ABX testing with AQ Dragon power cords

I was talking to my dealer about how good the system sounds that he sold me. I mentioned that I had tried some new speaker/interconnect cables from a local amp/cable manufacturer & both I and the company boss agreed that there was little discernible sound difference between his cables & mine. He couldn’t understand why. He also told me that my room acoustics were amazing, top notch. He’d like me to bring my cables (& his) to his listening room & we’ll compare there. That’s for next week.

My dealer said that in his 40 years this has never happened & he was ready to rise to the challenge. He said he would send me a couple of AQ Hurricane power cords to try on my amp/pre and I’d be amazed. I said why bother, send some Dragons. He told me to connect them to my amp & preamp & I should be amazed within 10 seconds of comparing. Today I received a Dragon HC & Source power cord. I listened to some music I’m very familiar with through my Lumin T3 playing FLAC files from the attached USB. Then I swapped the amp & pre to the Dragons and listened to the same songs. No difference that I could tell. So I redid the test, one song at a time, switching back & forth. Still no difference.

I invited two neighbors over (separately) and asked them to look at my FLAC library & choose a song that they knew well. I played that for them with both sets of power cords. One said he couldn’t hear any difference between the two. The other said that one (mine) sounded like it had slightly more treble, the other (Dragon) sounded like more bass. I played a third version (turned out it was mine but he didn’t know) and he said that was the bass version. He was wrong & admitted that the differences were so small that he really couldn’t choose between the two.

I called my dealer & he asked if the difference was earth shattering. I told him no & he asked how that was possible when he just sent similar cables to another customer last week with a similarly priced system as mine & that guy said that the SQ improved 50% and was ecstatic. I said that that guy must have decided already that he was going to buy them and determined that for that money they must improve the sound. My dealer said that either my ears are those a near dead 95 year old or his last 40 years experience have been a sham. I suggested that he was selling & demoing a product to people that had a propensity to believe it worked & therefore it worked for them. I offered to have him drive here (4 hour drive) and listen for himself & I’ll swap cables while his mind is blown. We may get there yet.

I hesitate to post a photo of my listening room as experience tells me that those that are strong proponents of cables will pick it apart and blame a myriad of other crap  rather than recognizing that the 3 of us heard no difference on a high resolving system situated in a room would good acoustics... but here goes.


McIntosh MC462/C2700, Pure Fidelity Harmony TT, Gold Note PH-10/PSU-10 phono stage, Lumin T3/Sbooster, Sonus Faber Amati G5 speakers, Sonus Faber Gravis V sub.


I would also wager that any guy walking off the street to hear your rig is not some trained listener and golden ear bat...Sounds like poor quality test subjects to me.


For what its worth, this poor quality subject has just acquired a Primaluna evo 400 preamp, and has been waiting for a ’decent’ XLR to plug it between the Weiss DAC and Marchand XM44. I didn’t want to spend too much just yet, so found what I think was the best $300 (Cdn) XLR I could find on Canuck Audio, it has an excellent reputation and retails for $500 US. I don’t want to name it. It showed up yesterday.

All connected, pre is used so well broken in etc, and after a few tracks not happy with the sound- sounds flat and lacks resolution. I expected a little warmth, but this preamp was reviewed to be a pretty good one- very transparent and "non-tube like". Oh well, my first foray into tubes is not a success, first thought is I’ll list it, but let’s just try a cable change: Swapped the $500 XLR with a $950 Acoustic Zen Matrix II, just swapped places between them, as the Matrix II is already in service from the Marchand to the lower channel amplifier. Huge increase in clarity and resolution. Easily a 10 second discernible difference. Dare I say night and day? Would I pass an ABX test? Absolutely. 100%. And this is with $2 a foot speaker cable substituted in on my bass panels as I have sent my Acoustic Zen cables in for re-termination.

Why aren’t other systems as transparent? Not entirely certain.

Quite the wild thread here. Lots of armchair quarterbacks and experts. Telling the OP he can't hear, his system is junk, it's set up improperly, etc. etc. 

Don't get me wrong here: I am definitely not in the "cables make no difference" camp. Quite the contrary. 

But I'm also not in the "you always get what you pay for" camp with cables/wire either. Much of it is prohibitively overpriced and just sounds "different" and not necessarily better. 

Nobody seems to have commented (at least directly) on the cabling the OP is using in his system. For those that are not familiar with Gene at Takefive, he's a pretty knowledgeable guy that sells some pretty good products. Tends to cyrogenically treat everything, also provides optional burn-in (which is a very good idea IMO) at a reasonable price on all his products on an Audiodharma cable cooker. 

So the OP is not exactly connected up with crap. The Mogami 3104, if cryoed and burned in, is a very high quality speaker cable (I can speak from experience, using cryoed & burned in 3103 for a number of years now) that can probably hold its own against some megabuck speaker cables. 

Won't comment on the IC's the OP is using but the power cords are very possibly quite good as well using 10 AWG copper and Furutech connectors modified by Gene. 

So it simply is quite possible that some of these newer cables tried by the OP did not result in much of an improvement in his system. 

I've heard plenty of expensive stuff (cabling) that not only wouldn't be an improvement to me in my system but would be a giant downgrade and a total waste of thousands of dollars. That being said, I did hear one of the Audioquest megabuck power cords in a friends system a few years ago when we were evaluating cords and it was very impressive. But also very expensive at around $3K-$4K Cnd. and simply not worth it to me. I thought it was a great cord in that system. The Nordost Tyr, which we also evaluated at the same time, was awful in that system, and also big bucks, so system synergy and subjective listening preferences are always going to be on the table with cables. 

Carry on......



@hdm  yeah all of my TakeFive stuff was cryogenicallly treated (by default by the vendor) and had the optional burn-in (it was cheap, wth). Funny thing, in this thread the power cables were referred to as "stock cables". Whatever.

Post removed 
Post removed