Nordost Valhalla 2. The Importance of cables in High End Audio.


It’s just past midnight and I am in my listening room with my system on low volume, and it has never sounded better. In fact, in my lifetime I have never heard anything sound as good as what I am hearing right at this moment. When I purchased my speakers and demoed them in the showroom, they did not even sound 65% as good as they do right now, and I have a less than desirable very small and odd shaped room (12X13). So how can they sound so much better here than in my dealers showroom?  The amp? The source? Sure, they play a huge part. I even own a killer CD player and DAC and great Integrated amp (Audio Research) but my dealer had top end McIntosh separates going when I auditioned my speakers, and yes, they did not sound anywhere near as magical as they do in my room.

I think I figured it out though. I use nice cables. My dealer who sold me the speakers uses pretty plain jane cables.

FACT: I have noticed the largest improvement in my system since upgrading the cables. More so than a CD Player upgrade or Amp upgrade. Crazy but true.

Cables are indeed THAT big old can of worms that high-end audio guys debate on a regular basis. Some swear by them and some swear that they make zero difference, but I am here to tell you for a 100% fact that they do indeed make a difference if your system is up to the task of being improved upon. If you have a $500 system, buying a $2000 cable would be silly. If you have a $20k and up system, buying a $2k cable would be mandatory IMO. Many say you should spend 15-20% of your system cost on cabling your system. So if you have a $25k high end system, spend $4000 or so on cables..minimum. Sounds absolutely insane, I know. It does not seem right or smart to do but these days I see it as no different than buying a big amp or turntable. A cable can make your entire system just snap into focus and deliver those magical sounds you may have never even heard.

I used to be ANTI cable

I will be honest. For the 1st 15 years of my audio Hi-Fi life I was ANTI high-end cable. I used cheap speaker cables and interconnects. I refused to believe a cable, whether it was a speaker cable, interconnect cable or especially a power cable could make much of a difference. In fact, it was not until the end of 2013 that I discovered that cables can not only make a difference in the sound of your system, but a HUGE difference, and yes, for the better as long as you choose wisely.

What I am about to say is not made up, it is not imaginary and it is not placebo effect. In fact, I have no audio advertisers here, and I make no money from writing these Hi-Fi articles. I do so because when I try something that is so good, I want to let EVERYONE know about it so they can give it a try themselves.

Lately, since getting my speakers and source and amp all settled, I decided to work on my power and my cables. In the past 6 months I have tried many cables, but the ones that stuck out by far have been from Nordost. I have tried everything from the lower end Blue Heaven and Purple Flare to the uber expensive Odin (power cord) and let me tell you, it is true that the further up the Nordost chain you go, the MORE you get of the Nordost sound. But remember, the Nordost sound of 2014 is not the Nodost sound of 2004. It is MUCH better…much better indeed.


I was never a fan of the old Nordost sound from the early 2000’s. It was thin, bright and analytical/etched to my ears. I remember trying a pair of SPM Reference speaker cable and it made my speakers sound thin, bright and superfast. NOT a sound I liked, at all. I quickly dumped those SPM’s many years ago and swore off Nordost for life.


When I heard that the Nordost sound of today was much different  – (warmer, punchier yet retaining the air and space aspects) I decided to give the cables a shot. My dealer loaned me a Nordost briefcase full of goodies. Initially I was using some $100 speaker wire (cheapest Kimber) and $200 interconnects (Audioquest) and stock power cords. When I put in the Blue Heaven cables  – speaker, interconnect and power cable the sound from my speakers pretty much EXPLODED in width, depth and detail but with oomph and warmth. I was amazed. The soundstage expanded and the sound melted out from the speakers. What amazed me more is that my NON AUDIO loving girlfriend was in the kitchen, OUTSIDE of my listening room and said “Wow, I can tell a difference from out sounds BIGGER”..and she is ANTI high end audio, and just does not understand ANY of it. She is happy with an iPod and stock earbuds so when she heard the difference, that was verification for me. I knew that I was not nuts..those cables made a nice improvement.

