A really good story can never be told too many times.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.
And my lesson on power cords also happened with a Soundstring.