3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour

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OzarkTom

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #20 on: 23 Dec 2016, 06:34 pm »
The cord is on the way to #2. :thumb:

finsup

My Take
« Reply #21 on: 31 Dec 2016, 09:35 pm »
Warning:  The post is a little long.  My own writing style reminds me of the bloke who wrote the novel, “The Last Ship”. Words would spill across three pages when all he wanted to say was “Hard right rudder!”

This review is late and my apologies.  I had some unusual things come up at work which took away from my getting this out.  I took notes during each listening session but have had a heck of a time getting the notes from paper to this post.

I also faced a bit of a conundrum immediately upon receiving these cables.  I had just visited with Jason (jtwrace) a couple of days earlier to listen to his Spatial Hologram M3 Turbo S and was simply struck by the immediacy/clarity/transparency of his speakers.  There was such a stark difference between what I heard in his system vs. my own, which is mostly tube components with Walsh Ohm 5000 speakers.  I was figuring, if there is a proper system to evaluate this power cable, it is his, rather than mine. If interested, head over here to read about the M3.  AFTER you read this post first, though.   :D

Many of you, maybe all of you, will cringe when you see my system below, cobbled together when I did not know anything about anything.  In my own set-up, I can honestly say the Ohms are not very resolving speakers.  What they do, they do wonderfully, and they work very, very well for my own listening habits.  You see, I don’t often sit still for long and just listen deeply, deeply, into the music.  Because I move around a bit, the Ohms’ ability to provide great sound, even when way-off axis, is very valuable to me.  I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination.  You can accuse me of just having music on for background, and sometimes you are right.  I do love music, though. 

So, here I have a new power cord to evaluate, but I have already said my system isn’t the most resolving, and power cords should probably be neutral and not have a sound of their own.  Yet, even this non-audiophile knows that components, even amplifiers and power cords, impose their own characteristics, their own idiosyncrasies, onto the sound. Still, power cords?  What did I get myself into?  So, what do I do?

I am going to have to do something I don’t usually do, and that is sit still and really concentrate.  Fortunately, this time of year, I had family around the house all day so I was able to let the music play all day and allow the cord to warm up, even when I wasn’t there, without fear of the tubes blowing unattended or some other catastrophe taking place.

Equipment
Sony HAP-Z1ES
Raysonic CD128
Lector Zoe
Butler TBD5150
AudioArt and Blue Jeans ICs
VH Audio Flavor 1 Power Cord mated to the Butler

Except for the Butler, all power cords used are stock. :(

Most of the music was played via the Sony HAP but recent additions to my library, Beegie Adair and Friends – “Christmas Cocktails”, Lady Antebellum – “On This Winter’s Night”, Pentatonix – “Christmas”, Pink Martini - “Joy to the World”, and The Piano Guys – “A Family Christmas”, were played through the Raysonic.  Sorry, no streaming or Hi-Rez downloads yet.

The room is my family room with all its compromises.  No audiophile approved treatments

Music
The following albums were in rotation over the next three six, seven, ten (I don't remember) days.  You’ll note a lot of this is Christmas music: :xmas:
  • Banu Gibson – “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?”
  • Michael Bublé – “Christmas”
  • Barry Manilow – “Because It’s Christmas”
  • Pentatonix – “That’s Christmas to Me” and "Christmas”
  • Chicago – “25”
  • Pink Martini - “Joy to the World”
  • Chanticleer, “Sing We Christmas”
  • The Piano Guys – “A Family Christmas”
  • The Judds – “Christmas Time”
  • Straight No Chaser – “Christmas Cheers”
  • Mannheim Steamroller – “Christmas”
  • Vinnie Zummo – “A Retro Cool Bossa Nova Christmas”
  • Ottmar Liebart – “Christmas Sante Fe”
  • Aaron Neville – “Warm Your Heart”
  • The Smithereens – “Christmas with the Smithereens”
  • Alison Kraus + Union Station – “Live”
  • Vince Guaraldi Trio – “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
  • April Barrows – “My Dream is You”
  • Beegie Adair and Friends – “Christmas Cocktails”
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy”
  • Denis Solee – “Christmas by Candlelight”
  • Melodie Gardot “Worrisome Heat”
  • Enya – “And Winter Came”
  • Renee Olstead – “Renee Olstead”
  • Idina Menzel – “Holiday Wishes”
  • Simply Red – “Simply Red”
  • Jack Jezzro and Friends – “Bossa Nova Christmas”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Creedence Gold”
  • Lady Antebellum – “On This Winter’s Night”
  • Three Dog Night – “The Complete Hit Singles”
  • Matt Belsante – “White Christmas”
  • Jacintha – “Here’s to Ben”
(Note:  I tried to put the bullet points in two columns but could not figure out the code).

