What will a good power cord improve? What should I listen for? How will I know if its worth keeping?
My system is all Stereophile Class A, which lets me hear differences. When I replaced a good power cord with a Stealth HAC to my Aleph 3 power amp, for 10 seconds I didn't like the change: there was less liquidity to a bowed bass in a tango CD. But I quickly realized that I was simply hearing what was on the CD better, more clearly. More detail and better dynamics. I got a similar result by adding a dedicated system ground: an 8' pole sunk into the ground. And I use a Cinepro Line Balancer, which is said by its maker to render power cords less important. The Stealth comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee: why not check it out at
to start off with a power cable should be allowed to settle in at least 24hrs-100hrs.if already broke should hear more[air,separation,clarity,tighter bass and overall better sound]some cables give the impression of being better but seem to loose alot of the ambient nuances of actual music.try powersnakes and you'll see what hearing more means.
Hi David99; I just finished auditioning 6 power cords that were already broken in. Assuming you have decent quality components, wire, and speakers, (and I assume you do) with a different power cord you will hear 1) no change, 2) poorer quality music, ie an effect you don't like, or 3) a highly beneficial affect that YOU will notice immediately-- and appreciate. Of course another possibility is that you get a mix of good and bad. One of the cords I just tried was the new Shunyata "Sidewinder", and I recognized it as excellent, eg it was neutal, very smooth, detailed, open (transparent),live, subjectively fast which made pace and rhythm involving. Soundstage was wide but not deep-- however this is normal for my system. And although I really appreciated hearing the Sidewinder, I did not buy it because, at present, my system is a little bright from the addition of a dedicated AC system. Instead, I opted for the Synergistic Research Master Coupler which is slightly on the dark, or rich side of neutral, and this cord has helped greatly in reducing my slight brightness problem-- in fact I think it cured it; the SR/MC is also detailed, smooth, has good bass, and good soundstaging (in my system). Power cords perform differently in each system, so the ONLY way you would know what works for you is to actually audition them. Usually high end dealers will send them out for review without commitment to buy. As it takes 100-200 hours for them to breakin, ask for demos that are already broken in. Dealers know this. The improvements in music quality/character with a high quality power cord can be quite striking. Happy Hunting David. Craig
David: My system is definitely not Stereophile Class A (maybe class C) but is definitely capable of revealing power cord differences. I am what I like to call a budget audiophile and have tried to build a reasonable system over the past 15 years without breaking the bank. In the past few years I have tried to improve the system without spending huge amounts of money and have some minimal experience with power cords, some negative and some extremely positive. Good power cords are capable of almost transforming your system-they can be capable of an improvement similar to a major component upgrade, and IMHO people with reasonable equipment are not really hearing what their system can do if they are using stock power cords. That being said, I think there's probably a lot of voodoo going on with the marketing of $2,000 cords, and unless you have a $30,000 or $40,000 system and money to burn, what's the point? My experience is as follows (right up to experimentation and revelations this weekend): Started out with two original MIT Z cords purchased used from a dealer about 3-4 years ago-there was a minor improvement with these but it wasn't worth the $300 Canadian I paid for them, they were actually pretty crappy. About a year ago I bought a Cardas Golden cord which I stuck on my integrated amp (should have gone on CD player but I'll get to this in a second) at about 60% of retail off the net from a dealer-this is a very good cord. About a month ago, I purchased two BMI "Edge" cords (He's now selling an improved version of this cord on Audiogon Auctions-doesn't seem to be selling the Edge any more) for the sum total of $100 U.S. ($50 a cord). I put these cords on my line conditioner and CD player and the combination of the Cardas and these two cords was an improvement that was really quite phenomenal. This weekend, I was experimenting some more, and moved the Cardas from the amp to the CD player and an Edge cord from the CD player to the amp. I also unplugged the CD player from the line conditioner and plugged it straight into the wall (some discussion with a dealer led me to do this). My turntable is still plugged into (and sounds much better as a result) the line conditioner. My amp is also plugged straight into the wall. This is the way my system sounds the best without a doubt. What the cords have done: 1) simply more musical information that was not there-I'm talking stuff I never heard before on almost all recordings 2) a much more transparent mid band (where most of this info is) allowing you to hear "into" the performance, separation of instruments, better understanding of both main and background vocals etc. 3) phenomenally improved performance at the frequency extremes (particularly with CD)-more powerful and extended bass response and (this is a BIG plus) high frequency info which is much clearer, less irritating and more "analogue" like. Cymbals sound much more like cymbals instead of some splashy garbled crap. My system doesn't warrant spending huge amounts of money on cords, but these cords have really been terrific and imparted a musicality that simply wasn't there before. I have a sense that I am hearing at least most of what the equipment is capable of. The moral of the story is that the Cardas Golden is better than the Edge cords (at 7 times the retail price it should be)-is it 7 times as good-definitely not, probably not even twice as good-the Cardas beats it very marginally in terms of smoothness but that's about it. The second moral is that there are decent cords out there for very reasonable prices and there are (probably) crappy cords out there for big money, realizing that to a certain extent, everything is system dependent. If you're budget conscious, I'd look into the BMI cords and if I ever buy another cord, it'll probably be a BMI cord. The final moral, IMHO is to improve the cord on your front end first and work down the line, as much as the importance of the front end has been drilled into my head over the past 15 years, it's still easy to forget. Sorry about the long post, but hope this might be of help. Blake
David, Hi again; The single most important music characteristic to me is truth of vocal timbre. So, I listen for the singer's voice-- relaxed, but not dull, live but not bright; natural is the goal for me. Pick out music that you are intimately familiar with and listen-- you'll know when it's right-- trust your hearing. Good luck again. Craig.
Like almost anything, I really believe this is more a matter of taste than anything else. Oddly enough, I tried a couple of cords for my amp (mostly in the 100-200 dollar range), and while most of them highlighted something in the mix, I prefered the stock cord for long-term listening. I think a good way to go about it is first, ask yourself what it is your trying to accomplish by purchasing a power cord, second, set down a budget, then third, try a hell of alot of them out in YOUR system. I tried about six. the last one I tried was the only one that after day three (ie after the nostalgia wore off) I really liked. That last cord was the ESP Essence. About two hundred more than I wanted to spend, but I've never grown tired of it. Anyway, every cord maker will have some 'technological' claim stating why their cord is best, but 'best' and best for you don't always met eye to eye, so try as many as you can, and decide which is best for you.
Does anyone have a suggestion for the best power cord match with a Denon AVR-5700? I am waiting for delivery of a Harmonic Technology Pro-AC-11, and wonder if I am making the best choice. They offer a 30 day return policy.