Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Wire for Power Purifiers and Power Cords

The Thicker Wire Has Arrived

Short version - it's good.

Like it's thinner brother, this wire is copper with Teflon insulation, rated at 600VAC. It's a 4mm2 wire, which is about 11 AWG (compared to 2.5mm2 for the thinner wire). The copper is tinned, which stops oxidation. I've compared tinned and untinned and they are hard to tell apart. Sure, this is not OCC or anything fancy, but for power cords I think the insulation is as important as the copper, if not more so.

When I first tried this wire in a Power Cord with PP++, I was struck by how similar it sounded to the thinner version. This is a good thing. When I did the same experiment with PVC insulated wire, the thinner wire sounded quite good, but the thicker one (4mm2, the same as this wire) sounded truly awful.

I've gone for the thinnest insulation, as the less dielectric the better when it comes to sound quality. Remember that these are high performance cables, and should be treated with care. It's not that they are fragile - in fact you can bend them all day long. Their weakness is 'cut damage' which means sharp things can cut through the insulation. In all out products, the wire is either covered by heatshrink, or by cotton sleeve. So it's protected. Just be sensible. And if you do damage it, we can replace the wire for you.

How does it sound? 
Compared to the the thinner copper/teflon wire, it shifts the balance down a touch - (ie, bit more bass, bit less treble, subjectively speaking) - at least on my system. I prefer the thicker wire as it gives a more accurate and realistic portrayal - again, on my system. I can easily believe that there are systems that will sound better with the thinner wire.

Compared to the "standard" wire - copper/PVC, it's noticeably ahead. There's just more information coming through, more resolution, a wider and deeper soundstage and more bass and treble extension.

Compared to the Kimber (which is about 14AWG) : the Kimber has a fuller, more meaty bass, which is strange as it's quite a bit thinner. I suspect that this might not be the case in the USA on 110/120VAC. 

Basically the copper/teflon wires are much closer to the Kimber than to the standard wires. But they are much cheaper - only an additional $30 for the thicker wire, and $20 for the thinner one. Note that we use the thinner wire for the earth lead. It takes about 5 meters of wire to make a 1.3 meter cord.

Which one should I choose?
For Power Amplifiers go with the thicker one. And if you use 110/120VAC, use the thicker one for everything.
For those on 220/240VAC you can use the thinner one for lower power amplifiers and other components. It's OK to mix thick and thin cords (eg use thick for power amp, thin for preamp)

Note that if you choose the thicker wire, you need to upgrade the IEC plug as the standard plug will not cope with the thicker wire. It's a good idea to upgrade this anyway, as the cost is quite low and the improvement is worth it.

This is called "Eating your own dog food"

Can I buy the wire on it's own?
Yes. I haven't set up prices or ordering yet, but it will cost $6 per meter for thicker one, $4 per meter for the thinner one. As well as making power cords, this wire would make great hookup wire for amplifiers, etc.

These wires are available now for Power Purifiers, both standalone with IEC plug/socket, and the Power Cord version. Also available for kits. Ordering page here.

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