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I invested in my education with Pangea power cords (well, they were on sale...)


bluesman

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I'd been meaning to trim my power cords anyway, as some were too long and it was hard to make them all cross signal cables at 90 degrees. So when I saw a sale on Pangeas, I figured I'd solve a problem for sure and maybe improve my sound in one fell swoop - for under $100. I bought a 2' AC9 (actually 7 gauge, according to their literature) for my Prima Luna power amp and a 2 foot AC14SE for my DAC/preamp.

 

The 9 is a garden hose, and it's a bit short of 2' in a straight line. I had to rotate the amp 90 degrees on the rack shelf (which, fortunately, I had the clearance to do) in order to get it to reach without strain. The 14 is a straight shot with no problems at all. So I now have clean mains wiring running to the other side of the rack from the signal lines. I had no audible RFI before, but I suppose I could have had inaudible RFI.

 

Did the power cords make a difference? I'm not sure. The one thing that I do think has changed is that I can now hear a minor but distinct difference between MPD on my BeagleBone Black and JRiverMC20 on my Linux PC. JRMC on Linux via coax sounds a bit muted (slightly less prominent top? less detailed? a bit recessed?) compared to MPD on Debian via USB. I play the same source file synchronously on both and switch between sources on the DAC. My SPL meters (old analog from the shack, modern digital) both say the levels are the same, so I don't think it's a minor level mismatch and it doesn't sound like it. I think JRiver sounds the same but BBB sounds a bit better now than it did before. Although this may have become more apparent with use over the long weekend (I got them last Tuesday & left everything powered on), I noticed it as soon as I hit "play".

 

On some albums (e.g. Brian Bromberg's Wood, but not Wood II), the 'Bone seems to have a slight advantage both in the bass and the piano. I tried some blinded passes at telling the e-sources apart with Wood, and I hit it correctly 9 of 10 tries from the bass and piano - the drums are close enough so I don't think I can identify a source difference.

 

I haven't had time to experiment with vinyl yet. I tried a few cuts, and all sounded great - but they always did. And I did not yet upgrade the power cord to my Parasound phono stage because I wanted to see if there was any difference with what I did first. I need a longer one for the phono preamp, so it'll be more expensive. Let's see how I feel about it in a month or three. I'm glad I did it, both because I think my SQ from BBB is a hair better and because they look so cool. And I may just buy another for the phono stage while they're still on sale.

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I'd been meaning to trim my power cords anyway, as some were too long and it was hard to make them all cross signal cables at 90 degrees. So when I saw a sale on Pangeas, I figured I'd solve a problem for sure and maybe improve my sound in one fell swoop - for under $100. I bought a 2' AC9 (actually 7 gauge, according to their literature) for my Prima Luna power amp and a 2 foot AC14SE for my DAC/preamp.

 

The 9 is a garden hose, and it's a bit short of 2' in a straight line. I had to rotate the amp 90 degrees on the rack shelf (which, fortunately, I had the clearance to do) in order to get it to reach without strain. The 14 is a straight shot with no problems at all. So I now have clean mains wiring running to the other side of the rack from the signal lines. I had no audible RFI before, but I suppose I could have had inaudible RFI.

 

Did the power cords make a difference? I'm not sure. The one thing that I do think has changed is that I can now hear a minor but distinct difference between MPD on my BeagleBone Black and JRiverMC20 on my Linux PC. JRMC on Linux via coax sounds a bit muted (slightly less prominent top? less detailed? a bit recessed?) compared to MPD on Debian via USB. I play the same source file synchronously on both and switch between sources on the DAC. My SPL meters (old analog from the shack, modern digital) both say the levels are the same, so I don't think it's a minor level mismatch and it doesn't sound like it. I think JRiver sounds the same but BBB sounds a bit better now than it did before. Although this may have become more apparent with use over the long weekend (I got them last Tuesday & left everything powered on), I noticed it as soon as I hit "play".

