Reviews

27 Best Audiophile Power Cables

Intro

In case you didn’t know, I have an obsession with audiophile cables.

Once I’ve realized how a single cable could make or break a HiFi system – I went down the rabbit hole. It made the difference between enjoying a system – and being annoyed with it.

I’ve spent the past five years auditioning and experimenting with over 1,000 audiophile cables. These included interconnects, speaker cables, and digital cables. But by far, the most daunting audiophile cable to explore – is the power cable.

Audiophiles need power cables. Lots of them.

Depending on which power cables you use on which components – that could decide the balance of a sound system. At this point, I’m sure we could all agree that different power cords sound different. Even among generic cords. This is due to the variations in shielding, geometry, and materials.

Power Cable Design

The goal of a power cord is to act as a medium for delivering current – and isolating noise. Generally, the lower the resistance, the better. But, as always, there are trade-offs. You can’t just build a 2-AWG power cord and wrap it in a blanket of copper shielding. Aside from practical (and legal) considerations, there’s also the type of solder, connectors, materials, and even technique used. All of these will determine the sound of a power cord.

Blind tests are pointless for the same reason why the skeptics request them – your mind is always playing tricks on you. – Audio Bacon

Click on “generic” and listen for 10 seconds. Now, click on “Furutech DPS-4” and give it a listen. Could you hear a difference?

Of course, we could talk about “the first 6 feet, skin effect, ABX testing, and magnetic fields. We could also talk about how cable could measure the same – but sound different. But we won’t.

I feel like all of these power cables are designed properly and supply sufficient current – especially to my near-field monitors. As always, I’ll be focusing on subjective impressions. As to the why they sound different – I’m sure their LCR values play a part. But that’s for another day.

Update 12/26/209: For what it’s worth, at the time of this update, the majority of listeners were able to hear the difference between a $5 power cable and a $5,000 power cord in this experiment:

Is a Natural Sound the Best Sound?

You get a glimpse into the designer’s ear when you listen to these power cables. For some, it’s obvious they actually listen to live music. For others, they seem to use their measurement devices more – or base it on their reference of what’s enjoyable. Or they just hire a “wire chef.”

I’ve heard over 100 audiophile power cables – and they all sound different in their own ways. Most of which, don’t sound natural (to me) at all. One thing to keep in mind is, some people don’t want natural. They’re looking for a more surreal experience.

And I’ve met plenty of these audiophiles. They know it’s fantasy, but they enjoy the sound more. Come to think of it – that was me at some point. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

A Year of Listening

This survey of power cables has taken me about a year. I’ve postponed this evaluation due to the sheer amount of work and time it required. Testing ICs, speaker cables, and USB cables are a breeze in comparison.

Power cables are a different beast. And only the most enthusiastic (insane) are willing to review 27 of them – at the same time.

Power cables involve:

  • keeping all cables constant and changing one. I’ve used the seven Furutech DPS-4 power cords as my control.
  • testing the effects on multiple components
  • system stress: powering up and down properly
  • experimenting with different amplifiers and speakers
  • experimenting with various volume levels
  • trying out the different permutations and combinations
  • multiple listening sessions due to break-in and settling time

It’s All Relative

An audiophile’s opinion is relative to what he has heard.

There were times where I’ll discuss a product with a fellow audiophile and he’ll say “Oh yeah, that amp is dead neutral.” But to my ears, that amp was as dark as night. To which I ask “So, which amps have you compared it to?”

“Oh, this old Furman and this other one from Schiit Audio.”

My Listening Experience

This was one of the reasons why I’ve indulged myself in so many listening sessions over the past few years. Not just from shows, but dealerships and other personal systems. Most importantly, I make it a point to listen to a lot of live music (We’re spoiled in Los Angeles). That’s because I enjoy listening to music more than I do eating, traveling, or watching movies.

The point is, the value of a reviewer really depends on how much shit he has heard (aka “experience”). So in regards to what’s included or missing, he’ll be able to relay more accurate information.

Now, I haven’t heard it all and there’s always more to learn – but I’m confident I have a good grasp of on “the big picture.” So when I say something is dark, natural, or neutral – it’s only after I’ve put in the listening hours.

Approach & Findings

After hundreds of hours of listening and percolating through over 200 pages of notes, there were a few themes that came forth.

First, there isn’t a “best” power cable for everyone. You’ll most likely have to combine a bunch of different ones to get the right balance in a system. So I’ve found it best to consider the power cord as an ingredient rather than a component. Use these impressions as a guide on selecting the power cable that provides the best synergy for your system.

Secondly, power cords tend to sound pretty consistent across different systems. I’ve determined this by analyzing subjective notes taken on cables that were tested months apart. I mention this because many find cable reviews pointless due to system dependence. My findings suggest there’s more predictability than we think.

For that reason, I’ve included a “Notes” section for each cable which contains the descriptors that were gathered from a word counter on my notes. The top descriptors I used over the year (across multiple systems) will be listed for each power cable.

Lastly, I have to mention break-in and settling time. Yeah, I wasn’t a believer either. A few of these cables sounded very different after a few hundred hours. Interestingly enough, it’s only for those first hours. After more subsequent listens – and my notes were consistent again. For what it’s worth, most of these power cables sounded the same out the gate and never changed. Nevertheless, you can’t rush judgments in the first few sessions.

