Upgrading power cord.. proven upgrade? or crap?

The thing i cannot understand is how a new high quality cable will enhance the quality of the flow of electricity that previously went into cheap house electrical wires ?

it's like saying that with good equipment u'll get a higher than CD sound from a FM stereo source or a cheap Mp3 ..

please help me understand .. :)
I was thinking the same way you are like you say alumium wire into your house $12.00 for 250'in your house, how will the last 4 feet make any difference?????? I still don't know but it does! after putting it off for many years,[ i was into this before interconnects made a difference ] I came across a deal on a Kimber pk 10 gold for $150.00 so I thought why not. Believe me I am sold 100% By exchanging tne power cord on my Wadia 860x the difference was not suttle. Clarity and air there aso seems to be more definition. Better all around. I wil be getting one for my amp real soon. I still dont know if I would spend $1000. on one but you owe it to yourself to try.
You do owe it to yourself. I was not convinced until I listened myself. How does it fix the electricity in the last four feet? How does a Pur Water Filter clean water, even though it's been running in a polluted river? Most high-end power cords don't just conduct well, they actually improve the power itself. Try and you'll see what the fuss is about. Cheers! Recco: Expensive: Shunyata, BMI Whale Elite; Cheapo: www.diycable.com, get this Asylum Cord. Amazing!

Seems like just more smoke and mirrors sent directly from the same marketing Gods who brought you $19.95 instant paint scratch remover for your car. I'm a world class cynic when it comes to high end audio, but these really work. Placed some LAT International cords on my VTL monoblocks and Ensemble all around my digital and the results are unquestionably positive in a large way.

Don't know why, don't care. Less glare, more detail, better attack. It's truly weird.........yet wonderful. LAT power cords can be found for a very reasonable price at echohifi.com.

I must agree with the previous posts. I tried one on my ARC cd player. I thought it would be maybe a minor inprovment. It was a best buy situation. Big bang for the buck. I am using the Custom Power Co."High Value" cord. They aren't lying about the high value part. I want to put IEC plugs on everything I own. Maybe not the coffie maker?
cool..thanks guys..
the only way i can see how it would works..is by regularizing the in flow or current from the source wires ?
maybe it limitates wrong pulsation by using more regular homogenous conductor..
if it works :p

i'll try it for sure when i'll have equipment in wich it will maybe make a diff ..

thanks again :)
The proof is not in the pudding, it's in the PUTTING.

Buy one of the used cords for sale at this site. PUT IT in your system on first one piece, then another. If after listening for a few weeks you disagree, it can be resold at little or no financial loss.

You will discover for yourself that these posters are correct.
There *are* palpable reasons, it seems, which I cannot actually reproduce -- an ee could probably.

It might be worth trying a used power cord on your present system. One such made an important difference on a tiny micromega integrated!
The level that a power cord will affect a component or entire system is dependent on several factors:

1) The design of the component. Is the product prone to changes in impedance at the source of the power supply ? This can also effect how much electrical "trash" the component can put back INTO the power line.

2) How "dirty" the AC coming into the system is. After all, someone that is living in a large building with TONS of circuitry coming off of one main ( ala a condo, apartment building, hi-rise, etc ) will tend to have more noise to deal with than someone that lives out in the country with minimal draw from their specific pole transformer.

3) If you are using some type of PLC / filtering device in conjunction with aftermarket power cords. Using two different types of devices can either compound the benefits of each in an additive manner, neutralize each other or produce poorer results than a standard cord. One filter ( i.e. power cord ) put in series with another ( i.e. Power Line Conditioner or "PLC" ) can actually "detune" the performance of one or both pieces. On the other hand, you might also end up with something that compliments each other and offers greater performance than either could on their own. As usual, trial and error is about the only way to find out. I'm working on a way to measure various combinations and chart the results.

4) The overall design of the cord in terms of geometries, shielding, impedance, gauge, etc... Obviously, some cords will work better when used within a specific power range than others. In my opinion and given equal designs, you can't have too heavy of a power cord ( short of it weighing too much and making it difficult to work with ). Any reasonable sized power amp should be run with at least a 14 gauge cord at minimum.

5) How good of a connection is made between the cord and wall socket and then again where the cord plugs into the component. This can also be carried back into the cord itself and how good of a connection is made at the IEC and male plug internally.

