Mains Cable??

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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I've got a question that's been nagging me for a while...

Seems like a neat little upgrade to any piece of kit is a high quality mains cable. However I'm a little confused how the last 1m of cable carrying power to your kit can make a difference...

I understand that resonant frequencies, fluctuations and noise can effect your power supply, but surely having perfect cable for the last 1m cannot make up for the rest of the wiring in your house (not to mention from the sub-station to your house).

Am I missing something here? Do the high end cables have a filter built in?

I'm considering a Clearer Audio Copper-Line Alpha for my Marantz MCR603 / B&W685 setup (which is still in transit)... but I want to understand the physics of all this first...

Cheers all,

Carl
 
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Anonymous

Guest
ooo your opening a can of worms with this thread m8, lets just say try it and see. i have upgraded mine to chord powerchords and i notice a difference in sound and picture quality, pop down to your local hi-fi store and see if you can get a home demo of some, this is the only way you will get the true answer.

hope this helps!

all the best
 

lazar1980

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Aug 17, 2008
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Just make sure to install them properly as they`re directional!!!
smiley-embarassed.gif
 

busb

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Jun 14, 2011
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I don't use such mains cables. If they have some form of filtering, I can understand that they may indeed work, otherwise the fact that such a short run compared with the rest of the house wiring reminds me of snake oil. If such cords have an advantageous effect, why the hell aren't manufacturer's of components designing in more filtering to start with?

I would contend that having a dedicated mains spur to one's system makes more sense, espcially if stuff like fridges causes clicks or drop outs. However, borrowing such a cord makes sense - if science cannot shed light on why they work doesn't mean that they cannot work. My take on all controversial "upgrades" is cost v perceived improvement in sound quality. Does spending lets say £300 on an interconnect give the same improvement of spending £50 on one & £250 on a better source or amplifier? I suspect that the law of deminishing returns kicks in sooner with leads than with components.

Regards
 

f1only

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Apr 7, 2010
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As the above post by THESTIG08, it's a very contentious subject, if you search the What HiFi forums you will find lots of opinions on it, for & against.

The best option is to try it for your self & if you see & hear a difference for the better & you feel it is worth the cash layout then buy, if not, then dont.
 

Olli1324

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May 28, 2008
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Definitely a topic which will bring up much debate if you do a search for it! (Here and elsewhere).

I personally found little to no difference when I installed first of all a Copperline mains cable and then a DIY job with some seriously chunky cable which I built for just under £20.

I wish there was something to back up mains cables for £500+. It seems extraodinarily unreasonable given the cost to manufacture, but if it makes your system sound better then..

Interestingly, Russ Andrews got done by the ASA for advertising agency for suggesting that his mains cables reduced EMI or something.
 

f1only

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Strange answer bearing in mind the OP

Garybaldi83 said:
Seems like a neat little upgrade to any piece of kit is a high quality mains cable.

lazar1980 said:
Just make sure to install them properly as they`re directional!!!
smiley-embarassed.gif

Sorry but correct me if i'm wrong, arn't all mains cables directional if they have a 3 pin plug at one end & either a figure of 8 or IEC connection at the other for example?
 

Olli1324

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May 28, 2008
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f1only said:
Strange answer bearing in mind the OP

Garybaldi83 said:
Seems like a neat little upgrade to any piece of kit is a high quality mains cable.

lazar1980 said:
Just make sure to install them properly as they`re directional!!!
smiley-embarassed.gif

Sorry but correct me if i'm wrong, arn't all mains cables directional if they have a 3 pin plug at one end & either a figure of 8 or IEC connection at the other for example?

In the sense of their plugs, yes, but the actual 3 core cable is not directional. I think he was talking in jest, though ;-)

The other thing about the mains cable thing that gets me thinking is that the component it is plugged into should be well enough designed so as to be able to produce good quality DC even if it isn't being fed by a bit of cable which cost more than your car. Suggests a potential short fall in your components, or a deeper issue that you'd be better off sorting out at the root of the problem rather than relying on exotic mains cables.
 

audioaffair

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Feb 21, 2009
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Welcome to the forum Carl
smiley-smile.gif


I asked the exact same question on mains cables several years ago. It's the "junk in, junk out" principle that the better the cable, the better the sound. It's obvious to see the reasons in speaker cables and interconnects but less so with mains cables until you consider the principles fully.

As mains is the energy going into the system that "ends up" as the sound at the other end, the quality of the mains supply can be paramount for sound quality. Whilst a good mains cable should help a little on its own to reject RFI interference and interference with other cables at the back of your system, ideally use a mains filter to filter out dirty mains after the miles and miles of cable to your house and then use high quality mains cables between filter and system to ensure the supply is fed to the system as purely as possible. Depending on the actual system, a regulated filter like the PS Audio Power Plant P5 or P10 is the ultimate solution where this regulates a perfect 240V, with passive mains filters being suitable for many other systems.

Some level of mains filtering is usually always worthwhile and should allow you to hear your system at its best, otherwise it's like putting sub standard petrol into a supercar - it'll run but not as well as it would on better fuel.

With mains cables, make sure you always select a cable with a shielded design as these should reject interference most effectively.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
audioaffair... thanks for shedding light on to a new side of hi-fi!!

Now it does make sense... having a high end filter to give you "text-book perfect" waves. Then preserving their form and constant amplitude with high quality cables.

On the other hand, for my £1,000 kit I think I'll go for something with a solid build so as not to introduce new transients and noise (I'm thinking Clearer Audio Copper-Line Alpha... any thoughts?). Anything more than that would not be justified... i should just spend it on upgrading my system instead!

What would be insteresting is to see something more scientific, such as connecting an oscilloscope to the mains through cheap cabling and through high end cabling then connecting it direct to the socket as a benchmark.
 

CJSF

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May 25, 2011
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Many years ago, in the days of the Ramada Hotel, Heath-row . . . in my other life, Russ Andrews did a mains 3 pin plug, containing some sort of capacitor/resistor???? the idea was to smooth out the mains power, and a protection against lightning strike I think ??? Its so long ago, I cant remember if it worked, I do remember putting it on the end of a 4 socket extension lead and removing the little red light from the 4 socket block . . . happy days . . . still got it today, runs my computer stuff :~ I remember playing around with solid mains cable instead of flexible multi strand stuff, also tried using 30amp solid copper mains cable as speaker connect . . . It was certainly a different sound . . . one of the problems on the cable front; interpretation of 'different' as better :| CJSF
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Guys listen up...

I've been doing some second hand research on the matter... I asked a colleague of mine what he thought about a cable being able to cancel out noise, transients, spikes etc... his reply "YES OF COURSE!!"

Apparently its got to do with the twisting of the strands... the more strands (and probably the tighter they are twisted together) the better the cable will be at cancelling out noise.

His explanation was quite simple... if you loop a cable, the opposing electromagnetic forces in the opposing strands will cancel out each other... so noise will self annhialate. The same effect can be achieved by twisting copper strands close together!!!

His suggestion for filtering the mains supply, without buying expensive equipment, was to try using a UPS same as we use for our PC's! He suggested using one with an isolating transformer. This should smoothen out fluctuations in supply voltage and reduce spikes and noise in general. However the battery pack will create some noise in itself (though minimal when compared to say photovoltaic panels or fridge compressors etc)... so a good cable should be able to handle that!

Sounds interesting enough... my question is... has anyone tried it? That would make a very simple and inexpensive upgrade for beginners like myself! :)

Comments please!!

Carl
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
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There are plenty of cheap DIY cable recipes out there. Try a few and see for yourself just how much difference, or otherwise, that there is between cables.

Simples.
 

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