Power cords make no difference. My foot. All of its size 43. Swapping four power cables inside our usual Furutech GTO 2D NCF altered tonality and staging in no uncertain terms. The iFi band of merry Novas sounded like – um, copper: softer, warmer, heavier in the lower midrange, not quite as localization specific, somewhat narrower in the left/right spread. But they also lowered a certain hash inside choral splosives where multi-paralleled backup vocals sharply enunciate on a hi-rez André Manoukian number. The crisper legacy Dutchies inserted some between-the-tones sizzling oil. Also relevant, I didn't think the overall sound had devolved. Though tone had shifted enough to notice, it was just different, not better or worse. Taking a cue from the prior experiment where swapping a single Nova for a Supanova translated, I now did the same for just the Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC. Being a mixed digital/analog affair, I assumed it'd respond the most.

And once again the insertion mattered. Something inside the looser copper fabric tightened. Something else keened stage depth. Though naysayers will stick to their beliefs as is their right, a single SupaNova swap and extra €200 behaved like a small resolution boost; so more like a Crystal cable. Going back to Nova, I next upgraded the active xover's cord to Supa. That didn't register one iota. I finally did the same for the current-mode amp which runs off a shielded Meanwell switching power supply. This factored again and arguably still more than it had on the converter. I don't know what to extrapolate from this for general consumption but if I could afford just one Supanova, I'd put it on this amp. A second would go on the DAC. The other kit would stick to Nova. I'd be perfectly happy and not miss the far dearer Dutchies except for their much superior slink. Being thinner and more limpid, dressing them cleanly was far easier than with the thicker Brits [see right]. Their strong translucent sleeving didn't want to fully relax its tighter transit coils. So behind my rack looked more like a bed of pythons strangulating air than Teutonic punctiliousness. If you think such punctiliousness virtuous, don't look don't tell.

Disregarding individual phrasing which also gives their game away, this fabulous vocal trio reminds us. Even singing the same note, timbres remain distinctly different. And so it can be with power cords when they set a different tone. Time to explore their effect—and that of two PowerStations—in the downstairs main system.

My inner know-it-all aka Anton E. Audiophile—guess what the E. is for—knows with absolute certainty that putting any tiny parts into the AC path is bound to incur some current restriction. To him common sense put the Supanova cords with their active filters on the low-draw source stack of noisier digital shown next…

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… whilst the just-wire Nova off a second PowerStation served 250-watt monaural amps. The viperous mosh pit behind them shows at left. Hey, I had to make some decisions. Now at least you know what prompted 'em. The iFi band replaced costly Allnic Audio ZL cords. The above PowerStation retired a Vibex Granada Alhambra combo from Clifford Orman, an Englishman who himself retired in sunny Spain. You can see his double decker on the Artesanía rack's top right.

The PowerStation at left retired another Furutech GTO 2D NCF. Regular and attentive readers (not the same!) know that this stuff has been with me for years. When something does its job to my liking, it's not in my nature to keep futzing with it. I futz elsewhere. You know what to do when an audiophile lobs a grenade at ya? Pull the pin and throw it right back at him. And yes, it's always a him, never a her.

Given that it took a bit to replace complete power looms, instantaneous A/B were off the table. The only thing I'm comfortable telling you is that I heard nothing to suggest that the noise floor relative to its effect on contrast ratio took much of a hit. All I noticed was a slight overall softening and warming. It wasn't enough to telegraph as worrying micro congestion or real reduction of see-into resolution. As upstairs, it felt like how after a first wash, a brand-new dress shirt never again is quite as crisp. Not only don't we throw it away for that, many might actually find it more comfortable now.

So the audiophile grenade hustled right back. If the British/Sino loom stayed put and my original hoofed it to elsewhere, I'd consider that book closed once more to stop futzing with it. The real upshot is just money. Whenever those two words 'just' and 'money' intersect, the average person thinks, easy to say when you have it.

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Today that kneejerk reaction upends. The only truly relevant bit the review loom changed was costing significantly less. That's far from concluding the entire subject moot as though not hearing meaningful differences meant, why bother. That forgets how this comparo didn't start at zero. It butted heads with a long-sorted installation at the end of years' worth of clawing up the AC pole until I was happy. It'd be presumptuous to think that one can't still go higher. I'm simply not interested in €10K power cords even though I did review one this year. That generic cords get clobbered by proper specimens we learnt on a previous page. Today's intended takeout—Brits call it takeaway—is that iFi's mid-priced power delivery stuff is as good and sufficient as the above system deserved and needed to perform. Anything more should be mostly about window dressing, brand loyalty, bragging rights and catering to Anton Ego¹. Sure, you can/will shift tonality if you compare the right two power looms. It's also likely that you'll prefer one. But it's just as likely that a day later, you'd have forgotten all about it. Make no mistake. Power matters. But as with everything, there are levels. After 20 years on this beat, I've attained to a power level I'm satisfied with. That's where iFi play. Make of that what you will while (haha) I ponder worthier candidates to still fuss and futz over…

¹ About that chap, he plugged the most important or high-draw component/s into the socket/s right behind the PowerStation's AC inlet, then populated the remaining outlets in sequence following the same logic. Since they all share the same copper rails, the thinking is that current hogs get their most calorific fill at the beginning of the trough not its end. Or is that just another of those pervasive urban-myth porkies? Try it out then decide for yourself!