Those looking for new power cords for their PS Audio P10 Power Plant or other power conditioners/regenerators may find that these power cables could drastically affect the sound quality of the connected components. This was a quick survey of a few popular power cords I’ve tried with my setup but keep in mind it may sound different on yours.
The goal for me is realism, a natural tonality, and any refinement I could squeeze out of these cables. I live in a large city and my mains power are probably pretty dirty and goes between 120V-125V. I believe I would benefit enormously from a power regenerator and hence focused on making as many incremental improvements as possible.
- MSB Analog connected to Lumin S1 via Kimber D60 BNC digital cable
- Lumin S1 Streamer/DAC
- Sim Audio Moon Neo 430HAD Headphone Amplifier
- 7 x Stillpoints Ultra Mini (under Sim Audio Moon Neo 430HA Headphone Amplifier & Lumin S1)
- 4 x Stillpoints Ultra SS (under PS Audio P10 Power Plant)
- Kimber Silverstreak with WBT connectors RCA interconnects
- Abyss AB-1266 Headphones
- JPS Superconductor HP cable
- Shunyata Alpha HC Zitron power cable
- Voodoo Audio Ultra Wave
- Wireworld Silver Electra 7
For my setup, all three of these cables were an improvement over the stock cable. Although it could be a matter of taste, the Shunyata clearly trumps the other two in this comparison as far as musicality, dynamics, soundstage, and low-end presence. It’s also the most tonally balanced and just sounds more like music.
The Wireworld was a bit in-between the Shunyata and Voodoo as far as warmth but I didn’t find it as engaging as the other two. I also felt there was a bit of softness across the spectrum and the overall characteristic of the cable was dull and lacked energy. It just doesn’t let its hair down when it comes to presentation.
This places the Voodoo Ultra Wave as an extremely great value considering the costs of the cables. If you prefer more sparkle up top and have warmer gear up front, the Voodoo is a no-brainer. It really is a low-cost upgrade to the stock that will yield fantastic results.
For those who are curious, the power cable made a larger difference than any mechanical isolation or even headphone cable. The JPS Superconductor HP cable for the Abyss is known to transform the headphone but even that can’t provide the sonic gains you get from a great power cable. From my experience, vocals and instruments are still unnatural and digital sounding without a better power cable to the P10. If that doesn’t convince you of the importance of clean power, I’m not sure what will. Garbage in, garbage out.
Those Were the Days – Blubell & Black Tie
- It sounds very natural, good rhythm
- Vocals are thinner, doesn’t sound quite right but sounds good.
- Warmer than the VD, might be inbetween the Shun and VD…mids more forward, the rhythm is definitely not as good as the Shunyata.
- Vocals are more realistic than the VD, but has this soft, non-engaging tone
Ask About Me – Ice Cube
- Warm, natural good tonality, slam.
- Still sounds good, just a brighter version of the Shunyata. Good slam.
- Softer less bright sound. i think it’s missing some layering
- Doesn’t slam as hard as the VD, dull, boring
Cielito Lindo – Marta Gomez
- Extremely detailed and warm voices
- the Shunyata gives vocals that extra warmth for realism in comparison.
- The VD is thinner sound, not as much body as the Shunyata, might take away from emotion
- It’s warmer
The Soundmaker – Rodrigo y Gabriela
- a lot of heft on the intro, yummy texture, slam, head bobber
- Shunyata much warmer, the VD is clearer still doesn’t sound bad.
- I still feel the Shunyata puts you at the live concert because of the warmth, the VD sounds precise and fun but doesn’t have that atmosphere.
Tempest (Live) – Jesse Cook
- Crowd warmish, warm guitars, plucking has good texture, you could hear the stadium
- Not as much umph on the textures like the Shunyata.
- A lightweight thinner Shunyata, the reverb from the plucks doesn’t have as much authority and body as the shun.
- Reminds me of using the Shunyata with the Quad USB (MSB analog) as far as birghtness. the shun and VD are extremes.
