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mains cable/kettle lead. Make any difference in sound quality?


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I'm not sure why a certain type of member gets so upset about this stuff and often ends up deriding, and often insulting, those who have experienced benefits.

Given that we are, to a large extent, listening to the power supplied to the system I'm not quite sure why people would assume that whatever enables the delivery of that power can make no difference.

People with far more knowledge about electricity than me have often commented that it's a far more complex subject than we might assume.

I tried an Ansuz distributor with a matching power cable and I immediately noticed a significant improvement in sound quality. Those who are against this sort of thing would say I imagined it, that it had coloured the sound in a way that I happened to like, that I should set up two identical systems so I can conduct a correctly executed ABX double-blind test (no thanks), etc, etc, without having tried it for themselves of course. 

I only have to satisfy myself that any changes are worthwhile. I tried it and found it very worthwhile. You might not find this to be the case with your system with your ears, but don't knock it until you've tried it. 

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To save another 17 pages, let me cover the basics: - If you can't hear the difference a good Mains Cable can make....either your hearing is impaired, or your system isn't resolving enough. -

So here we are then not talking about mains cables. Well while we're not on the subject. Back home just 15 mins away from Nick's and I am listening to my system. I have Tidal playing CD (not MQA)

You might be right. @TheFlash has just called round and stood in the cold outside the window to my listening room whilst I played my system (including the Chord Dave).   Nigel said that my syst

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I don’t usually engage in mains cables debates but testing myself I found the following. 
 

8 different types of mains cables from pure silver to DIY. Expensive stuff and cheap. £60k system retail price. Big believer in speaker and interconnect cables. I went a bit nuts with my testing. 
 

I noticed no difference between any of them but they look cool so left them in. I only rate items where I can hear a big difference, if it’s small I discount it as not worth the money or maybe just my imagination. 
 

isotek mains conditioner made a massive difference and I’d start here before going the mains route. 

I would still be interested in trying an ultra high end mains cable for testing but i won’t be buying one. 

Cheers Tim 

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14 minutes ago, Tim F said:

isotek mains conditioner made a massive difference and I’d start here before going the mains route. 

It's entirely possible that the distributor was the main cause of improvement in my system and it also meant going from fused plugs for the components to Schuko, which might also have contributed.

There was an improvement in my system but I cannot attribute that to the power cable in isolation and hopefully my post didn't give that impression.

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7 hours ago, Tim F said:

I don’t usually engage in mains cables debates but testing myself I found the following. 
 

8 different types of mains cables from pure silver to DIY. Expensive stuff and cheap. £60k system retail price. Big believer in speaker and interconnect cables. I went a bit nuts with my testing. 
 

I noticed no difference between any of them but they look cool so left them in. I only rate items where I can hear a big difference, if it’s small I discount it as not worth the money or maybe just my imagination. 
 

isotek mains conditioner made a massive difference and I’d start here before going the mains route. 

I would still be interested in trying an ultra high end mains cable for testing but i won’t be buying one. 

Cheers Tim 

And I found the opposite which is why it’s a great idea for us to try for ourselves. It could of course be that we are imagining things. Note to self don’t use that Imagination Music and Lights song for demos. 

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I'm still amazed that intelligent people are quite confident that a 1m mains cable will miraculously improve sound quality "Because the terrible mains supply, the poor quality wiring in my house" etc. Please try to understand my incredulity with these claims why and how this phenomena exhibits itself and why all the dirty mains is entering/within the property is negated the property by a short cable ?

Clean mains is achieved by filtering of sorts, a cable simply cannot do this unless there are electronics involved, twisted cables will certainty help reject 'noise'* but it's AC we're dealing with and not DC - electricity flows both ways - noise in/noise out etc. Its not my intention to offend or deride somebody's reason with investment regarding mains cables but my argument is based on very simple physics.

*RFI/EMI etc, 

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5 minutes ago, Strider said:

I'm still amazed that intelligent people are quite confident that a 1m mains cable will miraculously improve sound quality "Because the terrible mains supply, the poor quality wiring in my house" etc.

Stop bringing common sense and reasoning to a cable debate.  Facts and science have no place here :D 

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19 minutes ago, Strider said:

my argument is based on very simple physics.

Mine is only based on trying something and hearing differences. No doubt I've just imagined it. 9_9

These discussions only ever end up in the same place so it's rather pointless. Some will have tried and found no difference in their system, which is fine, others will have tried and found a difference in their system (but they are apparently wrong) and others will have never tried but be convinced of the outcome regardless, which is also fine. 

