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Mains cables - big difference?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by MSYam, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. MSYam

    MSYam
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    I am thinking of upgrading my mains cables, but not sure it is worth while on my system? My whole setup is around £2500 worth. In particular I have been recommended cables from Russ Andrews?

    I currently have all my equipment connected to a 5 socket adapter ('very' cheap one). Will I be best off relacing all of my mains cables, plus a decent 5 socket adapter? And how much should I ideally spend?

    Any advice would be great.
     
  2. eviljohn2

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    It's certainly not worth spending a lot. Your best option would be to spend all the money on a decent mains block with some RFI attenuation. Amazon sell a Belkin 7-socket "Gold series" surgemaster that I use for about £32 and it's very good. Ebuyer sell an even fancier 8-socket "Pure AV" model for nearer £50 that gets talked of highly.

    Otherwise it depends entirely on your equipment. The only difference I've noticed is a slight lowering in the noise floor on my XLS200, that's using a DIY power cable which is the route I'd suggest you take assuming you can cope with wiring a plug. There's loads of info in the mains cable sticky up top. :)
     
  3. Londondecca

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    I agree, it does seem very hard to predict if power cables will make any difference in a system. If you have a decent dealer near you maybe they could loan you one or R Andrews does offer a 60(?) day money back guarantee.
     
  4. DucatiEVO

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    I stuck a mains filtered 'Sounds Fantastic' 8-way power bar in, which I plug everything into and find it's miles better. My flat suffers from a spikey mains supply and the bar sorted it completely, before my power amp would trip into protection every now and then.
     
  5. Knightshade

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    As has been said already this is a very questionable area.
    Mains filtration is great for protecting your gear. Beyond that? Does it actually improve the sound? On my systems I'd say no/marginal.
    I have however, heard systems that benefit from good filtration.
    Overall? It's certainly not worth investing too heavily in.
     
  6. Reiner

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    A filter may make sense (and a difference), but no one can tell me that just replacing a cable on the last meter or two does while the cable from the main distribution is way longer and possibly shared by other loads.
    Unless you have a dedicated feed from the mains distribution perhaps. :)
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

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    what is wrong with the mains now?
     
  8. pwood

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    First off I suggest you look at the info on Russ Andrews. com. The explinations are excellent. I would then suggest you initially purchase a yello power cable for your CD player and give it at least a month to run in properly before making up your mind. If you like that then get the a mains block and more yellows for the rest of your kit. My mate just used one on his Panny CRT Tv and it definately improved the picture!
    Personaly I've got Yello on all my components and a Yellow 4 way mains extension with the superclamp spike protector in it. The main thing i notice is the removal of a hazy hash from the sound making it more listenable. However it depends on the state of your mains as to the extent of the effect.
     
  9. CJROSS

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    Pwood I have direct experience of RA Yellow power extension (with superclamp fitted too) it makes no difference whatsoever to a normal Belkin Surgemaster 4 way socket that costs £10 in my system.

    The explanations are based nowhere in reality but purely hypothetical opinions as to why his products make the mains quality better. Thus these explanations sell his wares very well.

    2 points here : 1) Cable burn-in is another fantasy that is welded to the audiophile industry nowhere else do you hear “watch you TV with the lead supplied and after one month the picture will improve due to cable burn in of the lead” 2) a month down the line there is no way on this planet we can remember the sound we heard or use it in a comparison with a sound we have just heard, this is called auditory memory and can only be judged with mere seconds between sounds. Worth reading up on.

    Well I notice no difference on my TV or DVD when using the RA lead. Your friend must have really and I mean really bad mains supply if it improves the TV by simply using a RA Yellow, the technology behind the RA yellow is very basic and the superclamp only stops spikes in the supply. Its not a filtering system or anyhting like as much as RA would have you believe.

    All IMHO and just adding my experiences.
     
  10. dvdsubtitles

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    I have the same block. Cannot say if it makes a significant difference, but it is certainly much better than your average mains block. Definitely worth it for the protecting several grands' worth of kit, even if the difference is marginal.

