What Power Cord can improve clarity and bass slam?
My price limit is around $1K new or used. The new pc would be plugged into a dedicated line(12-gauge Romex)using an Oyaide DX/WPC-Z wallplate. My amp is a Valve Audio Predator/Mullard CV-2493-Northstar Sapphire CDP and Focus Audio FS8 speakers. Cables are JPS Labs-Superconductor Q/Plus. I would be replacing an Opera Audio Ella Baby pc on the Predator. Want to improve clarity in complex passages, add bass slam/definition and create a more open/liquid presentation without giving up speed-resolution and neutrality which are my systems strengths. After many hours of research here is a list of power cords that could work. Cable Research Labs-MK 2 DH Labs-Red Wave JPS Labs-Kaptovator Silver Circle Audio-Vesuvius Stealth Audio-Cloude 99 VooDoo Cables-Black Diamond Dragon Your comments regarding these power cords would be appreciated along with any other suggestions. Look forward to your responses!
I'm a bit confused by which way you want to go. Clarity will go well with bass definition. However, bass slam and bass definition are opposite extremes from all the cords I've heard. I've heard the PAD Dominus cord that Lloydelee21 recommends and I agree it will give great bass slam. However, I would not recommend it as far as clarity and definition go. Clarity and definition you could get from Nordost Valhalla/Brahma or Stealth Dream. These cords will not have as powerful bass slam as the PAD Dominus, Elrod Statement, DCCA Passion Master, etc. Bass slam tends to come from bass being a bit bloated, or slower. Faster, tighter bass, that is better defined bass, many will say sounds lean, not boomy enough for some.
In other words, you cannot have it all. You can look for more clarity and definition OR you can look for more bass slam and musicality. The further you go in one direction the futher you get from the other.
Jmcgrogan2-Thanx for responding. I want to improve bass attack with some added weight. Maybe "slam" was an overstatement. You would think a $1000+ power cord could give bass definition in addition to bass weight and attack.
Go for the Verastarr Grand Illusion copper cord. They retail for $1795, but you can find one easily for half that price or less if you keep checking on Audiogon. It is a terrific cord in so many respects, and it has what you're looking for too. I use one, and find it totally satisfying.
Opus88, funny you should mention the Verastarr Grand Illusion copper cord. I have one for sale on another site. I would have mentioned it with the PAD and Elrod, but I didn't think many had heard of it.
Sorry Dayglow, it doesn't matter how much money you spend, whether it's on cables, cords, speakers, amps, whatever, you cannot have it all. When you improve bass definition, it comes at the expense of bass weight, and vice versa. What sounds like bass weight comes from an under-damped woofer, or one that is allowed to ring or vibrate a bit more. Those who love fast, articulate bass, or tight bass, call this bass weight, slow or boomy. If you go in the other direction and want fast, articulate bass, bass with high definition, those that like having bass weight would complain that the sound is too lean sounding. You just can't go north and south at the same time, no matter how much money you spend. Sorry. Now it sounds to me that you wish the bass to be more prominent, which sounds like you want more bass weight to me. So I would recommend the aforementioned PAD Dominus, Elrod Signature or Statement, DCCA Passion Master or Verastarr. I'm actually selling a Verastarr and a DCCA cord now because I went with cords that offered more speed and resolution. A Nordost Brahma and a Ridge Street Poiema!!! Signature. Happy hunting.
Yes, the K-S Emotion will also provide more bass weight, as will Virtual Dynamics power cords, if you can find them used, as Virtual Dynamics is out of business. One word of warning on the Virtual Dynamics cords, they present a very large soundstage (height and width), but rather flat and two dimensional. Some folks love that front row excitement, others, like me, prefer a smaller, but more 3-D stage. The K-S and PAD do this very well.
When I tried different power cords in my system most robbed me of "bass slam" - quieting the noise floor but also diminishing dynamics. Only ones that let true punch come thru in my system were Audience. Energy is drippig off every note.