OK, say what you will, but not a single “Hotel California" in the playlist.

Day One -  Butler TBD150

The Aonkii replaced the 4ft. VH Audio Flavor 1 power cord in the Butler amplifier.  And here, I wish I had the same length in the Aonkii, just to eliminate one variable. 

I spent about four hours on this day listening to music.  The system had been up and running about 5 hours before I sat down to listen.  The first 1.5 hours, the VH power cord was connected to the Butler.  I then switched in the Wolf Ear PC and played the same music.

If I tell you that I heard very little differences between the two power cords, will you be disappointed?  Listening as carefully as I could over the next three hours, I noticed only a small difference, as if the gauziest of gauze had been lifted.  OK.  I still had three components to go.

Day Two - Lector Zoe

I had settled on a playlist that ranged from one or two songs on a particular album to letting the entire album play.  Like the day before, the system had been running for several hours when I arrived home.  I am sitting about 10 feet back from the speakers, which themselves are 8.5 feet apart.  I left the Aonkii connected to the Butler for about 40 minutes, partly to verify if anything I heard the previous evening had changed, then powered down the amp and the Lector Zoe and replaced the Zoe’s stock power cord with the Aonkii.  Fired everything up, let things settle for about 5 minutes, and then started listing to the same playlist.

Now this is interesting:  I am hearing more of change – something of a leap forward. Things feel a little more fleshed out, the music seems to have a little more energy. “O Tannenbaum” from the Vince Guaraldi album seemed a little more organic, the piano notes a little crisper.  Still keeping things instrumental, I wanted to hear how sax sounded so I cued up Denis Solee – “Christmas by Candlelight” and played “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.  On this bluesy take, the sax seemed to have a little more weight. On “Christmas Time Is Here”, there is a certain lushness and I can feel the music….I don’t know….breathe? 

Next, I tried several songs off Banu Gibson – “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” The results here were less clear.  It seemed as if my VH Flavor 1 liked to party a bit more.  I was getting a little tired by this point and needed a break.

Sufficiently refreshed by Evan Williams Egg Nog, I cued up “Jingle Bells” from Barry Manilow’s “Because It’s Christmas”.  Barry gets some help from Exposé on this track and then “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, a duet with K.T. Oslin.   Both songs remain, all these years since their first release, my favorite respective arrangements.  I’m not sure what it is, but where piano is the focal instrument, I am really enjoying the music.  I’m sensing quicker pace, delivery.
 
On other tracks where horns were more the focal or I was listening to rock music such as Creedence Clearwater Revival or Three Dog Night, or some 80s stuff, I’d say the VH Flavor 1 had the edge being more hard-driving, dynamic.  “Christmas with the Smithereens” and CCR’s “Born on the Bayou” simply rocked with the VH1.  Where the music called for finesse, I thought the Aonkii was a little better. 

Day Three – Raysonic CD128
I’m a little unfamiliar with the music today.  The entire listening session was spent listening to newly acquired CDs: Beegie Adair and Friends – “Christmas Cocktails”, Lady Antebellum – “On This Winter’s Night”, Pentatonix – “Christmas”, Pink Martini - “Joy to the World”, and The Piano Guys – “A Family Christmas”.  I listened to all five albums completely, first stock power cord, then with the Aonkii. It seemed initially that the Aonkii’s sound was somewhat lighter in character, but it also revealed during the course of the evening more colorful tonalities.  I think by now I had put 22 additional hours on the cable than when it first arrived. 