Having said all of that, i have noticed differences by using various power cords. This is true even though i used to be of the most vocal proponents of the "there is NO way that a power cord could change the system so long as it is not current limited" school of thought. I was wrong and ran my mouth even though i had never tried various designs. Quite honestly, i found the idea preposterous at one point in time. That episode alone taught me a lot and i know better now. Sean
I confess, like Sean I used to be a non-believer. When my sim4070 amp came back from its factory upgrade to a full SE it had a detachable power cord. I picked up an abolute power cord because it was cheap and it couldn't be that much better but I wouldn't be out much. The amp had been broken in[it takes a long time with the upgrade].so I stuck the absolute on and hit play. Dude, what happaned? The amp was plugged directly into the wall as preferred by Jean Poulin at Sim....musicality and bass, and timbre and notes decaying as they should. I had to play everything over again. I can only imagine what the better power cords do but if anyone is running a 4070se without changing the stock cord' they have not heard what this amp can do. I no longer lust after a moon, Okay I still lust but I'm very happy....cheers, Bluenose
Get an Assylum cord.Its great.
I wanted to put one on my cd player but could not because of the way it is lined up in the unit.
I cut the cheap plug off it and put on the Plug I use to build the assylum cord.
When I came home latter my wife was in the sound room jaw wide open asking how much money I had spent.She said it sounded great.10.00+ dollar plug.
Better contact and less resistance.makes a hige difference.
The drain wire left off at the IEc.These things help clean up whats cooming in.
The best way to put it is the last 4 feet act's like a good filter.
I agree with mostly all,but one thing for sure. If you plan to take a shot in the dark,be prepared to be dissapointed.All upgrade cords will do a great job,if you pick the proper cord for your application.Thats the hole trick. Do your home work.Do home "demos" if you possibly can.Don't go by price alone! good luck
I made four of the DIY power cords using Belden wire and
Jon Risch's instructions, and they sound great! My total
investment was around $100 for all four!
Its all CRAP. Sound.au.com has some facts on the situation if your interested in those (under the articles section) Read it for yourself, its your money. The only thing is is that there are people who will lie to you to take your money (and have little sheep following them). Be wary of analogies, scientific anecdotes, and then flat out lies. Analogies can be useful in illustrating a point, but please bear in mind they are not the same thing; however, in audio people like to use them to decieve. For example electrons and water both flow in what we call current, but when it comes to what they flow through they behave differently. Water running through a sewer that then tapers down to a 1/2" pipe will never really flow much beyond what the 1/2" pipe will allow (You know this intuitively; pressure can change things some though). However, 10' of 10g wire that tapers to a 2" long 18g section will not suffer the same effects--its the total resistance of the wire that counts. So the 18g section will impede the flow of electrons somewhat, but not in the same manner that the water through a smaller pipe will. Just trying to give you some sort of an example of the crap you'll get. Scientific anecdotes are just a sprinkle of this and that without a consistent organized arguement/explanation. And lastly some will lie. Some will even admit that the operation behind there product is a hypothesis--i.e. it never even entered the testing phase to determine its validity or existence (because they can't). The microdiodes theory caused by oxidation on the surface of the individual strands of wire within a cable is just one such example (no one has measured its effects; after 20 years!). And microphony, induced by vibrations causing the individual strands of wire in a cable to "move along" one another, is real, but its so far below the noise floor of even the best amps you'll never hear it. All in all, you can get better gains with your money elsewhere.
I have a Synergistic Research Master AC Coupler that I picked up used for the commonly available price of $150. On my tuner and my DAC it has only made slight differences, probably not worth the bother. On my previous SS amp, however, it greatly improved the smoothness, tonality, and dimensionality, to the point that I couldn't return to the stock cord (my current tube amp has a fixed cord). Why? I don't know (I can't say I don't care, it is an interesting question), but the above post only succeeds in proving that those who don't listen can't explain these things any better than gulible audiophiles or fast-talking salespeople.
Ezmerelda presure has no effect on the flow of a liquid.You can not compress a liquid.
If wire has no effect then explain why a kettle with the standard cord on it takes 3 minutes to boil water and the same kettle with 14Gauge cord and a good quality plug will boil the water in 1 minute.
There are miles and miles of wire comming from the power station.So why does it boil faster.
Do the experiment yourself.
Once you have done it you can remove both your feet from your mouth.
Ezmerelda11, Rod presents his OPINIONS on a lot of subjects as being "facts". Simply because nobody has taken him up on some of his offers does NOT mean that he is "right" or "unchallenged" in the scientific community. There are plenty of other EE's and Audio Engineers that have points of view that differ from his. Quite considerably i might add.

