Duelund DCA-12GA Tin Plated 600V Power Cords

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
One of the few areas in this hobby that I have never broached up until this point, is power cords and power conditioning.

Time to change that. While I was placing the order for the internal Duelund wire for my Hiraga 600hz crossovers I also ordered the bits to build a couple of power cords.

@Jeff Day wrote about this combination quite enthusiastically and I’m really excited to give them a listen.



Last night, I got them put together and will get them setup in my system soon.

Anyone else played with this wire as power cords?

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I have not.gone down this path , mainly due to cost.
In my mind it has a lot to do with the device and it's power supply. My theory is the better the power supply, the lesser the effects of power cord.
Nate and I have a mutual audio friend that has shed a lot of light on this over at Lenco Heaven. Maybe I can find his posts.
And yes looks cool, want one too 😁
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
I have not.gone down this path , mainly due to cost.
In my mind it has a lot to do with the device and it's power supply. My theory is the better the power supply, the lesser the effects of power cord.
Nate and I have a mutual audio friend that has shed a lot of light on this over at Lenco Heaven. Maybe I can find his posts.
And yes looks cool, want one too 😁

I’ve been reluctant to start down this path as well for similar reasons. I still can’t justify spending a lot of money on a power cord, but I need to see if I can hear a difference, myself.

To build these my cost was about $90 each, so not a huge loss if there is no or little perceivable difference.
 
I priced making cords a while back, although not silly cheap, comparable to audiophile stuff quite reasonable.
It adds up quick when you need 8 or 10 cords.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
I priced making cords a while back, although not silly cheap, comparable to audiophile stuff quite reasonable.
It adds up quick when you need 8 or 10 cords.

Yep, which is why I decided to start with just two cables before just replacing them all.
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
I have the same reservations. These are based on nothing but my own opinions. The electrons travel through hundreds of miles of standard copper wire, then through the crappy house wiring. We then place 6 feet of fancy wire that doesn't meet any kind of standard between the house wiring and the less than crappy resistor and capacitor leads. Then through the transformer, rectifier and on to tube socket connections or traces on a circuit board. It SEEMS that there is no way that six feet of fancy wire could possibly make a sonic difference. But then again, I do not know - better ears than mine seem to hear a difference.
 
Something I have always remembered that John Camille wrote...(paraphrase) If you can hear a difference in power cord, you have power supply problem.
 

Wntrmute2

Not So Mediocre Member
That is sort of the collective opinion over at DIY Audio. If things like power cords, interconnects and speaker wire make a difference, there are problems in your design.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
All anyone need do is try some different power cords on loan to see if they make an appreciable difference in any given system.

As with nearly all things audio, sometimes though there is a difference, it is difficult to quantify that difference in terms of $ cost. Only you can decide that, because it's your wallet.

My own personal experience is there is absolutely an easily audible difference, both in using different brand and price point power cords, and also a difference in what you plug them into, i.e. an audible difference with different brand and quality AC receptacles.

I also think this is in part a question of placement. Rooms that are large enough and cords long and flexible enough to allow that they be routed away from each other, and especially away from all signal carrying cables, tend to exhibit smaller differences between power cords. How far away from each other? Sometimes it can be a matter of a few inches. Thats an EMI thing, and there shielded vs. unshielded (or unshielded but braided), can and does make a difference.

What kind of difference? Everything from tonal balance, to dynamics, to stereo soundstage can be altered by use of different power cords and/or different routing of the power cords.

One thing is for sure, the typical cheap cheesy 18 gauge generic power cords included in the package with nearly all components when bought new (certain power amps being an exception) are garbage.

Some years ago, companies like Brown Electronic Labs (BEL), and Wavelength AV (Noisetrapper/CablePro) included a very nice quality Belden 12 gauge power cord with their gear, and both of them allowed to you choose the shielded or unshielded version. They would also sell that same power cord separately, for $25.

Both of them agreed the unshielded version tended to sound better, but that was purely a function of placement in any given system, and if the proximity to other cables was by necessity going to be too close, then the shielded version might sound better, but it was also somewhat less flexible and harder to route/dress exactly as you might want, it tended to wrestle you a bit in wanting to go it's own way.

These days sadly both BEL and Wavelength AV are gone (RIP Dick Brown and Ted Paisley), but you can still buy such a top quality 12 gauge generic power cord from Mercury Magnetics, in any color you like as long as it's red. They also have a similar 14 gauge for slightly less spend for those instances that a 12 gauge would be complete overkill.
 

marantzfan

Administrator
Staff member
I have the same reservations. These are based on nothing but my own opinions. The electrons travel through hundreds of miles of standard copper wire, then through the crappy house wiring. We then place 6 feet of fancy wire that doesn't meet any kind of standard between the house wiring and the less than crappy resistor and capacitor leads. Then through the transformer, rectifier and on to tube socket connections or traces on a circuit board. It SEEMS that there is no way that six feet of fancy wire could possibly make a sonic difference. But then again, I do not know - better ears than mine seem to hear a difference.

...and this same exact opinion is what I have always held as well. We'll see if that changes with this experiment. Nothing ventured, nothing gained (lost)! ;)
 
When I purchased my Bottlehead amp used, the seller did not include a power cord so at that point it got me thinking. Bottlehead sells a nice reasonable power cord kit that I went with.
No idea if it makes a difference.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
And while I only own one fancy power cord right now, the one that came with my phono preamp, in my experience, of all the cables I have tried, the power ones make the biggest difference.

