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A/C power cable upgrade


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56 replies to this topic

#1 of 57 John Meringolo

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Posted February 22 2003 - 01:35 AM

I have been trying to locate a supply of A/C cables for my CD player, pre-amp and amps for a while now. I have seen the mega $$$$ cables on some other sites but they are beyond my means. I do want to upgrade them, why else would they be made removable? I would not use the RCA cable that came with my CD or DVD player and neither would I use the A/C power cord. If someone knows of a supplier in the New York area it would be greatly appreciated if you let me know. Also what are your thoughts on this "tweak"?

#2 of 57 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted February 22 2003 - 02:23 AM

John,

Quote:
I do want to upgrade them, why else would they be made removable?
The first thing that comes to mind would be for easy replacement should the power cable ever fail. This is not uncommon at the point where the cable exits the chassis, often because of hard bends or repeated pivotal action. Another reason might be to easily replace it with a longer or shorter cable to better suit installation needs.

Quote:
I would not use the RCA cable that came with my CD or DVD player and neither would I use the A/C power cord.
They are the same quality as the attached power cables on VCRs, sat receivers, TVs etc. How have those worked for you?

Quote:
If someone knows of a supplier in the New York area it would be greatly appreciated if you let me know.
I would expect any electronics hobby store would have a supply of these cables, although they are probably comparable to the stock ones you have now. You might try making your own. It’s not hard at all. Any hardware store will carry high quality, heavy-duty male ends from manufacturers like Hubbel, Pass & Seymour and Leviton. The female ends might be a little trickier to find, but it’s possible the electronics hobby store will sell them.

Personally I find some of these “boutique” power cables a little scary, especially the braided ones. These are not UL listed, for good reason. They use wire with rather thin jackets that was designed for other applications – like use in conduits, for instance. The thin jacket is relative easy to puncture, so these cables definitely should to be handled with care.

Quote:
Also what are your thoughts on this "tweak"?
Personally I don’t take much stock in it. However, quite a few people claim it makes a difference. I expect any perceived improvement is directly related to the quality of your system and its ability to deliver superior resolution. This is one thing no one ever mentions when they affirm or dismiss tweaks like this. When you see someone passionately making a case about this or any other kind of cable, find out what kind of equipment they are using – mid-fi, high-end, ultra high-end – and determine if their experiences and/or equipment relates in any way to your own.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#3 of 57 Chu Gai

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Posted February 22 2003 - 04:24 AM

well said Mr. P. I would rather shudder at the thought that an ultra hi-end unit would benefit from a more substantial power cord. it also seems to me one of the reason you don't see any kind of UL listing on 'audiophile' type power cords has to do with the manufacturer's not wanting to spend the nominal amount of money required to obtain one. rather they foist off on the public how they use UL listed or registered components. Rather shoddy and not inspiring of confidence.

#4 of 57 Mark Rich

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Posted February 22 2003 - 06:42 AM

IMO ac power cords can provide some of the most dramatic performance improvement in HT. Your power amp is the first place to start experimenting.
You do not have to spend a fortune on this tweak but quality components are important. Not every plug, no matter how impressive it looks works well. Why not go with the DIY route? Parts Express is a great place to start. They sell all the parts and even provide on-line instructions. If you can strip wire and use a screw driver you can make your own.
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#5 of 57 Brian OK

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Posted February 22 2003 - 09:24 AM

I also would recommend the DIY route on power cords.
The Belden 83802 can be found over at www.audiogon.com (look under cables/power) and is a great place to start.

Also, there is a "how to make your own power cords" tutorial if you visit parts express. AC plugs and IEC connectors to look for would be Marinco and Hubbell, Pass&Seymour and Wattgate. Just type "marinco" in keyword search function.
And don't be swayed by others who summarily dismiss aftermarket power cords for whatever reason. As in most things, the use of quality parts, better materials, and sound construction techniques, usually results in better performance.
Again, I recommend the 83802 Belden wire as a great DIY power cord. Look for the fellow selling the power cord "kits" at audiogon. His name is Ernie.

Good Luck,
BOK

PS-- John, I have an extra Marinco IEC, as well as three AC plugs (Pass&Seymour 5266X, a Leviton, and a Marinco plug. I will sell them cheap (less than Parts Xpress and Ernie @Audiogon) if you are interested. Drop me a line if so.
BOK

#6 of 57 Chu Gai

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Posted February 22 2003 - 10:29 AM

Personally, I've nothing against 'rolling your own'. If going that route, as a prophylactic measure, what do you think about adding capacitors strategically placed to address concerns, real or imagined, about 'noise' Brian?

#7 of 57 Mike Matheson

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Posted February 22 2003 - 10:39 AM

A relatively inexpensive pc recommended on Jon Risch's website. . .

Volex cord

#8 of 57 Brian OK

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Posted February 22 2003 - 01:21 PM

Chu, I have a capacitor inserted in the Bolder digital coax I use (for RF/EMI).
For power cords, seems to me most who include noise cancelling devices on power cords use ferrite rings, or powdered ferrite capsules in some form or another. And these would be placed somewhere along the length of the cord, sometimes at both ends, or simply in the middle.

I don't use them on any cords I own, but some adhere to the benifits of ferrite.
BOK

#9 of 57 Bill Kane

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Posted February 22 2003 - 01:43 PM

for ferrite "powder" imbedded in the cable, see the new "revolutionary" PS Audio power cable just announced at $499 for 1 meter. Makes homebuilt all the more attractive...

#10 of 57 Chu Gai

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Posted February 22 2003 - 09:05 PM

i take it you're using the cap at the receiving end attached to the shield and the component?

