Used Shunyata Research Diamondbacks are within your price range and an excellent value. I'm not familiar with your exact electronics, so I'm not sure if it will be a good match. There are many other good power cords available used in your price range, from the likes of Virtual Dynamics, and so forth, but to be sure there is a synergy with your equipment you will need to audition them in your system first, which is sometimes difficult to do when purchasing used.
...will an upgraded power cable give me better sound without making any other changes?
I don't think you're going to hear the benefits of an aftermarket power cord.
Spend your money upgrading your source or your amplification.
well, my experience has been different than Tvad's, I've found that every component I have has benefited from non-stock power cords to some degree - some slightly, some greatly.
I would suggest trying something from a company like My Audio Cables (MAC) and seeing if it makes a perceptible difference to you (I have no relation to them whatsoever, but I have a couple of their cords in my systems that I prefer to some over-$500 cords, so I feel that they would be a good place to start experimenting).
I don't disagree with Dcrugby, and I should have stated something a little differently.
You may hear the difference between a stock power cord and a $200 after market power cord, but at this price point, and taking into consideration the price point of the integrated amplifier and Sony changer, I believe the better bang-for-the-buck would be derived from spending the $200 on a better amp or source (either purchased used).
I second the MAC(My Audio Cables) power cords. They can be had for less than $100 on Audiogon auctions. I have three of them in my system and they give my Lessloss Dynamic filtering power cord which is five times as expensive a good run for the money.
Thank you for these responses. What about an upgraded power cable with a 4 box? Analysis Plus, for example.
See if you can find a dealer with a loaner policy. Otherwise, you waste your money in not having an opportunity to 'hear' the differences.
Audio Art Cable PC - out of PS Audio, NAT, Signal Cable andone other that I've had that escapes me it is the only one where I heard a difference
Check out IEGO cables here at Audiogon. They start at around $65 new.
I think you will hear a big improvement.
I had a modest system in 2000 (Arcam Alpha 9 CDP, Arcam Alpha 10 integrated, Paradigm MiniMonitor II) when I first tried an after-market PC. My dealer lent me a Cardas Golden (not the Reference).
It improved the CDP no end, but the improvement on the integrated was slight. I ended up going with one of Bob Crump's cords - it made a big improvement on the integrated amp, and improved the CDP in a similar way to the Cardas.
I have both signal magic power and MAC's in my system. I asked Frank to use the Wattgate terminations on the Signal Magic Powers which he did for a nominal upcharge. I really like those Wattgate terminated PC's on my amps, where the Merinco terminations just weren't snug for some reason. My guess is you would like either Signals or MACs. Whether or not you will hear a difference is an experiment you will have to run. My own experience ranges from "Wow, I can't believe this." to no difference at all. I would guess PCs might fall towards the bottom of the hierarchy of importance in putting together a system in most cases.
MAC is good way to go. I'd put a digital on the cd player...cd players seem to respond the most noticeably....however, if you don't have a dedicated line, good isolation under your gear and room treatments you're spending money prematurely....just about anything will probably sound better than the stock cords.
Another vote for Signal Cable.
How about one that I haven't seen mentioned here on Audiogon? There is a DIY cord commonly called the "Audio Asylum PC" which is well-regarded on the AA forum, using Belden 19364 14-gauge wire and high-quality plugs. RAM Electronics sells the equivalent ready-assembled in the $40-$60 range, depending on length and the specific plugs chosen (I'm using their cord with Wattgate & Marinco termination). I make no claims to golden ears, but I'm very happy with the cord in my system.
