And any differences heard between amplifiers are in reality slight differences in sound level. And audio cables can't possibly make a difference....
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Keep reading white papers and you will figure it out eventually. But whatever you do, don't contaminate the data by actually listening. Also include "the basic table of elements," theories of super conductivity and the effects of electromagnetic fields on sine waves and harmonics as well as shielding techniques in your research. And please do - get back to us.
Sometimes the point is missed. Audio components have power supplies that change the incomming AC into various voltages of DC. The major concerns with the incomming AC are not about it being 59 or 62 cps(HZ for the youngsters). EMI and RF are real concerns for audio components. Most of the efforts of the products dealing with the AC...be it power cords or "conditioner" units..be they inexpensive like the Monster units...or expensive (insert name here), is in dealing with these EMI and RF concerns and (read big AND here) system ground concerns.
Dekay: if kicking my ass was effected through a practical explanation of what exactly the mains level treatments are expected to achieve, I'll even bend over. Reams of white papers are published on conductors and RF interferences and a lot of them are credible. I will agree with someone who says that the EMI from CD player displays mess about with the way the DAC does its job - that's clearly and practically understandable. And I agree that any current thru a conductor causes mechanical and electrical streses. Yes, yes, yes, but the idea that since visually the power comes out of the wall and that one has to mollycoddle it to your amp is overkill. Like using a great faucet connected to city water. keep it coming!
I think you are more correct in your thinking than some of us who have dumped a lot of $$$$ into products. You have to understand that you are going to get violent replys to your post because people have spent a lot of cash on this stuff. There are products that do alieviate some of the problems you mention though. PS Audio thingies come to mind. They rebuild the AC sine wave and supposedly that could change the factors you mention that seem to be beyond the control of cables/connectors.
It is clear that [email protected] is the only one who has so far produced any credible arguments for his position. Those who harass him simply beacuse they have been in my opinion foolish enough to spend money on expensive, needless products should grow-up. I also think the problems of EMI, RF and grounding can be solved either in the design of audio equipemnet or with some very simple and relatively inexpensive products.
Dear Snobgoblin, I guess the bottom line is whether you are looking for an explanation why AC "modification" hardware works or will work in your audio system or are you just trolling to start arguements or are you looking for a reason to make such an investment in your system. WHat some people have accepted is that for many aspects of audio, the experts do not know what electrical measurements correspond to which aspects of the sonic "picture". If you are serious about this audio-wise, why don't perform and experiment on you and your system: peruse many of the comments made through the web regarding any of the AC treatments that mightbe applicable to your system. Then audition that treatment from a local or internet dealer. Most will lend you equipment for 1 week to 30 days. As you can surmise, I have no explanations of my own to offer. I have tried several ("AC treatments") and have kept a few. If, however, you are just trolling, I would rather not waste my time; if you are serious, I can make a few suggestions. Jeff
Sorry to say the same thing over and over again..in these threads that come up. But quite simply, any and all pieces of wire act an antenna, and there is no bigger antenna in ones home than the yards and yards of AC wire. Any audio component, well designed or not, can be impacted by RF (as well as EMI, etc..) and an audio circuit can work to amplify or pass on RF...or can intermodulate it with the audio signal. It is very true, that getting crazy with high cost AC treatment can become overkill, but RF and other electrical concerns for audio does exist...and as Jeffrt points out very well..it is best for one to try, and do, at whatever level pleases them.
There are several enhancements avaialable that DO improve the power we receive from the utility company. The PS units re-create power. I have a Balanced power isolation transformer that lowers the noise floor by 15db. I have heard for myself the difference power cords make in a system. The differences are not great, but in a revealing system, they do make a difference and can be used to fine tune a system. While I don't believe $2000 power cords are worth the expense, I have found that a well built and shielded power cord can make a difference and can be had for about $140. Those who spend thousands on power cords could use the money elsewhere in the system for larger gains. mike
Snobgoblin: Love your handle. I can't say I am qualified to have an opinion on this, since I have never listened to a mains cable. But I have listened to a lot of other things that are supposed to make HUGE differences and just DON'T hear them. I hear small differences but not big ones. And considering the subtlety of difference I have heard in other kinds of wires, I just can't get worked up over $200.00 for a "Mains" cable (sounds better than "power cord"). I do hear some differences a good decent speaker cable and zip cord. But after that it is - in my opinion - all voodoo for the "true believers" in high end - the "it's got to be lots better if you throw a lot of money at it" crowd.) I made a statement questioning the supposedly vast differences in high end audio equipment in a post of my own - "AUDIO AND THE EMPORERS NEW CLOTHES" recently. Suggestions that money doesn't always make it better will always raise the ire of some of the true believers. (I wonder if maybe the money is what they are "true believers" in). Then again, maybe our ears just aren't as good as theirs. But if that is the case I am thank the good Lord that it is not nearly so expensive for me to enjoy good music as some of these others.
