Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac with 5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.01, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming, COS Engineering D1 & H1, AURALiC Vega, Aqua Hifi Formula, Fore Audio DAISy 1, Questyle QP1R, Soundaware Esther Pro & D100 Pro
Preamplifier: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVC module), COS Engineering D1, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1, F5, F6, F7; Crayon Audio CFA-1.2; Goldmund Job 225; Aura Note Premier; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics One SE UP NC500MB; Linnenberg Audio Allegro monos
Loudspeakers: Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Sounddeco Sigma 2; soundkaos Wave 40; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Event; KingRex uArt, Zu and LightHarmonic LightSpeed double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Arkana Research XLR/RCA and speaker cables [on loan]; Sablon Audio Petit Corona power cords [on loan], Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all components, 5m cords to amp/s + sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands [on loan]
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: Rectangular 5.5 x 15m open floor plan with two-storey gabled ceiling, wood-sleeved steel trusses and stone-over-concrete flooring
Review component retail: $2'621/1.8m

The DR in today's Acoustics is Daniel Robidoux, ex telecommunications engineer. His French last name places him in Canada's Montréal. His product portfolio centres on power delivery and signal cables. Third down from the current top, the Red Fire Ultra cord packs 5AWG worth of 24 paralleled copper conductors. That's about four times more than a generic 10-gauge. You might say how that bodes very well for current-hungry big power amps; or a conditioner/distributor from which hangs an entire system to make that first cord the main AC artery. On girth, Daniel's conductor mass means a 2.2cm Ø sleeved in Nylon. This includes a triple shield that does double duty as mechanical vibration damper but still promises to remain ultra flexible. Luxo plugs from Furutech's NCF range terminate the 1.8 metre affair (other lengths on demand).

Delivery uses an aluminium case to massage perception and price. After all, a $2'621 power cord becomes more than our excellent April Music HP100 MkII / S100MkII twins of headfi-preamp plus stereo amp. That $2'500 combo arrived in proletarian card board, not Samsonite. Before you sense snide undertones, DR's power cord offerings start at $361.35. There's something for most wallets. And, it's probably fair to say that if your amp was €3'500 when new, a Red Fire Ultra would be excessive on it .

For another take on the brand, our contributor in the Cold White North Glen Wagenknecht will soon test their Antigone filter. That's a power distributor which, Shunyata or Akiko like, runs its three power conductors through carbon-fibre tubes packed with crystalline quartz or equivalent to strip off HF noise without inductors or capacitors. In fact, silica filler shows up in certain DR Acoustics cables for both noise rejection and mass damping. This mirrors JPS Labs' aluminium powder or Ocellia's crystal-mix sleeving. In short, these are tried and tested solutions here with Robidoux's own twist. To keep today's Ultra lean, it avoids the micro-silicate padding but the top Pegasus Ultra embraces it to grow to 4.5cm thickness.

Grey matter versus dark matter. If you think that power cords don't matter, you really haven't been around the audiophile block. Yet. Lucky you? Not in the sense of throwing away performance. That free cord with the molded plugs which you found inside your component's carton might have been the first word you heard from it. But really, it ought not to be the last. Granted, just how far up the monkey pole one wants to chase this subject is another thing altogether. Every wallet has a different pain threshold. It's also attached to a different gauge on what constitutes a winning improvement; and how much that's worth. Regardless, one should be educated about untapped potential in one's hardware before lusting after a new power amp. Whilst the antithesis of sexy and nearly invariably out of sight, power cords are a direct extension of your components' power supplies. And isn't the signal we finally hear as music nothing more but modulated power? Be it current strangulation, environmentally picked-up noise (hello cellphones, Wifi & Corp.), component-generated noise migrating over the ground plane, the effects of physical resonance and poor electrical contacts, a performance power cord will get down to business. A generic just sleeps through it like a number of famous actors did for Alex Kurzman's Mummy flick. Who wants that?