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Power cable / speaker cable quandary

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nick8858

New member
Aug 8, 2011
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mmm...chasing the holy grail of hi fi excellence through pieces of wire will at best result in marginal gains and at worst severely damage your bank balance. The only cable I have ever spent more than I should have was on Chord Sarsen speaker cable simply because it fits under the skirting boards nicely. Couldn't care less if it sounds better, and in any case sounds much like the cheap stuff I had before but it is out the way.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
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At the Bristol I spent a whole day in the Isotek room they was doing A/B demos to different groups of people every hour

I spoke to lots of them during and after and asked them for their feedback - most people who listened heard the differences clear as day and interestingly the different groups of people all having demos at different times gave similar answers to my questions in terms of what they heard. Consistency from person to person all expressed in their own way in terms of the differences.

What was interesting is the front centre seat seemed to get the biggest sceptic sitting there - you would normally think this is the best seat but the speakers being used were Larsen which fire a sound field at the room rather than at the listener.

I distinctly remember 2 of the sceptical chaps in the front centre seat - one at the start couldnt hear the difference but come the end had to concede the difference was there and actually very large, he was out spoken throughout saying he couldnt hear it but at the end had a big laugh about it as his opinion had been changed on the subject.

One other chap he could hear differences but wasnt happy to put it down to the isotek products because it wasnt music he has familiar with which is fair enough and undersandable.

It was interesting though to see different peoples reactions
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I sat through that isotek demo Ellis last year, and they were using Larsen speakers, and it was easy to hear difference. The type like neat iota alpha. I’ve formed a view as I said, that good power cables on monoblock power amps with a decent star wire mains block, make more difference than an isotek Aquarius / isol 8 minisub etc, using standard cables. When you use both conditioners and these power cables together i can see how it could be heard well.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
368
119
19,070
You need to go back to basics, so use the cables that came with the equipment and use standard (Pro quality from a Pro Music Shop) cables for the rest.

Next you need to sort out whether you equipment (Amp/Speakers) are well matched to each other (Good sound synergy) and if not change to some that are. (Never buy blind or from reviews)

After that you need to find the best positions for the speakers within the room (Moving you seating position a small amount can also make a big difference) and if possible acoustic tuning of the room. (Difficult unless it’s a dedicated room but can be done (Use a professional company for ideas and suggestions)

Following the above if it is still not quite right, (This will probably be prevalent unless you have a dedicated room) use quality room correction (Dirac Live is one of the best, but there are others) to finish off.

When the above is as good as it can be, then and only then start changing cables to see if you can fine tune the system further (In most cases (If the above is optimised) they won’t make any difference, however if you feel they do (As always I recommend a double blind test to make sure) then by all means purchase them. (Even if the differences are imaginary if it makes you happy then that is the most important thing)

The above will be the best way to get best value for your buck, rather than stumbling around blindly like you are doing now.

Most important of all, have fun while you are experimenting, and remember the system is a means to an end, the most important is does the music it produces sound real and effortless.

Bill
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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If there are these large differences then they can be measured, do you have any evidence that shows these differences apart from people saying they hear them?
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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Maybe it's all in his mind, do some blind tests to make sure the differences are for real.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Hi Ellis / cnoevil

Ive gone back to the mains block (Titan Styx with a Titan Helios) and gone back to the kettle cyrus power cords, taking the Helios off my power amps, still using the chord epic reference speaker wire. The detail is not so in your face, whilst still good, and a little more balanced, and a little extra bass punch with the block. I might stick with this. A good improvement at half the cost.

I should try the other Helios cables out on my CD player and streamer! Oh no.....

cheers for help.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
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shame you dont have enough to try them on everything - ideally that is what you want to do
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Ive got a music works screened cable on the dac xp signature, the psx-r power supply doesn’t really need one perhaps as it feeds the dac xp sig. then I only really use the stream x signature streamer as a source. On the streamer the Helios has opened up the spaciousness and a bit of transparency but it won’t fit in my rack. That’s probably a better place to put the cable then the more dramatic effects on power amps. Plus the chord epic is a great speaker cable and it would be silly to get rid of it.

I might as a final test, try some really basic screened chord c power on the power amps to see what the screening properties will do, if anything. If it’s not favourable, I can put them both on my cd and streamer sources, so no loss, and cable is relatively cheap.

but cyrus told me they use the kettle leads to tune the sound, so maybe with the high current Helios on the mains to the block, and together with the star wired block, I’m nearer what the cyrus sound really should be, as the kettle leads are getting the current they should.

https://www.chord.co.uk/product/c-power-shielded-power-cable-1-5m/
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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QuestForThe13thNote said:
Hi Ellis / cnoevil

Ive gone back to the mains block (Titan Styx with a Titan Helios) and gone back to the kettle cyrus power cords, taking the Helios off my power amps, still using the chord epic reference speaker wire. The detail is not so in your face, whilst still good, and a little more balanced, and a little extra bass punch with the block. I might stick with this. A good improvement at half the cost.

I should try the other Helios cables out on my CD player and streamer! Oh no.....

cheers for help.
I did warn that you may have to go (somewhat) back to what you had, in order to get the sound you prefer.

IMO. You have two options:

- Keep the P/Cs off your Power Amps.

- Try to deal with the extra bass, if you leave them on.

It's always worth experimenting with P/Cs on various bits of kit.

