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Power, cords, conditioners, looms, etc.


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I start off with admitting that I am ore towards the “cable denier” than not.

And it is time to gather some input from the “mind hive” of the community knowledge and experience.

 

I look at the rack and see a “snake festival” of cables.
I’ve only have had significant hum on the DAC when connected to the computer.
But recently I did see 50 Hz and harmonics on the phono stage when digitising the signal via the ADC part of the DAC.
It was ~ -60dB and one could hear it between tracks, but I had a very long XLR coiled up between the phono and the DAC.

In any case, I am putting together the new rack/table…
It is a bit of challenge as there will be a TV lift on the back.
So I can cable it up, and then drop the TV and move it, but it will be skateboards and grunting.
And I do not want cables to foul the TV, so they will likely be behind a thin panel.

 

Incoming mains power on IEC connectors:

  • TV
  • AVR
  • Preamp and phonostage powewr supply which supplies 12V out in 4x LEMO connectors.
  • TT power supply LPS/wort
  • DAC power supply LPS/.wort
  • Power amp
  • 2x 12” subs (likely for the HT front end. But I need to figure out where they should ideally be located.
    • Or power to a bass amp.

All these generally have ~2M (6’) black standard IES cords.
Most of the switching worts were  replaced with LPS versions.

I would like to avoid all of the cowboy lassos holding the extra length of wound up cord, which is using zip ties or Velcro straps.
And I am somewhat concerned with EMI emissions, or minimising them.

 

12V DC:

  • TT (long black cord)
  • DAC (long black cord)
  • Preamp (LEMO)
  • Phono stage (LEMO)
  • 12V trigger of the the AVR to turn on amps.

I am not as concerned with the 12V in terms of emissions.
I can probably get a LEMO made to connect the DAC to the 4-port power supply.
 

Thoughts and Questions:

  1. Currently I have a rack with both US and Au voltage  rackmount power strips, and everything plugged into those.
    1. I could do similar in the new rack, but everything will now be 230v.
  2. There will be 3 columns of racks in the table (maybe there is room for 4…)
    1. Center channel will be in the middle with power amp underneath it
  3. I think I should probably consider keeping all of the mains voltage gear on say the left. So the AVR and the power supplies.
    1. And maybe the DAC?
  4. And the TT on the top on the right with the preamp and phon stage under it. Then the are physically separated to an extent. 

 

Mains:

  1. Without going to a full on conditioner, I am considering just a power strip.
    1. There is an IEC block from McMaster Carr that has a built in EMI filter. I think it is an inlet
      1. So I could go from the wall into that and do some filtering of EMI on the way in.
    2. And then I could house that in a box on the back and have a homemade version of a power strip.
  2.  Should I just make my own power cords to get the right length?
    1. E.g. cutting the lead off of the existing one and putting on something like a Furutech IEC end?
    2. And then is there any benefit in changing the cord to something like a western electric cotton jackets version? 
    3. Or do the coils of extra Power cord not matter much? (So live with them and/or hide them)

12V:

  1. The Preamp and phono stage are on short LEMO cables.
  2. I could fashion the DAC cable as a LEMO to normal 12V inlet
    1. Or I could just coil them into lasso and hide them
  3. Same story with the TT’s 12V power cord.

ICs:

  1. TT to phono stage will be pretty short.
  2. And if the preamp is with the phono stage it is also a short path.
    1. If I put the preamp on the left then I guess I just keep the phono ICs away from other cables. Should I be concerned at all about keeping them apart?
  3. I use primarily Mogami cable and Neutrik XLRs or ProFi RCAs, but did pick up some silver wire with the cotton jacket, so I can use those to the  phono stage and from it to the preamp.
    1. Should I also consider the silver wire to the amp?
    2. I’ve seen the ETI versions, which are 10x the cost of the Neutrik- is there much benefit?

 

I am not sure if the IEC connectors matter a whole lot, but if I am making up some cables, I could consider them if there is a thought that they work better. 

The ICs should generally be easy as their length is either a hair too short or way too long with store bought lengths, and the wire cutters do a fine job of getting a bespoke length for DIY.

Any sage thoughts?

