Ayre Acoustics K-3 preamplifier AC Power Cords

Sidebar 1: AC Power Cords

I want to neither overstate nor understate the effect power cords have on the sound of electronic components. Many manufacturers who've visited me have laughed at some of the boa constrictor–like power cords I have on hand—until they've heard them attached to their products. They do make a difference.

That said, how can one accurately assess the "sound" of a piece of electronics without assessing the "sound" of the power cord to which it attached? Good question! The Ayre sounded fine with the supplied cord, but substituting a Yamamura Quantum cord (over $1000) tightened the bass somewhat, while the midrange took on a creamier, warmer overall tonality. Substituting the Electra-Glide Reference ($600) yielded a "blacker" background, with improved dynamics and better separation of instruments. It also resulted in a somewhat thinner, less-fleshed-out midrange. Toward the end of the review I substituted the Electra-Glide Fat Boy, a large-diameter, snakelike cord that, once broken-in, seemed to improve the midrange while leaving intact the Reference's black background, improved dynamics, and instrumental separation. It was easy enough to remove the Fat Boy, or any of the other cords I tried, and substitute the stock, generic cord. Whenever I did, the sound seemed to slip down a few notches.

Without making wild, crazy, and overblown claims for power cords, they can make a positive contribution to your system. If you can, try a few on loan from your dealer or direct from the manufacturer with a money-back guarantee. You might be surprised by what you hear. But if you're not happy with the sound of your system in the first place, don't expect a power cord to turn things around.—Michael Fremer

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
6268 Monarch Park Place, Suite B
Niwot, CO 80503
(303) 442-7300