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Well made non audiophile IEC power cables


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Just bought Emotiva monoblocs which came with US power cables and hence was looking to buy Aussie IEC power cables to replace them. At one end seem to be the $4 kettle cords offered by the likes of Bunnings/Officeworks/Kmart etc. And at the other seem to be the audiophile power cables that claim all sorts of things....that I just don't believe. I do see value in buying well made quality stuff - and I see the benefit of for example blue jeans cables over kmart interconnects. So if i was looking for well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity - any ideas where to look?

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1 hour ago, notsobitperfect said:

So if i was looking for well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity - any ideas where to look?

Not sure what your objection to "audiophile purity" is but these are extremely good value:

https://robertsonaudiocables.com.au/products/copy-of-hi-end-100-shielded-audio-power-cables-1-5mm

 

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Thanks for the suggestions - I guess the medical ones look to be a tiny bit better - though internally they're probably identical to the usual black ones.

9 minutes ago, Aperalim said:

Not sure what your objection to "audiophile purity" is but these are extremely good value:

In terms of my objection - I guess I'm just hesitant to pay an 'audiophile' premium for something that doesn't demonstrably sound better to me.

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Just now, notsobitperfect said:

In terms of my objection - I guess I'm just hesitant to pay an 'audiophile' premium for something that doesn't demonstrably sound better to me.

I can appreciate you being hesitant without knowing you are getting what you pay for – but until you try one in your system how will you know it doesn't sound better?

 

Apparently some people on this forum do not hear any difference in power cables regardless of how well they are made, what materials they use or what their manufacturers claim, and others like myself find power cables contribute significantly to system performance and that is gleaned from my direct experience accumulated over the last 40 years trying and buying cables that do work in my system.

 

At the end of the day it of course it is entirely up to you what cables you buy and for what reason but if you believe paying extra for even "well made" ones does not bring any audible benefit why would you spend any extra at all?

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CPL Online, $3.80 for bright orange "medical" cables. There's already been a recent thread on the exact meaning of "medical" being .. bright orange with clear connectors and not much more, but they're tidy, nice-looking cables that meet Australian standards and $3.80 is a fair price. A buck or two more if you want longer cables.

 

https://cplonline.com.au/alogic-mf-aus3pc13-01-mc-1m-medical-power-cable-aus-3-pin-mains-plug-male-to-iec-c13-female-orange.html

 

Yes, I've bought them and yes, they feel like at least a ten dollar cable. In fact, I shrugged, bought a stack of them and ditched some of the rattier IEC leads that have been hanging around forever. 

 

WARNING: I'm one of the people who can't understand how a thousand dollar cable is going to change anything given the cable in the walls, out to the street and down to the nearest transformer. Perhaps if I could see it on an oscilloscope my mind would be changed. Not to mention when you get the lid off most hifi components, the power wiring from IEC socket looks a lot like what's inside a normal cord. I've borrowed a Nordost power cable and could not hear the difference and I've given a standard power cable run through garden hose and finished with nylon braid and heatshrink to someone who assured me it was "better than the Nordost but not as good as the Shunyata". He kept the cable in there and declared the braid must be doing something with static electricity. 

 

Take the fancy power cable budget and sink it into some power conditioning to defend your beloved equipment from the increasingly foul quality of Victorian electricity. They're not expensive from your local pro audio / music store, and as a bonus you can get them in IEC PDU format so you can use IEC-IEC jumpers for everything and keep it tidy. CPL has those available in bright red, which is even better than bright orange. 

 

Enjoy your new monoblocks!  HC-1? They look fun. Hope your neighbours enjoy your taste in music while you're breaking them in. 

