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... Jack Johnson, Sleep Through The Static, Brushfire records, 756055, CD (2008); Jean-Michel Jarré, Magnetic Fields, Dreyfus Disques/Epic, EPC 488138 2, CD (1981/1997); King Crimson, Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Atlantic/WHD Entertainment, IECP-20220/221, "40th Anniversary Series", 2 x HQCD (1973/2012); Marc Copland & John Abercombie, Speak To Me, Pirouet Records, PIT3058, CD (2011); Radiohead, The King Of Limbs, Ticker Tape Ltd, TICK001CDJ, Blu-spec CD (2011); Schubert, Lieder, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gerald Moore, "Signature Collection", EMI, 55962 2, 4 x SACD/CD; Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Getz/Gilberto, Verve/LIM, K2HD 036, silver-CD (1963/2010).

Were you aware of the fact that the electron current flowing through your speaker voice coil as delivered by your power amplifier is almost exactly the same as the current appearing at your wall socket? Contrary to our first impression it is not the current nor even the voltage which are present on the RCA or XLR outputs of a player or turntable as our most likely sources. In each house the path of the electrical current starts with the residential power distribution board and its circuit breakers. It is followed by wire running to a power junction box and if we are lucky then one more wire run to the wall socket. This is where we connect our power strip with multiple power cords plugged into it to power up our hifi system. If we are short on luck there are many more junction boxes along the way where wires connect by screw clamps of varying quality and condition.

From this perspective and adding up everything which happens before electrical power even arrives at our dwelling (additional circuit breakers, power lines, step-down transformers, the totality of which we refer to as the grid), anyone of sound mind will find it hard to believe that a power cord not to mention the preceding power strip would not have a pronounced sonic influence. Measurements here do not much help. The differences measured in well-conducted tests, i.e. not simple checks to determine the basic parameters resulting from Ohm’s law but tests which use variable signals as close as possible to the type of signal we deal with in music reproduction, are equivocal. They do show changes but those changes are difficult to interpret.

A properly prepared audition does however demonstrate that something is afoot; something that escapes classical evaluation. One can joke as much as one wants—there's no law against it—but I know what I know: that the power cord does influence the sound. So let me come back to the electrical current flowing through the speaker voice coil. It is almost exactly the same current as delivered to our wall socket, hence its key for the final sound. Via a power cord it is supplied to the amplifier where it is initially filtered right after the IEC socket and next sent to the primary winding of the power transformer. This transformer reduces the voltage taken from its secondary winding which is then rectified and now as a DC current filtered again by resistors, capacitors and chokes before eventually powering transistors or vacuum tubes. After the output devices we have speaker terminals, speaker cables and a crossover. This is still the same current —modulated, filtered (though not fully) of AC components, galvanically isolated by the transformer—but otherwise still the same. The signal from the source only modulates our current as it is flowing through the output devices.

The changes in the sound of my system when I replace various power cords and power strips are considerable and repetitive no matter the time of day or night. The last factor is important to power conditioners of the kind manufactured by Accuphase and PS Audio. Power cords and power strips are not susceptible to time of day at least in my experience. That's why I place very special attention on a power distribution system that satisfies me – the best system consisting of the very best components I know. I run a separate spur from the junction box which is dedicated to hifi using 9 meters of Oyaide Tunami Nigo wire. I also have replaced the automatic circuit breaker with a regular wire fuse with gold-plated connectors.

At the other end of this power line I have three parallel-coupled FT-SWS sockets with Furutech rhodium connectors. Into one of them plugs the Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300 cord that feeds the Acoustic Revive RTP-4EU Ultimate power strip. From there I use two of the same Acrolink cords to the CD player (2.5 m) and power amplifier (1.8 m). The preamplifier is powered by a Gigawatt LS-1 power cord. The cable that powers the strip is clamped with the CNS-7000SZ Cable-Noise Stabilizer from Audio Replas. I give you all that detail so you can appreciate what I changed and what the implications of it are. Let me repeat – this is the best power delivery system I know of. I did not change my mind about that even after I hosted the super exclusive Siltech Ruby Double Crown cable loom.

Since I wanted to treat the Oyaide set as a system, I replaced everything at once. I plugged the Tunami GPX-R into one free Furutech wall socket to feed the MTS-4e power distribution strip and from there used three identical GPX-R cords to power all the components of my system – the CD player, the preamplifier and the power amplifier. The comparison was conducted on the basis of an A/B/A test where A and B were known, ‘A’ being the reference system, ‘B’ the Oyaide alternative. The results were perfectly audible right from the start. There was no strain to hear them. Then I compared the Oyaide set to a generic no-name power strip with thick computer power cords. This combination plugged into the third Furutech wall socket.