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    Upgrading Power Cables and Fuses

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    B&WTube

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    Post by B&WTube on Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:42 pm

    I have been reading about people upgrading their power cables and fuses on their amps, and there are a lot of compelling arguments for these boutique power cables and fuses, and a lot of people who swear by them...On the other hand others say that neither of these things matter, at all.

    Does anyone on here have any experience changing out to a boutique 3 prong and adding a ground, AND/OR upgrading their fuses? If so what has been your experience? Thanks in advance!
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    Post by corndog71 on Thu Oct 17, 2019 11:18 pm

    I would avoid fancy fuses for sure. I doubt any of them are certified properly.

    I’ve experimented with various power cords over the years and honestly have never heard a difference. That said some cheap/freebie cords can have poor internal connections. You can make a better power cord buy simply buying the plugs and some 14awg extension cord and building it yourself. Or you can live with what you have.
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    ramon68

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    Post by ramon68 on Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:50 am

    Imagine how many miles of ordinary wire the electrons have passed through on their way from the power station to your six foot length of sexy boutique cable.
    Then imagine the transformation that last six feet of wire provided.
    chad1376
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    Post by chad1376 on Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:27 am

    My guess - OP was trying to stir up a power cable audibility argument.  These crop up like wildfires in other forums.  It looks like folks here are more sane.

    FWIW, I used a three prong plug/cable, and tied ground to the same chassis ground point as the rest of the circuit (ST-70.)  No hum or weird ground loops noises.  Previously, I had used the rear stereo/mono switch in the back as a ground lift switch, but found breaking this ground didn't have any positive/negative impact (at least with my system.)


    Last edited by chad1376 on Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post by Mr C on Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:44 pm

    It sucks when one of my $450 solid 18K gold fuses blow.
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    B&WTube

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    Post by B&WTube on Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:03 pm

    Thanks for the replies. I am definitely not trying to start an argument, but it is the fierce arguments that I find while researching that makes me want to ask a group of more practical people say. FWIW, this guy is what got me more thinking that maybe there is something to some of it https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5lHPjcXhK4c
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    Post by Tube Nube on Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:45 am

    Think of it this way way: whatever has been lost in the poorer quality wire between substation and power receptacle cannot be restored with a better conductor between outlet and your audio gear. Assuming that, somehow, your audiophiliac grade power cord is better.

    Again, assuming your cable is better than an ordinary power cable, one could argue it prevents whatever additional losses that occur between the wall and the stereo attributable to 3’ of plebian power cable. Is there any research at all that substantiates this awful power degradation? I’d be interested to see it, but I’m in lined to doubt normal cords somehow inhibit the electricity carried in the solid copper Romex carried in our walls.

    That said, I did buy one of these audiophile power cords once. I didn’t notice a difference, but then again I didn’t do a blind A/B listening test. I’d be happy to do that, at ,east with an N of 1 or 2, and report back here.


    Last edited by Tube Nube on Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Big Harry

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    Post by Big Harry on Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:01 am

    I don't buy into the theory that the so called audiophile power cables and fuses will do anything but reduce the size of your wallet. A good 14 or even 16 gauge cable such as an SJT or SJO cable with good connectors will work as well or probably better than the fancy stuff. I won't use anything but Buss or Littlefuse fuses as a fuse is meant to protect equipment from major damage and not to supposedly make it sound better.
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    Post by Bob Latino on Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:53 am

    Upgrading Power Cables and Fuses M-125-cable

    This is a VTA M-125 14 gauge IEC AUDIO power cable. All the wiring inside the amp through the power switch and IEC connector all the way to the power transformer is also 14 gauge wire. 14 gauge wire @ 120 volts is good for 15 amps. I have had a few customers replace this cable that came with their M-125 amps with a fancy cable from who knows where. None of them could quantify any difference in the sound quality of the amps. You won't get anywhere the 15 amp rating of this cable because the fuse blows at anything over a 5 amp current draw. Back in 2010 when I was working with the prototype M-125's, I had an audio friend bring over two "fancy" IEC cables that he was using on two expensive monoblock amps that he had. We swapped the stock M-125 cables with his cables. Neither of us could hear any difference in the sound of the amps. My feeling is that if a power cable can supply enough current to an amp under all playing conditions, you won't really gain anything by swapping out that power cable with another power cable.

