Can a better power cable make a difference if NOT plugged directly into an outlet?

I am curious about improving my sound with power cable upgrades.

At present, I'm using a setup which Almarg (RIP) used and which he recommended to me:

Wall outlet (hospital plug)
Audience Adept Response-ar2p power conditioner
Wiremold strip w/ Shunyata defender

I use Pangea AC 9 SE and AC14 SE cords, at present.

This setup has been quiet and hum free. 

Still I'm curious about whether better power cables might make some improvements, here or there.

The question is, whether any improvements a power cable could bring would be blunted or nullified by the setup I'm presently using.

Any thoughts?

Those who say power cables never matter, please go watch a cute cat video instead of posting here, please.


They certainly do work in conjunction with a power strip from my experience. I don't use a power conditioner, so I can't comment on that.

In my experience, power cables always affect the sound, no matter where in your system they are. The more length, the more they seem to impart their sonic characteristics. After tons of testing, one could probably approximate a connectors/plugs to cable length ratio for how much each affects the sound. The plugs/connectors on very short power cables affect the sound qualities more than those on longer cables, so it seems they have more of an absolute or constant effect which is relative to the effect resulting from the cable length.

If you want to do your own testing, get some adapters and daisy chain different cables together to get really deep into this. The cable used to feed a power distributor/conditioner demonstrates the same effect as a direct daisy chain. And I’m not totally sure about this, but cables that plug directly into upstream components may have greater sonic effects.

I know my cables and components really well now and how they interact, it just required lots of different combinations, time, and a keen ear to discern the different qualities that they impart on the whole system’s sound. I would suggest moving forward as if every single cable contributes it’s own sound qualities to the whole. Any cable in the chain that lacks clarity or adds graininess will compromise the end result.

If you do get new power cords, try them with and without the conditioner. 

Thanks for the comments so far.

@noromance Your proposal is sound, as long as there is a reason to try a cord without a conditioner. Right now, the Audience unit is also protecting the gear, and given that our power went on and off 5x the other night (weird storm), I'm loathe to plug anything into the wall that's not protected. That said, I will be moving into another room next year which has a whole house surge protector installed, on a dedicate line.

You all see the trouble, I assume -- if there is enough between the wall and the audio gear (conditioner, power strip, etc.) there may be no way for the subtleties of a powercord change to be heard. It would be like changing a subtle flavor in an already powerful stew.

This is why the "daisy chain" experiment mentioned above is not clearly worth the time for me.

“I think you’ll have trouble improving on the Pangea AC 9 SE.”

Sorry I couldn’t help, what a ridiculous comment 🤣


You’ve have been very methodical in your approach to build and improve your system over the past couple of years. A good power cord will equally complement the gear ahead of your gear, regardless of whether it is drawing power from wall or a conditioner. I am very familiar with Audience conditioners and they are transparent enough to convey differences between power cords….the question is, how far you are willing to go!

PS: I am excited about your upcoming room with a whole house surge protector installed, on a dedicated line.

@lalitk Thanks for your comment. I am not averse to trying better cords, and if I can hear it with the Audience, then it may be even more apparent when I'm in my new space. That space has 5 dedicated lines and a dedicated sub-panel. 

“That space has 5 dedicated lines and a dedicated sub-panel.”


All the more reason to explore better power cords. 

My biggest concern with power cables is that they be shielded due to all the digital stuff I have running around my rack. In this case, yes, a shielded cable after the conditioner can ensure the power stays clean after it leaves.

My Furman filters down to around 3 kHz due to series mode filtering. After power leaves it can be polluted again by HDMI, Ethernet, Wifi, etc.

So, I invest in shielding but not brands.  That is, I will make my own shielded power cables, but I won't invest hundreds of dollars from an audiophile brand.  Shielded power cables can be had inexpensively.

@erik_squires Thanks -- that makes a lot of sense. Saving money by attacking the problem with the greatest impact (if it works) breaks the stranglehold of marketing pseudo-scientific doublespeak.


+1 great post. I agree.

Also, I think you can find much better cords than you are using. I only tried one of the Pangea but it was not very effective, so I never tried more.

Certainly one can try experimenting with material for isolation. But reputable companies have done this for you with every aspect of the cord. The current Storm line do AudioQuest is an example of this. The fittings are so tight I have to hold my mono blocks when plugging in. The improvement in sound from my amps was simply stunning.

I also recommend changing one cord at a time. Experiment with the amp cords first. While every component gets an improvement, the amp is likely the biggest difference and most obvious in the change you can expect for a power cord.

Even if you think you would never spend as much as an Audio Quest Hurricane, I recommend you try one. It will set the bar for what a high quality power cord can do. Definitely plug the amps directly into the direct lines.


Here is what I use.  Just remember to connect the thin shield wire and the ground at the wall end, but only the green wire at the equipment side.  This lets noise drain to the wall and not your gear.

