AC Power cable for the DirectStream - recommendations?


#1

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!


#2
palladio said 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!


Shunyata. Incredible cables. Best I have ever used.

#3
palladio said 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!
Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 on DS and Aries. Haven't compared them to anything else.

#4

I use a JPS “The Digital AC” straight out of a zone (along with my PWT) on my P5. It is 2m long. JPS say," The Digital AC’s 2m length has been carefully chosen to prevent the cord from acting as an antenna for the frequency ranges that would prove most harmful." I have no idea if it’s snake oil or not. Maybe someone here could chip in with an opinion.

I also have a 1m PSA AC5* but I have to run it from a Juice Bar, out of the P5. It wont reach the P5. I need to find a use for it. It is too expensive to boil water with.

*I had it as an AC10 but I think it really is an AC5. Its the one with red braiding.


#5
palladio said 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 use the Shunyata Alpha digital PC to great effect. It is one of a very small number of power cables that are specifically designed to deal with digital noise polution that is introduced by the DAC itself. You will occassionally see them used on Audiogon.

#6
palladio said 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!

Hi Palladio,

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.


#7

Red braid, it’s probably an AC-10. I’d certainly try that on the DirectStream.


#8

AC12 is my favorite.


#9

Mine too. At great expense and possibly with not the greatest wisdom I have AC-12s on all the components on my main system from the wall to the P5 to the amp and all source components, even to all the PowerBases they rest on. The cumulative effect is really really good.


#10

Thanks for these suggestions. It sounds like I ought to invest in at least five quality AC cables and a Power Plant, but don’t want to get into a general discussion of whole system power here since there is a separate power section for the forum.


#11
vhiner1 said
palladio said 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 use the Shunyata Alpha digital PC to great effect. It is one of a very small number of power cables that are specifically designed to deal with digital noise polution that is introduced by the DAC itself. You will occassionally see them used on Audiogon.
I too find that the Shunyata power cords and power distributors have greatly improved my system (please note: I am just an end-user and have no industry or company affiliation). I initially also used an Alpha Digital on the PS and it was very nice, but I took the chance and purchased a Sigma Digital power cord along with an Anaconda RCA S/PDIF cable (to connect to my Oppo 103D w/an Audiopraise Vanity HD board), and the results are to say the least ... stunning. So I effectively have a really nice universal (Red Book CD, DVD-A, and SACD) player. If you have the opportunity to try them please do, you won't be sorry ... just let your ears (and your wallet) be the final arbiter.

#12
supersax said
vhiner1 said
palladio said 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 use the Shunyata Alpha digital PC to great effect. It is one of a very small number of power cables that are specifically designed to deal with digital noise polution that is introduced by the DAC itself. You will occassionally see them used on Audiogon.

I too find that the Shunyata power cords and power distributors have greatly improved my system (please note: I am just an end-user and have no industry or company affiliation). I initially also used an Alpha Digital on the PS and it was very nice, but I took the chance and purchased a Sigma Digital power cord along with an Anaconda RCA S/PDIF cable (to connect to my Oppo 103D w/an Audiopraise Vanity HD board), and the results are to say the least … stunning. So I effectively have a really nice universal (Red Book CD, DVD-A, and SACD) player. If you have the opportunity to try them please do, you won’t be sorry … just let your ears (and your wallet) be the final arbiter.


Super sax you VHiner and I all use Shunyata cabling to superb results. We all also use the Anaconda ZiTron digital cable too. As I recall VHiner uses the XLR version as do I vs the RCA but the results are mindblowing as a combo nonetheless.

#13

Fascinating. It’s a big jump for me to “buy in” to the idea of really expensive cabling. I’ve heard great systems with fancy power, interconnect and speaker cabling, but I have never had an opportunity to A/B anything personally. I need to find a way to do that. It seems like the first thing to do, almost a no-brainer, would be to swap out my Monster Power HTS 5000 power conditioner for a P5 Power Plant, and then find a way to audition AC cables. Perhaps a dealer around here will allow some in-home testing?

Am I getting the right takeaways from Ted Smith’s discussions? Namely, that the power itself and the cable carrying that power to the DirectStream are critical, and the USB cable can be anything that is to spec (i.e., USB-certified)?