 

On some albums (e.g. Brian Bromberg's Wood, but not Wood II), the 'Bone seems to have a slight advantage both in the bass and the piano. I tried some blinded passes at telling the e-sources apart with Wood, and I hit it correctly 9 of 10 tries from the bass and piano - the drums are close enough so I don't think I can identify a source difference.

 

I haven't had time to experiment with vinyl yet. I tried a few cuts, and all sounded great - but they always did. And I did not yet upgrade the power cord to my Parasound phono stage because I wanted to see if there was any difference with what I did first. I need a longer one for the phono preamp, so it'll be more expensive. Let's see how I feel about it in a month or three. I'm glad I did it, both because I think my SQ from BBB is a hair better and because they look so cool. And I may just buy another for the phono stage while they're still on sale.

 

 

If you're not sure that you heard a difference, then you probably didn't. It's an awful lot to ask of a short hank of wire to make a positive difference to one's mains supply when that current has travelled, perhaps, hundreds of miles from the generating point to your wall plug after going through countless transformers and hundreds of feet of your own house wiring; wiring upon which is hanging things like refrigerator and air conditioning compressors, TVs, computers, and god only knows what else and picking up all kinds of noise en route. The idea that the last six feet from the wall plug to the primary of an audio component's power transformer can do anything toward mitigating any nasties on the line is simply not logical. But. if you have heard it, and think the improvement you heard is worth the expenditure, then more power to you. Enjoy!

George

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If you're not sure that you heard a difference, then you probably didn't. It's an awful lot to ask of a short hank of wire to make a positive difference to one's mains supply when that current has travelled, perhaps, hundreds of miles from the generating point to your wall plug after going through countless transformers and hundreds of feet of your own house wiring; wiring upon which is hanging things like refrigerator and air conditioning compressors, TVs, computers, and god only knows what else and picking up all kinds of noise en route. The idea that the last six feet from the wall plug to the primary of an audio component's power transformer can do anything toward mitigating any nasties on the line is simply not logical. But. if you have heard it, and think the improvement you heard is worth the expenditure, then more power to you. Enjoy!

 

Actually, there's nothing hanging on my wiring - I have 2 dedicated 20 amp lines to the system from a 400 amp board (we built our house and I designed the listening room) and have never had RFI or any other audible problem. The heat pump, refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven etc are on separate mains breakers. But I agree that the last 2 feet probably don't make much difference in the power itself. The fact that the stock power cord to my power amp felt warm after intensive listening at high levels but the 7 ga Pangea does not may mean something - I don't know.

 

One of these days, I have to run up to the Cable Company and invest a few bucks in renting some truly high end cables of all kinds to see if I can hear anything at all. I'm glad I got the Pangeas because they're short and direct. I think there's a minor audible difference using the BeagleBone via USB, but I wouldn't swear to it and I don't care. For a grand total of about $75, I'm happy and satisfied.

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Actually, there's nothing hanging on my wiring - I have 2 dedicated 20 amp lines to the system from a 400 amp board (we built our house and I designed the listening room) and have never had RFI or any other audible problem. The heat pump, refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven etc are on separate mains breakers. But I agree that the last 2 feet probably don't make much difference in the power itself. The fact that the stock power cord to my power amp felt warm after intensive listening at high levels but the 7 ga Pangea does not may mean something - I don't know.

 

 

Well. I don't think it really matters that you have dedicated 20-amp lines for your audio. At some point they all join the incoming mains, and before the circuit-breaker panel, they are common - even if your two 20-Amp circuits are sourced from the other phase of your incoming mains from your normal household wiring because the circuit breakers and dedicated wiring still don't contain any filtering unless you or your electrical contractor put it there. But that doesn't mean that dedicated 20-amp circuits for audio aren't a good idea, it's just that I suspect that they are irrelevant from a line-noise suppression standpoint.

George

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