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AudioQuest NRG-X3 Review (AC Power Cord)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Waste of money

    Votes: 295 88.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 26 7.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 1.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 7 2.1%

  • Total voters
    332

Spkrdctr

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I wish some publication/site would get maybe five or six people in a room that have very educated ears and do real blind tests. That's where the rubber meets the road I think. With a very high end setup, test 14 gauge Home Depot wire against $30,000 interconnects. Test a new and frankly incredible $2,000 D-class amps against some 125 lb. A-Class mono blocks. Tube vs. solid state. I really appreciate the work Amir has done to find out what is real, I think another site that just did blind tests would be the whole enchilada. I grew up on those 80's stereo rags and looking back they were mostly full of it, trying not to fall out with advertisers; they basically said everything was great. Everything was not great.
Well the problem is that everyone hears a little differently and what a bunch of "educated listeners" may prefer will not be what the general public likes. Also, the wire, interconnects and amps testing has been done and people who claim they can EASILY hear differences in equipment can't hear any differences when the blindfolds are on. A mid price Denon or Yamaha AVR, a mega buck Class D amp or big Monoblock's all sound the same when blindfolded. The reason is that as Amir has shown many, many times, the difference between any of this stuff is measurable and it is so small that it is not audible to the listener. The speakers are the extreme weak link in the testing system. For example and I'm making this number up to show the concept. If you have a 1 millivolt difference between two items in the signal going to the speakers, the speakers will not sound any different as 1 millivolt is way below the speakers ability to resolve at that level. The speakers are like the big brute in the chain and overwhelm pretty much everything else. This has been known for decades yet snake oil marketing is what is used for most audio products. This so far is settled science. On ASR the measurements are usually (but not always) not audible. Amir does test product and then we see if it is junk, mediocre or great. ASR if full of good info.
 
F

freemansteve

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Of course the tested cable makes the sound more musical - without a cable there would be no sound. There would also be zero distortion and zero noise. :)
 

xaviescacs

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I've contacted the company, asking for more information about this test. They say from 2 to 5 days to answer.

We'll see...
Well, after more than 10 days, QED people haven't answered yet my request of information about what "typical amplifier" have they used to obtain the results presented on this paper. It will remain a mystery...
 

ESLDude

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Audio Sales guy asks me - "How are your cables working for you? I reply well I turn on my source, my amplifiers and those electrons just find their way to my speakers and I have great sound. Audio sales guy says "what do you mean?" Audio sales guy next to him smiles and says "I think he just told you" LOL
 

Awsmone

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the AudioQuest NRG-X3 AC power cord. I purchased it a couple of years ago for testing and costs US $99.95.
View attachment 195826
The cord is 16 gauge and is more flexible than my thicker freebie AC power cords. The mating ends connect perhaps a bit more solidly than my generic code. I think the terminals look ugly but they work.

There is no mention of any regulatory certification, UL or CE, on either the cord, box or the website. My generic AC cord has UL stamped at one end and the cord itself. It also has more specifications as far as insulation type, temperature rating, etc. which the Audioquest lacks. I am curious how they export it to EU without CE certification.

I was "delighted" to read the feature list of the NRG-X3:

View attachment 195827

We know how to measure both distortion and noise. And company clearly cares about both factors.

My sample is 2 meter and the generic one is what I have on hand at same length.

AudioQuest NRG-X3 Measurements
I started by measuring the DC resistance of both cables. My generic cable came in at 0.13 ohm whereas the AudioQuest was better at 0.02 ohm.

Next I decided to measure the distortion in both cables. To do that, I terminated the cables into IEC sockets at both ends and ran them into the differential outlets of my Audio Precision analyzer. Let's start with measuring the Audio Precision itself without any cable with 20 volts output:
View attachment 195828

As you see, I used 60 Hz as the tone to mimic mains frequency. Despite the high output voltage, performance is superb with distortion below -140 dB and SINAD at 120 dB. Now let's measure the generic AC cable (treated as a signal cable):

View attachment 195830

There was some variability and slight rise in distortion at 180 Hz. Considering that we are treating an AC cord as a signal cable, this is extremely good result showing that there is little distortion to worry about in a power cable. In a pinch, this generic AC cable is as good as a balanced cable!

Let's now switch to AQ NRG-X3:
View attachment 195831

The harmonics were dancing up and down. Within that variability, I think we can call this a tie. There is no reduction in distortion using the AQ cable.

Someone may say that one cable is better than the other in high frequencies so let's expand the bandwidth to 1.2 MHz and see if there is a difference there:
View attachment 195837

Nope. They are the same.

I then ran a reverse leakage test. I brought a transformer near both cables in the above setup and captured its AC noise and distortion (changed the drive frequency to 1 kHz to make that easier to see):
View attachment 195832

We see that both have similar susceptibility to magnetic induction. This is an extreme test though. Move the transformer an inch and all the interference disappears from both cables.

