I never put much stock into power cabling as I never had a system able to reflect the improvements they may have provided.
Now I have a system that is super revealing and I have spent the last 4 months auditioning and running experiments with a multitude of cables:
Elrod EPS-2, -3, -3Sig
Harmonix XDC Studio Master
Harmonix XDC - 350 Studio Master
Signal Cable ?
NRG Custom The Five
Kaplan HE MKII
Puritan standard line
and a Masterbuilt Reference is on the way.
It's crazy how the bass can be adjusted up or down and the sibilance can be tamed (or worsened), or you can really blur the sound with the wrong cable.
I too have bought in to the Furutech brand connectors, power cord wire and even their speaker wire. A 1 1/2 meter power cord is about 1500 and then you have the fun of putting it together. Great for diy guys as myself.
The speaker wires are about 4,000 for four 1 meter lengths with appropriate parts. Two full range pairs. Nothing short of revelatory as you say.
@celtic66 and @brunomarcs I started with Furutech bulk cables/connctors and have graduated to making my own DIY cables from scratch.
But if you are not into DIY, the brands that I like are
- Audio Eden (on the budget concious end of the scale)
- Zavfino (middle of the price/performance curve
- Hijiri - the pinacle of the performance curve, but at a price
If you want to understand some of the technical aspects of what goes into a good cable, take a look at this link
But I agree with @bugredmachine ...
It’s crazy how the bass can be adjusted up or down and the sibilance can be tamed (or worsened), or you can really blur the sound with the wrong cable.
Regards - Steve
Yep, welcome to the world of high end audio. Interconnects, power cords and cables are the bread and butter of getting a system to peak performance: a critical one.
Well said...its odd how a simple connector can make such a difference...they look the same...dont cost the same 😢.Steve is onto the "what its all about stuff"...bet its super rewarding to listen to your some wires come alive.The newest of my wire tweaking is the audioharma.I did my conditioner cable/new along with 6hr refresh of my v twist/eti/aeco inteconnects...im sold on it.
It would be interesting to see exactly what these different cables do to the sound. This could be done with a before and after measurement of the speaker. People say you can't measure these differences, they're something that only the human ear can pick up, not any machine. I just don't believe it. I was told that about amplifiers too but when I perceived a different sound between two amps, I took measurements of the speaker using the same test signal into the amp and the difference showed up clearly as a change in frequency response from the speaker. Mystery solved! Anybody ever measured their speakers before and after a noticed difference in sound quality after a cable change? It would give more meaning to your subjective descriptions to get an objective measurement of the change.
I think measuring the speaker's output is the correct thing to do because we're looking at the result of how the system is interacting with all of it's components, not just how one component operating by itself measures into a test load.
Good cables beat lamp cords any day. Moving on up to fuses now, not as clear cut. Bottom line is I have gotten to a point where all I do now is listen to music because the obsessing part with the sound thing has magically gone away. I guess that's when you know your system has pretty much arrived. Great satisfying feeling. It took a crap load of time and effort to get to that point though. No pain, no gain is a true part of this audiophile pursuit.
The cable's effect not only differs for each kind of cable, but also its length & connectors, and the amp & speakers used. I'll keep this simple, since even that is above my pay grade, and only consider resistance, although changes in inductance & capacitance are also in play.
From the amp pov, the cable adds to the resistance it's driving. That usually results in a (slight!) reduction in the amp's output - but some circumstances could result in an increase. From the speaker side, the cable resistance adds to the source impedance, lowering damping & resulting in the amp having less control of the speaker (this is why tube amps generally have looser bass than ss - they tend to have a higher output impedance).
Sorry, it's hard not to say "impedance" when talking about audio - that's the result of the complex interaction of inductance (L), capacitance (C), & resistance (R) in the circuit and of course is frequency-dependent. So what I said above is true, but additionally complicated by the cable's L & C, and different at every frequency. The choice of amp & speakers also affects this interaction to varying degrees at every frequency.
Conclusion: If you like how your system sounds, good on you, mate! If not, cabling can make a difference, but the results are not as measurable or predictable as upgrading your electronics.
The importance of power cables can't be overstated. There is no reason why they should be limited to audio equipment. I love the fact that my Samsung S95B OLED has an IEC power socket, so I can use a decent power cable. Like audio equipment, the improvement is fantastic. Just as audio equipment benefits from isolation feet, so does the TV. The IsoAcoustics ISO-Stage 1 Combo Isolation Board works well and more importantly supports the weight and is stable.
BTW, this isn't sarcasm, but something I wholeheartedly recommend if you want your visual experience to be top-notch.