I do admit that he TYPICALLY tries to cover his comments by putting in well worded disclaimers. As is the case with his dissertation on power cords, he covered himself by stating that his comments do not apply to cords using some type of "built in filter".

With that in mind, MANY good aftermarket or homebrew power cords DO have some type of "built in" filtering action taking place. This is done / can be achieved by using simple geometrical changes to the existing power cables that anybody & everybody is already using or by adding a few inexpensive parts to what is already there. One need not use "fancy" or "expensive" materials to do this.

Depending on the extremes that one is willing to go to, you can measure increased capacitance, a large reduction in the area of inductance, minimized magnetic fields around the cords themselves, less radiated field strength to interfere with nearby low level interconnects and speaker cables, lower noise levels, a reduction in RFI or susceptability to such, lower impedances & line loss, etc... As to whether or not this is audible CAN be debated. None the less, i think that most avid audiophiles are of the opinion that a small gain in one area may have a cumulative effect towards the positive when all are added up as a whole within the system.

As Rod stated in the articles that i read by him, NO cord or PLC can correct for the distortion that is a result of the generators, transformers, power lines, etc.. coming into the house. You literally need some type of power generator or re-generator ( PS Audio ) to do so. However, a well designed power cord CAN reduce OTHER outside influences to a minimum courtesy of built in shunts, traps, tuned circuits, calculated impedance mismatches, etc... If someone is paying big money for cables that do not offer any of these types of circuit innovations, they ARE wasting their money.

Having said that, i think most of you know where i stand on "fancy wires". I really AM a believer in wire & cabling having the potential to alter the performance of a system ( good or bad ). I am also a believer that there is a limit to what can be done in this area and think that there is a definite point of diminishing returns. I think that Rod feels the same way, but has MUCH lower levels of expectations from "fine tuning" wire and cables than i and many others do.

As such, I have to agree with him that most "hi-end" wire & cable companies are nothing more than con artists peddling their wares to the unsuspecting and gullible. Like it or not, that is MY perspective on things. You can love me or hate me for stating such and agree or disagree with me. Either way, we've already been down this road more than a few times with similar results to where this thread is going. That's why we have archives and the Audiogon search engine. Sean
Another good example is the typical cheap internal wire used in speaker systems, how then can $10k speaker cables improve the sound? A similar comparision can be drawn for a power cord plus some filtering action.
Too much has been said on this topic already, but...

"Those who believe in the benifits are those who have tried. Those who say it can't don't know."

I've read countless articals on wires, cables, Opp amps all trying to explain something one hears but is not able to measure. If you can not measure it with todays technology that only means it has not been measured, not that it didn't effect the sound. The audio community has a tough road in that alot of what we hear is symply not explained with our 1950's measuring techniques. If you want to do yourself a favor, try everything, keep what you like and stop trying to explain beyond "it works". If you need an explanation than your not hear to find the best quality sound reproduction, you may want to try a scientific site!

My experience is that all cables make a difference, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I have found the old rule of 10% of the system budget is far short of a correct number. For me it's been 50% plus befor the benifits are outweighed by the cost. In audio I think we must remain open to the possabilities if we want the very best from our investment.

Yes indeed power cords do make a difference, maybe some folks systems are not high enough resolution to pull the extra detail out of the upgrade. The question is, are they a good value? Most major power cords have less then $100 of materials in them the rest is all marketing, and these cables go for a few thousand dollars! that is crazy! Buy one take it apart and build a few clones and then sell the original, you’ll get the same improvement but will have 1/10 the cost into it. Not for everyone but I know more then a few folks who have had great luck with such upgrades, besides it keeps the WAF low, I think there is an additional 10% surcharge on the WAF when crazy high buck cables are purchased
If you cannot hear an IMMEDIATE improvement on ANY component with a LessLoss PC, then you should have your hearing checked or find a different hobby.

