New Grover SX power cables

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owenmd

New Grover SX power cables
« on: 19 Nov 2010, 02:29 am »

Hi guys,

I realized a few years ago just how critically important clean AC power is and consequently have gone through quite a few of the well-regarded conditioners.  IMHO the conditioners and power cable combination can absolutely make or break a system…. they are the absolute foundation of the performance.  I now realize that no matter how good your interconnects or speaker cables are, if the power is not right, you will not hear the full benefit of those cables.  I’ve also heard “some” power cables having a greater effect on sound quality than some interconnects or speaker cables…. I realize some folk will probably struggle with that…!  Anyways, long story short, I believe you need to get it ALL right, for it to sound right…. not just some of it, as all parts contribute to the whole.

As far as power cables go, I’ve tried and owned many of the popular flavors over the years, but draw the line generally at around $400/a piece…. I understand that parts are expensive, but more than $4-$500 just seems ridiculous to me conceptually.  When you need several in a system, the cost adds up extremely quickly and knowing that high-cost doesn’t always relate to high-performance, I couldn’t personally justify more.

As some will know, Grover appears to have made a breakthrough with his cable design during the past year with the introduction of the hybrid tri-metal ribbon SX series.  Grover’s previous incarnations have always been extremely competitive in their price range, but I believe the latest SX interconnects and speaker cables have put him practically at the top of the pile and easily capable of taking on cables costing MANY times more.  These cables have certainly ended my upgrading bug for the foreseeable future.

For some reason, I had avoided trying Grover’s power cables for a long time.  I’ve known about them and read reviews/comments, but somehow had not felt inspired to try them.   About 6 months ago after happening to talk with Grover, he persuaded me to try one…. so I did.  The cable was quite small physically and very flexible, but the sound quality was just reasonable as far as I was concerned.  I returned the cable to Grover and after explaining my findings to him, it was like putting a red flag to a bull…. just “reasonable” to Grover is completely unacceptable…. and so his latest power cable development began and now appears complete…. for now anyway…?

Grover now offers two power cables; one standard with a copper male and silver-plated copper IEC and a more expensive reference edition with rhodium plated plugs both ends.

I first tried the latest standard cord…. I have never heard so much 3D depth and positional data before…. you could literally hear someone dropping something small on the floor fifteen feet behind the lead singer…!  I was amazed at these particular qualities this cord possessed compared to anything else I had heard in my system.

Spurned on by these delights, I next tried the reference cord.  This cord needed at least 50 hours on it to start sounding integrated, organic and liquid.  The first thing that absolutely stands WAY out with this cord is the amazing dynamics…. I’ve never heard a livelier cord and the bandwidth is significantly larger than the stock cord at both ends of the spectrum.  This wouldn’t be an issue with smaller speakers, but my Hawthorne Sterling Trio’s are very open and extended.  The mid to top end is soooo clean with even more increased detail over the stock cord.  This cord doesn’t seem to have quite the depth and positional accuracy of the stock cord…. but I don’t care…. this is the most life-like and “live sounding” cord I’ve yet had the pleasure to hear.... and it's so clean...!

I think synergy may have something to do with my results as I now have tri-metal Grover cables in most places.  One cable was significant, but when I put a reference on my wall supply, amp, MW transporter and source…. it all just clicked into a higher gear.  Its like putting larger windows in…. you need to put them everywhere to avoid a bottleneck…. these were my findings anyway…. not that just one wasn’t significant…!

So…. two great new very high-performance cables for “reasonable” money in this crazy expensive audiophile world.   I am done looking and trying anymore (well for now anyway) as this system of cables gives me a VERY significant amount of natural sounding, musical listening pleasure…. and yes, I paid for all of them…!

If you are in the market for a new high-performance power cable, I would strongly recommend you try a new Grover…. he offers probably the best return/customer satisfaction guarantee in the business.  If you have an interest, I would also suggest you discuss the orientation of the plugs on these new cables with Grover if your system needs specifics.  Although quite flexible in one plane, they are quite stiff in the other as they are like a large flat ribbon in layout and quite stiff torsionally.

Easily the best I’ve experienced…. I’m very happy with this major contribution to my listening pleasure…. thanks Grover…!   :thumb:



Equipment used to review:

Monarchy Audio M150 conditioner (modified with teslaplex outlets and Furutech IEC) with Grover reference cord and 10g dedicated teslaplex wall outlet
Mayher quantum studio, shield and several PE's
Quantum Symphony Pro
Hawthorne Sterling Trio speakers
Modwright Transporter with Grover reference cord (EML and Treasure's)
Vaughn Carina SET amp with Grover reference cord
Denon 3930ci universal transport with Grover reference cord
Monarchy DIP upsampler with Kaplan HE cord
Old style Burson buffer with Kaplan HE cord
Grover SX interconnects and speaker cables


« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2010, 04:45 pm by owenmd »

DigiPete

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Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #1 on: 19 Nov 2010, 02:44 am »
very interesting review owenmd, thanks!

