Power cords

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  • 07-02-2007, 06:49 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    With all due respect, I must submit that the 'conspiracy theory' remark is a cop-out. Are you insinuating that everyone offering resistance to the idea (that very expensive after market powercords are absolutely neccessary for premium performance) are 'loonies' endorsing conspiracy theories?

    Not at all. I simply question those who use that specific excuse as the basis for their speculation. I find direct exposure far more valuable.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Incidently, my powerconditioners are the Tice Powerblock/titan; one pair for each channel. Power conditioners offer more value I believe.

    I use conditioners as well. Just not for power amps where most limit current delivery and thus dynamics and bass impact (there are a few notable exceptions). It is here I find aftermarket cords most valuable. Similarly, shielded cords minimize transmission via radiated RFI. So you condition the line and get rid of house wiring borne nasties for your preamp only to pick up garbage from a nearby DAC.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    I just can't figure out how a power cord can cost more than the Shunyata Hydra for example.

    Well, mine certainly don't unless you get a really long one! And it uses six nines silver for the hot and ground wires.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    By the way, Hi Bill.

    Nice to meet you!

    rw
  • 07-02-2007, 06:52 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    Yet they most often do this unconsciously.

    Sorry, I just don't find any use for speculative gossip.

    rw
  • 07-02-2007, 07:25 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    All well-designed components are configured to reject EMI/RFI, and if the source power is clean than I would think it would be overkill to spend more on expensive powercords.

    Configured, yes. Completely successful? I've yet to hear a high quality component NOT benefit from a good cord.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    E-Stat, which would you choose; a) JPS Labs Illuminata (set of two) or the Mark Levinson No. 326s or No. 32 reference preamps, both of which regenerate their own AC and a very pure power sinwave?

    Howzat for an apples and oranges comparison? Not to mention a financially unbalanced one. A quick perusal at Stereophile.com reports the 326s goes for $10k, the 32 goes for $14.5k while a pair of Aluminatas run $7k. Two AC cords vs. a line stage? For starters, I don't find any use for a line stage. My CDP runs through DACT attenuators and drives my amps directly. I have a phono preamp, but use it for vinyl only. Consequently, I would never run into such a choice.

    What I do is weigh the relative benefit of changing or adding any component with my system. As a detail freak and listener at modest levels, my preferences are not necessarily everyone else's.

    rw
  • 07-02-2007, 08:01 AM
    Bernd
    What an....
    .....in depth discussion about Power cords. My findings mirror E-Stats.
    My biggest improvement came once I had a completely dedicated circuit wired with Kimber Cable, with it's own metering unit, for the System.
    I do use Mains products from Isotek. The Titan for the amp(s) and the Nova for the front ends. No lack of dynamics over here. I also found that using Kimber Power cords in conjunction with the Kimber Mains re-wire really paid off.
    Last year I did a little experiement and used my Teac Office system in the re-wired listening room and with the Kimber Power Cords. The Mains products alone were something like 10 times the cost of the Teac System. The difference was startling.
    Any doubter should try to power a budget item through a dedicated mains application. It's an eye or:) ear oppener.

    Peace

    :16:
  • 07-02-2007, 04:28 PM
    O'Shag
    Ok E-stat and Bernd, your arguments are convincing me enough that I must do some more extensive listening to some powercords myself to make a more informed judgement. What I've heard in my friends' systems does not have me convinced, but perhaps I can get a lend to try in my own system. My Audio Reseach Classic 120 & 150 monoblocks have large-ish powercords built on so there's nothing I can do there. The two Levinson No. 27 monoaural amps I've just aquired to run as monoblocks in bridged mode do allow for aftermarket powercords. I'm willing to give some reasonably priced powercords a go if I'm satisfied there is a noticable difference, so your suggestions as to what constitutes a reasonably priced/ high performance powercord would be welcome.

    Incidentally e-stat; I think the comparison I offered was valid. The Mark Levinson No 32 reference can be had on the used market for $8,500- $9,000, and the illuminata runs 7k for two cords, but at what length? The length for my purposes and for many others I'd imagine, is a vital factor. Even now I struggle to get all my components hooked up without the use of extension cables for a few devices, and this despite the fact that I have two sets of Tice Powerblock/ Titans; one for each channel. For a powercord to be really useful, it would have to be at least eight feet preferrably longer. Otherwise one is confined to a very limited setup.

