EVERY COMPONENT in the audio system affects the characteristics of the sound you get, whether it’s the turntable, CD player, amplifier or loudspeakers. But, Can cables effect sound ?
Moreover, wiring components such as interconnects and speaker cables also play a part in fine-tuning the overall sound. But in recent years, a new trend has come on strong, involving the power cord, plugs, inlets and wall AC outlets. While it is easy to understand that interconnects and speaker cables serve as equalisers, each brand and model coming with its audio characteristics, the fact that power cords and plugs can also affect sound can be confusing.
Can cables effect sound
The point here is that the cleanliness of electricity running through the components can deteriorate with standard cables. Thus the power cable’s job is to act like a line conditioner, cleaning up all the electronic trash. And with less distortion, audio components receive cleaner power, allowing them to perform at their highest potential.
I started playing around with power cords last year, considering that many people consider this topic the stuff of snake oil sales assistants. Search the web, and you will find many opinions on this topic. Many electrical engineers say it’s a hoax by cable companies to squeeze more money out of customers.
First Power cable
My first audiophile power cable was semi-homemade. And with power cords, mixing and matching male and female plugs on each end. Also, to get different sound characteristics is possible. I started with a Sansui AU-111 vintage tube amp my friend loaned me for restoration. Unfortunately, apart from the circuitry, the power cord was damaged and needed replacement.
So I asked the electrician to use a high-quality power cord, and the amp returned with a yellow one. It was a Black Rhodium Fusion mated with a Hubbell 8215C male plug, a hospital-grade product – meaning that it doesn’t get disconnected from the socket easily. You’ve got to pull quite hard.
Having no idea how that cable affected the sound from the Sansui since this is the first time I am listening to it, the Fusion remained unexplored for a while. That is, until I removed it and added a female plug to the bare end. So now I have a power cord to try on other components.
The CD player was the first to experience the new power cord, and right from the first minute, the improvement was evident. It was easy to hear that the highs were more detailed, and the imaging was sharper. I liked the sound of the Fusion, and with its low pricing was a great-value improvement.
From there, I never looked back. It is no snake oil. After all – power cords affect the sound quality. While it may be questionable whether it “improves” the sound. Power cables eliminate EMI/RFI pollution and remove other problems associated with standard power cables, allowing your system to perform better. And for example, with a lower noise floor, you naturally hear more details from the recording with more energy and atmosphere.
Long after the first experience, I ordered another 1.5 metres Fusion cable. I mated it with Wattgate standard plugs, and the improvement was even superior to the one with the Hubbell. The two Fusion cables powered the CD player and pre-amp. And I was happy for a while. But, unfortunately, the power amp needed one, too.
I wanted to avoid investing in expensive products and decided to go online and check out the cheaper end first. Results could have been better – the cheaper cables and plugs did change the sound character, but not in a good way like with the Fusion. After more online research, I got an Oyaide Tunami V2 cable from an online electronics store in Japan, offering a pretty good discount.
The Tunami, which features single-crystal copper that is the purest kind you could ever get and high-tech assembly, is specified for “power” and does wonders regarding bass weight and dynamics. It’s like adding a turbo to your car’s engine. It’s also hushed and digs out the details much better than the Fusion, a slim, entry-level cable more suited to source players and pre-amps rather than power amps.
Cables really work
So if you already have a sound system and want to improve its performance further, consider high-quality interconnects, speaker cables, and power cables. Even wall outlets should be considered, both for safety and performance.
But be careful with the budget. There is no point in using a 3K power cable with a 1K amplifier. On the other hand, using a 1K CD player with a 1K power cable, you would get better results. Priority should always go to the audio components; the cable’s job is to improve on that already good-sounding system you have at home. And if you have enjoyed reading ‘Can cables effect sound’, please share with friends.
Author: The National Thailand
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