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There is a small potential for shielded cables being helpful, but they cost 10x as much unless you have a friend electrician who can make them up for you as the materials themselves are not expensive. These guys make the most affordable Australian made power cord, but even then they still unnecessarily use Oxygen Free Copper. Their cheapest cable is $75, but you can get three cables for $150:

http://www.rkcable.com.au/VFMpowercord.htm

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I haven't upgraded power cables so from the pc unit to components is still very basic quality, but I recently bought a cheap power conditioner (circa $250.00) designed for a stack in a recording studio environment. It has 8 x IEC-C13 sockets and so adaptors are needed to plug components in (circa $4.00 each) I currently have 3 x spare sockets. I can't recall a better 'bang for buck' addition. A significant SQ improvement. Interestingly I thought we received 240v through our wall sockets but it actually seems to sit above 250v most of the time according to the readout on the pc unit.

 

 

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7 hours ago, PCOWandre said:

WARNING: I'm one of the people who can't understand how a thousand dollar cable is going to change anything given the cable in the walls, out to the street and down to the nearest transformer. Perhaps if I could see it on an oscilloscope my mind would be changed

I am not trying to convince anyone to use audiophile power cables if they do NOT hear any benefit from doing so. 

For me, this hobby/interest/obsession is about intensifying the experience of listening to recorded music. I use many specialist power cables in my system that includes 13 power cables.  I do not own an oscilloscope and have no interest in owning one but I do appreciate some manufacturers do use oscilloscopes in the process of developing their products.  Post-production, as a consumer if an oscilloscope proved Cable A had some measurable characteristic that was superior to the same characteristic in Cable B, but I could not discern any advantage through the listening experience, I would never invest in Cable B just because the oscilloscope confirmed it to be 'superior'.    Similarly, I agree that for anyone who – for whatever reason – could not hear an advantage to any particular piece of equipment or accessory in their own audio puzzle there would be no sense investing in it.

 

Regarding the idea that an audiophile power cable cannot make any difference because of the kilometres of non-audiophile cable that link one's audio system to the industrial power generating source, below are some interesting  words from Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata Research who was responding to similar scepticism to dispel what he describes as widely held misconceptions about AC power on a US forum 20 years ago.  For the record, I currently do not own any Shunyata products.   Excuse the spelling mistakes – they are Caeilin's, not mine : )

 

Posted by Caelin Gabriel - Shunyata Research on May 10, 2000 at 18:49:56
Do longer power cords sound better? YES.
So does that mean if you take a stock belden cord and make a 12 foot version that it will sound better than a 6 footer. NO.How do I know? Because I have done the testing that shows this to be the case. There are a lot of misconceptions about power transmission and power quality that make it difficult for some people to understand why a power cord makes a sonic difference. The first question is - do power cords make any difference at all? There is no sense in talking about theories of operation if we can't agree that there is an audible effect. Most of the thousands of people that use our power cords started out as sceptics and have answered that question for themselves. And no - I do not care to debate with people that have not done the simplest of tests about whether power cords work or not. The only cases where a high quality cord does not have significant effects is when it is used with a poor quality power conditioner that acts as a high impedance to instantaneous current flow.

Misconception #1:
AC power is like water coming from a large power tank, flowing through several 10s of feet of power hose into a component. This implies that the component is at the end of this system.


Actually, the component sits between two power conductors: the hot and the neutral. AC power oscillates (alternates) back and forth at a 50-60hz rate. So power does not pour into the component at all. The component's power supply is within a complex network of wires and connectors. ALL of the wire and connectors can and do affect the performance of the component's power supply.
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Misconception #2:
AC power can be contaminated just like water in a hose. This implies that once the water is contaminated at some point up stream, that is must be cleansed before it arrives at the audio component.


As stated in #1, the component is not a the end of the power hose. It is between two power hoses and the current is oscillating back and forth. Further, current is not like water at all. Electrons cannot be contaminated. There are two aspects to power transmission: the EM wave and the current flow. The current itself cannot be contaminated but the EM wave can be modulated with other frequencies. We usually call these other frequencies noise or EMI. Within the various parts of a power circuit there may be EMI in certain parts that are not present in others. EM energy can be transformed or redirected to lessen their effects.