The last ten feet has become critical for high-end systems because the manufacturers of those systems have provided the consumer with the lowest quality power cords possible. Hence the need to purchase and use 10 gauge or 8 gauge cords in order to supply hungry amps with enough power to drive the bass in our speakers and subwoofers. The last ten feet is critical because municipalities have permitted the use of the lowest quality power outlets in our homes, not hospital grade units. The last ten feet is critical because the internal wiring in our homes is often not copper, or is otherwise inadequate, and so we attempt to overcome this by wiring from the transformer to a dedicated panel just for audio equipment. The last ten feet is critical because there is a measurable, and obvious, improvement in audio reproduction when we apply these changes. What other justification do we need?
Snowgoblin: The sign remark was merely rhetorical and was in poor taste - I apologize. Your comments remind me of the white paper trolls that exist at "another" audio site, just go there and click on the SET forum and you will see similarities to posts by people who critique products that they have never owned let alone listened to. Have you ever tried an upgraded power cord yourself? Do you own a stereo or HT system? Do you listen to music other than when in a car/elevator or when placed on hold on the phone? Other than your employment with an electric utility what have been your personal experiences on the subject that you have such an interesting opinion on? If you want to hear what I have to say on the subject I then think that is only fair that I know where you are really coming from. I will start my personal experience off with that, yes I have found that cords do make a difference. I have only tried three cords in my system and they have only been used on the source which is a CD player. Each cord sounded different, and one (a Harmonic Technology Pro 11) sounded better to my ears than the others. Different is not always an improvement, but I will point out again that they all had different sounds that even my wife (who knows nothing about any of this) could easily distinguish. Why they sounded different, I do not know as I only understand the basic principals of the (to me) big word theories that I mentioned above and not the exact science of how they all work. I have also not yet tried the more expensive PC's that are in the talk now. I started out with the stock cord, which was loose fitting and had oxidized contacts. I cleaned the contacts and it sounded better but it was still a pain because it needed the use of a support to maintain good contact (the support that I used interfered with the isolation devices that I use on my CD player). Next I used a generic cord off of another piece of equipment (that I cleaned before installing) and it sounded more muted than the CAL stock cord, I did not like this sound as my player is already pretty laid back in its tonal character. I then purchased the Harmonic Tech, cord which sounded completely different and better. It seemed to increase the amount of detail that I was hearing by no less than 20% and my whole system just sounded better and more musical with increased dynamics (it sounded like I had doubled the power output of my amp). Their were also a few Wow's by friends that stopped by that are both musicians but not into this hobby. If I had better equipment or a different source I do not know if the change would have been as drastic as system synergy is always a big part of the equation, but the comments from the people that I see at this site that do own better equipment and that do actually try upgraded cords make me think that there is a difference or improvement to be had as well and that it may be even more more noticeable in their systems than with my midfi equipment. It does make sense in theory though I doubt if I will ever own such equipment to test it myself. The HT cord was $130.00 used FYI. I also have a very bad power supply to deal with in the area (LA) that I live in. It isn't just the building that I live in it is every building/house that I have lived in for the past 23 years within this local grid system, I have had better juice when I have lived outside of this area. Light bulbs have a tendency to last no longer than 30-40 days. The voltage checks fine per an electrician that installed a new breaker box in my apartment so I assume that the amperage must drop to very low levels (even Halogen lights burn out in 3-4 months). Though I do not believe that my inexpensive Monster power conditioner boosts the amperage it does make an improvement in the sound of my system that is very noticeable during the day when playing light spacious music. I would guess from this that my power is not very clean. So what do you have to say? What walk have you walked?
Joe_coherent: What simple and relatively inexpensive products are you referring to? Are these from personal experience and/or from a technical website? Please share them with us. I am not against DIY or cheap tweaks at all though I don't think that I will be designing my own electronics any time soon.
