Russ Andrews PowerKord Testeroo

My current 500 system used the following power cords Nap500 Powerline, 552/ND555 Heavy duty home brew powercords using 6mm conductors and gold plated plugs. The sound from this arrangement is very good.

I have been contemplating replacing my home brew power leads with Naim powerlines… but I decided to try 3 x Russ Andrews Powerkord Evolution 500’s on a 60 day trial - as I had nothing to loose.

Well they arrived yesterday … quality looked excellent - all plugs rhodium fitted with so called ‘super fuses’ and with ‘Super Burn In’ whatever that is… Anyway … I scrabbled around the back of my gear and eventually fitted the blighters … the IEC plugs were a nice tight fit…that was reassuring. I gave the system a quick 15 minute run … and I had some surprises… Stereo stage appeared wider and there appeared to be some gains in depth… so that was nice - everything seems slightly more refined … but I need to do some extended listening - to see if the timing and pace have been sacrificed.

However, I had one big unexpected pleasant surprise - my Nap500 has a particularly grumbly transformer which drives me round the bend. It gets so loud at times that it can be heard in other rooms! As soon as I plugged in the powerkords I noticed all the transformers were really quiet…and so far I have not had one buzz or hum. I am delighted with that :slight_smile:

As the weeks go on I will report back on my findings … so far so good…at about the 30 day mark I will swap back my original cords and see what I think…

4 Likes

Just be very careful that refined doesn’t equate to boring over time. It’s probably wise to compare to three Powerlines at the same time, which may be better still and would be a fairer comparison. That the grumbly transformer is silenced is odd. Maybe it’s a coincidence… or maybe not.

Yes agree hum it could be co-incidence, although it was steadily buzzing before I changed the leads… I agree regarding timing and pace…that’s why I want to live with it for a while… then swap back. Regarding powerlines you have a point … I may have a chat with my local stealer…

Cheers Happy New Year!

I had a quick look on the russ andrews site, it does talk about a new helical twist of the earthing wire for a low noise earthing arrangement…perhaps that is making a difference.

I think you owe it to yourself to try Powerlines. Before I had my 500 system I played around with numerous power cables. Quite a few were from Russ Andrews. My eventual conclusion was that the standard Naim power cords were the most balanced and musical. Sure you could get others better at specific elements but to achieve that balance was very difficult.

Weren’t the Powerlines a trickle down product from developing the Statement? If they were I suspect you’ll find it difficult and expensive to better them.

I have all my 500 kit running on Powerlines and find they add very similar attribute to Superlimina, beter bass, sweeter treble, lower noise floor and wider, more stable imaging. My only reccomendation is to try well run-in pairs as they take a while to settle down and can sound a bit lumpy on first use.

1 Like

Another option would be to try a musicworks powerblock with the updated base £1300 with your existing cables. It certainly works very well with powerlines even though they are designed to reduce microphony.

1 Like

My original arrangement, had good pace, speed and slam - making it very musical. As it was late last night … I did not have chance to listen at usual levels … the test for me is the pace, speed and slam - if the new leads upset this … then they will be out the door - I am willing to sacrifice the slight hifi gains - for sheer musical communication…but I need to give it time.

You are right. It’s easy to tell if the ‘bass’ or whatever is improved but it takes a while to be sure what’s happening on the musical communication front. As a fully paid up Naim sheep I simply bought Powerlines: the thought of trying something else never really occurred to me. If it had I probably wouldn’t have done it anyway as the thought of comparing cables gives me the heebie jeebies.

3 Likes

There is a synergy about Powerlines, and the use of the MusicWorks Sparkly distribution box adds to it with its own PL. I use PLs on the Innuos Zenith and Rega Aria also.

The other Power Supplies are as much a source of the constant hum as the mains itself in my experience. The 4m of PL between the 500 and the rest seems to quench the noise.

The way of looking at AC power is that its like waves in a pond. The mains makes big waves like throwing in a very large stone while other sources such as PS transformers can be likened to smaller stones. Distance then comes into play in the way they interfere. Electromagnetism means that there are lots of little stones being thrown in constantly according to the power requirements of the music.

Should have added that power supplies are like devices for converting water wave energy into electric. However, they only take it when they need it which has an effect on the waves in the pond.

Phil

1 Like

My HiCap DR had a persistent hum/buzz/grumble that was audible when no music was playing. It was powered by an unbranded IEC cable that I had probably received with other equipment in the past. The cables behind the system were not the proverbial bag of snakes, but some of them were touching each other and the wall.

The problem disappeared after I put everything on a full fat Fraim stack and fitted a PowerLine to the HiCap. When I acquired two more PowerLines a few months later, I reconnected everything via an Audio Agile power strip. By mistake, I used the same unbranded IEC cable with the HiCap again. When I realised my mistake, the hum/buzz/grumble on the HiCap had not returned.

