Review: Verastarr Grand Illusion Series Power cord

Category: Cables

My musical tastes are varied, but I listen to mostly (in order of frequency): acoustic jazz, progressive jazz, folk/rock, small ensemble classical, and symphonic. The disks used for this review include:

o Michael Wolf / Intoxicate
o Maria Bethehia / Ambar
o Erik Truffaz / The Mask; and
o Sidsel Endresen / Undertow

Emotional involvement is my #1 goal in integrating a system. I can tolerate some crimes of omission, such as lack of bottom-octave punch are imaging "air." However, "crimes of commission" - AKA distortions - drive me nuts.

Now on to the review...

My first encounter with the Verastarr PC's came at a local Head-Fi Meet. While there, I visited a demo set up by John Beavers, an audio reviewer who specializes in cables. "Mighty big ribbon IC's you have there," I said. "No, these are PC's," he deadpanned in response. He then added, "They are the best I've ever heard."

Do tell. He went on to describe the introductory special that Verastarr is running - $600 each for the first 10 copies. I listened to his system, chatted with him some more, and order four the next day - two for my digital sources and two for my monoblocs.

The cables arrived about a week later. Initial impressions were quite favorable - they had been well-packed, looked well made, and felt both sturdy and manageably flexible. While by no means lightweight, I knew that I (thankfully) would not have to add ballast to keep the components stably on the shelf.

So I queued the hard drive to Intoxicate (track 3) and hit go. Whoa - where'd that bass definition come from? As in most of my encounters with quality power delivery enhancements, the bass improvement was the easiest change to notice. Second was treble, with just a touch more definition in the cymbals.

In my experience, midrange tightening often follows a better bass foundation. Same thing here - images were just a bit more locked in.

These improvements were so easy to discern, that several days after my first listen, I ordered a 5th cable - this to go between the wall and my power conditioner.

I believe that the most natural competitors for the Verastarr's are the LessLoss (less expensive) and the Nordost Valhalla (more expensive).

In summary, the Verastarr cables gave me an easily-noticeable refinement in sonic quality. They were definitely on a par with IC's in terms of enhancement value. I very highly recommend them, especially at their $600 intro price. That's still lots of coin, but these cables sing.

Like many of you, my reference system has taken years to put together. It is revealing, unveiled, and dynamic. Distortion is low, transparency is high. The largest remaining weakness is relative lack of bottom-end slam and extension.

Note: I will be doing a head-to-head comparison with 4 LessLoss PC's from a friend soon. (I'll update this review when complete.)

Associated gear
SlimDevices Transporter
Custom Oritek 24/176 DAC/Preamp
Manley EL34 "Signature" Monoblocs
Oritek "X-2" IC's and SC's
Electric Bamboo Power Conditioner
Usher Dancers CP-8571 w/custom xover and silver/teflon wire

Similar products
Nordost Valhalla
Bybee (Model Unknown)
Less Loss PC
Shunyata PC
I see why you lack bottom octave response - you have no speakers!! Just kidding, curious what speakers you are using. Thanks for the review, looking forward to the LessLoss comparison.

Two corrections:

1. The PC's are the "Grand Illusion Series."

2. My speakers are: Usher Dancers CP-8571 w/custom xover and silver/teflon wire

MODERATOR: Please correct!!! (Including title.)

These must be new. I don't even see them on the Verastarr web site.
Yep, I have SN 0001-0005...

I won a Verastarr component cable (Red-Blue-Green) auction here on Audiogon and have since bought some more of the same (RGB) cables. I have loaned a spare set of them to friends who previously had only experienced Radioshack-type cables and the picture quality in ech case improved very much.

While I have not tried any of the Verastarr power cables, if they are comparable to my experience then they are to be highly recommended.

I just received the Verastarr PC that I ordered to connect my power conditioner to the wall.

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical that I'd hear more improvement. The thing is on the OTHER side of the conditioner, and I was using a decent Shunyata cord for that task.

Anyway, I installed it and fired up "Ambar."

Yikes! The first 10 sec of Track 1 feature several deep bass notes. By the third or fourth one I was convinced. Clear improvement in both power of the attack and depth.

Great stuff....

