Quantcast

Are their differences between AC power cords?

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

Help Support MartinLogan Owners (MLO):

Robin

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
3,292
Reaction score
0
Location
Calistoga, California
I came across, a very thought provoking, 'home theater hifi', article, from 12/04, entitled, "Can We Hear Differences Between AC Power Cords?" What caught my eye, was that, this was a, "blind test", conducted between generic power cords and, 'Nordost Valhalla', power cords. IMHO, the concusions were astounding. Check out this test study:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

I have read, on this forum, the benefits of, improving the sound, of our ML speakers / sound systems, by up-grading the AC power cords, of various equipment, as necessary or applicable. Given the results, of the attached article, it now seems like this practice would be, just an exercise in futility? or a waste of time and money?

I'm so confused... Please help me understand,... :confused:

-Robin
 

DTB300

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallout 3 Land
Robin said:
I have read, on this forum, the benefits of, improving the sound, of our ML speakers / sound systems, by up-grading the AC power cords, of various equipment, as necessary or applicable.
My opinion on the matter...

As with my very small tests with IC's, the same thing will occur with Power Cords. There are components that will get either a sonic benefit or detriment with a replacement of the stock power cord. It is a personal thing, like other cable changes. Like IC's or speaker cables, you can spend very little, or ridiculous amounts of money on Power Cords. Again it all comes down to benefits versus results and you need to make the final decision.

Edit: To answer your question about effects of a PC. I heard a difference when changing cords on my main amplifier from a PS Audio Lab PC and a economical 14Ga Shielded Voltex PC. But when I made some changes on my CD Player and Pre Amp, I am not sure if I heard a difference, or if "I THOUGHT" I heard a difference knowing a change was made. But the Power Amp was a definite change.

End of my opinion......

Items that I have read on power cords out in the wild world of audio....

Sometimes all you need is a cord that helps reject RF and EMI (shielded) to help benefit the power running through it - it cleans up the power a bit.

There have been statements by some in the audio world that if the power is running MANY MANY miles from the Power Plants, down the wires and finally to your home, how in the world can a short cord make any difference.

Connectors, like Furtech helps make more of a difference than the cord itself. Same thing with the outlet where Pass & Seymour and PS Audio outlets get alot of good reviews and talk.

I know there are more items, but I cannot remember them at this time...

End of items from the wild....

ML has stated (if I remember correctly) that a PC change on their speakers should not make any difference as the power is converted from AC to DC (again someone please correct me if my memory has once again malfunctioned :) ). But yet there are people here who have changed their PC's on the speakers and say they have heard a difference for the better.

FYI, some real good discussion and reviews of Power Cords for a nice price with good results are produced by VH Audio and DIY Cable.

Dan
 
Last edited:

Muad'Dib

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
83
Reaction score
0
While slight differences may be measurable electronically between cables, I personally cannot hear the difference. Not only can I not hear the difference, my soon to be career is based on audible difference limens so you will not find me wasting thousands of dollars of MY money on something I am not able hear a difference in. Commence flamming.... I know....

As stated before, if anyone has the time and or money to fund an electrophysiologic study (late potential such as MMN or P300) I will be more than happy to run the testing so we can come to a REAL conclusion regarding cable hype.

-D
 

SugarMedia

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
733
Reaction score
0
Location
EU
I read this article some time back, and it prompted me to write ML and see what they would say as well as if anyone in their shop was doing it. It gives me strong enough reason to believe I won't be spending money in this area.

Here's what they said:

"Thank you for your inquiry and for your support of MartinLogan
products. Your question is quite subjective. Some people believe that
you will hear a difference, others do not. We feel that the cord that
is shipped with the product does the job it is meant to do very well.
The speakers need a power cord to receive AC power. They need power to
charge up the electrostatic panel. Once the panel is charged up, the
speakers do not draw any more power. When a signal leaves the speakers,
the charge on the panels dissipates. When the speakers receive a
signal again, they draw AC power to charge the panel, so on and so forth.
You will have to decide for yourself if the power cords make an audible
difference. Maybe your local dealer can loan you some for you to try.
I, personally, am using stock power cords with my Odyssey speakers."

###
 
Last edited:

DavidG

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Messages
160
Reaction score
0
Location
Solihull, UK
Shielding. . .

Hi,

IMHO, there is one situation where an upgraded mains cable will help.

If you run unshielded interconnects between your components (e.g. Nordost Blue Heaven, Red Dawn etc), and your interconnects are positioned close to your mains cable, then a shielded mains cable may well improve the sound.

To me, this is the only time where you'll see any real benefit. I've tried many cable combinations, and in my own system I've never heard any improvement by swaping mains cables.

Cheers,

David
 

risabet

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
1,317
Reaction score
0
Location
SoCal
A Totally Subjective View!

When I switched the stock PC on my CD player,(Parasound C/DP-1000) I noted difference in both noise floor and soundstaging. Though unsupported by measurement, I trust my ears to hear differences that cannot be explained by measurements.
 