Dayglow; I mentioned TelWire The Reference with a receiver I was using at the time, probably a dis-service to the TelWire guys. I had tried several diffferent cords and could get bass weight (not slam) with some and pretty good definition. Some with bloated bass and limited highs. The Analysis plus silver oval (now called "pro"?) that I was using, has good balance, OK bass, fair separation and no "sparkle" when called upon. The TelWire Reference is a fast cable and gives excellent tight bass slam, very good neutral balance with nice definition. I almost do not want to say neutral because that means muted to some, the TelWire is much more dynamic than that without over doing the transient respnse and still hanging on to decaying notes.
I'm using an Almarro A205a 5 watt tube amp now for music and Parasound 5250 for surround. The Almarro one can never accuse of having bass slam but is more solid at lower freq. and crisper at upper freq.
The neutrality shows up when trying different IC as each one shows it's own characteristics instead of just being brighter/duller etc.
I have not tried the $2500 cords, or $25,000 either but am comfortable with suggesting the TelWire Reference. The mr-cable and Telwire sites not as spiffy as some but fun anyway. Let us know how it works out for you. Mike.
Thanx Mike, and to all that have responded. I just purchased a RSA-Elgar to give my source the cleanest power without overdoing it. Was nearly sold on the Sablon-Gran Corona($850-new) but the cheap Nema plugs brought hesitation. I was unaware of the Tel Wire pc it looks very promising, the Oyaide 004 plugs are a nice touch. Please keep the comments/suggestions coming. Will keep everyone upated!
I have a Jaco and will institute in my system in a couple of weeks. IMHO and after trying JPS, Audience, Shunyata and MIT, the HiDiamond PC 3 walks all over them in spades and are much cheaper. They just sound so right...
I am surprised no one has mentioned the LessLoss Sigs. IMHO these are among the best on the market, including cost-no-object (its a subject!) cords. I have or have had most of the so-called Big Boys and the LL Sigs are right up there. And easy to manipulate too.
You should just borrow cords and see which has the best synergy with your system. The best cord I used on my VAC Phi 200 tube amp was a Fusion Audio Enchanter. Great bass weight, slightly warm sounding. WyWyres also delivers awesome bass. Both companies offer trials. I would not commit to pay $1K for a power cord I have not demo'd...too much hit or miss involved
I don't want to be a killjoy, but I think you should consider whether a $1K power cord is the best use of your funds, especially when you consider that your speakers are $3K, your amp is $3K, and your source is $2.5K.
To be clear, I'm NOT criticizing your equipment, which from what I can tell, is well designed and well regarded. I'm merely suggesting that there are other ways to allocate your resources that may be more likely to yield the results you're looking for.
I'm not trying to ignite a debate about whether expensive power cords are effective or worth the money. I've owned several power cords that are more than $1K, and numerous power cords that are considerably less expensive. So I'm not merely speculating when I say that the improvements I've heard from expensive (and highly regarded) power cords are smaller than the improvements I've heard from other tweaks, many of which can affect the specific characteristics you mentioned in the OP, namely "bass slam," "openness," and "liquidity." For example, you could...
1. Install better Romex for your dedicated line. For example, VH Audio's 10 gauge cryo'd Romex. IME, this can improve the system's "bass slam."
2. Change the balance of shielded and unshielded cables. In my system, the best results were achieved from shielded power cords and shielded digital interconnects, but unshielded analog interconnects and unshielded speaker cables. That may not be the best approach for your system, but IME, finding the right balance between shielded and unshielded cables can improve the system's "openness."
3. Reduce the effects of EMI and RFI in the system. There are a great number of ways to accomplish this, many of which are discussed in this thread. IME, reducing EMI/RFI can improve the system's "liquidity."
There are more approaches to achieving the results you mentioned. Happy to discuss if you're interested. If, however, you want to stick with a new power cord, then feel free to ignore this post. You should of course spend your money however you like.
Also, I would point out that your amplifier is described as using minimal filter capacitance in its power supply, the theory being that that will allow for faster recovery following high demands for current. That is the opposite of the philosophy that most high end amps adhere to, which is to maximize filter capacitance, so that (oversimplifying slightly) there will be less depletion to recover from.