From that moment on, I was hooked.

I bought some Blue Heaven speaker wire and power cords and even an RCA Interconnect.

Soon, I wanted more. Within months I had a set of Valhalla speaker cable (that I bought used at a great price) and some Red Dawn power cords. I also upgraded to a Frey 2 Interconnect. I eventually sold the Valhalla (for the $$) and ended up with some Red Dawn LS speaker cables (UPDATE: and now have the Valhalla back!). The sound of my system with the Red Dawn LS and Red Dawn power cords was sublime. Rich, full, huge soundstage and air and a 3D tangible quality that I felt could not get better, and this was near the lower to mid of the Nordost line. Nothing close to the top end, yet it sounded great. Now I know it could get better but I was afraid to demo the higher range as I knew that was dangerous.

BUT…for giggles..

One day I decided to try a uber expensive audiophile POWER CORD. Yes, a POWER CORD. Many swear that a good power cord will transform your system, even more than speaker cables will. NO way I said. I refused to believe that. A POWER CORD? Not possible. Anyone who knows anything about physics will tell you that is nonsense, yet Nordost is selling power cords for up to $20,000. Yes, a power cord. The cord that allows your amp or source to turn on.

For giggles I demoed the Nordost ODIN in 1 Meter length. It retails for $11,000. I borrowed it knowing I could and would not buy it, but had to hear it for myself. When I plugged it into my Nordost QB8 power base (well worth the cost BTW) I was blown away. Vocals were MUCH clearer and fuller and more IN THE ROOM than with the Red Dawn power cord. It was undeniable. It was unbelievable. I was hearing the sound in a way I never heard it. More 3D, more palpable and more real than ever. From a power cord! Yet even with this improvement I found that the cord was in no way worth $11,000. Not even close.

When I returned the demo I wanted that cord so bad, but even at a crazy massive discount the dealer offered me for his demo cord, I could not do it. Not only financially but even if I could buy it I would never be able to live with myself after spending that much on a power cable. So I went back to my Red Dawn LS. But something was now missing. I knew I should have NEVER listened to that ODIN. Now that I knew what the system COULD sound like, it was hard to go back to what it DID sound like. I ended up going back and buying a Heimdall II power cord, but it was not close to the Odin sound and the Heimdall was disappointing to me in comparison. In fact, I preferred my Red Dawn to it, in my system. The Heimdall power cord warmed up my system too much and lost some air, and my system is already rich and warm and full and fat, but with nice detail. If you have a bright system, give a Heimdall 2 power cord a try to fatten it up.

Moving on to Valhalla 2

One day my dealer had a Valhalla 2 power cord come in, wrong size. It was only 1M in length and his customer needed a 2m. He offered me a crazy stupid deal on it. Basically a deal that no one would pass up because even if it was no good I could sell it for a little more than I paid. So yea, I would be dumb to pass it up. I knew that even if it came close to the ODIN I would be one happy guy. I took it home, unboxed it from the fancy wooden box and put in my system. I mean, this is the BRAND NEW Valhalla 2! The Valhalla 1 power cord is legendary, so there it was, a Valhalla 2 power cord, in the wooden box ready to roll on into my system.

Before putting the Valhalla 2 in I played a few songs using the Red Dawn power cord so I could get an idea of the sound qualities. When I put in the Valhalla 2 it was a shocker. Not only was there a huge difference in the sound, I preferred it to even the ODIN power cable! The vocals once again were cleared up and fattened up. They were more into my room and more 3D with literally NO haze or fog. Sounds were popping out from space all around the room. The slight dullness and flatness of the Red Dawn power cord was gone. Now the sound was full of life and realism. I mean, never in a million years would I have ever believed a power cable would improve things like this. How could there be people out there that deny this? I mean, it is a fact and unmistakable. Yes, NIGHT AND DAY in MY system, but I still have no idea how they do it. Even if it is my brain playing tricks, then it is worth buying just to have the tricks played, because there is a great clarity to the sound, slightly tighter bass, and a slightly increased sound width and height.

