Can a decent power cord make a difference on the Cherry Maraschinos?

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sumoking

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I know Danny doesn't need any convincing if power cords sound different on amps, but I'm posting this for others who are not so sure.

So, here is my story/journey from a non-technical point of view regarding of issue “do power cables make a difference.”
 
In a recent post, it was debated if a better power cable could improve the sound of one of the Cherry Maraschino amps. While several folks said it couldn't improve the sound due to the amp's design, my curiosity got the best of me.  When I got my Maraschinos, I just used my favorite power cords and never tried a standard cord. Looking back, I had always heard a difference when I changed power cords in previous situations. Could changing out my high quality power cables with standard power cables make any difference on how my much loved Desktop Maraschinos sound?  Was I listening to a better version of what the amp could do or would standard cords influence the sound exactly the same as I have been hearing it?

First off, what are the qualifications of the listener?
Some background:
My goal has always been to find the best sounding product in any of my potential components. Sure, I'm somewhat emotionally attached to my equipment cause it took me so much trial and error (and money) to find the best sounding components for the buck. When I first heard my Maraschinos, I originally was listening to my beloved custom made SET Tube amp that was my pride and joy. Once I heard the Cherry Mono blocks, I quickly divorced my SET Tube Amps and sold them in a week with no regrets.

When I was a partner in my dealership back in the day, I enjoyed the exercise of auditioning components and identifying the best sounding components to carry and sell. Heard so many overpriced components and cables that just didn't cut it. Nothing better than when you can find a component that is better sounding at 40% less cost.  If I find something better to enjoy that brings me closer to the musical truth and i can afford it, i go for it and advance my system. This is part of the fun of the hobby. Bottom line, I call them as I hear them.

Sounds good, but can he really hear?
Note that I am a musician, have produced and engineered my own music and listened to live music for decades. That's great, but it really doesn't matter unless you have good ears and know what to listen for. 

So to that point, I have an acquaintance of mine who has a band called the California Guitar Trio. They are three gifted acoustic guitarists. Perhaps you have heard of them? I was asked to see if I could tell the difference on one of their songs with four different files. The files were: 16/44k, 24/44k, 24/96k, and 32/44k.  I thought I had pretty good ears and hoped I could tell the difference. I welcomed the challenge.  I also thought if I blew the challenge, I would be bummed out knowing I have been an audio enthusiast for decades and considered my hearing as strong.   With that thought in mind, I asked my daughter to handle the controls of my mac book pro and randomly play the four tracks. 

The song, "Cherry Trees"  was very nice and well balanced with all three guitars playing rthymic lines with some slow parts to change it up.  My daughter played the random four tracks in three different sets. After the third set, I made my selections.  I happen to get them all correct. Doesn't made mean I have the greatest ears, but maybe shows I have good ears. Try the test if you have different versions of the same track without knowing which one is which. It's a fun exercise.  Note I focused on spatial cues of the recording space and the harmonic structure and length of decay of the notes played, attack, definition of bass, etc.

The Power Cord Test
With the all that said, time to try the power cords.  I put on three fav Holly Cole tracks from Don't Smoke in Bed from a basic 16/44 ripped CD.  I Can See Clearly Now, Tennessee Waltz, and Everyday Feels like a Holiday.  Great vocals, piano, harmonica, tenor sax, stand up bass in these songs. Plenty of variety.

At first, I wasn't sure if I heard any differences (A to B), until I went back to my better power cords (A to B to A). Usually, I immediately hear better bass, blacker background, etc when I move to better power cords. With this test, I heard marginal bass improvement, but the vocal was much more intimate, I heard the reverberation of the recording space much more clearly, the percussiveness of the piano was quick and tight with rich timbre and I was more involved in the performance. The harmonica seemed much more in the room with me as did the Tenor Sax. To sum it up, the standard power cables sounded more rolled off and less extended.

I wrote this last night, but didn't send it out until I could repeat my test this morning just to be sure. I thought that many of you might take a shot of my observations as there is so many debates on this topic. I added a Carpenters 24/96 recording so my wife could play along. I played the Carpenters with the standard cords and then with the more expensive cords and without knowing which one was which, my wife said on the first couple notes after changing power cords, she said I like this one better. It was the better and actually reasonably priced cords.

Guys, let me be real.  It was obvious.