Some PCs use capacitors, inductors, or ferrites in an attempt to control the EM fields around the audio component. The success of such an approach is completely dependent upon the specific design and the reactance of the power supply of the component to which the PC is attached.
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Misconception #3:
There is up to a hundred feet of wire in the walls, so the last 6 feet of power cord can't possibly make any difference.


The PC is NOT the last 6 feet as stated in #1 and the local current and EM effects directly affect the sonic performance of the component. The power cord is not the last 6 feet, it is the first 6 feet from the perspective of the component.
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Misconception #4:
There is a tremendous amount of electrical interference and EMI coming from outside the home that we need to protect our equipment from. This implies that we need some sort of power conditioner or filter to protect the equipment.


Most of the EMI that affects the audio quality of a system is generated by the audio components themselves. EM waves that travel through space dissipate in power as the square of the distance from the source and very high frequencies that propogate through the power circuit do not survive for long. Power lines present a high impedance to Mhz and Ghz signals due to the relatively high inductance of power lines.

A primary source of audible sonic degradation is caused by the power supplies. Most components use FWBR (full wave bridge rectifier) power supplies that generate an incredible amount of transiet noise when the rectifiers switch on. The design of a PC cord can significantly affect the reactance of these signals within the power supply. The PC is effectively part of the primary winding of the power transformer. The transition between the various metals used in a PC can cause EM reflections and diode-like rectification of the noise impulses as they propogate away from the power supply. If the PC presents a high impedance to these signals they will be reflected back into the power supply where they will intermodulate increasing the high frequency noise levels of the component. Most power supply filters are ineffective at blocking very high frequency noise components and much of it is passed through to the DC rails. The sonic effects of this include: high background noise levels, blurred or slurred transients and a general lack of clarity and purity of sound.
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Misconception #5:
There is some sort of conspiracy amoung audio designers that keeps them from producing a "proper" power supply that is not affect by PC quality. This concept is like saying that if a speaker where properly designed, you wouldn't need to use a good quality speaker cable.


PowerSnakes have been tested with the most modest of mid-fi equipment and the most exotic SOTA components. We have yet to find a component that cannot be improved by replacing the power cord.

As long as power supply design is based upon FWBRs or switching supplies, the power cord will always be significant.
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Misconception #6:
High-end power cords just increase the circuit capacitance acting as a high-freqency shunt.


There are some power cords that ARE designed this way. Some even insert capacitors
within the cable to further increase capacitance. This approach has some positives and many negatives which I won't go into here.

Capacitance alone cannot account for the differences in a power cord's performance. There are some high-end power cords that are very effective that have virtually unmeasurable levels of capacitance. These cable are usually designed around hollow tubes with the conductors inside. The conductors are several inches apart and cannot significantly affect the capacitance of the power circuit.
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MIsconception #7:
Power cords are just like speaker cables; the shorter the cable the better.

Some speaker cable designers would argue that a speaker cable below a certain length is not better. We will let them address the issue if they desire.
A speaker cable conducts an audio signal from the power amplifier to the speaker. The distance is quite small, on the order of a couple of feet to several feet. The quality of a speaker cable is determined by how well it can transmit the signal from the amplifier to the speaker without alteration.

A power cable on the other hand is not transmitting a signal. It is conducting A.C. power and its sonic superiority will be determined by its ability to deliver current (steady-state and instantaneous) and its ability to deal with the EMI effects of the components to which it is attached.

Since a power cord is composed of a hot and neutral wire that the component sits between, a change in the length of the cord will increase the size of the "buffer" around the component. In the specific case of PowerSnakes - we use a proprietary substance within our cables that absorbs EMI. Increasing the length of the cable, increases the coupling effect to this substance, therefore increasing the performance of the cable.
---

In general, I would not recommend a power cord that is shorter than 3 feet or 1 meter in length. But subtle degrees of audio performance are not the only consideration when putting together an audio system. Esthetics are also important especially when the system is located in a beautiful home. I just point out the performance differences so that people can make an informed decision when determining the optimum length for their cables.

