no hint of tubbiness or non-natural mid-bass bloom.
The image with the Wolff is super too, very lifelike and complete (i.e. no "holes"). In my system, it gave a front plane to the image a foot or so further behind the speakers, which made for a very relaxing listening experience.
I do not ever imagine there to be a Nirvana in our hobby, I did not try every cord out there and I do not know the effect if I were to change a component. As it stands presently, I was very satisfied with the cord in my system and the truth of that is that I bought it!
I had recently auditioned the carbon ribbon source. I found that Michael is correct. On initial break in it is not very pleasing. After a few weeks it opened up a little. I did not know if it was what i was looking for in my set up. But right before I was getting ready to ship it back I though to my self that I should try it in my other system. WOW I could not believe it. It was a whole new world of music came out at me. I am very satisfied with this product. I hope anyone who gets to audition this cable takes the time to let it properly break in before making rash decisions like I almost did.. Thank you Michael and God Bless you...
...i took michael up on his free home trial in this case his 'source' powercord.my current group of pcs include an elrod 'statement 1' cord and 2 concierto 'violin' cords.the 'source' cord would be competing with the 'violin' cords as my 'statement' is on my goldmund 29m amp.the 'violins' replaced 2 elrod eps2-s cords.they are superb cords in every respect but they should be at their price.i undertook this comparison purely due to its' cost....'free'.i love to try out new cables of all kinds...i/cs..speakers and pcs which is what led me to the concierto products which are outstanding.i had no previous knowledge of michael's cords but had read many of the above testimonials prior to my ordering it.i am fortunate to have an audiodharma cable cooker and after conversations with michael and alan kafton, the cookers' creator, put the 'source' cord on my cooker for an initial 36 hrs before doing any serious listening.( i might tell you that i did listen to it out of the box,replacing the 'violin' on my scd-1,the first night and was not very impressed.i was advised of this probability by michael however).after 36 hrs on the cooker i was amazed to hear a significant metamorphosis.( i should say that all 3 of my cords go into a 'powerwing' conditioner,also one of alans' creations..see a review on positive feedback magazine).the cord was much more open with a very tight bass that moved a significant amount of air.this was as good as my 'violin' in this department on my scd-1.where the 'source' cord excelled,imo,was in the midrange frequencies.vocals were/are superb.subtle intonations were now much more apperent and the texture of the words was more lifelike.instruments were tonally correct.this was as good as the 'violin'.the high frequencies are also very good but not quite as smooth and crystaline as the 'violin' cord.again..we are comparing the 'source' cord with a cord costing much more.soundstaging was very good and the equal of the 'violin'.where the 'violin' does excel is in its' decay of musical notes.i haven't found a cord that equals it.i subsequently tried the cord on my audio tekne 'simona' preamp,reinstalling the 'violin' in the scd-1 and to my surprise,found that i liked that position even better then the previous.the bass tightened up even more but the real difference was just the overall presentation just became more magical...anyway..just my thoughts..yes i am going to buy the 'source' cord.after talking with alan kafton and michael about the cooking time on the audiodharma i will cook it for at least 12-18 more hrs and this,i am told,will make it even better.
Well, chalk up another very happy customer with a
Wolff Carbon Ribbon Source Cord!
I think it is a fantastic pc!!
It's just so relaxed & smooth& sweet, with
The musicality from top to bottom is unreal...and the "air" around
the entire musical event cannot even be approached by any other
pc I have had in my system in the past. Right now, I am using
Shunyata pc's, and they are very good, but I cannot seem to
put it back in my system!?!? (On my cdp)When I do, it becomes grainier and everything seems
to collapse...put the Wolff back in and all is well again.
It's hard to believe just what this pc can do for a system.
A true bargain for what it does. It's a keeper!
Can't wait to try the Gain PC. :o)
I now have the Gain cord and latest Source cord on my components. This now puts everything in my audio rig on a Wolff PC, which is the best way to evaluate effectiveness of a given technology or product type in my opinion. All I can say is, we're lucky to be getting in on this product at its introduction. My guess is once more people, and especially established reviewers, hear what these cords can do, business is going to through the roof for Michael. He'll need to raise prices to stim the tide of overwhelming demand. There have been very few "components" which have provided such a dramatic boost in overall audio quality in my rig....and certainly not in the under $1K price range.