That is one reason (among many other more general reasons) that I would not expect a high degree of consistency between the sonic characteristics that are reported for specific power cords in other systems, and the effects they would have in your system.
Assuming your power may not be clean to start with, which is often the case, I would first try a suitable power conditioner to accomplish your goals before investing in a fancy power cord. THere is a good chance that will accomplish your goal and you would then find that different power cords make little or no difference as long as what you use has basic quality construction.
I say this because power conditioners are much better suited to effectively address any power issues at play than power cords.
Different power cords might result in a difference in sound as well in any case, but are much less well suited as the best place to address power issues in general.
I would also agree that you can do better wIth a purepower pp490 which just little over 1k or you can also get a monarchy audio regenerator for $600 or so but it is only 150 watt output so only source and preamps can be connected. If you still insist on a power cord then look at a transparent audio PLMM2 which goes for $900 or so on audiogon very frequently. It acts as a good power conditioner also.
Hi, everyone. Waiting on delivery for a RSA-Elgar that will be used for the Sapphire. Can always add a RSA-Duke if more conditioning is need. I don't believe new speakers or amp are needed to make subtle but substantial improvements. For example 8($10-total cost) tube rings elevated the Mullards to another level. A power cord(s) is just another piece of the puzzle to maximize the potential of my system.
Bass slam tends to come from bass being a bit bloated, or slower. Faster, tighter bass, that is better defined bass, many will say sounds lean, not boomy enough for some.
This is a very thoughtful observation.
I'm wondering if bass 'slam' vs bass 'definition' is mutually exclusive - not in terms of equipment but in terms of sound from the real world that a system could/should reproduce.
At first blush maybe not - the example that comes to mind is a large bass drum (not a kick drum) versus a timpani.
Elements of 'definition' and 'slam' apply to each however if forced to a mutually exclusive choice, I'd opt for definition from the timpani and slam from the bass drum. Granted the frequency range of the timpani is higher than the bass drum.
Is it the case that the lower in frequency, the less definition? I'm not sure. The visceral impact from a kick drum is probably below 90Hz. We might say the front wave does have some sense of definition - if it gets rendered as bloated does some of its impact go away? Some of the issue might be about tonality - maybe that is where some aspect of "clarity" comes in to play.
I know this may be an issue of words as much as sound - typically not the sort of thing these forums tie in to - and describing sound is not always easy. But in doing so we probably set the vocabulary for talking about what we want from the gear that reproduces sound.
In the ideal situation I want a cable or cord that adds and subtracts nothing from what is delivered by the amplifier and rendered by the speaker. So I'm inclined to agree with those who say look there first rather than at wires. Two different approaches: attempt to tune the sound of an amplifier with a wire versus asking which wire distorts the amp's output least? If the amp/speaker combo doesn't give you what you want, then trying to get there by applying distortion always brings tradeoffs - imo, etc. Unfortunately, high quality bass tends to be pricey.
In terms of sound, I want it all: slam/boom and definition/clarity though those descriptions may not apply to the same instruments.
Talk about a very thoughtful observation, your penultimate paragraph, especially, expressed what seems to me to be a very thoughtful observation. I've always thought the transduction processes are the most critical to audio quality, with the role of the speaker and its interaction with the amp being paramount.
db, I agree that transduction process is critical, but I would say that the speaker/room interaction is even higher paramount than amp/speaker....IMHO.
Jtimothya, I agree with much of what you say, I would only add that I think we all use cables/cords as band aids to some extent. Yes, obviously having great equipment comes before cables, but sometimes, even equipment from the same manufacturer doesn't hit the sweet spot for us. Sure, we could try 20-40-60-100 different preamps (speakers, amps, etc) in our system to find the one that is just right, but most of us only get to try a dozen or so at best. We then use cables that help to make our system sound it's best. Are we looking for a bit more speed and resolution? Are we looking for more dynamics and power? There are many different flavors to try, but from my experiences, two general directions.
