Just a few days ago, I watch Amir's review of this power cord, and it reminded me that I had posted this fun story back in 2019 on Stereophile.
AudioQuest power cord review...
Real or placebo...?
Submitted by AudioTK on March 20, 2019 - 3:30pm
This was some interesting reading on this thread from a year ago. I've read many similar articles and discussions in the past.
I'm not going to argue one way or the other. Both sides have been covered in a never ending discussion. Not going to talk bad or comment on everything else that has been said. As an electrical engineer and audio enthusiast, I find these conversations amusing and entertaining.
I'm happy with how my system sounds. I've also heard much higher end systems, and they sure did sound better. I just couldn't justify spending more on my system. I've been into car audio for 26 years and home audio for about 20 years.
So, I have an interesting story.
I have the following equipment, not super high end, but pretty good stuff:
Marantz Receiver SR-5400
Panasonic Blu-Ray player (not sure the model, but only $90)
Rotel RMB-1075 (120Wrms per channel) that was on my fronts, center, and surrounds
Rotel RB-1090 that was on my subwoofer (400Wrms per channel on each voice coil)
Paradigm Reference Studio 100V.3 towers
Paradigm Reference Studio CC 570 v3 Center Channel
Energy RC-R Surround Speakers
Subwoofer is my Cerwin Vega Stroker 18D4 DVC (used to be in my car) that I made a 7.8cuft box for my home theater, tuned to 23Hz.
The subwoofer hits nice and low and tight, and it blends really well with the front towers. I had called Cerwin Vega and they gave me box and port dimensions.
So, here's my story. No judgment or opinion, just stating facts.
I have a friend that has much higher end equipment than I do, and his system is in the $50,000 range and sounds amazing. A few years ago (2014), he was telling me that I should try a higher quality quality power cord. So, he brought over a spare one that he had (can't remember the brand) that was in the $200-$300 range. He said it would help clean up the power and improve and open up the sound etc. We tried it on the Rotel RB-1090 that was powering the Cerwin Vega Stroker 18D4 dual voice coil subwoofer.
It wasn't a true A/B test procedure, but we did listen to stereo CD music for a while with the stock cord and the sound was really good. Nice sound stage, good bass. He even asked me multiple
times if the center channel was on. I went right up to listen to the center (no sound being emitted) and confirmed that the receiver was set to Stereo mode, so just the towers, no center channel. So my sound stage was set up just right.
Then we swapped the stock cord on the RB-1090 powering my subwoofer for the higher quality cord he had. We didn't touch the RMB-1075 that was powering the towers. When we listened again (at the same volume and settings), he said he could hear more deeper bass and even more stage depth, more full sound. I didn't hear any change at all.
At the end of the listening session, we swapped back to my stock power cord, and he had gone home. Something didn't make sense to me. Why hadn't I heard anything different, but he did? So I played some other music, then went up to actually touch the subwoofer, and it wasn't playing! I went into my receiver's settings and discovered the Bass Mix was set to "MIX" (which means only L&R will play the low frequencies). Then I changed the setting to "BOTH" (which means L&R and
Sub will play low frequencies) and viola! I heard (and felt) the subwoofer playing. And now the bass was more full and deeper than what the towers could provide.
This was not a true double-blind test because both of us knew the cord had been swapped, but it is blind in the fact that neither of us had confirmed the sub playing in the first place, nor confirmed the receiver's settings. We just assumed everything was playing correctly, especially since the bass sounded good even just from the Studio 100's.
I never mentioned this to him (if he's happy, just let him be happy). I don't have measurements (and it wouldn't matter, since the subwoofer was not even playing). I cannot explain what he heard.
Now (2019) the Rotel RB-1090 powers my Studio 100 towers, and I have two 300W Bash Amps one for each 4ohm coil on my subwoofer. I have not spent any money on higher end cables. The sound is really good, and I'm happy.
From my Marantz SR-5400 manual. for reference:
• The bass mix setting is only valid when “LARGE” is set for the front speakers and “YES” is set for the subwoofer during stereo playback.
• When “BOTH” is selected, the low frequencies will be played through the main L&R, as well as the subwoofer.
In this playback mode, the low frequency range expand more uniformly through the room, but depending on the size and shape of the room, interference may result in a decrease of the actual volume of the low frequency range.
• By selecting “MIX”, the low frequencies will play through the main L&R ONLY.
Thanks for listening... HA! get it?! listening...