Power Cord brands mixing. "Your Opinions"

I have the following brand power cables and would like opinions.
1) LAT International AC-2 from Marantz DV9600 to Panamax MAX 5510-PRO.
2) Nordost Vishnu from Anthem AVM 50 to Panamax.
3) LAT International AC-2 MKII from BAT VK-6200 AMP to wall.
4) Shunyata Diamondback from OPPO BDP-93 Bluray to Panamax.
5) Shunyata Diamondback from Panamax MAX 5510-PRO to Wall Ps Audio socket.

Please take a look at the loom and tell me what you guys think.

I think if it sounds good to you it's great. Two problems in asking for this kind of advice: 1) Probably no one else here has that exact same combination of components and cables, and 2) You don't list any of your other cables so how is anyone to have a clue?

When it comes to system cabling and personal listening bias there are just too many variables; so short of inviting a bunch of us over to witness "the loom" no one can really offer a valid opinion, including me.

Happy Listening!
I have to concur with Plato on this.The real question is "what do you think?"
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I have always used a mix but have has a chance to buy 8 identical cables of a good brand; I will report my impressions but will not be able to make a comparison. I have sold or am selling most of the ones I had to be able to afford the new ones.
I guess you guys are right. It does sound good.I have read about the teflon tape and it seems to work also. I think tweaks rock.
I am in the all the same brand category. I use various Shunyata powercords and conditioners throughout my system. I am a firm believer in synergy.
Since very few systems contain electronics made by one manufacturer, I see no valid reason to use cables from one manufacturer.
regarding 558's implied question as to the consequences of mixing power cable brands, can anyone offer a logical reason why mixing or not mixing makes a difference, intrinsically ?
Agree with Elizabeth. Adding a subpanel, dedicated lines, and Porter Port cryo'd AC outlets made a HUGE improvement in my system. Much larger than the difference various cords yeilded. Plus the lights don't dim in the room when I crank it up anymore.
From a technical standpoint, the comment by Bill (Audiofeil) makes complete sense, IMO, because I would expect the sonic effects of a power cord to be highly dependent on the design of the component it is connected to. Many technical reasons could be cited for that.

Just to cite three examples:

1)A Class A power amplifier draws essentially constant current all the time, while other amplifier classes do not. Therefore constraints that may be imposed by the power cord on sudden surges in demand for current, as a result of inductance or other characteristics of the cord, will be far more relevant with Class D or Class AB amplifiers than with Class A amplifiers. Those constraints will also be mostly irrelevant with preamplifiers and other line level components, which in most cases also draw essentially constant current.

2)Voltage loss due to resistance in the cord will vary depending on how much current is drawn by the component, and a given amount of voltage loss will certainly have differing effects depending on the function and the design of the specific component.

3)The significance of differences in shielding effectiveness among different power cords will depend on the amplitude and frequency spectrum of rfi that may be fed back from the component into the power cord, and also on the rfi sensitivity of other parts of the system, and on rfi that may be picked up from other parts of the system.
12-23-11: Mrtennis
Can anyone offer a logical reason why mixing or not mixing makes a difference, intrinsically?
From a technical standpoint, I certainly can't envision any.

IMO. Other opinions will certainly differ in some cases.

-- Al
Using all cables from one brand does not at all guarantee synergy. Synergy is what is often referred to as the bandaid process to use one product's weakness to offset another product's weakness. If you use only one brand, unless it is perfect (yeah right), you will only get additive flaws with each additional product from that one company, whether it is less and less resolution, clarity, frequency extreme coverage, etc. You need to try numerous products in each link in the chain to find what works "best" for you. And then when you "upgrade" a link, you often need to repeat this process for some or many other links.
Now that my systems are wired totally with Audience AU24e (primary) and Au24 (bedroom), I don't envision changing anything, and it's been nearly a year now. The musical involvement continues to amaze me.
How do they sound thats what is important.I use Audience AU24 wonderful sound.
The value of power cables synergy depends on the designers concept and the quality of the system.