    Mat
     
  11. Nick_UK

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    Sounds like more snake oil to me :laugh:

    If your amp/tv/hi-fi/whatever works better with an overpriced power cable, then the design of the power supply can't be up to much, because a well-designed power supply rejects hf noise and transients. It might make a difference to a Binatone or an Amstrad, though :rolleyes:
     
  12. pjclark1

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    What I would really love, is for someone to explain to me why they think
    A 2 meter cable from the socket to the hifi makes a difference
    the 20 meters of cabling from your fuse box to your socket makes no difference
    the 1/2 mile cable from the substation to your house makes no difference

    go on, go the whole hog and pay for oxygen depleted copper cable (or whatever) to be laid from you substation to your hifi. Ha ha

    Please note
    The person starting this thread has not asked about, surge protection or any form of mains conditioning. Just the mains cables. I make that 40% of people answering this thread have made up their own question, maybe they didn't like the original one, and another 20% of posters are off in la-la land. (did I just see someone writing about "running in" mains cables ......... surely not)
     
  13. eviljohn2

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    As I think I mentioned earlier on in the thread, I wouldn't recommend spending much (if anything) on mains cables to your equipment. A good mains block will help prevent any problems with your mains though (plug a light into it and switch that, then get a good mains block and try the same thing to hear the difference).

    Doesn't have to be a fortune, just something that's well made with solid connections. At least that's what I'd do. :)
     
  14. Repo

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    I bought the 8 plug version of the Belkin PureAV & it definately improved the sound quality. Bass and midrange are now both tighter and less muddy; treble hasn't improved much but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of these again.
     
  15. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Actually the cable to the house and from the house to the socket do make a difference it's just we can't do much about that can we......

    If you don't hear a difference then fine. I do and have demonstrated same to mega sceptics on equipment that has good powersupplies that the manufacturer claims will not show any difference with fancy leads. I used one I knocked up myself.

    I'm not out for a huge argument about why, how much or if, just expressing my view from the other side of the fence.

    Gordon
     
  16. Knightshade

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    Well, now both sides are safely ensconced in their respective trenches I'd say MSYam has enough information to form his own opinion......
     
  17. Nic Rhodes

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    Both opinion we have but we still have no idea what he is trying to fix? Hum, interferance, RFI, DC......Surely the solution, from either camp, can only come once we know what the problem is he is hoping to solve with cables. Without this information is it surely like swapping an engine in a car when all that is needed is a cleaning of a spark plug.
     
  18. Knightshade

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    Judging from MSYams first post I doubt he has a problem but he's wondering if there will be any improvement by upgrading his mains leads and mains filtration system. Correct me if i'm wrong here.
     
  19. Peridot

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    :laugh:... :laugh: ..... :rotfl: .........:suicide:
     
  20. Nick_UK

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    Well, I live in an area where the power supply is prone to interruption, and since I run a business from home, I have a standby generator. It's only a small petrol job, with a max output of 5kW. When I'm running on this generator, the lights flicker, and my UPS on my PC often kicks in, because the supply is not very clean.

    However, when I switch on my 42" plasma TV, and my Yamaha amp, there is no discernable difference to the quality of the picture or sound, compared to when they are running on the national grid. I think anyone who thinks that a power cable can improve their TV picture must be living on another planet. If you have spare cash to spend, invest in a "beefy" UPS to run your equipment on - it won't improve the quality of your reception, but it will protect it from mains "spikes" and interruptions which can cause damage. These cheap power strips are not much use at all, since they contain a device like a fuse which blows at the first power surge, and after that all you are left with is an ordinary power strip.
     
  21. loz

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    The most important thing is what the cable is made out of.
    I find ones that use metal as the conducter are fine.
    But one that use rubber, plastic or wood are useless and should be avoided. Symtoms are typically a failure of the equipment to switch on.

