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Will a New Power Cable Really Make a Difference?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Rick1486, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    Hi gang. The question is as per the title really.

    If I were to purchase/build new power cables for my Denon 2910 dvd player (can't do the 2105 amp as the power cable is run direct into the amp and doesn't have a fig.8 or iec connection) and my REL Q400E sub, would it actually make a difference - i.e. am I going to hear a difference over what I have now?

    Also does anyone have any recommendations as to cables to go for?
    These must be reasonable cost wise - I'm not paying £100 odd quid for a lead - think me tight if you will.

    Cheers
    Rick
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Rumour has it that a better power cable will enhance the quality of the output from a DVD player but although I have been thinking of doing it for a couple of years I've never got around to it.

    I don't know if Mark Grant still makes power cables but I have one of his (nowhere near £100) attached to my Sky Box and noticed significant enhancements to both picture and sound quality.
     
  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'm not sure I'd bother with the sub,as the human ear is notoriously poor at detecting subtle differences in distortion etc at those frequencies,but if you have high levels of intereference or a relatively dirty mains supply,improving the cabling etc to source components can make a large difference as IanJ has said.

    Mine aren't Mark Grant's cables,but definitely do improve things at the CD/PC/Processor end of things.
     
  4. Dolus

    Dolus
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    An analogy:-

    If your water company supplies you with water along a 2 mile dirty rusty pipe, would putting a nice new shiny gold plated £100 tap on at your end make any difference to the quality of the water coming out.

    Read this right at the top of this forum:-
    Some Interesting Reading on Cables - Power, Component, etc.
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=76447
     
  5. caleb

    caleb
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    I have made my own power cables using triple braided wires, then covered with sleeving to make them look nice.

    They certainly made an audible difference
     
  6. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    What wires did you use particularly mate? What sort of audible difference have you heard - bearing in mind Dolus' analogy?

    Was it an easy project or is it a pain in the a**e to do?

    Cheers
    Rick
     
  7. Dolus

    Dolus
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    OK Lets look at it another way.

    If we make the assumption that sticking two metres of high quality cable on the the end of umpteen miles of cable that the power company use, can make a difference then:-

    The logical thing to do is to select your preferred cable and take it from the wall outlet to a trailing socket of your choice. Plug all your equipment into this and they should all benefit from this mod. :clap:

    Changing a power lead is not the same as using something to clean the mains that enters your house and there is even arguments over whether this makes any difference to the sound and picture.
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    No it wouldn't make any difference but replacing the standard power lead to my Sky Box with a better quality lead did make a difference to both the picture and sound quality and many others here have noticed the same improvement when they did the same.
     
  9. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Generally I'm a cable sceptic, but this seems to me to be going a little too far in the sceptical direction. There are at least three things a mains cable could easily do:

    1) It could act as a passive low-pass filter, which would screen out radio-frequency interference on the mains supply. (Effectively it would be acting as a limited, passive mains conditioner).

    2) It could be shielded in a way that prevents external high-frequency interference from affecting the mains current flowing through it.

    3) It might perhaps be screened in a way that helps to shield other items of equipment from picking up quite so much 50Hz interference from inside it.

    I'm sure there are plenty of other possibilities.

    The problem is that not all of these things are necessarily desirable all the time. No. 1, for example, could make certain power amplifiers sound worse rather than better, because the current they ideally draw is actually not a perfect 50Hz sinusoid. One thing I would definitely never do under any circumstances is buy a fancy power cord whose maker refuses to tell me exactly what it is that it's supposed to do and how it achieves it.
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    The bottom line is they can help in certain circumstances but these are far from universal. They will make more difference where PS are poor in quality (SKY box etc). The pipe analogy is interesting but I think not quaite accurate. It is not the water going through the pipes which is the issue here, it is all the other bits, the contaminant which shouldn't be therein the first place, as indicated by NicB. The are not there with everyone and good PS should be able to dealwith them anyway, unfortunately real life says most of us don't have good PS in our equipment and some of us are also 'poluted'. To find out if they would work you need to see if you have a problem first.

    The comments about bass are well made here, this is the last device I would address as the ear struggle to detect even 10% dstortion at bass frequencies.
     
  11. Mango Bob

    Mango Bob
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    I currently use a Belkin PureAV for power filtering and noticed a definite (and unexpected!) improvement in sound/picture quality when I connected my AV gear through it.

    Would upgrading power cables between the filter and my amp etc be likely to make any further difference?

    The PureAV was definitely worth it, I was sceptical and only really bought it as surge protection/extra insurance but it made a clear audible and visible difference (it removed some sky picture problems)
     
  12. Cliff

    Cliff
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    Mains wire?- Use the money on other improvements which will make a difference.
    Why do you want to do anything to the current going into your DVD player?

    A DVD player usually has a smpsu inside. So the mains is converted from AC to DC then chopped up at a high frequency before being transformed down and then rectified and smoothed to DC, and stablized. Nothing much you put on the mains side is going to make any difference.
    Filters are there by the way to stop RF going the other way. As most spikes / RF hash is actually generated inside your DVD player.