When I had Electraglide cables and Shunyata Anaconda Vx's, one Anaconda in the system was great, a second one slowed down the systems sound to much. I'd say that the Anaconda wasn' neutral, but it was very successful to compensate errors in my system - it added warmth, analog sound.

But when your system is neutral and you do not benefit from error compensating methods, you may very well benefit from an integrated power system.

When I had a complete Elrod Statement system this was great and neutral, but still not a completely intergrated power system.

Sharing the same design principles for all your power cables and your power strip offers the best solution to manage the outer and inner interfering fields.
Thus the potential of an intelligently and thouroughly designed integrated power system is clearly above any not integrated system or far above mixed power cables.

Today my complete Schnerzinger power distribution system perfectly fulfills the concept of an integrated power system, sharing the same (and very sophisticated) design principles throughout the system - from the wall outlet to all devices - a huge step ahead. To me there is no way back.
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>>Mixing cables virtually assures mediocrity<<

One of the dumbest statements you'll ever read here folks.
12-24-11: Douglas_schroeder
Mixing cables virtually assures mediocrity.

All this time I thought my stuff sounded pretty good, now I find out it's only mediocre. Excuse me while I go shoot myself in the head.
Mix it to your liking, or buy a Bose. Even they have a variety of parts in them. Your the one that has to listen to it. What is good for one, is not good for all. What a boring stereo, and life that would turn out to be.
Well, I see I've stirred the pot a bit. Good.

I'm not interested in how popular my ideas are as much as how efficacious my methods are in moving a rig toward superior sound. Some have voiced strong opinions but have not given any argument why mixed cables would be superior as a means of advancing a rig. I'd like to hear your arguments, not just emotional reaction. :)

I have come to my conclusion through many hours of comparison of mixed cabling versus homogenous sets of cables compared to one another, as well as to sets of mixed cables. I'm not unwilling to change my perspective in the matter, but disdain will have little effect on my perspective or conclusions.

I do value the input of people who have experience, who move beyond the simple, "I think," perspective. If you have experience in comparison of sets of cables versus mixed cables and have something to offer, I'm open to hearing it.
12-26-11: Douglas_schroeder
"Some have voiced strong opinions but have not given any argument why mixed cables would be superior as a means of advancing a rig. I'd like to hear your arguments, not just emotional reaction."

Oh, you mean like making the following statement - lacking in any philosophical explanation?

12-24-11: Douglas_schroeder
"Mixing cables virtually assures mediocrity."
You match a power cord and the component, generally speaking. In some cases there might be synergy if using the same brand especially if all your components are the same brand too.
Anyway, if I could put something like Purist Limited on every component I have, I would certainly try that first and then compare the result with some other cords somewhere in the system.
And another thought. If the cord is really good, it will work at least well if not always great with any piece of equipment.
558 - while I don't have your exact combination of power cables, I have something similar. I have one each of LAT AC-2, AC-2 MKII and LAT AC-3 in my system. The AC-2 feeds my amp; the AC-2 MKII feeds my preamp, and the AC-3 feeds my PS Audio Juicebar. I have Shunyata Venom 3's feeding my DAC and phono preamp. I also have one of the earlier Shunyata Venom's (maroon color) feeding my Oppo BDP-83. I have placed the LAT cords in what I beleive are the more critical positions since they are a larger gauge than the Shunyatas. To my ears both the LAT power cords and the Shunyata's I've tried (Venom, Diamondback) are fairly neutral and therefore I see no problem mixing and matching them in a system. I have found the Venom 3 is more open-sounding than the Diamondback, so you may want to give a Venom 3 a try.
12-26-11: Tpreaves
All this time I thought my stuff sounded pretty good, now I find out it's only mediocre. Excuse me while I go shoot myself in the head.