I wonder why they haven't mentioned these yet in their website? They do look remarkably like the old Electraglide cords. Maybe Scott Hall had a hand in their development. Both companies are in very close proximity to each other. Perhaps the designer can enlighten us a bit. I'm happy for you, Bob. Enjoy your new power cords. I also have some ribbon/foil-type cords made by Fusion Audio in my own system and I'm very happy with their performance.
Hello everyone. Thanks for your interest in our newest development. First off these cables are still in pre-launch and therefore not up on our site yet. We are taking this time to get them into the hands of Audiophiles like yourselves before formal launch. This review was posted by the president of an Audiophile Society in a major US city. We also have cords out to audio reviewers as well.
Noticing Scott as a pioneer in exotic power cord technology was very astute. Many other companies have followed his lead with the EG designs. We have shared ideas with him and created a power cord that betters anything previously created by Electra Glide or Verastarr. This cable is actually very different than the legacy designs. We invite you to try this cord against your favorites and be ready to re think what a top level power cord sounds like. The price aforementioned was only for industry professionals and is sold out. Even at $1899 this power cord is a bargain considering the likely transformation that will occur in your system. Frankly, we were blown away after hearing the final prototypes. We have made refinements since then and truly think this is a power cord to better anything you have heard. In fact we guarantee it, or your money back.
Thanks again for your interest and feel free to contact me directly with any questions or comments.

Happy listening !

Mike Powell - CEO, Verastarr
Sorry Guys, first let me pick up my jaw from the floor and close my mouth!!!! Okay...that feels better. It's what happens when I listen to my system with these power cords.

Initially I read about the Grand Illusion on this thread, and was too curious to pass it up. I contacted Mike and had him ship 2 of them out to me.

Living with the Grand Illusion pc's for almost a month now, I still cannot believe their performance. Thirty-two years in this hobby means I went through a lot of excitement and disappointment and I can say this is one of the best, if not the best experience in my audiophile years. The change these cables made in my system was nothing but stunning from top to bottom, side to side and front to back. It was the most natural see through sound I have ever heard. Being that I already use high quality pc's I did not expect to hear this much improvement.

Because of the dramatic difference in my personal system, I was curious to hear it on other high end systems as well. I followed through with more testing and had the exact same results. The next step was to put it against an Audiophile reference pc like the Nordost Valhalla which was mentioned in the first review.

I called a friend of mine I have known for over twenty years who is a high end audio dealer. He prepped the system in his best sound room to try the Grand Illusion pc's in an A/B comparison with the Valhalla. ($3800) The system he set up was roughly $125,000. We first listened to the Valhalla, and it sounded as expected. (The music we listened to was jazz and classical.) We then switched to the Grand Illusion. I find it hard to put into words what we experienced. Complete transformation. We were dumbfounded. Everything opened up. There was much greater space between instruments. The sound stage was blacker, wider and deeper. We felt it was just the musicians and us with nothing in between. Instruments and voices sounded sweet and natural with accurate weight and texture. The music became untangled and effortlessly flowed with the Grand Illusion. We looked at each other in stunned silence because we didn't expect to hear that much of a difference. We decided it was best to listen to the Valhalla again for posterity, and when we did we felt we were listening to a regular stock pc. (Nothing against the Valhalla, but I can't help it after what I heard.) The equipment involved in the testing was both tube and solid state.

After hearing these power cords trounce the Valhalla, I contacted Mike for 2 more Grand Illusions.

In my opinion, I believe it is a real winner for only $1,899.

Excellent job Verastarr!!!!!!!!!!!
I used two of Mike's creations in an all EAR/Marten system and the results were immediate & ASTOUNDING!!
We had an EAR Acute cd, EAR 868 pre-amp, EAR 890 amp & Marten BIRD spkrs.
The GI's were on the cd & pre-amp (Mike sent me source power cords) ALL the audiophile buzz words apply. The soundstage became HUGE! WELL beyond the sides and depth like never before. The air around instruments and voices and seperation of same were "lifelike".Bass slam and non-fatiguing highs were amazing!
In a more modest priced system, break-in is longer but the results are the same, so hang in there it's worth it!
Go BUY these power cords NOW before the word is out and price doubles; as well it could & should considering the audible results and craftsmanship of this stellar power cords.
While some of the above sounds too amazing, I do have to admit that the set of 1.5 meter XLR analog cables that I am breaking in do sound really good.
I've got a couple of the Verastarr Grand Illusion power cords in my system and they are excellent. They seem to lower the noise floor while improving dynamic contrast and detail. Power cords can't add anything to sound or picture, of course. They can only act as filters to block noise while letting current flow unimpeded. Verastarr's are easily as good or better than some of the more costly products from bigger companies.
I can sympathize with those of you reading this thread. Some of these replies do sound too good to be true. The bottom line though is that these power cords make a profound difference in any high end system. Actually two of these guys were skeptical, and that's why they ordered. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I do not know anyone who has tried the Grand Illusion who was not thoroughly impressed with the quality and performance. I urge you to try them, and see how they can transform your listening experience.

