The Power of Power

A few moons ago I documented my experiences of installing both a dedicated mains radial and a mains ring circuit in my home and how, ultimately, I ended up finding the presentation from the original house ring more to my taste - warmer, more airy, bigger soundstage. The dedicated outlets sounded faster but harsh and compressed with a collapsed soundstage. This, obviously, went against the usual outcomes. For anyone interested, I’ve solved this perplexation. Quality powercords. Does the newly revised site allow publishing of brands? Until someone tells me I can be specific, I won’t as I’m castigation-averse.

Months ago I tried a £2k cord - that did absolutely no better than the £250 cord I was using on the amp. A couple of weeks ago I tried something else at under £650 into one of the dedicated sockets and life instantly changed for the better. More detail, more separation of instruments, thundering but controlled bass, expansive stage, warmth. Also more dynamics; I’d always struggled with, especially vocals, being too recessed in my Contour 60’s. I had to play loud to tap into emotional involvement. A dealer who came down to demo’ Harbeth SL5’s declared the sound ‘dead’ and he wasn’t wrong. But now vocals, guitars, percussion were thrown significantly forward and engendered a much more emotionally engaging presentation.

I’ve been through most of the upgrade path vis-a-vis boxes and cables over the years and this power cord, which, as a result, has become a suite of cords, has improved my sound in a more profound way than I remember anything else doing. I don’t live in an industrial or very heavily populated area so never thought of my power as being particularly more polluted than most people’s. Perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it’s just all the ‘stuff’ that wafts around the back of the rack. I don’t know. But I do know that what I’m hearing now is not a million miles from what I heard from the excellent new Dynaudio Confidence 30 before the new cord(s) went in. I thought I’d reached the 60’s limit and would have to upgrade them; but now I know there’s more to come and will also demo’ the ‘noise dissipation’ unit which this company makes. It may be too much; more detail at the cost of being ‘musical’. But I’ll be on the lookout for that.

My message is, I can’t recommend enough the enormous positive impact of (the right) power cords, even if you’ve got dedicated mains outlets. The improvement for me is worth the cost of a 252 for the sonic benefit I’m getting. May not be the same for folks with different kit. We often say that hi fidelity begins with the source. Well, not for me. For me my sound is clearly underpinned by the power I feed the system - and, for me, this is fundamentally affected by the power cords I use. I’m astonished that a power cord makes a bigger impact than interconnects/speaker cable and look how much we’re prepared to spend on them. I wish it were not so because it’s yet another piggybank to break. But there it is. No going back now.

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I remember your slightly unusual findings on dedicated mains via the old forum - good to hear that you’ve made progress. There are no forum rules against naming brands of kit (with a couple of specific exceptions) so you are free to tell all!
I have to ask the obvious question though. If these power cords are so good on the dedicated mains circuit, do they not provide as much (or even more) benefit on your ring main?

ChrisSU, good to be back! I just had to pass on the experience because I’ve wasted so much cash on things that don’t work or half work or create another problem somewhere else. If I can help anyone else avoid similar, I will. Plus, I suspect power cords probably aren’t near the top of everybody’s list - when perhaps, at a certain point, they should be…?

Right-oh, well, in the hope this isn’t one of the exceptions, the cable that really shook everything up was an Audioquest Thunder. Quickly after that I ditched every other cable and found used NRG4’s and an NRG10. Things have got so good that I’m compelled to trial a Hurricane (it’s on order) and the Niagara 5000. Now I know what the results can be, I want to see how far I can go within the realms of budget and staying musical.

Excellent point re: the house ring. I’m almost too terrified to change or move anything right now for fear of losing the magic. So thanks for torpedoing that with a new itch! I’ll check it out over the weekend and let you know. The socket is inches away so it’s an easy test.

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Maybe the ring will sound even better with £5.99 kettle leads on it. :sunglasses:


…you can run but you can’t hide…!

Well, I just tried the old ring main outlet. Not bad, different. Still relaxed bordering cotton-woolly, but more finesse and detail than before the power cord. The dedicated outlets are ‘taughter’, more focused. The original ring would be very nice for anything gentle and romantic - late night Norah Jones/Eleanour Mcavoy/Amber Rubarth etc. The dedicated lines for just about anything else… more slam, speed, attack. I’m straight back on the dedicated line. I’ll trial the Hurricane and a Niagara 5000 to see what they bring.

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Interesting… but I have to ask…is that a Frank Zappa inspired thread title? :open_mouth:

I had to go Googling to work that one out, not being a Zappa devotee - very good :slight_smile:

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