There is much more that can be discussed about power delivery but for the sake of brevity I'll cut it short at this point. On a personal note I would like to say that I was an audiophile long before I was a manufacturer of audio products. Before Shunyata Research I designed high speed networking devices and can tell you that there is a lot more money to be made in the computer industry. Like many of the of manufacturers of high-end audio components, I design my products for myself and for the love of music. If other people like what I have created - great. If after trying our product you prefer another - great. There is a wide diversity of preference and subjective perception amoung individuals. Thank goodness there is also a wide diversity of manufacturers that create products to serve a variety of tastes.

Caelin Gabriel
Shunyata Research Inc.

Edited by Aperalim
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2 hours ago, Aperalim said:

I am not trying to convince anyone to use audiophile power cables if they do NOT hear any benefit from doing so. 

Very interesting read 

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3 hours ago, Aperalim said:

 

I am not trying to convince anyone to use audiophile power cables if they do NOT hear any benefit from doing so. 

 

...


Misconception #6:
High-end power cords just increase the circuit capacitance acting as a high-freqency shunt.


There are some power cords that ARE designed this way. Some even insert capacitors within the cable to further increase capacitance. This approach has some positives and many negatives which I won't go into here.

Capacitance alone cannot account for the differences in a power cord's performance. There are some high-end power cords that are very effective that have virtually unmeasurable levels of capacitance. These cable are usually designed around hollow tubes with the conductors inside. The conductors are several inches apart and cannot significantly affect the capacitance of the power circuit.

 

 

AIUI, capacitance is not particularly important in a power cord's performance - but inductance is!  :S  This is because inductance acts as a brake on current flow - so the lower the inductance ... the better.

 

Andy

 

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15 hours ago, notsobitperfect said:

So if i was looking for well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity - any ideas where to look?

Seems to me that the OP is pretty clear about what they are looking for. 
Not sure why some feel the need to

weigh in with opinions about power cables improving sound quality. 

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2 minutes ago, The Rock Puppy said:

Hey, @Ittaku, I thought I read in a different discussion that the bloke behind rk cables had died, and the business was closed?

Oh wow that's news to me. I haven't ordered anything from there any time in the recent past so that's a bummer.

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5 hours ago, Aperalim said:

I am not trying to convince anyone to use audiophile power cables if they do NOT hear any benefit from doing so. 

Please, I was in no way directing this at you. I was just making it clear to the original poster that while submitting an opinion, I do so from a position of bias against the fancy power cable industry. 

 

5 hours ago, Aperalim said:

I would never invest in Cable B just because the oscilloscope confirmed it to be 'superior'

 

Neither would I. But if there was an actual difference, I'd be far more open to conducting a long and rigorous audition process. Which is hard, because I've noticed that while dealers tend to suggest in-home auditions of amplifiers, DACs and speakers, I've never had one suggest borrow a stack of power cables. Then again, I might be too outspoken for that offer. Anyway -- my position is that I do not generally act on blind faith and I know about confirmation bias. 

5 hours ago, Aperalim said:

interesting  words from Caelin Gabriel of Shunyata Research

A set of interesting words from someone who is in the business of selling high end power cables. Of course he's going to be always on-message. Similarly, the people who knock on my door on Saturday mornings have faith in religion, the owner of the hippie shop up the road has a big story of cosmic resonance to sell Himalayan Salt Lamps and the astrologer has a convincing story of how the position of planets is going to impact my fortunes. 

 

Please don't take this as personal attack or criticism. I'm very happy for people to enjoy every aspect of their systems and to be honest, if the layout of my gear had the cabling visible I might well jump from standard cables up to something with a braid wrap for the aesthetic value. Or if I bought myself a $50k power amp, I'd probably toss in some fancy cables to match. But I'd probably still make my own XLR leads, albeit with perhaps something fancier than Neutrik XX series.

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17 hours ago, notsobitperfect said:

Just bought Emotiva monoblocs which came with US power cables and hence was looking to buy Aussie IEC power cables to replace them. At one end seem to be the $4 kettle cords offered by the likes of Bunnings/Officeworks/Kmart etc. And at the other seem to be the audiophile power cables that claim all sorts of things....that I just don't believe. I do see value in buying well made quality stuff - and I see the benefit of for example blue jeans cables over kmart interconnects. So if i was looking for well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity - any ideas where to look?

