Yes, spending serious $ on a TT power cord is a total waste of $. The AC coming into the TT to drive the motor never gets rectified into an audio signal.
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I know Stringreen - many people swear by the improvement they hear with a change of power cords. My ears just aren't good enough or trained enough or they're just partly/mostly made of tin - I just can't hear it! :-(
Now I HAVE experienced a big change with power conditioning equipment, or glorified surge protectors, whatever you want to consider them. I had put a Balanced Power Tech Clean Power Center (CPC) into the mix, plugging all of my 2 channel system components into it. There was an immediate change in the sound - and I didn't like it. It sounded flat, lifeless, even seemed to strangle the volume. I took it out of the system and put in a Furutech E--TP80, what they call an "AC Power Distributor." Again, immediate change, but for the better - the sound opened up, sounded dynamic and full, it sounded RIGHT.
Rather differetnt from the experience of the reviewer at 6Moons:
On balance, and being excused for generalizations, I'd characterize the e-TP80 as a somewhat valve-reminiscent component that shaves off edge, increases glow and expands things to slightly larger-than-life size which, if you add it all up, makes it the perfect antidote for many affordable systems suffering the exact opposite. And affordable systems are most likely to be the natural mates for this affordable conditioner that offers enough outlets to accommodate a complete such setup. Which brings us to the BPT CPC. Despite its affordability, it seems tailor-made for truly expensive systems where its greater honesty, finer-boned finesse, greater rhythmic time keeping ability and stronger focus not on the grande gestures but minuscule constituents all fall into the service of resolution enhancement which, let's face it, tends to be the cornerstone that expensive systems are built upon and assembled around.(http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/furutech2/1.html)
So, as you can see, my ears are suspect...or I just don't have the expensive system needed to appreciate what the CPC - and perhaps power cords -can bring to the table!
Power cords do make a difference. I even found that the power cord that serves the bias supply on my ESL speakers can make an audible difference. But the good news, IMO, is that cost is not a major factor. Cheap PCs can sound great. Expensive PCs can sound worse than factory-supplied PCs. I found that good speaker wire, if the gauge is high enough, usually make excellent PCs. Gauge is a major factor. Use 12-gauge from Home Depot or Loew's, if all else fails or on a budget, and if you know how to DIY a little. My theory, based on limited experimentation is that shielding and wire gauge are the major factors that distinguish good from bad, plus the amount of RFI and EMI in your own listening environment.
Lew, here is a case in point on using speaker wire. One of my audio buddies was caught up needing an extra power cord. Rather than go out to buy one he made it using a length of Kimber TC-8 speaker. That ended up sounding better than any other cord in his system, thus convincing him power cords can make a difference.
I think if your turntable has a mains regenerative power supply (the LP12 was possibly the first to use this principle) then it's likely that the power cord won't make a blind bit of difference.
Similarly any well designed power supply "should" be immune to the vagaries of the Mains but in practice the realities are somewhat different - and older classic gear can have more problems than recently manufactured stuff due to the fact that components have deteriorated over time.
This said, 110V supplies are a different story from 240V supplies such as we use here in the UK.
I remember, a while back, Rod Elliot of ESP Sound Systems doing an investigative study on this subject and seem to recall he found that braided "RFI suppressing" cables could have some benefit by reducing Mains noise but found no real evidence to support the claims of the others.
If you choose to access the following link, Rod is very passionate about de-bunking myths so you have been warned! :)
Mains cables with a ground sheath might well be worthwhile too for the above reason (important to note that won't have any effect on the embedded noise though) but I'm probably grasping at straws here. Exactly what form such interference might have on your listening pleasure is up for debate. With the advent of the possibility of transmitting RF data via the Mains the emphasis on well designed power supplies is increased.
Hope this helps.
Tim (Pryso): Great minds think alike. I have been using Kimber 8TC as power cord for maybe 10 years. Each of my Atma-sphere monoblocks is connected to the wall socket with 8TC power cord. That product is uniquely suited to PC use, because of its construction. I also use a pair of Goertz copper speaker wires as power cords. Those are more difficult, because fitting the ribbon conductor into the clips in the typical plug or IEC connector is no mean feat.