    Bernd, I'm originally from Stockport in Cheshire, but have been in the US since the early eighties. EEE-Bay-guum.
  • 07-03-2007, 06:49 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    ...but perhaps I can get a lend to try in my own system.

    That is clearly the best way. Similarly, my local dealer has allowed me 30 day full money back in home trials to facilitate my decisions. That's what I did with the three JPS Labs cords I have. Don't have Aluminatas!

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    My Audio Reseach Classic 120 & 150 monoblocks have large-ish powercords built on so there's nothing I can do there.

    That's a shame since they would likely benefit. On the other hand, your Titans may be doing a thorough job there. Presumably, these large monoblocks are not situated close to a transport or DAC.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    I'm willing to give some reasonably priced powercords a go if I'm satisfied there is a noticable difference, so your suggestions as to what constitutes a reasonably priced/ high performance powercord would be welcome.

    If you are able to audition better, I would start there to get a feel for what a very good cord can do. The ones in my experience that qualify (but not limited to) are the Kimber Palladians, Elrod EPS-3, Harmonic Tech Magic, and the Nordost Valhalla. These retail in the $1000-$2500 range. If you are an electronics hobbyist, you can assemble one for under $100 that works well with digital sources. I made one using double shielded Belden 83803. If not, Zebra cables has pre-assembled an 83803 based cord using which goes for $95 for an eight foot run.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Incidentally e-stat; I think the comparison I offered was valid. The Mark Levinson No 32 reference can be had on the used market for $8,500- $9,000, and the illuminata runs 7k for two cords, but at what length?

    Why not likewise consider buying the cables used as well? Cables depreciate rather quickly and for the most part, don't wear out. I noticed a Kimber Palladian PK-10 (the larger 10 gauge model) on Agon for $700.

    To recap my position, the better aftermarket cords can add a degree of resolution to good systems. I find it to be icing on the cake. Is the benefit worth the investment? Only you can determine that based on all the other aspects of your system. Since you already have some high quality conditioning in place, you may not find as much benefit as others. I'm a speaker guy and put most of my time and energy in finding the best speaker for my set of preferences and providing them a nicely treated room in order for them to work their best.

    I moved about a year ago which involved a system tradeoff. The new house is older and the current room does not have dedicated lines. I'm considering doing as Bernd has and getting two or three clean lines and having them wired with something other than Romex. On the other hand, the new room is acoustically far better and has allowed me to get the bottom four octaves remarkably flat. I am very much enjoying that aspect. The only thing standing between me and getting the ideal power source to the system is a bit of money. :)

    rw
  • 07-03-2007, 07:55 AM
    Feanor
    Soul of moderation
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat
    ...

    To recap my position, the better aftermarket cords can add a degree of resolution to good systems. I find it to be icing on the cake. Is the benefit worth the investment? Only you can determine that based on all the other aspects of your system. Since you already have some high quality conditioning in place, you may not find as much benefit as others. I'm a speaker guy and put most of my time and energy in finding the best speaker for my set of preferences and providing them a nicely treated room in order for them to work their best.
    ...

    rw

    E-Stat,

    I commend you on the balance and reasonableness of your statement above. Perhaps you exceeded by my expectation in stating, "I find it to be icing on the cake." Too few hardcore audiophiles are willing to make that concession about any factor.

    Although I personally doubt that I have ever heard improvemnt from a power cord, I fairly have to conceed that my equipment, ears, and the power cords I've tried, really can't be called high-quality relative to the equipment that you have experienced. With regard to my ears, I cannot hear a signal at 12kHz or higher; also, I suffer from tinnitus, the effect of which is to give me a permanently high noise to signal ratio. (Both of these things are likely attributed to hearing damage in my late teens and early twenties -- not from listening to music, BTW.) So it is likely that other people may hear sound improvements that I cannot.

