Audiophile Power Cables Shootout

Hello guys,

 As you may remember, I recently found a nice USB Cable from Chord. I have noticed that they also make power cables and that Jack-Fi had them. Considering the mysterious  improvements brought by the usb cable, I thought I would try one of their power cables as well.

So, I went to Jack-fi happy to have a reason to stalk….cough…cough…visit them… So there I was at their door : “Hello guys…it’s me again!” :

oatg

Well, needless to say I stayed there again more than I expected, keeping the guys from their work …. I hope I don’t get to be their most annoying customer…

At the end they gave me a Chord Power Chord to try it out at home and see if I like it.  Ok…what store does this..? Awesome as always!Actually it wasn’t exactly the Chord Power Chord, it had the same cable but different connectors, and it was made by jack-fi.  It was 2 times cheaper than the original cable(100 EUR compared to 200 eur) so it seemed like a great deal.

Well… I went home and started comparing it to  the PS Audio Jewel. I did not see any difference at all. Thought to myself that I should let it burn in before making up my mind.

A lot of people make the mistake of judging audio gear before the proper burnin period . For example, Conductor gets to shine over 90 hours of burn in. A friend of mine bought a Conductor off ebay that only had ~50 hours on it.  After a while he recognized that the sound really improved. The guy that sold the Burson Conductor, didn’t actually hear it at full value. If you read the manual, Burson actually says this.

After 2 days, when I put the PS Audio Jewel back I started to see the differences. The Chord cable really brought some very nice improvements : more punchier, controlled and well extended bass, better details, microdetails & dynamics. The sound was overall more articulate, the separation of instruments was better, giving a multi-layered sound.

I liked it a lot and I went to Jack-Fi to pay for the cable.

After spending a lot of time on the guys’  heads again, they gave me another cable to test. It was a custom power cable made by them for the internal usage with the audio gear from their showrooms. The cables was over 2 times thicker than the Chord Power Chord and really looked nice, but was also very expensive to manufacture because of the materials used actually (~700 EUR).  It is so expensive because the materials put into it are really  high quality.

They don’t use poor materials and after sell it with ten times the price, and I believe them because this cable is not even listed on their site, and it was made for internal usage at jack-fi and they seldom sell it to a friend or close client.

This cable is extremely well build. It is very thick and heavy but extremely flexible, much more flexible than any of my other cables.

I could not get all the specifications, because they want to keep it in house. However they told me that is a thick litz german cable, with extreme copper purity, with very high quality connectors ( silver plated copper with electromagnetic shielding), a complex braiding with triple helix like structure ( this is why they called the cable DNA).

I myself, wouldn’t spend that much on a power chord but I really wanted to hear a reference one, as I was really curios if it makes any difference at all and what are those differences, so I took it for a test. Throughout the article the cable will be called Jack DNA.

Well… I found myself with 4 power cables at home: Wireworld AuroraPS Audio Jewel,  Chord Power Chord & Jack DNA ….. so I thought it’s time for a shootout :D . The comparisons were made on more songs, but the following ones are the main ones I used. The tests have been made on Burson Conductor with Audeze LCD2.

Tiamat – Sixshooter
Jack DNA

The bass was a little more punchy and better extended than on the Chord. Also the voice had more presence. You could hear the voice coming from the throat and all its’ texture.

The bass was very well extended and punchy. The voice was very present and convincing. However it was a little behind the DNA.

The bass was quite nice and well extended but lacked a little punch and control compared to the above. Also the voice was not so well textured.

Wireworld Aurora

I felt the bass a little missing on this one. It was not as well extended and lacked some body. The voice was, well textured but not as good as with the chord.
Amandine Beyer & Gli Incogniti: The Four Seasons L’autunno Allegro

PS Audio Jewel

I felt that the instruments were not very well articulated and that took away from the dynamics.

It was more detailed and articulated than the PS Audio Jewel. It made the song more enjoyable and dynamic. This was a surprise.

The dynamics were much better than with the previous cable. All the instruments were very articulate and very well defined. So more details, more dynamics and micro-dynamics, more articulated sound overall.

Jack DNA

This is actually a chord++. The differences were not major. It improved the microdynamics and details & micro-details, leaving the chord a step behind, but by a little.

Moby – Porcelain
Jack DNA

Excellent well extended, punchy bass. The piano was very well detailed and nicely placed into space. The overall sound was multi-layered with better instrument separation and more presence.

Chord Power Chord

Again the Chord was behind the DNA. The sound was still articulated, well detailed and multi layered but some steps behind.

The bass was a little looser and lacked the punch and the control. The sound was more congested lacked some air compared to the other two.

The bass was more controlled than on the PS Audio Jewel but again lacked a little body. The sound was more detailed than with the jewel and had a little more airy sound.

 Book Of Hours – Bozzio Levin Stevens

The sound was again a little more detailed, articulate and airy than with the PS Audio Jewel. The treble was a little more present on the Aurora too.

Chord Power Chord

From the beginning I could feel more air. The sound is wonderfully articulated and detailed, the instruments are better separated. The sound is multi layered and the positioning is overall better.

Jack DNA

 

This cable gave me goosebumps. Again the micro-details and micro-dynamics are great. Again it brings the good stuff the chord brings but at another level.

Conclusions

Wireworld Aurora – Good details, the bass is has more control but lacks body and extension.

PS Audio Jewel  – It has a little less details than the Aurora, but the bass is overall better, even if not so controlled. I preferred the PS Audio Jewel instead of the aurora, but it may also be something of tastes.

Chord Power Chord – This cable is wonderful and improves the sound in every aspect. It has better well extended, punchy and well controlled bass, it has better dynamics & microdynamics, better details, overall more articulate sound. It also has better instrument separation and more space between the sound layers.

Jack DNA –  This is the best power cable I have listened to so far. It is actually a Chord ++, taking all the improvements the chord brings and taking them to another level.

So I found out that Power Cables really do make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong the difference are not as day and night, but this can bring the final touch to your system, the final finish to the sound.

It is not  as big as the difference you get when you buy a better dac, better headphones or better amplifier, so if you aren’t sure about one of your systems’ components, you should rather buy one of those first, and let the cables at the end.
I found that the Chord Power Chord was the best value out of the 4 cables I tested.

The Jack DNA brought the best performance and it could satisfy any enthusiast with ease. If you have the money and want that final touch to your system, then it is worth it.

I, myself would rather put another 300 EUR and buy the Sennheiser HD800.

However this is truly a reference power cable, the best I heard to date, really squishing the most out of your system.

The more I listen to it, I love it more. I am happy I have to give it back soon. If I keep it more I may want to buy one, and it already crossed my mind lots of times…