With hindsight, it would seem that careful cable dressing, a decent power strip and a good rack probably eliminated the problem, rather than the PowerLine specifically instead of the unbranded power cable.

The addition of the PowerLines has almost certainly improved the sound quality further, although I am now probably close to the far end of the curve of diminishing returns.

I’ll continue to watch out for another affordable PowerLine or two on that auction site, but I have no urge to cross the cost threshold of anything more expensive than that for cables (for the time being).

David

My Nap500 traffo has been a swine … I have had the amp in 3 different locations both with a powerline and the std NAP500 powercord (2002 unit) … I have tried always to stop the hum … I even discussed it with Naim direct … they confirmed that the latest traffo’s are slightly different in construction - with less propensity to hum. I never expected the RA power cable to have a quenching effect - but it clearly does. It remains to be seen - if this cable also crushes the ‘dynamics’ … I will feed back. When I quickly tested - I did not hear anything that alarmed me - it seemed quite lithe and able to track complex bass lines. I am also aware that my 3 Powerkords need to be fully bedded in…so I think there is room for improvement to be fair to the RA cables. I am detailing my findings - as I think it will be of interest to other Naim owners. According to RA one of their main customer types are Naim owners.

Note the transformer noise…was getting to me so much that I was contemplating sending the psu unit back to Naim for a new transformer … not a cheap option!

1 Like

With Naim, you really shouldn’t be using exotic plated plugs, cables, etc before trialling Powerlines and using that as the base comparison. btw gold is good corrosion resistant, but quite poor conductor.

Also be aware that plugs are not pure copper … most are brass alloys including Naims - which is significantly worse conductor than pure copper. I think the idea behind rhodium is to provide a hard pure surface - onto a softer brass sub-strait (with high copper content) …

Had a bit of a session last night … low level detail is improved where sound fades into the background (Jonn Serrie Star Gazer is great for this), some instruments have appeared that I was not aware of before (very much like the DR upgrade effect - but not quite as pronounced), high frequencies seem to be more refined, bass lines seem well tracked, upper bass perhaps more recessed lower bass seems deeper, vocals in particular are very beautiful - for some reason they appear just to be better… Overall - pretty darn good - but I am still reserving judgement, I am in the phase of dissecting things…I want the music to get under my skin - with this setup and then switch back to my original setup. I need to be convinced that at least no harm has taken place regarding the elemental rhythmic cohesion/communication…I will feed back again later next week…I have a feeling these cables will keep improving…

3 Likes

When you report back Richie, don’t forget to include the hum effect

Had a good listen last night omg it’s good so far…the detail is improved … giving more rhythmic information just like the DR upgrades…the low level information retrieval is very very good. Stereo width and depth are better… I am still … making up my mind as to whether there has been any form of loss with regard to pace and drive/speed. So far I would say no harm has been done…but I am still adjusting to the new acoustic landscape…

Regarding noise hum is greatly reduced…I did have one big hum moment…I think the cables have a dampening effect…which once saturated allows the hum… Curently I would say my system is at least 85% quiter…I will keep monitoring…just in case we are going through a quiet spell. My leads are 1m I think if maybe I had 1.5m leads it may offer more suppression… but that’s a guess…

Another factor for me is my setup is not really optimal for cable dressing…this is where the RA cables work well. Maybe if I had separate brain and braun racks with plenty of space the standard powerline approach would be closer…as usual nothing is ever as simple or clear as you would first think.

Meanwhile I will keep feeding back.

1 Like

Hi Richie, I suspect its a higher than normal level of capacitance that the PowerKord weave adds.


I have no idea what the numbers are (but interested if it can be determined)
For a comparison I have just measured some regular 2.5mm 3 core & a length of the old RA ‘Yellow’ with its Kimber weave & it shows x3 more C in what is a very simple weave compared to the PK 500.

Naim PowerLines are 2m. I think the cables do make a difference. The mains block doubles the distance besides everything else it does. The cables may also benefit from not being under stress. I took mine from the MusicWorks thingy underneath the racks avoiding contact with each other. I have mostly wool carpet also. If your cables have wadding they may not bend as easily. The sound has much more drive now and I don’t have DR on my 552/500.

Phil

Phil

1 Like

Mine are not under stress … but appear just right length wise… I was keen not to have spaghetti under my rack… but I think you have a point … the cable length does have an impact. Does the naim powerline have twisted cables within the core makeup…???

1 Like

The 500 when DR’d really gains more drive and clarity…its very worthwhile…the 552 is improved but the difference is more subtle…I’m sure you already know that…

1 Like