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[Poll] A poll on whether Power Cords make a difference

Discussion in 'audio' started by duckworp, Jun 14, 2018.


Do Power Cords Make A Difference?

  1. Yes they do make a difference

    145 vote(s)
  2. No they don't make a difference

    166 vote(s)
  3. I don't know

    53 vote(s)
  1. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    If he's a proper cat he should have his own YouTube channel.
  2. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Just ask for Higgs.
  3. Marky-Mark

    Marky-Mark pfm Member

    It was nothing personal. I'm sure he's a good guy. And forum SNR is as subjective as cable Foo. This forum doesn't have as rich an assortment of Fooevangaleestas as others, and that's something to consider if anyone has not read the true Foofans. Here is a sample I fell over recently. It's a bit long but it allows the full Foo flavor to pop:

    The standard power cable provided by the maunfacturer is not capable of responding to the immense demands of tranient signals. More advanced designs allow the conveyance of enough power in a timely manner such that an amp can perform up to its full potential and reproduce those transients more faithfully.

    Monoblocks do assist in the dynamic reproduction of music because of their large transformers /power supplies, but it really depends on the amount of current actually drawn by the amp as to how effective a third party power cable might be.

    Smaller components that have a smaller power supply will "generally" show more of an improvement in sound quality when a better quality power cord is employed

    Components that employ Wal-wart power supplies will excell when their power supply is switched to something more substantial including a better power cord.

    Also - the quality of the actual conductors used in a powercord will improve the speed of the reproduction of those transients - e.g. that drum will actually sound much crisper (faster) and the bass will have more texture and slam.

    I prefer silver plated conductors because they are affordable and offer almost the same perofrmance as solid silver.

    Then there is the geometry of the cable itself - this contributes to the overall clarity and imaging...
    - The standard geometry of three wires side-by-side - perhaps with a slight twist - i.e. "The Norm" - is the worst possible geometry to use - it’s worst attribute is - it s noisy. To improve performance companies simply rely on conductor quality to achieve improvements in sound.

    - Braided cables are less noisy and offer significantly better dynamic performance than the standard geometry and will show discernable improvements on components with smaller power suplies

    - the best I have tried to date is a helix geometry - where the neutral and ground conductors are wound around the live condcutor - they have an extremely fast dynamic response with very low noise characteristics that results in the most realistic repeoduction of music.

    So to sum up - that cable that comes in the box will do the job - but very poorly in comparison to other cables and especially a helix cable.

    Many others besides myself have tried the helix design on a variety of systems (i.e. solid state and tube) and all agree they provide a significant improvement.

    If you really want your system to soar to new heights - also employ IC’s and speaker cables that also use a helix geometry.

    Isn't that just special?
  4. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Interesting to see that 34% so far are THAT gullible! If they believe this then it should be really easy to con them into believing absolutely anything about hi fi... oh it seems there are plenty of charlatans doing that already!

    It's bizarre that a subject which is by definition modern, having come about since around only the late 40's and needing electricity to function, should be stuck in a medieval mindset where in a dark, featureless vacuum of any knowledge whatsoever, many hi fi enthusiasts believe in the equivalent of witchcraft and evil spirits. A strange form of "reversion to type".... In most subjects which have been around since time immemorial, science and understanding have enlightened mankind to the truth behind things once held as mysterious... people don't generally still believe that serious illness is caused by being given the evil eye by the local witch or that the cows aren't making milk due to leprechauns in the field. In hi fi this process has gone in reverse!

    It seems to go along the following lines for many audiophools... "I know nothing about the electronics behind how hi fi works and I find it so mind boggling/boring that I don't want to know either/can't be bothered to learn.... So... I'll allow all my "opinions" to be formed by reading the opinions of peers who also know nothing about it and pick which ones seem, in the absence of any knowledge whatsoever, most plausible/most appealing/most popular, and then defend these "opinions" to the death"... in the same way a religious nut defends and believes in an invisible god who no one has ever even seen...

    It would be a fascinating subject for study by psychologists and sociologists as an apotheosis of the whole "we don't need experts" fiasco which mires so much of modern life. Maybe it works on something like "I know nowt about hi fi's technicalities but having spent £10K on it over 10 years has earned me the right to have any bollox I talk taken just as seriously as the professional opinion of experts...." "and there's no way I'm going to tolerate my complete lack of knowledge being exposed by the input of genuine experts and end up feeling belittled by it, so I'll take the stance of experts? we don't need 'em and they can STFU!" "Even if what I'm saying is apparently impossible according to these fvcking experts I'll just ignore that inconvenient fact and shout even louder!"

    You couldn't make it up....
    Timcat, mw757 and Mescalito like this.
  5. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    Only two days ago ........

    And yet... 6 posts alone in this thread . And your inevitable reply to this post will make it 7.
  6. Hook

    Hook Blackbeard's former bo'sun.

    Do polls about whether power cords make a difference make a difference?
    booja30 likes this.
  7. Tigerjones

    Tigerjones Bagpuss

    They make as much difference as power cords.
    naimplayer and Still like this.
  8. Alexh

    Alexh pfm Member

    I voted yes, but it was not just a single cable. My whole system has LoRad cables. I am surrounded by Wifi points and without the shielding the system has a harshness to the treble.
    I took the advise from Philip Newall`s book, Recording studio design and now have fully balanced mains and all cables shielded.
    I can now listen happily any time now and don't have to wait until late in the evening when the electricity demand is lower.
    Chops54 likes this.
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    It's useless to try, but that and related comments fall over when people understand that in a linear power supply the mains is disconnected from the audio circuit for at least 90% of the time. During this time the circuit is solely powered from a reservoir capacitor, and the mains lead contributes nothing to audio reproduction, whether its a matter of transients or not.

