Power cord for DSD Sr

After countless hours switching this and that, I believe that the component in my system that presents the most demonstrable improvement in sound from a higher end power cable (AC12) is my DSD Sr.
Can anyone out there explain why the dac might be more sensitive to power cable input?

Pure speculation, but it might be a function of the minute signals a DAC handles. Any change from perfect affects the sound.

I asked this same question myself recently. I was told that the AC12 is better shielded and as such is better for digital. That said I couldn’t justify the cost of that cord and put an AC5 on my DirectStream DAC and was blown away by how well it performed.

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I’m not claiming that the DS isn’t sensitive to power cords, but DACs look like a digital device (e.g. a computer) to the rest of your audio system. So I’d not be surprised that differences in the radiation of the digital crap by different power cords is a difference the rest of the system is more sensitive to. Perhaps using a different outlet for the DS might change the amount of digital crap that’s conducted or radiated to the rest of your system.


Had to read it twice but I got it. Thanks Ted

Only twice? I guess I did better than usual :slight_smile: Every time I read my posts I find something else that was ambiguous, spelling errors, etc.

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Something on my end that could use some understanding…

I believe the DS stock cord comes with a 16awg cord. In my mind, it’s finding a cord of that gauge that is of better quality that should be the goal. I don’t understand why putting, for example the AC12 which is 8awg, on a device that doesn’t even pull anywhere the amps to warrant that thickness.

I guess I think of my old electrician days and think if anything such a thick gauge would slow things down.

Why is there this almost insistent need to have mega thick cords, especially on digital devices? Wouldn’t it make more sense to construct an AC12 cord with various gauges, choosing the best for the appropriate application?

Just thinking out loud looking for possible clarification.

It’s not about the current carrying capabilities, it’s about the various filtering characteristics. As Ted said, most likely preventing junk from leaving the DS on the power line impacting other more sensitive devices in the system/circuit.

Whether it’s a good value proposition, only you can decide in your system with your ears.

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The AC12’s don’t work for many configurations because the form factor, the weight and the rigidity of the cables put too much strain on the DAC IEC connectors and they are so heavy that they actually lift the device.

I agree with your opinion on the use of AC12’s for current hungry devices. I have multiple AC12’s and I use them exclusively for power distribution or connecting to high current devices specifically to my Furutech e-TP609 NCF then to My P5 and my BHK 300’s. I connect the DSD to the P5 with a Siltech SPx 800 and I’m pleased. However I used Nordost Red Dawn Lief prior to the Siltech and I was also pleased with the quality of the sound. Silent background and good detail and impact to the music. The Nordost Red Dawn Lief cables are reasonable by audio standards.

Yes that’s true but I guess I didn’t phrase my question as well as hoped. Let’s leave cost of anything out so it’s not a factor.

But essentially the better construction and shielding outweighs any negatives going to an excessively thick gauge of wire? Would there be further benefits by having an 16awg cable with the AC12 design?

That’s the story told. I would think a 16awg would be about perfect for low current devices. Smaller, lighter, super flexible and could have the same/similar filtering characteristics.

I’ve had fun making many different cable designs myself over the years. They all change the sound in some way but it’s often so subtle it’s not worth the trouble to me. Changing other factors has had a much greater realized gain in my system besides power cables. - so far.

Nelson Pass recently told me that the power cable should be the last thing in your system to worry about.

I bet he also thinks that power regenerators are a waste of money.

Ironically, in my experience, upgrading power cords often makes a bigger difference than upgrading interconnects.

Most linear power supplies in audio equipment draw a lot of current over a very short time (or times) to in each 60Hz cycle so cords should be capable of more current than you might otherwise expect.

I worded that poorly. He didn’t say they were a waste of money. He said they were the last thing to upgrade in his opinion.

@tedsmith Thanks! But I would assume though the stock cable is capable of dealing with those larger but short current draws?

I really don’t mind spending money on higher quality power cables. But utilizing the proper gauge I feel is important. Essentially, the right tool for the job.

For example, I have a Pass Labs XA30.5 and it comes with a boring looking but very robust 14awg power cord. I can’t fathom that a digital device like DS (even using the preamp) would ever draw more current than a Class-A power amp, and I also really doubt that Mr. Pass would provide an insufficient cable. So the 16 awg for the DS, at least in my mind, certainly seems sufficient. But to improve on that stock DS cable requires going to at least a 12 awg (AC3) or if you want the ‘best design’ the 8awg AC12! To me this just doesn’t make much sense…

@Paul Are you able to share why the decisions weren’t made to make an AC12 design available in a few different gauges?

It’s just a matter of degree - what tires are capable of supporting your car - what tires do you want on your car?

I’m not sure I agree with the tires analogy. As a driver, one can choose how much force is exerted on the tires, beyond the static weight of the sprung vehicle. Drive like my grandma or drive like Mario Andretti.

We don’t have the same choice with a nearly fixed current device like a preamp or DAC. Power amps, sure no question, but the DS? Isn’t the circuit in total always active except for the output transformers when in standby or mute?

I was just going to ask the same question that brett66 did above.
Does the dac draw a constant, fixed current? The DMP?

My point was simply that since things are a matter of degree you can choose your own point of diminishing returns.

Like I said above most linear power supplies take big gulps at the top of the AC waveform and nothing the rest of the AC cycle.

Think about sucking 10 x the nominal current for a short time - how much resistance does your power cord have at that instant? How much does that drop in voltage matter to your device? Use your ears.

With regard to power cord current carrying capability I was just answering a question about why the stock may not be good enough.

I don’t think this is the main issue with power cords for DACs, I addressed that a little above. (https://forum.psaudio.com/t/power-cord-for-dsd-sr/5445/14)