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Upgrading power cables

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by moomin papa, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. moomin papa

    moomin papa
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    Am considering upgrading my mains power cables and blocks to the Russ Andrews range.

    What are people's views on this? Does it make a noticeable difference to sound quality?

    I was thinking of getting new power cords for the amp and DVD player, and one of the silencer blocks.

    However, this all comes in at about £500, and I can't help think that this money would be better spent on new speakers etc.

    What do you think?

    Cheers in advance
     
  2. Knightshade

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    Hi Moomin Pappa,
    The theory is that the mains is really dirty and you need to spend hundreds on making it clean enough so your equipment can do the work it's supposed to do. Makes sense in theory. However this often turns out to be a little different in practice. I have heard some power cleaner/cable combinations that work and others that make little or no difference. A lot depends on the type of power supply your equipment uses. I have quite a lot of Linn equipment which has switch mode power supplies. Power cleaners don't seem to make a lot of difference with these. Others like Exposure, Arcam, etc seem to be affected to a greater degree. Not always in a positive way. I've found some power cleaners and cables (Don't ask me how!) to do horrible things with bass. Isotek seem to be OK, I don't know about Russ Andrews.
    I personally use an APC UPS (8 port) (Un-interuptable power supply - Usually found bolted to Network Servers - If it's good enough for that I figure it's OK for some Hi Fi gear!) With an upgraded Mains cable and a pre-stage mains filter (DIY) to it's supply (Total cost about £350) From there it's just normal cable. Seems to work very well in protecting the equipment, as for an improvement in sound? Hard to tell.... Nominal at best but certainly equal to anything else I listened to accept the Nordost Valhalla/Thor cables and cleaners, which I think for my system would've cost about £22000. :laugh:

    I think it can add the finishing touch to a system but your money would certainly be better off improving the source or amplification stages or as you say the speakers. IMHO.
     
  3. inzaman

    inzaman
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    You could always try the DIY route first, i was sceptical about changing the power leads and not wanting to spend a lot of money on doing this for very little perceived reward.

    What i did do was make a few twisted snakes and must say they do make a difference. The differences to the sound is noticeable, in fact it was that noticeable that with one twisted snake to my amp and one to my cd player it just sounded too bright so i changed the cd player with the merlino and it is excellent. I now use these were possible as they are relatively cheap to make, i dont know how they would compare to spending £500 on power leads though.
     
  4. cooky

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    At the what hifi show last week I spent £90 on two black widow mains power leads from Merlin. I am convinced they have made my Arcam & Mission setup, sound much more whole.

    At least with RA you have their 60 day return policy if you're not convinced.
     
  5. garylloyd

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    I have playing around with the Russ Andrew range for about a month now.
    It started with a yello on my servo 15,which made positive improvements.So I gave it a go on my Tosh 900e dvd player,the increase in sound detail and picture quality was astonishing.
    So a classic power cord was ordered.
    This is on my 900e at the moment,it is a different league to the Yello cable.
    I ordered a reference cable the day after using the classic.I am still waiting for this to turn up.
    I will post my findings when it arrives.
    Gary
     
  6. Nick_UK

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    Gosh, just think of the improvements you could make if you rewired the whole house ? Or maybe even the whole street ? :laugh:

    Oh come on lads, your electricity has travelled (at least) several hundred metres to get to your amplifier. Is changing the last 2 metres going to make any difference at all ? I doubt it. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Knightshade

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    I would imagine the lack of some kind of surge protection would alter the way your amp sounds!:laugh:
     
  8. eviljohn2

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    There are quite a few people on the forums who have a dedicated ring for their hifi/AV equipment which is tantamount to rewiring the house ;)

    My experience is that a DIY mains cable did reduce the noise floor on my BK sub. My feelings are that surge protection helps and that making sure that the ends of cables are terminated well (this goes for all forms of interconnects). It follows that replacing the provided cable with some wire of decent gauge (it was actually braided as in Sid's Posh Power Cord Design) made an improvement. I think that making sure the conductors are well seated inside the actual plug makes the difference so there's no need to spend a fortune :)
     
  9. Nick_UK

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    A heck of a lot depends on the quality of the amp power supply. A well designed supply should reject mains-borne HF noise, and should also be able to cope with sudden demand peaks. With a good level of smoothing and reservoir capacity in the power supply, you should not see any great changes in the current in the mains side. Modern power amps with switch-mode power supplies are sometimes lacking in all these areas.

