Power cabling reaches beyond the IEC input…
By Roy Gregory
If you get all hot and bothered by the very notion of expensive, audiophile power cords, you should probably stop reading right now. In fact, if you get all hot and bothered by the very notion of expensive, audiophile power cords, I’m not sure why you’d be reading this site at all. It’s actually so long since I listened to a standard IEC lead – except for purposes of comparison – that as far as this house goes, it’s a shock to the system (audio and biological) if I use even entry level audiophile power cords these days.
It’s a situation that results directly from prolonged exposure to and appreciation of the musical and sonic benefits delivered by serious power cables. Together with the increased understanding of the vital importance of grounding, AC power cords have done more to drop system noise floor and raise system performance across the board, than any other single innovation I can think of. No matter whether your system is built around a project turntable and a budget integrated or the latest, greatest ‘reference’ components, it won’t sound at or even near its best without a properly managed AC supply and grounding plan.
But increasingly these days, manufacturers are turning (or returning) to separate, external power supplies to further improve performance. CH Precision has long offered the X1 external power supply as an upgrade option. Wadax supplies its Atlantis DAC with one external supply and the Reference DAC with two, while the Reference Server sports an as yet unused socket for connecting – you guessed it – an optional external supply. Meanwhile VTL and ARC both offer multiple box line-stages and it’s no exaggeration to say that Naim Audio built their business on the notion of external power supply upgrades. The thinking here is to isolate the AC circuitry from the signal path (along with any mechanical or electrical radiation it might produce) feeding only clean DC into the audio chassis where the vulnerable signal resides.