    That's how a bridge rectifier works - the mains is only connected to the reservoir capacitor for at most 10% of a mains cycle - just enough to replenish the charge that was extracted by the audio circuit while the mains was disconnected. The rest of the time the diodes are reverse-biased and so don't conduct.

    Once a mains lead has low enough resistance there's nothing more it can do WRT providing enough power to the audio circuit. It's down to the quality of the reservoir capacitor.

    I know from working with an EMC compliance engineer in one phase of my career that RFI can be conducted into (and out of) equipment via the mains lead and can get into circuits by sometimes unexpected mechanisms. AFAICS, that's about the only impact a mains lead might have. Fortunately the effect is well known and can be designed for, although I expect some design errors inevitably slip through and in some cases the RFI environment might be rather severe. In those cases a screened mains lead or mains filter might help.
    Joe likes this.
  10. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    You could be just as wrong with a lot less words, you know. A quiet day at the office, perhaps?
  11. kenworthy

    kenworthy pfm Member

    I tried a variety of mains cables over a period of time, my conclusion, I couldn't hear any difference between a standard mains cable and the exotic types I had on loan, accordingly I spent the money saved on more music and having my piano tuned, each to their own.
  12. Engels

    Engels pfm Member

    Maybe there should be a "it depends" option because I have seen some really poorly made and poor condition leads. But if the lead is perfectly serviceable then there should be no need to spend vast sums on a new one. If the last metre or so of mains lead from the 13A socket to the mains inputs of your hifi equipment can affect its performance audibly, whereas the rest of the cable back to your consumer unit is immune to the same effects, then as Zaphod says "Time to put your analyst on danger money" or there is something very odd about the power input design of the equipment.
  13. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    Oh for heavens sake ! .. there's alway one who tries to talk electronics on a cable thread.

    Why oh why cant you just take the word of those who hear a difference?

  14. duckworp

    duckworp pfm Member

    It's curious how this topic gets people so wound up. I posted the poll, not necessarily to further the debate, but simply to see where the opinions lay as the anti-cable people tend to shout louder and on this forum often in a disparaging manner toward others who do not agree.

    Personally I am not a buyer of stuff for the sake of it. I did a long test of interconnects and found I could tell no difference between a £1800 XLR from Transparent and a £15 Maplin RCA. No difference at all. All the interconnects bar one sounded identical to me. On speaker cable I found no difference between almost all I have ever tried (though I did eventually find two cables which did improve the sound).

    I give you that context hopefully to show that I am weary of confirmation bias. On Power Cords I found they all sounded similar but then I tried a Shunyata power cord and the difference was so noticeable that I can only describe the difference as remarkable. I am not talking subtle difference here but a big difference - one so great that I have to turn the volume down one db to compensate for the added attack of the sound. Everyone hears it: my wife, my kids, even the electrician who was around my house the other day and refused to believe me until he heard it!!

    If there are any PC-denying folk in the West London area who want to hear this difference and be converted please let me know.
  15. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Wow yes that's special! Not only is everything quoted 100% wrong, all also show a spectacular lack of knowledge as to how power supplies even work!!

    Foomeisters seem to have no inkling that gear is actually powered by the charge in the smoothing capacitors for a start, also known as reservoir capacitors cos... surprise, surprise, they act as a reservoir... these are kept charged by very sharp pulses of energy from the rectifier, 100 times a second, so very slowly compared to transients etc, which come almost entirely from the capacitors.

    There is also nothing "quiet", "smooth", "linear" etc about the process! Imagine cups of water being thrown hard into the reservoir from a height and hitting with a big splash and the analogy is getting there... So long as the reservoir is kept topped up beyond the head of water required in the still area where the water is being drawn from it makes diddly squat difference how the reservoir was filled up!

    Do they realise (no!) that the mains is literally switched on and off 100 times a second by the rectifiers? Yes literally. If you put on/off switches there instead and could switch them 100 times a second and at just the right time you would have a great rectifier!

    Rectifiers only conduct when the forward voltage is about 0.7V higher than that in the capacitor, hence they switch on only around the peak of the mains waveform and off again as soon as the mains has gone below its peak value and starts to go "down the other side of the hill" (sorry for the inelegant analogies tech types... ), hence all the power from the mains comes in as very short "hammer blows" of energy that take up only about 5% of the mains waveform.... top of the class for anyone inferring from this that the mains is only even connected at all for about 5% of the time!

    The reservoir analogy is why capacitors have a ripple current rating as well BTW;)

    EDIT: I see John had a go along the same lines whilst I was typing....
  16. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Can they still pick the cable without knowing it is inserted , there is no mechanism I am aware of where a power cable can increase volume, Jez,John?
  17. mattgbell

    mattgbell Help the elderly and unwell!

    Better cable will let more electric thru and get bigger volumes
  18. Mescalito

    Mescalito pfm Member

    Because they hear what they expect to hear. My expectations will be different.
    The people who talk electronics on a cable thread tend to know what they are talking about. People who buy into foo do not.

  19. duckworp

    duckworp pfm Member

    Yes they pick it without knowing which is which. As I said I am aware of confirmation bias and have successfully found no difference in almost all the interconnects and speaker cables I have tried. It's weird, no doubt.

    With respect to the volume, that is not an actual volume increase I am sure. But the sound is much more detailed, and as a result my inclination is to turn it down a notch. The equivalent is maybe between a detailed DAC and one with a softer sound: my inclination is to play the former just a bit quieter than the latter.
  20. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Do you remember the chap who said that he had to turn off his subwoofers because his new ‘bundys’ ( I have no idea what that is) we’re propagating more bass,and then later he changed one cable and the music was coming out faster from that speaker than the other.

    This manufacturer has a stylish ‘production facility’.

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