    Anyhow the wire thing requires "belief" and a disregard to engineering common sense.

    As long as the wires can carry the rated current, make good contact, are insulated - thats it!
     
  13. Dolus

    Dolus
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    The whole subject of cables of any sort is subjective and relies a lot on what the person wants to hear/see or expects to hear/see.

    The best I description I read for what constitutes a good cable goes something like this.

    A good quality cable cannot alter the fundamental sound of your equipment. It can't turn a sows ear into a silk purse. A good cable should be completely neutral and should not add anything to the signal nor take anything away.

    If you change cables and can hear a difference then great. I have done it myself but I also like a rational explanation why this should be, so I can convince myself that I am not imagining it.
    -----------------------------------------

    Mango Bob

    I assume you have the top Belkin protector with some sort of mains cleaning/filtering. I have heard some good things about this and became interested after a mate bought one made by 'Sounds Fantastic' for £83 which he swears made a difference to his picture and sound. There is a thread on this forum about the Belkin and the jury is still out as to whether it improves picture and sound. I suppose the improvement depends on how much dirt and interference is in the mains where you live.
     
  14. Dolus

    Dolus
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    Nice on Cliff

    You sound like you know your electronics, unlike me who never got past practical electricty at school :)
     
  15. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Cliff

    so so long as the wire carries the current thats it? :nono: and the hum, and the RFI etc etc.

    No seriously I agree with what you are trying to say here. But there are unfortunate way too many devices that are not enginnered correctly in their PS. Done correctly this is a non issue for me to but we have to accept that not everyone does this correctly.

    This is an area where too much attention is being paid and too much money is being spent on after market fixes that are not necessary. The problems arise not because of R, C and L per se however but things that shouldn't be there (and in many cases aren't anyway). People are not wiling to analyse the 'issue' to see if they have a problem. The 'favoured' solution is to throw expensive after market products that may have some limited effects in certain circumstanced but not necessarily theirs. [No point dealing with RFI if you don't have a RFI problem]. All of these cables seem to supply enough power to all our devices.

    I have 4 Belkin Pure AVs at home (most cost me about £30). They make NO difference what so ever to my system but they have proved highly effective elsewhere. I use them as insurance, not to deal with any problems. I sorted my mains to be free of any issues, it is cheaper, better and more efficient solution. IT WAS SIMPLE BASIC ENGINEERING.

    Every situation is different
     
  16. Cliff

    Cliff
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    If you have a specific problem with RFI or clicks and pops etc on your mains feed then you need more than a cable with magic properties! You need a mains conditioner which it quite ligit.
    Not sure what you were saying re hum. AC mains is "50Hz hum plus all the harmonics".
     
  17. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Yeah, but how easy is it to test for radio frequency interference on a mains supply? Is this something a typical consumer could reasonably be expected to deal with?
     
  18. Knightshade

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    In answer to the original question......:rolleyes:
    IMHO, I don't think mains cables make any difference by themselves (Talking purely Audio here!) Add them to a good mains filter/conditioner and combine the whole lot with a seperate ring main and you have something worthwhile.
    But even then a good power supply in the device will rectify, filter and smooth the supply.
    I suppose anything with a poor power supply could benefit from a well designed cable.
    I think I'd rather get the power supply right to start with though.....:)

    If anyone gets a benefit from the cables fair play! I can't tell the difference.:D
     
  19. caleb

    caleb
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    My answer - I used a decent cable thickness to be able to carry the current needled and ye it was a pain in the A**e dong the braiding but in my case I found the difference worthwhile.
     
  20. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Not if you believe what many cable suppliers tell you !! Seriously all I am emphasising is there are a wide variety of 'potential' problems and cables, conditioners etc may all have a role but before you can use any you need to know what the problem is before applying any. Personally I think there is a load of rubbish talked here and for the majority of people a good power supply in kit will solve all issues. Ask them to do a PROPER ABX and the issues go away......but will they ever try it? Having said that braiding your own mains cables is fun and can do no harm if done properly.

    Re mains I always find it interesting that many hifi companies do NOT use these products in their labs (by the engineers) but they might have something like an isolation transformer to block DC, as confirmed to me by ARCAM. But by the time the sales people take over marketing / shows etc all these products come out 

    Nic

    I use a domestic mains sniffer (amongst other stuff) that transposes the rubbish down to audio freq to hear. I post some file here soon for people to hear the difference between good and bad. It is not very scientific but I find it very reliable giving indications where help is needed or otherwise. RA sells it over here amongst others and many allow them to be hired. If you want to borrow it please PM me your address and I will send it over, it doesn't cover everything but it is a good guide especially for interference.
     
  21. Rick1486

    Rick1486
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    So is there an idiots' guide to diy mains cabling (including piccies) that would basically talk a novice like me step by step through the procedure, including recommended parts etc.?

    Cheers
    Rick
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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