NOTE: There are exceptions for some digital pieces with certain power supplies that could care less what kind of power cord you put in - like my buddy's Wadia CD player (now sold)... we tried back and forth with a $10 stock PC and a $1,200 LessLoss PC - no difference AT ALL.
I wasn't a believer until I had a Argento Flow Master Reference connected to my Sanders Magtech amp.  It definitely was better than my Groneberg power cable.
Post removed 
Over the past few years I have been experimenting with building my own power cables...
- not simply adding high quality (high priced) connectors to high priced bulk cable (but I started with this approach)
- I now actually hand wind the conductors into different geometries/architectures.

What I have observed...

#1 - high priced bulk cables with high quality connectors attached provide the least improvement - but are still better than stock power cables

#2 - Braiding the conductors is significantly better than bulk cable - even when made from household romex - NOTE: romex will break is bent a few times, so don’t use this - I used romex just to test a theory.

#3 - winding the neutral and ground conductors around the live conductor in a tight helix geometry provided the biggest improvement.

#4 - for #2 and #3 their conductor geometry rejects EMI and RFI and therefore shielding is not required unless you are in a very noisy environment like a recording studio with cables all over the floor

Other observations common across all geometries...

- for the live conductor - use the best quality wire you can afford, I use conductors from a piece of Furutech bulk cable

- for the neutral conductor - reasonable quality copper conductor seems to be as effective as high quality Furutech - I use silver plated copper conductors

- for the ground conductor - Home Depot’s best multi strand house wire is good enough

- crimped spades worked better than clamping bare conductors in the connectors

- components actually run cooler using helix design cables

As for the "science" it all boils down to the inductance of noise across in internal conductors of the power cable...

For further info please read...

Also Read...

Inducing noise into the neutral line effects the performance of the connected component(s) by increasing distortion levels - A good power cable will reduce, maybe even eliminate that effect.

I now use helix design PC’s and IC’s across the entire system and it has never sounded so good.

Hope that helps :-)
P.S. if you are wondering what commercial cables might use these geometries...

Anti Cables has braided power cables and they also sell helix IC’s

I believe the Shunyata Venom uses a spaced helix geometry

Neotech has a very complicated helix geometry in at least one of their high end cables

Those are just some that I know of 😊

I just tried the Shunyata Zitron Alpha HC on my Sanders Magtech and can tell no difference between it and my cheap, Groneberg.  I emailed Roger Sanders, and he says that audiophile power cords are a hoax.
Power cords made the biggest difference in my system....more than interconnect, speaker cables.
We have tested 91 power cords from $18000 down and I personally use the Core Power Technology cords that cost on average $700 per cord. I do however want to say that we are the Canadian distributor for this line and I am a dealer. My noise floor on my system dropped dramatically but resolution and dynamics increased. I no longer use any conditioning.

Cheers and just my 2 cents.
limniscate - when it comes to PC’s, I’ve personally found that the better/larger the transformer is in a component, the less likely you are to notice improvements, however, with a better power supply in a component the improvements tend to become more "refined".

e.g. my DAC has a relatively lightweight transformer compared to my phono stage
- the improvement in DAC performance was more noticeable
>>>> deeper bass, better bass control, better imaging , faster dynamics

- my Phono stage has a quality toroid transformer - improvements were less noticeable but definitely more refined
>>>> the venue acoustics (echoes) were more detailed and more of them, the high end was much smoother, the image had gained height, I became enveloped in the whole image (no more walls)

The improvements achieved by attaching a better power cable to my amp, having the largest transformer, were much less noticeable, but definitely the most refined. It took a lot more listening for the refinements to be noticed, but when I did notice them they made for a much more realistic presentation

Take any one of my cables (PC, SC or IC) out of my system and I would not hear the refined improvements at all. Together, they provide a performance that is greater than the sum of their parts

another example, I replaced the power cable on my Yamaha mini-system - it has no IC’s and the SC’s are very short and made from high quality copper cable. The improvement in performance was staggering.

Perhaps your power cables are not your problem - perhaps it is one of the other cables - IC or SC, or even a component, that is preventing you from hearing a discernible improvement with the introduction of a new power cable?

Also, I would recommend using quality PC’s on all components - changing the PC on one component will likely do little to yield improvements

As for your amp - it has a massive power supply, so you would require a PC of the highest order to notice any difference.