I am using a Grand Illusion on my Conrad Johnson CA200.

Compared to my previous power cable (Concierto), the sound is incredible. Across the entire spectrum, everything is more articulate, faster and cleaner.

Bass is stronger without being too much or muddy.
The sound stage is wider AND everything is well focused. Music is so much more 3D now that my previous cable "sounds" flat in comparison. The Verastarr removed a veil between my speaker and me.

The other upgrades to my system have brought marginal improvements to the sound, but nothing as noticeable as the Grand Illusion. When I went back to my previous cable to make sure that it was not a placebo effect, it was so obvious that I had to put the Verastarr back in after 10 minutes.

The only problem I find with the Grand Illusion is that I am tempted to buy some more for the rest of my setup.
I may get another one for Xmas ...
I am not a dealer for Verastarr nor a friend of Mike, just a very satisfied customer.

Digital Drive = Netgear NAS -> Mac Mini -> Kharma Firewire Cable -> Weiss AFI1
Anti jitter = Stealth Varidig Sextet AES EBU -> Genesis Digital Lens
Dac = Audioquest Eagle eye -> Modded Stax dac Talent
Pre/Amp = Transparent Ultra RCA -> Conrad Johnson CA200
Speakers = Stealth Jr -> Wilson Cub (Sound Anchor stands)
Power = Goldmund, Verastarr, Tara labs, Fadel Art, Shunyata Hydra/ PC, APC UPS
Isolation = Clearaudio, Goldmund, Acoustic System, Gflex
I guess it's time for me to chime in here with my experiences with the Verastarr Grand Illusion power cord. I bought two of 'em a couple of months ago, and I feel that they have finally settled in. First of all, let me thank Objex for a great review.

Secondly, let me state my musical preferences. I prefer analog to digital, though I do listen to digital. I prefer my sound on the warm side of neutral, not slow, syrupy warm, but I cannot stand a hint of harshness, thinness or any other negative adjectives one can apply to very 'neutral' gear/cables. Finally, I like a soundstage to have good depth, with little sacrifice to width and height (this is not as easy as one would think). One more thing, in my experiences, power cords have more affect on sonics than interconnects or speaker cables. My ranking is: p/c first, i/c second and finally s/c.

Now with that out of the way, on to the Verastarr Grand Illusion power cord. I actually burned the two cords in on my refrigerator and floor freezer for two weeks before first listen. First listen was very impressive, to say the least. The sound was rich, full, yet still articulate. Extension was very good in both directions, though this was not a strength or weakness (read on and you'll see some Heavy Hitters). To me, what really stood out with this Verastarr cord was the midrange, which was stunningly natural and musical (yet still articulate enough) AND the soundstaging was fabulous. Very nice depth, like I enjoy, you know, the kind of depth where the back wall just dissappears. The width and height did shrink a tad when compared to the likes of Virtual Dynamic's or DCCA cords (both of which are too forward for me), but not nearly as much as with other cords I've heard (and I've heard a lot as I will try to list later). The soundstage is about the best that I have heard all things considered (including my tastes), Right up there with the PAD 20th Anniversary and Stealth Dream.

A few weeks after my initial impressions, I would say the sound did not change all that drastically. Maybe a tad more liquidity and slightly tighter bass, but no night and day transformation. Who knows? Maybe the two week burn in really helped.

Finally, I will say that I really only tried these cords due to the economy, and I have downsized my rig quite a bit. However, I have been really impressed with them, and sometimes wonder if sometimes one really needs to spend a whole lot more to gain more. So this now begs the question of if these Verastarr Grand Illusions are the best power cord I have ever heard. I would say no......maybe. They are up there amongst the very elite. I think, from memory, that I preffered the Stealth Dream overall in my system, slightly more articulation and speed at the frequency extremes. However, the Grand Illusion has a sweeter midrange, so on some recordings it actually sounds better than the Dream. I would say the cord that it sounds most similar to me is the PAD 20th Anniversary, though the Verastarr cost quite a bit less.