Moonglum, Believe me, I am no cult worshiper. I come to the table with a bias that most of our gospel audio truths are BS. It makes no sense that PCs should make a difference in many instances, such as the one you cite. The only way I can see that they do is if you are using a device that makes large and variable current demands. And in such cases, gauge rules, the more copper the better. Also, there may be the issue of noise on the AC line. For that reason, conductors that employ some sort of HF filtering may be helpful. Otherwise, one has to make one's own decisions. I stopped worrying about it long ago, when I started to make my own cords from speaker wires, as mentioned above, or from just heavy gauge AC cord. I did find that a certain brand of PC using ribbon conductors really sounded best on my Sound Lab ESL bias supplies, and I have no idea why. Several other boutique cords sounded awful, less good than standard cords supplied by Sound Labs.
Good points by Lew and Moonglum, IMO.
Also, a common sense point that seems worth mentioning is that the turntable's power cord should be kept as far away as possible from the phono cable, to minimize coupling of EMI or RFI from the power cord to the phono cable. It wouldn't surprise me if the main reason some people report benefits from upgrading the power cord of a turntable were that the shielding of the upgraded cord reduced that effect, as Lew alluded to. The magnitude of that effect, btw, figures to be highly dependent on the design of the particular phono stage, on the characteristics of the cartridge that is being used, and on the shielding provided by the phono cable.
And, seconding another point that Lew made, a well shielded power cord does not have to cost a great deal of money.
I had three different AC cords on my Walker Proscenium turntable, all sounded different. The Omega Micro AC cable that Lloyd Walker recommended (at that time) proved to be best.
AC cables proved different on my Basis Debut Gold MK4 and MK5 and even the older Versa Dynamics. It seems motors do like being fed with better AC supply cable for whatever reason.
With my Technics MK2 and current MK3 in my system I've had at least five AC cords on the motor controller/power supply. Each cable provided a different level of performance.
The one I kept is a more moderate investment but in the future, after I recover from Stillpoints Ultra 5 and other recent purchases I'll upgrade this AC cable as well.
Perhaps even more strange is the effect of the AC cord on my Focal Grande EM power supply. All this does is turn the woofer into a field coil. It's not an amp nor does it power the crossover. I tried four different AC cords and got four completely different levels of performance.
Unfortunately the most expensive option was too much performance gain for me to pass it up.
I know cables are a bone of contention for many and that's to be expected. I remember a number of years ago when lots of people claimed amplifiers all sounded the same.
More recently people claim all wire (interconnect and speaker) sound the same. Anyone claiming they could hear an interconnect were delusional.
There are some converts since then and I think AC cables will be sorted out as time goes on. In my experience an AC cable can be a bigger upgrade than an interconnect. You have to test and listen for yourself.
Sincere apologies, I think I came across as more of a hard-liner than I actually am. On occasions Ive heard differences when using the braided Kimber cables too.
The comments werent directed at anyone on the thread least of all your good self. Just a series of generalisations and past experiences. :)
As an aside, back in the 1970s popular methods of improving the mains took the form of e.g. zener diodes wired back-to-back. Later, the more fashionable transorbs emerged.
Folk tend to attribute audible differences to placebo but I can think of one amusing example where the results were incongruous.
In the late 1980s audio enthusiasts, including myself, started experimenting with VDRs for mains interference suppression. Commercial exploitation of the idea came a few years later with packaged products but at that time the bare components were purchased and shoehorned into mains plugs or onto the units mains connector. The outcome wasnt, We can hear a positive difference and everyone should buy these but rather Users felt the VDRs were negatively affecting the dynamic response of the system, so the general consensus was to STOP using them, not promote their use.
(The important thing to note here was that they/we heard a difference even though the results were unacceptable)
Later, the commercial sellers rationalised it as VDRs having a genuinely beneficial effect, but that it exposed weaknesses in the signal chain, highlighting the shortcomings of the equipment in use.
Whether this was true or not (i.e. placebo or not) is again a matter for debate, so, tactfully, I wont comment on this.
