Effects Of Power Cords On Electrostatic Speakers

Several weeks ago I took delivery of a pair of Martin Logan CLX ART speakers. I hooked them up with the supplied power cords from the seller. The sound was pretty underwhelming, so I let them settle in. After about 4 days the sound had not changed significantly. I decided to rob a pair of PI Audio power cords from my phono stages and put them on the CLX. Signicant change and was getting the sound I expected. 

The question I ask myself is why? This is a low current power supply that just feeds the stators. 

If it is indeed significant, and it seems to be, what level of cord is going to meet the needs? No reason to spend more than I have to. 


Looking forward to reading your thoughts or experiences. 


Very good points.

By 'coherence' I mean that all frequencies have the same character, which is hard to get when treble comes from a beryllium tweeter and bass comes from a paper cone, but easy to get when they all come from the same membrane. To get that in the HT I went to 6 MMW's, 2 DWM's, and 1 Quad 2905 (centre), with Bryston amps. These Magnepans are all based on the older planar-magnetic technology rather than the quasi-ribbons or ribbons, which may have been a mistake - but I knew that I loved that sound, and in the HT it's a wonderful, engaging, immersive, coherent sound.

Magnepan DWM goes down to a usable 37Hz in my room, so the big 20.7 or 30.7 should do that too - recall that they use the same bass technology as the DWM. I haven't heard the 20.7 or 30.7, so check that the ribbons integrate well with the planar-magnetic panels.

And of course, your room is its own study, so YMMV with the bass response. It's an ongoing journey, but you're starting at a very good place.

I would crossover to cones at a lower frequency. Actually, I cross over at 50 Hz with an 18Db / octave electronic crossover, so the cones are silent for anything north of 100 Hz.

The DWM’s don’t cost much and you can plant a swarm of them around your chair. I just needed two in the HT and two in the 2-channel room. Most of the bass came from them rather than the isobaric sub when I played "Power and Glory", which was recorded direct to disk in the stone cathedral in LA, from M&K records.

I've often wondered how horns would work - an excellent question. Do tell me when you find out.

I found that the most important thing is shielding on the power cables for electrostats. A minimum 14-gauge cable, though.

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Galen Gareis presented the following talk at the Masterclass Sessions at the AXPONA show, titled "The Uncommonly Understood Nature of Common Cable Characteristics."

Technical Papers: Iconoclast Cable

Video posted on this page.

As an engineer for 4+ decades, I found this fascinating. Especially since most of my EE peers did not have the knowledge of cable design. This should be a must see in entirety for all the cable naysayers.

Anyways, he does make a few comments toward the end about why E-stats can run better with a different cable than most box speakers being fed by standard amplifier.

Hope this helps.