Maybe you need a really nice system to notice the effects of the power cable upgrade? That must be it. My system is pretty high-end. Audio Research front end with Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution (UPDATE: Now Sonus Faber Amati Futura) speakers. If I change ANYTHING in my system, I notice it. After the Valhalla 2 PC was in I decided to replace the Red Dawn LS speaker cable with another pair of used Valhalla after my dealer received a trade in and offered me up another incredible deal. In fact, he is like my CRACK dealer as this hobby is like crack..the more you hear, the better it gets and the more you want. It’s awful. The Valhalla speaker cable just snapped my entire system into place. It added some sparkle and some more depth. I also auditioned the Tyr 2 speaker cable but found it too fat ad warm for my warm speakers, but again, they are awesome cables if you need some richness and air added to your system.  My system, I can now proudly state, is 98% done. After my interconnect upgrade from a Frey 2 to a used Valhalla 1 and I will be set.

Power Cords?

Nordost has said that just changing out one power cord to one of their top end cords such as the Odin or Valhalla 2, that it will be a much bigger improvement than changing your speaker cable or interconnects. I called BS on that in the past but I believe them now. Throwing in the Valhalla 2 power cable was like throwing in a component upgrade for me, in my system.

I decided to remove the Valhalla 2 power cable and put in the Red Dawn back in. When I did this, the sound lost the pop and feel that it did have with the Valhalla 2 in. It sounded slightly rolled off now, muffled/veiled and lost some soundstage width.

To take things even further I removed ALL of my cables and power system. I put the stock power cords on my CD/DAC and AMP and changed cables to the $100 speaker wire and $200 interconnects. OMG..I mean..OMG. ALL of the air and decay were gone. All of the jet black background and come from nowwhere sound was gone. Soundstage shrunk by 50%. It was tough to listen to which is INSANE. If I would have NEVER heard these Nordost cables then I would have not even known how good my system could really sound, and I would have been happy. But now that I have heard it, there is no going back.

This is the danger in demoing cables. Try not to do it unless you can pull the  trigger and buy them.

So for me, in my system, good cables are MANDATORY to get the most out of it. Nordost is an incredible company and while they have many haters who claim their cables make no difference, those people are as wrong as they can be. If someone has a high end system higher end cables WILL indeed make a difference. It is pretty drastic. Nordost says to think of it as buying a component, and you really should. I do think they are ridiculous in their pricing though. I mean, these cables should cost 1/4 of what they do but I have no control over that of course.

At the end of the day though, I could never go back to listening to my generic cables on my system. Not after I heard what it sounded like with these better cables in.

I am not one to recommend things that are garbage. As I said, I write these HiFi posts for ME and for those who want to read about what I have to say when it comes to Audio Gear. I do not serve any Audio Advertiser and make NO money from this at all.

This Valhalla 2 power cable is incredible and one of the biggest improvements I have made to my system, period. Better than my interconnect upgrades or speaker cable upgrades. I can only imagine what the Valhalla 2 speaker cable sounds like.

Wait, lucky me, I will get to find out in a week or two as my dealer has a set to loan me. Only problem is I am afraid to audition them as I really can not afford to buy them if I adore them. In fact, there is no way I can afford them so I think I will be living with my plain old Valhalla 1’s for a while to come.

At the end of the day, I just wanted to state my 100% honest opinion. CABLES DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! At times, a HUGE difference. If your system is resolving enough or sensitive enough to hear these changes is another story but if you have an Audio dealer nearby, I suggest trying out some higher end cables so you can see for yourself what a difference they do indeed make. I will state that when I went from my Generic $100 cables to the lower end Nordost Blue Heaven, things improved greatly. Going up the line just gets you more and more of the good stuff. More air, more 3D, more space, more vocal purity and imaging capabilities. Good stuff.

