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Do power cables make a difference for sound quality?

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by audiokid, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm getting into some higher tech area's of my studio now. Cable/ power cords,
    Do power cables make a difference for sound quality?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    A rare unqualified 'no' from the eminently qualified professor. [excellent link Bob]

    audiokid, if you're asking if one of those ridiculously expensive 'audiophile' power cords is a good investment - I'd agree with the professor.

    There's conventional wisdom and sufficient science favoring the use of oxygen free copper where possible, high-strand-count, properly gauged wire in the shortest lenghth practical in every application of electron wrangling. But unless you're running an audio laboratory, where the results are measure by instruments more accurate than human ears - I doubt you're going to benefit from a $75 cryogenically treated, silver-plated edison plug or the matching $150 wall-receptacle. ** take a moment to read the user reviews on the second one.

    Since it's the next best thing to an audio lab, I'd be interested to know how many of our Mastering Engineer friends use anything other than the power cable that came with any given unit.

    Clean power is critical all the way around, but it's achieved by good juice coming in and practicing proper electrical distribution and grounding, not esoteric cables made from unicorn whiskers.
  4. blaumph2cool

    blaumph2cool Active Member

    l a u g h i n g o u t l o u d !!
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes, I agree. Its amazing how far people go with all this. I'm just waiting for the guy that actually chimes in here from some lab and says it does, then it will get interesting around here lol.
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    I am so glad this thread did not go the other direction...my wife will hit me (She's in marketing), but this a classic case where the marketers used pseudo or fake science to create a market.
  7. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Have the testers done the ABX in different locations?
    Aha, if not, the test is not worth much...
    Any piece of gear can produce different characteristics and results when tested at a number of different locations with varying AC qualities and environments.
    Since it is known that highfrequency irradiation can influence audio quality of consoles through the powersupply and that different materials do affect
    the throughput of current, I'd be careful with a plain "No"

    But, I do not go as far as claiming that I'd buy any expensive power cords for the reason of better audio, though....
    The occasional use of Q-Tips might be more useful and MUCH cheaper...lol...
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Yeah, well of course you are right that no single test is going to establish that there is never an audible difference for any listener in any circumstance... and I was going to do a long post on the importance of good connections and clean power, blah, blah, blah,... but I when push comes to shove ... No ... is the right answer. People are trying to sell power cords that cost as much as a UPS or a really good power filter. Nuts.
  9. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Greatly exaggerated in any case. And NO is certainly the only answer in practical real life.
    With developers and engineers it is a ( small) variable they keep an eye on (and probably not much more in most cases).
    But only because it sums up so easily...poluted current, bad lead properties, cheap connectors and low budget PSU components....

    Good fun to talk about and to take the mickey out of those spending cash on esotheric power leads.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well if I'm reading this correctly? When dealing with power cabling, no mention of wire size has been made. Nor stranded versus solid. You certainly want your power cabling to be able to deliver maximum current without any kind of indecent limitations due to load value. I've heard power amplifiers pull down power rails. Quite ugly. I mean why bother to put larger cabling on your speakers than in your power wiring? You can squeeze a penny but you shouldn't squeeze a cable.

    Fat is good. So I look like I take after my philosophy.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm good.
  12. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    120 kg, ...and my cables are fat enough...
    Cables to Ampere-hungry devices need thick power cords. Power amps within the ( european ) specs of 16 ampere ( equiv to 3680 watts at 230 volts) max current usually have 1,5 mm2 or 2,5 mm2 leads.
    Stranded for flexibility. A 2,5 mm2 cable with solid conductor is pretty stiff and not really usable. Anything above above 4 mm2 is not necessary for anything audio in a studio exept for PA systems at concerts.
    If you run a 1031 Genelec on a 1,5 mm2 cord it will not truncate the current and will not audibly influence the sound. If you have a shaky power line from your supplier and a heater on the same circuit you can't
    help it with thicker cords either. It is said that pluggin in the power amp of a HiEnd stereo system at the side where the lead comes onto the multi socket will help, but I have not heard anyt difference with mine and
    I reall tried.. lol... But using quality cords IS important. shaky plugs can cause all kinds of problems and damages.

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