How To Pick A Power Cable For Your Audio System
In order to make a noticeable improvement in sound quality with a power cord you should expect to pay not less than $500 for a 1 meter cord.
Cords to consider at this price point are the Audioquest NRG 10, Audience PowerCord SE or a PS Audio AC-10. These are all good power cords that are high quality for most consumer audio systems.
The best power cords are not necessarily the most expensive. Beyond a certain price point, the power cord will not produce an audible difference except on the most high end audio systems. Thus, for most consumer sound systems that offer replaceable power cords the $500 power cord will make a big difference, but there is no need to spend much more than that amount.
If, on the other hand, your audio system uses $5,000 plus speakers, a quality pre-amp and separate amplifier, or even a good receiver valued at more than $1500, you should consider splurging on the power cord.
At first it is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that the highest end power cords cost as much as or more than most of your components, just think about it for a minute. Components, even speakers, wear out or they need to be upgraded. Power cords are like fine lenses for a Nikon or Cannon DSLR camera. Once you buy them, you have them forever. Actually they often benefit from being used, certainly for up to 500 hours of “burn in.”
If you have patience and consider your power cords and connector cables as an investment that you will own long after you upgrade or replace your components, you might consider buying one upgrade cable every year or so and buy the best. “The best” does not necessarily mean it has to be the top of the line power cable. In many cases, second from the top of a company’s offering can be better than top of the line; or, buying a discontinued model or a used power cable that someone is selling because they “upgraded” can be smart.
For a high end power cord that represent a good value, consider the Shunyata Python Zitron at about $1700 rather than the Shunyata Python Anaconda at $2700. Shunyata’s new Alpha Zitron line is also very good at about $1000 for low and medium current and $1300 for high current. Even better, if you could find the Shunyata King Cobra CX which the Anaconda replaced, just buy it. In my opinion it is the best power cord ever made.
The Audience Au24 SE power cords have gotten good reviews. These come in high, medium and low current. Audience also makes a C7 power cord for about $600. However, the PS Audio Jewel C7 is probably one of the best buys of any power cord at $30. As long as PS Audio offers it’s Jewel for sale near that price, it makes spending $600 for a C7 Audience power cord questionable.
Even for money no object systems with speakers costing more than $5000, buying a top of the line power cord isn’t always the best choice. The Audioquest NGR100 at about $1200 seems a better value than the Audioquest Well at $2200. The Nordost Valhalla 1, which you can buy used for about $1200 certainly a better value than the Valhalla 2 or the Odin. These are all good value cords that will improve the sound in any system.