I still think you should try some GAIAs...as they should bring a very worthwhile improvement.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Thanks, as I say I got good spacious sound on the streamer. The plan is get a refund on two Helios (haven’t go them yet), install power bar and one Helios on mains, wait to hear the atlas hyper (I suspect they will be going back to future shop, but if so get a really good screened power cable for the streamer from them instead that’s a bit longer as the streamer is at the top, and to fit in the rack )

anyone had a wow moment with a screened source cable. If so which one?
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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QuestForThe13thNote said:
anyone had a wow moment with a screened source cable. If so which one?
I have never got the same gains on a Source component....so believe that it is not worth throwing a lot of money at.

I'm a fan of Clearer Audio (Darren)....so maybe The Copperline Alpha. Always worth checking his clearance section...or asking what he has kicking about that he will do a deal on.

You have a 60 day return period.

https://www.cleareraudio.com/products/copper-line-alpha-power-cable
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Yes thanks, they do clearer audio at future shop so if the atlas hyper 2.0 is pants I can trade it in. I did leave a few messages on clearer audios voicemail re their cables, but haven’t heard back yet.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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QuestForThe13thNote said:
I did leave a few messages on clearer audios voicemail re their cables, but haven’t heard back yet.
I have never failed to get speaking to Darren, so maybe worth another go. I would deal direct with him, if possible (re Clearer Audio Cables).
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
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BigH said:
Maybe it's all in his mind, do some blind tests to make sure the differences are for real.
Cno, Quest,

While it is entertaining to see your back and forth about these effects, it would be a shame if readers of the forum thought that there was anything to this apart from expectation bias. The 'Echo chamber' phenomenon is where posters on a forum reinforce their own incorrect views by agreeing with other equally incorrect posters. I am afraid this is where you both are.

Rather than take it from me, why don't you see if you can find any scientific basis for your views about mains cables.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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andyjm said:
BigH said:
Maybe it's all in his mind, do some blind tests to make sure the differences are for real.
Cno, Quest,

While it is entertaining to see your back and forth about these effects, it would be a shame if readers of the forum thought that there was anything to this apart from expectation bias. The 'Echo chamber' phenomenon is where posters on a forum reinforce their own incorrect views by agreeing with other equally incorrect posters. I am afraid this is where you both are.

Rather than take it from me, why don't you see if you can find any scientific basis for your views about mains cables.
At no point have I said I'm correct....and i always state that it is my opinion and advise anybody who wants to go down this path, should do so with caution and with the ability to return the cables.

I have heard enough, from many brands, to have made up my mind....but it hasn't always been consistent. Sometimes there was no change and sometimes it made things worse.

I have trusted my ears to pick the hifi I like and will continue to make my judgement on that basis....and if someone wants to hear about my experience, then i will give it to them. i will never force my view on anybody....and I'm quite happy for people such as yourself to put your view, to give balance.

As a result of the contentious nature of mains products, I no longer start threads on this topic and only chip in if someone is specifically asking.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I’m absolutely with you cnoevil, I pick my Hi Fi largely on my experiences too, and this is a very reasoned way of buying.

I did just speak to Darren and he seemed a nice guy and knowledgable about such products. He recommended me the alpha copper mains cables to try on power amps and the silver line if I just go for one on my streamer. So I may try those. I do wish they would let you borrow a whole swaith of them to compare, but I do understand it from their perspective that it can be cost prohibitive to have loads of loan pairs out. Chord are good with loaning loads of pairs via dealers, but most others do so on sale and return which does make you a bit more inclined not to buy/trial loads for loan, if only for cost reasons.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
Its been a positive thread for several pages must have been some anger building up within a few regulars who just cant wait to mention science.... its funny
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
Interesting read and good to see you back Quest. It seems all is well and I wholeheartedly hope it will stay like this.

I've been experimenting with isolation which was mentioned here so will be posting soon. No comments on power but will happily follow this thread with an open mind.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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ellisdj said:
Its been a positive thread for several pages must have been some anger building up within a few regulars who just cant wait to mention science.... its funny
Given the 2 sides of the debate....I did, what i always do, which is make up my own mind.

Personally, I think it's healthy that both perspectives are represented - and the decision should then come down to a dem by the person that is interested. The more sceptical they are, the better.

Whether they hear a change or not is, for me, not important...it's the fact they tried, that's important.....and that both sides of the debate are represented, so one side doesn't get shut down.

Ironically, I have been pushing Isolation, Acoustic Treatment, Speaker placement and seating position, as better solutions...but it's my comments on Cables that get all the attention.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Hi insider, thanks for comments. But don’t experiment with isolation feet, lol (and happy face) get a Innuos or melco and experiment with really good digital music off a big storage nas via usb into a dac or Ethernet to a streamer. That’s where I’m gonna spend next I think. What does qobuz hi res stuff sound like off such a device or a streaming platform into a great hi Fi.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
I'll leave that one to you :) I'm sorted with Roon so won't be getting Melco. Innuos perhaps somewhere down the line. I think you can get a two month trial of Roon that works with Tidal. It would solve all your search queries I've read about.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
This Helios cable is defo better on the streamer. Lovely wide soundstage and more real balanced detail, without the in your face ‘hear everything’ unnatural situation with power cables on my mono x200 signatures. Everything is much more noticeable in the evening!
 

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