Why Power Cables Affect Sound


I just bought a new CD player and was underwhelmed with it compared to my cheaper, lower quality CD player. That’s when it hit me that my cheaper CD player is using an upgraded power cable. When I put an upgraded power cable on my new CD player, the sound was instantly transformed: the treble was tamed, the music was more dynamic and lifelike, and overall more musical. 

This got me thinking as to how in the world a power cable can affect sound. I want to hear all of your ideas. Here’s one of my ideas:

I have heard from many sources that a good power cable is made of multiple gauge conductors from large gauge to small gauge. The electrons in a power cable are like a train with each electron acting as a train car. When a treble note is played, for example, the small gauge wires can react quickly because that “train” has much less mass than a large gauge conductor. If you only had one large gauge conductor, you would need to accelerate a very large train for a small, quick treble note, and this leads to poor dynamics. A similar analogy might be water in a pipe. A small pipe can react much quicker to higher frequencies than a large pipe due to the decreased mass/momentum of the water in the pipe. 

That’s one of my ideas. Now I want to hear your thoughts and have a general discussion of why power cables matter. 

If you don’t think power cables matter at all, please refrain from derailing the conversation with antagonism. There a time and place for that but not in this thread please. 
mkgus
I think the biggest reason is added cost. If you make a comparable amp to your competitor, you will price yourself out of the market if you mark it up $100 and include a better power cord. It also depends on the customer. It’s not like the amp sucks without a good power cable, it just doesn’t perform at its peak which many customers may not care about (not everyone is as anal as all of us here when it comes to music), and the customers who do care would rather shop around for the cable that sounds best to them (who wants to pay an extra $100 for a cable that will just sit around because you already had a better cable or you find one that better suits your taste?). Then there are the denialists - “No way I’m going to buy an amp from that company when they believe in pseudoscientific concepts like cables!” 😂 Manufacturers are in a tough position caught between cost, anal audiophiles and not turning off the denialists any more than they already are. 
Manufacturers are in a tough position caught between cost, anal audiophiles and not turning off the denialists any more than they already are.


100% agree!
100% disagree. Manufacturers aren’t caught between anything. Give me a break! They are blissfully ignorant of aftermarket power cords. Besides, even if they were aware of them, which they’re not, they could buy Analysis Plus Power Oval power cords, for example, at wholesale for 50 bucks and be miles ahead of whatever cheap crap they currently use. Same goes for fuses. It’s not about cost, it’s about knowing what in the wide world of sports is going on.
@Geoffkait - Actually, no.  Don't forget, you have markups involved as well.   Distribution, reps, dealers, freight, warranty, UL codes, all that adds a percentage.  That 50 dollar cable will add an easy 250 to 300 bucks to the retail price before the customer sees it on the shelf at his favorite dealer or spiffy catalog. 

Is that Model HPSPC High Performance Spiffy Power Cord you want to use UL/CSA approved?  No? So a fire, which may have nothing to do with the amplifier but is related to the outlet on the wall, gets the manufacturer sued.   They chose to put a non UL approved cord in their product and they will most certainly lose in court.  Of course if you do replace their UL/CSA cord with the HPSPC and the place burns, the manufacturer is safe.

Don't underestimate audiophiles, you might consider the Analysis Plus Oval to be awesome, but I'd bet my next paycheck there are others on this board who would disagree and prefer a different power cord.  Do you seriously expect them to fork over 250 bucks for a cable they won't use and then go out and buy another $XXXX audiophile power cord?  Or, "Why should I spend that much when I can go buy Brand A power cable for only $99 and it sounds better to boot?" 

I do agree that the power cord should be of quality and heft, but that is less than a dollar in quantity, if that.   One audio company for which I consulted some years back, purposely tossed in a cheap RCA interconnect, even though their power amplifier was well reviewed in the press numerous times and most of the reviewers mentioned getting better interconnects to bring out the full potential.  Their reasoning was "An audiophile is going to buy better cables anyway and we have no idea what they prefer.   At least they get something to plug it in while the figure out what they want to do."