Value of replacing power cables with a P5? Can you put a "subjective" % to it?


First post, so please be patient with me…

I just bought a P5 and love it! After a few days of consideration, I ordered an AC-5 to use with it (between it, and the wall outlet) as the instructions suggest it will perform optimally with this upgrade.

That said, I am using a McIntosh tube MC275 and a C47 pre, and debating what the value add is, of adding new power cables to these devices, as the P5 already cleans/conditions the power?

I have seen a few threads on this while searching, but I guess I am looking for a more “numerical” answer? And yes, i realize it is all subjective :slight_smile:

That said, here are my questions:

  1. Is the BIGGEST advantage the upgrade of the cable from the wall to the P5? Yes or No?

  2. What % of an improvement have you experienced (again, in your opinion) by adding new power cables to the components attached to your P5?

  3. Is adding a new cable to the tube amp going to help/hurt?

Thanks so much for your thoughts, opinions, and ideas :slight_smile: Have a great day!

I have a hard time assigning percentages to improvements. . . that’s a further subjective component to a very subjective process to begin with.

I will say it’s important to have a great power cable to the P5. But then again, oddly to some ways of thinking, anything after the P5 is treated with such clear and clean power that I personally (I have had a PP, a P5 and now a P10 and find this to be true of all three in increasing degrees as you climb the component ladder) find that I can clearly hear the differences in power cords. When I had the PPP I did a lot of experimenting and decided that having the best quality power cords THROUGHOUT the system was the “wonder-free” way for me to go so I have AC-12 throughout the system. Even buying used that was expensive, but I’m VERY happy with the system sound as s result and I just don’t wonder “what if I had this power cord here or there.” Which is important to me, I really do enjoy tweaking, but I have to steer myself away from constantly thinking and futzing with every aspect of playback. . . I can fall into that rabbit hole very easily!

So to answer your question as honestly as I can I’d say there’s about a 10 to 20 percent increase in sound quality with a great power cord after the P5. Significant, and worth it to me to get the best/favorite cords I could throughout. (And if I could only do so on select components I’d say target the P5 then the tube amp and the DAC. Those seem to have system-wide benefits beyond other items except perhaps a tube preamp–I’m a big tube person with a tubed preamp, amp and headphone amp and a tube-output stage in my tuner.)

Appreciate the feedback :slight_smile: I am going to stick with the AC-5 for now, and maybe down the line (once I adjust to the sound) I will add in new power cables to see what value they add.

FYI, I went with the AC-5 because, like you, I am easily led down the rabbit hole. That said, if I got the 12… I would be wondering what $1500, $2500, etc. cables would sound like, and what I was “missing out on”. With the AC-5, I feel like I can be pleased enough, and settle in for some enjoyment of what I have. …for now :wink:

I found power cords (I use AC12’s, purchased when they were on sale) do make a difference, both before and after the Power Plant, but it’s not night and day. I don’t feel the need to try even more expensive cords to see if they are even better (that could change if PSA ever releases new models). It’s never a mistake to sit back and enjoy your system as is and not worry constantly about upgrading. There is always something better out there (or that you can convince yourself is better) so it’s a bottomless rabbit hole if you fall down it.

And welcome to the forum!

Thanks! Yeah, I think I am going to plug the AC-5 in, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the sound :slight_smile: Appreciate the support of that notion, as sometimes that is what I need, LOL! A little group hug, and an “everything will be alright” :wink:

Dood - try not to be so “wired”! Aaahahaha. Sorry.

Little known fact - the AC5 is 5% better than the average AC cable, while the AC12 is 12% better - hence the nomenclature.respect-047_gif

Again, kidding - and welcome. We all help each other out with our Audiophilia Nervosa from time to time…

Welcome, wired1!

I find cables to make a difference, but much less than upgrading a component. Thus, I tend to stick to relatively modest cables. I would rather put $10,000 unto a component, more music, other hobbies than into further upgrading my cables. Others however love the tweaking aspect.

I think the AC5 is a great choice.

My recent experiences with a PS Audio regenerator speaks to the potential impact of power cords pretty directly (although I won’t try to quantify with percentages).

I have been using a P10 for the past year, and I like it. It replaced an HB Cable Designs Marble power distributor, which to my ears actually sounded a tad better than the P10 when fed by my best power cord, an Elrod Diamond MB X2 (yes, I am power cord mad). But the P10 steadied my power such that my DAC stopped cutting out every time an A/C system switched on in my neighborhood power grid (= an awful lot!), so it solved just a huge problem, and was well worth the somewhat “sideways-and-a-little-downward” move in my system.

