AC Power cable for ARC Ref 5 se.

I recently purchased a ARC Ref 5se and i heard that changing the power cord makes a difference in better sound. Can anyone recommend some power cords that they changed with their 5se? Also changing the fuse? Thanks
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xtattooedtrackman
Beware the hype and use a rifle approach instead of a shotgun approach here..... Power cords are not tone controls.... they allow the gear to run and hopefully at their peak performance.

In the the same vein, $$ for 3rd party cords are no pathway to assurance for audio performance improvements..even in hi-fi hi-end build components. Simlarly to dramatize the opposite end of the spectrum , don’t expect much for anybody considering plunking in an comparatively expensive cord in a mid-fi piece in expectation of a higher road to audio OZ. (Latter does not apply to you in your OP posted gear...)

(1) There is no silver bullet answer here; it is ENTIRELY system dependent, so it is impossible for any 3rd party to blindly offer up anything more than their anecdotal and heavily biased personal faves that have nil assurances that they will actually work well in YOUR system.

(2) Without prejudice to (1), Swapping in a third party power cord MIGHT (emphasis added) improve your audio performance...there is no guarantee nor absolutes here.

(3) Similarly, it MIGHT (again, emphasis added....) either

(a) change your audio performance negatively if you choose the wrong one from a sea of contenders and pretenders; or

(b) have minimal to nil improvements;

in which case you just wasted your money.

YOUR TAKEAWAY: Trial and error....full stop. Until you actually swap-in and swap-out to assess it in YOUR own system, you ain’t gonna know .....full stop.

FUSES: Beware the noise and anecdotal hype .... they are not tone controls in the first part, and largely benign to tweaking anyway.
ditto to the above intuitively BUT not recommended to blindly farce around with them for fear of safety or damaging your gear.
If its still under warranty, then anything other than OEM spec will void that warranty.
akg_ca I see your points , i guess it would be wise to do a comparison test with 3 rd party power cords compared to the stock. And as far as fuses i would not to do anything to void the warranty. 
If you want to try a different power cord I would suggest the Cerious Technologies Matrix Power Cord. I've been impressed with this power cord and I've talked with several audiophiles the report very good results using it on ARC products. There is a trial period (see the website for details) and it could be returned for a refund if you are not happy with it.
Perhaps you could demo a few power cords at the same time that have a return policy, then all you need to be conserded about is the break-in time.

 Power cords known to work well with ARC geare are Sain Line, Shunyata, and Synergestic Research. I have heard good things about Wireworld and Transparent but don't know anyone who uses them. ARC uses Sain Line and Shunyata power cords and cables in their listening rooms. They also use Shunyata VTX internally in thier Reference gear.

 I chose Shunyata Alpha HC for my ARC gear. But that was a few years ago. Sane Line was slightly better but much more expensive. I have had both ARC Litz cable and Synergistic Research in the past.

To @lostbears list I would also add AudioQuest -- my primary ARC dealer (Optimal Enhancement) always gets great results combining ARC amps with the latest AQ cables and I'd imagine the Storm series would be a great match -- I currently use AQ WEL on my Ref 2SE Phono and SR Galileo LE on my Ref 40
lostbears. How is Shunyata Research Python Helix Alpha .. Also would i need a 15 amp PC? 

 I have not tried Audioquest in years. Though I do use their HDMI and Ethernet cables in my network with great results. I have tried Nordost Heimdall 2 and Kubala Sosna, I forget the name but it was the black one. My Ancient ARC Litz cable was better than either of those. Really the Sane Line was the first cable I found that was significantly better.

I have only tried the Shunyata Black Mamba HC and Alpha HC. I don't have a Shunyata Dealer near me. I have heard that their new Delta cable is excellent, as good as my Alpha. Go with the HC (high current) version of whatever cable you choose. The ARC Ref 5se and Ref 2se use 20 amp power cords. While my Ref CD7 has the normal 15 amp power cord.