My cables were purchased at Arizona Hi-Fi in Phoenix AZ. Highly recommended. You can see their Facebook HERE, or their website HERE. 





  1. hey man

    have you tested the Valhalla v2 speaker cables by now?

    im thinking about getting tyr 2 or valhalla v2 lounspeaker cables.

    I can agree on all what you say about the Tyr 2 as i borrowed them.. a huge step up from my blue heaven. tried also the Frey 2 which was also a very nice cable, but the Tyr 2 ahd more punch and muscle lets say like that.

    have a wonderful day.

    Frank G

  2. My own personal experience says can change the sound to a remarkable degree, but I will separate myself by saying whether are not you like a given cable will be system dependent! I consider it part of “voicing” my system for my ear and my brain. Those latter 2 will perhaps the most variable part of your system.

  3. Good review Steve, I have to upgrade my cables too, but the cost is hard to swallow for wires! lol, anyway I have heard in the past that a dedicated power line from your homes electrical box to your room can improve things as well. It will remove power line interference from other electrical appliances that may be running when your system is on… TV, computer, fridge etc… not too expensive as well, so can be cost effective and produce good results similar to component upgrades.

  4. Steve you’ve been sucked in. I make expensive cable. For a company you know. Here is the truth for any who will believe it over ego. Cable does make a difference. In all kinds of applications from power transformers to guitar pickups to interconnects we know there are strange things that happen with electricity. BUT we have no scientific understanding to explain “why”. Many theories exist and some truly long winded sales pitches. However science is science and in order for any theory to be valid it much be tested and verified. This is where every last person like me making cable and every company selling it falls short.

    The truth of the matter is, the most honest efforts are shots in the dark. We just try stuff. I cant explain why this way sounds cleaner than that way … but I have experienced results for myself. However NONE of these results are that grand nor life changing. In fact all are small enough that the wax in my ears or level of sleep could change things more. The reason I got into cables was I am very experienced making high end product. I understand that unique is crucial to the high end tactile response on the buyers end. So when a certain company approached me I did a whole line. It went on from there because the profit margins are massive. Honestly – no one cares what the cable does. They only care how it will be perceived in hand.

    This sounds very dishonest doesn’t it? It used to bother me. The truth is its a business like all others coined “Luxury”. Everyone in the chain gets a massive markup so everyone participates in the pitch. I used to lose sleep and even stopped doing it until I realized that the ego will make decisions with or without me. See, that is the only science of it any of us really know or understand. The human EGO will be satiated by cables. The force of the ego will create solid results in the mind. Like religion, its a powerful near unbeatable force. For many customers its their existence. We have a fanboy who has spent many thousand dollars on our stuff. He brings people in all the time. Simple civil servant, non descript, single, middle aged and this “golden ear” thing is his identity. Sad? I once said yes. But then Tiffany does the same with jewelry, Jaguar with cars etc. People like to obtain self worth via things. I can tell you that we have a line going up up up in price for a reason. Profits. None of it is about quality level. Its about once we get you on that train, we have seats for you until you want to stop. We don’t care where you end, we simply have that seat waiting. From $200 to $20,000 … there is some cosmetic costs due to unique manufacturing process but its all about tactile response. We don’t actually consider sound as we design upstream. Any change is accidental and we don;t understand it any more than you do. Our design is about the mind. Perceive and you shall receive.

    I can write this without issue because I know that people will choose their own path anyway. I could clobber the believer with a bat and they would believe. On the flipside the cheap cable guy inst going to buy my stuff unless the mental process begins from within. That’s why cables are always available to demo from a dealer and then large discounts when you return. Its all profit. Cables do indeed sound different, but the value per $ spent is generally all BS based with accidental sound differences being up to chance.