The Setup

Now, I’ve reviewed many of these cables individually throughout the year. So this survey is meant to provide a holistic impression of where each power cable stands relative to each other. I’ve focused primarily on sound and kept it concise.

As a reviewer, my system is in constant flux. I’ve gone through dozens of amplifiers, speakers, and other electronics. These are just too much equipment to list. I did, however, have almost all these cables here during the entire review process. Every time there’s a change in the system, I’ll test the power cords – and write my notes.

If there were any inconsistencies or revaluations needed, I always had the power cables on hand. Occasionally, I’ll even swap in a generic power cord for a sanity check. 🙂

In a way, this survey acts more as a personal journal entry for me. That way, I could reference this later and make recommendations. As such, a 10-point scale didn’t make much sense to me. For me, describing the sound is more akin to describing the taste of wine or coffee.

Alas, let’s get on with it! Since high-end cables get pretty expensive – I want to first explore a few DIY options first. Let’s start with the Neotech NEP-3200.

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Jay Luong

Mr. Audio Bacon himself. An open-minded electrical engineer and software developer by trade. I have an obsession with the enjoyment of all things media - specifically in the realm of music and film. So much heart and soul (and money) go into the creation of this artistry. My aim is to find out which products get me closer to what the musicians and directors intended.

View Comments

  • Hi Jay,

    There's a few things i find troublesome with this review:

    The first being that there's no objective measurements, and it's all done by ear. Your brain adapts and changes constantly, so that is very subjective. you can't actually a-b test anything as you don't remember things exactly as they happened.

    The first(and a half): you also mention that one should spend a few days with a power cable, and that it may 'grow on you'. That should tell you enough about your own state of mind changing, and not the cable.

    The second, as you say you're an electrical engineer, what good would a power cable do, if the wiring inside your wall is still the same crappy stuff it's always been?

      • That's a nasty response for an "open minded" engineer, or is it "troublesome" as in "cannot convincingly answer"? How do you know CH23 is not an audiophile?

        Instead you could address the very valid question: did you rewire your house using boutique cables? If these final 3 feet mattered then apparently the wires are a filter (an engineer would want to know that).
        Furthermore: any competently designed amplifier already filters out the mains crap.

        • "here I'll just call him out as a 'non-audiophile', surely that'll show these pesky evidence-based thinkers and make myself look better to anyone who isn't already part of my audio voodoo cult"

          - Jay

        • I have the same question and agree that it should be addressed by someone spending huge money on the "last 3 feet". I am a newbie audiophile and perhaps that makes me beneath a response, but it just doesn't make sense. Your home is full of basic wire, perhaps you upgrade the outlet, but then why would that last 3 feet make a huge difference in sound quality? Again, I'm willing to take the plunge if it makes sense, but as a newbie I'd just like to understand the physics here.

          • I'm glad you're not one of these Measurement Morons and are open to "hearing it out." These guys want others to prove something to them, when they won't even want to prove it to themselves. And these are personalities I won't get along with in the real world anyway. Truth is, they're spreading misinformation. I've lived and breathed in a world of measurements, zeros, and ones, and absolutes. One reason why I love this hobby is that it's not so cut and dry. From where I came from - it's refreshing and intriguing.

            Like myself, I think all audiophiles start off skeptical. And that's healthy. But, as the story goes, a few friends brought over some cables and we gave them a listen. We weren't sure why they sounded different but they did. It's most likely due to their balance of impedance, resistance, and inductance (LCR). RFI rejection is also a real thing which is why many (not all) of these power cables are shielded.

            I also realize the sound could be altered passively. I recently wrote a review on the NCF Booster. Just place the top portion of this device onto the connectors - and it changes the sound. I'm not saying it's always for the better, just different. I'm guessing it's modulating the magnetic field caused by the current going through the wire which leads to skin effect, eddy currents, etc - which could change the power supply's interaction with the analog section of the equipment. Yada, yada, that all actually makes sense.

            There's also the type of conductor used. A company called Iconoclast based all their cable designs on measurements only. But they discovered there was a different sound depending on metallurgy - even though they measured the same. These are facts from a real engineer who has done this stuff for over 35 years. I mean the all silver Crystal Cable power cord in this review surely sounds different from most of these copper variants. So the metal used in the "first 6 feet" also contributes to the sound.

            Now I'm very curious about how these power cables measure to see if there are any correlations to my subjective impressions. I'll see what I could do there.

            So at this point, it should be clear that measurements won't tell the whole story. And the story it does tell - may not be that important to an audiophile. What sounds good and engages one listener - may be far different from another. And that's why these companies still exist. And why some are willing to pay a bit more money for a sound they enjoy.

            To conclude, just borrow a few cables from the Cable Co or buy a Pangea power cord on Amazon. Give it a listen, realize how idiotic these measurement trolls are, then move on with your journey.

          • maybe if we compare it like putting a filter for water at home, you get cleaner and sweeter water after you instore a good filter right? cheers.

          • Then it should be no issue to use basic 14/2 house wire for all your audio wiring needs. Just add the cheapest connectors and you are good to go. Right?

        • Oh c'mon, it doesn't take a genius to recognize he isn't an audiophile. ALL audiophiles with basic experience KNOW power cables COULD change the sound of a system. There are NO exceptions.

          You're obviously not one either. Don't you guys have better things to do? Go out and make some friends! Go get laid!

