I keep being reminded of how much power cords mater

I went through a major upgrade a couple years ago. I quickly upgraded my speaker cables and interconnects. But just listened for about a year. Then one by one, in absolutely no hurry adjusted my venue, and USB, power cords… etc. it seems every month I consider and optimize one thing. I know what my system sounds like.

I noticed a couple weeks ago that I still had a Cardas Clear Beyond power cord on my preamp… but that I still had the Transparent Ultra power cord I had purchased for it in my storage room. Hey, I’m 70… my memory was never good… not getting better. Cardas Clear Beyond are good… when you need a little warmth… I do not. I put the Transparent back in… A great shift in the balance, adding detail without loosing the warmth and midrange balance. A very happy and perfect adjustment. (A friend is a real Cardas fan… I had bought as an experiment, and never swithed back).

That got me thinking, what was on my Audio Research Phonostage? I looked. Turns out it was the original Audio Research cord… they are now very heavy copper with 20 amp connectors. So, I took the Cardas Clear Beyond power cord and put it on the phono stage. Wow, what an improvement. Just in case I had not recently tried a stock power cord, this reminded me why one uses high quality cords.

The power cord for my phonostage is definitely not done. I am pretty sure that a Transparent would be better on my system… but I’ll have to try it… or maybe an AudioQuest. So, my odyssey is not over. But each small change ultimately nets a better sounding system.

Looking back at all the increment changes that have mattered in the last few years… the improvements between direct lines, cables, interconnects, power cords, positioning seem to add up to as much improvement as the upgrades to all my components. But the cost of these probably only 15% of the components.


Had a guy over one time and it was all, Why do you do this? Why do you do that? How can those Cable Cradles do anything? Quick demo. Okay, that's amazing. 

BUT, power cords? No way!

I went to my old cables drawer, pulled out one of my many freebie black rubber power cords. "According to you, this will sound just as good as what we've been listening to?" He could see what was coming but stuck to his story. 

So I put another record on, plugged the freebie in, and let him listen. Then swapped the M101 Supernova back in. 

And swear to God, the second the needle hit the groove he says OMG! Hadn't even got to the music. Still in the lead-in groove. That's how freaking obviously better it is.

Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata was here with a couple of his early Shunyata Powersnakes, half a dozen non-audiophiles who never heard anything like this before, every single one of them had no problem recognizing the improvement. 

Wire is a component, okay? Power cord, interconnect, speaker cable. Any of em. All of em. Every bit as much a component as the amp, preamp, speaker. 

The Caelin visit was 30 years ago. That's how long this has been true. At least. If not longer.

Would upgrading the power cord on a turntable have an effect?  

I have upgraded all my other components so far.  I have a VPI Classic 3.  

As much as my brain keeps coming up with reasons why it shouldn’t matter, my experience says, you have to try it. I would love to hear from someone who has tried it.