Never mind, I just realized all my PCs are made by PS Audio. Whew, I actually had the gun to my head !!!!
hi doug:

i think you are the one who needs to offer evidence.

you have not defined mediocre sound and your idea of what it is vs superior sound is still your opinion.

since you have not yet sampled all combinations of cables, your sample is incomplete. note also,. you have not auditioned all brands and so would you say that any brand of cable is better than mixing other brands? or are you saying a particular brand, is superior to mixing other brands.

i think you need to clarify your statement.

i think you have problems in logic.
This pains me greatly and it's very tough to admit but I agree with Mrt.

I'm hoping this is a one time event.

Regarding Schroeder, he's nothing more than an over confident young guy suffering from a lack of experience. With time, he'll learn.
Well, it seems like a lot of fluff so far. Seriously, this is supposed to be a great defence of using mixed cables? So far this is a pretty weak argument.

Inna, you are the only one who seems to understand the importnace of utilizing entire sets of cables and how to proceed to ascertain what direction a rig needs to move in order to obtain better sound.

A question: Assuming the use of mixed cables in a rig how is the audiophile supposed to determine the native sound of any brand of cables utilized?

Actually, I have Custom Power Cord Co. Top Gun cords on all three components - Redgum RGi120 integrated, Acoustech phono stage and CEC belt drive player. My Nottingham and Nak deck have fixed cords. I would probably experiment later with some Purist and maybe other brands though I don't really feel the need to do it.
I have to agree with Doug here, pretty strongly too. I've done quite a bit of messing around with power products over the years and admit to that factor being the most challenging for me in system design. One thing I understand from all of that experience is that each brand seems to have it's own character. I know exactly what a Shunyata cable will sound like in my system regardless of which one, same with Nordost, Tara, Acoustic Revive, MIT, Isoclean...so on and so on. Most of those brands are very different in voice and to my ears tend to sound mucked up when mixed in a system. I hear much more coherence from one "voice" throughout vs the mixing of those voices. I suppose it depends on an individuals goals when building their system, mine involve bringing a true to the source end result so the more coherence the better.

Regarding the comments that suggest a power cord/brand will sound very different depending on the gear it is connected to, from my experience this is not accurate. I'd guess many reasons for this, some beyond my knowledge base some I think I get. Many cords use different methods to provide clean, ample current...including the use of elements (ie Tara or Acoustic Revive and some Shunyata) or even the winding techniques but these bring a specific sound with them in most cases. That sound or voice is pretty consistent. Acoustic Revive uses Tourmaline in many of their products and the reaction of Tourmaline and an electrical signal is audible hence most of their products have the same overall character. I'd say this is also true of filter techniques...ie MIT...that have a character in the sonic outcome. Mixing these "voices" has not given me positive results in achieving my system goals.

I realize some of this is redundant but was trying to illustrate why I held this opinion.
whiole empirical experience can build confidence, there is no logical basis or necessary condition which makes one brand of cables throughout a stereo system superior to multiple brands.

how do you prove this ?

remember, the goal is to enjoy the music.

i suspect that there are so many variables that there is no validity to the assertion that one brand is superior to mix and match as far as cables are concerned, when the goal is optimizing the sound of a stereo system to suit your taste.
I have now listened a while to my one cable brand system and yes, it is better IN MY SYSTEM than my mix was. While all cables vary on different components it seems logical to assume that the same brand will vary to a lesser degree than several brands. This is what my system sounds as if it is doing, fewer sharp edges in the sound if you will; more "organic" in character. HIFICRITIC noted the same thing in the current issue; saying that to get the full benefit of cables staying with the same brand is best. THIS IS NOT TO SAY that you may not like the sound of a mix better, just that the same brand route is a little easier to travel. Also not to tout the superiority of Transparent, I noted the same thing when I kept increasing the number of PS cables in my system. If I had gotten an equivalent deal on PS I might have gone that way. Also my speaker cables are Cardas GR and my ICs VDH TFUs, although my digital cable is also Transparent. I would have no objection to going all Transparent save the expense; the speaker cable and ICs are not cheap. I think the mix route makes more sense on different functions than at the same level anyway. Let us not get carried away; you say po-ta -to and I say po-tot-o etc. If it sounds good listen to it.
Mrtennis, briefly the logical basis resides in cables having a sonic character due to construction and materials. If you have never compared sets of cables I don't expect you to agree with that statement.