Don't forget to upgrade the cable from your box to the transformer on the pole too.

I tried Pangea PC in my systems and they sucked the life out of both of them. Shunyata PC have been a mainstay in my systems for years, they are shielded, quiet and let the music flow with ease. 

I’m impressed with those with the ears, discrimination, money and time to test each component comparing various power cords. My approach was to stay with the latest technology from a major power equipment manufacturer. I bought into the idea that conditioner/PCs were designed as a system. I wanted all components, except turntable motor to be within the system. I also wanted the conditioner to be able to provide large amounts of current for short periods of time. I went with Shunyata. I did play with various cables within their line, but all cables plugged into conditioner were NR. I have no idea as to the validity of my approach, but it made sense to me. I purchased everything with a no questions ask return policy, and I did use returns to upgrade my cable. My attention to power was one of the largest improvements that I’ve made to date on my system.

Given the major improvement that resulted from the full system, single manufacturer approach, I have concluded that many people that have tried cables, but found little success have failed because of their lack of attention to each aspect from wall to the power supply of each and every component. Based upon my experience, as I went up the Shunyata line of cables, I believe that another aspect that has resulted in many people failing to find improvement from cable selection is their unwillingness to spend large amounts of money on electrical cables and conditioners, so when they test they do so with lower level components.

Years ago I bought JPS  Labs pcs for my components that were plugged into a power conditioner just hoping they would do something positive. They did make for a quieter background. Then a few years ago I upgraded to TWL on the digital components. The preamp doesn't change no matter what cord is used.But boy the amp responds significantly to changes in pcs.IMO they do make a positive difference

@lalitk You must be a dream customer for a saleman.

To explain my comment, the pangea has everything I look for in a power cable, but it can usually be found for less.   

You want to expain what features you look for in a power cord that are so obviously superior?

All good purity cables, if properly insulated and wound, will enhance the sound quality no matter where you are in the chain.  They help to properly align and pace the electrons passing through.  At least I think that's what Henry Kloss said.

Gentlemen I have built some not so expensive pc's using Furutech's totl diy brand cable and plugs, and I have three Analysis plus oval's installed also, replaced one of those cords plugs with ncf furutech's. I made so many system changes at once that it would've been impossible to tell much of a difference. The Furutechs rhodium turned out to be bright at first, several years later they've mellowed. 

My plan is to work backwards and replace these using the cheap freebie power cords starting somewhere idk where yet, to really see if I can hear much of a difference. And I'll be honest with myself if I lose detail. You think this is a viable approach? I tried to put my system on here but couldn't figure out how, without that it's hard for people to comment! 

Also I plan on building he helix cords and compare them  


I would have to say yes it might. As @erik_squires mentioned, a serious well shielded cord can make a difference wherever. At least it had for me. Tried one on my amp directly into the wall to replace the standard cord ( into a decent Hubble 20amp receptacle) and really brought things to life. Then into a Chang Lightspeed. Same benefit and increase in everything, but darker background. I no longer desire plugging anything directly into the receptacle. That particular Pangea seems very well built already? I tried this cheapie but goodie to very good effect:

Like it even better than a Wireworld Stratus I was using prior. Gauge/shielding? Hard to say why exactly. Still (and forever) experimenting. 





A science teacher would tell me that a power cord couldn't make any difference at all. Also I haven't met a single school teacher that's in this hobby. So that was a stupid remark you made. 

Thanks for some of the replies. 

I'm curious about trying the direct into the wall VS. via conditioner in addition to trying some power cords, in a careful, sequential fashion as described. I appreciate the factor Erik mentioned about interference as a key factor.

I have heard power cords make a difference -- in a store. I do not know what difference it would (or could) make in my system.

Remaining skeptical until proven otherwise is my M.O. for this hobby, because there are many other places to make improvements. So, if I don't hear something, I will send things back. 


@brunomarcs Regarding your comment: "You think this is a viable approach?"

Viable, sure. Optimal? Not exactly the order I would do it. I would want to go in the direction which is most likely to discover which components are most sensitive to certain types of cable upgrades (clarity in freq ranges of bass/mid-bass/mids/highs/ultra highs, extension in highs or lows, etc). So, I think it would bring you more understanding by starting the experiment with all freebie 16-18awg cables on all components and rotating all available upgrade options on each component, sequentially, component by component to find which component gains the greatest benefit from alternative cables you have available. 👍🏼 I think you’ll find this method efficient and effective.

In my digital system, I’ve consistently found that it’s best to optimize cables with the best high frequencies in the beginning of the chain, the best combo of high frequencies and mids on my DAC, something similar on my preamp, and make sure my power amp has a larger gauge to optimize lower frequency response and lowered resistance. For those with the budget, the Clarus Crimson High Current 8awg occ copper power cable is a fantastic power cable for amps, especially the more power hungry solid state amps.