One comment from a manufacturer of power cords that makes sense to me is that the equipment is not at "the end of the line" but should be looked at from, say, the amp's point of view. The power cord is the very first thing it sees and could be thought of as part of the leads of its AC transformer. I do hear differences 'tween cords, not major ones but very much depending on what was being replaced. In my system, it can be as significant as speaker cables, but the weakest link can hold back the intensity of the changes. In other words, on a CD based system, if one has replaced the power cords for the CD player and amp and not the preamp, that alone can restrict maybe 1/2 of the total potential results, at least in my system. I was surprised!
Your post seems to acually validate that just a dedicated AC line is not enough, since our neighbors pollute the power in the same way our own appliances do if we do not have a dedicated line. My Vansevers power stuff makes a huge difference and it is not my immagination. Mike Vansevers is an electrical engineer and pro audio guy, who, when he discovered he could affect the sound positively by altering the AC power, he changed careers and went into the power conditioning business. There are pages and pages of white papers on this web site that explain in great technical and non technical detail how power affects sound. On another note, photographers will swear filtering light improves a photograph. Is it true? We all have the same sun. Ever wear sunglasses?? Finally some people are born with better hearing than others; some will never be able to tell the difference.
The real question is that is why aren't audio equipment manufacturers providing cords of adequate guage and proper EMI filtering at the mains input of their expensive amplifiers. Come now, how much cost savings is there between a 16 guage and 12 guage cord? I'd be surprised if it exceeded one dollar of cost to a manufacturer. So why, after spending several kilobucks on an amp or preamp, should I shell out more to make the device function at a level I expected right out of the box? And why aren't audio equipment manufacturers taking appropriate steps to shield and filter their components to avoid internally generate RFI from being radiated or conducted from outside the confines of the box? The engineering principles are long standing and well understood. Why do we insist on elegant industrial design (look and feel) but permit sloppy engineering of the contents? (I think this is one of the distinctions between "consumer" and "pro" gear... and although we may pay audiophile prices, it seems in some cases and respects we're still getting consumer mass-fi grade engineering). If the audio magazines want to go measure something, go do what the manufacturers should be doing: measure the EMI/RFI output and susceptibility. There are well known standards and procedures for doing this.
Sugarbrie makes a good point regarding differences in hearing ability. Humans have vastly different amounts of taste buds, making some people "super tasters". I bet that there is an audio equivalent. I think Carl is probably correct about the PS Audio 300. I have not heard it for myself, but regenerating power makes sense to me. Without posting a resume I trust my ears, and 30 years experience, and I have heard a modest improvement from my Monster HTS-3500, and significant improvement from my Harmonic Technology power cords. It also makes sense to do something about what you can control, instead of saying it is useless anyway, which seems to be Snobgoblin's point. Psycosomatic? Nonsense! Yes, expectation can cause people to project their desire into their judgment of a product, but most of us here are big boys with a lot of experience, think for ourselves, and are not victims of our imagination or industry hype, thank you very much. Hey Snobby, where did you go? It is only fair to answer Dekay's request for info on what products you have tried.
1439bhr- I think the answer to your question is that from the manufacturer's point of view, people probably won't pay more for the product if it has a better AC cable, and therefore anything they spend on upgrading the AC cable comes out of their profit. Even though high end units don't typically have large model runs, if the company is pushing out 10,000 units over the model life, that might be $10,000-20,000 over the model run. And most manufacturers have several models going at once, so to them it adds up, if there is no benefit in terms of increased income.
If, that is correct mr.Goblin, why would hospitals use the highest quality filters and ac cords, stabilizators etc...etc, for the "vital" instruments and the equipment? To get as clean as possible, and uninterupted current! I don't know why, and how all this helps the overall sound of the hi-end components, and i don't care!(I guess "clean" current produces the clean sound?) But i know it works! Amen!
On the subject of shielding which in a way pertains to this thread, does anyone know of a commonly obtainable material, hopefully sold in sheets that is good for this purpose? My amp has a separate power supply which is easy to place away from the other box that contains the rest of the amp (the input/output sections). However I would like to place my amp directly above my CD player (on a separate shelf) and would like to shield it from the power supply of the CD player below in which the power supply is self contained. I feel that this will help maintain the design philosophy on which my amps were designed. They are the Musical Fidelity X series. I also have two other monoblocks on order (that also have separate power supplies) that I will place on this upper shelf. I have to custom build the shelf myself anyway (out of MDF with a piece of fruit wood trim (persimmon) on the front) as the equipment is in an old Tansu cabinet and would like to include this shielding feature into the design. I do not know if their will be an audible difference, but I figure why not cover all bases when I am constructing the shelf.