As for the statement about audiophile PC’s are a HOAX? - it’s one opinion that I choose to disagree with - simply because of my own experiences.

It’s really easy to simply announce audiophile PC’s are a hoax - there are lots of people that will support that stance.

Most high end component manufacturers will tell you the same thing, WHY? - perhaps they don’t want it getting out that their component can actually sound better with a better power cable than the one they supply.

After all spending upwards of $5k on an amp - it should be Bl***Y perfect out of the box ! - shouldn't it ?

Just some thoughts :-)
"it's like saying that with good equipment u'll get a higher than CD sound from a FM stereo source"

Ever heard a great broadcast thru a Marantz 10B, REL Precedent,Mcintosh..?

Borrow a power cord from the Cable Co. and hear or not hear the difference.
If you use lower tier equipment, I wouldn't bother and focus on the best speakers in your budget and setup.

Put a power cord on you TV and SEE the difference. YMMV

Very interesting and thought provoking posts. I only want to share, after spending far too many thousands of dollars on gear upgrades, that power and room acoustics are the most important aspects of building a great sounding audio system. We will never hear the potential of our components without first getting them as right as possible. Most of us are not able to dedicate a room to our listening where the benefits of paying attention to 1st, 2nd and 3rd reflections as well as comb filtering are realized but at least we should consider the golden "rule of thirds" when setting up our gear and listening position.
My living environment seems filled with high frequency noise whether from major appliances, Wi-Fi, or digital products. I found that regenerating that power from the outlet gives me a clean 120hz sinewave to start with but power cords still provide a major benefit. To my ear the cords/conditioners that focus on removing high frequency noise without reducing dynamics are the best. Examples that work for me are Lessloss, Shunyata Research, and Transparent. Others just "change" the sound but don't necessarily "improve" it.
Once I got sucked into the black backdrop that cleaning up line noise gives me I became addicted to it. The visual analogy is a professionally calibrated Panasonic VT50 plasma TV that makes 2D look almost 3D. Gotta love those blacks!
So I thought this was interesting:  I tested the Shunyata Alpha HC on my brother's system (Vandersteen Treo with McCormack HT-1 with Acoustic Zen Tsunami Plus), and the difference was very noticeable.  I'm starting to understand the whole "system dependent" mantra. 
like many who have responded, i didn't use to believe, now i do, but don't know how a power cord could possibly make a difference. But it does, more than speaker cables or interconnects. In my system, my CD player (Marantz SA8005) and my then preamp (NuForce MCP 18a) responded big time ti Nordost Shivas, then even more when I upgraded to Vishnus. My amps (Bel Canto ref 500Ms) showed much less improvement, but did improve a bit with either Vishnus or Acoustic Zen Tsunamis).

I cannot understand it, but here is my theory--don't think of the power cord as the last six feet of electricity coming into your system, think of your system being slammed back and forth 60 times a second as the current alternates. This is violent, with magnetic, thermal, and even kinetic ramifications.  60Hz seems fast, but in terms of sound waves of 15-20kHz, 60hz is s l o w, plenty if time to make mischief.  The poor component has to get a hold of this AC and feed it to a transformer to convert it to DC.  So anything the last six feet does to the juice will alter the task ( for better or worse) that yhe component must do.  I could be way of base here but it helps me justify the money i've spent on power cables. 😊
My first experience with aftermarket PCs was a PS Audio Lab II cable that came free when I purchased their HCA-2 power amp. It lowered noise, increased detail, and (most notably) improved bass weight, detail, and slam. I wouldn’t have said the cord was worth the $600 MSRP at the time, but it made a difference with no apparent negatives (other than cost). I used the cord on other amps, the Musical Fidelity A3cr, the Krell KAV-300iL, and noticed similar improvements. But it was not night-and-day. I eventually sold the cord for the cash, and didn’t miss it too much.

My system has come along since then. I’ve had most components for many years, and I’m highly attuned to its sound. Once I got to the $400-$500 (per meter) price range for ALL the interconnects in my system, and $1200-$1500 (per 2-2.5 meters) range for speaker cable, the difference that power cables made became about the same order of magnitude as changing interconnects. Every power cable swap at every position made a notable difference (phonostage, CD player, preamp, and power amp). I’m sure, if I could revisit the Lab II cable now, I’d think more highly of its performance.

