The Three Best Power Cords for Audiophile Sound
After selecting the right speaker for your room and picking good components to deliver optimum sound quality there are still four often overlooked items—connecting cables–that can make a big improvement on the sound performance of a mid-level audio system. They are the power cords, analog interconnects, speaker cables and digital interconnects.
While there might be disagreement on the order of priority; and; while some may remove digital interconnects from this list completely, there is no doubt that good connecting cables will upgrade just about any systems performance.
Shopping for high-end audiophile grade power cords can be confusing, time consuming, and expensive. However, many would advise that the single biggest upgrade you can make to your audio system after selecting the right pair of speakers for your room and placing them properly is a good power cord.
After testing many power cords, the best ones are the Shunyata Sigma, the Nordost Valhalla 2, and the new Audience Au24 SX, which was just introduced. The Audience Au SE was previously on this list, and the reports are that the Audience AU SX is far superior.
What Are The Three Best Power Cords?
The Shunyata Sigma power cords are extremely impressive. The company touts that they are the result of fifteen years of patented science, technology and parts development. All three models cancel the specific frequencies of noise associated with the class of components they are designed for, whether its digital, analog or high-current.
The Nordost Valhalla 2 also features proprietary technology. The power cord consists of seven solid, silver-plated 16 AWG OFC conductors, each suspended in a Dual Mono-Filament matrix. According to Nordost, the separate solid core conductors eliminate strand interaction, hot spots, and carbonization, which can occur in stranded cables.
The Nordost Valhalla 2 and the Shunyata Sigma are most optimally used in a holistic system where all of the power cords and interconnects are Nordost or Shunyata, respectively. The best sound comes from the buildup of the same connecting cables and power cords. Audience is less dependent on a buildup of the same chords in a system to reach the cord’s optimal effect.
The Audience Au24 SX and SE-i power cords were announced on March 13, 2017 to the accolades of the audiophile community. These were designed using the advances Audience made on their interconnects with the introduction of the SX line last year that upgraded the SE line.
According to the press release, “The Au24 SX utilizes newly designed internal wire made from 6-nines-pure OCC copper. Two 13 AWG wires per leg are used in the 10 AWG Au24 SX powerChord. In a departure from previous Audience designs, the Au24SX features shielded construction”
The Best Value Power Cord for the Money
The best value cord to get after all of the advances of technology remains the PSAudio PerfectWave AC12. The eight-gauge power cable is quad shielded for low noise and features hollow tube conductors for treble performance, rectangular conductors for midrange performance, and multiple gauge conductors for bass performance.
The advantage of the PS Audio AC12 is that it is just a good power cable and does not build upon other PS Audio products to give any greater effect as a whole system. The AC12 can often be found on sale at about 1/3 of the price or less than any of the other power cords mentioned in this article. A one meter cable is currently selling for $549 on Amazon.com but it can be found on sale less expensively.
For mid level systems or for audiophiles who watch their budget, the AC 12 is a substantial enough upgrade over standard stock power chords for any sound system.