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MukeshB

Power cables for DAC

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I recently connected my Electrocompenient DAC to a Voodoo Avatar I bought on here and lo and behold it was spellbinding. Unfortunately, I have used the Avatar to my Power Conditioner, because it’s about 3 meters long.

 

I’m now hedging between buying a shorter Avatar or trying out the Audio Principe Reference cable.

 

What took me was the openness, detail and 3D soundstage the Avatar added to my DAC.

 

Any suggestions or comparisons anyone might have done between these two cables or with something similar?

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I can’t give you a comparison with the Avatar, but I do have Isotek EVO3 Premier and both Audio Principe Signature and Premium power cables as well as an Isotek EVO3 Polaris power board. Anyway, to be honest, I think that power cables have only a limited effect on sound quality, but I have replaced all my standard power cables with those I have listed. I do believe they have made a positive change and I consider that the Audio Principe Signature cable is the best of that lot.

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Here is an interesting email I received from Peter of Audio Principe. I was inquiring with them if their reference cable could improve my DAC's sound quality - 

 

<snip>

Power cables are not part of the signal chain.
I’m not sure the attributes you wish to improve can be addressed through changing a power cable.
<snip>
 
 

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52 minutes ago, MukeshB said:

Here is an interesting email I received from Peter of Audio Principe. I was inquiring with them if their reference cable could improve my DAC's sound quality - 

 

<snip>

Power cables are not part of the signal chain.
I’m not sure the attributes you wish to improve can be addressed through changing a power cable.
<snip>
 
 

The honesty in this should speak VOLUMES for those obsessed with the sound of different power cables... but it probably won't.

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Arrange a BLIND listening test. You will find that changing power cables make zero difference to sound quality.

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59 minutes ago, MukeshB said:

Here is an interesting email I received from Peter of Audio Principe. I was inquiring with them if their reference cable could improve my DAC's sound quality - 

 

<snip>

Power cables are not part of the signal chain.
I’m not sure the attributes you wish to improve can be addressed through changing a power cable.
<snip>
 
 

He’s be 100% correct and spot on.  

The power cable in most hifi equipment will have a stepped down transformer that physically isolates it from the mains.  The audio signal doesn’t even flow through there.    When you see posts where a IEC power cord has made a difference or changing something in the buildings electricals has made a difference usually means there’s something very seriously faulty; either a seriously bad connection and usually IEC don’t provide positive connection or something was so far deteriorate and it needed to be replaced!    

The same goes to when you see post on hum issues and the general assumption with audiophiles is that there’s DC on the lines... there are many things that causes hum and usually DC on the line is just a one out of many.

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1 hour ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Arrange a BLIND listening test. You will find that changing power cables make zero difference to sound quality.

Good idea.

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1 hour ago, Zaphod Beeblebrox said:

Arrange a BLIND listening test. You will find that changing power cables make zero difference to sound quality.

 

Did it. It was repeatably different. It's doing my head in as to why, though there you have it. 

 

Not nearly as significant as my DNSP rebalancing phase loads in the street such that power into the home was higher quality, though its there. 

 

On 11/06/2018 at 7:41 PM, MukeshB said:

Any suggestions or comparisons anyone might have done between these two cables or with something similar?

 

Depends what you want to spend. I'm cheap - EGM audio sells something for <$100 that works. 

 

If you've not already done it I would do the back end stuff first - get your home earthing right, get the audio on a separate circuit, etc. There's more to be gained there IMHO than in the last leg, the benefits of which are easier to understand too.

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Guys here is one I did only a few days ago, have a listen and let me know - 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MukeshB said:

Guys here is one I did only a few days ago, have a listen and let me know -

Unfortunately the differences between accessories is so subtle that I doubt we'd ever hear anything after being processed further by your microphone, youtube reencoding it, us playing it back and then rendering it on our own hardware.

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Just now, Ittaku said:

Unfortunately the differences between accessories is so subtle that I doubt we'd ever hear anything after being processed further by your microphone, youtube reencoding it, us playing it back and then rendering it on our own hardware.

Sadly yes.

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Sadly yes.
Can you give us the summary of your impressions from that test?

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Just now, Ittaku said:
46 minutes ago, MukeshB said:
Sadly yes.

Can you give us the summary of your impressions from that test?