I am using a Cardas Clear Beyond with great results. I started with a Clear, but moved up to the Clear Beyond. But you should try the lending library. For the time being I am using a Running Springs power conditioner which comes with Cardas power cords. I have also changed the original RS power cord to a Clear Beyond, so that may add to the “synergy” of my set up. Again, I recommend trying the lendi library at

 Actually very good. The main reason I upgraded was because I upgraded my preamp. My old LS25 mk2 used a 15 amp power cord. The Ref 5se needs a 20 amp. So I needed a new power cord.  I chose to go with the Ztron Alpha HC after talking with Grant from Shunyata. The Zitron Alpha HC is excellent. Better than the Black Mamba. It is even better than the Sigma Analog cable. I have since upgraded all my power cables to Zitron Alpha HC cables. I have heard that the new Delta is as good as the Alpha but I have not tried one.

 The Black Mamba has a cult following so some people ask a lot for them. I would not pay over $350 for the HC. I paid $325 each for the 2 I had. If it were me I would hold out for an Alpha HC. Unless you have a Shunyata dealer near yu and can demo the Delta.

 You can search and have them send you email alerts. It won't hurt to get the feel of the Ref 5se with the stock cord. Then you can more easily appreciate the difference that the Alpha makes.

I do plan on getting the feel of the Ref 5se with the stock pc so that when i do change it i can hear the difference. Right now im leaning towards the Shunyata Research Anaconda alpha helix power cord or the Shunyata Research Python alpha helix power cord. What would the difference in sonics be? What are advantages of the Anaconda over the Python..Thanks.
Does anyone know for sure if the ARC Ref 5se uses a 15 amp or 20 amp power cord.....
It's 20A.

Cleeds   thank you.... Ive also been told that it is 15 amp.... Very confused about this....
Adding a link of a picture of the back

All ARC manuals are searchable, but oddly the manual does not specify what form the cord is

All the current Ref series ARC components use 20A inlets
Another thing to consider is wall outlets and the metal content.  If they are made of copper, you might want to stay with copper metal in the male plug.  Same with the IEC.
I have used and am very satisfied with VH Audio AirSign cables.Your choice of terminals and the cable itself is very flexible. 
It has been written countless time at Agon and elsewhere, everything matters!

 The Ref 5se uses a 20 amp power cord. There are pictures of the back on the arcdb website.

 I have not heard either of the Anaconda power cords.  I have heard that the later version was not quite as good as the earlier but I don't know. Like most companys, some of their pieces are real home runs while others are not quite as good. The HC versions have better shielding and usually sound better than the regular versions.

  folkfreak, Does the Ref CD9 use a 20 amp power cord? I know that my Ref CD7 uses a 15 amp and I believe the CD8 does also.

I use Sain Line Systems Pure Current power cord with my Ref 6. I really liked the sound of these as compared to Transparent and Kimber. I wanted to try Shunyata too but didn’t. I think Sain Line interconnects offered an even more change in signature than the PC did. All found during a 2 week home audition with about 6 different cords.
nord1 Im using Straightwire Crescendo for all my interconnects and speaker wire which is quad wired. I am very happy with them. I am really looking for a used Shanyata Sigma analog power cable for my ARC Ref 5se. Thanks 
Really?  You trust ARC enough to spend thousands of dollars,  but think you can improve the power cord. What kind of designer would limit his creation to save a truly insignificant amount of money with a crappy power cord?

Really? You trust ARC enough to spend thousands of dollars, but think you can improve the power cord. What kind of designer would limit his creation to save a truly insignificant amount of money with a crappy power cord?

danvignau - I understand where you are coming from, I do; but see this post earlier in the thread from Lostbears, who I assume has been to the ARC listening rooms.
ARC uses Sain Line and Shunyata power cords and cables in their listening rooms

Form your own opinion. I know I did. 8^0

Really? You trust ARC enough to spend thousands of dollars, but think you can improve the power cord. What kind of designer would limit his creation to save a truly insignificant amount of money with a crappy power cord?