Bottom line: This is a great cord. For the $$$ it cannot be beat IMHO. I'm currently using one cord on my VAC Avatar Super integrated amp, and the other on my pcX Ultra Tube modified Marantz SA-11S1 cd player.

This is my system now:

Basis 2500 Diamond Signature turntable w/ Vector 3 tonearm.
ZYX UNIverse S-SB cartridge.
Walker Signature phono preamp.
Walker Motor Controller.

Digital: pcX Ultra Tube modified Marantz SA-11S1.

Amplification: VAC Avatar Super with Telefunken signal and Genelex power tubes.

Speakers: Verity Audio Parsifal Encore's (circa 2004), modified with Audio Point 1.5 spikes, Symposium Svelte shelf platform, Walker Reference HDL's and Audioquest Kilimanjaro jumpers.

Cables: Jade Vermeil w/ Gold Bybee's interconnects, Mapleshade's Clearview Double Helix plus speaker cables.

Power Conditioning: (2) 20A dedicated lines. Running Springs Audio Danielle conditioner with Elrod EPS-3S power cord.

Room: 24.5 X 14.5 X 8.5

Other power cords I've owned:

Ridge Street Poiema!!! Signature, Elrod EPS-3S, DCCA Reference Master and Extreme Reference, Tel Wire, Stealth Dream (all of 'em), PAD Dominus Fluid, Ferrox and 20th Anniversary. Electraglide Ultra Khan II and Epiphany X, Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Dream State Lucid Dream, Nordost Valhalla and Brahma, Tara Labs The One, Cardas Golden Reference, RSA Mongoose. I know there are many more that I have missed, but this is all I can recall at this time.

Finally, I have no connection to Mike Powell (a great guy) or Verastarr prior to this experience. If your tastes are like mine though, you really should try this could save you a few bucks while surprising the heck out of you with performance.

Mike, at Verastarr, is a great gentleman to deal with. As I understand it, Scott Hall(of Electraglide fame) had a hand in the development of the new Grand Illusion and SOTU power cords, both being made of ribbon/foil conductors. I'm curious how these two compare to each other sonically. The SOTU also has cotton used in the make-up, which makes me concerned as cotton is hydrophilic( absorbs moisture). Unless the cord is air-tight, I would worry about moisture eventually coming into contact with the conductors. If anyone has had a chance to compare these two cords, I would appreciate an opinion. Also, has anyone had a chance to compare the Grand Illusion to any of the Fusion cords which are also ribbon/foil-type cords. I currently have Fusion cords in my system and am curious about their sonic differences as their pricing is comparable.
Sherod, Mike also told me that Scott Hall helped develop both the Grand Illusion and the SOTU. He told me that they sounded very similar, but I have not heard the SOTU or any of the Fusion power cords, so I'm afraid I cannot comment there.

I have owned the Electraglide Ultra Khan R/R and the Epiphany X though. Compared to the Grand Illusion, I would say that I definitely prefer the Grand Illusion. The Electraglide cords were faster and more detailed, but a tad 'lightweight'. The Grand Illusion is much more musical, had more weight in the bass and has a larger soundstage.

Hello again, both cords are airtight inside. The Grand Illusion has basic design elements that were co-designed and then Verastarr took the basic design and further developed and refined that design according to Mike Powell's expertise. The SOTU is completely Scott Hall's design 100%. The SOTU is a heavier cord with thicker, stout internals and the Grand Illusion uses Verastarr custom designed and manufactured anti-static and cryogenic inner materials with special damping for a light, sleek technically designed cord. The original prototypes were nearly identical outside of a few differences, but as these designs have evolved they are going down separate final design paths. The SOTU is probably a touch faster and more detailed, and the Grand Illusion has an incredibly lifelike midrange with pace, rhythm and an unrivaled wide, deep soundstage. Take your pick !!
I bought one of these here on Audiogon to use with my little modded Rogue Tempest II and am very happy with it. It replaced a modest after-market cord, and the resulting changes were instantaneous and remarkable. Although I did not experience (as some above did) an expansion of the stage, I did experience less "jitter" sound in the mid treble (I run CD only, and power cords - even amp cords - can affect this for some reason), less bass overhang and smearing (i.e., "tighter" bass), more solid imaging, and a generally clearer, less veiled presentation from all of my CDs. I did not hear any obvious warmth or coolness - sounds pretty neutral to me, although I've heard others comment differently (i.e., that it is a warm cord). I've been at this for 30+ years, and I expect a good power cord to do these things. I have owned Electraglide, Cardas Golden Reference, Synergistic, and others, and this is easily the best of the bunch I've tried. It has an excellent "palp factor" and lets the music ebb and flow properly with wonderful microdynamics. It isn't miraculous, mind you. It's just that it does all of this better than other power cords I've owned. It is an 'end of the road' cord for me.