          • Interesting way of proving your point, I believe it was Cliff Clavin who used this line of reasoning a lot in the fictitious Cheers bar? "It's a well known fact..."

            Revealing is your lack of actual answers and the absence of civility and elegance when politely asked.

            In any case, it seems that an audiophile is someone who believes you at your word, is that it? Any hint of criticism brands one a heretic, fairly judged using Monty Pythons finest scientific methods of course.

          • An audiophile understands that the most important things that gets them closer to what they want - are in the subjective. You don't understand, because you're inexperienced in this domain. Measurements are great for repeatability and finding problem areas. That's it. So if equipment measures about the same - and sound very different - what is the point of following measurements when purchasing gear? For the purpose of enjoying music - very little.

            Just because your chemistry professor tells you that this is an optimal composition of cocaine - doesn't mean you (who hasn't tried cocaine) could go into a room full of cartel leaders (who are very experienced) and ask them "politely" to prove they have the best quality. If you don't belong here - you will be dealt with accordingly. Any criticisms, and you won't be branded as a heretic - they'll just, with the utmost "civility and elegance" put a hole in your head. It's a well-known fact.

            Apparently, you're an objectivist and perhaps a narrow-minded engineer. So, what is your purpose here? Are you trying to be a hero? Are you looking for approval? What is it? Because it's obvious - you don't belong here.

          • One more comment, and then you can ban me.

            Why do you react like someone caught you with your fingers in the till? A simple and courteous retort on how you want to do your test and what methods resonate in your readership suffices.

            Excluding scientific methods is disservice to the readers IMO, but being open and honest about that would be fine and probably means this site is not for me.

            The basis for any subjective listening test should be thorough measurements, if only to reveal esoteric implementations like an interlink with high resistance, capacitance or reactance.
            Subjectively liking this despite it's technical shortcomings is completely valid of course.

          • Note to self: Never get on Jay's bad side haha.

            Although Jay's responses could be more tempered. I could understand his perspective. He has been doing subjective-oriented reviews since the very beginning. He even mentions it in the introduction of this review and on the about page of his website. So he was upfront on the expectations.

            So...you should stop acting like a victim and take responsibility for your own missteps.

            Good day!

          • A much wiser man than me once said: what you post on your blog should be presentable to your mother and children. I ask a simple question and you go all Trump on me - your prerogative on your own blog of course but it shows what you're (not) made of.

            You pretend to know me and make miles of preposterous assumptions (cocaine, really?).
            As it happens I fully agree with you that a terribly measuring amplifier (any tube) may sound very sweet - and still I want to know the numbers so I can make an informed decision.

            The cocaine 'metaphor' explains a lot to me about your state of mind, there's no business like snow business right? I've never tried it because credible experts told me its a very bad idea, how about you?

            My purpose here? I got a reference and started reading, saw your impolite non-answer and asked a question, one you have avoided to answer with as many derogative personal insults as you could muster up.

            So let's try the question again.
            Did you rewire your house using boutique cables? If these final 3 feet mattered then apparently the wires are a filter (an engineer would want to know that).
            Furthermore: any competently designed amplifier already filters out the mains crap.

          • Well, a "much wiser man" doesn't really say much. I don't pretend to know you - I don't even WANT to know you lol. You are insignificant and only serve as a punching bag on my lunch break.

            Btw, I just showed my blog to my mother and my 3-year old niece. Now, they said this in Chinese so I'm not sure if I'm translating this correctly: "You demolished that mutha fucka."

            Their words, not mine.

            What part of:

            As always, I’ll be focusing on subjective impressions. As to the why they sound different – I’m sure their LCR values play a part. But that’s for another day.

            and

            "Of course, we could talk about “the first 6 feet, skin effect, ABX testing, and magnetic fields. We could also talk about how a cable could measure the same – but sound different. But we won’t."

            don't you understand? I guess I assumed if you can't read, there was no point in writing a response.

            Bottom line: If you want measurements to make an informed decision, you are in the wrong place. And should just walk away. If you were wiser, you would've known that. But you're not - and you look like a fool.

          • That was absolutely brutal. I wouldn't wish that assault upon my worst enemy.

            Not to add salt to the wound........but I believe that is an analogy and not a metaphor. Not to mention, a great one at that. :)

            I think Jay's point is crystal clear. If you care about measurements, this wasn't the magazine for you. If you could take a look at the other comments, you're obviously an outlier. To be honest, there aren't many publications that perform measurements........anyway.

            By being here insisting for more "proof"- will just incite a more combative response. Like the previous poster said......don't pretend to be a victim when you've just bestowed this upon yourself.

          • You'll understand that I won't take your word for it. I actually expected you to take a guess at my mothers' profession, but this will do.

            Fits entirely that you (allegedly and apparently) translated your biased view of my words to your mother, it's better that she remains ignorant of the ugly truth.

            Glad you think I'm your punching bag, seems everybody wins today. Only one who can swallow an insult is a man.

          • I don't care if you take my word for it because you're not even the target audience. No one here cares either. The fact you think I really told my mother about the blog shows just how clueless you really are (but, just between us, that Ryan fellow is worse).

            Swallow that insult. Grow that thicker skin!

            Until you've taken punches to the face, have a gun pulled on you, and have people spit in your face due to your race - then talk to me about being a man. You are not even close.

