The Chord PowerARAY Pro – Part Deux

What’s in a wire?

By Roy Gregory

 

Having been – I think it’s fair to say – completely bowled over by the Chord PowerARAY Pro (as well as the smaller, more affordable, standard PowerARAY) I promised to investigate the various cable options on offer, especially as regards their contribution to the overall value of the product. Given that the PowerARAY Pro is far from cheap – £7K for a compact enclosure and captive power cord in its flagship version – the idea of saving some coin is obviously appealing. That flagship model employs the top-of-the-Chord-line Music power cable. But you could save yourself £1000 by opting for a Sarum T power cord, a further £500 if you chose the Signature X option. It’s an attractive proposition – as long as it doesn’t compromise performance…

Well, as promised, a recent trip to the UK for the Bristol Hi-Fi Show afforded the opportunity to drop in on The Chord Co. and investigate further. The Scots have a long history of tormenting the English, so it was no surprise to see the demonic grin plastered across the face of Chord MD Alan Gibb, as he triumphantly flourished (or perhaps that should read “threatened me with”) an early prototype PowerARAY Pro fitted with an IEC input rather than a captive cable. The rest as they say, is history…

We started by listening to the PowerARAY, comparing it to the PowerARAY Pro with a stock IEC cable. Even allowing for the fact that this was a protype unit with mechanically sub-standard casework and a socket in place of a hard-wired AC connection, and as good as the standard PowerARAY is, the Pro was still clearly superior, offering a more natural, expressive, dimensional and musically articulate performance. Vocals were substantially improved, with a far greater sense of character and individual accent/diction. Even slumming it with a kettle lead, the Pro is still a class act.