Day Four - Sony HAP-Z1ES
OK, it has actually been a couple of days since I last played some music.  I am late in getting this to the next person on the Tour and my head is exploding from all the stupid stuff at work.  I really do need to just chill out and relax.  I can’t because I have a family, and I’m thinking that I won’t get to finish, but 'Quelle Surprise', wife reminds me she and my sister-in-law whom we took in as a stray some nine years ago, are taking the twins to see “Sing”. (Don't think me mean; she's been with us lo these nine years). :roll:

I turn on the TV, tune the satellite to a station that has a picture of a fireplace burning with a lit Christmas tree (now I have trees in stereo.  Ha, I crack myself up), pour myself Four Roses Single Barrel, and start listening.  Tonight, it is mostly a Capella vocals - Chanticleer, “Sing We Christmas”, Pentatonix – “That’s Christmas to Me”, or vocals with an ethereal kind of arrangement - Enya – “And Winter Came”, or smoky atmospheres - Jacintha – “Here’s to Ben”.

I listen to Chanticleer because I tell myself I need to listen to better music, but it is a struggle so after three or four songs, I put on Enya which envelopes me in this warm, fuzzy cocoon.  Oh, oh, at this rate, I’ll be asleep before I get half-way through Jacintha’s “Here’s to Ben”, so I put on Pentatonix, “That’s Christmas to Me”, and crank it.

I was not prepared for the extended lows that this cable brought forth. The bass lines taut and well-defined. This wonderful a cappella group was filling the room with some real authority. The Aonkii managed to get out of the way and let the music flow through.  It is with the Sony HAP-Z1ES that I am hearing the most dramatic difference; maybe it is because it is the only solid state piece of equipment.  Pentatonix was sounding powerful and clear without assaulting my ears.
 
I could probably replace the VH Flavor 1 with the Aonkii and not miss it.  I liked the Flavor 1 with rock better, but I also listen to a variety of other music where the Aonkii sounded really great.  However, against the stock power cords, this will come as no surprise to anyone reading this deep into my post, what I witnessed by cycling the Aonkii through my system was sound that was far more substantial, “fleshed-out”, with a greater body and firmness, improved cleanliness of the signal, and a greater sense of “ease” to the sound.

Thems a lot of words to say, “Hey, the Aonkii sounds better than stock power cords”. You bet! I will say that this exercise has caused me to finally take a deeper, more critical view into how I can make my system sound better, more capable than it is now.  Aonkii(s) will soon find a home in my system.  I was hard-pressed to get the Aonkii further down the Tour line.  I had them already more than a week and cheated a little by keeping the Aonkii even another day longer so I could hear more of my music through the Sony -where I heard the largest and best difference - with the Aonkii connected.  My apologies again to all, but I had a very enjoyable time with the Aonkii.

Happy New Year! :wine:
--Michael

OzarkTom

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #22 on: 31 Dec 2016, 10:30 pm »
Gee Michael,  you need to get into the audio review business. Make that your next job. :thumb:

finsup

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #23 on: 1 Jan 2017, 07:42 pm »
Thank you, Tom.  For a non-technical review, it still took a lot of work.  I think my current job is easier.  :)

JackD

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Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #24 on: 2 Jan 2017, 04:57 am »
Micheal

Is it safe to say that you thought the Aonkii had more impact on the digital gear, particularly the streamer? Also great job on your review of your visit with Jason.  As a M3 Turbo S owner I concur with your conclusions. I brought them in just as a test and they never left. 

finsup

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #25 on: 2 Jan 2017, 02:33 pm »
Hi Jack,
Yes, I noticed the biggest difference with the Sony HAP-Z1ES, a music-file player.  It was the only piece of equipment in my chain that did not have a complement set of tubes.  The Butler is a Tube Hybrid amp, the Lector Zoe a tube pre, and the Raysonic is a tubed CD player.  With the Zoe and I think with the Raysonic, the differences were a little more subtle but most pronounced on the type of music being played and the type of instruments being the focus.  The Aonikii played very well with jazz, vocals, and piano.

