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Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 4:01 PM, Richard L. Hess

> At 03:22 PM 2008-10-16, Clark Johnsen wrote:
> See, I can't quite decide what you dislike more, the price (admittedly
>> high)
>> or the very concept that a mere cord (!) could make more difference than
>> "a
>> transformer, or rectifier or
>> filter". There being no evidence offered, I'll just have to note that on
>> all
>> wide-range high-resolution audio systems I've ever heard, specialty power
>> cords have wrought major improvements. Granted that's just observational
>> data, but it's the only data so far.
> Hello, Clark,
> Perhaps we shouldn't discuss audiophile products in this forum as most
> people in this forum have to struggle to find $1000 to spend on a Nakamichi
> Dragon, we don't need them to have the angst that they need to spend another
> $1000 on the power cord or they'll be missing something.

Knowledge = angst?

Hey, I can't afford $1500 either! But I want to know what's out there. (And
maybe talk someone else into trying it.)

Besides, I don't see such things as "products", but rather as techniques.
And stuff to discover.

> They will get far more improvement out of the purchase of a Nakamichi
> Dragon or a CR7 to play their cassettes than changing the power cord on
> their Sony cassette machine.

With all due respect, that's just an assertion -- the same as made by the
fellow at Wiki. Have you any observational evidence to back it up?

> I would like to have an engineering explanation of what makes a $500+ power
> cord worth more than the $20 one that is typically supplied with
> industrial-strength computer servers.

Get in line, pal! So would I. That said, over the years I have bothered to
acquaint myself with the literature available, but so far there is no "an
explanation", meaning one place you can go to learn all about it. Best
approach remains, trying something for yourself. If nothing happens, your
wallet remains intact.

> There are only a few electrical and mechanical properties that can be
> altered by the power cord. I think the following is a fairly complete list:
>  Electrical: Resistance, Capacitance, Inductance, Characteristic Impedance
> of the line, shielding, contact resistance at both ends.
>  Mechanical: can it withstand X number of insertion/withdrawal cycles and
> will it fall out in use?

Omitted in the above: Several E-M effects, nature and behavior of dielectric
insulation, vibration (both signal-induced and external), quality of
construction, solid or stranded (makes a difference), copper or...? Add to
those, the evanescent and perhaps unconquerable nature of problems in the AC
supply. There's more, but that's off the top of my head.

See? All that strange stuff going on... Not on your list...

> Considering the variability of the power wiring in the walls, the last six
> feet has only a limited opportunity to make any change to the sound of the
> component,

Correction: We're talking the *first* six feet here. That's what the gear

> and if a device is properly designed,

[Say the designers...]

> the minor parameter variations that typical differences in power cords
> present are far less than the variations in building wiring.

Again, an assertion. Sorry, but I'm not going to let you do the argument
from authority.

> I think that power cord ROUTING (which doesn't cost much -- a few dollars'
> worth of Velcro cable ties perhaps) is a far better place to spend one's
> effort than buying expensive power cords with insignificant measurable
> differences. Power cords can crosstalk into audio cables.

Now you're talking sense! Or, in other words, you've identified some further

Back in the day... I was systems engineer aboard the Mars Lander Camera. Our
department was charged with just that: Identify all contributors to system
degradation. And make no assumptions, this is a tens-of-millions-of-dollars
project we have. Identify all! *Then* tell us what effect each one has, and
back that up please.

I've applied that sort of thinking to audio.

> Any equipment other than a power amplifier that sounds better due to a
> power cord's parameters is defective in design or current operation.

News flash: That's *every one *of them!

> The power supply should isolate the internal circuitry from variations in
> supply current far greater than that caused by differences in the power
> cable.

"Should"... that word...

> In an audio power amplifier, the above is also true with the exception that
> if the power cord is causing a reduction in voltage at the amplifier under
> load, then it should be replaced with a lower-loss one, which is typically
> available for $20 or so.

Goes without saying, I'd think.

> Since there are no published performance specifications for any of the
> cords that I have seen,

And listened to?  ;-)

> let's look at a worst-case scenario. If the "bad" power cord

Whoa! In the specialty field there are few if any outright "bad" ones. If
there were, the company would go under very quickly. Word gets around.

> has a total of one-ohm resistance (or let's even say impedance at 60 Hz),
> and you have a device drawing one amp, then this power cord will add a
> voltage drop of one volt which is less than 1% of the power line voltage.
> Typical voltage variations are +/- 5% in most areas, with some going down to
> -10% at high load times. In addition, in most industrial buildings, the
> maximum voltage drop in the feeders (2%) plus the branch circuits (3%) also
> adds up to 5%, so it's quite easy to see that the power SUPPLY can have
> perhaps a +5%/-10% variation and still be within specification. We hope it's
> better than that, but less than 1% from the power cord (and I suspect far
> less than that) should not make a difference.

"Should"... that word, again...

> And yes, in an era where we are facing a significant recession and possibly
> even a depression and in the era that is just past where we were flush with
> money but there were still homeless people on the streets of Canada and the
> U.S.A., I think it unconscionable that people would purchase these
> outrageously priced accessories with such a dubious improvement.

Ditto a $50 bottle of wine, when plonk gets you equally smashed? (Not to
mention that Ch. Petrus has opened at $1000 a bouteille... A scandal!)

Anyway the referenced Wiki article (the one without triangulation, where
this topic began) was written (poorly too) long before the current
economic difficulties.

> I also think it unconscionable that this amount of money is being spent on
> toys when similar quantities of funds could be sent to archives (and receive
> a tax break)

I have 40,000 78s. Anyone interested?

Thought not.

"Toys"? C'mon.

Anyway, who are you, sir, to dictate morally what is right, to the rest of

> so they could preserve at-risk sound recordings of cultural and historic
> primary sources, despite the fact that primary sources aren't allowed on
> Wikipedia (for good reason, as I said).

Nor do I disagree.

> If you wish to spend your money on this and you have decided you can hear a
> difference, that's great,

Thank you.

> but I'd like you to think about the difference you hear and equate it with
> the homeless on the streets,

Again with the highhanded moralizing.

> or tapes which are rotting with no funds to transfer them.

I respect and actually do support efforts along those lines. I joined ARSC
in, let's see, 1978. (I had read about it in one of those detestable
specialty audio magazines.) Even gave a paper once, and set up a lengthy
demo at a convention. Plus I have conceived a grand (OK, grandiose) project
to do just what you're concerned about. In a way it's an end-run around
conventional thinking, exactly the way I try to practice audio.

For one view of "my own unique contribution", this on a topic very much of
interest to ARSC folk, see:


> Cheers,



> Richard
> Richard L. Hess                   email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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