- Side note: The USB quad used at this time: SO MUCH DETAIL, a lot more plucking textures in the beginning than you would think. left channel tickling constantly, but guitars don’t sound natural to me. still prefer Lumin S1.
Minor Blue – Hamiet Bluiett
- Warmer soothing cozy
- Brighter than the Shunyata for sure. blacker background. Overall, the VD is a great sounding cable, just missing a little bit of warmth that gives the realistic body to the vocals and instruments. some may find the shunyata too warm and full but i really like it. it sounds a lot more like a human singing or a live concert.
I Don’t Want to Change You – Damien Rice
Without the Shunyata cable, the intro atmospherics aren’t there anymore., not holographic. just noise and screeching pretty much.
General Vs. Stock
- The sound is much flatter even with the JPS SC cable. Just not as dynamic, not as engaging.
- It just doesn’t sound as good with the stock power cable. Adele is no longer seductive.
- The SC doesn’t fix the hazy sound on vocals. Vocals aren’t even accurate with the SC on stock power cable.
- For the MJ song, the initial drum beat is way to overblown and too much height.
- With stock power cable, the sound is still too lean for my tastes. missing that body.
- IMO, you need this cable for the P10.
- Without the power cord, i don’t want to continue to listen to the song even with the SC cable.
Shunyata vs Stock
- The stock might have a slightly less deeper soundstage
- Perhaps lower bass slam
- Immediately I felt the stock to be less warm and extremely detailed and leaner in a good way.
- sub-bass isn’t as present, atmospheric bass
- missing some of the body and realism in the vocals like Whitney Houston
- Soundstage isn’t as deep
- Stock isn’t as dynamic
- Not has holgoraphic, vocals not as rounded
- Imaging isn’t as pinpoint
- The image isn’t as wide, like 3 feet narrower?
- Shunyata definitely warmer.
- Stock still tickles
- Not as warm, but matter of taste?
VooDoo vs Stock
- Soundstage is definitely wider and the music is sweeter (tempest – jesse cook)
- Sounds more natural and real
- Norah jones isn’t harsh or glarey at all
- Vocals sound less digital, more human
- Dynamics come back and vocals don’t sound as compressed
- Not as warm as the Shunyata
- All the body comes back, detail and energy, sounds really good, might like this more than the shunyata for some songs
- Vocals are not as smooth as the shunyata
- Soundmaker – not as invovled as the shunyata, more delicate, not as much slam on the bass
- Still very detailed, really can’t complain much
- Not as much energy and texture as the shunyata
- Decay isn’t as realistic as the Shunyata, more organics with Shunyata
- It’s the leaner but not colder version of the shunyata, enjoyable to my ears.
- no sense of energy or power. not as much authority as the shunyata.
Wireworld vs Stock
- Better urgency and bass, more involved than the Voodoo but smeared imaging?
- Warmer than the Voodoo
- Sweeter than the VD
- Better bass slam than the VD
- Those Were the Days
- Isn’t as sparkly as the VD
- The vocals, Whitney sounds more like the real thing, way better than stock.
- Shunyata has a deeper soundstage
- The vocals are a little grainy? not sure.
- I don’t know…bass seems a little lack in dynamics. sub bass atmospherics
- tempest – strings are not as well defined as the VD
- The strings don’t compete with the shunyata as far as weight and texture
- I think I like the VD more
- VD has a wider soundstage
- norah – I don’t think it’s as sharp as the VD 0:30 seconds, not as dynamic
Shunyata vs WW
- More humph, warm and yummy textures – norah, dum dum dum strums sound better
- Shunyata has a wider sound stage
- The strings in tempest have so much more weight and body, you could hear the string vibrating
- Sounds like a live performance
- Now this is an experience
- Definitely a warmer presentation than the other cables in this line up. The VD had a very blackbackgorund
- Vocals are sweeter with the Shunyata.
- More cohesive sound
- Whitney – sounds like how she would want to be presented.
- Melts you
- soundmaker – great amount of texture, good smack
- ingride michaleson – sounds live
- The shunyata just adds blood to the singers, the rest are vampires
- So much authority on bass, not delicate like the rest, Murder Ink