          • Sorry Jay, seems you misunderstood my first sentence "You’ll understand that I won’t take your word for it". It was unkind of me pushing you over the brink and letting you expose yourself like that.

            Good luck with the religion and I wish you all reach audio nirvana. Don't take the red pill!

          • Religion? Red pill? Audio Nirvana? Thank YOU, for exposing yourself as a dumb-ass and making your intentions clear. You weren't planning to be constructive. Go back to your lab and perform some measurements on cables. Then stick those cables up your ass and see if they feel the same.

          • Hmm, I was clearly and specifically reacting to your last posting, and you've made it very clear that my question was unwanted - what would it expose? If a power cable makes an audible difference on a well-functioning system I would very much like to know how, and context matters.
            Your responses are aggressively defensive and offer no explanation whatsoever, so excuse me for not being able to be constructive next to the schoolyard bully.

            The logic conclusion is that you only want to believe, not know. Ignorance is bliss I guess and you're welcome to it.

            From one dumb-ass to another: since apparently you define the "true audiophile", I think calling it a religion is quite correct.

          • i am a engineer from germany. hi!!! i like more with science and the graphs and also measurements. not really big audiophile but enjoy in sound and music

            very interesting paper jay. what equipment did you use???? i do hope you measure in the future

            but 'apekool' you are a big dick. go find yourself a woman. the man was honest. in truth you are the bully. you are trying to start trouble. everyone can see!

            also he feels smart and speak great points and you will always lose. you are really the dumbass hahahha. if i am you i will give up and have a beer!!!!!

            jay do not let these simple people stop you. good luck!

          • Talk about overkill. These measurement trolls didn't even stand a chance.

            Hi from Australia! I love your Munich coverage. You did it better than the big guys. Keep up the great work!

          • I don't believe power cables sound different. They either work in providing sufficient power, or they don't. You guys are clearly delusional and I'm clearly "not an audiophile."

            But unlike Apekool, I don't want a hole in my head. So, for that reason, I'm out.

          • I find it very hard to believe you are an electrical engineer. If the cable doesn't measure better - either individually or as part of a system - then you're just pushing BS and probably being compensated by the manufacturers.

          • Power cables do not change the sound. Period.
            Do you really believe that none of the high-end audio designers, for Mark Levinson, Krell, Classé, Bryston and so forth have never figured out that the power cord can make their creation sound better? You think those engineers have been oblivious to that for decades, and still deliver their high priced electronics with a standard power cord?
            Laughing out loud.

          • Wow,

            I listen to high-end systems and i hear lots of technically unexplainable audible differences too. But i learned to respectfully conversate with people who are sceptical. There are two completely different perspectives.

            No need to call people troublesome, measurement morons, trolls and all those other unrespectful things just because you don't like sceptism. And eventually trying to blame them for your rudeness too! If you post messages on a blog on the internet, prepare to deal with different opinions. It's very unprofessional. This is exactly the behaviour that gets us music-equipment nerds a bad elitist name. Those people don't belong here? I think your attitude doesn't belong here.

            Most of us are very kind and patient to eachother and we're always in for a heated conversation. We've come a long way thinking it was all bs, but can't blame anyone for not digging it. He was at least trying to open up an conversation about his thoughts. That should be encouraged and answered respectfully. No need to get all worked up about people questioning your methods. Don't blame them, use it to your advantage. To not be b*tthurt would give you a headstart.

            If people are not allowed to question anything anymore these days, how do we ever achieve progress?

            A good painting for example has many unexplainable visual aspects that make it "good" and exites revisiting, but it also has many measurable techniques, brushes and paint characteristics. If the cable would be seen as a painting, the goal is to find correlations between measurements and subjective observations, to make something good reproducable, so it can be explained and made even better. So there's nothing wrong with the desire to search for hard proof of observations. It's the basic of all.

            Enjoying a painting with eyes, and music with ears is both subjective. You can tell a good painting from a bad one, but it's highly a matter of taste. Some people just see a painting on a wall and that's it. The one that looks the best may not actually be technically the best. But generally speaking: The use of certain techniques and paint results in higher quality paintings. So there's more than only subjectivity to it after all (their point).

            If this were not true: making a "good" cable would be like driving a car blind, you could end up anywhere between a crash and your destination. Car navigation would at least make it easier in this scenario, if you get my point. I'm glad many cable company's use measurements. So your commentsection is making sharp observations when they politely question the objectivity that is kept out of the loop.

          • Your previous comment to this one shows why you don't have employment as an electrical engineer doing any real engineering.

            Even assuming that there are listenable gains to be made in high end equipment by further improvement of the overall power delivery and supply sub-systems, It is the height of stupidity to expend the type of money involved on these type of power cables, compared to spending that same money on improving the power supply itself.

            One of the most insightful things I was taught while obtaining my degree in electrical engineering was the comment made to us one day by a very experienced visiting engineer, "During your career you will most likely come across various people who achieve what on the surface seem to be reasonable results, but it is the professional engineer who can repeatedly deliver results on time and budget, safely and with optimised economy, taking into account all aspects of capital and operating costs".

            "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent full of doubt." - Bertrand Russell.

            Try having a few more doubts if you want to call yourself open minded.

            PS : Please do me the honour of calling me "not an audiophile" because based on this website, being an audiophile is no accolade of any kind.