@petaluman If the audible impacts of cables are due to LCR interactions, the math describing those changes is well known and not very difficult. And as a result, easy to document. But it's a double-edged sword, the inability to document such conditions removes them from consideration. Stereophile for one runs a frequency response of amps into a simulated speaker load with frightening results.
If the only 'major' setback on the 'perfection' of the signal being moved about the components and delivered to the speakers via the 'new' cable concepts is the speakers themselves.
Given that speakers, being the most discussed/argued over/preferred/not preferred/subject to the space placed within (which is a whole other issue), and subject to us...and our noted *ah* 'differences*....
The only item left for a major overhaul IS us.
We Are Obsolete.
*L* See you in the dustbin....:)
What did you make of the NRG Custom Cables - the "5"?
These are not widely spoken of, but they were a welcome addition to my modest system, plus they are reasonably priced, and Nawaz is a joy to do business with
I have this feeding my integrated, and the smaller version feeding my DAC.
I am interested in reading more about the Cables/Cords in your system. Specifically, the Hijiri and Masterbuilt Reference.
@celtic66 try a furutech gtx-d ncf outlet. Add to the weirdness of it all.
Someone has to acknowledge that tired old elephant in the room:
We have met the weakest link in our system.....and it is us!
@rettrussell ....at least until an AI attempts to soothe our devolving selves and advises to buy the next shiny new thang....
or move on to knitting....;)
Thank god lifes full of second chances...as well as this hobby.
Some great posts here. I have to admit I have always steered to the middle of the road on cables. Always using a good quality, well constructed cables and interconnects as well as speaker cables. Nothing crazy and nothing that detracts from my system. Draw the line as power cables for sub's buy them on Amazon OFC stuff.
@audphile1 That Furutech outlet is sitting on the floor awaiting install. Already have a great Oyaide complete, but will do that. Thanks
Then you have some real treats in your future. I recommend try some high end cables from a local dealer or from the cable company. In general, I consider them to be components. “…good quality, well constructed… Nothing crazy” is a recipe for wires that do nothing.
My history is periodically getting some seemingly rediculously expensive interconnect or cord and scoffing at the idea this could possibly be worth it… until a minute into the audition when I was calling my dealer to order a pair… or two.
To prove it. Try an AudioQuest Hurricane on your amp. Speaker cables would be the other arena. If it doesn’t inspire a, “I can’t live without these”… then don’t buy them.
Sorry @ghdprentice barking up the wrong tree. Wasting your time and I am not wasting my money. Also did not ask for any recommendations or advice on cables. I simply made a statement where I come in on the great cable debate. Rather spend my money on music than marketing BS.
I guess I misinterpreted your post. Ithought you had opened yourself up to new possibilities. Oh, well. Your loss, not mine.
Guess you did and I guess having Tranparent Cable mid tier Reference and XL cables through the majority of my system, is as good as it gets. Do not want to find the point of diminishing returns. These cables suit my system just fine. If I am seeking advice I will ask a professional.
Good call on the Furutech outlet. I predict even more "weirdness" in your system.
One of the greatest pleasures of this hobby is the ability to audition equipment that is exponentially more expensive than our current "reference" at home. It's a bit like setting a $30k celing on a used sports car, and someone hands you the keys to a $400k exotic and says "don't be shy approaching the apex of the turn at speed." We may find we have to take a price exit well below the exotic, but we'll also have sampled what world-class quality and perrformance is all about. And, we may have to tweak our budget up just a tad after the experience. Those $125k cars are now "on the radar", when they were completely invisible before.
Curiosity. Imagination. Discovery. Hobbies are supposed to be fun. The fun goes away when we think we have it all figured out.
Get your point, if you’re into cars.
Another weird thing is how the folks who are over on the China Cable thread claim marvelous akin to top tier results with counterfeit cables??
Well, it's done. Two more Furutech 4.1 power cables added; one to the music server, one to the preamp. And the veil lifting continues.
The positive side, monies invested have rendered conclusive positive results and not been a waste of capital. Yet more dynamic with improved sound staging.
Lesson learned is that it's cumulative in effect when done right.
Yes the DPS-4.1 with FI-50 NCF is awesome.
@celtic66 how long is the break in process?
@audphile1 Cannot really say. Sounded great immediately and now that I have mixed ages of the same cable, well…….. somewhat indeterminate. But definitely well worth it when from my perspective, 15K for just one high end cable is insane.
That’s just my perspective. Cheers
I’m trying one out now but it’s broken in. I need two for the amps. Was just wondering about the break in. I remember my 55n with FI-50 NCF plugs took well over 500-600hrs. I lost count and then it just all came together.