Some observations from a former skeptic - and a question

I had been firmly in the camp that power cables made little difference.  A few years ago, I purchased an AQ Niagara 5000 (very nice improvement by itself BTW) and had auditioned various power cables with it.  Nothing too fancy but I found differences difficult to perceive so I just used AQ Monsoon cables. However, I continued to read how others felt power cables had the most impact which I found curious. 

I recently decided to move the Niagara to a system in another home and was planning on getting another Niagara 5000. My local dealer (who carries both AQ and Nordost) suggested I try the Nordost QB 8 MK III which he claimed to be a notable improvement over the MK II variant.

I compared the Nordost and Niagara in home and found them different but not dramatically so. The Nordost I thought a bit more dynamic, the Niagara a bit “blacker” in background.

The same dealer was surprised and suggested we do an In-store demo of power cables going into the QB 8 (great move by the local dealer!).

And there it was. The benefit was clearly there in improved spatial cues - the better cables were more “open”. I tried the same thing in my system - and same result. Unfortunately, power cables do matter. I will note that the AQ Niagara - as much as I liked it (and it was the first conditioner that I heard that made a big difference) - was somewhat negating the impact of the higher end power cables (a nice benefit in hindsight). 

Power cables don’t make as much a difference as interconnects or high quality digital cables (to my ears, in my system) but the benefits are there depending on your budget and appetite for going down the proverbial rabbit hole. 

As an aside, despite Nordost’s claim otherwise, the dealer and I both found the cable from the wall to the QB8 the least impactful and the cable(s) from the QB8 to the amp and source most impactful.

My system now is mostly Valhalla 2s (interconnects and A/C from QB 8 to components. I never expected to get here given my previous experiences.

I need one more A/C cable to complete my loom - for my processor (part of my digital stack). I auditioned a Tyr 2 and it made a notable difference. Unfortunately.

My total expenditure in cables is now equal to the cost of the rest of my system which seems crazy on the surface, but the results have been really rewarding - and more audible than most component upgrades. 

Which leads me to a question: 

How does this group think an Odin 1 (several available on this website) would match with my Valhalla 2 loom? I’m gathering many users feel that Valhalla 2s are > Odin 1s.

I could just stick w/ Tyr 2 on that unit though the cost differentials are not that great between new Tyr 2 and used Odin 1, but Valhalla 2s are up there.  







@mgrif104 , sorry, I should have read your first post better. Have not heard anything from T.A (read that they are very good) and from Auralic only the A.Vega Dac which I did not like much (not in my set up and in direct comparation with Ayre qb dsd dac)

I am afraid that my experience will not be in much of use for you and not wanting to be repetetive, but I believe that you cant go wrong with Odin 1 (except if the component in use is overly ’bright’ or rather ’sterile’ sounding) and if it is the same amount of money in question, I would prefer it over Valhalla2.

@ambr1600 Absolutely great post. Perfect description of the science fanatics.  Measurements have value, but do not provide absolute truths.  

@ahuvia thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful post. If there’s anything that I can do I would be happy to help. I live in Ohio about two hours away. I’d be happy to buy lunch or dinner and drinks. It’s going to be so interesting to finally know what a professional will find out.

science fanatics

Sheesh. Just listen to yourselves. Without science, you’d be in a cave or a tree, not trying power cables.

You may be right that science hasn’t yet discovered why power cables matter. But this anti-science BS is right up there with sacrificing virgins to volcanoes. No, the latter actually makes more sense.

As an aside, some of the ASR folks are no more reasonable than some of the posters here and I’ve had similar debates with some of them. But don’t blame science. There are extremists on both sides.

I thought I’d close the loop on this. I decided to purchase an Odin 1 cable (from an authorized dealer - it has a warranty) to complete the loom.  I have it going to my amp with the Valhalla 2s going to everything else.

I haven’t done an a/b comparison so I can only speculate here. Placebo or not, the system is sounding very, very good - better than I remember it.

It has me now thinking about my digital cables again. I had previously upgraded the digital cables between my streamer, processor and DAC to Audioquest Thunderbird. Now that I’m in the Nordost ecosystem, I should probably audition the Valhalla 2 digital cables. 

I’ll report back later.