    That said > I can say that I have heard SUBTLE differences in the sound of an audio system SOMETIMES when interconnect or speaker cables were changed out.

    Bob
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    Post by Tube Nube on Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:32 am

    Well I listened to the Youtube video and have 2 comments.

    1. Using the comparison of the audibility of the difference between a 24 vs 20 bit DAC is a poor analogy.

    2. The argument that the magnetic field from standard power cables may interfere with our audio gear seems plausible, and may or may not be true. From here, he explains the magnetic field reducing solutions of a. Twisting the conductors inside the cable and b. shielding them, which, again, may or might not be audible.

    I wonder if the magnetic field around a power cord can be measured somehow?



    Tube Nube wrote:Think of it this way way: whatever has been lost in the poorer quality wire between substation and power receptacle cannot be restored with a better conductor between outlet and your audio gear. Assuming that, somehow, your audiophiliac grade power cord is better.

    Again, assuming your cable is better than an ordinary power cable, one could argue it prevents whatever additional losses that occur between the wall and the stereo attributable to 3’ of plebian power cable. Is there any research at all that substantiates this awful power degradation? I’d be interested to see it, but I’m in lined to doubt normal cords somehow inhibit the electricity carried in the solid copper Romex carried in our walls.

    That said, I did buy one of these audiophile power cords once. I didn’t notice a difference, but then again I didn’t do a blind A/B listening test. I’d be happy to do that, at ,east with an N of 1 or 2, and report back here.
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    Post by 30 Ounce on Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:28 pm

    My experience with power cords is a bit different. I was given a Synergistic Research Master Power Coupler by an audiophile friend about 20 years ago because he upgraded all his stuff. He told me to plug it into my CD player which seamed ridiculous because its huge. I did and I thought heard a difference but since it was free I didn't critically analyze it. Fast forward to last year when I was organizing my audio wires and cables to make things nice and neat I changed that cable for a Monster Cable Powerline 300 thinking it wouldn't make any difference. I was wrong! It was darker, less defined treble, the imaging was also less defined and the music just lost a bit of sparkle. Not trusting my own ears, I had my son and then my wife and then my best friend all listen. They were all in agreement and in disbelief. Any how, the Synergistic cable is still connected to the cd/dvd audio player. I have about 11 feet from my wall plug to my M125 amps and wanted to eliminate the extension cord I was using so I made power cables for my M125's using Belden 83803 wires and Wattgate connectors with ferrite cores. I tried making power cables with off the shelf cable from Lowes but honestly they sounded horrible for some reason. Very bright and harsh...they were unshielded and I think they might be picking up RF noise which is why I went with shielded Belden and ferrite cores.
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    Post by solderblob on Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:40 pm

    [quote="Tube Nube"

    I wonder if the magnetic field around a power cord can be measured somehow?]

    Get a Tesla meter:  https://www.amazon.com/KKmeter-Electromagnetic-Radiation-Detector-Handheld/dp/B07B9WHGN3/ref=asc_df_B07B9WHGN3/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312096362814&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4000184604771803318&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032472&hvtargid=pla-511755129834&psc=1#feature-bullets-btf

    As an owner of magneplanar speakers I would tend to believe the field could be fairly strong.

    But, with the power cord you have two wires with opposite direction constantly changing current.  So you have a constantly changing magnetic field that varies from a max of 2 times the field strength of one wire to zero.  And there will be a phase difference due to current passing through the amp's transformer.

