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Essentially both feature a similar design (U.S. Patent 6,969,805) of copper conductors in multiple gauges and shapes (10-gauge OFC and double shielding in the AC-5; 8-gaugePCOCC and quad shielding in the AC-12) with PS Audio’s proprietary connectors built from a solid block of high-copper brass (nickel-plated in the AC-5, gold-plated in the AC-12) with a clever removable ground pin to combat noise from ground loops. Conductors are both hot- and cold-welded to the pins for optimum conductivity. Both cables are attractively encased in pleasantly soft poly sleeving. Overall build quality is excellent, the connectors impressively so. My only nit was stiffness. This required a good deal of swearing and wrestling. You’ll need lots of space behind your components and these cables may be a non-starter on lightweight gear.

I connected the AC-12 to my Audiomat amp and the two AC-5 cords to my CEC transport and Audiomat DA, then left them alone for a few weeks before listening critically and comparing them to other cables.  After running them in, I observed pretty much what I consistently hear with every decent audiophile power cord over stock cords, albeit to varying degrees: a dramatic reduction in system noise, greater resolution of low-level detail, boosted bass weight and slam; enriched image density, enhanced dynamic contrasts and shadings and quicker transient response. All of this translated into music sounding bigger, more dramatic, exciting and focused.

Musical lines were more integrated, massed strings and cymbals became smoother and sweeter, more defined yet stripped of veiling or that light scrim of grit that obscures and agitates. Instruments and voices sounded more believable and real. With both PS Audio cables I noted a cleaner more distinct tonal palette. Dynamic shifts were more pronounced. There was significantly greater swelling on large dynamic swings while the subtlest shadings languorously drifted off into a darker darkness. Images were more focused. Amazing. All this from a fistful of power cords.

As if that wasn’t enough, I even noted gains when connecting the PS Audio cables to my computer monitor and flat screen TV. I’ll be damned if the picture wasn’t cleaner with richer deeper colors. What really twisted my noodle was hooking the AC-12 to my desktop PC. Here I have been experimenting with computer audio for my main rig. Primarily used for gaming, I hand-picked the internal components myself rather than buy the pre-assembled brand name junk which is usually useless for serious gaming not to mention reliability.