Power Cables on Subwoofers do Matter

I read an opinion somewhere on this site that swapping the power cable on a subwoofer has a minimal effect and may not be worth it. I have a very different opinion. Power cables can completely transform a subwoofer’s performance.

I have an SVS SB-2000 powered sub and my preferred power cable, a Zavfino Fina, has made it sound like a different animal altogether. It has much more punch, freq response linearity, and liveliness. The manufacturer included power cable makes it sound slow, bloated, and almost out of tune just because it’s sloppy, in comparison. The only drawback to the Fina is that slam below 30-40 hz is a little recessed but it’s not major and is still clearly my choice. I also compared five other aftermarket power cables from other components in my system and they ALL had a different effect on the sub. For testing, I used various crossover points and most of the testing was with the loudspeakers off in order to isolate the sub for critical listening.



Maybe it's my 10 years as a bass player and the trained ear that comes with that, but the difference was profound, not subtle, and very worth the upgrade.

I run 1000 watt A/B Dayton plate amps. 1200 watt class D DSP Dayton plates. 370 watt A/B Servo plates. 12K Behringers (NU12000). I use heavy copper for power cables. #10 for all my sub plates and the 3 12K. I run them at 220/240 if we have a PARTY.

The only difference I heard is too small of a conductor or BAD cabling like aluminum with copper clad. I've seen that type of cable make a class D wobble a bit, and it was on older class Ds too. I won't mention names but be careful with a cable made with that material and WOVEN.. They look cool, but they SUCK.

I uses a 24 strand weave too that works really well at a low cost too. OCC with a good cover but it's not teflon. 

I've used #8 copper OCC with mill spec 5N silver large strand and teflon, VERY stiff but you should give that a listen. Run the cable on an AC or Refer unit for a month or so too. That makes a lot of difference too. With a dedicated 15 or 20 amp plug a 2400 watt maintainer per 2 subs and good cabling make a BIG difference in SQ.


I'm a believer in upgrading power cords etc. With that said I believe your mileage may vary depending upon the manufacturer of the subwoofer as with other components also.

FWIW, I went back and forth on my REL 328 sealed sub and heard zero difference. I contacted REL and they said in their tests it didn't make a difference. They said, "A while back, REL tested some third party power cords with our subs but did not find a noticeable impact"

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Yes, I agree @lak that mileage WILL vary based on multiple conditions, one of which being the exact power cable used. I can only provide testimony about my sealed, 500w rms, class D powered sub which is plugged into a power conditioner outlet that provides up to 55 amps of current when needed. The sound quality of the sub was audibly affected in different ways by each power cable I tested, which ranged in price from a few dollars to about $800 (most of which were in the middle of that range).


As far as the response from REL, I’m really not interested in what most manufacturers would tell their retail customers regarding sonic changes due to power cable upgrades. It’s usually not in their financial interest to suggest that may sound significantly better when the power cable is upgraded, potentially implying to certain customers that’s it inadequate as sold.

I have a high level of confidence in my own subjective discrimination of sonic attributes, so what the REL guy said makes no difference to me, personally.

@steakster Totally agree that precise phase adjustment is crucial to integration, along with crossover and volume.  I think it's a baseline thing for the total system's sound.  If it's not properly integrated, especially with phase (in my experience), then power cable upgrades won't have the potential to be anywhere near as advantageous.  

Worth noting again that I found isolating the sub by turning off power to the loudspeakers to be very important for the conditions needed to be able to choose the best power cable.

Strange...my Pair of REL T/7i subs improved with my upgraded 10 gage copper power cords.

A couple of years ago there was an article on another audio site (PosFe), that I can’t seem to find right now (maybe someone can), that said that improving the power cable to the sub not only improved the bass, but also the higher frequencies. I had already swapped my stock power cord to my Martin-Logan BF210 with a Signal Cable I had lying around to good effect, so I decided to move higher up the food chain, as I could always use more midrange clarity. I got a significant increase in clarity and resolution across the entire range of frequencies by replacing the Signal Cable with a Shunyata Alpha v2. Was very happy with the improvement. Like we often say, it seems everything matters!!