#11 of 57 Robert_Dufresne

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Posted February 23 2003 - 01:50 PM

John

In a market as competitive as is audio and video, where companies compete for a peace of a growing market,it would'nt make economical sense for them to skimp on the power cord if it did indeed make a difference.

A "bigger better" power cord would certainly be an easy and cheap upgrade for them to do if they believed it could better the performance of their equipment and therefor
give them an edge over the competition.

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#12 of 57 Ken Custodio

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Posted February 23 2003 - 01:53 PM

Can you really tell the difference? I was at my local B&M dealer's and they had a fairly expensive Cardas Power Cord, I think the Golden Reference, and I couldn't tell the difference between a stock cable, We tried it on a Lexicon Pre/Pro hooked up to Thiel speakers.

I guess I would consider DIY power cables, just to make them custom lengths to fit my audio rack and make a neater installations. Plus they will look better than the cheap looking stock cables Posted Image
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#13 of 57 MikeTz

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Posted March 08 2003 - 06:00 AM

I have heard many arguments for after market power cords. Virtually all of the high end magazines report on their sonic benefits. These magazines are almost always testing the power cords with audio systems that cost as much as many of our homes. In addition I have learned (the hard way) that what the Absolute Sound or Stereophile reviewers think is a "significant" sonic improvement, many times is a barely audible difference to those of us with systems that cost less than a Ferrari. This is not a knock on the audio press. I believe they are faithfully reporting what they hear. I'm just saying it's important to understand how closely your own situation resembles that of the reviewers when considering how to assess their advice.

I'm an electrical engineer and I believe there are a few things to consider with power cords. First, they should be able to deliver enough dynamic current to the device for optimum operation. This means your power cord should consist of the proper gauge wire to deliver that current without excessive voltage drop. It's worth noting that most of our equipment draws very little current except for amplifiers. Second, digital audio equipment produces quite a bit of radio frequency noise and this interference can enter your components through the power cord causing sonic degredation. Sometimes you can hear that degredation and sometimes you can't. Many after market power cords have very good shielding as opposed to stock cords. These after market cords typically have conductor designs (twisted) that reduce magnetic noise as well as metallic (ferrite, foil, copper, etc.) shields that reduce radio frequency interference. This can translate into sonic improvement.

Hopefully I haven't bored you with techno babble. My recommendation is not get drawn in to buying a power cable that costs more than a couple hundred dollars (and certainly not one that costs more than your component). For your digital source components try a well shielded power cable, for a high current amplfier try a cable that has a low gauge wire (12 or 10) for current handling and good shielding (make sure the cable is as short as possible). But make the comparison between a stock power cord and an after market cord at your dealer before you buy, and remember, if you can't hear the difference forget what everyone else says and don't waste your money! If you think the after market cord makes a differnce worth a hundred or two, then buy it and enjoy.

Let me know how you fared.

#14 of 57 KeithH

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Posted March 09 2003 - 02:20 AM

John asked:

Quote:
I do want to upgrade them, why else would they be made removable?


Without negating the potential benefit of changing power cords (I don't want to start a flame war), removing a power cord makes loading a component into a cabinet very easy. When you have a component rack close to a wall and you load a component with a fixed power cord into a rack from the front, it can be a real pain in the neck.
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#15 of 57 Ron Boster

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Posted March 10 2003 - 12:38 AM

The cord that made the most difference in my system was the Granite Audio cord on my DVD PC. Less background noise and the vertical banding that appears w/LCD FP technology (in light colored images) was less apparent. Since I'm not much of an audiophile, it's hard for me to comment on it's benefits....I'd do some research on the GA cords. Again, audiogon is a good place to pick one up in an auction or used market.

Ron

#16 of 57 Chu Gai

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Posted March 10 2003 - 04:27 AM

spend any time to try to identify the source of the noise?

#17 of 57 Walt Park

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Posted March 10 2003 - 04:40 AM

Chris VenHaus, who had a popular recipe for 83802 PC's has started cooking his own wire and has made it available. It's cheaper than the belden too.

http://www.venhaus1.com/diymains.html
http://venhaus1.com/VH_Audio_Test.html

The plugs are the same/price as the partexpress pieces.

Anyway, I got some of that stuff, and will be trying it out when I can get some time to sit down and make them.

Anyway, if you're thinking about making some cables on the cheaper side, this maybe something you want to look into.

I'm personally not sure it will sound better, but it was not all that expensive, and it will give me an excuse to make people listen to my crap Posted Image

As for the Cap thing, why does it have to be on a power cord? Why not just put it inline with the power near the outlet? Isnt that essentially what the monster thing or the BlueCircle noise hound is?

http://www.bluecircl....php?menu_id=54

#18 of 57 Mark Rich

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Posted March 10 2003 - 08:39 AM

Here are a few custom cable makers who offer some decent yet affordable ac cords. With the 30 day return/refund policy why not give them a try? If they don't do anything for you simply return them.
Rhinocables.com
Boldercables.com
Cscables.com
Diycable.com
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#19 of 57 Ron Boster

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Posted March 11 2003 - 12:28 AM

Chu:

I live in a 75 yr old house, so it would be difficult to isolate the source.
'
Ron

#20 of 57 Scott_N

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Posted March 11 2003 - 03:06 AM

Well I thought that powercord upgrades were nonsense until a few days ago when my dealer let me audition a Custom Power Cord Company model 11 and to my suprise it made a big difference! Everything was better defined and more natural sounding and the stage seems to have a blacker background. I plan to buy one for my amp and maybe one for my CDP later.


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