Should All Power Cables be Alike?


It has entered my limited consciousness that there lies the need to change ALL power cords if you change one; but I don't know the answer. For example, would upgrading only the AC power cord to a power conditioner or generator be limited improvement if the components feeding into the power unit weren't also upgraded? Another words, if changing only the primary AC cable (i.e., the one from the AC wall plug) is one sub-optimizing improvement without also changing the AC cord from all the components in the system?
wylmars

IMHO, the first power cable that should be upgraded is the one from the breaker box to the outlet at the system and upgrade the outlet as well.

The wall outlet as well? Okay ... but I also use a PS Audio 10. So, should the power cables from my components also be changed (i.e., as well as the primary AC cable from the wall outlet)? Which AC outlet manufacturer do you recommend?
Unfortunately it all makes a difference and there's no telling how much of one it will make until you try. Welcome to the rabbit hole!

Hospital grade Hubbell outlets with non ferrous grounding straps are inexpensive, solid and sound decent.. 
I think an upgraded power cord or cords are tuning devices that can be put in place to alter (to your liking) the sound of one component or the entire system. You can mix and match to create the sound you like or use a full Loom of the same power cords. Start with one power cord upgrade and listen to the system for several hundred hours or until the power cord has broken in so you know the changes that have taken place. You might even want to try that one power cord in different components and listen for improvements etc. Then, make a decision if you want another of the same power cord or a different brand of a power cord.
There are no written rules so feel free to experiment.
If you have a conditioner or power generator you might want to start there, it could make an overall improvement in the system, you have to listen and judge for yourself.
This is the most important cord but change everything as you get the bucks.
@lak , +1. 
It's all a matter of experimentation, no exact science.


Which AC outlet manufacturer do you recommend?

Furutech GTD-D NCF(R)
Thanks everyone ... just got home from the hospital; emergency and three days stay. Should I assume that whatever cable I select should be used throughout my system? And I will research the Furutech  AC outlet ...
Damn. Hope you're well now!
There is no reason you need to stick with the same cable throughout. Some people use the same brand for all their cabling, some mix and match.. I've heard of people that like the house sound of a cable company so much they do all their cables through that company, while I've heard of others that mix and match to achieve a desired sound goal.

It just depends on what it all sounds like to you and what you like.

I'd offer that you should try various power cords on different components using as much reason as possible. Obviously, if you've a power center, you should have a large gauge cord going into it, so as to not limit current (10 would be best, especially if amps plug into it) Power cords to amps tend to sound better if they're larger gauge (12-10 is ideal, 14 is ok on lower power amps). Digital components can often benefit from shielded cords that have the shield grounded. Of course there's disagreement in whether the cord shield should be grounded at the component or wall.. Consensus? Ha!

But really, if you like it and it sounds good to you, that's the most important test.
I had an emergency bowel obstruction ... nasty stuff. I won't go into the details. Got close to emergency surgery ... but lucked out when the obstruction, they were adhesion's, were broken through ... hmm! I do have the PS Audio P10. So, you recommend using a 10 or 12 gauge AC power cord - I assume that translates into a 20 AMP AC cord from the AC wall outlet to the power center? I have 20 AMP AC wire to my circuit breaker.
That  Furutech GTD-D NCF(R) is $280.00 a pop. I assume there wouldn't be a problem connecting that to the 20 AMP AC wire in the wall? Sorry, everyone; I don't know much about the electricians world.
Yeah, those furutech outlets are pricey! If you're going top of the line everywhere else, they're probably worth it. Otherwise, there are less expensive options that provide reasonable performance. I use Hubbell commercial outlets with non ferrous grounding straps. They were $10/outlet. 

So, regarding wiring.. 10 gauge can support 40 amps. If you have a 20 amp in the wall, it's probably 12awg if you didn't specify using a fatter wire. 12awg is rated to 20amp. 

But for power cables for high current items, like power boxes and amps, going as fat as reasonably possible often improves the performance of the amps. But, again, that's often just for high wattage amps. 10 gauge is as fat as is reasonable, usually. 

But then there are things like cable architecture and materials to take into account. It never ends!
This has been very helpful. I'm certain they put 12awg in the wall. I have 20amp circuit breakers. The manufacturer's owner manual for my power amp indicates that the AC should be connected directly to the wall outlet; not passing through my PS Audio P10. Is that the optimal sound quality approach?
Many members find that to be the case. I hate to keep saying this, but the only way to be sure is to try. I personally have not tried going directly into the wall, but that's because I don't have enough outlets at the wall because I have monoblocks. I plan on installing a dedicated line (right now there are 3 other outlets around the room on the same branch) and another outlet where it comes into the room. Then I'll be trying and deciding for myself as well.
What amp do you have?
So, you recommend using a 10 or 12 gauge AC power cord - I assume that translates into a 20 AMP AC cord from the AC wall outlet to the power center? I have 20 AMP AC wire to my circuit breaker.

The circuit breaker and dedicated line are rated 20 amps. Your PS Audio is 15 amps, so the wall receptacle would be a grounded 15 amp type. A 20 amp receptacle has different connectors.