 

Lastly I picked up an MP-LPF (XLR) as the tail end of the preamp has a HT bypass, but it only on zone1 which is the XLR inlet outlet pair.
Zone two has two pairs of RCAs, which I am currently using.
I have a single 2W sub, but it. Is 110v… I can call Vandy HQ, but I doubt that there are 230v plate amps for this as it is “last millenium”.
I am thinking of using a pair of 12” subs for the HT and those are either XLR or RCA inputs for the Hypex plate amps.

I think my only option is to use a short XLR Y-cable and then run the longer cable to the amp and sub for each L/R channel
I cannot use the RCAs as the preamp needs to be powered for the zone2,.. hence HT is out.
And I cannot have two amps connected to the speaker and use RCAs for 2 channel and the XLRs for HT, as an unpowered amp is not disconnected via relays, so the HT amp would be looking into the tube amps output transformer.

Ths is obviously a good sales pitch opportunity for the Quatros over the Treos.
Which brings up the question of whether the Quatros are connected with an IEC connector or a fixed cable.
I suspect it is the later as the shop mentioned a different bass amp in the 230v Au version than in the 110v models. 

I know a lot of people here using Niagara power conditioners, and maybe they help, But I seem to see them be more of “a requirement” for  digital.
Analogue seems to not care as much about power, and obviously there is no need for internet, USB cords, etc. So my perception is that analogue seems more forgiving of power.

Plus my phono stage and preamp use a swish power supply, and also can have a battery attached to totally run independent of the incoming mains power, So I would more likely to be swayed in getting the battery than a power conditioner.
At least it sounds pretty OK.

Any thoughts, musings and comments are welcome.

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This will be somewhat of a soapbox type comment, so be warned - here be dragons.

First, if you're cable denier, you might wish to read some or all of the following:

Testing Radiation of 3 AC Power Cords

Linear Audio Volume 10 - "Pin 1 revisited, adding OEO to an accepted rule" by Hans Polak

Audio Power Amplifiers by Dr. Arto Kolinummi - Section 3.4 "Other error sources in an audio system"  Be sure to check out the references at the end of the book for much more information, too.

Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering by Henry Ott  (you can purchase a hard copy online from the usual sources, or, if you search, maybe find a fair use copy in pdf form)

Noise Reduction Techniques in Electronic Systems by Henry Ott  (same deal as above)

Note that none of these were written by authors who are also in the cable or power conditioner business .  (At least to my knowledge.  There always could be backroom deals, but I'm not aware of any.)  Each of these articles and books has actual measurements of cable effects, which an awful lot of expert subjectivists seem to deny for some reason.

Here's one other one that was written by a consultant in the audio biz.  But, it's an AES paper, so there's a certain level of peer review associated with it.

Common-Mode to Differential-Mode Conver- sion in Shielded Twisted-Pair Cables (Shield-Current-Induced Noise)  (all you Ethernet and USB cable users take special note)

An executive summary for all of these might be that there's lots of undesired currents passing between pieces of audio gear that can pollute the signal you want.  In addition, a lot of the connection mechanisms can contribute their own pollution.  Most electronic equipment isn't fully equipped to deal with and ignore this pollution, so you can either fix the gear itself to the extent you can, or you can take steps to minimize the ingress of pollution.  Or, both.

Note: I'm not suggesting that a $10k interconnect cable solves every problem or that that $10k interconnect cable is necessarily better than a $200 one.  Pricing doesn't scale to performance, like with other products.  (Which is better - Vandersteen Treo CTs or some $70k+ loudspeaker that might grace the cover of a slick audio magazine?)  

I'm also not suggesting that every product out there is an improvement over a more minimalist approach.  

What I am suggesting is that there is actual real information available out there so that you can make your own informed choices, rather than relying upon some dogma that seems to be pretty one sided, either way.  That real information includes listening for yourself, of course.

 

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@Holmz,

As you are going pretty much whole hog on this, why not add a dedicated line to the room? 

I was in the 'cable denier' league, but after auditioning the AQ cables by Garth, I was convinced that they do impact sound-significantly. 

Lastly, I think the Quatro's use an IEC connector, as @ctsooner,  mentioned using AQ Hurricane's to replace the stock cables. But, he and Mr. V. would be better to answer.

