AudioQuest Thunder

AudioQuest Thunder Vs perkune ReferenceThe AudioQuest Thunder is a power cable produced by a company that spent many years in the audio industry. AudioQuest provides a range of products aimed at improving your audio system sound. And, I decided (with the help of a colleague) to make a comparison between the AudioQuest Thunder and the Perkune three-meter Reference power cable.

The challenge

Alternating Current (AC), is a far-from-perfect power source. AC power technology is well over a century old and never designed to meet the exacting standards of today’s high-resolution audio-video components. AC noise is present at the utility source and expanded by radiofrequency noise-induced. And, coupled to the component power supplies and circuit ground. Which, creates distortion and low-level signal losses via “masking effect.”

Further, power amplifiers can require immense reserves of transient current for their power supplies to react to and then stabilise during dynamic audio passages. Most AC power cords and power conditioner-regenerators, though helpful to a point, are simply not up to the task.

Power amplifiers present a real challenge. For any AC power source, as the transient current requirements can be many times that of the average (RMS) current consumption. Power amplifiers are also unique from all other components in that the current draw is dynamic, not constant. And, it changes with volume and audio signal content. The characteristic impedance of the AC cable is equally responsible for assuring uncompromised performance. Many premium AC cords constrict or compress the audio transient as their characteristic impedance restricts the transient current.

AudioQuest Thunder ~

AudioQuest Thunder power cable

Noise-Dissipation 3-Pole AC Power Cable

  • Solid Perfect-Surface Copper (PSC) Long-Grain Copper (LGC) Conductors
  • Uncompressed High-Current Transfer
  • Ground Noise-Dissipation Technology (US Patent # 9,373,439)
  • ZERO (No) Characteristic Impedance (50Hz – 1MHz)
  • 72VDC Dielectric-Bias System (US Patent #7,126,055)
  • Directionally Controlled Conductors

LONG-GRAIN COPPER (LGC) 

A carefully finessed combination of solid high-purity Long-Grain Copper and high-purity Perfect-Surface Copper conductors prevent strand interaction. A significant source of ear fatiguing transient intermodulation distortion. LGC allows a smoother and brighter sound than standard OHC copper. The astonishingly soft and pure Perfect-Surface Copper further eliminates harshness and significantly increases clarity compared to OFC, OCC, 8N, and other premium coppers.

GROUND-NOISE DISSIPATION

AC Ground wires protect from current-wiring faults, but they also act as antennas. Thus, they are subject to induced radio-frequency (RF) noise. This RF noise bypasses component power supplies and is typically coupled directly into a system’s most sensitive audio/video circuits. AudioQuest’s patented Ground-Noise Dissipation (GND) dramatically reduces this distortion. And, yielding unprecedented levels of noise dissipation across the widest bandwidth (range) of radio frequencies. Our unique circuit topology utilises a common-mode phase-cancelling array, in concert with proprietary dielectric materials. And, provide additional differential linear filtering.
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CURRENT TRANSFER

With a current capacity of 20 amps RMS @ 125VAC 50/60Hz (16 amps RMS @ 220-240VA 50/60Hz), Thunder/High (Variable) Current can withstand current transient peaks many times its continuous (average) RMS rating. Which, makes Thunder/High (Variable) Current ideally suited for a wide assortment of AC power conditioners, power regenerators, AC isolation transformers. And, AC battery back-up devices, as well as any power amplifier, powered subwoofer, powered loudspeaker, powered receiver, or integrated amplifier.
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RADIO FREQUENCY TRAP

All insulation between two or more conductors is also a dielectric whose properties will affect the integrity of the signal. When the dielectric is unbiased, dielectric-involvement (absorption and non-linear release of energy) causes different amounts of time delay (phase shift) for various frequencies. And, energy levels, which is a real problem for very time-sensitive multi-octave audio. The inclusion of an RF Trap (developed for AudioQuest’s Niagara Series of power products) ensures that radio-frequency noise not inducted into the signal conductors from the DBS field elements.
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DIRECTIONALITY

All drawn metal strands or conductors have a non-symmetrical, and therefore directional, grain structure. AudioQuest controls the resulting RF impedance variation so that noise drained away from where it will cause distortion. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. When applicable, arrows are marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality for most models of AQ cable. The arrows not only indicate the direction that optimises metal-directionality as part of Noise-Dissipation. But, also means non-symmetrical attachment of shield and GND to optimise full-system performance.

Perkune Reference ~

Reference Power cableI have focused on key factors which are crucial for developing an excellent power cord. And, as a result, your system will open up with superior dynamics, tighter bass, sweeter treble and improved depth and imaging. The power cord is in a class of its own, and I am very proud of the look and the feel of this beautiful Power cable. And, of course, the performance increase you will hear!

Interference

The interferences which we call noises can get into your AC power and interfere with your system. And, this ‘dirty’ electricity harms the performance of your audio-video system. If you listen to your audio system in the early hours, you notice how much better it sounds. The reference Power cable ensures a stable and clean supply of power. Shielding provides reliable protection from Interference. And, the innovative in-plug filter gives additional decoupling to the equipment

Shielding

As well as having, over, three times the prescribed minimum conductor cross-section area, the Reference Power cable has special shielding. And, is to protect the sensitive audio components in your system. As an example, interference fields caused by the current peaks. Shielding is necessary, and a combination of different materials is selected to provide efficient shielding both inside and out. These features, aid in the removal of external noise and electrical Interference.