Apologies, I was one of those going off on a tangent, talking about power conditioning etc!

 

Try here:

 

https://www.jaycar.com.au/3pin-mains-plug-to-iec-c13-female-5m/p/PS4105

 

They are, as far as I know, well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity.

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On 13/09/2020 at 7:39 AM, Ittaku said:

These guys make the most affordable Australian made power cord, but even then they still unnecessarily use Oxygen Free Copper. Their cheapest cable is $75, but you can get three cables for $150:

http://www.rkcable.com.au/VFMpowercord.htm

Sadly learnt elsewhere that the owner, Reinhart Kreim, has passed.

 

 

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On 12/09/2020 at 6:42 PM, notsobitperfect said:

Thanks for the suggestions - I guess the medical ones look to be a tiny bit better - though internally they're probably identical to the usual black ones.

In terms of my objection - I guess I'm just hesitant to pay an 'audiophile' premium for something that doesn't demonstrably sound better to me.

I felt compelled to reply here. Not only is there no science that proves that cables make a difference, there is sufficient evidence that proves that there is no difference. I am not a scientist but you don't have to be a formula 1 engineer to understand the literature.

 

As soon as a company sells expensive cables or anything crazy expensive even speakers after the point of diminishing return you know its snake oil or that the company doesn't care for you and is simply just after money. Steer clear. 

 

You can get state of the art DAC's from Chinese brands for $100, the Chinese are making the drivers for the Europeans and the Americans and easily beat them on price and quality, of course they still have some way to go but my point is that don't be fooled by audiofoolery. Keep fighting the strong marketing techniques that fool us everyday, 

 

 

 

 

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I have built various power cables using Furutech cabling and connectors from Cameron at Krispy Audio; results were great but I would recommend buying the Isotek or pre-assembled Furutech power cords from KA. Night and day difference to my system performance from the bog-standard cords provided. 

Cheers

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On 13/09/2020 at 2:05 PM, sir sanders zingmore said:

Seems to me that the OP is pretty clear about what they are looking for. 
Not sure why some feel the need to

weigh in with opinions about power cables improving sound quality. 

 

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On 12/09/2020 at 10:54 PM, notsobitperfect said:

Just bought Emotiva monoblocs which came with US power cables and hence was looking to buy Aussie IEC power cables to replace them. At one end seem to be the $4 kettle cords offered by the likes of Bunnings/Officeworks/Kmart etc. And at the other seem to be the audiophile power cables that claim all sorts of things....that I just don't believe. I do see value in buying well made quality stuff - and I see the benefit of for example blue jeans cables over kmart interconnects. So if i was looking for well engineered Australian IEC power cables without any claims to superlative audiophile purity - any ideas where to look?

 

Server-grade stuff is about the best you'll get in shielded, but much of it is 15A terminated.

 

Otherwise some VFD/EMC wire, clipsal plugs and whatever's going for IEC - and a minimum of your sparky's time - will assemble a pretty good shielded cable.

 

These are about the extent of your choices. I've found shielding to be useful though am still hunting for a reasonable IEC connector to have things made up. I'm local to you, a few of us might go into this together.

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8 hours ago, Aperalim said:

 

"Previously the noise floor rested at between 0.25 and 0.05mV; with the Shunyata products in place, that dropped below the 0.01mV measurement floor of the equipment itself, to an estimated 0.001 to 0.003mV!"

 

'It's below minimum resolution so it must be a half to full order or magnitude better, I'd guess'.

 

Unbelievably poor science.

Edited by rmpfyf
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On 17/09/2020 at 11:12 PM, Aperalim said:

"Using one of Shunyata’s distributed power-conditioning systems" is what this was proving, btw. If you have an Everest 8000 smoothing your power, then using the shielded cables will help even more. But by themselves...

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