Why don't you build one yourself? Go to the virtual Dynamics web site, and there you will find step by step instructions on how to do it. Small changes will occur to you as you assemble! It is much easier than you think. You will find a MASSIVE difference in your systems sonics. The first thing you will notice is a pronounced Bass increase. not just BOOM, but layered pleasing low low energy. They will tell you there, that terminations and wire don't matter that much! In the grand scheme of things they do! Oynaid tips and good OF copper along with silver will get you where you want to go. I would never have believed this myself if I had not tried it. You will be amazed! You can do this for less than $100. The only real expense are the plugs. There is Wattgate and many others that are more affordable than oynaid, however they are the best souning. A word on synergy here. You will find that as in audio connectors, it is best to maintain the same material and circuitry for all your gear. You will find an elevation with each Cord you replace. Go for it! By the way, stay away from ribbon wire, it is very difficult to terminate.
PS Audio Power Punch, made a huge improvment for me and I use these extensively now. A great unsung bargain.
I second Vintage Audio Lab. May not be the best at your price range but decent enough. The audiophile who recommended these to me replaced his much more expensive LessLoss PCs with these.
TimePortal Audio Silver Reference, uses 6N silver only wire 18AMP, very thin multi-stranded, and an aluminium shield plus a furher silver plated copper shield. IEGO Rhodium plated Furukawa 99.99% burnished copper. Available from the internet US$175.00 including shipping. Unbelievable performance in my system, speed, timing, purity and headphone like detail. Includes a further ferrite? box to clean up the sound of the mains. I bought it this week, so want to let the audio community know. These may well retail much higher expensive in the US. Note I am an audiophile and not affiliated with them in any way.
I agree w/ Macdad that upgrading source or amp is way to go; IF you have the $$$.
In my system, upgrading amp, pre, DAC or speakers to something that would make appreciable improvement is not affordable. However, for under $100 I can get a little improvment by replacing stock PCs with PCs from Signal, Element, Zebra or some of the other companies mentioned in this thread.
I am the owner of PNF Audio.
Check out our Power Cords, they are an exceptional deal. We use real WattGate Connectors and we are having a 15% off sale on all cable @ www.pnfaudio.com
USE COUPON CODE- Audiogon
I nominate the PS Audio Prelude, or whatever is the current equivalent iteration. I'm using one with my integrated amp, so I think it would be a good match with your Cambridge.
Vintage Audio Labs (ebay) Nice Rhodium ends and tight fit.
Tube Audio Design Iron Lung Jellyfish PC- $30.00. I tried it, as well as a MAC HC, Signal Magic PC, and Audio Horizons Transparency, In my system, it was the best, and for the money it is hard to beat. I have my whole HT setup wired with these PC's. I am not saying it is the best cord out there, but under $200, it is tough to beat IMHO. YMMV.
ill fly in the face of all of you with 2 thumbs up for good old stock, aka GOS (my acronym). 14 gauge stock cords are built well, light, flexible, come with a nice black casing and for $200, I don't think there's much out there in power cord land that will be worth the price/performance ratio.
another thought -- apply the $200 (prob a little more) and get a decent conditioner, PS audio or similar, to plug all your cords into.
I just purchased an Audio Art Cable PC for $150ish and am very pleased. Well built. Really does the job. I like it better than most of the PCs I have.
PNF make very nice cables but they are a lousy company. Two of my orders took for ever. Once I had to enlist Paypal's help to get them to ship it. The third order was never received and it's been three months. I wouldn't buy anything from them anymore but I definitely recommend their cables in the used market.
Okay, I have experimented a lot in this domain and what I realized is when your budget is too low for a power cord it is best bang for buck to buy a decent copper electrical wire or some neotech wire off the loom and terminate it with high quality plugs from Oyaide. At the lower end conductor material and geometry is pretty much generic and it is the connector which takes the performance to the next level. I have done this extensively.
If you have to buy off the shelf, talk to Chris Ven Haus and get one of his "Flavor" cords based on where you want to put it.
In both these cases if you dont hear much differences you are better off upgrading your source. I would anyday go with first method of highest quality connectors and any decent copper electrical wire.