    This is long enough, I wont even go into the science of why our claims are mostly BS due to equipment cable is plugged into.

    • Doesn’t matter. I’ve done BLIND tests in my room with 5 others. ALL chose my Nordost Heimdall II (and these are mid level) over the $100 cable I had. IT WAS HUGE, and not just to me, but to all in the room. They had no idea what was what, but I asked them what they preferred. EVERY ONE chose my Heimdall II cable (speaker and IC) over the cheap brand, and it is night and day. If I remove these cables I do not even care to listen. Stage falls flat, details diminish, bass gets sloppy. It is what it is, and it’s easily noticeable. Each cable brings different characters to the sound, and what I have now I adore and wouldn’t change. I could care less if you guys experimented when making your cable, as I would as well. There is NO science with cable making, at all. As you said, it “let’s do this and see what happens” but sometimes that works out and delivers amazing results. Cable are just as important as some compnet upgrades. I experienced this MANY times. I wish my $100 cable sounded better or as good as I could save money but it is not even close. There will always be ANTI cable people like yourself and that is OK, a blessing actually. That just means you can save some money.

    • I doubt any of what you say, because if you were in the industry making cables your language would not change so dramatically after your first paragraph.

      You see the rest of your ‘rant’ is not littered with cable speak, but littered with the garbage of cable disbelievers found in the pathetic flame wars of the forums. The disbelievers who use high school physics that explain voltage and amperage sums/quantity not higher educational physics that explains quality and take into account phase angles , amperage vs voltage sine angle arrival times etc. You thinly disguised your ignorance by pretending to be a manufacturer who prays on the “ignorance ” of consumers who buy with their eyes and even use Tiffanys as an example to back up your weak and bogus argument. The majority of cable manufacturers I have met speak beyond high school physics and talk ernestly of their research and trials , double blinded even. And I have met many cable manufacturers on my own time at trade shows and at their premises. I have no interest in this game as an instructor of photography I have no vested interested but certainly after 32 years listening to and evaluating audio I call your bogus bluff write up for what it is: BOGUS

      • ….. except when you play with cabling, be it power cables, inter connects or speaker cables then you notice a huge difference.

        Or not. If not, they you don’t upgrade. If you do, then you justify it to yourself / other half.

        I had Martin Logan speakers, which require power leads, BAM! Okay, it was a £300 cable, per speaker, and it made the entire sound stage far more vivid, way more three dimensional. That’s when the quest for greater clarity, a far greater image become all-consuming.

        If you have a power cable into your CD player, that will make a bigger difference than if it’s in plugged into your pre or the power amp, so upgrade the power lead to the source first, then as you have the funds, compliment the other components as you see fit.

        That’s the problem if you have a DAC, CD transport, pre amp, 2x power amps and 2x Martin Logans – you need 7x power cables! Oh, and then 2x runs of 3.5m speaker cables. And then your various interconnects. Oh dear, it’s becoming rather expensive!

        Be aware, that this might become both expensive (f course) but also, do each upgrade one at a time as you just might end up with a system that becomes too bright, too revealing, too much and not at all relaxing.

        Lastly, not every recording benefits from being under the sonic forensic microscope, certainly, if you have any compilation CD’s, they’ll never agin see the light of day, they’re too compressed, too harsh, too bright-and-whiney; unlistenable.

        I had a mix of Valhalla and Transparent Audio.

        • Tim, not sure what you mean by “just might end up with a system that becomes too bright, too revealing, too much and not at all relaxing.” What would be happening here ?? The best system reveals the exact source material as it was put down.

          • Paul, for example, many people believe silver wire gives a “brighter” sound than copper wire, in some applications, for unknown reasons. I have found that to be the case in my system, too a pretty dramatic degree in some cases. So depending on your system and your ears you may not like too much of either one of those properties, or you may see little effect at all. At the end of the day most want a system that sounds best to their unique ear.