Oh! Oh! Me! Me! Me! What kind of designer? Uh, all of them. For the same reason they don’t put better fuses in their sacred creations. They are blissfully unaware there’s a controversy. Case solved. At ease. Smoke if ya got em.
Just read Michael Fremer's latest column in Stereophile magazine.  The Audioquest latest upper level power cords are the way to go.  Starting at $650 for a one meter lemgth.  Although I am still using the prior models, the NRG 10's some NTG 100's plus one NRG 1000, I have found them to be far superior to equally priced Shunyata.  Anyway, with the addition of two Audioquest Niagara 1000's, my audio systems never sounded beter.  Using an Audio Research LS27 for the verycnter of my dual-speaker based as well as seperate, but still connected hedphone systems, I an mostcertainly say that the choice of power cords used maked a huge difference.  I myself just wish I had an extra $1300 to purchase a couple of the latest power cords to replace my current ones.  Also note even the prior better Audioquest power cords rsrely come up used for sale.  Maybe now with the latest power cords coming they might start appearing.  At a used price they would be true bargins if one can not afford the latest ones.
Of course, there is the distinct possibility that the new line up of power cords from Audioquest sound very good largely or partly anyway due to the fact that Audioquest controls directionality for them. Yes, I realize current in AC power cords goes both ways. No angry emails, please. 😬
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... do 20ampre power cords use a special type of plug to connect to your mains?
Yes, 20A cords require a 20A plug rather than the more common 15A plug. You can Google it for a photo.

Does that mean that the new ref ARC amps are not useable with my normal outlets at home?
Not exactly, because the preamps don't draw 20A, or anything close to it. So you can use a cord with a 20A IEC connector on one end and a 15A plug on the other.

To expand on @cleeds response the key thing is what is the maximum current draw the cable will need to handle. If it’s >15A then you should really use both a 20A IEC and a 20A plug NEMA 5-20P (the sort in which the two flat prongs are at 90 degrees to one another vs the normal parallel).

This is why the Furman Elite 20 PFI ships with a cord with 20A IEC and 20A plug -- as the conditioner can supply, and can therefore draw, up to 20A.

ARC Amps on the other hand draw well under 15A (with the exception of the Ref750 which can draw 20A, wonder what sort of plug that ships with?) and while ARC uses 20A IEC sockets as (they believe) they give better contact and more secure connections then the traditional 15A its fine to use them with a cord with 20A IEC and traditional/normal 15A plug.

But in practice most manufacturers ignore the above and, especially in the case of power conditioners, simply ship them with a standard 15A type plug -- my Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE being a case in point, rated to 20A but ships terminated 5-15P!

Finally to further complexify things in the current AQ Power Cord range the top of range Dragon comes in both a high current and low current version -- the former will support components drawing up to 20A while the latter (Dragon Source) is only for use with pre-amps and source components drawing lower currents (oddly AQ do not specify the current limit for the cable) -- they also argue the Dragon source sounds better on sources then the big, thich high current (and it costs half as much as well)

So all in all do take some care that you get the right set up for your needs 🧐
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@d2girls most people wire their listening rooms with 20A receptacles but use 15A plugs in them 😉. The Furman was the first time I’d ever seen an audio component with a 20A plug
If you think about it the real reason for using a 20A plug is to prevent someone plugging something that draws 20A into a 15A standard receptacle and overloading the circuit. There's nothing in the design of a 15A plug that makes it unsafe carrying 20A provided the circuit its connected to is rated 20A. 

This is the reason the ARC Manual for the Ref750 (which as you recall will draw 20A) goes at lengths to stress the need to connect it to a 20A circuit ... it seems odd from a safety perspective that they don't simply supply 20A plugs as well ... maybe because Oyaide et al don't make audiophile grade 20A plugs?
... the real reason for using a 20A plug is to prevent someone plugging something that draws 20A into a 15A standard receptacle and overloading the circuit. There's nothing in the design of a 15A plug that makes it unsafe carrying 20A provided the circuit its connected to is rated 20A.
Absolutely agreed. My suggestion to use a cable with a 15A plug on one end and a 20A IEC connector on the other was only intended for components that draw less than 15A, such as ARC preamps. In practice, if that cable were used on a 15A line with a component that actually could demand 20A, the circuit's fuse or circuit breaker should trip. But it's bad practice to rely on a safety device in that fashion.
Just purchased a mint condition used Shunyata Sigma HC 20A  power cord for my ARC Ref 5se. It has not got delivered yet but i will let you know what i think of it compared to the stock PC. 

@tattooedtrackman how was Sigma HC 20A power cord for your ARC Ref 5 se sound compare to other cable you have? I am interesting to looking for one.