I worked with that combo (P10 + Elrod Diamond) for ~8 months, then decided to pull the Diamond and put on an old Elrod Statement PC to feed the P10. I heard no change in sonic quality in my system at all. So, after a week+ of listening in that mode, I then put that Diamond cord on my DAC, replacing an Elrod Gold Statement that had fed it. That was a wonderful move, like a component-level upgrade in my system, like I just bought a better DAC (I’d say ~1/2 of the gain I got going from a Lampizator Big 7 to their Golden Gate).

Just recently I acquired some Elrod Gold Statement Master Series PC’s (oy, the names of audio!), David Elrod’s latest, and after auditioning them, I had to write the check, because they really stepped up my system’s performance both as an “audiophile” proposition and, most importantly, as a musical/emotionally absorbing experience.

So, I found the feed to the P10 not so sensitive (an Elrod Statement, however, is a massive and good PC), and I found the PC’s used after the P10 to be very important, still. Component-level impact, no doubt about it, IME/IMS.

A good power cable after the power conditioner is important. I recently added the Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 UEF SE in my system, it came with the Atmosphere level 3 HC cable (sold separately for $3500), the improvement is very obvious. Then I replaced the power cable between the powercell and my BHK Amp 250 with SR UEF black high current cable, another good improvement, maybe due to synergy.

QUESTION: What is the proper way to change out the power cable to the P5 when my AC-5 arrives?

Would it be to simply flip the switch on the back of the P5 OFF. Unplug both ends of the power cable. Replace with AC-5. Flip switch to ON position?

Or am I missing something?


Nope. That would work just fine. Let us know how that goes.

wired1 said QUESTION: What is the proper way to change out the power cable to the P5 when my AC-5 arrives?
To be safe, I would power down my amp, sources, and preamp in that order. The P5 is more advanced than my P300, but I accidentally hit the power button for the P300 while playing with some settings. My amp did the big pop, that always has you wondering if you took out a driver.

If you shut everything down in that order then the P5, change out power cord, power up P5 and then basically reverse turn on, preamp first, amp last, you should have a problem free experience.

The P5 may have staggered shut down, I don’t know, no sense taking any chances. It will add less than one minute to the procedure.

I should mention that my power amp is not plugged in to the P300, but a Duet, so that remained on. But as a rule you always shut down the power amp first, it has something to do with the large amount of capacitors having to drain down some of the power they retain.

Sounds good! TY!

jeffstarr said The P5 may have staggered shut down . . .
The P5 can be programmed so that the outlets turn off at different delay times. They can similarly be programmed to power up in whatever order you choose and with different delay periods.

Does it still do the delays when you shut the main power switch off on the back? I am not very familiar with the P series, but I would think it has a power switch on the front that is similar to a standby. But the main power switch on the back will completely disconnect power, is there some kind of delay built in to that switch? I doubt it, so for a power cord change, I would either first power it down from the front switch, then the back, or shut down components in order I suggested.

Better safe than sorry;-)

Frankly, I don’t use the P5 staggered delay feature at all. After all, when all is said and done, all it is doing is delaying the abrupt removal of power from the connected device.

This may have been fine in simpler times, but in today’s world many devices, and certainly most digital gear, prefer and need to be powered down gracefully. So what you really need is a more complex control strategy that can signal “shutdown” to all devices, wait for notification that shudown has completed, and only then cut power.

You can achieve this by using the P5/10 delays in conjunction with a control system, but absent the control system, I just manually shutdown things first, and then power down the P5.

Just saying…

austinpop said Frankly, I don't use the P5 staggered delay feature at all. After all, when all is said and done, all it is doing is delaying the abrupt removal of power from the connected device.
Yes, just like the on/off switch on the back of each piece of equipment.

Austinpop, you have a good point. My DAC has a separate power supply, the DAC itself has a front or remote switch that seems to have a shut down sequence. My preamp has a standby on the front, and a main off switch on the back.

Being someone who leaves most of his gear on 24/7 other than putting the tube preamp into standby, shutting down the tubes, I doubt that I would use the delay feature. And then my amp is not plugged in to the P300, so I still would have to do it manually. I still think the main power switch on the back of the P5 would defeat the delays.

Yes, tripping the rear main power switch cuts the power instantly to all outlets.

There are, of course, bits of kit which have their own power down sequence - some tube equipment, servers, certain power supplies, etc. These procedures have to be invoked manually by the user when shutting down a system.

Well, I did it, and I managed not to blow up the house :slight_smile: Initial thoughts are that bass is WAY stronger and tighter, but the airy sound I had feels a bit constrained. I will need to dial in the preamp settings again, as this cable upgrade seems to have rendered some of my initial settings useless/incorrect.

More to come… :slight_smile: