Puritan vs Nordost Power Cable

I recently exchanged a Nordost QB4 power distributor with a Nordost Valhalla power cable for a Puritan 156 with the Puritan (upgraded) "Ultimate" power cable.  I noticed a significant improvement in the overall sound of my system with more detail, articulation, clearer bass and a deeper soundstage.  

I decided to experiment with the power cable feeding the Puritan 156, to determine the effect of the power cable feeding the Puritan 156 (i.e. comparing the Puritan ultimate power cord vs the Nordost Valhalla).  This was most educational as I could (finally) appreciate the differences many professional reviewers note in their assessments.  Before describing what I heard, let me describe my system as I am sure the differences are at least partially system dependent.

Rogue Audio Stereo 100 am upgraded to their "Dark" specifications.
Rogue Audio RP-7 preamp with Telefunken tubes and connected by balanced XLR to the amp
Chord Dave amp with Nordost Valhalla RCA connection to preamp.  Cardas Beyond USB cable from MacPro.
AMG Vello turntable. Valhalla cable to preamp
Soundsmith Strain Gauge (with its own "phone amp", SG200) with their SG-6 stylus.
Nordost Valhalla speaker cables 
Sonus Faber Amati tradition speakers
dedicated 20 amp circuit with hospital grade outlet

Music used for evaluation:
Issac Perlman Vivaldi 4 seasons (spring)  (Angel recording)
Night on Bald Mountain (Power of the Orchestra RCA Living Stereo)
Variety of jazz and orchestral pieces ripped from CD or higher resolution downloads all played thru Audirvana.

Disclosure:  I accept that there are those that deny that cables can make a difference in the sound.  In MY system, with MY power, and the limitations of my own hearing (ears), I hear a difference.  I can only speak to what I hear.

Nordost Valhalla power cable:
There is less detail, for example, in rapid bowing or the way the musician "pulls" the bow across the strings , or where the musician strikes a tympani or drum or how the musician "plucks/bows" the double bass or the violin. There is certainly a difference in the way Perlman plays Vivaldi and others I have heard!   This cable is not as "fast" or articulate.  It is as if the "sustain" pedal  on a piano has been held down.  Notes tend to run into each other vs more separation.  Staccato passages are not as distinct, separated, dramatic. This decreases the clarify of say a fast drum solo in a jazz piece, or the attack of a snare drum. The bass seems "fuller" but this seems to reflect again an extension of each note and perhaps some "blurring" of the sound which is especially noticeable in jazz.  The sound stage seems slightly less deep with more compaction of the instruments/musicians.  The sound is "warmer" and the overall impression is that there is a "fuller" more "coherent" sound, a circle colored in uniformly, smoothly.

Puritan "Ultimate" power cable:
Clearly more articulate, faster and more detailed.  Every note is distinct even in rapid passages.  There is space between notes and musicians such that if four trumpets are playing a chord, you can hear the chord but definitely each note in the chord.  There is a "snap" to a snare drum, and the resonance of a tympani or a double bass is more distinctly appreciated.  The musician's technique or interpretation of the music is more obvious;  the way the jazz bassist "plugs" the strings, or the way Perlman applies difference pressure to the bow and the sheer rapidity of his "runs" and passages.  The space between instruments and musicians also allows complex (orchestral) passages to be better appreciated as the individual components are readily heard along with the overall sound. Indeed, I heard for the first time certain instruments usually lost in the "blend".  This leads to a deeper appreciation of the composition.  The sound stage is perhaps slightly wider, but clearly deeper.  The increased articulation and detail, the greater separation of the instruments does lend the impression that the sound is less "full".  The circle is filled, but with (innumerable) dots rather than blended, smoothed, brush strokes ("pointillism" vs "water color").  This also tends to make this cable sound perhaps what the reviewers call "cooler" than the "warmer" Nordost.  This may also render this cable  slightly "brighter" on treble but not harsh and this is very dependent on the recording.

Hope this helps.

The Puritan Ultimate power cord is about 1/10 of the price
of the Nordost Valhalla power cord. ( I have verified from a Puritan
dealer )
It seemed at first sight they are not in the same league.
What is the ´´ upgraded ´´ feature all about?
I am a bit septical about your take on them vs the Nordost.
I would be glad if you were right though .
I also just replaced a shunyata denali and shunyata power cord with a puritan 156. The cord that came with the 156 is a small little cloth covered cord, which is their standard Puritan power cord. 

Well, the Puritan stuff was clearly more detailed and musical sounding than my shunyata. I also switched up the power cords putting the Shunyata on the Puritan, but again the little Puritan cord was better. The music was clearer sounding, not just detail, but everything was clearer. The bass line sustains were more perceptible with better rhythm, and I could hear the micro dynamics  were improved as well. I just called to order the Puritan Ultimate cord to replace the stock cord. I can't believe that this little cord is supplying all the power in my system, and I am paranoid that it is too little, so I am ordering the Ultimate cord. But yes, the Puritan is better in my system.

whitch  modele of Shunyata power cord  ?  SIGMA NR V2  ?

I understand that ´´ upgraded ´´ in the OP post was in replacement  to the stock Puritan cable that comes with the 156.
upgrade meant to replace the stock puritan cord ("classic") with their "ultimate" cord.
I have ordered one  ´´ Ultimate ´´
I am looking forward to test it with my LuminX1 .
It will replace a PS Audio AC5
May I ask how much for their 20 amp upgrade Ultimate power cord?
(anyone knows the differences between model 136 and 156, please share.)
I would think if their marketing dresses them on a much nicer, more attractive housing like Jeff Rowland- price would be significantly increased.
From their website:

Entry into our elite Studio Master range starts with the PSM136. 39 filtration elements progressively coax noise out from the power cycle. DC offset correction is standard and each of the 6 x 15 Amp outputs incorporates its own dedicated filter section guaranteeing not only pristine power but avoiding connected components cross-contaminating each other.

When only the very best will do. The crowning achievement of all of our research: the PSM156 Studio Master. 58 filter elements incrementally remove harmful noise from the mains supply but leaving the full force and power intact. The filter sections individual to each 15 Amp output station seen on the PSM136 are doubled in efficiency further improving the sound from each connected component and providing twice the prevention of cross contamination. Also available in a 12 outlet version PSM1512.

Their site has a retail price list:

Last year I had electrical upgrades to the tune of 10k done to my home ,  using a power line noise analyzer the Ac noise was horrendous everywhere through out my home.
Just prior to the work done I had bought a Puritan 136 on a 30 day home trial money refunded to replace a Ac regenerator that did nothing . 

Using a line analyzer plugged into the 136 the numbers dropped significantly which translated into a lower noise floor of course with my front end components plugged into the conditioner. Finally something that actually works . 
Anyway I kept putting off the electrical work then finally having it done my family noticed better picture clarity on their TVs and I noticed a much more coherent and far more enjoyable improvement in playback sound quality across the board .

Finally speaking of sources of noise Craig you should seriously consider dumping your Mac for a dedicated server / streamer the upgrade in sound quality will really make you wonder why you used your computer for such a use ,  the leap in sound quality will amaze you ...

Thanks for the interesting post. Also using Nordost V2 as my power cable. I would appreciate some help with a couple of questions:

1. Did you buy direst from Puritan, or from a distributor, and if so are you in the U.S?

2. Does Puritan have a trial period?

I am in the US (Virginia).
I purchased from a local dealer.  He let me take the 156 and the cables home for a week and do comparisons.  I imagine most of their dealers and distributors would do the same.

There is a list of distributors on their website.

Their web site list the US distributor as: 
Pro Audio Ltd.

Tel: 847-526-1660
email: proaudio@comcast.net


Thanks for your response. I am checking with Pro Audio, the distributor in Chicago.

Best Regards,

Jim Perry
How much do you want for the QB4? Those work best when connected to the QX4. Not much of story on its own.



I recently purchased the PSM156 with the Classic Plus power cord.

Do you have any feedback on the ultimate power cord?

My unit came with the ultimate power cord which compared extremely favorably with a Nordost Valhalla. However, I was not able to compare the ultimate and the classic cords.  I would be interested in whether the upgrade is sonically worthwhile.
I have replaced  , both , the power cord and the umbilical DC cord
of my Lumin at the same time. So I do not know , the proportion
of improvement related to each one.
I’ve just replaced a Shunyata Alpha nr. Power cord with the Puritan Ultimate with very positive results on a Audio Research CD9. The Ultimate is quite a step up from the Classic.

I have a full Shunyata Sigma v2 loom this Puritan Ultimate has my intrest 

I have the Puritan PSM156 which came with the Classic 20A cord.

I upgraded to the Ultimate 20A cord.

Big improvement! Better more realistic bass, more relaxed sound, good treble and midrange, higher rez.  It’s a big change though -- if you like the Classic cord on your PSM156 you may want to audition before purchasing -- may be too thick sounding for some systems.

Has anyone tried another brand  power cable other than Puritan?

I have an option to buy Cardas Clear Power cord at about 1/2 the price of the Ultra Puritan P.C.

I did a comparison between the Puritan and Shunyata, both the power conditioners and power cables.  For the Puritan it was the 156 conditioner and their top of the line ultra power cord.  For Shunyata, I tried both the Denali and the Everest and the Sigma and Omega power cord.  Of course, price wise, this is not a fair comparison.  But, I wanted the best or close to the best for each brand.

The Puritan 156+ultra cord is good, very good, better than the Nordost QB8 (version I) that it replaced.  Cleaner, more articulate, more sound stage, etc.  

BUT, the Shunyata is simply exponentially better.  The Denali is superb, the Everest is appropriately named being subjectively about 20% better than the Denali.  In terms of power cords, the Sigma (compared to the Puritan and a Nordost Valhalla) was more articulate, cleaner, provided a tighter, more controlled and substantial bass.  Tonal qualities were nearly perfect (classical and jazz ).  The Nordost was veiled, misty, clouded in comparison, the music not as present or engaging.  The Puritan was not veiled, but "flat" compared to the Shuynata (this does not imply that the Shunyata is colored, it just seems to let more of the music through).  The Omega again was about 15 - 20% better than the Denali.

Note:  If you are using either the Denali or Everest, you want the XC power cord.  If you want to connect just one or two devices so you really don't need a distributor, try the Shunyata Omega QR or QS which provide in the cord the equivalent of the Denali or Everest. 

I did this comparison on two systems:

Dealers:  boulder pre and amp with Wilson Alexia speakers, Rossini Dac

Mine: ARC Ref6SE preamp, Rogue Audio Apollo Dark monos, Rossini Dac and AMG Viella turntable with SoundSmith strain gauge. 


@craig my experience mirrors yours in regards to the PSM156 and the Ultimate cord. I actually preferred the Classic cord on the 156. In the end, after running two dedicated lines, I liked the sound with all of my components direct from the Furutech GTX-D NCF outlets using very good power cords. Low noise and no side effects, however minimal they were, such as compressed dynamics and pinched top end. The system just breathes easier without the 156 in the chain. Now it all depends on your power and power supplies, but in my system that’s what I heard.

I have connected a Kubala Sosna Elation, and an Emotion to the Puritan 156 with good results.

I have also used a BMI Whale Elite, an Elrod EPS2 and 3, an NRG Godzilla 5 is on there now, and some Harmonix and Hijiri's to the front of the Puritan.

The Harmonix and Hijiri's slightly restricted the sound. The Whales were very good and I still have 2 on the rack. 

I did not try the Sablon or Masterbuilt on the very front end.

The standard Puritan cable is not bad at all. But when you're upgrading all around the downstream components, letting the electrons flow at the wall is a good idea.

Overall, I only experienced slight downgrades, very slight, so the majority of PC's did very well in front of the Puritan. Not sure what might be going on with the Shunyatas. Don't have any and don't plan to any time soon. The NRG works darned nice btw.

My 2 cents.