The only thing I am interested in is whether or not something makes a difference in my system to my ears. In this case it most certainly did.

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21 hours ago, Griff500 said:

Given that we are, to a large extent, listening to the power supplied to the system I'm not quite sure why people would assume that whatever enables the delivery of that power can make no difference.

I sincerely hope you are not listening to the power supplied to your system. This would seem like an even higher level of masochism than that of the objectivist sitting down for an evening of high purity sine waves. 

What you may be hearing is the effect of a whole network of wiring, interacting in a pseudo random chaotic manner on audio components that are connected to it, and by some unfortunate accidents of design, allow a tiny amount of the audio to cross fertilise with the chaos occuring in the "network"?

The whole thing baffles me to.

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14 hours ago, Tim F said:

What did you use Dom? I welcome being wrong lol 

Nobody is wrong on this subject. Some people pick up on some things more than others. Our ears are different. My wife heard differently to me sitting right next to me and so I would expect others in their homes to also hear some things differently. 

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1 hour ago, Strider said:

I'm still amazed that intelligent people are quite confident that a 1m mains cable will miraculously improve sound quality "Because the terrible mains supply, the poor quality wiring in my house" etc. Please try to understand my incredulity with these claims why and how this phenomena exhibits itself and why all the dirty mains is entering/within the property is negated the property by a short cable ?

Nobody to my knowledge has claimed miraculous improvements. 

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11 minutes ago, DomT said:

Nobody to my knowledge has claimed miraculous improvements. 

The fact they are claiming improvements at all is, by definition, miraculous.  The mains travels across the national grid, into our houses, through the mains ring and sometimes an extension block.  It then passes through a metre or so of cable we can specify and then into an amp with usually pretty flimsy hook up cable, through a transformer, chokes, bridge rectifiers, gets stepped down to somewhere around 12-20v DC and fed round the amp on tracks on a PCB and more flimsy hook up cable.

How can that 1m or so of cable we specify have any influence at all on the quality of the mains entering the audio stages of the components?  It can't.  Further, there are no properties of expensive cable that can influence the 'quality' of the AC power entering through it unless the cable it is replacing through is faulty.  And given what happens to that AC power after it enters the device, as per the above goes even further to making any magical properties impossible.

The whole 'people hear differently' etc is the sale literature talking and nothing else.  Confirmation bias and the power of suggestion does the rest.  Can you imagine how effect a hifi salesman Derren Brown would make?  He could make you think you were listening to Abba when in fact it was Guns n Roses such is the power of suggestion.

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52 minutes ago, DomT said:

Nobody to my knowledge has claimed miraculous improvements. 

Sorry Dom - Danny expressed my thoughts far more eloquently than I could:D

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38 minutes ago, dannybgoode said:

The fact they are claiming improvements at all is, by definition, miraculous.  The mains travels across the national grid, into our houses, through the mains ring and sometimes an extension block.  It then passes through a metre or so of cable we can specify and then into an amp with usually pretty flimsy hook up cable, through a transformer, chokes, bridge rectifiers, gets stepped down to somewhere around 12-20v DC and fed round the amp on tracks on a PCB and more flimsy hook up cable.

How can that 1m or so of cable we specify have any influence at all on the quality of the mains entering the audio stages of the components?  It can't.  Further, there are no properties of expensive cable that can influence the 'quality' of the AC power entering through it unless the cable it is replacing through is faulty.  And given what happens to that AC power after it enters the device, as per the above goes even further to making any magical properties impossible.

The whole 'people hear differently' etc is the sale literature talking and nothing else.  Confirmation bias and the power of suggestion does the rest.  Can you imagine how effect a hifi salesman Derren Brown would make?  He could make you think you were listening to Abba when in fact it was Guns n Roses such is the power of suggestion.

Please explain then why my wife sitting next to me hears music differently than I do?

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I think it was a PS Audio "Ask Paul" video I saw, where he explained the main benefit from using good quality mains cables was that they won't introduce unwanted distortion/interference into low power interconnects and devices like a pre amp.

I can imagine that in a high resolution, high power setup where poor quality leads are used for the power amps, then replacing them with bigger better leads could lead to an improvement. I can accept that they may be subtle improvements possible through the use of better quality mains leads.

But generally I share the scepticism of the above posts.

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