I’m new to the DirectStream and after hearing Ted Smith’s emphasis on clean power, realize that I probably need to do something other than use a stock AC cable. (Sad to say, all of my AC cables are stock. My Krell pre-amp came with a "heavy" cable but it's still stock-ish.)
What are all of you using? I’m thinking of picking up one of the AC5s, as the price point is attractive… but thought that asking experienced users would use useful. All input would be most appreciated!
I just tried the JPS Lab Kaptovator AC, i borrowed them from my retailer. It is amazingly good. The difference with a basic but good AC cable (YBA diamond) is hudge. Much more clean bass with pure medium and highs, voices are more present and alive. I could say that i experienced an improvement i would describe almost of the same scale of going from the MKII to the DS.
Old recordings have improved dramatically (also bad recorded red book CD’s …) and the improvement is still significant on high rez good almums. DSD recordings are amazingly good (Patricia Barber Night Club doesn’t sound “soft” anymore vs PCM which is what I was hearing before).
Putting the cable on the amplifier with no changing the DAC cables (still YBA Diamond) does not bring a significant improvement.
I didn’t experience other cables than the YBA Diamond and given the high price of the JS Lab Kaptovator (1600$ for 2m), i will test others to see if i can find a better/better price to quality one. Also, because it is an old cable (since 2005) + has been designed for big amplifiers, and may be technology for digital has improved since then. I’ll test the Digital AC one of the same brand (much cheaper approx. 400$)
Anyway amha you are right to not neglect the optimization of your system wit good cables. In my experience it brings much more improvement than putting the same amount of money in upgrading the equipment you put the cable on: after many tests and learns i ended up with having an amplifier with the speaker+modulation cable costing the same ! it was much better than upgrading the amplifier to a higher end model of the same brand with entry level cables.