Upgraded power cords or high end conditioner next?

Hi everyone,

I need advice on what will give me the biggest improvement for my next upgrade - power cords or a high end power conditioner?

My current living situation is a rental apartment, so unfortunately I cannot do anything like having a dedicated line for my system.

I already have upgraded power cords for my Manley Shrimp preamp and my CDP, but my Manley monoblocks (retubed with NOS :)) are just using the stock cables for now. The Shrimp and the CDP are plugged into a PS Audio High Current Ultimate Outlet and the monoblocks are plugged strait into the wall.

So I was thinking my next upgrade is either upgraded power cords for the monoblocks or an upgraded conditioner (passive - like a Shunyata Hyrda or a Running Springs unit that I could plug my CDP, pre and monoblocks into). Which one will give me the bigger improvement? My budget for the power cords would be maybe $500 each (used - so say $750 each new). What cords would you recommend in that price range? Also, the cords on my CDP and pre are both Lat International MK2 (budget PCs). Should I put my best PCs on the source/pre or the amps?


I understand your situation being in an apartment and not being able to have dedicated circuits. One important question I have for you is what else is running off the circuits that you use to power your audio gear?
That’s important to know first, before answering your question in my opinion.
Regardless of what you decide to do, if you have not done so yet, replace your wall audio AC outlets with some good ones such as my favorite (or which other brand you select) the Porter-port. You should hear a significant improvement. When you move, take them with you when you switch them out.
Hi Lak,

My refridgerator is on the same circuit so I always just turn it off before doing any critical listening. I'm not sure what my next place will be like, but it's New York City so it's guaranteed to be compromised. The advice about the wall AC outlet seems like a cheap and easy upgrade though.
I also live in an apartment, and have thought along the same lines as you. I plug CDP, preamp and monoblocks directly into the wall.

I did replace the outlets - a couple of times in fact. I ended up with silver-plated, cryo treated, Pass and Seymours from Acme Audio. The operation is reasonably easy to do and the results were impressive.

Try a Synergistic Research Tesla T2 and T3 through The Cable Co and while you're at it they will loan you any other cable you may want to try. After you hear different cables in your system you'll know.
Hi Metralla,

Love your system :)

How do those Coincident speakers sound with your 300b SET monoblocks? I really like my single driver Omegas for their great speed and tone but some days I would prefer a larger SET friendly floorstanding speaker with a bigger soundstage and better bass.
If your refrigerator is the only item on that line and you unplug it when you’re critically listening I think I’d be incline to upgrade power cords. I suggest this because to many times I’ve spoken to many audiophiles that use various devices to clean the AC power and in the long run they find out that they have degraded details instead. Don’t get me wrong, I have an extensive power filtration system in my home and it works well however the more I experiment the more I find that I like the AC power coming out of my outlets that is only filtered by my 5 KVA isolation transformers.
I’m sure there are pro’s and con’s to your question, and the bottom line is you have to try it yourself to decide what works best in your situation.
Thanks Lak,

Yes, there are certainly many critics of power conditioning, especially with respect to amps. My front end components would benefit from a better conditioner I think. It seems like the next step for me should be upgraded wall outlets and a pair of power cords for the monoblocks.
Just tried the BPT CPC on amps, sources and HDTV. All significantly improved. Should try that or PS Audio duet. both reasonably priced.
I would 1st consider upgraded conditioning or MIT power cords(which provide some conditioning & isolation) for your front end. There is tremendous room for improvement above your present set up.
Anyone who rents AND has an unused 220v line for a laundry room or other application, CAN have dedicated lines. Your other upgrades won't even come close. Look into "power conditioner" step-down transformers from ONEAC or POWERVAR.

Plug one into a 220v line, get two dedicated lines (four outlets) at 120v. With the right models, these are fully capable of providing enough current to fry your ears, speakers and/or amps, if you wanted to see what their limits are, but your laundry circuit and ONEAC or POWERVAR will be just fine.

Nothing comes close to this upgrade, AND (buying one used) will not cost the ridiculous sum you propose for a power cord, where any percieved difference will almost certainly be the result of hopeful delusion that the money was not wasted.
What Maich says is true and I agree. There have been many posts regarding this. One of the best bang for the bucks IMO. Or one can come out of a 120V outlet into an isolation transformer and modify the other end with an outlet and plug into the isolation transformer. Only problem is the isolation transformer hums at about 60db and gives off some heat.
Yes, slight hum and heat. If necessary, account for that, but this upgrade will give your sound such solidity and physical presence, the conditioner will never be heard, especially in the right locale. I could have opted to keep mine outside in the laundry room area, but actually chose to have two of them operational right under my equipment rack. I can hear them both if I pay attention before turning anything else on -- just makes me smile knowing how they REVOLUTIONIZED my sound!
one thought is an exactpower unit. will reduce grunge and help regulate overall power. if i didn't have dedicated lines, i'd be using one of these.
Get a Transparent MM power cord (s) and you will transported to another plane of audio excellence....most of your line noise problems will be addressed as well!
Just checking back in. Any money you're thinking of spending on outlets s/b put into a better conditioner for your front end. Outlet tweaks/upgrades cannot compare to a Hydra you're considering. With limited budget concentrate on your best front end condioning. It wll give you 'much' more 'bang for the buck than dedicated lines or power cords imho. Good luck.
Psacanli, disagree w/ you about dedicated lines. These made the biggest improvement for me, but if you can't do these, then yes, I'd go w/ a conditioner next. The exactpower both coditions and helps act as a dedicated line by stiffening the power line, making sure the line doesn't sag.