I too had tried Grovers earlier power chord with rhodium plugs,
and sold it, due to it doing funny things to the sound, particularly
overemphasizing the highs, and sounding hyperdetailed, not natural.

Grover was over at my house a few months back and he had this newer power chord. We put it on my preamp and it sounded very good, unlike the earlier version he had brought over months before.

Glad to see your observations are similar to mine.
I have Grover's Sx interconnects and speaker cables throughout, and
indeed I am quite amazed by them, and would not change them out.

The power chords may be my next investment at some point.

Cheers
Pete

owenmd

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #2 on: 19 Nov 2010, 05:43 am »
Hi Pete,

Yes, I agree.... the original cords I heard never suffered from lack of detail, but they certainly lacked natural body, weight and extension.... some would say "image density", especially in the bass.  Its all about good balance across the spectrum.  The new cords have significantly more gauge in them and Grover has refined the percentages of each metal type.... it seems to work really well.  I have heard new details and instruments on records with these cords, that simply didn't exist with any other cords I've tried.

Cheers,
Mark

satfrat

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Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #3 on: 19 Nov 2010, 06:14 am »
Sweet review Mark.  :thumb:  I had been looking closely at Grover's ribbon power cord early on during the time of development for my MHDT Havana tube Dac but never stayed "in the loop". If you would, could you state what components you actually used the Standard and Reference power cords on in your review and what combination (if any) that you settled on? A price reference would be nice also but knowing Grover, I bet they're not the "4 figure" variety. Thanks.  :D
 
Cheers,
Robin

shep

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #4 on: 19 Nov 2010, 11:31 am »
Don't get to say much around here but for a change I can contribute! Grover made a power cable for me a few months ago, unterminated, that i had hard-wired into my CDP. I'm ashamed to say it replaced the 15 year old zip chord that came with the Marantz. Needless to say the difference was revealing  :o I also have gone thru no less than 5 versions of his RCA cables and the latest, which should be called SX markII, is stunning for the price. Grover being Grover, it will no doubt become a mark III, if it hasn't already. I used to get annoyed but I have to say he knows what he's doing and his endless tweaking gets results. Regarding prices; since I ordered a short, unterminated version of the power cable, it was rediculously cheap and the RCA's are extreemly reasonable. i have never heard anyone comment on his speaker wires by the way.

Wind Chaser

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #5 on: 19 Nov 2010, 12:17 pm »
i have never heard anyone comment on his speaker wires by the way.

I haven't heard much about them either, but the little I have heard was very good.  A decision will be made between them and two other cables within the next month, assuming I have settled on an amplifier.

owenmd

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #6 on: 19 Nov 2010, 04:17 pm »
If you would, could you state what components you actually used the Standard and Reference power cords on in your review and what combination (if any) that you settled on? A price reference would be nice also but knowing Grover, I bet they're not the "4 figure" variety. Thanks.  :D
 
Cheers,
Robin

Hi Robin.... I modified the review to show the components/combination I settled on.

I shouldn't speak for Grover, but I believe the new stock cord prices are "probably" the same as shown on his website?  The reference is necessarily more as those connectors are unfortunately pricey.  I'm not sure if Grover has settled on a firm price for the reference.... but it will probably be somewhere between $450 to $500.... give him a call?  Grover always seems to try and keep his gear as economically priced as possible to make it easier to spread the Love...!  :D

I haven't heard much about them either, but the little I have heard was very good.  A decision will be made between them and two other cables within the next month, assuming I have settled on an amplifier.
There are quite a few folks here who have compared the SX speaker cables to pricier offerings.... maybe they would like to comment somewhere...?

satfrat

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Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #7 on: 19 Nov 2010, 04:24 pm »
That's 1 sweet system you've got there Mark, lot's of topnotch stuff. Thanks for listing it all.  :thumb:
 
Cheers,
Robin

Philistine

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #8 on: 19 Nov 2010, 04:57 pm »
There are quite a few folks here who have compared the SX speaker cables to pricier offerings.... maybe they would like to comment somewhere...?

We discussed Grover's speaker cables on another thread but, to be more specific, I was going down the path of buying JPS Labs SC3 speaker cables.  The SC3's are exceptional cables and, for me, a significant investment in price along with performance.  I was discussing IC's with Grover and he insisted on sending his latest SC's for me to compare - the rest is history, Grover's cables were comparable (if not better in many areas than the SC3's) and significantly less expensive at a time when my cash situation was strained.  I consider Grover's cables to be exceptional.
One of the criticism's of Grover is his continued quest to improve, this upsets many but not me.  His drive to produce the best power cable is a typical example, and I would project that other vendors would stop the development and look to market their cables based on competitive product values - in this instance possibly $2k-$3k! Grover offers phenomenal cables for significantly less money than his peers, getting great cables at a reasonable price (that will be improved on) is part of the ride.  But the ride has a lower entry cost!