          • It does but many cant hear the difference between a lamp cord and $200 copper. If you have the ears for it, it is very obvious. I used to hate silver wire for its thin and brighter sound but depends on your system.

          • In the case with Nordost Heimdall II, and power cords, etc. If they are coloring the sound in a supposed “good” way, is it best to run as much length as possible, or as little as possible ???

    • No idea, but in some cases it truly is night and day. I did a blind test with me as the subject, blindfolded. I was able to choose the higher end Nordost cabling every time. What they do is give a sense of air, huge soundstage width, clarity and a weighty yet detailed experience. A huge sound..much bigger than using standard cables. Nordost dealers will let you borrow them so you can see for yourself.

  5. Steve, I have enjoyed your photo blogs and have sought out your opinions where Micro 4/3s equipment is concerned, but audio too? You are a man of many talents.

    When I recently upgraded to a balanced Ayre K5xe-MP preamp I also upgraded my interconnects from Van den Hul Integration Hybrid to the Jubilee silver with XLR’s. I bought some trade-ins from a dealer in brand-new condition and was very pleased with the results. More body, more information, more solidity and dimensionality in the soundstage, lots of good stuff. This marks the latest upgrade that I have undertook over the years. OEM cables > Linn cables > Van den Hul.

    I also use the Inspiration Hybrid speaker cables in shot-gun configuration with my Kudos X3 speakers. I admit to having a fondness for Van Den Hul because of their design philosophy. AJ Van Den Hul is a metallurgy professor and they take an engineering approach to their product design. A look at their website will prove that they pursue an empirical approach with zero accommodation for marketing hype. In fact, their website is kind of a mess. No fancy cosmetics, sea shells or foo-foo dust. I kinda like that.

    I think there is also a case to be made for the synergy that can be attained by using cables from the same manufacturer for power, interconnects and speakers. I have old PS Audio power cables (upgrades from Wireworld) and have an itch to look at power cables again.

    Also, I have rigorously tried to lean toward neutrality in all my cable choices and have resisted the temptation to use cables as a tone control. I think many audiophiles (either knowingly or unknowingly) seek to correct or change the sonic characteristics of their system by using different cables. Personally, I think that’s a Band-Aid and not a solution.

    For those skeptics who maintain that there is no sonic difference between well-designed power cables, interconnects and speaker cables, I say this:

    If you declare that no difference exists between cables, all that means is that your ears are unable to, or are untrained to detect the difference, or that the cables did not portray a qualitative difference in your particular system, of that your system is not resolving enough to display the difference. The fact that you do not hear a difference does not prove that no difference exists. You have only proved that you cannot hear the difference.

  6. The article is quite correct about the importance of power cables as like Mr Huff I was skeptical until a few years when I began to experiment with Kimber and Shunyata and saw the light, or at least heard the difference. I have a very fine EMM Labs XDS1-V2 CD-SACD player used with a Kimber PK10 power cable until recently when I connected a Nordost Blue Heaven which was on my phono stage. The CD player just bloomed with the new addition, so I sold the Kimber, itself a good cable, and bought a Heimdall 2 online. After a couple of days break in, there was a further jump in performance, and here I would disagree with Mr Huff, as there is no flabbiness with this power cord, but sharp transients, powerful bass and weight to the extent that a familiar test recording startled me in my seat. My plan now is to aim for a Valhalla 2, and be happy. For a while.

    • I had the pleasure of attending this Years Bristol a Sound and vision Show. I experienced Nordøst and Chord demo’s first hand! Very impressive stuff indeed. Both brands showed top to bottom ranges and the funny thing was I consostently knew the flaws before the next cable solved them. I only wish the source tracks had been the same throughout as moving 2 to 1 then 2-1 left me hearing faults in the presentation then hearing it solved only for a new track yo show faults only to be solved. Nice but I can’t help but wonder did the previous track also enjoy a new found benefit!