@hilde45 When you go for it, a desktop computer with a decent power supply unit can be very useful as a cheap way to burn-in new cables before you try them out.

My computer has a 1000 watt PSU, so my m.o. now is to cook cables (usually in a daisy chain) alternating between 6 amps and 3.75 amps, continuously, for 2 or 3 days before I let them sit in my system with some ordinary usage for at least a day before starting to make decisions. That's a bare minimum.


Can a better power cable make a difference if NOT plugged directly into an outlet?



Here has been my experience:

(1) Biggest change was pulling two dedicated circuits, one for the amplifier and one for a Panamax M5300-PM power conditioner (which signal components are plugged into)

(2) Upgraded power receptacles, finally settled on Furutech GTX-D(G) which is gold plated (vs the GTX-D(R) which is rhodium plated…..the rhodium is more revealing but a touch harsher

(3) Plug the amp directly into the Furutech receptacle, and not into the power conditioner. Much more dynamic and “immediate” than through the conditioner

(4) I also use Pangea’s Cardas copper higher end cables, there are much better cables to be had….I’ll be replacing some of mine as I can afford (after replacing my streamer)


@hilde45 changing a power cable on a component would make a difference. Doesn’t matter if it’s plugged into a power conditioner, power strip or outlet. Pangea is pretty basic. I wouldn’t hesitate to step up to something better. Boils down to how much you are planning to spend and what component would get an upgraded cord. I would start with the amp if it isn’t possible to upgrade the power cord on the conditioner or power strip. As with everything in this hobby, step up to something significantly better. No baby steps - don’t waste your time and money. 

@vthokie83 agree with everything you said except the thought about furutech rhodium. I use furutech rhodium plugs on my power cables as well as furutech rhodium NCF outlet. Very extended and sweet highs, great clarity. Zero harshness. Perhaps the harshness comes from the components in your system but not from the outlet. 

For sure your AC outlet is very lacking , buy the$99  Pangea Copper gold outlet 

that is on a totally different level ,these hospital grade outlets normally are brass 

which for one oxidizes after a few years and brass is 2-3x lesss conductive then copper and far more resistance ,the gold over copper keeps the conductor clean 

and these outlets are super heavy duty and grip. The connector great 

I also use Furutech IEC inputs on everything. And put WBT or Furutech on speaker terminals as well as outlets ,sonicly a very nice upgrade ,then the bottle neck with stock cheap buzz fuses ,vs say a Synergistic purple fuse Everything counts if youhave a refined audio system.

I watched a couple of cute cat videos.  They didn't change my mind that power cables can make no difference.

This is a pure example of a strange phenomenon:


1) Someone posts a question about cables, in the “cables” category of the forum. Looking for the opinions of people who have tried those experiments and experienced said cables

2) Like a clock, same exact people who always say cable make zero difference jump in, saying the same thing they said hundreds of times before. And with zero experience on said cables


Question is why? If a subject does not interest you, why chase the same exact subject over and over again? Is it so hard to ignore a subject that does NOT interest you?

@hilde45 In my trip of chasing and getting bettet sound I found that not all Power Conditioners serve that goal well. Just as not all cabels are created equaly so goes it with PCs ( Is that PC to say?).

The Audience PC may/may not make a difference to you where as another PC might? 
Can a 5k+ power cable make a difference? Your ears will know. 

My science teacher played Pink Floyd for me. He was cool. 



Results will vary based on your components and listening skills. With that said purchase one higher-end power cord and after a break-in period try it on different components and judge for yourself. In my systems upgraded power cords do make a very positive difference.

@hilde45 : to answer your question, yes, the power cords plugged after power conditioner make a difference. IMO, the power cord feeding the power conditioner is often the most important.

‘Pangea are solid , decent entry level power cords, a step up typically from stock power cords, scratching the surface so to speak. But really, entry level power cord. Have you tried any Audience power cords? Since you are already using their power conditioner. Further, have you asked Audience what they think their own power conditioner is recommended to be paired with in terms of power cords? Before and after power conditioner itself. Lots of options out there in power cords. In order to hear any difference, you will need to experiment with above entry level power cords. Chances are an entry level power cord will sound very similar to another entry level power cord from another brand. Experimentation is key, and dare I say, fun

Those who say power cables never matter, please go watch a cute cat video instead of posting here, please.


Not into that thing myself, but cat videos have a huge following. I had a colleague a few years ago, who spent more time watching cat videos than doing any actual work. 

I use Pangea AC 9 SE and AC14 SE cords, at present.

This setup has been quiet and hum free. 