I have found VH audio to be a great bang for the buck and Chris is great to deal with. Having said that I find the whole power cord thing annoying beyond belief. I strongly disagree with people who say there is no differnce . Even my wife can hear it. Yes it is different BUT is it better??? Based what I have seen
1) They are just another variable to screw how the manufacture voiced the amp or whatever.
2) They can act like a tone control.
3) Depending the cord/ amp interface one can drasticaly change the sound of the compnent from what it was.
Do I use them, yes but I do not like because I could spend the rest of life changing out cords and never get it right or wonder is it right. .
Give it a try and find out for yourself keith
If a power cord improves something to your ears, it's an improvement period. Who knows what the manufacture intended the component to sound like? Do you use the same components the manu uses to voice his equipment? Or -- using a stock power cord, would you know what the 'intended' sound of your preamp was while listening to it connected to your source, amp and speakers by your choice of interconnects and speaker cable?
It's your system -- you determine what sounds best, just different, or worse.
Does anyone have any idea what a power cord is suppose to do or not do beyond having sufficient gauge to carry the current one or two meters from the outlet to the IEC? I never heard any explanation that made much sense to me, especially with power regulation built into electronics, or poor connections between plug and wire. What is the theory here? Other than adequate guage?
SILVER CIRCLE AUDIO worth EVERY penny makes a day and night difference. Money back if not happy
Does anyone have any idea what a power cord is suppose to do or not do beyond having sufficient gauge to carry the current one or two meters from the outlet to the IEC?
The third rail is hot.
DIY. Purchase some 3 conductor, 10 gauge pure copper w/ silver plating transmission wire in the length required and then attach a set of Furutech connectors. (plug and IEC)
Purchase the best you can afford within your budget and if performed carefully you will have produced a power cord that rivals the best in the industry.
Off hand, I can't think of any commercially available power cords in your price range that perform well and your audio components can and will sound only as good as the 'sound' of the power cable supplying them.
It has taken me a long while to get my head around this notion but has proven to me anyway, to be true.
I recently purchased DIY Supra 2.5 and the matching USA male plug and hot wired it to a Soundcraftsmen power amp used in one of my systems. Quieter noise floor, greater speed, more dynamics and greater musical flow over all. This amp did not have an IEC connection, which I thought about installing, but went the other route. Very happy with the results.
I have had good luck replacing all my cables with Furutech PCOCC wire. They sell bulk cable that is very similar to that used in their top cables. For power cords, I would use the unshielded 12awg FP-Alpha 3 on my amps, and the 14awg shielded FP-3TS20 on my digital and possibly also on my preamp. Both are made from PCOCC wire and have undergone their propriatory Alpha cryogenic and magnetic treatment. If budget is an issue, you can start with basic Wattgate or Marinco connectors and then upgrade later to Furutech's own gold plated FI-25 series connectors, or to the Oyaide P-079 and C-079 connectors. The cables are well built and nice looking, and they look just fine even without using techflex - very simple to
At a minimum try the Volex 17604 at around $12. The Iron Lung Jellyfish at $29 is also well respected as an effective low cost cord. If you want higher quality, then Mitch2's DIY suggestion is the way to go. Great bulk cables will run $10 to $30 a foot. High quality connectors can be as cheap as $10 or as expensive as $250. It's a very easy construction project.
New Shunyata Venom. No personal experience here, but TAS jusy did a power cord shootout and the Venom was the best value.
Second try Zebra Cables. I have 2 of their cables. 1 each of the shielded 12ga and the unshielded 10ga-- both with the upgraded Furutech connectors. Both are as good as Zu's topline offering which I also own.
I have had good luck with PS Audio's entry level AC-3, at $200 limit you could step up into the AC-5
I just ordered some 'Volex 17504' (under $5), recommended by Creston Funk at "Austin Hi-Fi".
Here's a 6moons review:
BTW, Creston also recommended me to ditch power strips & conditioners, and just couple Volex cables to an "Audioquest IEC-3" ($35)... That's all he uses at his studio here in Austin (and his stuff sounds great!)