I know I have told this story before but there are some things that just stick in your memory. One of those for me was the first time someone suggested that I should pay for power cords. I mean how could the power cord make any difference in the sound of an audio system? My long time audio-bud, Steve Woolsey, called me one day. He was very excited about the difference that replacing his stock power cords with Powersnakes from Shunyata Research had made in his system. I think they were called Black Mambas and cost around $400. What was even more unbelievable was that they made a power cord called the King Cobra that was $1,000. I drove a couple of hours to Steve’s house to hear if they made any difference. I couldn’t believe it, they made a very significant difference, and for the better I might add.
Well, over thirty years have passed and people are still making different sounding cables and like everything else, they have gotten a lot more expensive. I’ve spent a lot of time over those years trying different interconnects, speaker cables, and a little later in the game, even power cords. Almost all of them sounded considerably better than stock cords, and they all sounded different from each other.
As many cables as I have reviewed, I believe this is only the second time I have thought a power cable deserved a separate review. It’s not that I haven’t listened to a lot of power cords; I have had in house everything from the Shindo power cords that come free with their gear all the way to a power cord that cost $8,000. Still, I have found nothing that has made me want to switch from the Audience Au24SE powerChords. The new WyWire’s Juice HC High Current Power Cords are no exception, but then they do cost $600 versus $2,420 for the Au24SEs. With this difference in price I felt I had to share with you the sound of what has to be the best bargain in audio when it comes to power cords.
Let me start by telling you the thing I like best about this power cord other then how my system sound with them: They are very light and very flexible with incredibly tight connectors. Once I tried out some power cords that were so thick and inflexible that the power cord actually raised my preamp up in the air — and this was no light weight preamp. Next, the cord came out and the preamp fell back down and one of the tubes came out and blew the fuse. So, I have loved how light and flexible these power cords are.
I used these cables in my video digital system when I reviewed the WyWire’s PowerBroker. As good as the PowerBroker is I think the power cords may be an even better bargain. In fact I’m not being fair to the WyWire Juice power cords when I call them a bargain, because they can stand on their own with any priced power cords. I began to discover this when I put the PowerBroker in my reference system, but the big discovery came when I sent my Audience Au24 powerChords back to be updated to the SE version. So while they were gone I used one of the WyWires power cords from the wall to the HB Cable Design’s PowerSlave Marble and another one to my Wavac EC300B amp.
How My System Sounded
With the WyWire Juice HC power cords, my reference system produced a big, spacious, holistic, three-dimensional soundstage. The system had beautiful detail in contrast to etched and exacting detail. I also heard exceptional articulation and micro-dynamics. The system also had a very natural, quite, and clear sound with the WyWire cables. They allowed my system to do all this without ever sounding astringent or aggressive, not the easiest thing to do with Lowther speakers.
My system sounded exquisite in the top end and midrange. Cymbals, violins, flutes, guitars, and other such instruments sounded beautiful in the way that makes one sit up and say, “oh my.” Both male and female voices sounded so right, as did the bite on trumpets. Brass instruments sounded brassy without sounding harsh or edgy.
It was drums that were absolutely astonishing. One of the things a really good transmission line speaker like the Teresonic Ingeniums can do is bring drums to life. With the WyWire power cords the realistic sound of drums was as quick and impactful as I have heard in my system.
The two power cords I had liked best before hearing the WyWire Juice HCs were the Sablon Gran Coronas and the Audience Au24SE speaker cables. Simply put, neither the wonderful WyWires or the Sablons have quite the foundation for the music, scale, power, dynamics, and wonderful relaxed way of delivering the music in the way the Au24s do. Still, neither cost nearly as much as the Audience Au24SEs with the Sabalons being about 1/3 and the WyWires about 1/4 as much as the Au24SEs. So, let me take a moment to compare the Sabalon and WyWire power cords.
The Sablon Gran Coronas produce a slightly bigger sound, but they do this by sounding warmer, especially in the upper bass and lower midrange. By contrast the WyWires sound more like a great electrostatic speaker. I’ll try to make this comparison short, quick, and hopefully easy to understand.
If your system leans toward very tight bass, maybe tighter than you want, if male voices need a little more body, and if your system’s detail — like many — is a little overly etched, I would choose the Sablon power cords.
On the other hand if your system is warm, full of tone and rich harmonics I would choose the WyWires. These two power cords are both very good, but the WyWires sound clearer, more transparent, and have a more delicate way with the midrange and top end.
Over all my system sounded natural, clear, and beautiful with the Juice HC power cords. I have not heard another power cord at anywhere near this price with which my system sounded this good. They are recommended at any price and very highly recommended at their actual price!
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