This is a servo plate amp, LOOK at what you really need to do it right along with complete speaker decoupling from the entire room. A Turntable delight right down to a flat as a pancake 20hz or lower sub responce. NO woofer pumping AT ALL ever..

Plug a crap PC into this amp, you'll hear it.. 

Normaly when manufactures make a statement like couple the sub to the floor or power cables make no difference, that type of sub manufacture/owner likes to FEEL the sub through their bottoms, feet, and that type of thing.. They kind of loose the plot when it comes to TOTAL distortion and distructive harmonics and effects on all the other gear, not just "their" sub..

It's very districtive to super clean MB, mids and high drivers too. Vibration is vibration.. It dosn't mater what it's rattling. It also delivers a delayed responce way out of time with the actual drivers and the rooms reflected responce.

I like a ground UP approch other than TAME an issue after the fact. Plates falling off the walls, kitchen cabinets rattling.. I know glue them to the wall. ALL FIXED. :-)


So i see the price of the power cables that were found having significant impact could range from $200 ish all the way to $2000.  Could someone with more technical background / expertise provide justifications on the price difference in terms of their physical properties such as conductivity, impedance, insulation, etc. AND, most importantly, how these properties affect the sound.  The venders of these "high end" cable seems hardly publishing those technical data.  

As always, each amplifier is different and obviously may not produce the same results as yours.  Upgraded the capacitors and resistors would probably make a bigger improvement then the power cable.


Happy Listening

Furutech 3ts762 (max power) with my svs sb-4000, really better than my gigawatt evo mk3, o2a quintessence, nordost red dawn etc...

Bass very fast with my focal electra 907be speakers, this is the best combination!

All others mentioned doesn't keep the bass speed of my speakers!

@lanx0003 - most cable companies provide very little insight as to why they charge the price they command, simply because the cables are poorly designed and tend to perform just above the abilities of stock power cables.

But there are a few companies that do divulge their cable geometry, for those audiophiles that understand what goes into a good cable.

A couple of those companies are:

  • Zavfino
  • In-Akustik

Cables from both of these companies perform exceptionally well and are priced according to their complexity and materials used

So what should the audiophile look for in a cable

#1 - the metal used for the wire

  • UP-OCC provides the fastest dynamics of all coppers
  • there is another high performance copper very similar to UP-OOCC that uses sophisticated forging techniques to achieve a similar grain structure
  • silver is even better, but can be very pricey for speaker and power cables
  • Furutech Alpha copper is quite good, but just a little better than OFC
  • OFC offers little that can compete with the above mentioned metals
  • the purity of the metal is another factor, so look for 5-9’s and 6-9’s purity e.g. UP-OCC copper tends to be 5-9’s or 6-9’s purity

#2 - insulation - is a dielectric and will impact cable noise floor

  • Teflon is perhaps the most common in use today and offers reasonable perofrmance
  • Foamed Teflon is a superior insulation that is becoming more widely used in modern cable designs
  • Cotton is even better, but not best suited for use in power cables
  • Some very sophisticated cables get close to the properties of air

#3 - cable geometry - is the art of spacing the individual conductors in such a way that the impact of a signal in one conductor has minimal impact, WRT the introduction of noise, into an adjacent conductor

  • Braiding, like that used in Kimber Kable products is simple quite effective that is, compared to a simple lamp cord geometry
  • Spiral geometries like that used in Anticable interconnects is one of the more advanced and very effective geometries
  • Ribbon geometries, like those used in Nodost speaker cables is very effective
  • But a really great example of an advanced geometry can be found in In-Akustic cables, that uses spacers to keep each conductor perfectly spaced

Combine the best from all three categories and you will have an exceptional cable that will cost more than the lamp cord from Home Depot, but will perform so much better.

Having said all of that, there are some companies that simply exploit those that believe the best will cost lots of money - and so they charge very high prices..

That’s it in a nutshell ! - but it does get a lot more complicated

Regards - Steve


2,843 posts

FWIW, I went back and forth on my REL 328 sealed sub and heard zero difference. I contacted REL and they said in their tests it didn't make a difference. They said, "A while back, REL tested some third party power cords with our subs but did not find a noticeable impact"


That has been my experience with a Rel sub as well.