Al makes an excellent point about screened cables preventing EMI pickup. A similarly opposite benefit can come from the braided Kimber cables i.e if used on switch-mode power supplies they prevent their characteristic hash from getting back into your local mains supply, so not only suppressing incoming interference but the outgoing stuff as well.
Perhaps the primary focus should be shifted from the non-domestic Mains Network to domestic i.e. unplugging non-essential switch-mode PSUs, motors and anything likely to unbalance the Mains when listening, and generally shut down all non-essential appliances (apart from the fridge)? This gives the average system a flying start before they even look at interference suppression.
One of the main concerns for me is not so much the electrical implications of cables but their mechanical effects especially if hooked up to something associated with the turntable. (Many cables have the aspect of a hosepipe and are much heavier). Resonances being channelled through cables as mechanical conduits can have very undesirable effects (and Ive proved the mechanical effects in blind comparisons so I would echo Als suggestion about careful cable "dressing" and also resonance control. For a turntable, good cable dressing could be more significant than the electrical benefits of cable swaps.)
Best regards .
I was not in the least offended by anything you wrote before my post. Skepticism is a needed commodity in this hobby. In your last post, you wrote:
"A similarly opposite benefit can come from the braided Kimber cables i.e if used on switch-mode power supplies they prevent their characteristic hash from getting back into your local mains supply, so not only suppressing incoming interference but the outgoing stuff as well."
What would be the mechanism for that effect of the Kimber cable, which I noted previously is easily converted to PC use? Do you think it's just the capacitance? Along those lines, I think one of the main benefits of an outboard tt motor controller that re-synthesizes AC is the same, motor noise is prevented from going backward into your local AC circuits.
Yes...capacitance was their primary mechanism, Lew. BTW...quite a few years ago, did the Industry Standards folk in the U.S not ban the braided cables so they (Kimber) ended up re-jigging their entire mains cable product line?
It's a pity because I'm convinced they were a better product. (Don't tell anyone but I've got about 6 of them(!) 4 are of the high current variety.) Their effect can be pretty much matched by using good transient suppressors and mains cleaning devices except that the cable's lifespan is much greater ;^)
My defensive position is that I don't think you can possibly do any harm to your gear by reducing Mains interference using such a non-invasive method and may even prolong the equipment's life.
I also have extensive lightning strike protection although the chance of a near or direct strike is zero :o)
Revisiting the OP's original question, I actually spoke from experience : We're going back a lot of years but I tried a Reference Kimber Cable on the LP12 and heard no difference. In fact I felt the Linn's original cable was a better choice as it was light, thin and flexible and conveyed less vibration to the TT.
All the best,
Do you mean to say that Kimber 8TC, braided form, has been "banned"? I've got a lot of it here and there, all being used as PC, not as speaker wire.
But to your other point, I have found empirically that I prefer high capacitance cables probably because they typically have a low characteristic impedance (Zc). Zc is directly related to the square root of inductance divided by capacitance. I similarly like Goertz cables as speaker wire, and the better Transparent and MIT cables, as well. The latter two simply add a capacitance inside the little boxes at the distal end of the cable. My Atma amps very much seem to like cables with low Zc. They really did not like Nordost cables, for one example, which have an unusually high Zc, because mostly inductive.
But if braided Kimber is banned, why? Can't be because of capacitance per se, else MIT, Transparent and others would also have been banned.
Not sure Lew...nothing to do with the basic operation of the cable. I think it may have been a case of Health & Safety (or the Insurance industry) gone mad i.e. someone may have insisted on more generous clearances between the cores rather than allowing them to flirt with each other hundreds of times per metre. :o(
One thing I can tell you is that the current "Palladian" range are not braided - just regular parallel cores - although that might have changed since they were first released. Further info from the gallery is welcome(?)
All the best,
Thank you all for your insights and opinions. It seems, like always, it comes down to trying different cords and figuring it out for my system. The original question was a general inquiry as to whether or not this was the one place in the audio loop that everyone agreed a cord or cable didn't matter. For better or worse it seems that everything matters. It's really a pretty awesome hobby. Good listening!