It is generally believed that if you have only one high-end power cable, it should be connected from the wall to a power conditioner or power strip, the idea being that the potential benefits of said cable would be shared by all components. I'm not so sure I agree. My experience with power cables suggests that the closer a power cable is to a component, the better. When you think about it, since current alternates back and forth sixty cycles a second, a six-foot power cable directly connected to a component is essentially the first and last six feet of cabling the component sees. Therefore the cable's effects should be more pronounced. Or at least that's my take. While I could certainly ascertain its characteristics when feeding all components from the wall via a power strip, I was more aware of said characteristics when I connected it to individual components, be it my integrated amplifier or DAC.


I also don't subscribe to the notion of matching a component with a specific able i.e. one brand/model of cable sounds better with a specific component than another. That way lies madness and an empty wallet. It's far better in my opinion to, wherever possible, stick with a one-brand loom stem to stern. I can only imagine how pronounced the Reference One's sonic goodness would be throughout my system. As for the aforementioned wood dampers, Piotr recommends sliding the small ones near the cable connectors and the larger one in the middle of the cable. This I did and pretty much left them there. While I did experiment with moving the dampers around, I frankly had a difficult time hearing any significant differences. The sound did indeed change slightly but not enough to prefer one location over another.


Compared to stock power cords, the one trait that stood out above all others was how quiet the cable was. By that I mean that I heard more nuance and subtleties in my recordings. Music became more focused and organized, not unlike what I experience when I have my eye glass prescription updated. When the optometrist gets the ideal setting, images instantly snap into perfect focus. You'll know it when you see it. Aurally speaking, the Ref One cast the same magic. Music was also more direct, vivid and altogether more tactile and expressive, thus more realistic. I also noted gains in tonal richness, texture and dynamic shading. Soloists seemed more distinct from their surroundings. With the stock cable music was more distant, veiled and lacked in dynamics and weight.


Tonally speaking, the Audio Illuminati was even across the spectrum without overly highlighting any one aspect. This was regardless of where I placed the cable in my system. Some power cables tend to emphasize one aspect or another. The MIT Magnum AC-1 cables underscore sibilants, strings, cymbals and such whereas the now discontinued Sablon Audio Robusto so obviously highlights the lower end of the spectrum. The Reference One offered about as neutral a tonal balance as I have ever heard from a power cable.