Various power cables, which would you put where?


I have 4 power cables and 3 components (Exposure 2010S2D amp, Lehmann BCL headphone amp, PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC)

They were acquired over time so not much planning around it.
I know, I should experiment myself and hear what sounds best. I am experimenting, but in addition would like to hear feedback from people that used the same cables.

Cables are
1. DIY DH Labs Power Plus + Marinco plugs
2. DIY Furutech FP-314AG + Marinco plugs (open to upgrading to Furutech FI-15)
3. Furutech G320Ag-18
4. WireWorld Aurora

Which have you used where? (The 4th cable will be connected to my Desktop PC that connects to the DAC)

Thanks!
itsikhefez

For now, keep the Marinco connectors on the cables.

DH Labs Power Plus => use on Exposure 2010S2D amp because this is the largest cable (11awg) and you want the most amount of current available for the amp.

WireWorld Aurora => use on the PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC. This is your best quality cable because it’s silver-clad instead of silver-plated and it’s a larger awg than the Furutech cables. You want the best quality cable on your source. Essentially, if the sound quality is not there from the source (beginning), there is no magic you can use to get it back.

Furutech G320Ag-18 => use on the headphone amp because the connectors on this cable are gold-plated pure copper (FI-15ME) and are better than the Marinco (brass).

Furutech FP-314AG + Marinco => use on the PC. The brass Marinco plugs work effectively on a PC.

Once you have all this in place, listen to some music through external speakers on the amp. The Marinco brass power connectors have a lot of attack and clarity, but can have a tendancy to sound harsh/sterile/solid-state. If you like the attack/clarity/punch, but want to back off on the harsh/sterile character and provide a more refined sound, then upgrade the DH Labs cable with Rhodium plated FI-15 Plus. If the attack/clarity is way too much and is too forward and "in your face", then go for Gold plated FI-15 Plus connectors. The gold-plated will sound warmer and it will definitely be more laid back.  Make sure you get the FI-15 "Plus" connectors (not the old FI-15e).

itsikhefez and auxinput---It seems logical to upgrade the duplex wall outlets before the power cords themselves, so may I ask if you did that already, and if so what you have found to be worth their price? Thanks---Eric. 
@auxinput thanks alot for the detailed response!

The pairings were very different until now, and I realised I was probably not matching optimally.
Your answer pretty much validated that and the pairing I figured would make more sense. I now have it setup like you suggested and will listen this way for the next few days.

I have PMC DB1i speakers and in combination with the Exposure and NuWave DAC, I find my system very detailed but not harsh at all and not too forward, overall a sound I like. Thus, if deciding to upgrade connectors, it sounds like Rhodium would be the more appropriate option.

@bdp24 I would love to hear input on that as well , I haven’t replaced the outlets as of yet. I have found improvements when replacing the stock power cables with the ones mentioned above, so I’m not sure if replacing the outlet is a requirement to benefit from an upgraded PC.


I agree with auxinput entirely.

Heh, sometimes you don’t realize something sounds harsh/sterile until you hear it without that harsh/sterile character. That was the case in my situation as I used to use all Hubbel hospital outlets and male plug connectors (all brass). I was working with different gold-plated connectors on my system upstairs and just for the heck of it, I popped in a Wattgate brass connector. The result was fast and clear, but it was definitely more sterile/cold sounding (less emotionally engaging and less organic). I suddenly thought "hey, this is what my system downstairs sounds like!!" Then I removed all brass elements in my A/C line completely!

As far as the outlet question, an upgraded outlet will definitely improve/affect the sound, but not as much as a power cable. Generally, elements in the A/C lines that are closer to the equipment power supply will have more of an influence on the sound. That’s not to say that an outlet won’t make any difference, it will just be more subtle.

I generally recommend that people start at the equipment power supply itself, beginning with upgrading the fuse and then work outward from there. The fuse will have a significant impact to the sound quality, but the fuse and power cable work hand-in-hand so both are very important.

In your case, if you decide to upgrade the DH Labs cable to rhodium connectors, I would upgrade the fuse in the amp to a rhodium plated Furutech at the same time. Then you can burn in both the fuse and power cord connectors together. You can upgrade the fuse in the headphone amp also, If you wish. I could not see if the PS Audio DAC uses a fuse, so that is unclear.

At this point, it really depends on if you connect all your components straight to the wall or if you use a power strit in between. The typical power strips are horrible and will further degrade any improvement you have. They can have thin/cheap metal conductors internally and small gauge wire (such as 18awg). It’s always best to connect straight to the wall (especially for the amp). If you must use a power strip, look into a very good one. The Emotiva CMX-6 is very good for the money and has a nice small filter/conditioner built in. You can also upgrade the power cord for it to something better if you like. However, be aware that the internal wiring on the Emotiva is 14awg. If you want something better, it will cost you $$$$.

@bdp24 - as far as if the outlets are worth it, it depends on your cost threshold. I started using Hubbel hospital grade (brass) outlets and evolved to Furutech FPX un-plated copper and final to Furutech GTX Rhodium. Each transition gave significant improvements in sound quality.