The bad news is that power cables make a difference. But that is also the good news. They become part of the toolbox to tune your system to a fair-thee-well. For instance, using upper level AudioQuest cables in your solid-state system, and loving the detail, but finding it a bit mechanical? Add some Cardas or Audience power cables to inject more naturalness. Using (pre-Clear) Cardas cables, but finding the sound too soft? The right power cables can add more crispness and sparkle.

These are just examples - some systems work best with all cables from one manufacturer - but, however you define "high performance" (according to individual taste and listening priorities), PCs can make a meaningful contribution in high performance systems once the system reaches a sufficient level of clarity.
I see a few posters here recommending plugging your amp directly into the wall socket. Isn't that risky? How do you protect your equipment from power surges if you forego any kind of surge protection?
Completely agree with stringreen. Powercords are more noticeable than interconnect or speaker cable. They make profound differences too, but the powercords are HUGE. Try one of the dozen from Purist Audio Design. Extremely effective.
Absolute crap but if you want to waste your money go ahead. Google expectation bias before you do. 
And yes I have tried a few. 
"I see a few posters here recommending plugging your amp directly into the wall socket. Isn’t that risky? How do you protect your equipment from power surges if you forego any kind of surge protection?"

Hi arafiq,

In almost 50 years of audio, I never had any audio equipment damaged by electrical surge, only a TV that was hit through the cable line. YMMV.

Most "surge protectors" use cheap sacrificial MOVs and the rest of the parts are not audio quality either. They act as chokes to the virgin AC flow. Over time, the MOVs, being sacrificial, degrade to the point that they do not function anymore. The "equipment replacement warranty" associated with those products will give you some idea of the statistical life of the MOVs. After that, the surge protector is simply a placebo.

I am NOT saying that several of the best power conditioners do not help improve the sound of a resolving system (they most certainly do IME and it is not subtle), only that "surge protectors" can seriously degrade the sound of a good system. Results vary by system, the product used, etc.

Why not try plugging the PC to your amplifier directly into the wall, play some cuts that you are intimately familiar with, and see if you can detect any difference in the sound? Just don’t let your components get cold (quick changeover) between transfer of the cords.

Let us know what you find.

Best to you arafiq,

The right way to do lightning and surge protection is with a surge arrestor at your power service panel.  Home Depot has panel-mounted arrestors for ~$60, and external (if you don't have room in the box) for ~$110.  Protects every electronic device in your home, including the stereo.  
analoglvr: you are allowing your bias against AC cables to miss out on this huge facet of improving your audio experience.  I've heard plenty of bad AC cables, but if you hear a good one, such as a Purist Audio Design, and listen, I'd be surprised if you didn't enjoy the improvement in everything.

The right way to do lightning and surge protection is with a surge arrestor at your power service panel.  Home Depot has panel-mounted arrestors for ~$60, and external (if you don't have room in the box) for ~$110.  Protects every electronic device in your home, including the stereo. 
Sorry, but you're mistaken. Service panel devices such as those from Leviton and Square D are not designed for lightning protection. For that, they make separate devices that are mounted onto the utility's meter pan, between the pan and the meter. Some electric utilities forbid the use of such devices, which is the case where I live.

That doesn't mean that panel-mounted surge protectors aren't worthwhile, however - but they  just part of the solution to potential electric problems. And at least in my installation, they are not a substitute for a good isolation transformer, or two or three.

Ill give two somewhat contradictory observations. First I agree that technically it doesnt make sense that two meters of good power connections would change the sound. Like high end speaker wires going into pedestrian wires inside the speaker crossiver. But much of audio is like this - it makes a sound difference but its hard to say exactly why. 

Second, my shunyata power cord which was expensive (for me) made zero audible difference with my hegel h200 amp. But I dont have a highly resolving system and I dont doubt it would make other systems sound better. Just not in my case. 

So try it and see. cable company will send you a few to try. 
Hi skoczylas,

You make two points, so I will as well. One, yours is the most balanced, reasonable, and intelligent post I have ever read regarding cables and most certainly involving power cords. Two, well, no need for a two here...

Best to you skoczylas,


as above, I would be interested in your 91 PC list. Especially, the $18K PC...