          • I'm just going through some auditioning of power cables myself. I use different power conditioners, and found that using a quality cable from the 'poor' cabling in the wall to the conditioner definitely made a difference. Just addressing one thing, in the UK, the standard thick copper wires in the wall conduct the signal well, and decent MK sockets sit on the wall. The walls in my home are plaster backed with a steel mesh that effectively acts as a basic Faraday cage - far from perfect, but the cables are not crap, and they are protected (to a degree) inside the wall.

            The power conditioner filters the signal coming from the wall, so obviously the signal from there is where you want to invest in quality cables. But I was pretty surprised to find the 1m cable from wall to power conditioner also made a noticeable difference when comparing very different cables. Most notable were pure silver vs pure copper vs stock, but also the plating on pure copper cables and plugs at either end makes a subtle difference, silver, gold and rhodium plating were all that were available to me.

            I compared high cost cables with names every audiophile would recognise, cheaper cables from reputable suppliers in China, super expensive cables from boutique companies making each cable to order.

            Another thing that I notice with some equipment and not with others was cryo treatment. The professional electronics engineer in me says it's horseshit - whilst crystals may align differently in deep freeze, they return to the previous state when returned to room temperature - it's visible (with the right equipment) and measurable (again, with the right equipment) - so it can't make a difference can it? I made two identical cables from pure copper components end to end, braided conductors, braided shield earthed at wall plug end. Blind tests showed I couldn't tell them apart. I sent one to be cryo treated, and ran the tests again. There was a noticeable difference - the cryo one was superior - the difference wasn't great, but it was noticeable to my 52 year old ears. S, OK, if you get a bunch treated at the same time, it's an inexpensive improvement to my modest £20Kish system, and also noticeable in my more lavish system ( the price of which I haven't actually fully calculated, but its a lot more) and I felt it was worth doing for me, so those cables that weren't already cryo treated were all sent for the same treatment, and it was a much easier and simpler improvement than the ball ache of auditioning about 20 amps in my home and buying one for a lot more money to achieve a similarly modest improvement.

            My preference for the going into the power conditioner was pure copper end to end, and I was pleased to discover the cheapest option to make (using quality components) was the cheapest to make.

            I found that gold plated cable was my favourite from conditioner to one phono stage, and my other sounded better with pure copper. Pure silver made a significant, positive difference going to the amp one system, and was worse than stock cable when connected to the other, where pure copper was best. I found my CD transports and one DAC (solid state) were best with silver plated cables, and the other DAC (hybrid) sounded better with the one hybrid cable I made after finding the materials really do make a difference, and this was silver plated plugs, solid silver +ve, pure copper -ve and earth, silver plated shield. turntable PSUs pure copper for one, gold plate for the other. And so on.

            My point here is that I went into this a skeptic, and was surprised to find any difference, but it all together the difference was well worth the effort *IN MY SYSTEMS*.

            Your mileage may vary.

          • The problem I have with measurements and those that attempt to make it gospel is the very fact that, currently (no pun intended), we have ways of measuring things and many to bow to it. Just because something cannot be measured does not mean it doesn't exist. Science is about progress. It means that maybe someday there will be a new way of measureing/testing cables that will shed more light on the entire subject. Think about what we had for measureing/testing 75 years ago and what we have now. Currently, we cannot measure the smell of colors. Not yet.

          • You did go in and also replace all the cheap Romex hiding behind the wall and connected to the outlet, didn't you? Engineer, eh? Did you remember to pull the whistle cord at all crossings?

        • 1.Power cords are not filters. 2. They cause a change in sound regardless of what wiring is in the walls. 3. Most amplifiers, especially audiophile types do not have a traditional EMR filters. 4. House wiring is not necessarily "crap". Even so, the effect of a specialty power cord does not increase much after 7 to 8 feet in length.
          With that said, the "in wall" wiring does make a difference, and so does the outlets and breaker box.

        • you do not need to rewire the house as the next question will be how do you handle the crap of the street entering the house? If you rewire your immediate neighborhood , then how do you handle the crap that enters the city? You have to understand wires have electrical resistance, and RFI and EMI effects have very little A ( amperage) > In practice it means micro volts and less under normal circumstances ( not living next to a FM broadcasting studio or military radar systems). The wire will deeply attenuate spot local RFI within meters of that particular spot ( 1 square mm) because of its ohm resistance. Still rewiring the line to the listening room will help and certainly not be harmful if the audio setup is extremely quite by itself. ( for instance the use of ultra low noice VR and components). That makes the last 3-5 meters connected to your components important for very high end systems and the last meter for hifi setups

      • You see us real electronic engineers are in the know. He called me a troll, the first of 2020 because I questioned him about power cables. I even offered myself to carry out some test with him. I was perfectly polite like the first comment made above. His credibility by his response on this subject says it all. Congrats again Jay you don't win any discussion by being dismissive of people with differing opinions. Poor show on you. This thread says it all.

        • Hey, if you're going to make accusations that I'm being dishonest - don't try to make yourself look like the victim :)

      • Yes, indeed -- their comments should be troubling you, since they are based on an understanding of technology and of scientific method which you clearly lack. (Or hide very well in your business capacity.)