The Furutech GTX rhodium are definitely very expensive. If you are cost sensitive, I’d look at the Furutech FPX rhodium plated. FPX uses copper/bronze alloy versus GTX which uses pure copper conductors. It’s written that the GTX line will give better micro-dynamics than FPX, but I have not sat down and compared GTX/FPX side-by-side. I would say FPX is an excellent choice unless you absolutely don’t want to sacrifice any sound quality and are okay with spending twice as much.

For all who choose an rhodium plated component, be patient with burn-in as they can take 200+ hours to burn in and settle down.  During burn-in, they can sometimes be very bright and painful to listen to.

@auxinput Thanks for all the info. I'm interested in a bit more details on the power strip. Currently my amp is connected directly to the wall (the second outlet is unused), and the DAC, PC and ifi iUSBPower are plugged into a Tripp Lite power strip/surge protector.

When I tried plugging in the headphone amp or DAC into the unused outlet where the amp is connected, that introduced a hiss/buzz when volume was turned way up. The power strip is connected to a different outlet and there isn't a buzz this way.

Budget is tight now, what do you think of something like this:
http://www.partsconnexion.com/product30344.html
I could probably use higher gauge internal wiring, and even a Furutech or Schurter filtered inlet.
Post removed 
@ebm care to elaborate? :)

That's really weird.  The hiss/buzz shouldn't be happening if they are all plugged into the same outlet.  It sounds like something is wrong with that outlet.  Could be something like the copper connectors between the top plug and bottom plug are broken and/or barely touching.  Or it could be a loose wire connect on the outlet, or the outlet is not gripping the plug correctly.  Maybe have an electrician look at the outlet?

As far as the power strip, that DIY one from Parts Connexion looks pretty good for the money.  Be aware that the outlets used are just common 15 amp outlets ({nothing special), but it will allow you to use good internal wire.  And you'll still have to get a separate power cord to connect this to the wall.  You can go to local hardware store (or home depot) and get a couple feet of 12 awg solid-core wire (or stranded THHN).  Or you could order a couple feet of the following Neotech 12awg Solid-Core UP-OCC COPPER Wire, PVC Jacket:

http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_hookup_neotech_cu_pvc_sc.html

Look at the installation guide:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ueiowanv5jqvtp4/triplex.pdf?dl=0

Examine the pictures carefully and make sure the black wire (hot) and white wire (neutral) are connected to the exact positions shown in the picture.  You want to make sure the hot/netrual wires on the outlets are connected correctly (yes, this matters).  If you use the Neotech, just put black tape around one wire so that you can use it for hot wire.

This DIY kit will allow you to upgrade the outlets in the future, if you want to buy something like Furutech FPX Rhodium.

If your budget is really limited and you still want to get something better than the trip-light, then go down to Home Depot and look for something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Westinghouse-28374-3-Outlet-Outdoor-Extension/dp/B005XKCB1I/ref=sr_1_55?s=lamps-light&ie=UTF8&qid=1491109804&sr=1-55&keywords=3

These are usually heavy duty cables with stranded 12awg wire and the wire is bonded/clamped to the multiple outlets.  A cheap way to get good current into your devices.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will keep those in mind. I know there are lots of options, but what do you have any experience with the Furutech etp-60? I see them being listed from time to time

The Furutech etp-60 is nice for a prebuilt distribution block and is probably a good value if you can get it cheap (there’s one on ebay for $199), but it uses the gold-plated FPX outlets and you still have to get a power cord to connect it to the wall. Since you are looking at the DIY Parts Connexion kit, maybe something you can do is go down to Home Depot and get an electrical box parts/cover like the following:

https://www.vhaudio.com/hotbox.html

The get your Furutech FPX Rhodium outlets and your choice of power cord / male plug and build it. In the end, you’ll get a better result than the etp-60 for the same amount of money.

I like your last suggestion. It is still not within my budget currently, but I think I will pursue that direction. Seems like the best value for money.

@auxinput why did you suggest to get the FI-15 Plus and not the discontinued FI-15? A pair of IEC+AC plug is currently half price for the original FI-15.

Yup.  Let's look at the older FI-15:

http://www.audiophonics.fr/images2/4609_FURUTECH-FI-15_2.jpg

The functional difference is the wire clamping pieces.  You can use it, but it's more difficult to get the wires clamped in and the mechanism may be difficult to support higher gauges, like 12 awg.

Looking at the new FI-15 Plus:

http://www.phileweb.com/editor/serendipity/uploads/fi15pb.jpg

http://joshinweb.jp/contents/av/Hiend/FI-15-1.jpg

You can see that the wire clamping mechanism is the same as the rest of the more expensive Furutech connectors.  Also, Furutech has stated that the rhodium plating process on this new "Plus" connector is better as well.

Great info, thanks again!

itsikhefez-


is this similar to 'can I put it there?'


Happy Listening!

Hi @jafant, not sure I understand your question.
Purist Audio Design if you can swing it.