This brings me to the pricing of these things. I have spoken with Mike about this (he is a really nice guy, if emails count for such things), and we see price structuring differently. I don't know who actually buys these things for thousands of dollars as they are listed, but the real price (as best as I can figure) is far less than that. My point is that if people realized they could actually buy these things for their "real" price, more would be sold. I will now step off my soap box.

That quibble aside, I have to say that I am thoroughly pleased with this purchase, and impressed with the quality of this cord. I have sent amps out to be modded for more than this, with less of a benefit than just sticking this cord in the business end of my Rogue. My guess (but it is only that) is that it would make an even larger difference on more sensitive and detailed equipment than I will ever own.

In any event, I thought I'd add my "me too" to this string. The GI brings the illusion of real music in my room one large step closer, and about as large a step as any power cord in my experience can take. If you are considering a more "main stream" cord from the companies listed in this thread, you would do well to put the GI on your short list. It is the real deal.
Greenink, yes the pricing structure is way off, however, in the cable/cord business, this seems to be the norm not the exception.

Thanks for offering your impressions. One year later and I'm still using these GI cords. If you knew me you'd be shocked, as I tend to change cords like I change socks. I have tried a couple other cords in the last year, but as I sit here and read this I realize that I've had the GI's back in for the last couple of months, and I have no urge to change.
Allow me to comment about price. We priced these cords according to the competition, and manufacturing cost. The most widely compared cord was the Nordost Valhalla, and the Grand Illusion has outperformed in every user based comparison. Valhalla is $3500 from what I know for a 6 footer. Therefore we priced ours at $1799 to allow more performance for a lot less cost. Since we do not have the overhead that Nordost or other big brands have, nor do we have the extensive dealer base, we have been able to sell to some end users in non-dealer areas for dealer cost. (usually 50% off) We do this on purpose because we are a small company trying to gain recognition. Our company is for real, as we have had a full page article December of 2009 in Hi-Fi News, and we also provided cables for CES 2010, were in 5 rooms there, and one of the rooms was voted best sounding room by Stereo Times. You will see me on the CES 2010 recap on the Stereo Times website.
Rather than realizing the strong value, it almost seems as though buyers would rather have us adhere to a strict retail price structure to believe the cords are worth their retail price. Believe me, one day when we have many dealers, we will not be able to sell them so cheaply. I do not agree that prices are off, I believe retail pricing of this cord is actually one of the best values in power cords today on the market. Just because a company offers deals direct does not mean retail price is overinflated. You must look at the fact that electronic design is like designer clothes or shoes. Its not about the raw cost of the fabric or leather, it is about the cut and the exclusive design. It took us over 6 years to get to this cable design, and we are still refining it. Just look at whats inside a $10,000 preamp... certainly not even $2K of parts..its about HOW they are put together that makes the difference, and how LONG it took to get there as well as the personal years of trial and error, reading, school, etc. in order to get the designers brain to the point that he/she can design such things.
Keep your eyes out for the new Verastarr Nemesis line that includes 2 patents pending.

Thanks for your support !

Mike Powell
My first response ever.

I've been a music listener for a very long time but never been an audiophile till two years ago. Until then I had a hard time with the "image" of sound. No such problem today, as I have been reading and listening extensively, and purchased some pretty exquisite stuff.

My system is packed away as I have recently moved. I have taken the opportunity to get some things that I may value now and even more later. I just put a GI Signature in front of a Classe CAV 150 feeding a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios.

The result was pronounced and immediately evident. This is a huge improvement over the admittedly stock PC.

I really can't wait to do some substantive listening and A B analysis. For now, I feel enlightened, thankful and eager for more.

My apologies if this review isn't everything you expected but I got very enthused when I heard this PC. I never would have believed it 20 years ago. Now I bubble over sharing my newfound understanding and passion.

All the best,

Even though I'm more in to progressive jazz.

So is there a new Nemesis powercord coming out soon? If so I'll wait, I was just about to change all my powercords to Grand Illusion Signature ones.