Wasn’t it @Ernie and @billfort at an AK Fest a decade or more ago, who had a very revealing night with some fine libations and even finer power cords?

That sentence above reads slightly strangely. I’ll leave it to those two gents to fill in the details. :)
 

Ernie

This was Nikki.
I was wondering if there was anyone who hadn't heard that story.

Bill and I found ourselves in BrianB's Venus Hi-Fi room at a past AKFest. (Please don't ask me the year.) It was time well-spent, in discussion of a myriad of topics, with good company, and fine spirits. The demo system was a Manley Stingray, a Lector CDP 0.6T cd player, and System Audio SA1550 towers. (Side note: I'll never forget that gorgeous Yamamoto cherrywood rack.) As talk turned to cables, Brian mentioned power cords. I said I had no experience with changing power cables. I was steadfast in having experienced changes in signal cable switching, but struggled with the notion of a power cable making any sonic difference. Bill was somewhat more, um... direct. "Bullshit", was his reply, I believe. (Remember, we were all good friends, so nobody thought for a second about taking offense. In fact, we laughed) Brian threw us a poly bag, with a cardboard top, stapled over the open end of the plastic bag. This thing was designed to hang on a pegboard display. Other than being white, instead of black, it looked like a generic computer power cord, like one gets with any computer/laptop/monitor. Pretty nondescript in appearance. Brian said that this was a cord for digital gear, only. Well, now my skepticism was increasing. I think Bill stifled a chuckle, or attempted to do so, without success.

Brian dropped a cd in the Lector, and we listened, to establish some sort of baseline. He then switched out the power cord that was in place, some $750 fire-hose looking thing, with techflex and jewel-coloured connectors. Definite eye-candy. Making sure to stay away from any controls, he switched out the boutique cable for the Soundstring digital. After hitting play, he stood off to the side, sporting a big grin. In just a few seconds, Bill and I looked at each other, eyes wide with surprise. The sound was cleaner, noise floor was lowered, complicated passages were clearer, without congestion. We looked back at the system, listening intently. "Okay, Brian. Swith them back", Bill said. Brian was happy to oblige. The sound returned to its former degraded level. "Okay, put the Soundstring in, again, please", I said. Brian did. The same change was evident. It didn't seem louder, just, better. Bill looked at me, and said, "I'll be go to hell. I would never have believed it, and I still wouldn't, if I didn't trust my ears." I told him and Brian that I felt the same. My previously-held 'convictions' that power cords cannot change the sound, were shattered. Brian chuckled and said, I've been doing this repeatedly, with people whom I respect, and the results are always the same. Then he graciously gave us each a Soundstring Digital. Brian said, "Give these a try in your home system, and let me know what you think. It really only works for digital gear, as it was designed for that, and it's meant to be left powered up." I said to Brian, "Thanks, I will try it out. I can mail it back when I'm done." "No, no, just keep it." asked Brian how much they cost. At that time, they were $40, and Brian was discounting them to $35. Bill and I looked at each other, AGAIN! $35 cable smashes the $750 cable! I guess it doesn't have to be morre expensive to be better. Another audiophile 'Golden Rule' shattered, along with my own preconceived notions. This experience has made me re-evaluate things which I was sure I knew.

When I got home, my own system produced the same results, with my Arcam Alpha 5 cdp. The next year, Brian sold the Lector (gave away is more like it) The Lector is still in my system, and it still has the Soundstring in place. There are better cdps out there. I've heard a bunch, but the cost is way more than I will ever be able to afford. About 15 years ago, the Lector was $2K USD. It will always be my end-game player. With the Soundstring.
 

Ernie

This was Nikki.
BTW, the following year, Len Miller, founder and chief designer of Soundstring Cables, was at the Fest, and for a couple of years after. Down to earth guy. He was lamenting the fact that he had to come out with a line of eye-candy cables, because he couldn't convince the 'audiophile market' to buy his inexpensive (by market standards) cable lines. So, out came all the lipstick and mascara, and a 'pretty' line of cables was born. Reviewers at them up, and the market went ape for them. I asked him, "What's different?" He replied, "Appearance. And price. I have to sell them for more, because they won't buy the inexpensive ones." What about the Digital cable? It still looked the same, white, molded jacket, and it was $50. Same performance.

I just went looking, and the last post I could find was 2018. The LA and Orange County Audio Society posted, on FE, that the Soundstring Cable Co was having a Factory Direct sale. The molded thermoplastic version of the Digital cable is still the same, and was being offered at $17, reduced from $50. There was also a dressy version of the 6-foot digital cord that was all techflex and fancy terminations, and $540, in 2018. The Soundstring Cable website is down, now, the domain name is for sale, and a search of USAM returned a post, from July, that said Soundstring has closed their doors. Len Miller was a good guy.

Edit: I just called the Soundstring phone number I had, and the company now operates under a new name, as Len has retired.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
Interesting tale, thanks. I have used Soundstring speaker cables for several years now, and was aware of their closure. I had thought Soundstring had a parent company that actually manufactured the cables. Wonder if they are still in operation.
 
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