I found the Voodoo Avatars had a wider sound stage to the other two. I could pin point the instruments in 3D, literally. The Chord, about half that price lacked that charm. Ice age came close to the Voodoos at about half the price, too. 

 

The Youtube video doesn't do much justice as you rightly pointed out. I am going to redo my observations tonight, ruling out any side affects of the hallucinogenics 😛

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26 minutes ago, MukeshB said:

I found the Voodoo Avatars had a wider sound stage to the other two. I could pin point the instruments in 3D, literally. The Chord, about half that price lacked that charm. Ice age came close to the Voodoos at about half the price, too. 

 

The Youtube video doesn't do much justice as you rightly pointed out. I am going to redo my observations tonight, ruling out any side affects of the hallucinogenics 😛

When you do so, ensure that someone else swaps the cables and doesn't let you know which is which. A sighted evaluation is useless. 

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Posted (edited)

Yep its ritual time, I will head off in my pick up truck shortly

Edited by MukeshB

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Ok here is the verdict -

 

I found bonded labor to swap my cables for me. Unfortunately the Avatars are locked in with my power conditioner so the race was between Chord and Ice age .

 

Test 1 - negligible difference when either were used with the amp or transport.

 

Test 2 - on the DAC, the Chord has punchier bass and warmth. Vocals were more front stage. Ice age had a more refined sound stage, vocals sounded more analog and had a tighter bass.

 

So yes my friends, I am convinced that power chords do make a difference.

 

I will see if I can find another meter long Avatar somewhere for an affordable price and make further comparisons between the three.

 

 

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Just to update you guys ... I managed to pick an new Avatar for a good price ... I’m auditioning it right now and already the difference is apparent ... and it’s not the drugs talking

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I've auditioned about a dozen different brand power cords in my time, (Vanden Hull, Nordost, Chord sarum, Isotek (most), Voodo, Supra etc) and can tell the difference between every single one (like millions of other people out there). 

I'd have no trouble in a blind test in a system I knew, and tracks I was well versed in.

Ignoring price, the best I've tested so far is high end Nordost, as they make one's system of components tick with the same beat, lay calm to mid and high end frequencies that a lot of cables let run-away, and make the system sound so right.

 

So MukeshB thanks for speaking up with your choices. And agree the least impact is on the transport, and most on the preamp and DAC.

Edited by Anthony1

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Your findings echo mine over many years as well. I cannot understand why people insist there are no sonic differences between power cables.

 

However, my opinion on after-market power cords is mostly a negative one. I believe that the differences we hear are variations in the wave-form of the incoming power - hard as that may be to prove using conventional metrics.

 

At least some electronics engineers acknowledge that wire gauge affects sound due to changes in resistance, current... Anyone  with revealing equipment can hear changes by simply swapping stock power cords of various gauges...Bloomier bass, slight change in the forwardness of the soundstage etc. But it's the noise-filtering techniques and metallurgy of after-market cords that render the biggest changes - and most often not in a good way! 

 

I too use Audio Principe's Signature cable (good quality, great value), on my audio computer, as this has a positive effect - to my ears! Yep, I really think this comes down to individual preference. 

 

But I'm not kidding myself about the importance of after-market cords. I think they're just a way for hobbyists to fiddle with things. 

 

After years of experimentation and outlaying cash on hi-fi tweaks, often with very expensive pieces of equipment, these days I prefer to use stock power cords as things sound more natural this way - to my ears!

 

Edited by was_a

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Let me add this: in this pursuit, like every pursuit, all of us are still learning. This is all just a matter of opinion. I think the best philosophy is to have an open mind, acknowledge and consider other points of view, while developing solid ideas of our own. Our individual preferences should be informed ones.

 

Anyone that makes blanket statements, one way or the other, is just deluding themselves. The learning never stops.

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1 hour ago, was_a said:

Your findings echo mine over many years as well. I cannot understand why people insist there are no sonic differences between power cables.

No, that's subtly different from what I've been saying. I say I can't hear any differences between power cables. No argument from anyone can convince me to hear something I don't hear. What I tell people is to audition for themselves.

Edited by Ittaku

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Sorry, Ittaku, but I wasn't referring to you! The world doesn't revolve around you, you know... 

 

It revolves around me😊

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