I have played around with a lot of gear and cables over the years, and generally, as far as tonality is concerned, you have the warmer, richer, powerful end of the spectrum and then, on the opposite end you have the speed, resolution and articulation end of the spectrum. I have heard very powerful bass slam, but it tends to come from equipment/cables that are on the warmer, powerful end of the spectrum. What most feel of as bass slam (weight) tends to actually be an emphasized bass and lower midrange. Emphasized by the fact that the note hangs longer or is slower in speed.
I don't wish to get too long winded, but yes, I find that bass 'slam' and bass 'definition' are mutually exclusive. Just as one cannot get hotter and colder at the same time, one cannot get faster and slower at the same time. I've heard a lot of gear and cords, but I have not heard anything that I would say has great bass weight and bass resolution, you sacrifice one to get the other. Of course this is just in my own personal experiences. YMMV.
07-02-12: Scott_weinberg Sorry about the pussies portion: lame on my part.
Scott - I, for one, accept your apology. It takes guts to apologize. You got um.
Everything else holds steady.
Wait a sec. Is this one of those apologies immediately followed by "But everything I said was true!" It takes balls to discredit your own apology. You got those too.
Let's consider if what you said was true...
Does anyone there in this thread, anyone at all, ever go to live shows? Or do you sit around your speakers year round obsessing over bass 'slam' and 'tightness' of your CDs and records?
Many, perhaps most, of the people you are addressing attend live music events, or did at one point in their lives. Some of them, I happen to know, are the ones at the event who are ON THE STAGE PLAYING while you listen from the comfort of your chair, "on your arse," as you would say.
Ever been to a reggae concert? Or even listen to reggae? How many of you have stood 10 ft from Linton Kwesi Johnson for an entire live show?
I see. I wasn't aware that the standard for evaluating a person's musical devotion was, uhm, reggae. I would have thought it might be Bach, or maybe Louis Armstrong, or even the Beatles. But reggae?
Sure, theres plenty of great reggae music. Just yesterday I was listening to Exuma, a Bahamian musician who was heavily influenced by reggae. But the idea that there is a single standard for judging the authenticity of music lovers is silly. And to make that standard reggae is absurd, however profoundly Linton Kwesi Johnson may have affected you.
Or the Skatalites? Never heard of them? No shit. I have. Live.
As it happens, Ive heard of the Skatalites. One of my lifelong friends was the lead singer in a band that performed what was, given the time and place, an unusual kind of music: ska. So I was introduced to a number of rather obscure ska bands nearly 20 years ago. I cant say it changed my life. Nevertheless, I hope fellow Audiogoners are as impressed with me as they are with you for having heard of the Skatalites.
Bet you've heard of the Wailers though, who I've heard (and felt) live.
Huh? You seem to be dogging the Wailers, but then you go on to say that youve heard them live. Which is it? Do they suck? Or are they cool? Or is it that they suck but youre so cool that you go see bands that suck? Im confused.
Scott Whineberg-As STATED all comments are appreciated when regarding the subject As STATED. What does attending live reggae concerts have to do with power cords? Your comments are baseless-irrelevant and immature.
Received the RSA-Elgar yesterday. Since the Elgar was a demo unit I assume it's broke in. The sound improvement is across the entire frequency range. The treble sounds more relaxed(less aggressive), added midrange clarity and more bass weight. I think i'm 3/4 of the way there. I've narrowed my power cord choices... 1-Tel Wire PC 2-Harmonix X-DC350M2R 3-Stealth Audio Cloude 99. I would appreciate any comments/comparisons regarding these 3 power cords.
Well, the only one of those that I've owned was the Tel Wire, and it was pretty good, but nothing special, IMHO. My favorite power cord that I've ever used was a Stealth Dream, however, for some reason I never had much success with the Dream on a power conditioner. Assuming that the Stealth Cloud 99 has a family resemblence to the Dream, I would say that the Tel Wire and the Cloud 99 would be very different sonically. The Stealth would have the advantage when it comes to clarity, while the Tel Wire will probably give you more bass slam.
I don't know what your price range is, but I've always found that Elrod EPS-3 Signature's work very well with power conditioners. I used one with my RSA Jaco with great results. I liked the Elrod on a Shunyata Hydra too.