I have had two Source cords on my Audible Illusions Preamp and Cal Icon MK II CD player for the past six weeks, and two gain cords on my Monarchy Audio SE 100 Deluxe Amps for the past four weeks. The first cord I tried was a source cord on the CD and it was revelatory in showing the deficiencies of my previous cords. These being Virtual Dynamics Auditions,Power Threes, KAS Primus, Kaiser, VH Audio Flavor Two and Synergistic Reference. I could not go back to any of my previous cords after having the Wolff cords in my system, beleive me I tried every combination over a three week period. I was trying to get by purchasing the fewest cords possible while retaining all the attributes the Wolff cords brought to my system.
My full system can be viewed at AA under rpw for those interested. After buying the Source cords I visited Michael Wolff at his home, I live a few miles north of him in Seattle. He gave me a tour of his shop, needless to say I was impressed to see how these cords are built from scratch with good quality materials and quality craftmanship. It is a very time consuming and tedious process. This is no repackaged cable here.
The musicality and relaxed listening with these cords is astonishing in my system. At first I didn,t need to AB them but later succumbed to my curiosity. These cables are not cheap and I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. I did. I now have two current model Source cords burning in and should be done in about two weeks. These cords are amazing in the bass with a tightness and delineation I haven't experienced with any other cord I've tried. On MFSL Pines of Rome on vinyl the Catacombs drops my chin to the floor following the bass lines. The third section sounds like my roof dissapeared and the birds are right above me, incredible airiness.
I could go on ranting but I will leave it up to you to try these incredible cords for yourself. Very liberal trial policy and free upgrades, nothing to lose except your time. Carbon, it's a good thing!
I have the luxury of having two digital sources in my system, Audio Research CD2 and a Classe .5 CDP. I have the Source Cord plugged into a Audio Magic Mini Stealth from the Classe .5 CDP. It has been an absolute pleasure A/Bing the AR CD2 and the Classe .5 with the Carbon Ribbon. In a word I found this cord to be......balance, from top to bottom every note from instruments are rich and detailed. It is not overly intimate nor are you sitting mid hall. The Surprisingly, the Source brought the Classe .5 pretty darn close to the Audio Research CD2/Gutwire G clef performce. BTW, I did tried the Source on the AR CD2, the improvement was not as noticeable. I believe it is because the AR CD2 is such a great player, but that's another story.......
Hey no guts no glory! Thanks Mike for selling me the demo!
I tried out one of the cords on a home audition. I was skeptical of what I would have called hokey PC voodoo, figuring that there would be little discernible difference. I sold my other cable two days after listening to the Wolff PC. The greatest upgrade to my CDP, and to my system. The soundstage continues to open up after two weeks, and everything sounds live, whereas the other cable I had seemed choked, and the music uninteresting.
I played music professionally for over a decade, and this cord has put me right where I want to be: in the recording studio with the musicians.
Thank you, Michael. The PC for the amp is next!
Blew away my Valhalla so I bought the whole loom. Recently a friend of mine loaned me a Wolff gold/silver/carbon i/c terminated with wbt nextgens. I thought it was funny b/c I have Nordost Valhalla i/c and so I thought that nothing could be as good. The Wolff was instantly much better, before even settling in! Much more transparency, detail and musicality. I was really angry since I thought Valhalla was, er, the Valhalla. And the Wolffs cost much much les. So, with my illusions shattered, I decided to replace my whole cable loom with Wolff. Speaker cable (replacing Nordost SPM ref), source power cable (Wadia861SE with GNSC Statement Mods)(replacing Audience Au24), amp power cable (Rogue M90 with EAT KT88's)(replacing Kimber Reference).
So I get the new cables. Wolff tells me that the power cords, even though he cooks them, they alwas take a couple of weeks to break in. Well right out of the box they were a big improvement in my system. The same kind of qualities as the i/c: more transparency and a better sense of musical timing. Like a veil was lifted.
But then after a few days of burn-in, I listened again (not expecting much of a pick-up in performance) then BANG! The Wadia really came to life with its new powercords. Everything just got BETTER, especially the imaging, detail, definition, soundstaging. Really a quantum leap. I was amazed that cables could make such a big difference and had no idea that Valhalla could be beaten so easily.