As usual I like to remind everyone that we don't listen to AC cords directly. We listen to output of our audio gear instead. So let's grab the last DAC I tested, the Topping DX5 and let's see if the performance varies between AC cords:
View attachment 195833

View attachment 195834

It doesn't get more identical than this.

Let's switch devices and use the AC cables to power an amplifier, the recently tested Audiphonics HPA-S400ET:
View attachment 195835

Again, you couldn't get more identical results. The two graphs have landed on top of each other perfectly.

Conclusions
Company advertising for NRG-X3 is very specific with respect to reduction of noise and distortion. No matter if we test the cable directly or through a piece of audio gear, there is no detectable difference despite the incredibly precise nature of our measurements. This makes statements like this from the review of said cable by Stereophile quite dubious:

"The AudioQuest NRG-X3 delivered more music, made more sense of the music, managed to more fully convey the artists' intentions, and made me a happy guy."

Making more sense of music? Fully convey artists' intentions? Good grief.

Lack of safety standards is a concern. We don't know the abrasion resistance, temperature rating, etc. either. So better not run over the cable or place it next to hot items.

On the positive front, the cable does seem to have lower DC resistance and is flexible. And at $99 price I paid, it is not hugely expensive. So if you bought one, I am not going to chase you. Personally I have better use for my money than spending it on power cord so can't recommend the AudioQuest NRG-X3.

Edit:
video review posted as well:

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Can I ask a technical question, at what level of inductance in a power cable would it effect the current draw of a power amplifier so
if in a class ab design there is a sudden Increase in the power required to be delivered would the power cable inductance have a negative impact in real life, I note it can in very high power settings eg lasers requiring >200 amperes
 

TheBatsEar

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Can I ask a technical question, at what level of inductance in a power cable would it effect the current draw of a power amplifier so
if in a class ab design there is a sudden Increase in the power required to be delivered would the power cable inductance have a negative impact in real life, I note it can in very high power settings eg lasers requiring >200 amperes

I would say it shouldn't be thinner than that (we are looking at 4 layers of 0.6mm wire, about 6 meters):
1651146535541.png

I wouldn't recommend sending >200 amps either :cool:

I don't think there is a meaningful answer to your question.
 

egellings

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Since power cords have 2 current-carrying wires in close proximity to each other and the current will always be flowing in opposite directions in them, the conductors may well be magnetically well-coupled enough so that the inductance would be minimized. And, at 50/60Hz, who cares about a small amount of residual inductance in a power cord anyway? There are other more pressing problems to solve.
 

Awsmone

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Since power cords have 2 current-carrying wires in close proximity to each other and the current will always be flowing in opposite directions in them, the conductors may well be magnetically well-coupled enough so that the inductance would be minimized. And, at 50/60Hz, who cares about a small amount of residual inductance in a power cord anyway? There are other more pressing problems to solve.
Thank u that was my understanding, just wanted someone more competent than me to confirm :)
 

Mihalis

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Because plenty of people who buy them don't!
That is exactly right. Being an audiophile and musicophile myself I can assure you that it is quite a task for a non technical person to get out of the fog of bs that the industry peddles. behavioural psychologists explain very well why this happens and it is truly disappointing that there exist no standards that would trip up an industry that is to a large extent based on complete nonsense. The more of these tests that can be done, and with much much more expensive equipment (one and two zeros more) it would be helpful, interesting and may provide some guidance to whomever is open to listening.
 

BadOlePuddyTat

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I like a little bling in my audio system, so I wouldn't mind paying $100 for a power cord. It would have to be nicer looking than this one, though. Maybe if it came in different colors, I'd pay $45 for it.
 

Marmus

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I have a personal conflict there. I know the founder of Shunyata. Been to their local factory and they were super nice and kind to me. They also do fair bit of objective analysis and own an Audio Precision analyzer like mine.

Of course if someone sends me their products then I will fairly review it. But I prefer to not go and buy their products to test.
Amir. You should have any who may post here read Kahnaman's thinking fast/slow. Actually a simple read. Using those measurement methods he earned a Nobel in (economic) decision making. Also should read Diana Vaugn's version of Challenger disaster,a socialization problem (of course other things too) Neither economics nor rocket deaths used data. Same for politics and obviously most of the public buying stuff.
 

Descartes

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Unfortunately so many cable manufacturers are crooks and so are the dealers that sell their crap!

Many people get ripped off by the marketing and unscrupulous sales practices! If only this was regulated and they were forced to release data!
 

Flak

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Great Panther/piggy-bank image :)
 

egellings

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Still have my bamboo Versalog schlip schtick and the HP-35 calculator that replaced it. Both are in working order.
 

Spkrdctr

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Still have my bamboo Versalog schlip schtick and the HP-35 calculator that replaced it. Both are in working order.
That HP-35 is a piece of history. A slide rule is like a Dinosaur for the younger crowd. It is so old it is almost inconceivable! If you tell them that the early Apollo missions were done with slide rules they would not believe it. It is amazing when you think of it.
 
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