Thoughts on Power Cable for DAC

I’m going through the process of trying to find the right after market power cord for my DAC (Schiit Yggdrasil) right now and I’m looking for some help narrowing down the available choices. Living in Canada and not having the CableCo Lending Library at my disposal makes this a daunting and expensive exercise. I’m hoping to end up with a much smaller list of potentials to bring in and listen to.

So far I’ve tried the following:

  1. Throw-In Cable that came with the DAC - typical sound. Forward, sibilant, high noise floor, weak undefined bass, etc, etc.
  2. GR Research B24 - Quiet cable, great soundstage width and depth, good weight and impact in the bottom end and mids. However, on the DAC, I’m finding that this cable restricts the highs. Sounds closed in and I know I’m missing details that are present when using other power cords. In general, on other gear, this is a great cable and I would highly recommend you try it if you are looking for power cables. I’m using it on my computer source, PP3 regenerator, m700s, and BHK Pre, so I like it but it’s not the best match for my DAC.
  3. Triode Wire Labs Digital American (regular NOT HP) - This cable really opened up the top end the way I wanted and revealed details that the B24 was obscuring along with providing lifelike timbre to instruments. However, the sound was thin. Instruments didn’t have enough weight or slam.
    When returning the Digital American I asked about the HP version, which Pete said customers have told him did have more weight/slam/bottom end while still remaining balanced on the whole, but he said they didn’t have any demo or in stock cables available. So that one’s on my list to test in the future.
  4. PS Audio AC5 - Right now this is the compromise I’m going with in my system until I find the proper fit. It is more open on the top end than the B24, but it’s more forward and soundstage is flatter. It also doesn’t have the detail and realism that the Digital American provided.

I know…I want it all!

So this is where I’m at:

I’m trying to find power cables that are known for having an open/airy/detailed top end that doesn’t restrict detail or dynamics, but at the same time retains good weight and slam in the mids/mid bass/bass, has a black background, and wide and deep soundstage.

Basically, if I could combine the B24 and Digital American into one cable I’d be set.

Price is a consideration here too, I guess. You can see that I’ve been trying cables in the U.S. $300-500 range. I’m willing to go up in price bracket but I’m thinking that if I get near the $2000 price, I should probably put that kind of money into a better DAC or speakers instead.

Scouring the internet, some possibilities are:

  1. Common Ground Cables Whisper (the cable sutra thread has been an interesting read)
  2. Snake River Audio Signature Hybrid
  3. Used Audience Au24 SE, then pay for upgrade to the SE-i version.
  4. LessLoss C-Marc

I have no real idea if any of these will get me where I want to go though.

System: Computer Source → Pink Faun SPDIF card → Neotech NEVD2001 coax → Yggdrasil A2 DAC → Iconoclast UPOCC XLR → BHK Pre → Iconoclast UPOCC XLR → m700 Amps → Iconoclast SPTPC → ATC SCM11.
Stellar PP3 for everything except the computer, and GR-Research B24 power cables for all except DAC which is a PS Audio AC5 as mentioned above.

So, anyway, too many options and I need a way to focus on just a few that might do the trick. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

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I’m a big fan of the v2 Shunyata products, but given your target budget and potential options, if I were you I’d try the Whisper product. You’ve read the thread here on it, and it sounds quite compelling. (I have no experience with it myself, but if I were starting over, that’s where I’d start.)

Look at it this way: power cables don’t wear out. They will benefit your system hardware for years to come. Get the best you can within your budget and enjoy the results.

The Alpha and Sigma v2 NR cables I’m using have been massive improvements over the factory cables, and even over less-expensive alternatives. They really do provide huge improvements, like upgraded hardware.

Edit: have you tried the power cables from Iconoclast? I know they’re “BAV” branded which suggests more budget-oriented, but perhaps they provide the improvement you’re seeking. You’re familiar with their other products…

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I can highly recommend two power cables that I am using myself. Both do direct sales. Zavfino OCC Silver Dart Graphene PC (a Canadian company), and Silnote Orion M1 Master PC. If their prices are above your budget, their next lower PCs are excellent too.

They sound different and are designed for different purposes. Silnote Orion is designed for sources. It sounds super clean with a ton of details. it makes PST sound so vivid yet silky smooth. It is the best sounding PC for PST from my PC collections, even better than Stealth. I would use it for DAC too, but Stealth does sound better there.

Zavfino Silver Dart is designed for conditioners/generators/amps, their sound is like AudioQuest Hurricane, but I prefer Zavfino a bit better because its smoother with a more lay-back presentation. It sounds great in preamp too.

For lower priced PC, Cullen Crossover II is excellent, and I liked its sound easily better than BAV.

You have great interconnects, so you should consider spending more on matching PCs. If you have a generator or conditioner, the PC for it makes more SQ difference than any other connections in my experience.