    Apart from that there's nothing that the £893 "Silver Reference PowerKord" can do that the free lead that came with your kettle can't.
     
  22. Peridot

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    Ah but Loz, it'll allow you to plug the kettle back in and make a nice cup of tea to drink while you're listening to your Phil Collins DVD :rotfl:.

    ____________________
    Dermot
     
  23. CfP

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    MSYam, as you've seen, this is a pretty hot topic in the cable world, like all cable related stuff.

    I think it would be agreed that your power board is the single point of congestion here (all power for all bits go thru it). If you were to plug directly into wall sockets, there's a fair chance that all wall sockets would be on the same fuse/circuit as well, hence a similar situation.

    A power filter/UPS/other may be a better bet for you as it will at LEAST filter out spikes in power, lengthening the life of your equipment and giving them regulated power (if nothing else). After this, you may consider leads with thicker copper cores (should be printed on the side), this will help power/current flow to and from your equipment easier.

    You'll probably notice that no-where here have I mentioned 'sounding better'. This, as always, is in the ear of the beholder, and can only be decided by you.

    One interesting thing to note though (for all the sceptics), reading the tech specs for the TOSlink and HexConverters (COAX Digitial) on the Phillips and Toshiba websites they BOTH talk about accuracy of conversions of signal (dB loss) and it is ALWAYS, related to accurate power being provided to the chip (IC) that's doing the conversion. The difference of .1V DC and/or several microAmps (.01 amps) can make a difference.

    But here's the killer! Ambient temperature has a BIGGER impact than power does. +25 Celcius is considered typical for testing and benchmarking. Anything more (less isn't an issue) induces errors in conversions (ie: jitter), namely extending out transition times (high to low or vice versa) by 300-600% (eg: 6ns->19ns or 19-110ns! for IC temps >85C).

    So, there are bigger fish to fry than just power :D Just through I'd pour a little petrol on here ;)

    CfP
     
  24. Nick_UK

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    Well, shame on Philips and Toshiba ! Since the whole point of digital audio connections is to circumvent losses in cables and electronics, because the d/a conversion is an error-correcting process. Not unusual for a manufacturer to quote spurious technical figures in a bid to win a sale, though.

    However, based on my previous experiences with Philips products, I would not be at all surprised if a 3V variation in the mains voltage or a 2 degree change in ambient temperature would cause a product to malfunction, because it always has in the past. That's why I would never allow another Philips product into my home - too much dodgy stuff in previous years.
     
  25. Nic Rhodes

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    I would steer clear of UPS, they often produce square waves!!
     
  26. loz

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    And there's me thinking they delivered parcels....
     
  27. Knightshade

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    Hi Nic,
    I'm curious about this. I've heard it brought up a lot.
    Now neither my wife nor myself could notice ANY difference between a APC UPS 1600 and offerings from Isotek (Cube), Loricraft and Chord. Needless to say I still have the UPS. Square sine waves or not audibly (to me) its undetectable.

    I did however notice a difference with £27000 of Nordost Valhalla power cleaners and cables. But as that cost pretty much what my whole system cost I decided to stick with what I had.:)
     
  28. Nick_UK

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    Most modern UPS's produce a "stepped sine wave", which is like a sine wave but which goes up and down in small steps. Since the majority of electronic stuff these days contain switched-mode power supplies, it really doesn't matter too much anyway.
     
  29. eviljohn2

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    Therein lies the clue I think.

    Only switched mode power supplies are happy with a sine wave/stepped sine and so on. It follows that the quality of the incoming wave has absolutely no relevance to the operation of the power supply in this case.

    It may well be different with more "traditional" power units though. :)
     
  30. pwood

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    My experiance using a Russ andrews yellow plugged into my CD player is that it makes an improvement. 60 day trial gives you plenty of time to work it out for yourself. After this thread I plugged the whole lot in using the supplied leads YUK!!
    I also plugged my Xmas tree lights in and they were brighter :D
     

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