Should I upgrade power cord for my preamp?

Hello all,

A while back, I upgraded the power cord for my amp. That makes sense to me. However, should I also upgrade the power cord for my preamp. Based on my limited understanding of how preamps work, it does not seem like it would make a sonic improvement.


Thank you in advance.

assuning that you have a quality built component .... In a word: Absolutely .....(emphasis added) Along with your source(s) if not already done.
Upgrading the PC to your preamp can make a huge improvement in performance. However, each aftermarket PC is different and it may take several attempts to achieve the timbre that pleases you.

I believe cables should be thought of as a component in the system. My advice is to try a couple from a company like Audio Advisor, who has a 30 day return policy.

It's important for you to use a cable that is rated for low-current components. IOW, you don't need to buy the same cable that your amp is using. IME the heavy gauge cables will have a negative effect on a preamp.
Yes. Lowrider has a great point about AA. You can't go wrong.
Get a STEALTH V12 upgrade asap.
Audio Advisor is a nice resource. I have bought from them indirectly via Amazon for same cost plus I get points on my Amazon credit card when I do it that way, which adds some value.

I love their catalog. Reminds me of the old Lafayette or Radio Shack catalogs except targeting good sounding audio, and no low level parts, like resistors and capacitors, though I think you will find a fuse or two maybe. :-)
Based on my limited understanding of how preamps work, it does not seem like it would make a sonic improvement.
One way in which it could make a difference is that the shielding it may provide could reduce noise that may couple into the preamp via the power cord, or (especially if the preamp includes significant digital circuitry) noise that may couple from the preamp via the power cord to other parts of the system. That would include noise components that are at frequencies above the range of audibility, but that may have audible consequences by "intermodulating" with signal frequencies.

So one thing I would look for in an upgraded cord is good shielding. As you appear to realize, particularly heavy gauge is unnecessary (assuming the preamp is not one of those having a monster power supply drawing large amounts of current), and might even be counter-productive per Lowrider's comment.

Also, I would not assume that more expensive = better results. See this thread for further discussion of that, if you are interested.

Finally, a number of members here, including me, have been pleased with modestly priced Signal Cable power cords and cables. They offer excellent value, confidence-inspiring technical characteristics, and 30 day return privileges (less two-way shipping). I would suggest contacting Frank at Signal Cable and asking if he feels that his Magic Power Digital Reference Power Cord would be a suitable match for your preamp, even though it is nominally intended for use with digital components. A reason I suggest that cord in particular is the double shielding it provides.

-- Al
I was a skeptic until I tried a PS Audio Premiere Power Plant. It made a huge improvement, so I decided to replace all my power cords with PS Audio cables. I used AC-10s for my amps and the PPP, AC-5s for everything else. It made more improvement than any interconnects, and I had dedicated 20 amp lines to start. They did take a while to break in, but both my wife and I heard a sudden step-up one evening. I wrote the company and asked if they ever got mail like that, and we were not the first to experience it. The Cable Company will let you borrow cords, and I expect you will hear clear differences, too.
Hi Elegal

What is the model/make of your preamp? Also what do you find wrong with the sound in your system that is prompting this desire to change? What is the current power cord that you have with your preamp?

For my preamps I like to use 14AWG power cords but that is just me. The power cords that I use on my current preamps are Shunyata Venom 3S power cords. The reason I went for these was the price and I didn't like the stock power cord that came with the preamp. Cruddy connectors and it was 18AWG power cord.
Thank you all for the insight. I should have said up front that my preamp is a c2300 by Mcintosh, which I believe has some condition device built in.

Shielding is important. Thanks again.
For pre-amp and source devices, especially digital,its all about noise control/reduction.

For power amps, its more about current delivery.

I use Pangea ac14se on both my ARC sp16 pre-amp and mhdt Constantine DAC at present. Each seemed to make things better, which I woudl attribute mainly to the shielded design of this model specifically for line level applications.
My Pass preamp is the only component I do not use an upgraded power cord on. Amp and preamp plugged directly into wall. Upgrade power cords on everything else.
Absolutely...power cords are the best way to upgrade your system.
@ Lowrider57, Hi, May I ask you why you believe that a heavy gauge power cable can have a negative effect on a pre-amp or digital componet with volume control?, In some ways you may be correct, I cannot explain this, I have a 8 gauge Tara Labs Cobalt power cord on my cd-player, It's like wow!, this power cord competly compliments the Tara Labs Zero Gold interconnect in every way, It's like they were made for each other, I tried multiple power cords, and the cobalt is a game changer in my particular system, LOL!, I was really skeptical about power cords in general, in the past, all the ones I tried sounded hi-fi and mechanical, always went back to stock power cords, for the first time ever!, I cannot imagine taking this cobalt power cord out the system, I tried, It is a huge difference in every concieveable way, very natural sounding, and very, very spooky real sounding, cheers.

Anyone have any suggestions/recommendations for an ARC LS27 preamp ? many Thanks !
@ Lowrider57, Hi, May I ask you why you believe that a heavy gauge power cable can have a negative effect on a pre-amp or digital componet with volume control?

I'm only speaking from my experience having tried a large gauge Tributaries and Pangea on my preamp; the effect was less detail. I would think that if there's a large power supply in a preamp, then maybe the higher current demand benefits from a larger cable.
Then there's the marketing of high current draw vs. low current cables that I was believing in; although I think there are cases to support this.
I have yet to hear a preamp whose performance was not improved by a good aftermarket power cord. The very best value in my experience is the Shunyata Venom line. You can find them used for as little as $100 and they outperform many far more expensive cords. If you have the scratch, the new Shunyata Alpha analog cord beats anything I have heard under $3000. I use it on my new Convergent Audio Technology Renaissance preamp and also used it on my old Conrad Johnson CT5.
Hi Chris I trade my Cary Audio SLP-05 for the ARC LS27 and so far very happy with my decision. I mate my preamp with ARC DS-450 Power amp, this combo work magic. If you have any questions please send me a note and I will give you more details about ARC products. Tango.
Power cord can make a difference with digital sources and pre-amp as well but for different reasons. Power amp is mostly about current delivery ability. Pre-amp is more about more control of noise. Results can be better clarity, resolution, detail, soundstage and imaging.
I agree with Map, the most important thing with a pre is isolation and draining away noise with cones.Rubber products do not work, Mapleshade cones work well,but
the new Nordost 70$ each metal iso cones are fantastic.

Under a tube pre I consider the Nordosts essential.
Biggest advance I've heard in many years.
How about power cord upgrades for a Herron VTPH-2 phono preamp?
If it is a tube preamp, I would recommend a ribbon cord like Electrglide, Elrod, etc. I use a standard Electraglide on my Joule Electra and the difference is not subtle.