Connections

The EU and US connections are High-quality Cryo treated plugs with non-magnetic brass and rhodium-plated pins. The IEC connector with rhodium-plated contacts provides extreme conductivity, insulation and connection. Both of which can withstand 16A / 250V /15A/ 110V/ loads. Rhodium-plated pins are employed as they do not oxidise. Which offers greater longevity and better signal contact. The surface area of the pins increased for a more rigid connection.
The plugs employ CRYO192 degree of Freezing. And, it is 48 hours freezing treatment with Japanese professional refrigeration equipment. Which, enhances the quality of conduction on the copper metal power plug.

Anti-Static pads

Power cable three meterI am aware of the effect of static. Primarily, in terms of the surface effects of static build-up and cable performance. The audio cables are fitted with Anti-static pads to aid the prevention of static build-up. I recommend Anti-static fluid sprayed over the surface of audio cables and equipment. Which, will help to disperse existing static charge as well as inhibit future accumulation. 

Performance

The Reference Power cable allows a more relaxed and more luxurious sounding presentation. And, designed to bring you enjoyable listening pleasure. The Sound-stage is vast, delivering more air and space. Imaging and focus are razor-sharp, spot-on presenting greater solidarity and content. Bass is tighter, with more energy, and at the same time relaxed. The detail and micro details become more apparent, bringing a rich and satisfying experience to the overall presentation.

The Reference Power cord is three meters in length. And, this length provides the best overall performance. Also, the Reference Power cable, fitted next-generation Rhodium plated plugs significantly improve contact. The cap can be either EU or US which, makes the Reference Power cable, an excellent addition to enhancing your system sound. And, as a result, offers the best value for money anywhere in the industry!

Specification
  • The Cable size: 18.00 mm
  • Cable length: Three meters 
  • Multi-stranded, ultra-high purity 99.99% OFC
  • Ferrite filter (in-plug filter)
  • Protective conductor – Pure copper (class 1)
  • HDPE dialectics for each conductor x 3
  • 2-level shielding: braided pure copper layers
  • Conductors size: 3 x 3.00 mm2 (10 AWG)
  • Weight: 1.81 Kg
  • Voltage: 300-500 volts
  • Test voltage: 2000 volts
  • Temperature: -40 to +70 C
  • Resistance: 0.005 Ohms/meter
  • Shielding: Aluminum foil 
  • Double PVC jackets
  • Insulation: Teflon
  • Secondary AirGap: DERAY-PBFSP
  • Outer sheath: CanuFlex PE-HB x 2
  • Anti-static pads (ATS) fitted (2 per cable)

Testing system ~

AudioQuest Thunder test

I am very fortunate to have a colleague who is a Russian Engineer and specialises in the building of a variety of Hi-end electronic components. Which, include tube Amplifiers, Transistor amplifiers, Cd players,  Media players, Loudspeakers, and Audio cables. The test system designed to show any faults the component may have. And, at the same time, show the qualities of the element under test.

We decided to use three test CDs, which we both knew well as this gave a wide range of instruments and vocals for testing purposes. The system was warmed up, and the first item to test was the AudioQuest Thunder power cable.

Results
The AudioQuest Thunder is a well-built power cable aimed at improving power supplied to the audio equipment distribution panel. Unfortunately, there is limited information, but it performed very well. The Bass was deep and exerted a solid feel. Upper frequencies were all in place with all reverbs and overtones heard. The soundstage was good. And, every instrument was, perfectly positioned. But, I felt. However, there was a bit of a muddle in middle frequencies, and something was not quite in place. Also, after playing for some time, it became not so good to listen. And, as we both felt the same way, decided to change to the Perkune Reference power cable.
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The Perkune Reference power cable is well-built and easy to handle. It felt good, and the anti-static pads were a great addition! As the music played, everything changed. The soundstage became more significant with more life and energy appearing in the music. Bass had more depth and clearly showed its sound. The vocals became crystal clear, and the middle ranges focused and all instruments had better transparency. Also, it became apparent how defined the upper frequencies had become, showing more information. The music was certainly more pleasing with no sign of overburdening or fatigue, and we were happy to listen to the music again and yet again!

The testing took just over three hours, but we had a great result on which we agreed 100%. We decided to keep it simple and give marks out of 10 for overall performance.

Audioquest Thunder ~ Score  7/10         
Perkune Reference    ~ Score  10/10
Conclusion

I have tested many audio cables and power cable ‘Side by side’ but, this is the first time that I have evaluated another company audio cable. And, it was a great experience. My colleague (as he builds audio cables) was looking with a more critical eye than I was. But, as we both agreed on every point, it proved it was an honest evaluation.

If you have enjoyed reading this ‘AudioQuest Thunder Vs Perkune Reference,’ please share with friends – thank you.

Perkune – Best audiophile cables online

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