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Might I suggest a VH Audio Flavor 1. Made specifically for digital components. 12 gauge and your choice of connectors and expertly assembled by Chris Venhaus.
https://www.vhaudio.com/powercables.html

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Agree with @robwilgus about VH Audio.
Also, considering your budget: Belden Audio/Video (BAV) Products -- Iconoclast Cable

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It is a known fact the Power Cables don’t make any difference with a DAC.
“Al, what piece of gear did you pay the most money for a power cable?”
“Oh yeah, my DAC.”

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I use Voo Doo Infinity on my dac and transport with good results
A little on the cool side of neutral, good detail and transparency
Cables are fairly easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Will hit your budget

They are the “middle” of the Voo Doo series. The cable Company will loan you a few options to try

Best,
-JP

Kimber makes some great power cables that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Accent pk10.

I have found the greatest benefit from a good power cord is used with a regenerator if you have one. The next is the analog side of things like preamps and power amps, and phono stages. Next amount of differences is for digital DACs, streamers and transports. Last, the LPS and other accessories. Most power cords around $1k are pretty close in performance. It’s a matter of how it balances your particular system and your preference. If it is possible, try it in your system before you buy.

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One of my next upgrades is better power cables for my 2 channel set up. Not sure if the dac is the beneficiary or my streamer? I can only afford one now so I will play with the different connections dac, streamer, and preamp and report on which benefits the most.

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Preamp. Everything in your 2-chan benefits.

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The Schitt Yaggie may respond differently than a DS dac. The whispers are a consideration. Perhaps @Duncan_Taylor has a yaggy customer.

The DAC is susceptible to upstream digital source. Get a cord that can drain off the noise. Pay attention to a RF drain. The Al and copper RF shields work well… So do expensive power cords. After a plethora of cords i am running a core power xtreme with AL and copper shields. No complaints with resolution even after trialing more expensive cords as lesser cord with tweaks can step up.

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Agree about digital devices being very susceptible to RF presence, no question! My R&D has shown that moving RF to earth is more effective SQ-wise in a HiFi system than only trying to convert it to a different form of energy (i.e. absorb it). I do enjoy what Furutech’s NCF products do to convert some of that to heat, and I also use a material that does this. But I’ve found that primarily I’d prefer to watch the “impedance at RF” of my grounds & make sure they and the terminations remain as low as possible.

This is done with a well-engineered RF “drain” or “antenna” element but also with a very low characteristic impedance at RF of the ground. Which, given the need for a safety ground to take a bunch of current in the event of a failure, requires another ground path in the mix just for RF, to truly get that impedance (at RF freqs) down.

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Interesting. I’ve been using the TWL Digital American on my Bryston BDA-3 for a few years now. I don’t hear a thin tonal balance at all. Be aware that even after Pete conditions his cords with his cable cooker, break in time can be significant. TWLs digital cords in particular are of a pretty complex design. I too have a BHK Pre, I currently use a BHK 250 amp and cardas ICs. Previous to the TWL, I used a basic Shunyata Venom with good results. I am strongly of the opinion cords, like ICs and speaker cables, have a brand specific house sound. When I don’t know what I want, I actually start with the lowest tier of a cable brand of interest, to avoid dumping too much into what I’ve never heard. If it’s appealing, I move up. Since you seem to have ruled out TWL (I found it to be pretty much the final stop for my digital front end), based on personal experience I can suggest the Shunyata Venom (V14). It’s inexpensive and if it gets you in the right direction you have plenty of options in the Shunyata line to move up. Also, if purchased through, say, Music Direct it is backed by their 60 day money back guarantee and you risk nothing.

Had to put this on the back burner for a couple of days but thank you to everyone for your replies. I had never heard of VH or Voodoo before so I’ll check them out, and I should probably have already tried the BAV.

@owlsalum, I was able to give the TWL cable a proper break-in…close to the recommended 500hrs…during the trial period but the thin character was still there by the end. I’m sure there’s variability in how a cable sounds in each person’s system given different equipment and personal sound preferences so I don’t doubt your favourable opinion of the cable.
I haven’t yet ruled out TWL, I actually really liked how it opened up the top end, so I’m hoping to trial the HP version sometime soon to see if that is a better fit.

Your comment about a house sound says it more succinctly than I did in my original post but this is really what I was trying to get at overall. Ideas of some companies who’s house sound is known for having an open and detailed top end without losing the weight and slam.

Off to do some reading about some of the companies mentioned. Thanks again.

strongly recommend: buy a Raven Soniquil power cable for $135/m (or $150)- use that for a week (does not require much break-in) with the DAC- then compare anything against it. This power cable makes a very balanced sound that is quite good. I believe it will beat most cables in any price range, and you may hesitate to spend thousands afterwards. This beat nordost, shunyata, accusound when I compared it on a DAC.

It easily beats cables costing as much as $177.59. (Joking)

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In my system my Benchmark DAC has proven more sensitive to power cord updates than my Stellar phono preamp.

I found both PST and DS DAC benefit more from great power cords than BHK Preamp. I am running some new power cords on PST and was surprised to hear how much the sound changes.

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