My psychological power cable price max is around $400, I just don't see the point in spending more than this when the best investment beyond this is in the equipment itself.  I just don't get the concept of spending $2k on a power cable for a $4K-$5k component :duh:  I have one Grover power cable in my system and would like to be in a position of having only Grover power cables in my system(s).

Grover is passionate about what he does and is driven by making the best he can and beating the competition, he's not driven by profit.  Furthermore he's fun to work with, and we all benefit from his approach to pricing and continuous improvement.  So a big vote from me :thumb:

shep

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #9 on: 19 Nov 2010, 06:13 pm »
You'll get no argument from me, as my experience proves. I believe the mark III version of the SX is actually in the works. I ordered a Silkworm from KCI. Should be an interesting comparison.

satfrat

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Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #10 on: 19 Nov 2010, 06:53 pm »
  I just don't get the concept of spending $2k on a power cable for a $4K-$5k component :duh:   

What can I say Phil, I'm sick,,,,,, and I need help.  :lol:
 
But I'm in full agreement with ya neverless.  :thumb:
 
Cheers,
Robin

shep

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #11 on: 19 Nov 2010, 07:24 pm »
I am in total agreement..setting a limit...and 4-500$ for a set of cables is my sweet spot. A canny shopper can get very close to the top in this range. Unlike other gear, one can buy used with no qualms and  since obsessive types change their wires regularly, there are some good deals to be had. Another way to go is establish a good relationship with a cable maker like Grover or John P. of KCI. they often have done trade-ups and have last years reference at a very good price or you simply turn the old one in and add something to the pot for the latest version. You can't hope to get this kind of service with the big well-known manufacturers.I am absolutely certain that unless you have extreemly revealing gear (which usually means big bucks) and the ears to go with it, that you cannot hear the difference between top of the line cables from Grover or KCI (the only two I have intimate experience with) and the 2-3000$ ones. There's also a point where a social conscience kicks in...but that is a whole nuther story. Returning to the topic at hand, what is the experience of break-in with Grover's reference power cable?

jriggy

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #12 on: 19 Nov 2010, 08:53 pm »
Another way to go is establish a good relationship with a cable maker

Sometimes one can only try...  :dunno:

I look forward to giving one or two of these a try, on your recommendation Mark.

I use a pair of Grovers SX's and as stated on here a while back, they do indeed have a very long break-in time but patience pays off with em for sure. I feel they got smother and smother even AFTER the 250 to 300 hr point and just kept improving (mellowing where needed). Did you find that these PC's needed the same sort of treatment?


owenmd

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #13 on: 19 Nov 2010, 09:53 pm »
Hi Jason and Shep,

I always put new power cables on my fridge-freezer for 2-3 days to get them started.  I've found that many plated plugs can sound awful when new.  Rhodium's especially often sound unrefined, incohesive, unbalanced and just plain unpleasant.  I remember taking a brand new Kaplan rhodium out of my system because I disliked it so much.... but after 3-4 days on the fridge, it sounded just great!

So, to answer the question.... I found the reference needs a minimum of 50hrs to gain smoothness, cohesiveness and some organic qualities.... i.e. become listenable!  Like Jason, I too have noticed that these SX cables continue to improve and gain in smoothness with more hours.... my cords have probably several hundred hours on them and are now considerably smoother than at the 50hr point.  They are so smooth and seamless that I never think about the system anymore.... I just enjoy the performance.

Cheers for the weekend   8)

Philistine

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #14 on: 19 Nov 2010, 10:09 pm »
Here's a link to a power cable burn in adapter that lets you run your fridge-freezer from a power cable:

http://www.vhaudio.com/acplugadapters.html

I bought them from a different vendor for much less, but can't recall who it was.  Maybe someone can jump in if they have an alternative source?  And no, the fridge-freezer didn't work better  :wink:

Robin - my comment on value spending wasn't directed at you, but as the winter approaches I'm thinking that we can all send our power cords to you for your backyard cryoing  :thumb:

Wind Chaser

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #15 on: 19 Nov 2010, 11:12 pm »
Here's a link to a power cable burn in adapter that lets you run your fridge-freezer from a power cable:

http://www.vhaudio.com/acplugadapters.html

Oh my!  That's just the thing I've been looking for.  I bought some medical isolation transformers but haven't been able to use them because I couldn't find an appropriate adapter.  Serendipity strikes again.

scp2


Wind Chaser

Re: New Grover SX power cables
« Reply #17 on: 19 Nov 2010, 11:26 pm »
That's a good deal but I need one to fit my DAC and CDP.