@oldhvymec I have two of those Rythmiks. I guess I'm curious what you'd suggest about cords for them. I ruled out a cord for the REL but maybe the Rythmiks are different for some reason?

Must be a brand thing?

No difference in the REL's to my ears. Seems to be same on the other forum, but with other brands as well. 

That said, I DO have Nordost  Blue Heaven going to them. Nice blue cable going into Cherry finish subs looks better. 

Might be a forum dependent tweak. 

hilde45, williewonka gave you some great name brands and what to look for in cable constructon and cable materials. Pinwheel tech is all the rage for a reason. IT WORKS.

How does it work on Bass application? I suppose wonderfully but I’d doubt you could hear a difference and that is all that counts.

I recommend a certain construction type with bass anything.

1. HEAVY copper, fine strand, SOOW 10/2/g. Longer than 3 meters #8, 99.999 OFC in a polyvinyl and BR cover with cotton. This is the Minimun QC, type of dielectric and copper type.

2. Heavy red copper terminal ends.

Here is the NUGGET for Bass power cable contruction:

No Rodium, Gold, Brass, Iron, lead, alumunun, stainless or anything else.
Copper and silver. Even the screws have to be copper, no screwing around OK.. PAY ATTENTION. This is where the rubber meet the road with sound. ONE SINGLE itty bitty NON pointed (or sharpened) SCREW can gum up the works on a speaker IC. PC not so much.. Thank God..

IF I use OCC for a bass PC the sound quality is the same. I notice no difference when used on plates other that a certain construction and it boils down to the ENDS on your PC. The size and length of the cable along with good construction techniques keep the quality control the same.

I look at the cable under a 50-1000X and see if the cable is made correct. All the wire has to be pulled through the dye in the same direction OR did they GOOF and put the wire in the cable construction both ways. LOL I’ve seen it a few times in 3K cables. Their saving grace was red copper terminal ends..

Main Power Cables and for a full frequency devices, I use a different construction. It may be as big but usually there is a silver componant, teflon, cotton, contact enhancers and maybe mill spec silver over red copper terminal ends.

I condition ALL my cables on my basement fan. :-) I hook them there for 3 weeks then on to a cooker for 10 more days. BTW that fan has been ON 24/7 for 18 years. It has never had any maintenance other that cleaning the impellar for balance. I can feel it through the wall.

Merry Christmas Everyone...

PS the spell check just quit working.. NO idea why it did, that happened before in the early revamp of AG.. Month or so ago.. As you can tell, I neeeeeeed it..

After reading the original post I was curious as to whether or not a power cable change on y REL T/7x  would result in any improvements.


After having a positive experience with Zavfino Prima speaker cables, I got in touch with Raymond at Zavfino and ordered a Fina like gladmo did.


I'll be damned if it did not improve the texture and extension. Bass seems to stop and stop faster and sounds very real in my system with my ears.


Thanks gladmo for the insight.

@beatlebum That's awesome to hear that you benefited from my posts here!  I tested cables from Audio Art, Synergistic Research, Audio Envy, Furutech, Acoustic Zen, and a few cheapo cables with different gauges, and none of them gave me the speed, dynamic range, and sub-bass extension that I get with the Zavfino cable on my sub.  It wasn't even close, honestly.  

I'm not saying those are bad cables, but they just don't have an affinity for my sub. I still use three of those brands' power cables on other components in my system with wonderfully pleasing presentation after careful tuning.  The newfound sub performance (with vibration isolation) is the cherry on top!

I never thought thicker bigger after market power cords will improve sound quality of my REL until I did it and holly molly, it felt like my subs just got upgraded 2 level up. 

Yo!  Let the testimonials flow!  Who cares what a REL rep tells you.  Your own subjective aural experience is all that matters.

And to be really real, pure subjectivity itself is the primordial, underlying and requisite reality of all ostensibly objective conclusions.

Built my own 10awg cable for my sub as well. Noticeable positive improvement. 