Yeah, the listening session at Jason's was both fun and a revelation to me.  I can certainly understand why the test M3 Turbo S speakes never left your home. :D

rodge827

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #26 on: 6 Jan 2017, 04:10 am »
Tom,
Thank you for including me in the power cord tour. As mentioned earlier I noticed a quieter back round which in turn let a lot more music flow through. I could only use it on my preamp since I have mono block 300b amps and my Transport/Dac are DC powered. When a stock cord was placed back in the sound stage collapsed a little and definition became muddled. Not terribly bad but there was a noticeable negative effect. At the cost of admission this is a very well made and impressive power cord, and is a must for an upgrade from stock power cords. The power cord will be off to its next lucky recipient tomorrow.

Link to system: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?action=systems;area=browse;system=1069

Chris

bajaed

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #27 on: 10 Jan 2017, 02:50 am »
The Aonkii arrived safely and sound today. Very nicely finished and looks brand new. Sharp looking piece.

Still cold so I'll let it warm up tonight and start listening tomorrow. May plug it into something overnight to help warm it up.

Plan is to try it on my Rogue amp, Jolida phono stage and Oppo 93.

OzarkTom

Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #28 on: 17 Jan 2017, 03:25 am »
The cord is heading out to the west coast soon Anyone else here wants to try it?

slefley

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 60
Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #29 on: 31 Jan 2017, 07:43 pm »
Here are my thoughts after spending several days with the 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii Power Cord.  3 words best describe my time with the Aonkii – Transparent, clarity and detail.
 
I have a very simple system using 3 power cords: 1 from the wall to a power strip (MyAudioCable HC), 1 from the strip to my PS Audio DirectStream Jr DAC/Preamp (Triode Wire Labs Digital American Series), and 1 from the strip to my Shindo Apetite power amp (another MAC HC).  There is a 4th to the UpTone Audio LPS-1 power supply for my microRendu, but since that cord just charges the LPS-1 batteries I don’t believe it has an audible impact.

I'll start by saying that my 2 way speakers (Vivid Audio V1.5) as driven by the 12 watt power amp will not impress anybody with the bass.  This system excels at transparency, tone, texture/detail, soundstage and imaging.  Bass is limited and the system is probably mid-range in ‘warmth’ and tonal ‘weight’.  But this system suits my preference in music perfectly – male and female vocals, acoustic contemporary folk and pop, and chamber music.  I usually listen at night with the lights out and I get a truly 3D open window to the recordings.

I first tried the Aonkii  between the wall and my power strip.  Wow!  Instant improvement in transparency, clarity and detail.  Like a layer of fuzz was removed from the presentation – and I started with what I thought was a pretty transparent system already!  The upper frequencies seem to open up and the soundstage widened.  Vocals (Misty River, The King’s Singers, Leonard Cohen, Eva Cassidy, Allison Kraus) became clearer to ‘see’ and easier to understand, with the primary singer moving forward in the stage a bit, and more separation between singers & instruments.  Details like cymbals or instruments to the sides or rear of the stage were clearer and more highlighted (in a good way).

Bass was a little tighter, but apparently lower in volume – keep in mind this is with my system which is limited in bass output to start, so in a system with ‘normal’ bass levels this might be a positive thing.
The only noticeable impact that I consider a negative in my system was a slight reduction in ‘warmth’ or ‘body’ – probably a result of my perceived shift in balance to the higher frequencies.  But I believe I can play with speaker toe-in a bit to return some/all of that warmth and body.

I then swapped positions with the TWL on the power strip and the Aonkii one the PS Audio.  The impact of the Aonkii was much smaller, and in fact I didn’t care for this combination – the previous gains were much less.  Maybe the TWL used on the power strip had a bigger influence on this?   Lesson learned - it pays to try power cables in different places in your system because they do respond differently with different pieces of equipment.

In the end I loved what the Aonkii power cord did for my system as the first cable in the chain, and I’ve ordered one as a result.  After I installed the microRendu and LPS-1 I thought I was in musical heaven, but it turns out there is even more improvement available with the Aonkii power cord.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: 3 foot Wolf Ear Aonkii power cord tour
« Reply #30 on: 1 Feb 2017, 04:31 pm »
I'm glad everyone likes these so much. It's good to hear the positive feedback :)

Andrew