Bob

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8 hours ago, BKDad said:

This will be somewhat of a soapbox type comment, so be warned - here be dragons.

First, if you're cable denier, you might wish to read some or all of the following:

Testing Radiation of 3 AC Power Cords

Thanks @GdnrBobwhen I get to the end of my 2 week ban on ASR, I’ll look at the first link.
Is suspect that a metal shield on the power line could help, and techflex makes a silver mesh which is specifically for EMI.

And Neutrik makes some XLRs specifically with shields that are designed for high EMI.

 

8 hours ago, BKDad said:

Linear Audio Volume 10 - "Pin 1 revisited, adding OEO to an accepted rule" by Hans Polak

Audio Power Amplifiers by Dr. Arto Kolinummi - Section 3.4 "Other error sources in an audio system"  Be sure to check out the references at the end of the book for much more information, too.

Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering by Henry Ott  (you can purchase a hard copy online from the usual sources, or, if you search, maybe find a fair use copy in pdf form)

Noise Reduction Techniques in Electronic Systems by Henry Ott  (same deal as above)

Note that none of these were written by authors who are also in the cable or power conditioner business .  (At least to my knowledge.  There always could be backroom deals, but I'm not aware of any.)  Each of these articles and books has actual measurements of cable effects, which an awful lot of expert subjectivists seem to deny for some reason.

Here's one other one that was written by a consultant in the audio biz.  But, it's an AES paper, so there's a certain level of peer review associated with it.

Common-Mode to Differential-Mode Conver- sion in Shielded Twisted-Pair Cables (Shield-Current-Induced Noise)  (all you Ethernet and USB cable users take special note)

An executive summary for all of these might be that there's lots of undesired currents passing between pieces of audio gear that can pollute the signal you want.  In addition, a lot of the connection mechanisms can contribute their own pollution.  Most electronic equipment isn't fully equipped to deal with and ignore this pollution, so you can either fix the gear itself to the extent you can, or you can take steps to minimize the ingress of pollution.  Or, both.

Note: I'm not suggesting that a $10k interconnect cable solves every problem or that that $10k interconnect cable is necessarily better than a $200 one.  Pricing doesn't scale to performance, like with other products.  (Which is better - Vandersteen Treo CTs or some $70k+ loudspeaker that might grace the cover of a slick audio magazine?)  

I'm also not suggesting that every product out there is an improvement over a more minimalist approach.  

What I am suggesting is that there is actual real information available out there so that you can make your own informed choices, rather than relying upon some dogma that seems to be pretty one sided, either way.  That real information includes listening for yourself, of course.

 

Great set of references there.
 

49 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

@Holmz,

As you are going pretty much whole hog on this, why not add a dedicated line to the room? 

OK - That is a thought… and we can actually do that now, as we have a new circuit break box, so there is realestate in there for another breaker.

 

49 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

I was in the 'cable denier' league, but after auditioning the AQ cables by Garth, I was convinced that they do impact sound-significantly. 

Maybe I need to raise my game.
I’ll ponder that while rehabilitating the TT. 
I’ll waddle off soon to the friend with the mill, drill press and lathe in his shed… to get a hole into the arm board, and get the platter off of the TT.

 

49 minutes ago, GdnrBob said:

Lastly, I think the Quatro's use an IEC connector, as @ctsooner,  mentioned using AQ Hurricane's to replace the stock cables. But, he and Mr. V. would be better to answer.

Bob

Got it. Ta

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The AC connections on Quatros are indeed IEC.  But, I think the large connectors often supplied on audiophile grade power cables don’t fit well into the space available.

I used Acme IEC connectors for my non-stock power cables, but they aren’t available any longer.  These Furutech connectors probably would do the job, as would the less fancy ones available from places like Mouser.

Furutech FI-C15

Also, because of skin effect, any sort of shield you put on an AC power cable pretty much has little effect in the audio band.  Radio frequencies, sure.  You need to use dissipative methods or rely on proper conductor geometry.  Don’t knock the latter - read Henry Ott.