Hello Steve,  thanks for the quick overview about cables but from Furutech spec, the FP-Apha 3 doesn't have copper shield like the others power cables. 

Does it mean we can not connect the shield to the ground wire on the male connector for DIY power cable?


As a side note to the discussion for anyone doing their own subwoofer cable swapping, I've found the synthesized bass line in the song "In Too Deep" by Jacob Collier to be particularly useful in evaluating sub-bass qualities.

Power cable makes a difference?

The current is sourced from a transformer placed somewhere far away outside the building. Then it passes several long cables to the building main panel where is distributed through other cables to each apartment or whatever place. Then it goes in the home distribution panel and then to each plug. 

If someone is saying that the last 2 meters of cable can change the sound of a subwoofer while the current is passing through hundreds or thousands of meters of cables and hundreds of connectors + a few panels ... maybe they can explain us how !

I can understand that the RCA / XLR / or other cables placed between a sound source and final speaker can make a difference (if really bad cables are replaced with decent / cables) but the power cable can do absolutely nothing unless it is damaged or too thin. 


The current is sourced from a transformer placed somewhere far away outside the building. Then it passes several long cables to the building main panel where is distributed through other cables to each apartment or whatever place. Then it goes in the home distribution panel and then to each plug

Shhh....don't be tossing reality around like that.

Too bad Zavfino doesn't offer a 90 degree IEC. Thats the only way it's going to work on my REL. With the REL in the corner behind the left speaker there is absolutely no room for a straight IEC back there. The cheap freebie just squeezes in there. 

Same with the aftermarket Signal Cable REL Speakon link. I ordered a right angle Speakon to put on it so it can fit.

@gladmo, the svs sub does not use the standard connector on their plate amp. I have the smaller SB 1000 Pro which uses a C7 I think it's called. Does Zavfino give you the choice of connector.

Also the Fina you mention is 14AWG which is considered a bit lightweight  for power amps. Why did you choose this instead of their 12AWG version? I realise of course that the heavier cable will cost more.

@gladmo -

     Based on your experience, as a musician: what percentage of knowing when the rhythm section is right, would you attribute to, "feel" (physiological/tactile)?

                       In both performing and listening scenarios, that is.



Never run SVS units with Teflon cables. The Teflon at high levels goes into helium gasified state that can work its way down into the driver motor thus giving off a burping sound around 85db. Careful out there!

The current is sourced from a transformer placed somewhere far away outside the building. Then it passes several long cables to the building main panel where is distributed through other cables to each apartment or whatever place. Then it goes in the home distribution panel and then to each plug.

If someone is saying that the last 2 meters of cable can change the sound of a subwoofer while the current is passing through hundreds or thousands of meters of cables and hundreds of connectors + a few panels ... maybe they can explain us how !

but the power cable can do absolutely nothing unless it is damaged or too thin.


@ciprian This is an incorrect, oft misunderstood concept, so this is not a shot at you at all.

Electricity is not water, and it does not "flow" as such. It’s alternating current, which means it moves back and forth. As such, the power cable isn’t the last link in the chain, it’s the first link in the chain that your component is exposed to.

I think you’ll find that if you upgrade/try some nice power cables, they can and do indeed change the character of the sound of the device they’re plugged into.

Actually you are wrong.

Alternative current is actually a sinusoidal wave and it's not moving back and forth. 

It doesn't really matter what cable you are using for powering your amplifier: if it did then a 10.000 euro amplifier would be sold with a better cable than the generic one (let's say a 500 Euro cable). 

Alternating current (AC) is an electric current which periodically reverses direction and changes its magnitude continuously with time in contrast to direct current (DC) which flows only in one direction.


Try a new power cord, or don’t.....they certainly make a difference. All you need to do is listen to them and decide if you can hear a difference or not. If you can’t....good for you. But you might be surprised. Have a nice day.