N

noizboy

Guest
Here's a website that I belong to that has quite a bit of info on just such a thing.

www.audioholics.com

It's amazing how much controversy this topic has.
 

DTB300

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallout 3 Land
noizboy said:
It's amazing how much controversy this topic has.
And the controversy is there with all cables in an audio system - IC's, Speaker, and Power Cords. Just look at some of the posts here in this thread alone....

Risbet states: "I trust my ears to hear differences that cannot be explained by measurements."

DavidG states: "and your interconnects are positioned close to your mains cable, then a shielded mains cable may well improve the sound."

Muad'Dib states: "While slight differences may be measurable electronically between cables, I personally cannot hear the difference."

dtb300 states: "But when I made some changes on my CD Player and Pre Amp, I am not sure if I heard a difference, or if "I THOUGHT" I heard a difference knowing a change was made. But the Power Amp was a definite change."

As you see...it all comes down to a personal preference - some hear it some do not. So everyone needs to evaluate the changes you hear in regards to what you spend and determine if it is worth it. This is the discussion that will go on forever in regards to cables in an audio system.

Lastly, I think Roberto posted it in another message - cable are like tone controls for your system - some will make it brighter (more high end emphasis), some will make it darker (more low end empahsis), and some will do absolutely nothing. But we all need to make this determination.

Dan
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,163
Reaction score
31
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
DTB300 said:
And the controversy is there with all cables in an audio system - IC's, Speaker, and Power Cords. Just look at some of the posts here in this thread alone....

Risbet states: "I trust my ears to hear differences that cannot be explained by measurements."

DavidG states: "and your interconnects are positioned close to your mains cable, then a shielded mains cable may well improve the sound."

Muad'Dib states: "While slight differences may be measurable electronically between cables, I personally cannot hear the difference."

dtb300 states: "But when I made some changes on my CD Player and Pre Amp, I am not sure if I heard a difference, or if "I THOUGHT" I heard a difference knowing a change was made. But the Power Amp was a definite change."

As you see...it all comes down to a personal preference - some hear it some do not. So everyone needs to evaluate the changes you hear in regards to what you spend and determine if it is worth it. This is the discussion that will go on forever in regards to cables in an audio system.

Lastly, I think Roberto posted it in another message - cable are like tone controls for your system - some will make it brighter (more high end emphasis), some will make it darker (more low end empahsis), and some will do absolutely nothing. But we all need to make this determination.

Dan
Hola chicos...just a little though...because of triboelectric and piezoelectric properties, all cables are microphonic. and because of these properties, we can use them as a tone control. We know that silver makes the sound brighter than copper...we also know that non of these are perfect conductors, so we have to think in cables as another component, not just them as an interphase...we have to trust in our ears and keep what we liked. Listen to the musicians and not to the music is the key here!!! Happy listening,
Roberto.
 

DTB300

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallout 3 Land
roberto said:
Hola chicos...just a little though...because of triboelectric and piezoelectric properties, all cables are microphonic. and because of these properties, we can use them as a tone control.
I agree...slight change....and each must be evaluated for your own tastes...

And to go one step further. You can take the same IC cable, and put three different RCA connectors on (you MUST also consider the quality of the solder joint) and you will get three different results or tonal characteristics. Same goes for Power Cables and their connectors - but for me, I find PC's have less of an impact than IC's or Speaker cables.

For me and my perferences I have found a connector that I like for IC's...know I am trying to find the cable to match up with it.

Dan
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,163
Reaction score
31
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
roberto said:
Hola chicos...just a little though...because of triboelectric and piezoelectric properties, all cables are microphonic. and because of these properties, we can use them as a tone control. We know that silver makes the sound brighter than copper...we also know that non of these are perfect conductors, so we have to think in cables as another component, not just them as an interphase...we have to trust in our ears and keep what we liked. Listen to the musicians and not to the music is the key here!!! Happy listening,
Roberto.
Regarding the power cables, 100% agreed with Dan. Some might hear a big difference and other don't. As you know, I have a tube amp, and I have to use a heavy gauge power cord. The bass of my amp. is more deep and faster then the cable that came from the factory. It did an improovement to my sound, but not a truly dramatic change. Also, there are some power cords that comes whit some active components that filters the A.C. line. If you live near a factory or your A.C. line comes with some dirt, the power cord could filter this unwanted noise and perhaps make your sound better. Trust your ears and keep what you liked! Happy listening!
Roberto.
 

DTB300

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallout 3 Land
roberto said:
As you know, I have a tube amp, and I have to use a heavy gauge power cord. The bass of my amp. is more deep and faster then the cable that came from the factory. It did an improovement to my sound, but not a truly dramatic change.
Same thing with my amp - but I run Solid State, not Tubes. The new cord has the same effect you mention yet another cord I tried is lean and bright sounding. Good thing the cord I use came with the amp as part of the deal when I bought it :)

Also, there are some power cords that comes whit some active components that filters the A.C. line. If you live near a factory or your A.C. line comes with some dirt, the power cord could filter this unwanted noise and perhaps make your sound better. Trust your ears and keep what you liked! Happy listening!
PS Audio markets their Power Cords as having Ferrite impregnated into the jacket for noise filtering. Some others use a ferrite choke as part of their cable. Others use a braided shield over the conductors and just under the jacket. Many choices out there to try and find what works best...