Just purchased an Acoustic Revive Reference pc. So far the results are mixed. Clarity and bass definition have improved considerably, with some sacrifice of dynamics and bass weight when compared to my "budget" Opera Ella Baby cords. The AR(solid core) might need more time to settle in but I think it's sonic character is already established. A Purist Audio Design, Elrod or even a Sablon Gran Corona pc might be my future options. Since i'm working on my vinyl set up another pc purchase will have to wait a few months!
Lloydelee21-Almost purchased a new Gran Corona but the cheap Nema plug on a $850 pc doesn't seem right? With the PAD I wasn't sure which cord is the best value due to so many cords in their product line. If you could comment on the strengths and weaknesses of both cords it would be much appreciated.
Speak with Mark Coles about the SA...i would think he would do a different termination for you if you wish. The PAD Dominus is (for me) the sweet spot in the range. Second hand they run about the same as a SA Gran Corona. The PAD gives my systems a quieter, richer and more seductive appeal without 'adding' to the sound ostensibly. Its just like i went to higher quality camera to take a color picture...hence got deeper color saturation. The GC is exceptionally quiet,giving my system clear, natural, extended sound, not quite as rich...sometimes a good thing.
Perhaps you've come to this realization(or not) already, but one way to at least partially achieve your goal could be looking for powercords based on solid-core wires, believing them in general to entail many, if not all of your sought-after qualities to "improve clarity in complex passages, add bass slam/definition and create a more open/liquid presentation without giving up speed-resolution and neutrality ..." Where I've tried solid-core powercords in my setup - in different configurations and wire diameter, etc. - in all cases they've provided a more calm, liquid, and resolved sound. Bass seems notably more tight and yet weightier, subjetively deeper, and more aperiodic. Mids appear more physical, relaxed, and a "shouty" and thinnish tedency has been eradicated(at least over my speakers and compared to the different multi-strand alternatives I've tried); highs are more finely structured and not least more clean sounding. Overall the immediate sonic impression of these qualities reveals a slightly varmer, more full and relaxed sound.
Is your system (star-)grounded? Grounding my system, especially my poweramp(NuForce Stereo 8.5V3), lead in particular to a better bass respons - much like above impressions of the solid-core powercords.
Oh, I'd also pay attention to the powercord(if you haven't already) from the wall outlet to your powerstrip/-distributor. Using solidcore-based wires here has a definate, and positive effect in the same vein as well.
Re-reading my post above I agree the differences are described in a way not corresponding the subtleties at play; however, the nature of these differences still holds - and are in fact audible to an extend that I find them worthwhile to pursue - but in a more downplayed fashion than my words would (mis-)lead you to believe.
Perhaps it's the nature of describing "minutiae" details(minutiae to some, I guess), and how one blindly focuses on or even magnifies impressions (in the wake of intense listening sessions) so to illuminate them more properly, disproportionate they may seem. In that manner of "wringing out" details it may also be indirectly assumed, on my part, that the receiver understands or presumes this very context himself in how he would've gone about it, and hereby "reverse-deduces" these impressions to their more correct of proportionate interpretation.
No excuse though, it should be clear what's at play without assuming anything, or at least too much on the part of the receiver..
I believe the answer to be "none". It doesn't matter a bit, unless you are planning on upgrading all of the Romex in your walls as well with $500 a foot cord, how would upgrading the last 3 feet matter at all?
Another point, if your amplifier is properly designed, it will have capacitive reserves that more than make up for the types of effects spoken of in the above posts.
Dayglow- Since your first post and my response, we have changed the breaker panel and added a dedicated 10awg romex to my temporary bedroom system with Wattgate gold receptacle. Current TelWire is using gold Wattgate ends on their Reference cable.
The huge differences between cables on the cheap receiver, together with Parasound amp is much less now with the dedicated circut. Trying 5 or 6 different cables, Telwire still good, but other cables now at least listenable.
My advice is going to match others with going to dedicated circut (only cost $100 added to the other work), before any other changes to system. Mike