I could certainly see system circumstances in which the richer, creamier and less incisive sound of the Standard DC lead might put up a serious fight, might even be preferred. Listen to the Sibelius and it offers a fuller, warmer and arguably more emotive performance that certainly carries its own appeal. On the Lutoslawski there’s no question that it delivers a safer and less demanding presentation, one that I could see many listeners, finding more comfortable, particularly long term and across a range of different material and different files. Do you want your system to offend? Real music can and does, as does real life, but that doesn’t mean you want to invite it into your home. So this one comes down to listening preferences and system matching. Yes, the Reference DC lead does bring performance advantages to the Server/Power Supply combination, but the importance (and price/value) you place on those advantages may well vary. Back to back, the contrast is clear, but over longer term listening, both can prove extremely satisfying, albeit in slightly different ways. In this case, the cake is already iced and the Reference DC lead is the cherry on the top. I like cherries and in this case and in my system it’s a cherry that is definitely nice to have… But not everybody will agree.
What all this does is establish a clear hierarchy as concerns upgrade priorities. If you own a Reference DAC then the Reference DC leads are a no-brainer. If you own the Server as well, then the Reference Power Supply is equally compelling. If you can only do one or the other? That depends on your listening biases. If optical disc is still an important part of your listening then I’d opt for the DC leads first, on the basis that they lift the performance on everything you play. If however, you find yourself fully committed to streaming in one form or another, the Reference Power supply will definitely take precedence: its transformative influence on the sense and intelligibility of file replay is impossible to ignore. Once you’ve done both of those things (but only then), it’s time to consider the Reference DC lead on the Server. If you’ve already bought into the musical and performance advantages of the Wadax components, then both of these first two steps are going to be slam-dunk upgrades, steps that I can recommend unreservedly. Of course, in the overall scheme of things, given the cost of the Wadax front end as a whole, the price of a single additional DC lead might seem inconsequential. But the bottom line is that $20K is still $20K and I’d definitely advise listening to that step before simply rushing in. At least the Reference DC leads are plug and play and I can’t see a Wadax dealer refusing to loan them to any customer who already owns a Reference Server and/or DAC! But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that when it comes to the link between Reference Power Supply and Reference Server, we haven’t heard the last word from Wadax.