Dan
 
D

docknow

Guest
I will add fuel to the fire ...

Although it is one place you think that changing power cords would have little to no effect, swapping power cords on my CLS's is clearly very audible. I have had numerous non-audiophiles hear the difference between the stock cords, radio shack cords and now some TG audio knockoffs.

I have recently, one at a time, replaced all the other cords in my system with Signal Cable Magic Powercords and each one has been a noticable improvement.

I purchased nearly all of them used on Audiogon. One fellow sold me one he thought was a Signal Cable but was something else that I tried on my Linn Lingo and it has little effect on the sound, nothing I woudl pay for. So not all cables make a difference. However, all the Signal Cables did.

-jim
 

DTB300

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
2,146
Reaction score
0
Location
Fallout 3 Land
docknow said:
I have recently, one at a time, replaced all the other cords in my system with Signal Cable Magic Powercords and each one has been a noticable improvement.
I had considered trying some of these cables, but really knew or heard very little about them. He (Frank) offers a great price for his product with some decent connectors (Marinco - wish he offered some Furtech's) on them.

What type of differences did you hear with them on your system?

Dan
 
D

docknow

Guest
Tightening in the bass, greater focus in the mids and the ability to hear distinct musical lines more easily in complex music. I am sure more expensive cords would do even better, but the price to improvement ration of Franks power cords are amazing. So much so that I am going to try his silver interconnect between my AI3a and D115mkII to see if it is better than my Cardas Quadlink.
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,163
Reaction score
31
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
docknow said:
Tightening in the bass, greater focus in the mids and the ability to hear distinct musical lines more easily in complex music. I am sure more expensive cords would do even better, but the price to improvement ration of Franks power cords are amazing. So much so that I am going to try his silver interconnect between my AI3a and D115mkII to see if it is better than my Cardas Quadlink.
Yes, you are right...it happened to me also...but not as dramatic change was when I setted harmonich tech ICs from my preamp to the power amp...this was a truly dramatic change, and I was using (with all respect of Transparent cable users) a transparent I.C. model Music Link balanced. Now I'm using them RCAs, and I like it better. Please take a note when I say it is my liking and not necessary your liking. Many things are involved in a sound system, and many are just "matter of taste". Please don't get me wrong. When the most dramatic change is produced from an AC cables is from a dirty A.C. line. Many of us might have bad A.C. Others don't. Some power cords filter the A.C. signal that might be contaminated, and with this kind of cables, we can reduced this unwanted noise or contamination. In some systemes, the change is more evident than others, and this does not mean that the A.C. cables can improove your sound in your system. What I do is trust in my ears, and make up my mind what I liked most and stay or keep my system the way I liked better. It is very controversial, besides, some of us have better ears than others, or we listen different than others, and what we like and hear is different than others...in other words: trust your ears and enjoy the musicians...music is the food of our soul!!! Happy listening,
Roberto
 

Robin

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
3,292
Reaction score
0
Location
Calistoga, California
Wonderful advice...

Roberto,

I think, you give great advice and recommendations. Ultimately, we do just need to take your advice, 'trust our ears and enjoy'....

Thank you :D :D :D

-Robin
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,163
Reaction score
31
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
Robin said:
Roberto,

I think, you give great advice and recommendations. Ultimately, we do just need to take your advice, 'trust our ears and enjoy'....

Thank you :D :D :D

-Robin
Hola Robin...thank you for your kind words...and you are right!!! We have to trust in our ears. I tihink it is the only way to go. Our ears have the hability to listen things that we can not measure with test intruments because all of them are linear and our ears are logarithmic (logaritmico). Also we sense with our ears...how can you measure hearing sense?...it is good to know that we are in a great hands, because I don't want to be too fanatic: we all love ML sound and the many hours of listening pleasure!!! Again, thanks so much!
Roberto.
 

patlad

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
77
Reaction score
0
Location
Toronto - ON
docknow said:
Tightening in the bass, greater focus in the mids and the ability to hear distinct musical lines more easily in complex music. I am sure more expensive cords would do even better, but the price to improvement ration of Franks power cords are amazing. So much so that I am going to try his silver interconnect between my AI3a and D115mkII to see if it is better than my Cardas Quadlink.
It happened to me also since I've plug in my DIY mains with Furutech shucko/IEC. The sound seems warmer especially when listening jazz.
I'm experimenting at the moment and I may try higher quality cable like Furutech (at the moment I've used a 3x6mm2 industrial cable). My dealer just got some furutech main cables so I feel I won't wait long to buy few meters :)
 
Top