thanks Tvad...i agree they are throwaways at this price but I wonder if the wire is still the Belden recipe?
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I purchased a batch last year that are different from a pair I bought the year previous. I did notice a difference in appearance, though I didn't see anything to indicate Chinese or any other sourcing (could be I wasn't looking hard enough). I bought a a couple of the 12 footers specifically to cut down - and in the process of doing so didn't see anything to indicate a material difference in the wire or configuration. Finally, though I haven't done any critical listening I'm happy with the performance of the new cables . . . they're a still a bargain (I think the total cost was $21 for 3 - 4 foot cables).
I just wanted to post an update regarding the Volex 17604 power cords. A word of caution with the newer Volex 14/3 or Volex 17604 power cords. I purchased a pair of Volex 17604 cords from Newark a couple of months ago and just noticed recently that the ones I had purchased look a lot like the stock power cords that came with various amps I had bought previously. The markings on both cords said Baohing and some other specs the only difference being the female and male ends on the Volex cords had Volex imprinted on them. When I compared the ends visually they looked of the same quality. So if you want to try something different then stock in the real budget price range may be look elsewhere then Volex. Also another member said to be aware that the currently available Volex 17604 cord is not made the same as the past cord that made it a recommended budget product. The newer ones are a little skinnier (still 14/3 though) and have a nickel plated plug rather than brass.
Thanks to members Foster_9 and Onemug for sharing the news about the Volex 17604.