    I think Hans' comments in the video make sense.  The power cord doesn't so much affect the current flowing through it to the amp but more that it affects adjacent interconnects and maybe even more so nearby low voltage equipment like a phono preamp.  The arguments about the miles of wire coming to and going through your house are, if this is true, irrelevant.

    dave
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    Post by solderblob on Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:53 pm

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    Post by tubes4hifi on Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:03 pm

    I agree with what ramon68 had to say, and I also believe that those people with $10-20K amplifiers who spend $1000 on a power cord and $100 on a fuse,
    they damn well better THINK it sounds better, even if it doesn't !!!!
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    30 Ounce

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    Post by 30 Ounce on Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:18 pm

    Except from the amplifiers point of view it's the first 6 feet of wire not the last.
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    Post by B&WTube on Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:17 am

    Thanks for the replies. I guess I will leave the power cable alone...However, I do have another snake oil question:

    Does upgrading the fuse make the differences than many claim it does? I don’t know about going with a Blue fuse from Synergistic Research but some of the quality less expensive one like from PADIS have my curiosity going. Anyone out the fuse roll?
    dalemurray
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    Post by dalemurray on Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:40 pm

    The setup:
    - Extremely high dollar system connected to a extremely expensive power conditioner (do not recall the brand).
    - Plug basic computer style cable into power conditioner and amp; listen.
    - Plug high dollar power cord into power conditioner and amp; listen.

    I have ALWAYS poopoo'd power cables BUT I heard a difference.
    With that said, I believe the wildly expensive power conditioner is what allowed for a difference to be heard.

    Its akin to car tires.
    A super high performance tire and regular Michelin.
    Testing tire on a high performance car (power conditioner) on a race track (extremely high end system) will result in demonstrable differences in performance, however, will that translate to the typical every day driver? NOPE.

    So yes, I believe they can make a difference in very controlled circumstances where the best is compared with the worst.
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    B&WTube

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    Post by B&WTube on Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:56 pm

    dalemurray, I really think there are benefits to conditioning/smoothing out the power going into your amp, especially if you are in area like I am with 'dirty power.' As for the naysayers who have played around with this type of thing, and experience no difference- I think it is plausible that may have 'cleaner' power.

    I have a completely unproven theory, which is that there are multiple ways to mitigate/clean up dirty power, and as long as the power is electricity is clean/steady then you have accomplished the objective. So far I have seen:
    -Specialty wall outlets
    -Power Conditioners
    -Power Regenerators
    -Power Chord upgrades
    -Fuses
    -Bybee Quantum purifier

    My problem is that I don't know which is the most effective, and why. I tend to wonder if closer to the amp would be the most impactful (Fuses & Bybee). However, I am no scientist/electrical engineer.


    dalemurray
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    Post by dalemurray on Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:25 pm

    In no way can I fathom an outlet, fuse, or power cord making a difference unless the ones in use are wildly defective and ultimately a horrible fire hazard. As for one of those devices mitigating or cleaning, that is equally implausible.

    Re-generators:
    At Axpona two years ago I saw a few dozen rooms were using PS Audio Re-generators. If that many independent demo rooms are using the same piece of equipment, I tend to believe there is something to it. Of course, it is also $10k.

    Conditioners:
    I have Skeptical Hippo Eyes about those.

    Bybee Quantum purifier:
    Never heard of it, cannot say a thing.


    Audio is like golf, there is an unlimited supply of crap you can buy to improve your game - 99% of which is utterly worthless.

    If you already have a decent system - source, amplification, and speakers - these are the best two things you can do.
    1. Start with the room; are the walls reflective, carpet or hardwood, what is between you and the speaker.
    2. Speaker placement; how the speaker couples with the room, the resulting modes, and listening location.

    Note, both those are free. Nobody is trying to sell you free but it is the biggest change you can make.

    I have a friend who was very unhappy with the sound of her $4000 speakers (Goldenear). She wondered what she needed to buy to make them sound better - power cords, new feet, new amplifier?

