Mad Scientist "NEO" Power Cord Review

Review: June 2014

Topic: The Mad Scientist “NEO” Power cord from New Zealand.

I must start off by saying that I was one of the original skeptics about power cords improving Audio quality. The first power cord that changed my mind was the Synergistic Research Master Coupler. Back in the day I think they sold for about $150 but once I inserted it into my system, the bass was much stronger and I was a believer.

So through the years I spent a lot of time and money getting the power cords that seemed to grab reviewer’s attention. That list includes, top of the line products from Purist, Virtual Dynamics, Nordost, and Synergistic Apex power cables. I borrowed many more to try from the Cable Company.

Well, one day on Audiogon a thread appeared about HiDiamond power cables and the comparison to most of the cables that I had owned. I ordered a few HiDiamond P3 power cords (which were less than half the cost of my current cables ) and to my amazement they did in fact better my high cost Synergistic Apex cables with all the active shielding modules and such. One by one I replaced the Synergistic with the HiDiamond P3’s. Then a few months later HiDiamond introduced the P4’s. Now these were much pricier than the P3’s. But, eventually I accumulated 6 of the P4’s and defended these to all that these power cables are the best ever made.

A few months back I found a thread on Audio Asylum about a New Zealand company (Mad Scientist) that was sending out free samples of some little discs that when placed atop of cables were to improve the sound quality. The tweaker that I am, I had to try them. So, that I could get an ample supply to try them at several places I had my wife and daughter order some of the free samples also. Well the Mad Scientist noticed that the same address with different names was getting extra free samples. I fessed up to my little scheme, and was sort of embarrassed.

Anyway, The Mad Scientist later came out with a new power cord, the “NEO”. This cord appeared to have some actual technology involved other than just a different type of wire or braiding techniques, shielding, connectors etc that ever other Cable manufacture claims is what makes theirs superior to others.

No, the Mad Scientist NEO Power cord design goes beyond just wires and uses some proprietary black sticks, and bell shaped things woven in and out of the AC wiring. I ordered up one of the NEO power cords with upgraded AC / IEC ends and 11 gauge wires.
Surprisingly, though New Zealand is on the other side of the world I received them in a matter of days.

I was in the process of remodeling my Audio room and placed the NEO power cord on my Audiodharma cable cooker for about a week. Once my room was finished I remembered that I still had the NEO on my cooker.

Well folks, I first placed this Mad Scientists NEO Power cord on my Pass Labs X350.5 amp (which replaced a HiDiamond P4 Power cord). To my surprise, immediately, there was a marked improvement in bass, bass quality and definition. The midrange showed that special quality that brought the magic of the recording into my room. This is my belief that the improved tonal quality accompanied by a very large soundstage was of such high quality that when compared to the HiDiamond P4 power cord, it made the HiDiamond sound, well, HIFI!

Now, the HiDiamond P4 power cord had beaten all other power cords in my 15+ year journey through the power cord jungle.

So here is a power cord that looks sort of homemade and costs 1/5 of the HiDiamond P4 and was making my system sound way more real sounding. I’ve heard people use the word “organic” to describe sound quality and never really knew what that meant. But organic or “realganic” is correct for the sound of the new Mad Scientist NEO power cord.

I then tried it replacing the HIDiamond P4’s power cord that was on my Pass Labs Preamp XP-10 and later on my BSG QOL. In both places, the sound improved to quite a large extent with the Mad Scientist product. I then ordered 3 more of these Mad Scientists cords. Each and every place, be it digital, analog, power conditioner, power amp the change in sound quality improved.

I just received the newly designed Dac from PS Audio, called the “Direct Stream”. Placing this New Zealand power cord from the Mad Scientist on it made an already fantastic sounding Dac into extra ordinary.

I have no financial interest in this company. I paid the price for all of the power cords. The newly designed power cords with 11 gauge wire sells for less than $500 with the better quality AC ends(a must). But consider how much all of the other power cords that I have mentioned in this review cost and you can see how great of a deal these cords are.

They don’t look pretty. They have a cotton outer covering and several shrink wrapped bulges at the end that is holding in the black sticks, magnets, copper plates and the power kegs.

But boy, is it one great power cord.
I think this cord is good, but I am not quite as enamored as Ozzy. For the money, yes, it is good but I don't find it to be a "giant killer". The CH Acoustics X-20 is substantially better in terms of dynamics, resolution, soundstage, bass, and detail--basically, not much of a contest if you don't care about price. The cord Ozzy compares the NEO to is the HiDiamond P4. I bought two from Ozzy and find them to be warm sounding, euphonic, and bass-heavy. I prefer both the CH Acoustic X-20 and the HiDiamond P4 to the NEO, although the P4 is really best suited for taming a bright component and for adding bass heft. If you don't need or want that, the P4 is not an ideal choice or a great baseline for comparison. Almost any cord, including the NEO, will sound more neutral than the P4. The NEO performs at about the same level as the Fusion Audio Enchanter or a fully upgraded Mojo Audio Enigma. New, both are a bit more expensive than the NEO, but in the same general ballpark. Anyway, that is my 2 cents after extensive power cord demos and trials in recent months.