I am looking to upgrade from the stock power cords on my amp, DAC and Preamp. First of all, do power cords really make a significant difference? If they do, what is the most neutral sounding power cord in the $100-300 range (used price of course. Do you have any suggestions? Please help.
Check out the Audio Asylum. Go to cables and do a search for "89259" and you will come up with oddles of info on a cheap DIY cable that is very neutral. The design is by Bob Crump of TG Audio and you can not beat the price.
Hi Kasboot, Yes PCs can make a significant difference. In your price range I would check out PS audios Lab Cable or Coincident PCs. These PCs will not perform as well as some of the super PCs but I think they will be hard to beat for the money. If you are a DIY kind of guy, Kevperro gave excellent advice.
If you want to keep both the cost and work down, you can buy a Volex 17604 cord, already terminated with an iec and molded male end, and proceed (if you want) to hack the male end off and terminate it with a quality hospital grade plug from the likes of Leviton or Hubbell. The 17604 apparently is the 19364 Belden cable already terminated (Volex is a subsidiary of Belden). I just ordered two for $11 Canadian each (about $7 US) and I'll post back in a few weeks with results. If you're interested, just do a net search on "Volex" and look for their distributors. Sounds like it might be a pretty hot cord for under $20! In any event, relative to many audiophile purchases, you don't have much to lose! Merry Christmas!
I'd be interested to know how a power cord can be other than neutral. Are there bright power cords? Dark ones? The only difference I've noticed, as an improvement, is hearing more of what I take to be the recorded musical signal coming through the speakers. But what could "neutral" mean? I know what it means for interconnect and speaker cables, but .....
Hi Tom_nice, PCs do have a sound like ICs and speaker cable. For example the Shunyata Black Mamba is a bit dark and sweet. The PS audio lab cable will sound neutral in comparison to the BM. The FIM PC will sound more neutral than the lab cable if that makes any since. I understand using the term neutral but I don't remember walking out of a concert and saying to myself that the performance sure sounded neutral tonight. I guess I look at PCs the same way as I do all wire. They all have a sound. Some sound better than others. Unfortunatly it seems the more you are willing to spend the better the PC will sound. I suppose when they make a PC that does not have a sound then it can be called neutral. I hope I have helped more than confused.
Nice post Brulee. And I really liked your comment "the performance sure sounded neutral tonight"-- that's a great perspective. I've had excellent results with Syn. Res. Master Couplers on all components-- availabe used for $160 to 180. I also like the Cardas Golden which is a little darker, richer. Based on Brulee's brief description, I'd like to try the Shunyata Black Mamba as I prefer music with a dark and sweet bias (if we admit there is always a bias?). Cheers. Craig.
I too wonder whether neutral is really the best term. To me the issue is that power cords do something to reduce the grain structure that mains-borne noise imposes on our music, and also alter the grain structure. When the grain structure finds harmonics with the music it accentuates that part of the spectrum - which in turn causes a sense of brightness, darkness, harshness or sweetness. I have played around with power cable design and construction a bit and suspect that this is what is happening. First issue is to reduce the grain, second issue is to get a grain structure that interferes with the music least. I respectfully disagree with Brulee - I regularly go to our local concert hall and lament how it destroys the vibrancy of violin and brass tone, and go to my local jazz haunt and have a very slight cringe at the relatively bright acoustics, yet welcome the fact that it contributes to capturing the energy of the performers.
Yeah Brulee I also LOL at *the performance sure sounded neutral tonight*. I have seen the word neutral used so often in trying to describe components that it can really lead to confusion in knowing where it lays. And yes I agree for whatever reason power cords do *sound* different. That is the ones that are good enough that I can discern a difference. I can't note too much difference at the lower end of the spectrum but as you move up it sure is evident. Lower noise floor and improved detail. I am of the opinion of Tom Nice, that more of the signal is coming through on the better cords and the RFI and nasties are filtered out by various means (dark matter?). End result, a quieter background leading to improved dynamics of the music and more inner detail is revealed, lifting another veil and getting closer to the recording. Are we at neutral yet?
I finally got to reading Stereophile,Dec. I see for a sidebar on PS Audio 600 they talk about power cords,and which one works best on their piece.They use the term neutral. Well I guess I was wrong about powercords being neutral;but you'll never get me to admit it.