Audio Bacon

Purist Audio Design Diamond Edition Dominus AC Power Cord Review

When you’re listening to an entire system, whether at a trade show or demo room at a shop, it’s difficult to isolate which component you’re actually hearing. One set of components, however, has a more weighted and substantial impact on the overall sound. These are the power-related components. They unequivocally determine what the limitations are as far as performance and the musical gestalt of a system.

After experimenting with a few power components, you’ll find out just how dramatic the differences are when using higher quality power cables, conditioners, regenerators, etc. If you’re one of those skeptics, just try it for yourself. There’s a reason why thousands of people ask for these impressions. If you don’t hear the difference, the cable is probably not the weakest link or your system just isn’t resolving enough. The impetus for clean power is strong and becoming a priority for many audiophiles. I personally consider clean power to be the most important aspect of a musical system and suggest experimenting with various power products before going heavily into your system build. If your power is tainted, your components just won’t be performing at its best. As some of you may be aware, a single power cable could dramatically transform the sound of your entire system.

When I’m reviewing various high-quality cables concurrently, it’s easy to realize the “flavor” curated by their designer. There’s quite a mixture of science and art when it comes to designing a cable. It’s likened to wine making. Some are into merlots or a nice Chardonnay…and this could be dependent on mood and food pairings, etc. In addition, everyone will pick out different notes in those wines. After tasting a few varietals over time, you’ll get an idea of what your preferences are. This type of sensory discovery also applies to our visual and auditory systems.

Having availed myself to literally hundreds of cables from various vendors, I started to get an idea of what kind of sound the individual vendors were aiming for. Some I’ve enjoyed consistently and some weren’t for me. When you’re listening to an audio component, you’re really listening to a designers’ ear.

One designer that has impressed me consistently over the years is Jim Aud, the founder of Purist Audio Design. His background is in nuclear physics and is known for his fluid/gel dielectric implementations. I’ve listened to numerous analog and digital cables from PAD and, unlike most vendors, I can’t say I’ve ever heard anything that sounded bad. The amount of passion that went into these cables is quite apparent, even in the entry-level models. That said, I jumped at the opportunity to review his new Diamond Edition Dominus AC power cord ($3,500 @ 1.0m).

Jim, who handmakes all his cables, explains it best when it comes to power cables:

Just as you would not put the lowest quality fuel in your high performance car, you should not trust your music collection to low quality cables. Sure, your high performance car will operate with the lowest quality octane. However, you’re not going to get the most out of your car! In fact is could have undesired effects. The same is true with your high fidelity audio system, you’ll hear the music with any low quality cables. However, you’re not going to hear and feel everything that is there!

 

What’s the difference between a high performance car and an economy subcompact? It’s true that both get you from point A to point B. The difference comes in how the car drives, how it handles, how it accelerates, and how car appears (the fit and finish). The high performance car is carefully crafted with parts that will allow it to drive with precision, hug curves, accelerate with authority, and have the feel of a premium product.

There’s a ton of trial and error involved when it comes to designing and testing power cables. In general, we want uninhibited current flow and to reject EMI/RFI (noise) which modulates a signal’s frequency and amplitude. In a nutshell, these are facets of power cable design:

Of course, all that matters is sound but these are fundamental principles of good power cable design.

Tips

Cable design will never be an exact science and although a cable might measure well, it might not sound good to you. Trust your ears.

Build

The cable itself is extremely well-built and looks the part for the price. The only thing would be a larger resistance to axial twisting. It has a larger bend radius towards the center of the cable. My space was a bit tight and I was able to make it work.

So what makes the Diamond Dominus special?

We continually research and test ways to improve our cables. We have taken what we learned from our 30th Anniversary power cord and infused it into the Dominus AC power cord! We started by improving the metallurgy of the conductors using nano technology. Then, we developed a specific ratio mix of Contego for the dampening instead of Ferox. Finally, we employed Furutech’s FI-50 NCF connectors to complete the cable. As you listen, you will really notice the texture and layering of the music! The detail this cable will help bring through is breathtaking!

  • Full Nano Technology upgrade
  • Completely re-optimized conductors
  • Contego™ shielding
  • Cyromag© treatment
  • Furutech’s NCF (Nano Crystal2 Formula) connectors

The Dominus Power Cord is terminated with Furutech’s Pure Transmission FI-50 NCF in U.S or European configurations. Other plugs can be used upon request to fit the needs of your system.

If you’re curious about the nano techology, it does three things:

  1. It lowers the resistance of the cable
  2. It gives it more tensile strength
  3. It lowers the noise of the conductor

Performance

A few of the test tracks used:

As expected, this power cable is silky smooth and a pleasure to listen to. There’s an increased sense of realism and effortlessness across all genres. There’s always something so addictive about all of Purist Audio Design’s cables. Supremely musical, grainless, harmonic, and balanced. Female vocals are so sweet and seductive, drums and bass are very well defined and tight, and great extension in the highs without ever being fatiguing or sibilant. There are zero signs of edginess across the entire spectrum. Most importantly, timbre and tone are on point accompanied with a natural sense of air, dynamics, and body. Piano and violins sound majestic and percussions and brass have convincing air and dynamics.

Overall the Dominus AC cord provides a musicality that is undeniably easy and enjoyable to listen to. I could go on listening for hours, forget about the critical evaluation, and just be enjoying the music. I would say it’s a neutral and smooth cable, not warm or bright. In a word, honest. It’s really difficult for me to knock it for anything. Seriously. If I have to nitpick, I would say it doesn’t have as much low-end weight and a tad softer than other cables but you’re not really thinking about that when you’re listening. The music just flows out in coherent and musical fashion. It has that Purist Audio Design signature sound that I’ve enjoyed from their other products.

My mama always told me, a review ain’t a review without some comparisons…

Comparisons

High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate ($5,900 @ 1.0m)

Synergistic Research UEF Level 3 HC ($3,395 @ 1.5m)

Furutech Powerflux 18 ($3,000 @ 1.8m)

Conclusion

How emotive a cable sounds to someone cannot be measured. Your emotions are influenced by your genetic makeup and life experiences. With the Purist Audio Design Diamond Edition AC power cord, you’re guaranteed to be enveloped and drawn into a genuinely musical and faithful reproduction of your recordings. It doesn’t try to color music or alter timbre in ways to impress but provides your listening experience with just the right amount of nuance, from the articulation of female vocals to the plucks of guitar strings. Imaging of the soundstage is precise and coherent without any hints of digital edge or graininess. Every time I listen to this cable “analog” and “humanistic” comes to mind. Its ability to effortlessly resolve the tonal makeup and dynamic relationships of instruments and voices provides a free-flowing, startlingly real, and natural sound. It provides a balance between musical information, smoothness, and euphony that I don’t hear from any other cable. It’s a fantastic design that I believe will resonate with many audiophiles.

There are plenty of challenges in cable design but I think Purist Audio Design has nailed the very key elements on what constitutes a great sounding cable. With intimate knowledge of the interactions between the various materials, their design goals could be brought to fruition with flying colors. Jim Aud has one of my reference ears in the industry and if you’re a fan of his other products, the Diamond Edition Dominus AC power cord will soothe you into musical submission.