As you suspect there are too many variables, again the key is the sonic character of cables which is consistent no matter which components they are used with; that addresses the suspected myriad of variables you allude to. Consequently with unified sets the individual can pursue whichever attributes they desire in a set of cables, versus guesswork with a mixed set.

I concur with Doug. I've had mixed cables and two different sets of all the same manufacturer cables. I do admit that this is hardly a very diverse sample of all the cable choices out there. But I have preferred all Signal Cable or all Synergistic cables to a blend. It seemed to me the closer I got to having only one brand of cables the more coherent my system sounded.
i agree that cables are tone controls. they have sonoic characteristics.

however, i have found that when using one brand of cable throughout my system, i have found that by replacing an interconnect, or speaker cable or power cord i have preferred the sound. it is possible that you would have preferred the souind using one brand.

there is no logical reason that mixing cable, with their different sonic signatures could not sound better to a listener than just using one brand.

i guess i am talking about complementary colorations.

i am talking about blending rather than having one color. it may not be possible to find the flavor that one desires with one brand, as it is impossible to audition all cables from all cable companys.
Mrtennis, your comment is valid although I would suggest it is only a step toward what could be a far more pleasing experience.

If you liked the sound of replacing one cable/pair did you then proceed to add additional cables incrementally to see what the effect was? i.e. transition toward a new complete set?

I think can understand your perspective in the matter based on what you consider to be good sound. We will differ on this, but I believe your view is that good sound is not overly detailed, but is warm to syrupy sounding with a higher emphasis on tonality than definition.

If that is correct, and not judging your opinion in the matter it is entirely possible that by mixing the cables you are able to dial down the definition and thereby have the tonality come to the fore.

My philosophy in regards to defintion/detail is at the other end of the spectrum; I say that one cannot have too much detail/definition in a system and that if the perception is such that means there is a problem with the system, often times with the tonality. So, one of my goals is to seek cabling which is extreme in defintion/detail, however I will not sacrifice tonality nor any other parameter in order to achieve it.

So, yes, if you are wanting to avoid an extreme amount of defintion/detail then mixing will very likely allow you to do so. However, I believe that if you were to follow up by testing other cables singly and noting the difference in sound you might be able to move toward a brand which would be far superior in every aspect of performance you desire.

I continuously attempt to mix in one or two cables to see what the result will be on review rigs. Without exception because I am using a unified set which is extremely agreeable to my ears no mixed sets have been as appealing. In every case there has been a diminishment in detail/definition. I believe this means I have discovered a brand of cables which is to my ears "right up my alley." I also believe any audiophile can find a one brand set which can be so in tune with their sense of aesthetics that they would prefer it to any number of mixed sets of cables.

I am not stating that in every instance every audiophile will find a single set of cables superior; I am saying that mixed cables do not afford a clear route to guiding the system toward the desired end result, and that if one persists with testing complete sets they will likely discover an entire set which is far more to their liking than any mixed set they have previously used.

Can I "prove it"? No, no more than one can prove vinyl is better than digital. But I believe there are methods which can move a rig toward a goal with more certainty.
i know of no manufacturer who will admit to designing any component having a particular coloration. hence it will be imposible to satisfy my taste with the product(s) from one company.

if i am correct. achieving the flavor that i desire will be impossible to attain from one company.

what is the probability that i can find one company whose sonic personality matches my taste ?

if you are aware of such a company, enlighten me.

i think blending is the more realistic approach to achieving my goals, as i prefer a very distant perspective, and recordings are not usually miked in that manner.

