ANTICABLES Lab: Why Power Cords Matter (Part 1 of 2)

by Paul Speltz

The development cycle for our power cords lasted three years. We spent two years first figuring out and understanding why power cords can make an audible difference, and then another year optimizing the design with that knowledge. The long development cycle paid off. In the four years since they first came out, we have not needed to make any improvements in the design. Customers that bought them in 2012 have the same performance as power cords sold today.

Power LinesIf you think of a power cord as the last five feet of getting power from the electric company’s power plant into your component, electrically it does not have much sonic advantage. But, if you model a power cord as the first five feet of getting the noise generated in the component’s own power supply out of the component (so it does not get into the music), power cords make a lot more sense.

Any manufacturer that markets their heavy duty power cords towards customer’s big power amplifiers, and offers smaller gauge power cords for customers to use on lower power components such as DACs  and PreAmps, is designing to the “last five feet” model, and missing out on the bigger advantages of what a properly designed power cord is capable of.

If I had only one ANTICABLES Level 3 Power cord (our heaviest duty offering), for my personal listening system, I would use it on my DAC instead of my power amp to get best sound. This is because DAC’s, by nature, are generally much more susceptible to noise than power amps. Noise in DACs causes timing errors call jitter, and it is jitter that makes digital audio sound flat, hard, and non-dynamic.  Jitter makes bass sound wooly, voices and piano sound harmonically uninteresting, and cymbals sound like spray cans. Our Level 3 Power cord is so good at removing noise from components, it is my top recommendation for Digital sources, CD players and DACs.

A properly designed power cord can improve the sound of any component, it is just generally true that digital components have greater potential for sonic improvement than other components, but that is only if the power cord used has been designed as the first five feet of getting the component’s own power supply noise out of the component.

Most audiophiles have been told the only noise source getting into their music is from all the computers, lights, and appliances running in their and their neighbors houses. But I believe the biggest source of noise getting into the music signal  is from the component’s own power supply (which can be an inch or two away from critical circuitry).  If you think about it, this makes so much sense, it is practically self-evident .

Our “first five feet” designed power cords have become so well received, that they have gone from a nice sideline offering, to now to being our customer’s favorite product. Our Level 3 Power Cord was ANTICABLES top selling product last quarter.

Next month, I will share my unusual perspective on power conditioners.

Read Why Power Cords Matter, Part 2