        • Not troubled at all. An intelligent engineer (and problem solver) realizes when technical methodologies apply - and when they don't. They are agile and are open to their preconceptions being challenged. And rely on experience when appropriate. When it comes to the endless variables in the domain of human hearing, "dumb" engineers rely solely on reading charts and scopes. But those engineers don't matter anyway - because they aren't audiophiles. The problem is - they are trying to police a community to which they don't have any experience with.

      • Here is my attitude to doing such widespread cable reviews and it’s just mine while I congratulate the effort that goes into your benchmarking. Cables are a suck and see product, the combinations of what they can do to the sound of audio are more widespread and less reviewer discernible. Not so much for many types of audio gear. You won’t know until you plug in with cables in other words. That gives the review less value. Also cables don’t have the sexiness of audio gear - they are bits of wire After all, making reviews slightly boring. Also there often bears no resemblance of price to audio quality so implying or saying x cable can be benchmarked of many others is a big dichotomy. When you factor in price sometimes being high, what I think it comes down too is a big connoisseur pursuit. We need less of that , not more. What audiophiles or just audio lovers want is big notional improvements they can see, whether it’s a fair one to decide in advance they will get that with cables, with all these factors it’s easy to see or expect they will. A car reviewer wouldn’t review lots of wheel rims if car lovers don’t see any benefit from it or not, whether based on true science or not. I think a better approach is to sell the virtue of good value audio cables or do an article on $50 cables that have improved amps etc. People will then see benefit in that and it may then drive them to buy the more expensive ones in the cable firms line up. This is incredibly niche and I think you have to think of that when putting articles out. Keep up the great work.

      • I bet you do.

        For my part, I just added this page to my Bookmarks, I find it absolutely charming. It has been years since I checked this particular branch of the Hi-End scene, and I see it has truly blossomed into a thing of beauty

        I love, above all, the choice of words for the names, strangely sincere in most cases: Texture, Zenwave, Requisite, GRAND ILUSSION (priceless!), SNAKE AUDIO COTTONMOUTH (my fav? Idk, it's difficult to choose one...) GUTWIRE, The Obssession, Reserva Elite (with walnut notes in the retropalate?) Synergistic Atmosphere, Purist Diamond Dominus, Future Dream...

        Wow, the competion for finding the most impressive name is becoming ruthless, I find all this quite fascinating.

        Best Ultra-Elite Feelgasm regards

      • I find non-audiophiles who comment on audiophile reviews – troublesome. How true, beautifully said Jay.

      • You should be ashamed to call yourself an electrical engineer, the lack of any quantitative rigor in measurement and total absence of any explanation for the effects percieved fall far short of any electrical engineer worth their salt that I know.

      • I bet you find people who question cult leader's ideals troublesome as well. You're obviously not very sophisticated nor intelligent. Please tell me why you find non-audiophiles troublesome? Please define "non-audiophiles"? Maybe we can meet in the middle, but doubtful as I have a tough time meeting in the middle with insecure folks afraid of science.

        • I apologize if my post seemed troubling to you. I understand that you may be frustrated, but please refrain from making personal attacks. Regarding your question about "non-audiophiles", I would define them as individuals who may not have the same level of interest or expertise in audio equipment and sound quality as audiophiles do. Basically, people who aren't open-minded to try it for themselves before forming an opinion. I do not find any particular group of people troublesome, as everyone has their own unique perspectives and interests. It would be beneficial for all of us to engage in productive and respectful dialogue, rather than making assumptions or attacking one another.

      • I'm an audiophile... but I find audiophiles who comment on non-audiophiles even more troublesome - I don't buy into the mojority of audiophilia "snake oil" BS !

    • CH23: I've been passionately involved in the hi-if business for decades. It soon occurred to me that folks as yourself are a very, very insecure bunch. So much so that if it's not printed or "proven" somehow, it must be illusory.

      A few weeks back, I replied to a like-mined chap (as yourself) and asked him to tell me what specification(s) proved/demonstrates the Porsche 911 (automobile) to be such a spectacular car -in fact considered to be the finest drivers /sports car ever made ?

      His reply: "Depends on 0-60 mph times, skid-pad numbers ...."

      It was painful for me to read his reply. And then I thought: "..OMG, folks like this actually exist in droves"

      THAT'S troubling. And scary.

      peter jasz

      • Automobile reviews are indeed a good comparison - but not in the way you intend. In fact, the high-end auto magazines do conduct objective measurements, publish the results, and explain how the experience of driving the car relates to the objective measurements. They also explain how/why different test drivers rate cares differently - usually because they emphasize different things. I do not recall any serious reviews of serious cars that say anything like "This car is just fun - I don't know why but it is." Rather they say things like "This car is fun because the gear shifting is very smooth, the engine is happy at high revs, the car is so light you can really throw it around corners." Notice that all of those qualities have objective measurements.

    • Red cars drive (are driven) faster, sugar pills lower cholesterol (I've seen it happen) and expensive power cables sound better. These things are all true.

      Sincerely,

      A non audiophile.

    • You have to understand that audiophiles are not science people. Sure, some of the statements sound scientific, but that is actually one of the main features of any pseudoscience. Trying to understand this, for you, is probably like an astronomer trying to understand astrology. Believing in something beyond our logical comprehension seems to be very human, and that's probably why we have always had religions, homeopathy, and pure-silver HDMI cables.

      All these cables are really very well made, though. Think of them as beautiful tarot cards.