    From personal experience, I'm using a Yamaha 640RDS in an old house which has quite elderly wiring, and we also get our power from the "agricultural grid" (which is the 11,000 volt 3-wire system that you see alongside many country roads). Our supplies are so erratic, we have our own generator as backup ! However, I've never noticed any problems with the performance of the amp, and I have a very critical ear. Maybe I've just been lucky with my choice of amp ? :)
     
  10. Knightshade

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    I'm in a similar situation to you Nick, the power supply is very erratic. The UPS usually kicks in at least once a day! Like I said in my original post. Mainly it protects my gear and it has the added benefit of improving things ever so slightly. I certainly don't think I'd spend a great deal of money on it.
    I strongly believe power cabling, besides the seperate ring etc. Seem to be drenched in snake oil. But each to his own.
     
  11. Peridot

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    It's worth remembering that the best improvement that can be made to any connection is to get rid of it.

    I find it bizarre that some people will go to the trouble of getting their 13A plugs silver plated rather than replace their sockets with fused (or unfused) connection units.

    And I wish I'd realised years ago that there are people who would pay over £100 for an IEC connector :eek: I'd certainly have changed career direction. :) Don't they worry about the fact that the other half of the connection (even on high-end kit) will have cost pennies?

    __________________________________
     
  12. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    There are two schools of thought on UPS's. UPS's are really designed for PC's, and whilst they will reject a lot of spikes, they don't give a pure sine wave output. Whether this is a problem is a whole different argument. I have UPS's on my office PC's (I work from home), and I also have a UPS which powers my Sky+ box and cinema amp. I can't say that I notice much difference when operating on battery.
     
  13. Ian J

    Ian J
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    There was a very interesting thread a couiple of years ago (which I can no longer find) explaining in simple words to a non techie like myself why a decent mains cable made a difference to a Sky box.

    I bought a fairly cheap one from Mark Grant and it did tighten up the sound and my wife who has better eyesight than myself said that it also improved the picture.
     
  14. thxultra

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    Having had a little bit of experience with russ andrews mains cables , around £2000 worth of experience :suicide: .

    I've got several reference powerkords with wattgate 350's and the newer PK10 Powerkords and to be honest i dont really thing they make that much of a diffrence although this could be down to either good mains quality or just my hearing.

    If i was you i'd spend it on some speaker which would probably give you a more noticeable upgrade.

    wish i'd spent the money more wisely :mad:
     
  15. recruit

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    I have changed all my power cables out on my Hi Fi and the difference was considerably noticeable the sound tightened up & more detail.
    I have used Merlin Black Widow Power Leads.

    John
     
  16. JH1

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    I had an Isotek mini sub for a weekend, rated "5 Star" by What Hifi and with reviews like"Will improve any system dramatically".................well it made absolutely no difference at all to my system so it went back!

    I think, truth is, get something like this on a trial, as it is the only way to know if you have a "dirty" power supply. If you have, chances are you will hear a difference with most decent lead upgrades and conditioners. If you have a good clean supply, chances are you won't notice any difference whatsoever, so you can save your money and spend it on some other form of upgrade such as an interconnect or speaker cable etc.

    nb. I also have an Isotek elite power lead which made no difference at all. I've had it a while and the dealer told me he would eat his hat if it didn't improve my system......hope his appetite is good when I go back into town!!!
     
  17. recruit

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    Have to agree with you JH1 on that one, as i also borrowed one for about a week and used it on my Home Cinema setup and it made the picture on my plasma worse and absolutely no improvement on the sound so it went back!!

    John
     

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