    In any case I stick with advising people with entry- to mid-level systems not to spend a lot on PCs or power conditioning barring special environmental problems. The money will be much better spend on improving the major components themselves.
  • 07-03-2007, 08:42 AM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    I commend you on the balance and reasonableness of your statement above. Perhaps you exceeded by my expectation in stating, "I find it to be icing on the cake." Too few hardcore audiophiles are willing to make that concession about any factor.

    Thank you. I've been in this hobby for 35+ years and have gotten over the hype. :)

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    Although I personally doubt that I have ever heard improvemnt from a power cord, I fairly have to conceed that my equipment, ears, and the power cords I've tried, really can't be called high-quality relative to the equipment that you have experienced. With regard to my ears, I cannot hear a signal at 12kHz or higher...

    Not only are the system components variables here, so is the environment. From a home device generated noise standpoint, I have a pretty challenging case with all the computer and digital cable related stuff. Resident Loser, on the other hand, has a cleaner power environment with minimalist approach to such gadgets.

    To tell you the truth, you may need to be "taught" what to hear for. While that comment may set off alarms in the "anti-audiophile-you're-just-hearing-things" camp, that was the case for me. I was first exposed to world class systems when I was eighteen. With zero previous exposure to that caliber gear and inexperience with live unamplified music, I was not really perceiving all that I heard - stuff just sounded good. Through years of participating in informal listening panels with three audio reviewers and spending time with fellow employees at the audio store where I worked while in college, I gained insight into what a really special system could do. At first, I felt pretty stupid when my mentors would comment as to some aspect of a recording and I really had no idea what they were referring to. It took me decades to fully understand some of what those guys were telling me.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    In any case I stick with advising people with entry- to mid-level systems not to spend a lot on PCs or power conditioning barring special environmental problems.

    Agreed.

    rw
  • 07-03-2007, 10:42 AM
    Feanor
    The need to be taught
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat
    ...
    To tell you the truth, you may need to be "taught" what to hear for. While that comment may set off alarms in the "anti-audiophile-you're-just-hearing-things" camp, that was the case for me. I was first exposed to world class systems when I was eighteen.
    ...
    rw

    I don't match you in depth of experience -- but I do in years of experience. :biggrin5:

    I agree that inexperienced listeners need to learn -- be taught -- what to listen for. I remember many, many years ago hearing a pair of JBL Lancer 77's and thinking they were fabulous; a few months later I heard them side-by-side with AR 3a's and realized they weren't and why. That was a significant learning experience for me, amongst others.

    I grant myself that I know what to listen for in general, however it comes back to the other factor: motivation. If I listen to a new component for a few hours, maybe switching back to the previous once or twice, and I am not clear that there is difference or which I prefer, I just loose interest in the comparison.
  • 07-05-2007, 10:38 AM
    O'Shag
    E-Stat and Feanor. You both have a lot of years of experience. A lot more than me I will admit.

    Thanks for the info regarding the different powercords. I'll set about dedicated listening sessions to review the possible benefits powercords might bring. as I've said before I've not heard anything significant, but haven't listened specifically to evaluate a selection of powercords. To tell the truth, I'm hoping not to hear significant differences because I'm the sort of chap that will go on a mission to upgrade, and more often than not my degree of enthusiasm is not commensurate with the level of disposable income I can invest.

    Despite the limits of of my budget with regard to building a state-of-the-art system , I am always open to what can be, though it may seem ludicrous on the face of it. I learnt this with cables. The arguments against cables sounding radically different seems plausible especially when supported by scientific papers and what-not. But then when I experienced the difference and how it can genuinely transform a system, I realized there's a lot more depth to these things than first realized.

    By the way Feanor, a friend of mine living nearby also has Tinnitus, and despite this he has the dicerning ear to have put together a very good-sounding audio system.
  • 07-05-2007, 03:05 PM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    To tell the truth, I'm hoping not to hear significant differences because I'm the sort of chap that will go on a mission to upgrade, and more often than not my degree of enthusiasm is not commensurate with the level of disposable income I can invest.

    I made the mistake of taking up an offer by a friend for him to bring over his three sets of Kimber Palladian cords and let me audition them in the system for a weekend. That cost me some money! :)

    rw