Conclusion
My best audio friend and mentor since I get into audio in 1980, is a scientist and tells me power cables make no difference as long as its a reasonable gauge wire.   He has given me so much great advice in my early audio years and I am grateful, but to my ears a good power cable makes a difference.

In the multiple tests I have made through the years have proven it to me.  And this particular power cord test on an amp that is said to not be as sensitive to power cords as other amps proved the point to me again. 

I know others will still dig in and not agree.  To those, I say try the test and listen for yourself, but either way, its all good and these type of conversations are what makes our hobby fun. Healthy debate is what advances us to better sound.
Cheers
« Last Edit: 5 Jul 2019, 02:25 pm by sumoking »

sumoking

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My friends from the CGT: Cherry Trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZrRcRVPkWA
They were students in Robert Fripp's (King Crimson) League of Crafty Guitarist's project over 30 years ago and have been making great music together ever since.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: 5 Jul 2019, 02:23 pm by sumoking »

charmerci

I bought  a Cullen power cable... and compared to an ordinary cable, it did sound better to me. Though BEFORE you compare differences, the first thing to do is compare two power cords that have the same amount of contact area between the cords. The Cullen cable is tighter and it has more surface area than an ordinary pc.

Nick77

Great post, thanks for sharing. Which upgraded PC were you using? I found a Wywire juice2 to have a profound positive effect in my system, I think they run $399 but used is king.  :thumb:

sumoking

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A couple years ago at a LA Show, I ran into the Captain from Audio Envy.
He had won the headphone cable of the show award and was more than confident when he said
his cables would better what I had. He had an A to B test and his cable sounded great.
I bought a set of everything I needed and told him I would be most likely be back to
return them as I am pretty picky. I kept them and they are a bargain for the sound quality. I paid like $169 for the power cable. A true bargain.
« Last Edit: 5 Jul 2019, 02:20 pm by sumoking »

maty

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https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=164405.msg1749050#msg1749050

The fact that the change of the power cable is noticed (by a reasonable one, not esoteric) is indicative that the amplifier is not fully prepared to face the variability of the quality of the electrical grid.

That is why it is important to know the PSRR, a fact that the vast majority hide.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_rejection_ratio

In this case, instead of entering into an illogical search for the best power cable, it is best to deal with the problem from a technical point of view.

It is cheaper to try adding an RF/EMI Schaffner filter, replacing the input connector or building a small cable with the filter and a connector (Schurter is a very good idea).

So you solve part of the problem, which continues to increase today.


maty

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A good amplifier, and if it is very expensive, must comply:

* PSRR at 1 kHz > 90 dB

* CMRR at 1 kHz > 90 dB  (if balanced inputs)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_supply_rejection_ratio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-mode_rejection_ratio

RonN5

I don't know that there is a "one size fits all answer" that will satisfy everyone.  Tommy says that the stock power cord that comes with his amps are sufficient and that a "high end/more esoteric/more expensive" power cord will not improve the sound.  Here is the link to the article he references.

https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile-news/can-power-cords-have-an-effect-on-an-audio-systems-sound.html

We all have are own thoughts and experiences.  When I took delivery of the 2Cherry, I immediately connected it to the Shunyata Venom HC that I had been using on the Parasound Halo A23.  The 2Cherry sounded great...and after several weeks when I made the decision that it would become my new reference amp. I then needed to move the Halo out of the cabinet it was in (a major pain so I had to be sure) and put the 2Cherry in its place.

Tommy suggested that I try the stock power cord as a comparison.  Before doing so, I made sure that I was pretty familiar with the sound from a few favorite cuts and then hooked up the stock cord...and to my surprise, no difference.  Back to the Shunyata...same as the stock cord.  I also had a Pangea AC14SEMkII lying around so I tried it....no change.  I did the back and forth for a week or so and decided that there was no reason not to use the stock power cord that Tommy had supplied.

What does this mean...what does this prove?  On my system, with the source and other equipment that I'm using and compared with two (what would be considered budget) power cords, the stock power cord sounded similar to the two alternative power cords.

Before wrapping up, I'd also like to note that I purchased the Shunyata on the recommendation of another AC member.  It made absolutely no difference when used on my player (Oppo 205) or my preamp (Belles 22a) but it seemed to make a difference in the low end on the Halo A23...which is why I kept in my system.

