A short round up of some popular (and well, not so popular) AC Power Cables available off the reel for DIY projects.
1. Acoustic Revive Powermax 5000
This is a nice purple cable and is reasonably easy to handle in terms of flexibility, stripping the insulation, etc.
Otherwise identical to the Power Max Standard offered by Acoustic Revive, the Powermax 5000 lacks the carbon infused mesh used in the retail offering. Wire gauge is 3.5 square mm per conductor, and the sheath is infused with tourmaline.
This is a very smooth and inoffensive cable. It has a laidback and very refined sound that makes it perfect for countering digital and/or solid state glare. The level of detail is quite good but this cable lacks dynamic snap and drive.
2. Acrolink 7N-4030
A personal favourite of mine, the 7N version of the 4030 is far superior to its 6N predecessor. Apart from tighter bass and better dynamics, the 7N version has superior high frequency extension and control.
High frequency extension and air is almost a given for an Acrolink product, so no real surprises there. Rythmically, the timing gang may still find this cable subjectively slow sounding. The high frequencies are extended in a natural way and slightly wet sounding, which makes for a less fatiguing presentation.
3. Furutech FP-Alpha 3
A sweet cable that is otherwise quite neutral. It lacks the bass slam and deep extension of the Oyaide Tunami and the high frequency extension of the Acrolink 7N 4030. Otherwise, this is quite a neutral cable with very little attention being called to any particular frequency.
It lacks a bit of bloom on the mid-bass and transients are slightly soft. I think it sounds better with bigger sounding plugs like Furutech, as compared to Oyaide.
4. Nanotec Golden Strada #305
Any cable skeptic should listen to this cable. Infused with gold and silver particles in oil from liver of a deep sea shark, this should leave both the electrical engineers (who mostly don't believe in cabling anyway) and animal conservationists shaking their heads in dismay.The #305 has a distinctive signature which is readily discernible whether used on my power amp, preamp or Mac mini.This cable imparts sweetness, liquidity and smoothness to the most stubborn of systems.
I personally find it too heavy handed, making most music sound similar in presentation. I don't mind my vocal tracks or chamber music presented this way, but it is a bit too much when Meatloaf sounds too sweet and nice.
5. Oyaide PA-23
This is the thinnest cable of the lot and is easy to terminate, even into a standard UK mains plug. Technically, this is similar to the Tunami with PCOCC-A conductors, carbon impregnated damping and a copper foil shield. The PA-23 uses 2 square mm conductors.
Sonics wise, the PA-23 is day, while the Tunami is night. The PA-23 sounds faster and more extended than the Tunami but lacks bottom heft. It's thinner midrange and lack of control over high frequencies (it has a tendency to become slightly messy when the track mix gets heavy) require careful matching.
6. Oyaide Tunami
This is the only cable in the group which I really hate to terminate - the conductors are far bigger than anything else here, at 5.5 square mm conductors.
The Tunami has powerful and extended bass. The rest of the frequencies are very quiet, but a bit dark sounding. I prefer to use this on amplifiers compared to source equipment, where it sounds too dull. However, it sounded quite dead on the Calyx Femti amplifier, which sounded far better with the Acrolink 7N-4030.
An interesting round-up - some of the cables performed quite well on specific equipment, but fared badly on others. The plug used can be quite critical in tuning the balance of the cable to your exact liking. It may be useful to have a look at my shoot-out of AC receptacles and plugs too - click here.