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


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23 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.

A few small points, coming from someone with a reasonably balanced objective/subjective attitude.

First, no cable or connector can possibly 'add' anything. However, they can take things away. I have seen a number of mains cables over the years that appear never to have come within a mile of any copper, and I've also seen loose fitting IEC connectors and plugs that make a mockery of the standards. I've had mains plugs here that get slightly warm when carrying a relatively small current, which suggests localised arcing of contacts. An absolutely first class way to introduce an amazing array of interference.

The comments about power supplies are frequently made, but you need to run anything through simulation software, or examine it in real-world use, to find out what is actually going on. There are some frequencies and some waveform distortions that will breeze through a transformer, rectifier and filtering. Power supply design in a lot of cases makes assumptions and relies on models that don't take into account the vast array of rubbish we're now surrounded by that treats mains earth as some kind of electronic dustbin.

On the other hand, I have seen comments posted regularly about 'night and day' differences with mains cables. Sorry, but not possible. At least not unless the original was broken. Also, you're just as prone to psychological influences as everyone else.

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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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1 minute ago, rabski said:

On the other hand, I have seen comments posted regularly about 'night and day' differences with mains cables. Sorry, but not possible. At least not unless the original was broken. Also, you're just as prone to psychological influences as everyone else.

I totally agree. In my experience there can be a small difference but dramatic changes no. 

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2 hours ago, Griff500 said:

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.

You're quite right that cable discussions end up the same way - believers and non believers and some agnostics. That's the beauty of a forum as all are entitled to an opinion and  should be prepared to accept that others also have a counter opinion, shouting somebody down for having opposing views isn't what the 'Wam is - #i'll never stoop low to attack the person but the argument pros vs cons.

I've not questioned anybody's experience on if its possible to listen to a mains cable and hear a difference my argument is how can a mains cable have a sonic signature, how it changes audio signals - maybe it's my failure to fall for attributing a cable for improving 'sound'

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Far too much reason, logic and rationale there rabski for a cable topic.

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6 minutes ago, rabski said:

However, they can take things away. I have seen a number of mains cables over the years that appear never to have come within a mile of any copper, and I've also seen loose fitting IEC connectors and plugs that make a mockery of the standards. I've had mains plugs here that get slightly warm when carrying a relatively small current, which suggests localised arcing of contacts. An absolutely first class way to introduce an amazing array of interference.

Hence my comment that the cable being replaced would have to be faulty. 

A correctly assembled and terminated lead is all you need. And that can be had for q few £. But yes of course a dodgy lead is a world of sonic and other problems waiting to happen.

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16 minutes ago, DomT said:

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

Hearing music differently is not the same as cables making a difference. Your wife would hear music differently regardless.

Everyone hears slightly differently but that does not mean cables have anything to do with that. 

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This is where it all goes wrong.

I am convinced I've heard mains cables make a difference. However, I'm convinced I've heard all sorts of things make a difference, only to return to them the next day, swap things back and change my mind.

Simple really. I use some relatively 'serious' mains cables and blocks, but only because I didn't pay much for any of it, it's well made and I can discount any of it actually causing problems. That way, I can obsess about other things that probably don't make a difference either.

The one thing I can prove is that close to my vinyl system, shielded mains cables do remove a source of hum. But then my cartridge outputs a ridiculously low voltage and everything is high gain, so an ample opportunity to collect any noise going.

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27 minutes ago, rabski said:

A few small points, coming from someone with a reasonably balanced objective/subjective attitude.

First, no cable or connector can possibly 'add' anything. However, they can take things away. I have seen a number of mains cables over the years that appear never to have come within a mile of any copper, and I've also seen loose fitting IEC connectors and plugs that make a mockery of the standards. I've had mains plugs here that get slightly warm when carrying a relatively small current, which suggests localised arcing of contacts. An absolutely first class way to introduce an amazing array of interference.

The comments about power supplies are frequently made, but you need to run anything through simulation software, or examine it in real-world use, to find out what is actually going on. There are some frequencies and some waveform distortions that will breeze through a transformer, rectifier and filtering. Power supply design in a lot of cases makes assumptions and relies on models that don't take into account the vast array of rubbish we're now surrounded by that treats mains earth as some kind of electronic dustbin.

On the other hand, I have seen comments posted regularly about 'night and day' differences with mains cables. Sorry, but not possible. At least not unless the original was broken. Also, you're just as prone to psychological influences as everyone else.

25 years ago a friend visiting China picked up at my request an   B.O.M P-08 SS power amp and 2 valve B.O.M C-08 hybrid pre amp 

the B.O.M P-08 had an enormous power supply the 2 biggest capacitors (Westinghouse) I had ever seen they are just visable silver tubes  under the circuit boards designed as dual mono with 2 wired in  power leads. on switch on it would take an age to stabalise, the TV  would flicker. I replaced both leads with 13 amp heater cable 10 amp plug fuses (it had internal fuses) no more delay no tv flickering the new cables did their job the old ones were inadequate and stiffled the amp. the amp died 2013 the circuit boards were replaced with fleabay clone amp boards by a friend that power suply was untouched and the amp powers my son's system to this day.

image.jpeg.8b46db54dd396cce7040d1a3b5ebbab1.jpeg

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I totally get the believer versus non believer. This is why I only get impressed with kit that makes a big difference rather than the “I think I can hear something”. My mains cables and a lot of isolation cones etc fit in this bracket. Valves, interconnects, speaker cables, rack and components showed major differences. The one piece of advice I’d give over this whole thing would be try a mains conditioner like isotek first, the change was much more marked than any of my mains cables, which may or may not be making a difference. They simply didn’t do enough to wow me.

To those who love mains cables, how big a difference are they?
 

My speaker cables sounded way different to people visiting. People who couldn’t care less about them, and I didn’t say which cost more, nor did they show any interest in the cables as a subject. One friend told me he didn’t believe they could make a difference so that wipes out confirmation bias entirely. I have not been able to demonstrate differences to these people with mains cables. Nor did I hear any difference with £2k worth of Nordost in another system. I have no bias, remember I bought £££ of cables to see what would happen myself. 

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2 hours ago, dannybgoode said:

Hearing music differently is not the same as cables making a difference. Your wife would hear music differently regardless.

Everyone hears slightly differently but that does not mean cables have anything to do with that. 

Why?

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1 hour ago, Tim F said:

Hey Dom, what are you running? I’m interested as I would like to try it myself. 

I only have one third party mains cable and the rest are as supplied. As I had some free time, as I have mentioned elsewhere on here, I compared a few different mains cables and connectors that I had to make up, they were not prebuilt. I preferred the Audio Note cable. I can’t remember the name of the connector but it might be Furatek or something similar. I can’t remember the name of the other cables. It was a real pain to make them up and as the gains were small I quit after just one cable. But there was a difference. 
 

I know that some people will say I am mad but if Pink Floyds recording studio engineer thinks that it makes a difference then I am in good company. 

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1 hour ago, Tim F said:

Hey Dom, what are you running? I’m interested as I would like to try it myself. 

I was to upload a photo but not possible from mobile or desktop. Weird that this does not work on a Mac or iPhone.  

Audio Note Mains cable 3 conductor 150 strand copper. Furutech big chunky connector.

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1 hour ago, Tim F said:

To those who love mains cables, how big a difference are they?
 

The ones that I tried it was a small difference.  More difference by changing the power block.

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