What next?  For me, from a "sonic" standpoint....I think I can get more bang for the buck with a DAC or preamp upgrade....so I will not be spending more money on power cords....at least not right now.

Recommendation.....this one is easy....if you think a different power cord will help...try it...and if it sounds better, keep it...and if not, stick with the stock cord.

OzarkTom

 :scratch:

At times, it does not make any sense to me. But I hear a difference in power cords. The Wolf Ear Audio power cords for $100 each made a big improvement on my Marashinos.

maty

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If you notice differences with the change of the power cord is that your electrical network is a bit noisy.

In a laboratory, with clean power, logically the cable will have no effect.

Many of these more or less audiophile cables do what they do to function as a low pass filter to gently attenuate high frequency noise. That makes it much better and cheaper those RF/EMI filters and we also have the attenuation graphs.

Hotels and other places where the fairs are held, the electricity grid is incredibly dirty because of the noise that these pots add.

And depending on its location, it is already noisy in itself.

The audio problems must be attacked from the logic, taking advantage of the existing technical knowledge. That said, everyone is free to spend their money as they want.

rollo

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  Answer. YES. Try and find out yourself that simple.

charles

Danny Richie

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Before anyone says anything about the topic, I am fine with any audio related topic posted here. The community of guys that post here are the best, and are always willing to share their knowledge and experience.

As for power cables and the Cherry amps. I also found them to respond well to various power cables and conditioners. At least the pair that had a brief visit here.

Some Cherry amp owners also contacted me privately regarding the battery powered amp discussion and said that they also noticed differences in power cables with their cherry amps, but didn't want to post about it because they were afraid it might rock the boat over there.

I will also add that all systems are different and not all systems will allow differences in things like this to be heard very well.

This reminds me of some demo speakers that I sent around that had a stock crossover and a replica of that same crossover with higher quality parts. I had some toggle switches on the back that allowed switching back and forth between the two so that they could be compared.

In higher end systems the differences were heard real quickly and easily. With budget level systems the differences were subtle.

For anyone unsure of what the difference may or may not be in their system. I recommend trying stuff like this out and listen for yourself.

We also loan out power cables.

morganc

Thanks Danny.  I always appreciate your empirical, rational, and level headed approach to audio.  In addition to being a great engineer, you are a class act and have such a lovely online demeanor and love following your threads. 

orientalexpress

I have early Tommy DAC 4800A ,still have it and love it.regarding power cord ,Wywire have a home audition and i try there Juice2 powercord on Tommy amp,it make a huge improvement over stock PC  :o

AmpDesigner333

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Just found this thread!

Here’s an article I helped Steven Stone write:
https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile-news/can-power-cords-have-an-effect-on-an-audio-systems-sound.html

Always consider the source.  I’m not selling power cords, but it’s hard to take the guy who is selling them seriously.

Anyway, we’re insanely busy, especially for summer, so I have limited time to comment.

AmpDesigner333

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I have early Tommy DAC 4800A ,still have it and love it.regarding power cord ,Wywire have a home audition and i try there Juice2 powercord on Tommy amp,it make a huge improvement over stock PC  :o
Much more understandable from a simple resistance point of view due to the toroid based power supplies.

Danny Richie

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Quote
Always consider the source.  I’m not selling power cords, but it’s hard to take the guy who is selling them seriously.

We offer power cables so I guess that must be me.

Quote
Much more understandable from a simple resistance point of view due to the toroid based power supplies.

If the problem was not being able to pull enough current out of the wall and a high resistance power cable was part of the problem then that might be true. However, it is really not about resistance. Improvements can be heard all up and down the frequency range. It has more to do with RFI and EMI filtering and lowering the noise floor.

Early B.

The first rule of business is to listen to your customers. If many of your customers experienced improvements with power cords, then don't attempt to prove them wrong. Be happy that they're happy, and encourage them to experiment. It's like a chef who snarls at a customer for adding more salt to his signature dish. So what?   

AmpDesigner333

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The first rule of business is to listen to your customers. If many of your customers experienced improvements with power cords, then don't attempt to prove them wrong. Be happy that they're happy, and encourage them to experiment. It's like a chef who snarls at a customer for adding more salt to his signature dish. So what?   
I’m not snarling at all (:

Notice the date on that article.

Being honest is never the wrong way to do business.

A better power cord could be better for many reasons, and I’m not denying that. The wire could be fatter, the connectors better, etc.