Do Hi–Fi Mains Cables Make Much of a Difference?
Do Hi-Fi Mains Cables Make Much of a Difference?
Magic or Myth?
Can Nordost Power Cable at around £1,000 per metre transform your Hi-Fi?
Cable companies are offering a range of power cables to the market place with prices seeming to go from about £35 for a QED one with Nordost Valhalla 2 metre mains cable coming in at just under £2,000!!! Here I've researched the Web to try and find out whther there are any reasonably objctive comments out there because I'm sceptical of such highly priced products. Added togther they would buy some expensive kit with presumably much better results in terms of improved sound quality. For my own system I would expect a much better return on investment by buying better amplification over my Quad 77 than by splashing out on several mains cables at over £100 each say.
The Case Against
The webliography contains several links to Guardian correspondent Dr. Goldacre and his column "Bad Science" which launches a lot of sceptical arguments and includes challenges to th hi-fi community around th issue of double blind testing. Below The KZone makes the following point:
The music you listen to will probably have been created in a recording studio. Even if it hasn't -- it's a live performance perhaps -- by definition it will have been recorded using electrical equipment of some sort. This equipment will have been mains powered. Now, I've spent time in recording studios, and I can't say that I ever saw one that used `audiophile mains cable' to power its mixing and amplification equipment. In fact, I've seen mains leads scavenged from kettles and toasters to power the mixing desk. As a matter of principle, your sound reproduction can never be any more accurate than the original recording. So if you spend more on your cables (mains or otherwise) than the studio does, you're wasting your money.
The Case For
The January 2009 issue carries a story about Paul undr its "Readers Systems" series. Paul has a system worth many thousands of pounds including MF amplification and SACD player as well as a Townshend TA565 Univrsal Player and a highly modifid Linn turntable. He comments that he preferred different types of music on the different digital players however when he discovered the Silvermann Clarity 3 mains cable at around £150 this improved the Townshend even with its separate power supply.
Apparently a £150 Silverman mains cable improved the sound of this nearly £3,500 player
Paul in Hi News said:
It was one of those fortunate moments when, for a comparatively small outlay, a real improvement in sound was obtained. The Townshend lost none of its strengths, but became much more involving . Indeed Max later said that he had noticed the same effect - due to interference from other parts of the system affecting the player. A very worthwhile upgrade then. (Hi Fi News Jan 2009 p94)
Van den Hul lower amperage mains cable
Chord is another cable company with a power chord in their portfolio
Overall I still maintain a strong feling of scepticism. I guess if your system already cost many thousands of pounds then the odd couple of hundred quid as an experimnt is fine, however, for those of us in more real world situations I think getting better equipment after careful auditioning is the most sensible route to improved sound quality.
As you will see in the comments box a correspondent has (possibly) got a Kimber PK14 mains cable which he feels does the business.
Kimber PK14 Palladian Mains Cable
Original Russ Andrews article from Guardian in blog format with many comments
This I Like Jam Blog entry on "Audiophile" products in general including some fine comments on cables