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Do Power Cables Matter? Uhh…No (Or Do They?)

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Introduction

Having an engineering background, I always laughed about the ridiculous claims cable manufacturers made. So I never really invested in expensive RCA cables or power cords…until recently. I just wanted to find out what the fuss is all about. Maybe I was completely wrong and I overlooked something. Who knows, maybe I would finally reach acoustic nirvana with higher-end cables. After kicking myself, I went ahead and bought a super-duper brand name audiophile cable that was on sale. I think I paid almost a hundred bucks from a third-party retailer.

Enter the Ludic Powercord Gold

I chose this power cable which comes with heavy-duty gold connectors and it uses pure copper cables and lots of fancy ingredients. Don’t want to repeat all the details, see for yourself in the manufacturer description.

In terms of build-quality it is absolutely stunning. I have never seen a manufacturer putting so much attention to detail and the cable is certainly made to last. What I really hate though is the stiff cord which is barely movable. It too me much effort to place the power cord behind the rack so it won’t interfere with all the other cords.

Listening impressions

Guess you’ve been waiting for this, huh? 😉 I hooked up the power cord to my KGSSHV electrostatic amplifier. I also made sure to the check the correct phase. To my surprise, the sound through my STAX SR-007 MK1 was absolutely fantastic! Crisp, detailed and lovely warm sound with an incredible soundstage. But wait a second…the sound was just as good before using this fancy Ludic cord. I plugged back my cheap power cord and it sounded absolutely the same. Zero, nada differences. I thought maybe my Gustard DAC would be more sensitive to power cables but again I cannot tell the cables apart. There’s absolutely nothing between the power cords. I asked my wife to check but again…she wasn’t able to pick any differences. For clarification, I played around with some filter settings of my DAC and yes, found some very small tiny differences. However, the power cord showed zero improvements or changes.

I have no idea, maybe some more expensive cables would show me the way? I seriously doubt that. Make no mistake, the Ludic power cord is really worth its money in terms of build-quality and craftsmanship. I absolutely recommend it. But I think I understand now, those cords are sort of jewellery for audiophiles, they look and feel great – not that they really improve your sound (at least my experiment, although highly subjective, disproves that). I still want to try other cables and higher-end plugs but I’m definitely keeping my wallet closed if I don’t notice at least a small improvement.

Let me know your thoughts on power cord / RCA cable experiments!

  • peter jasz January 19, 2017, 08:48

    RE: AC Power Cables

    Good day: AC power cords have a profound effect on the performance of an audio components internal power supply –and thus resulting sound quality.
    Although I have performed many more after-market P/C (Power Cord) experiments with power amplifiers and Integrated amplifiers, I’ll assume it’s similar with digital equipment.
    However, although the audible differences are remarkably obvious, it’s not necessarily for the better –depending on your evaluation criterion. It is, very much component dependent.
    Why some folks find differences marginal, is remarkable to me. I must investigate further to determine possible reasons or relationships. Every single P/C change I’ve done, resulted in remarkable (day/night) differences in perceived sound quality. As does everything else (but not to such a startling degree as P/C’s) when it comes to altering the tonality of a sound system.
    Just remember, any differences should not only be glaringly different/better but judged against price considerations.
    Those who still doubt P/C’s contribution, I urge you to find any (detachable) power cord lying around –try regular thicker/thinner ones (conventional, regular throw-in OEM’s) ideally of different diameter’s/color and give it a listen.

    pj

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