Even if component manufacturers put HQ AC cords on their equipment, audiophiles would want to change them-- now that the genie is out of the bottle, ie power cords have become an industry, and there many flavors. Steve McCormack once told me that he had done quite a bit of experimenting with after market cords, and he recommended API (about $200.) and LAT (about $100.)-- well, I tried the API and didn't like it at all-- the stock Belden was better. I haven't tried the LAT (yet), but I do have Syn. Res. MC on my McCormack amp, and it's excellent. My point: If cords were not replaceable, it would make a high end component less desireable. Audiophiles have become "spoiled" and now want to pick out their own "flavor", IMO. Cheers. Craig.
Just got back into audio a short while ago, and would have said that PC's were the Audiophile equivalent of a penis extension. ...Then I actually listened to a few PC's. First were my local dealer's home brew - hubbel terminated, but no better than the stock PC's. Next I borrowed an XLO reference 10a - what a difference. This was far from subbtle. A student who does work for me wanted to know what I had done to the stereo, because it sounded "different" "better" "as though a sheet of paper had been removed from in front of the speakers." This cliche from a highschool kid of 16 years who is not into audio. After the XLO I went on to audition JPS PC's. I recently jumped off the deep end and purchased 4 Shunyata Research PowerSnakes. And YES they sound different (better IMHO) than any of the others I tried. In fact 2 out of the 4 I demoed sound differently on the same equipment (Sim Audio/Goertz/NHT). I too am far from any kind of electrical expert, but Calin Gabriel at Shunyata is. He makes significant arguments (via his website www.powersnakes.com)as to why well designed PC's make a difference in sound quality. While goblin and others may not experience the sound improvments I have the only way to know for sure is to listen - if you are able to keep an open mind. Mike
After reading this forum for months now, I still cannot quite get over the fact that people seem to need an engineering explanation of why something makes a difference before they can believe there is a difference. There are two reasons for my incredulity. First, it seems to be paying homage to science, when the whole point of the scientific process is that reality drives theory not the other way around. That is to say, the scientific process is not about denying an experienced reality just because of a lack of theory. Second, an engineering explanation adds nothing of value, except to equipment designers. For example, if someone explains to me how a 24 bit DAC can outperform a 20 bit DAC, due to its ability to perform more dither or some other purpose, this proves nothing of practical benefit to me. It does not proove that all 24 bit DACs will outperform all 20 bit DACs, for example. It does not prove how much more money I should pay for a 24 bit DAC over a 20 bit one. In fact it tells me very little, if anything, about whether my musical enjoyment will be enhanced. So what is the point? For me - I have tried lots of power cords, and they all sound different. The nature of the difference is of a similar order of magnitude and musical significance as changing speaker cables. Anyone who spends large amounts on a speaker cable and then uses stock power cords has their priorities wrong IMO. This is what I hear, and this is all I need to know. Snobgoblin, you may choose to put your head in the sand and comfort yourself that those like me are all wrong. An alternative would be to listen to some cables and, who knows, you may remove all doubt. What is there to be afraid of?
My intention wasn't to 'troll'... Bear in mind that I'm referring ONLY to 'High End' Power Cords here - Hell yes, ICs and speaker cables make a diff, I've seen it on my (decidedly pedestrian!) system (Arcam 6+ integrated with Marantz CD 6000 KI sig and Celestion 5 speakers) Sturdy power cords made to electrical codes and Good Industry Practice is definitely a requirement - ther's nothing new about this. Hospitals use good quality bits because that's the relevant code and stuff like X-Ray machines draw oodles of power. Fine, use those robust pieces, you cant go wrong. BUT we need to draw the line somewhere folks. I've changed my power cord out of necessity (UK plugs to India code) - I'm certainly not blessed aurically to hear anything different. I'll bet it would sound coarse if the grounding was bad or the plugs were corroded, but that's plain to see and understand. What isn't logically consistent is the magic a $500 cord can do. And IMHO the cord better have a degree sorcery from Hobbitt U. to fulfil its expectationas. Finally, that's all I'm saying.