      The only complaint I have is that these esoteric audio products drive the whole audio market up for the actually good stuff.

    • Why are you saying all wall wiring is "crappy stuff" ? I don't think you know, in fact I am positive you do not know the wiring in every house.

      All you have to do is listen. It is not very difficult.

    • Well, just do what Garth Powell does. Record the playback a well-mastered track with one power cable, then do the same with another power cable, and put into computer in a sound editing software like Adobe Audition or Pro Tools. Line up the wavefiles and do a difference analysis.

      If there's a difference, then you know that the power cable change does affect the sound. He calls this "Proof by Subtraction" and you can read it halfway through this review:

      https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/audioquest-storm-series-and-niagara-ac-power-products/

    • Ignorants like you will never die out ...as it seems. Are you trying to convince your ears with some stupid measurements?? It really shows that you have absolutely NO clue about a HighEnd system (not talking about Hi-Fi for $1.000 as a whole!). Look for a person who has a really good system, ask him to make a listening session with different high quality power cables ...and if you still believe that there is no difference (because your high school teacher once said so) then either get your ears checked or your limited brains...or even better : look for another hobby! End of discussion

    • Why don’t you guys go tell wine reviewers that they are wasting their time instead? A $10 bottle will get you just as drunk as a $300 bottle so why waste your money right?
      The difference with wine, as with audio cables is that the right bottle will make your mouth see colours and have a poetic experience just as the right cable will do that for your ears.
      Stop trying to tell us what you don’t know and let us enjoy and spend our money however we want.
      This cable review is really helpful to me and you’re just wasting your time and mine so buzz off.

      • thanks Johann, well phrased!

        more thanks to Joe, who spent quite some lifetime to help those who want orientation, only to be bullied by those who simply don't want to listen simply because what shouldn't be can't be .. bugger off!
        Go. read your favored engineer based car-magazine

        and leave the music biased to .. explore, what is not measured.
        Would you like to measure? Have a look : https://youtu.be/bWbqZW-Afho?feature=shared

        I am actually more interested in hearing, and, once well chosen, can relate to description better than to a delta in any measurement .. I want to listen to and I want to enjoy MUSIC.

        Joe does appeal to me with his his approach, choose a different place in the worlwideweb for your needs

    • Think of it this way.
      1. Even pscohological factor is true to your listening. Whether the influence comes from actual hearing, visual or even depending on your condition of the day. When you are visually pleased, you incline to be satisfied unless there is a notable problems or degredation in listening experience.
      2. The wall wire theory - Think about the lighting and colors. You see the difference in spectrum depending on whether you are under the day light outside or cool light inside a store. Did the color change? But you see the difference, right? The power cable does the same thing, that's why companies come up with with materials, different angle of cut, blends, and all, not to mention shielding or shithing of their cables. All those affect the noise and magnetic fields to the component with electricity it receives. So what they need to measure is not the cable alone, but each part of components in your audio components to be scientifically accurate. How far and how much money do they need to spend to proof it? When you can just determine whether you like it yourself or not by hearing them.
      I think you are really trying to be negative about the hobby you are into. Why do you try so hard reject industry's efforts or someone else's positive experiences? You should acknowledge them and respect others from different segments of price tier group. All in the end, you will benefit from the leading company's effort in showing off their latest tech or materials.
      You don't believe all these power cable users or consumers are fools or idiots, do you? They can be also very narrow minded about affordable market consumers as well.

    • I also find that what music you listen to affects your decisions on kit. You have no control over the instruments the artist chose (listen to two acoustic guitars the same size made with different woods, fitted with different strings - the differences are startling), the way they mic it, the way it was engineered, etc. you choose your hi-fi based on some test tracks chosen from your chosen music. I have some recordings that sound amazing, some that sound shit whatever you play them on. And this is why there is such a choice. Reading someone else's subjective opinion is just food for thought, which can lead you to consider different options that might work with your kit, for your favourite music. I used to play alto sax (before I screwed up my hand in an accident) and found tremendous differences in sound from different instruments, based on the materials it was made from (different grades of brass, copper, bronze, silver), different plating (silver, gold), different weights (the thickness of the materials), the different key designs, different mouthpieces (material, internal shape), different reeds (or even splitting the reed or leaving it as is), the temperature of the room in which it's played (I actually found that using an electric blanket to change the temperature of my sax before playing mad a difference, and between pieces it would go back into it's blanket) and so on - and I found that one combination works better for one piece of music but sounded quite wrong for a different type - to *my* ears. You'll find numerous different saxes, suiting different playing styles and music, and you'll find different players like different saxes. You can't look at a chart and know which sax and accessories will work for your playing style and the music you play. And when you have the same incredible range of choice for every instrument, every player, how can you possibly look at a chart to see which ones work together, which ones you will prefer to hear, with your own unique ears. Guitar strings are another enormous factor - they stretch over time and change length according to ambient temperature, but to different degrees based on the material they're made of, the way they are pegged, and the thickness of the string - you can measure these changes, but you can't measure which strings and which ambient temperature the guitar is played in you prefer to hear. It alsdo matter what temperature your body is - something you can easily test - try listening to a piece of music in ear bud, then listen to it in a hot bath, and in a bath of cold water - it will sound different to you. If you can sing, you can record the same song in identical conditions, with the only differences being your body temperature. You'll find that because you hear it differently, the song you sing will change key slightly. Every part of your hi-fi sounds different at different temperatures too. How many charts should be produced - one for every half degree change in ambient temperature? And you surely know that it will sound different in different rooms due to the way sound waves are reflected and absorbed - how would a chart tell you how it would sound ind your room. Subjective opinion is all that really makes sense. So thanks Jay, I appreciate your views, even though I know I won't necessarily draw the same conclusions, it helps me decide what changes I might make to my own systems and then suck it and see. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. This is why non-audiophile views are troublesome. There isn't one perfect solution for everyone: I know that a friend of mine who used to be a BBC sound engineer really doesn't like the sound of my hi-fi systems and can't understand how I can spend so much money for it to sound the way it does ("So is that really the sound you were looking for?"), and i have other friends (audiophiles and not), who are floored by my systems and take note of the components to replicate it for themselves. But at the end of the day, it's what I want to hear that matters for my hi-fi. If you believe these things don't make any difference, then don't invest in them. Trolling about what someone else hears and enjoys in their room with their hi-fi components at their preferred room temperature played by their favourite musicians and with their ears simply makes no sense.