To the dedicated skeptics and the sincerely questioning, the audible difference is as clear, obvious, and irrefutable as the contrast in pitch between two different keys played on a keyboard. I tried to convey this point previously in this discussion. Therefore, I need not respond to any conceptual argumentation, especially those inchoately formed. Subjectivity itself is the ultimate substrate of any sense of authority, whether or not one is playing with thoughts/concepts/ideas, or simply observing a thing without commentary. One can feel and appreciate the sun's heat without the extraneous requirement to achieve a post-doctoral researcher's understanding of its most subtle physical properties, nor expecting all other sunbathers to be at that level of scientific sophistication. 

@coralkong  has a gracious attitude about it, which I appreciate. I would simply add to his comments that some people who are musicians or have been practicing critical listening for a long time have a markedly different listening experience due to the acquired capacity for acute auditory discrimination, which develops as a result of the neuroplastic proliferation of signaling pathways in the brain. These neuronal configurations can also begin to develop as a consequence of routine exposure to classical music when very young, and, I personally believe, even while in the womb.


@lemonhaze  Different connectors aren't available via the website, but you could ask Raymond about a custom cable with your connector. As for the slightly smaller gauge Fina vs The Magestic, it's not worth the price of the upgrade for me.  I have the Magestic on a different part of my system and the larger gauge does have a noticeable effect there.  My sub does fine with the Fina, lol. Another way of looking at it is that the enormous value I already extracted from the Fina purchase vs other, sometimes much more expensive power cords, is seen as an sonic advancement that is far beyond the additional cost of upgrading to the Majestic (same design, just bigger gauge) or an even more expensive Zavfino cable.


@rodman99999 I don't think I can answer your question as it was phrased.  What qualifies as "right"? And you want a percentage of knowing when it is right? Perhaps if you rephrased the question, I could try to respond with substance. 

In general, I can say that I consider a large part of the rhythm section's ability to coherently express a precise swing is typically what I find to be satisfying and reflective of rhythmic virtuosity. Maybe the term "swing" encompasses the "feel" you mentioned.  I don't see any distinction between performing vs listening on this topic.

@gladmo,  I am not surprised at the increase in performance you achieved with your SVS sub. We are, after all, just listening to a modulated power supply.

I will do better. I will test myself. 

I have a local Hi Fi store that has lot's of equipment including very expensive power cables and I will test them.

So, ... 

 I went to my local store to test a subwoofer and a dac. I know very well the salesman and we have a good relationship (he sometimes let me test at my home some equipment if they were returned / opened by a different buyer). 

After testing / speaking about DAC's I asked him about power cables and if he thinks they can make any difference especially for a subwoofer. 

They have lots of cables so It just happened I could test a Zavfino cable with a Monitor Audio subwoofer and an SVS. To my big surprise for both subwoofers it was a difference between the standard cable and Zavfino Fina. It was not a big difference but you could hear it definitely. I didn't expect that for sure and I was surprised by the outcome. 

Then he insisted me to test a more expensive cable: gigawatt powersync plus. He told me that out of all the cables they tried this was the best bang for the buck. Wow, this cable really made a difference: the bass was more tight, lower frequencies, deeper, even the stage seemed wider. Everything sounded so clear, like being a different subwoofer. I really can not understand how a cable can make such a difference but it did. He told me that there are even better cables but those are a few times more expensive and it would not be a bigger upgrade over this one. It appears they use it for demo with all their equipment so I ordered one because I didn't want to buy a used cable. 

When it arrives I will most likely test it with the dac I currently have and with the amplifier. I may end buying another one or two ...

So in conclusion: I guess I was wrong.



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Actually you are wrong.


So in conclusion: I guess I was wrong.

Kudos for learning something new!

Physics is complicated - especially re: human 5 senses.

_ _ _ _ _ _

He told me that there are even better cables but those are a few times more expensive and it would not be a bigger upgrade over this one.

Probably because he doesn’t sell them.

Congratulations @ciprian on jumping over that hurdle. For many this is a huge leap. Like me you now must be enjoying more realism in your music, and unfortunately less money in the bank account. This awesome thread deserves a bump :) 

The funny thing here is that the best powercables are not expensive, even if audio-salesmen tryes to give that impression. Anyone who diy`s a bit can make their own from 12awg solid firealarmcable.