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1 hour ago, BKDad said:

Also, because of skin effect, any sort of shield you put on an AC power cable pretty much has little effect in the audio band.  Radio frequencies, sure.  You need to use dissipative methods or rely on proper conductor geometry.  Don’t knock the latter - read Henry Ott.

862 pages… there is a lot in there.

The dissipative methods like the inductor/capacitor type?
I was thinking that the Mouser or McMaster Carr IEC terminal with the filtering might be this type?

(I’m still looking for the geometry, but I assume the StarQuad of an XLR would be an example there. But maybe different for power.)

 

When I say I am a power and vibration denier, that is a somewhat subjective self assessment.
Objectively, I am running:

  • Nagra MPS (Multiple Power Supply) which is providing 4x 12V filtered supply ports
  • Nagra VFS (Vibration Free System)

So there is a disconnect in my logic somewhere.
I do dislike spools and loops of extra cables.

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I think I should add that you have a few choices.

* Devote time to researching the subject, then apply what you learn.  Rinse.  Repeat.

* Try some experiments based on designs you might find on the internet.  Rinse.  Repeat.  I guess that’s a variation of the above.

* Audition commercial solutions.  Buy something you like.  Hopefully, no rinse or repeat - therein lies madness.

* Be happy with what you have and where you are.

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11 hours ago, Delkat said:

You can order the higher end AQ power cables with extended IEC connectors that will clear the amp cooling fins on the Vandy subs

Has anyone tried upgraded power cords on their Quatro (or any other model) subs?  Any difference / improvement?

On some recordings (and I'm confident it is IN the recording), I'd like to hear the bass a little tighter  .........

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Well...

I am using what I think are upgraded power cords on our Quatro CT's.  I say I think because I built them myself, and there's been zero peer review (other than my wife), single- or double-blind testing or any of that.  No magazine reviews either, obviously.

I think they're worthwhile and an improvement.  Otherwise, I'd swap them out.  I'm not proud.

We also use AC mains filters with the same pedigree as the power cords.  One for each Quatro, plus one for the (stereo) power amplifier.  They have about the same audible effect as the better power cords, in a cumulative way.  Tighter bass as well as less fog/haze/gauze/dirty-window-effect hiding details of the presentation and soundstage.

My own opinion is that I want the minimal effect from any external bad influences.  If that reduces the perceived bass, so what?  There's these great controls on the back of the Quatro's that allow me to increase the subwoofer levels and change the system Q.  Those should be what control the bass quantity and shape rather than noise and distortions that just happen to sound nice at times.

But, that's just me.  Everybody else's mileage may vary, of course.

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2 hours ago, Steve Edwards said:

Has anyone tried upgraded power cords on their Quatro (or any other model) subs?  Any difference / improvement?

On some recordings (and I'm confident it is IN the recording), I'd like to hear the bass a little tighter  .........

Lower the "Q" but it will affect all recordings.  Never adjust for recordings!  Get the system set with known great recordings all other adjustments should be changed with tone controls or in their absence just enjoy the music and turn off the neurosis.  RV

 

 

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3 hours ago, Steve Edwards said:

Has anyone tried upgraded power cords on their Quatro (or any other model) subs? 

I recall, @ctsooner, did try swapping out the OEM cables with AQ. If I recall, he felt the Vandy OEM was as good or better.

15 hours ago, Delkat said:

You can order the higher end AQ power cables with extended IEC connectors that will clear the amp cooling fins on the Vandy subs.

It seems that the higher end AQ power cables, like the Hurricane's, will fit. I just added a right angle connector for my Sub 3's.- Hey, it's just metal to metal. How much sound quality could I possibly lose?

Bob

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15 hours ago, Delkat said:

You can order the higher end AQ power cables with extended IEC connectors that will clear the amp cooling fins on the Vandy subs. I’m sure other companies have access to similar connectors. 

I bought my Hurricane's with the special connectors on the amp/speaker end.  They are amazing and well worth it.  A huge reason I'm selling a pair of these as well as the other Hurricane's is to purchase the Vandersteen preamp when it comes out as I have to have the funds.  The pre for me will be a much bigger upgrade than the cords are.  

That reminds me that I need to put the ad on Audio Mart.  Thanks... 

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