Snobgoblin: Even modest mass electronics can benefit from a thicker gage power cord or even a hubbell plug. If you have been visiting audiogon for a while there are a bunch of us that dedicate time to AC power quality and cords...... and differences do exist. If you browse through old threads you'll see even long time evaluation projects like Carl_eber has shared with us his experiences on power cords and this facts (sound changes that are heard not seen) are experienced by many. If that wasn't the case I assure you that there wouldn't be a business for the guys making them and a time and money investment from the audiophile crowd. Suggest you give it a try. Regards
I agree with Mikem and Hiwaves. My DIY tweaks is almost exactly what Mikem describes them. Mikem, please post here or email to me the VA rating of your isolation transformer. I'm about to buy one but not sure what VA rating will deliver the transient peaks in music. My wall socket wires are large enough for 20A at 240Volts. If I go for full 4800VA, the transformer size would be colossal!wouldn't it :)~
Snobgoblin: A $500.00 or $1500.00 cord is only worth it if you are willing to spend the money and can live with it (and hear it). You would of course want to audition the cord or have a return policy in writing. And you need not start with such an expensive cord. My cord retailed for $250.00 but was purchased for half of that. If the price is what you find upsetting then join the club, you will not find any arguments on this issue. Most IC's and speaker cables are horribly overpriced as well IMO. But some of the more expensive ones sure do sound pretty good and some do not, it is a matter of taste. I view PC's as a form of equalizer or tone control (the same with other cables). They all sound different because of their varied design philosophies which includes not only the materials from which they are made from but also the manner in which they are constructed. Synergy with the associated equipment is also a factor. With all of the talk of solder less connections on IC's it stands to reason that assembly alone can make a sonic difference, and why wouldn't this be true of a PC as well? After all these changes all alter the signal whether it be music or current. Your reasoning that there is a maximum level of quality that can be achieved in a PC that makes any further changes useless, is interesting. Who decides what this level of achievement is. If you cannot hear further improvements or any differences between the cords then I guess that that is the end of the road. But you first need to listen to the cords to get to that point. If I can hear an improvement in my midfi system then you should be able to as well. Try something with a return policy, it need not be expensive (like a LAT), but try something. PC's also require break in like any other cable. I would also suggest that you read "Son of the Circus" if you haven't already.
I agree with Redkiwi. i've tried many power cords, and they all sound different. If anyone else does the same, and they do not sound any different TO THEM, then that's fine. Just don't tell Redkiwi, or me, what we are hearing, or not hearing. I COMPLETELY AGREE that the order of difference when changing a powercord, approaches that of changing a speaker cable. I suspect that most anyone could hear this difference, providing that they are listening to their system and it's effect on the reproduced recording of the music, and NOT to their listening room functioning as some kind of echo chamber, where such changes (as AC cords or cabling) get drowned in the sea of low resolution. I've heard this in most of the systems I've visited, and in all the ones where there was not proper room treatment.
In the highest resolution systems, it makes sense to use the better quality PC's. Snobgoblin, why do we have to "draw the line somewhere"? If I spent $60,000 on a high resolution system, I sure as hell would want to maximize it at every level. If you have an open mind (and ear) then perhaps some of the more "reasonable" PC's might work better than the most expensive PC's, but as a consumer I am glad that I can hear the more expensive gear at a dealer as a reference. Also, IMO most of the "luxury" brands produced, be it cars, luggage, furniture, whatever, began as an intense labor of love by a passionate designer, and I think that the amount of "love energy" put into manufacturing carries a lot of weight for a long time, and is the reason why some brands (Tiffany, Porsche?) are still around. Why limit the process that brings innovation and ultimately trickles down to a reasonable price level? The research and production costs behind $2500 power cords will be available at 10% of that price at some point. The people buying those expensive cutting edge products are not by and large "suckers", they are just enjoying spending their money, and why not?
I have the 20amp Equitech ET2R with the "Q" option. and a digital isolation circuit. It runs totally cool and quiet even under full load. I am not puuting much of a load on it.. There is lots of headroom available and I have never heard any compression or constraint due to p=lack of power. The transformer is HUGE. I have it on a dedicated line I ran. The differences using this unit was not subtle. A much lower noise floor provides more contrast and the music emerges from blackspace. mike
I'm currently using the PS Audio P600 model running from a dedicated power circuit. In the past I've used API and Versalabs products. Each of these products has made a noticeable difference in sound quality. I don't use any specialty power cords, IMHO they are not a good value (at least within the context of my $35,000 system). What upsets me in reading some of the above postings is how ignorant, and defiantly proud of their ignorance, some of the posters are. The fact is electromagnetic theory and its effects are really, and I mean, really well understood. If you want to use power cords -- go ahead. If you think they make your system sound better -- I'm honestly happy for you. I live in a free country where you can do anything you want with your money. What I cannot abide is the assertion that somehow the use of these products is somehow outside the realm of understood science. Trust your ears, but don't be ignorant.