i will grant that for many, one brand may be preferred, but in my particular case, i believe i am the exception.
..mrtennis..i agree with you.i have found, after auditioning a new cable that i like, that alot of times an addition of a 2nd or 3rd cable, creates a ' too much of a good thing' experience and that, what initially sounded great, now doesn't.i, too, believe that 'blending' works and that if you go about it carefully, you can find the sound that allows you to truely enjoy the music every time.
Mrtennis, I tend to agree with you on your statement regarding manufacturers not wanting to admit to designing gear with a "coloration." The term coloration is fairly perjorative so it's avoided most of the time. I would agree that you are seeking a certain coloration in your system, which can be extremely pleasant.

However, I would disagree with your generalization (someone once said, "generalizations are generally wrong") that one brand sets could not obtain such coloration. I have used several sets which seem more colored relative to others. i.e. I would suggest that Jena Labs, Magnan Cables and Tara Labs have more of a colored, or particular tonal sound, than Harmonic Technology, WireWorld or Clarity Cable. This becomes apparent immediately upon hearing them in any system compared to the others.

How many entire sets of cables have you tested/compared in order to arrive at your conclusion? I can respect your experience if you have worked with five, seven or ten sets. But if you just tried one or two then you lack much experience in this matter. No amount of logic can replace experience with cables.

I do believe you an exception, as I don't think most audiophiles would willingly want less defintion/detail in their systems and to introduce a perceived coloration (I realize we are speaking generally here and cannot pin down the precise experience). I believe that is a major mistake in setting up audio systems. Now, of course it's "my opinion," and you are free to enjoy whatever kind of sound you want.

I believe, Mrtennis, that you are settling for less than you could have. I find that most audiophiles are content with sound that is far under the potential of the equipment and that cabling plays a huge role in that under-performing. No matter whether you wish for your coloration or not I believe there are cable brands which would do what you want better than a hodge-podge of cables while introducing no unwanted characteristics.

Now, I perfectly understand yours and Calloway's method of using a couple of different cables to adjust the system when a set of cables is too strident. I insist that it means you have the wrong set of cables for your taste! Simply put, if you don't love the sound of the system with the set of cables you have tried, sample a different set. Sure, you can adjust it with a couple of different ones, but you will also be influencing the positive characteristics you did enjoy about the set.

The bottom line is that mixed cables give no direction toward purposeful movement of an audiophile's rig toward the desired sound. It's a guessing game. If you guys knew what a particular cable brand sounded like you would be able to select it for the desired effect. Even if you did mix it you would know what the cable would do for the system. You cannot know that unless you have the native sound of the cable in your mind from using it as a single set.

In my second system at the office I happen to have a mixed set of cables, about 3/4 of WireWorld and a couple others. This is by necessity rather than choice; I put my money into the main rig in my listening room. If I were to put more money into it I would not use the mixed cables; this system is entirely for non-critical listening but for background music while I work.

I know fairly well what would happen if I put in one or two different brands of cables I'm familiar with, whether tonality would suffer, whether detail and definition would increase, whether a coloration would be introduced. Just throwing a new untested cable into the mix is a crap shoot. Too many audiophiles are doing so and are encouraged, even by reviewers, to do so. It's a great way to spin your wheels and get nowhere. :)
i have auditioned cardas, dcaa, pear audio, ear to ear, audioquest, purist audio, audience, synergistic, mojo audio, mac, kimber cable, and a few others i don't remember.
Mrtennis, By "auditioned" you mean used entire sets in your system, right? Not simply heard in another rig elsewhere. Just clarifying, because then the variables truly would be too great to draw any firm conclusions regarding the cables.

So which set(s) sounded closest to your ideal? I assume that you then did your mixing to find just the right "taste"?

If you heard differing sets of cables and compared them to find the closest to your ideal, then "tuned" it with one or two cables, you are essentially following the path I advise, which is to compare entire sets to hone in on the sound one wishes. The thing we would disagree on, then, would be whether a full set from one manufacturer exists which would be your sonic ideal - an unknown. My answer would be, "likely," while yours would be, "likely not."

