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

	I have. Many times over 30+ years, for both clients and myself.
Clients sometimes request such cabling, and of course I oblige. It also
means I observe the differences in performance that seems to bring. Not
an ABX test to be sure, yet I can feel comfortable in reaching personal
conclusions about where sensible money can be spent and where the
returns per dollar are vanishingly small. There are so many really much
more effective places to spend money, even with a nearly unlimited

	All things are cases of diminishing returns. In a choice between
$1500 power cord and $1500 spent on upgrading the power distribution and
grounding system in the building that supplies that $1500 power cord,
every studio I've dealt with in all these years gained far more from
cleaning up the source power. It was easy to measure the improvements
with test gear. That 200+ feet of cable, connectors, and breakers, light
ballasts and switching computer power supplies to say nothing of crossed
/ missing grounds and crossed neutral legs has ALWAYS been more than a
match for 10 feet of super cable at the consumption end. Given an
unlimited budget, one might make the choices of extreme cable and
connectors from a clean, regulated, harmonically pure power source to
the then weakest power link: the power cords on the audio devices
themselves. Don't get me started on what happens once the power actually
gets inside the audio devices themselves.
	If there is one area that extreme cable does seem to shine would
be the terminating connectors. Low resistance connections are a plus in
all cases, but again I find personally that gold plating isn't a
requirement for excellent low resistance connections. Doesn't hurt, to
be sure, but not a requirement. The easiest, but not cost effective
method to assure low impedance connections might be with such cable, but
only if there is no concern for spending the resources in a balanced
professional way to assure the maximum overall performance vs. cost.
Again, what is the condition of the whole chain you trying to improve ?
Do you leave the rest of the chain untouched simply to hyper-improve a
tiny part? This only makes sense if that tiny portion has the lions
share of the problem..... and that is simply not something that bears
close technical examination. I've personally had to have power companies
come out and clean half a mile of power pole insulators to clean up
incoming AC power to quiet things down... and that was even with high
end isolation transformers in the facility they fed.
	Granted, surviving EE school and designing studios for many
years, as well as working at Sony on the prototype design of pro audio
large frame consoles and analog / digital recorders for a number of
years only entitles me to a personal opinion, so, as I said, YMMV. If
I've found anything consistent about power cables / power strips is that
the most common problem is that people use cable that is far too small
for the total AC draw from the connected devices, and the available
voltage / current suffered. Then the total reactive impedance changes
produce all kinds of nasty distortions on the AC waveform. The thing is,
this same issue is true of the entire wiring in whatever building you
are in. If one improves 99% of what happens from the wall socket to the
gear with the $40 cable or a well designed power strip, why not give the
rest of the $1500 to an expert (and very careful) local electrician to
provide you with a fresh large gauge feed dedicated for just your
equipment, with an ISO transformer, large contact area twist lock power
connectors, proper 'clean' single point ground, etc. I know from
experience that the difference is real and measurable, and you have
addressed as much of the problem as is practical in most situations. In
professional situations, I have found I just about have to stand watch
over everything electricians did to avoid problems, even when the
drawings were specific about how things were to be done. For them, if
the neon lamp lights, it is right. Their typical concerns are not the
same as those for running audio and video equipment. I haven't addressed
filtering, and it can certainly help to a certain extent, but that is
another topic entirely. 

	I would welcome anyone to spend the huge sums to quantify the
tiny improvements such extreme power cables might make against properly
selected and sized non-hyper-hyped cable IN THE SAME USE. Until then I
have to continue with what experience and common sense has taught me.
Just an opinion, nothing more.


-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Clark Johnsen
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 1:16 PM
To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?

On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 6:49 PM, Scott Phillips

>        Just using power / speaker cords of large enough gauge is more
> important than 'super' power cords.

Again, an unsupported assertion by an unexperienced non-user.

> Expensive power cable will make
> things better than 18ga zip cord.... but so would 12ga romex cable
> inside the walls of your house.

And again...

> Not as pretty looking as mega-bucks
> cables, but effective. A high end stereo 'looks' higher end with nice
> cables, but IMHO it won't sound better as long as good engineering
> practice was used in selecting the appropriate 'normal' cable type and
> size for the job.


>        As always I guess, YMMV...

Of course! So why don't you try driving the models you're criticising?


> Scott
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 5:08 PM
> To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>  Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?
> Right on RICHARD! Before running out and burning money on cable
> just wire your rack
> correctly. Very good information on routing, wiring, crosstalk,
> grounding, etc in numerous places.
> The AES website is a good place to start. You can also find a copy of
> Tremaine's "Audiocyclopedia"
> at a decent library or used book store and read the last section of
> book, which is all about
> racks, patchbays, cabling, etc. All those "golden age" recordings that
> people love so much weren't
> made in mystical places with zillion dollar power cords. They were
> in well-designed studios
> with proper cabling, grounding and routing -- the techniques of which
> date from Bell System and
> broadcasting research decades earlier.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Richard L. Hess" <arclists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:01 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Aren't recordings original sources?
> > At 03:22 PM 2008-10-16, Clark Johnsen wrote:
> >
> >>See, I can't quite decide what you dislike more, the price
> 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
> 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
> 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
> missing something. They will
> > get far more improvement out of the purchase of a Nakamichi Dragon
> a CR7 to play their
> > cassettes than changing the power cord on their Sony cassette
> >
> > I would like to have an engineering explanation of what makes a
> power cord worth more than
> > the $20 one that is typically supplied with industrial-strength
> computer servers.
> >
> > There are only a few electrical and mechanical properties that can
> 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
> and will it fall out in
> > use?
> >
> > Considering the variability of the power wiring in the walls, the
> six feet has only a limited
> > opportunity to make any change to the sound of the component, and if
> device is properly
> > designed, the minor parameter variations that typical differences in
> power cords present are far
> > less than the variations in building wiring.
> >
> > 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
> expensive power cords with
> > insignificant measurable differences. Power cords can crosstalk into
> audio cables.
> >
> > Any equipment other than a power amplifier that sounds better due to
> power cord's parameters is
> > defective in design or current operation. The power supply should
> isolate the internal circuitry
> > from variations in supply current far greater than that caused by
> differences in the power cable.
> >
> > In an audio power amplifier, the above is also true with the
> 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.
> >
> > Since there are no published performance specifications for any of
> cords that I have seen,
> > let's look at a worst-case scenario. If the "bad" power cord has a
> total of one-ohm resistance (or
> > let's even say impedance at 60 Hz), and you have a device drawing
> amp, then this power cord
> > will add a voltage drop of one volt which is less than 1% of the
> 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.
> >
> > 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
> 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
> >
> > 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) 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).
> >
> > If you wish to spend your money on this and you have decided you can
> hear a difference, that's
> > great, but I'd like you to think about the difference you hear and
> equate it with the homeless on
> > the streets, or tapes which are rotting with no funds to transfer
> them.
> >
> > 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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