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I have come to think of the AA Ferrite 2 and NAT power cords as Stanley and Oliver, long and skinny versus short and stubby - but in all fairness, this only applied to their physical aspects, not sound. The cables of the Accustic Arts power cord series and the Ferrite 2 in particular use elaborate shielding to avoid transmitting high frequency interferences between connected equipment. In the Ferrite 2, the customary outer shielding is reinforced by a unique ferrite compound insulation around each of the three copper legs. Thanks to this extra layer, the power cord is described as a low pass filter that passes only the low frequencies of the alternating current. High frequencies absorb into the magnetic and dielectric field of the ferrite compound and turn to heat. With audiophile-grade Wattgate connectors, build quality is superb and the cable is flexible and a breeze to use. The Ferrite 2 arrives in a nice wooden box, nothing as over the top as Esoteric's solution for their Mexcel interconnects but a very lovely touch nonetheless, certainly in line with my idea of what cable packaging should look like and certainly even more in line with the $1050/2m price tag.

Information on the NAT AC Coupler Black is far scarcer but it is obviously a low-gauge high-current copper cable with oxygen-free conductors in an undisclosed geometry. No shielding specifics are revealed but the pythonic girth would indicate that shielding tricks might have been incorporated. The hospital-grade connectors are massive and more importantly, the best when it comes to their fit. Once in place they just won't budge but are easily removed, simply not by accident but requiring a deliberate act. The relative thickness does not make the NAT Coupler as easy to bend and dress as the AA Ferrite 2 but the cable is far more flexible than I anticipated at first. It really won't be challenging to use except in the tightest of corners. At $900/ 2m, the NAT coupler just like the AA Ferrite 2 is priced in perfect accordance with its build and performance.

On almost every component tested, both cords completely overshadowed my current Zu Mother. With the significant recent price increase of Zu's cables, I would not hesitate to recommend that you try both of these. Their performance gain far exceeded the now reduced price difference with the Mother. The only exception was on the Esoteric C03. Here the NAT created too much treble energy and transient emphasis to become sharp and aggressive, something the C03 usually is not. But even with the C03, the Ferrite 2 eclipsed the Zu Mother in no small way by adding weight and dynamics as well as tonal precision.

To simplify, the Accustic Arts power cord excels at dynamics, density and bass weight but it also adds silence and reduces distortion which in turn favors more accurate midrange and treble. The NAT Coupler does about the same but with a more extended and energetic treble as well as tighter bass. This results in an overall lighter, faster and more open presentation than the Ferrite 2. This slightly more lit-from-within balance served both the NAT Symmetrical and AA preamps perfectly but was a little over the top on the Esoteric C03.

The denser presentation of the Accustic Art cord meanwhile matched the C03 very well, enhancing its strengths and providing it with a quieter power source to showcase its immense resolution. As a side note, it also made my McIntosh MA2275 sing as never before, helping the midrange-challenged KT88s to sound more valve-like in this range than I'd been used to. There are plenty of power cord choices in this price range but with their definite differences in character, those two seem as good as it gets. Your choice will wholly depend on your system and the tonal balance you desire.