  • what does this mean: "The majority of the power cables were tuned more neutrally"
    what is cable tuning? and "more neutrally" than what?
    i lost it right on the first line of "findings"

    • Great question. In this context, I meant uncolored. Meaning an even amount of tonal color or energy across the spectrum. Most of the time you won't get very extended highs or lows (not always). You also won't get that euphonic character - which emphasizes the lower midrange. There isn't a lot of hype, rawness, warmness, brightness - just neutral.

    • The cables doesnt focus on highs mids or lows is the best way for me to describe neutral. There are cables that give you more bass, more highs etc but neutral doesnt focus on one area.

  • ... would be interesting to note what specific power cords are in use by the large number of 'audiophiles' who respond to forums....
    no details - no 'was usings', no 'wish I hads again', - just a simple answer what power cord to what piece of equipment (CD, PRE, INT, POWER) is being used in present day systems...

  • 27 is indeed an achievement as cable auditioning is not easy and gets fatiguing. Luckily I came across the Zenwave PSR-14 early in my demoing and immediately knew it was the one. So I stopped there and have no desire it hear other power cords now. What a cable.

      • This is a joke.

        Without measurements or even blind testing this may as well have been written in wingding font.

        This isn't a new field. There are devices that people lives depend on, devices that are critical beyond 'being really good at organ sounds' where testing has proven no difference beyond shielding and having enough conductive material to meet the current supply required.

        Science exists to measure and prove the differences between one thing and another. The fact you ignore proven methods completely is telling.

        You say you are an open minded electrical engineer. So am I, does that mean I believe anything without proof or ignore everything I was thought about physics. No.

        If you stand by your findings then please prove them. Otherwise there is no findings other than random thoughts you believed you perceived.

        • If you're so open-minded, have you tried listening to different power cords? Let me answer that for you. No, you haven't. And it's obvious.

          Science is just a guide - and not everything could be explained with it (yet). Don't forget to be human.

        • Jim(bo): You're a 'Wing-Dink'. As Jay said earlier (and accurately) to someone like minded: Go find yourself a friend. Good luck. You'll need it.

          peter jasz

        • Do you step into an Audio showroom and demand to see specifications or do you plonk yourself into the armchair and ask to listen to your favourite music?

          I rest my case.

  • I'm surprised the entry level HFC cables aren't rated any better than what is written here. In your full loom review, you mentioned the Reveal series having a sense of solidity, but somehow that became a weakness here. What changed?

    • That's the whole point of comparisons like these. It's all relative. The HFC Reveal has believable tonality but does sound relatively flatter (doesn't really layer out the music as well as others). In its own right, it's a great cable. You just can't have it all.

    • I demoed the HFC Reveal, just before receiving the PSR-14 demo cable. The Reveal is not only flatter, but had perhaps the worst bass of any cable I personally auditioned. It was wooly, one note, and off timbre. I hope their expensive power cables are far better. Their interconnects are certainly good.

      • Yeah, that seems to be the trade-off. I feel like the reveal has truer color than most. And as you've said, outside of bass, timbre is actually pretty good. But overall not as dimensionally layered. The PSR-14 is one heck of a cable - but much pricier - and I don't believe the tone is as true (cooler) as the Reveal.

        • Hi Jay,

          Do you have experience with the top Acrolink cables from Japan? I've got a Pc9100 and wonder how it stacks up to any of these cables in the same price range.

      • How long did you burn-in the reveal cable? Was this due to a lack of burn-in time?

        Which of their interconnects did you try, and how were those like?

  • Too subjective without any real testing, concentrate on things like good room treatment instead of imaginary differences in power cables

  • I’m using crystal cable exclusively throughout. I just upgraded to the standard power cord for my Bryston 4B3 made a big difference. It was quiet before but not everything is just clearer and more relaxed. I have crystal cable piccolo on my pre, dac, and LUMIN player. I’m very happy with the sound

    • Great choice of cables. Yeah, there's an elegance and clarity to the sound without being imposing or distracting. Wonderful cables.

  • No Black Sand Cable? A little surprised given they are the go to for a few folks including myself. They don't spend the dollars on marketing and seeking out pro reviews which probably hurts then and a few others like them.

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