So, we may not be as far apart in the cable selection process as first thought. I would have far less of an argument with comparison of multiple sets in order to close in on one's ideal sound with a final tweak than to simply use mixed sets all along. I believe there's a huge difference in the two methods.

How did you go about determining your preference among those sets of cables in your system? I have my own method, but I'm curious to hear how you did so.
A number of posts by several people in the recent part of this thread, while being well expressed, seem to be using the word "cables" in a loose manner that leaves me wondering if we are still discussing the original question, which relates specifically to power cords.

The reason I raise that point is that from a technical standpoint I would find it far more plausible that in the case of analog interconnects and speaker cables some PARTIAL degree of correlation may exist between using one brand and the likelihood of optimal results, than in the case of power cords.

Analog interconnects and speaker cables have the job of conducting an analog signal from point A to point B. In so doing, their sonic effects reflect the net result of interactions between their parameters and the impedance and other characteristics of what they are connecting, as well as their own intrinsic effects. While the magnitude and significance of that net result can be expected to vary considerably as a function of what is being connected, it seems plausible that its general character will have a reasonable degree of consistency.

In the case of power cords, on the other hand, the relation between the effects of a given cord on the AC it is conducting and the sound that is heard is, literally and figuratively, vastly more circuitous. I repeat my earlier contention that I see no reasonable plausibility in the expectation that given power cord characteristics will result in effects on the sound that are consistent across components that perform different functions, that have vastly different fluctuations in their power draw, that have vastly different amounts of power draw, that generate different amounts of rfi, that can be presumed to have different rfi sensitivity, that interpose completely different power supply designs between the AC and the signal path, and that may be completely different designs in just about every other respect.

Putting it all another way, a finding that choosing interconnects and speaker cables from the same manufacturer tends to correlate with optimal sonic results IMO would say nothing about the likelihood that the same will hold true in the case of power cords.

-- Al
Al...I was specifically referring to power cables in my comments. There is not a doubt in my mind that most brands of power cords have a sonic character...regardless of what piece of gear they are powering. I do understand that if you approach this from a purely analytic perspective vs one of application, that may be hard to fathom but I am certain of this.

I'm sure it is hard to take some idiot's post on a forum (me) as gospel on the matter but if you search through the vast amount of information on this forum and many others like it you will find very consistent description of how some of the more popular cables sound. Just search Nordost Valhalla for example....I would guess many readers of this post could tell you before you get to the results what they will say. Why?
Thanks Richard. In your case I understood that you were referring to power cords, as you were very explicit. But while I certainly don't question your sincerity or your sonic perceptiveness, and I have considerable respect for your breadth of experience, it remains unfathomable to me that your findings would have consistent applicability across different systems.


Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks for the kind words Al. Agree or disagree, always a class gentleman.

Not to beat an already weary horse but if you read through others experience, you will find the same character describing certain brands of cords. So beyond my personal experience, it seems others are hearing the very same things. Many others.

I think you are a guy that needs to understand the "why" of it which is a tough one in this case. I'd bet there are different reasons and it would be challenging to understand them all. The scientific reason Tara cables sound darker and Nordost sound bright and lean may be very different but ask a sample of guys who have a lot of experience with those cables and you'd hear those same words over and over and over...all folks with different systems.

01-05-12: Almarg
A number of posts by several people in the recent part of this thread, while being well expressed, seem to be using the word "cables" in a loose manner that leaves me wondering if we are still discussing the original question, which relates specifically to power cords.

Good point. Use of "cables" steered my thinking in the direction of interconnects, early in the thread. Before optional power cords existed, interconnects were referred to as cables, at least in my group of audio friends.
My comments are applicable to the following cables - power, IC, digital and speaker.

Al, I urge you to get past your doubt and try some aftermarket power cords on your other equipment; I believe your experience would be much more enjoyable.