  7. You know that professional sommeliers can’t distinguish white wine for red wine in a blind test, right?
    What does it tell you about blind testing? It’s 100% BS.

  8. I have worked with a number of professional audio engineers and been involved in the design a construction of studio facilities. When I worked on my first studio project I asked the engineer in charge (one of the top engineers in NYC) what sort of cable we would be using throughout. He looked at me perplexed and said, “well, uh, cable”. I have never met a professional on the recording side who gave any credence to the “magic wire” hype. In blind listening tests high end cables were indistinguishable from soldered wire coat hangers. Please help stop the madness.

    • One thing blind testing doesn’t try to do is show the fact that over a prolonged listening experience a listener will choose a given cable over another. It’s a preference! And you’ll find a preference can be ascertained, some moron claiming he would here a single cable amongst 5 different in a blind test (given the BS involved) is not even worth the listening!

      And the people screaming cables are cons often have spent more than $5 on a single cable, if they believed their talk they’d walk the walk. Nough said.

  9. Nice to see you have a keen ear and enjoy music as much as your photography! I was in a similar boat with cables. I’ve argued many times with the All cables are the same. Fit for the purpose means no difference. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve demonstrated many times and successfully to the non believers differences in all types of physical cables.

  10. Steve: I had a very similar experience. I had all sorts of different (and cheap) speaker cables, interconnects, and power cables. I thought high priced cables were all marketing fluff and bs. Then I borrowed the Blue Heaven, Red Dawn, and Frey power cables. Tried BH first. Crap!! It sounds so much better! Then RD. Ah good. Not much difference from BH. Then Frey. Crap again!!! So much better. That was very annoying. So much for marketing hype. Now have all BH speaker cables, interconnects, and power cords. Waiting to upgrade.

    But, just ordered the LM 219A, so upgrades may have to wait a bit. Thanks for the informative reviews. Look forward to many more. Researching speakers now. John

  11. Hello Steve , could you please elaborate a bit more on the Odin vs Valhalla 2 comparison ? Which sonical aspect made you prefer the Valhalla 2 over the Odin? How did the two cables compare in your system? I am trying to decide between the valhalla 2 and Odin cord myself. Thank you for your answer. Best regards

    • Well, the Odin was very nice, as it should be. But I noticed a slightly energized top end. The V2 does not have that and it just seems more musical while still giving us all of the good stuff.

  12. Steve,
    Thanks for putting the cable matter in black on white! From own experience i can state that this is the starting condition for “succesfull” experimenting with cables. I may quote you:
    ” Maybe you need a really nice system to notice the effects of the power cable upgrade? That must be it. My system is pretty high-end.”

    In my system the power cords have the biggest influence too
    2nd are the interconnects
    and far less influence with speaker cables

    The issue is how to get started when there is the usual mixture of not to expensive wiring?
    The multiple power plug for the components and the power cable to the wall outlet and the outlet. Here I use reasonable priced ones for about 300$ each. These three are setting the sound basis for the complete system.
    From here on its exchanging power cords one by one along the line from the source to the amp.
    If nothing is happing the interconnects could be the challange first.
    And to make things funny some componenets are designd to not react on cables. But these are usually not to be found in a “pretty high-end system”
    The crappy thing is that it is a hole system to set up not just a single cable to be replaced.
    And to make things worse also cables have a burn in time.
    I use for many years the Purist Audio System Enhancer Rev-B burn in CD. It takes 2hours and whatever new component or cable i am testing sounds like its been hook on for more than 48 hours. Also the burn in CD is more efficient with interconnects and electronics and speakers and not so much with power cords.
    If a cable shows a certain impression in one system it tends to have the same impression in other systems but most often with a different magnitude.
    If all the system components work fine together 1+1=3 and it happens exactly what you have put down in so clear and honest words.
    Keep going!

  13. Great article and really addresses an area most of us are reluctant to spend money on. Thanks Steve for your great review and helpful comments and the impetus to explore this critical area more.

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