    I went over to check it out - speaker placement was horrible. I moved a few pieces of furniture and it was a MASSSIVE difference, and free.

    If you follow my advice and it helps your system sound better, send me $500. If not, I will completely refund what you paid me for this information.

    If you are bent on spending money, read my post about Dirac included with the NAD C658 - Dirac is a game changer and well worth the investment.
    chad1376
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    Post by chad1376 on Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:41 pm

    By and far, the following will will improve your listening experience more than the electronics, speakers, wires, recording format or any gee-haw add-ons.

    1) Listen to music you love, or seek new music you could love
    2) Listen when you are in a good mood to listen
    3) Don't listen when you are fatigued or distracted

    I've found morning coffee, or an evening drink, does more to improve the sound of music than any other aspect of my system.

    If you think a boutique anything will get you that last 0.0005% of the way to audio nirvana, it's probably time to reflect on if you really enjoy music, or if you just like spending money on show-offy consumer goods.



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    Post by HarryY on Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:37 pm

    When I built my ST-120 I went and got a black cord from Ace hardware.

    Simply because I wanted a Black cord and not a brown one.
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    Post by rjpjnk on Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:54 pm

    HarryY wrote:When I built my ST-120 I went and got a black cord from Ace hardware.

    Simply because I wanted a Black cord and not a brown one.

    I think black may sound a little better than brown Wink

    Seriously, I also went with a black cord and more importantly, a grounded cord. I think it is downright dangerous to run an exposed chassis amp like this without grounding the chassis.
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    Post by Hops on Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:28 pm

    If I ever need to do repairs to my new ST-120, I will add a grounded cord. However, I just plugged a portable GFI into my Variac( the kind you have to manually reset). Between the GFI, the fast blow fuse on the Variac, & the Slow Blow fuse on the ST-120, I think the danger is minimal.. I went with the Brown cord because it was supplied with the Amp. The VTA-120 is the first amp or receiver I have purchased that cost more than $150; I am very happy with the sound and will leave tuning fuses to others.
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    Post by dalemurray on Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:48 am

    I will admit I may be an idiot but, I question the need for grounded cord; though my situation may be unique to most of America.

    All circuits are in electrical metallic tubing (EMT) conduit.
    All conduit is grounded by virtue of connection to breaker panel.
    All outlet boxes are metallic.
    The outlets earth ground is provided via its attachment to the metallic outlet box (metal tabs, metal screws, etc).
    Positive and neutral leads run in conduit back to breaker box where neutral is attached to ground.

    So, neutral runs to ground in breaker box.
    Conduit provides earth ground by connection to the very same breaker box.

    If the neutral lead is attached to the amps chassis, and this lead run to ground, what benefit would I get by attaching another wire to the amps chassis and it running to ground, too?

    At first I was concerned about not having a three prong cable but in reality it appears of no benefit to me anyway. Am I, in fact, and idiot?

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    Post by peterh on Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:48 am

    dalemurray wrote:I will admit I may be an idiot but, I question the need for grounded cord; though my situation may be unique to most of America.

    All circuits are in electrical metallic tubing (EMT) conduit.
    All conduit is grounded by virtue of connection to breaker panel.
    All outlet boxes are metallic.
    The outlets earth ground is provided via its attachment to the metallic outlet box (metal tabs, metal screws, etc).
    Positive and neutral leads run in conduit back to breaker box where neutral is attached to ground.

    So, neutral runs to ground in breaker box.
    Conduit provides earth ground by connection to the very same breaker box.

    If the neutral lead is attached to the amps chassis, and this lead run to ground, what benefit would I get by attaching another wire to the amps chassis and it running to ground, too?

    At first I was concerned about not having a three prong cable but in reality it appears of no benefit to me anyway. Am I, in fact, and idiot?

    Using a third wire will prevent the risk of crossed mains cables connecting the chassies to live.


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