I ownhigh end power cords ! End to end would encompass the world!! Cardas 1000.00 Clear  to Shunyata to Wireworld platinum power, and the beat goes on! Can power cords change sonic capabilities of electronics! Yes, they can! Is the incremental improvement worth the money! NO, it's not! 
Before you bear fangs and head for my throat, my statement is in my opinion! I have just short of 100k invested in a high end audio system! .Power cables won't change modest priced equipment into mega high end audio 
@lowrider57 good point, I missed that. 20 amp power cords have different connectors at the component end and will not fit on components with 15 amp IEC inlets. Most components have 15 amp IECs. The plug and connector ratings apply mostly to which IEC and outlet they'll work with. The current handling rating mostly comes into play when taking the gauge of the conductor into account. So a 12 or 10 gauge power cable could safely carry 20 amps of current. But you don't want to get a cord with 20 amp connectors because it won't fit into the back of your amp..
Wilmars - Firstly - I agree with the posts above
- all cables make a difference
- power cables are no different.
- all stock power cables should be replaced
- even to the power conditioner

DIY solutions I have found to be very cost effective (i.e. most bang for the buck)...
- MRI grade outlets from Take Five Audio
- Sonar Quest Silver plated copper mains/IEC connectors from Ebay
- DH Labs Power Plus bulk cable.
- KLE Innovations RCA plugs

I’ve tried high grade stuff from Furutech, but the above seemed to work just as well for a fraction of the cost.

If you are serious about DIY take a look at...

http://image99.net/blog/files/be8de0c383c5434907610d6b55049e69-75.html

http://image99.net/blog/files/4127b5fe2694586e383104364360373b-74.html

These are the best cables i have built - better than some esoteric brands I have tried costing thousands of dollars.

Regards, Steve


That’s right, Todd. And I meant to say 20 amp "cables" have different connectors.
Also, the 20A line and breaker is for the total current draw of all components. The PS Audio P10 combined with the amp into the wall would not exceed 20 amps.
toddverrone - my house was destroyed in the 1989 earthquake in Santa Cruz, CA. I rebuilt and had a dedicated 20amp line placed in the walls where I planned to place my system. The contractor put 15amp AC outlets on the 20amp wire ... thus my questions about putting in 20amp AC outlets. My amp is an ARC REF 75SE ... 20 amps, I believe. It's taken me a long time to recover my stereo equipment - earthquakes have a way of doing that to your personal possessions. So, now I'm upgrading cables and the AC outlets feeding my system.
lowrider 57 - I see ... my PS Audio is 15 amp. But I've recently replaced my amp with an ARC REF 75SE, which I believe is a 20 amp device. So, it came upon me to consider putting a 20 amp cable on the REF 75SE and install a 20 amp AC outlet connector to the 20 amp wire in my wall. Which also brings up the matter of connecting the ARC amp to/through the PS Audio (?). The ARC owner's manual says not use a conditioner or re-generator, but connect the amp directly to the AC outlet: PS Audio disagrees.
williewonka ... all stock power cables should be changed? Hmm ... that's what I was wondering about. That means every device should have its AC cords upgraded to a higher quality cable? Now, that could be pricey if I go to something like Nordost AC cables.
wylmars - you don’t have to buy Nordost - there are many other brands that will provide benefits. Pangea, Signal Cables and Anticables come to mind.

A very good step up from those are PC products from KLE Innovations

Building your own is cost effective and provides great results.

You do not have to build the Helix cables identified in the links I sent in my last post either.

Simply braiding the conductors will provide better results than the standard bulk cable..

For a very good performing cable you could...
- buy DH Labs Power Plus bulk cable
- remove the outer sleeve
- tightly braid the three conductors
- attach silver plated copper Sonar Quest or Vanguard IEC/Mains connectors from Ebay
- insert in some expandable nylon sleeve for a professional look

NOTE: buy 20% more cable than required - braiding shortens the finished cable

A 5 ft cable would cost around $100 in parts and some of your time - and perform better than many of the cables out there.

As a starting point - replace the cables on your least expensive components - I’ve found that adding good cables to them makes the most difference - probably because many manufacturers design their power supplies on budget components to a price point.
e.g.
- my Naim amp has a large high quality toroid transformer - the improvements are less noticeable
- but my Node 2 streamer, being more budget oriented, has a much smaller power supply, so a quality power cord allows it to operate at a higher level - the improvements were immediately noticeble

I have also had great results from a $300 mini system - simply by replacing the power cable

I even replaced the cable on my TV - I did not notice any difference - but on watching the TV my wife asked what had i dome to the TV - she noticed the improvement immediately

I used to plug the amp into the wall outlet, but the new house required a 9ft extension cable. I used the Helix design for the extension with a an outlet box on the System end and I can honestly say there is NO degradation in sound quality.

Hope that Helps - Steve
You'll have no problem upgrading the outlets to 20 amp. You'll still need 15 amp PCs to mate with the IEC inlet on your amps.

I've made two of Williewonka's DIY helix design with the sonarquest connectors and yarbo cable with great results over earlier, braided designs using silver plated Teflon insulated milspec wire. Worth the time if you're even remotely interested in DIY.
Forgot to add Wireworld  Fluxfield cables  

Regards
Thank you, everyone ...