Improvement in power cords does not mean fixing audible noise issues you can hear, such as hum, buzz, distorted sound. Coincidence I received the following email newsletter this morning from Paul McGowan of PS Audio, copy/ paste below:



Crossing wires

When my parents were coming of age, the telephone system used a massive number of patchbays and operators connecting one phone to another. On occasion, they would make the wrong patch which is where the term crossing wires comes from.

Not only telephone operators cross wires. 

In a recent video of mine I speak at length about how USB noise impacts audio quality. I further go on explaining that adding a USB hub or stepping up to our new galvanically isolated MKII DAC is needed to clean up and isolate this noise.

Not until a rash of negative comments about folks unable to hear this noise did it become obvious to me my mistake. Ears were placed next to tweeters with and without their DACs connected to USB without any additional noise.


My broad use of the term noise could easily be thought to meant audible noise: noise in the range of human hearing.

Noise that impacts sound quality on USB is, of course, outside the range of human hearing. It's in the megahertz region where computers are most active: side effects of high speed number crunching.

I am certain most of my readers understand this but—and it is my bad—I need to be a bit more careful throwing about words that have many meanings.

Otherwise, that which I am trying to communicate will get its wires crossed.



Your moving system into the dedicated room is huge improvement by it self.As someone posted it will be even more evident making cables changes.Maybe not at first but as things settle and your ears hear the change’s that youve made.

I just changed out all name brand made cable for my diy/parts wires and went with no shielding (alpha 3) on amp and conditioner...just cd player that is plugged into simple shunyata hydra 4 is shielded.Its been a learning experience and to my ears connectors along with conditioner cable seem to make biggest impact.It providing feed for upstream.

@thyname   It's interesting he mentions "galvanically isolated" for DAC's to "clean up  and isolate noise", since doing so introduces a transformer or capacitor in the USB chain, which can change the phase of the signal.  But it hardly matters because this is the analog side of the signal, which is not used directly by the DAC. 

Finally, all but the cheapest USB hubs are already "galvanically isolated" to ensure an accurate clock signal on the downstream USB ports, so I'm not sure where's he's going with the entire message.

@tomrk : If you want to question stuff, please feel free to do so directly with the manufacturer, or get an engineering degree. I have no horse on this race, as I don’t own any PS Audio pieces at this time, nor do I intend to buy one anytime soon. I brought it up simply to illustrate the concept of “noise” in the context of audible buzz, hum, etc.


It’s a bit of stretch to say all USB hubs are already galvanically isolated, but I will not entertain your questioning of this, simply because I don’t have time I can waste. Apologies in advance 

@thyname  "or get an engineering degree"

Already done.

"It’s a bit of stretch to say all USB hubs are already galvanically isolated"

I didn't say all,   But no doubt some manufacturers will put their name on an average USB hub, put a nicer case on it and sell it for a lot of money to convince you it has some advantage over the ones you can buy for $30.


You are correct, some people will definitely prefer the Rhodium plating over the gold plating; and yes it will be system dependent and listener dependent. I am extremely sensitive to differences (notice I didn't say faults) in higher frequencies, which to me can be tiring in longer listening sessions. Either way, both were large improvements over the hospital grade that the electrician installed initially.

I have tested a bunch of receptacles in my system in the last few years, and some didn't work out: Pangea Premier XL, Furutech FPX, PS Audio PowerPort, Oyaide SWO XXX, etc.....but many of these might be improvements for some, and at a more affordable price

Some made really nice improvements, that I would happily recommended: Furutech GTX-D gold and rhodium, Oyaide R1, and Cardas 4181.....all of these are $150 to $250 each, not cheap.

Happy listening all!

Great advice, here. Summing up:

I will ask Audience their opinions about cords.

I will not try a slightly better cord. I will step up significantly to try something much better.

I will try both via the conditioner and straight to the wall.

I will try things one at a time, with different components, to see where the greatest differences lie.

I will not hesitate to call "no difference" if the difference is not forcefully present.

I understand better that "noise" is not always the overt, obvious kind. This is about the differences made to the background, which may already be fairly quiet but when it's made even quieter, the audible sounds will improve as a result.

Additional notes:

My wall outlets are "Porter Ports." They're supposed to be pretty good.

My Audience plugs directly into the wall. There is no place to insert a cord, there. The wiremold strip plugs into the audience and then serves everything.

So, there may already be something to improve, there.

In my new room, I hope to plug things in, thus:

Dedicated outlet #1 — monoblock amps (left and right)
Dedicated outlet #2 — source components (streamer and DAC and CD transport)
Dedicated outlets #3 — subwoofers 1, 2, 3

Power cables do not make a differrence.


Until you plug it in and turn on your components =D

@hilde45 I have used several different Audience power cables over the years. Starting with their original AU24 powerChord. Excellent cables that work well on DACs (medium power AU24se) and amps (high power AU24se). I was not as impressed with their lower end Forte F3 though.

I like your plan to step up significantly. That should make the difference more obvious.