Onhwy61, I am not sure I am understanding your point. You seem to be pooh-poohing specialty power cables and saying that the claimed beneficial effects defy "understood science". But surely the understood science would include such concepts as the effects of shielding and common mode rejection - two of the most common strategies used in specialty power cables. You don't mention whether you hold this view, not only because of understood science, but also by having tried specialty power cords. My experimentation with trying these various products tells me a $35,000 system ought to not be using stock cords, and that specialty power cords (for me at least) have a more beneficial effect than power conditioners and filters. I really don't care whether it is voodoo or understood science (neither concept do I trust) that makes this so.
Redkiwi, in my 11/5 post I did not state that power cords do not work; I said they were not a good value FOR ME. My experience is that power cords do make a sonic difference. Within the context of my system I have made a choice to address the problems of AC power by other, and I believe more effective, means. Obviously, my conclusions in this area only apply to my system and my tastes. A well designed power cord should only cost no more than $250US, yet I see products costing 5x (and more). I checked out one of the expensive PC wedsites and their explanation of what their product does was total nonsense. Now the reality is that their product may work in my system, but why would I buy a product, and an expensive product at that, from someone who I thought was bullshitting me? Power cords can make a sonic difference, but they don't work for the better in every situation. I trust my ears enough to know what works in my system. My advice to other is to do the same.
This thread is a good one or me as I'm new to high end and have been researching the ac topic in search of a treatment for myself. Although I dont see why anyone finds this complicated. The ac from the wall "untreated" is full of RF and EMI. FYI this is much worse than just 15years ago with the advent cell phones, microwaves, cordless phones and the airwaves ie tv/radio, being chock a block full. The trick seems to be cleaning the power as best as possible at the wall. Then you need to treat it with respect from there to your equipment The best possible in the high end computor world is to use power regeneration ie . regenerate the power so in fact you are running off of battery power. Now you have virgin power so to speak and from there use heavily isolated cords and plugs. This would cost thousands to do properly to have enough juice for power amps but would be easier for source componets. When Omhwy61 doesnt hear a difference with highpriced cords it likley because his PS 600 is doing the job its supposed to. And all he needs from there is well shielded and terminated cords. In fact im learning you can make great cords yourself. A local high end dealer who has been tinkering inside every amp he has had for over 20 years as a hobbie recently went looking of a spool of speciality ac wire. From some where near Seattle he has a roll of military surplus wire. Nickle plated copper strands from a submarine constructor used to carry short bursts of high current. He uses hubble ends and a layer of insulation and a nice nylon cover and sells it for $100/foot Anyway he sells tons of this stuff. But the point is there is nothing stopping you from doing your own if you're willing to go looking for the right equipment. Question? I've read about some members talk about dedicated grounds. Could someone tell me if this is just more than a dedicated circuit. Cheers steve
Onhwy61, I agree that power cords around US$250 are very adequate for most systems. As to the ones costing 5 times more, I agree I would not buy them on 'spec and would probably not even try them - without a credible recommendation. I have always found it interesting that the US scene seems to be over-hyped on cables, yet the British scene is the reverse. A good example was the recent TAS that recommended systems where some included cable recommendations that rivalled the cost of the components. Whatjd - don't use the steel pins, you must get the Tubthumping Wakonda pure crystal pins dipped in virgin juniper oil, and only on the third sunday night of the new moon - check www.tubthumpingwakonda.con
Early last summer I had 4 dedicated outlets put in for my stereo system and also a dedicated ground-- one ground system for the 4 outlets. It cost $850. for parts and installation by an electrician. After doing this, music in my system became bright and grainy. I learned from Redkiwi that a dedicated system WILL be excessively bright and grainy, as that is the "sound" of the stock AC cords. So I auditioned seven different power cords and ended up purchasing 4 Syn. Res. Master Couplers. The improvement in music quality with the HQ AC cords was dramatic. This change took a system that was nearly unlistenable to one that is highly enjoyable. I should add that the dedicated AC and ground system noticeably lowered the music's noise floor and was definitely worthwhile-- BUT it needed the good quality AC cords to complete the upgrade. I paid about $225.- $275. each for the SR M/Cs (a couple had to be special ordered, ie one w/ 20 amp IEC plug, and one with a right angle plug) and feel no need to even try the obscenely expensive PCs. I'm a believer in good quality AC, and good PCs are just a necessary part of a good system. Cheers. Craig