#14
palladio said Fascinating. It's a big jump for me to "buy in" to the idea of really expensive cabling. I've heard great systems with fancy power, interconnect and speaker cabling, but I have never had an opportunity to A/B anything personally. I need to find a way to do that. It seems like the first thing to do, almost a no-brainer, would be to swap out my Monster Power HTS 5000 power conditioner for a P5 Power Plant, and then find a way to audition AC cables. Perhaps a dealer around here will allow some in-home testing?

Am I getting the right takeaways from Ted Smith’s discussions? Namely, that the power itself and the cable carrying that power to the DirectStream are critical, and the USB cable can be anything that is to spec (i.e., USB-certified)?


Try the Cable Company cable lending library. They carry just about everything you can borrow and test.

#15
palladio said Am I getting the right takeaways from Ted Smith’s discussions? Namely, that the power itself and the cable carrying that power to the DirectStream are critical, and the USB cable can be anything that is to spec (i.e., USB-certified)?
I probably wouldn't phrase things like that:

USB cables - if you have one that doesn’t work, try a cheap but USB-certified cable. To many “audiophile” cables violate the specs and may (or may not) cause problems.

I tried to make the DS as cable independent as possible, but still, even if I did a perfect job, there are things out side of a DAC’s control: groundloops, fast edges in USB or Ethernet cables, RF or EMI from power cords all make a real difference. But those differences are quite system dependent. And I’d be the last to say that my DAC is perfect.

Personally I use balanced but dirt cheap interconnects, cheapo USB cables and decent power cords. But there’s no doubt that almost all systems benefit from better cables, how much / dollar is the question.


#16
vhiner1 said
palladio said 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 use the Shunyata Alpha digital PC to great effect. It is one of a very small number of power cables that are specifically designed to deal with digital noise polution that is introduced by the DAC itself. You will occassionally see them used on Audiogon.


vhiner1…with the Shunyata Alpha digital on your DAC, what do you run it out of? The Shunyata rep, here in Australia, suggests I run it out of the wall instead of out of my P5. Downunder they are $1.3k. that’s last years price. Because of the low Aussie Dollar he will soon increase the prices but if I commit to buy this week I will ONLY pay last years price

#17
Ted Smith said
palladio said Am I getting the right takeaways from Ted Smith’s discussions? Namely, that the power itself and the cable carrying that power to the DirectStream are critical, and the USB cable can be anything that is to spec (i.e., USB-certified)?
I probably wouldn't phrase things like that:

USB cables - if you have one that doesn’t work, try a cheap but USB-certified cable. To many “audiophile” cables violate the specs and may (or may not) cause problems.

I tried to make the DS as cable independent as possible, but still, even if I did a perfect job, there are things out side of a DAC’s control: groundloops, fast edges in USB or Ethernet cables, RF or EMI from power cords all make a real difference. But those differences are quite system dependent. And I’d be the last to say that my DAC is perfect.

Personally I use balanced but dirt cheap interconnects, cheapo USB cables and decent power cords. But there’s no doubt that almost all systems benefit from better cables, how much / dollar is the question.

You may be aware that I was getting poor spitty sibilant reproduction. I reattached the lid earth wire and replaced a couple RFI shields on the lid. That tamed the spit almost entirely. Now I am thinking of spending AUS$1300 for a Shunyata Alpha Digital. Would not be happy if it made not much difference.

When you say you use “decent” power cords can give examples?


#18

Rossop,

I use shunyata digital cables. I used to run power from a P5 into the DS which sounded fine. I then drank a bit too much Shunyata kool-aid and replaced my P5 with a Shunyata Triton. This turned out to be a cash flow negative lateral move, so if you have a P5 I suggest you keep it, and ignore what the Shunyata fanboys will tell you. Stick with the excellent cables. I never tried running it straight from the wall.


#19
rossop said When you say you use "decent" power cords can give examples?
I have a basket full of power cords that I try with each new component. There are a few modest but no longer available cords in there, but:

I’m using a TG Audio SLVR for the DS now. I like Shunyata Taipan (from before the Alpha or Helix) for my amps, and Shunyata Taipan Helix Alpha for my transport. I’ve also liked the Jena Labs Model One power cords for my amps. Back before the Alpha and Helix from Shunyata, I found the Taipan to work better for my system than any of his more expensive cables. I know that this isn’t the case in general.


#20

I’d hate to pay AUS$1,300 if it did not have the desired effect. In Oz it’s not so easy to borrow expensive PCs