Amplifier designers and Power Cables

It’s so weird to me. Conversations with Nelson Pass and Steve Deckert about audiophile power cables had them both snickering. Both of them seem to imply–without directly saying— that power cables are just power cables.
But in my experience, they’re just wrong! (can two geniuses in this field be wrong?) Or perhaps they just want to talk about their products.
I’ve been listening to my Decware 2 watt tube amp for weeks now. And today, I plugged in a Shunyata Sigma NR, which is worth 2.5 times the amp and the improvement is startling. Everywhere, up and down the freq range is so vastly improved over the supplied cable that there’s just no argument. It’s like a new amp.
Same experience with both my Pass amps.
Luckily, Paul gets it.
I wonder what’s the disconnect? It’s weird.


I don’t get it either Ron. I’ve come to the conclusion that as much as I love his products, I hear things differently than Steve does. His baseline of “neutral” is brighter than mine and he listens REALLY LOUD when he can, and I never do.

Like you I find the Zen amps (I have 3 watt monoblocks with the 25th mods and a 4 watt Taboo Mk IV also with the mods) clearly respond to power cable changes. And fuse changes. I just shrug and enjoy the living heck out of the amps and preamps and speakers I have that he has designed.

Glad you are digging your Zen amp! I’ve been listening to his amps since '97 and am just over the moon with the newest versions.

Thanks Lon. His amps are works of art.

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Psychoacoustics. Have a blind test with your wife or someone else switch out the power cables, if you can reliably tell the difference over a series of samples then you will know the answer.

It’s fun to believe (just like Santa), but in reality there is no difference between a coat hanger and $1000+ cables. I’m at fault too, I still upgrade my cables knowing that the physics doesn’t support the argument.

At the end of the day if it makes you happy that’s all that matters.



Annoyingly, this is untrue.

I want to believe cables make no difference, but they can sound remarkably different.


That’s cute, but incorrect.

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When I was still working for universities I used a whole bunch of my colleagues as test subjects. I’m a computer scientist but was surrounded people with background in physics, electrical engineering, you name it. Everybody got a chance to give me a lecture on how a cable just can’t make a difference and then afterwards correct their statements to how power cords, not mentioning interconnects, do make a clearly audible difference.

I’m fairly sure the physics does support the argument, we just need to be clear on what exactly is the argument.

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