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  1. #1

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    Default My power cord journey...

    …is still in its early stages.

    A couple of months ago, I bought a Shunyata Venom 3 power cord, and the Venom 3 extension cord, for my McCormack DNA-1. I’d had the McCormack upgraded to Silver, and I also got a couple of other upgrades, like the Plitron transformer, and it seemed like I should give the amp a quality aftermarket cord. Also, my entire system is fairly laid back, which works for me, but I wanted to see if I could get a little more forwardness in its sound. (I should say that, aside from that, the amp, and the system, sound like a dream. I love them very much.)

    Right off the bat, the cord(s) sounded like crap, which didn’t really surprise me. I didn’t have the patience to let the cords burn in on my system, so I connected them to a number of devices – my computer, my A/C, my fridge – and let them sit for a few weeks, periodically putting them on the amp to check burn-in progress. The cords definitely became more listenable over time.

    I finally took the cords off of their appliances, and put them on the amp a few weeks ago. Still didn’t like the sound, at least compared to the aftermarket cord I was using (something cheap and low-gauge from SF Cables). I kept them there for a few weeks, hoping that they would “settle” and give me what I was looking for. Unfortunately, they didn’t. The Venom 3 did give my system a more forward sound; however, it also made the soundstage sound constricted; some details were lost; the forwardness was actually a bit too much; there was little or no air between tracks, like there had been; and most worryingly, they took away the amp’s lovely holographic qualities. Everything seemed to be happening in 2-D, versus the 3-D I was used to (and loved). I tried them on the other components, and still didn’t like what I was hearing. So, after a few weeks, I took the Venoms off of my system, and put the old, much cheaper cords back on.

    I wonder, did I let them burn in long enough? Did I give them a chance to settle on the other components? I’m not sure. I had them on various appliances for well over 600 hours before I put them on the amp…Anyway, the upshot is, for now, I have to say that the cords didn’t give me what I was looking for, and that overall, I don’t think they improved the sound. I may have to accept that my system is laid back – the amp, the (incredibly) neutral preamp, the cdp and the speakers. The forwardness that the Venoms introduced, and that I thought I was looking for, might just not work with this equipment. Or, the Venom 3 might not be the cord that will give me just a little, but not too much.

    However…

    I now know at least one true thing: power cords can affect the sound of your system, in unsubtle ways. Their “signature” may not be to one’s liking, but it is undeniable. So…I’m probably gonna grab a Pangea AC-9 and try that out, because the sound that people ascribe to it is something like what I want: warm, with presence, but also detailed. Also, I’m still not ready to spend big bucks on cords. I plan to get the AC-14 for my preamp and cdp and give those a shot, too. And I’m holding onto the Venoms, for now, because who knows? Maybe if I have the patience to give them a little more time on the pre…

    Just wanted to share.
    Last edited by bthogan; 08-09-2013 at 02:42 PM.
    Marantz CD6004
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  2. #2

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    My Venoms improved my amps right from the start so well that I upgraded them to Python CX cables a few weeks later. What these cables are doing is letting your amp get clean power along with much improved instantaneous current response. It appears you do not like the sound of your amp working closer to its potential. While not as bad as a stock power cord, the Pangea will restrict your amps performance, and this might be more pleasing for you.

  3. #3

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    Pangea is not very good

  4. #4

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    My opinion and experience differ a bit from BlueFox. Power cords, like IC's and speaker cables have a sound signature and of course, there is always synergy. The trick is to find what works with your gear. Try talking with McCormack to see if they have any suggestions and also ask other McCormack owners what power cords have worked for them. I'd suggest selling the Shunyata cords as you already know they aren't what you're loking for.

    As for burn in, 200 hours is more than enough.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Try talking with McCormack to see if they have any suggestions and also ask other McCormack owners what power cords have worked for them.
    Bingo. This is what I did. Contact McCormack and ask them which cables they use to voice their amps with.

  6. #6

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    You know, I do wonder if I should give them a little more time to settle. On one hand, I do think that most listeners would find that the Venom 3 (and ext. cord), compared to my other, cheaper cord, takes away some of the soundstage and the 3D effect, and that there's a harshness or brittleness that doesn't show up with the other cord. On the other hand, it definitely does punch things up, and push things forward...I think that in a sense, it does push the McCormack more than the other cord. I just don't understand why it would also introduce some unwanted qualities (like brittleness), and take away some good stuff, like air between tracks. Maybe it's revealing limitations in other components - possibly the speakers, which may be the weakest link in the setup, relatively speaking.

    I also wonder if the combination of cord and ext. cord makes a difference. I burnt them together, and then apart, and then together again...I'm thinking of moving the amp close to the outlet, and dropping the extension cord, and seeing what happens. Can't really say I've had the Venom 3 experience per se, if it's not plugged directly into the outlet. I haven't seen any feedback, positive or negative, about the extension cord. I've only seen positive views re: the Venom 3 itself.

    I don't want to sound like I'm putting the cord down. I bought it because (among other things) it's gotten good feedback from other McCormack owners. Like I said, I have a very laid back system - it took me a bit of time to get used to the McCormack, coming from a Parasound HCA-1500 (which was pretty forward), and it took me a bit of time to get used to the Adcom GFP-750, coming from an Adcom GFP-565, which was relatively warm in comparison. (Of course, when I've swapped either back in, to compare, it's clear that I'm now using a superior component. Soundstage of 750 vs. 565...never mind.) The Polks are certainly more laid back than the speakers I previously used (and also much better). I think it's a matter of system compatability, and personal taste (although I hate to think that I prefer to hear the amp underpowered).

    I recently read a lot of people losing their minds over Pangea cords, and I'm still not ready to go much higher price-wise. We'll see about that. If I had my druthers, and the cash, I would definitely give the Zitron a shot.

    I do think that things might get better if I leave them on for a bit more, or put them on a different component. Maybe they need more time with the amp, rather than the refrigerator. I just don't have...patience...
    Marantz CD6004
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  7. #7

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    Don't sweat it my friend, cords are a personal taste/synergy thing. Don't follow the fan boy stuff in reviews. Look for people with your amp, or brand of amps and ask their power cord progression.

    As F1NUT said, maybe give a shout out to McCormack and ask for suggestions or follow users on other forums. I'm a huge fan of McCormack amps myself, and that's a sweet system you pieced together there.....except to me it's deserving of some better cabling.

  8. #8

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    F1 nut gave some solid advice re: PC's (and IC's) have a sound signature. Just because the Shunyata didn't float your boat I wouldn't give up. Also, you've given plenty of time for burn in so if you don't like their effect now they're not for you.

    Have you thought about DIY? I can recommend a Chris VenHaus Flavor 2 PC for your amp; the recipe can be found here: http://www.venhaus1.com/diymains.html I've built several of these with cheap Marinco or Wattgate connectors. They made a noticeable improvement over the stock cord, but when I replaced the connectors with Furutech Gold plated it was an easy to hear improvement.

    You could build a 5' cord for under $200, with all the parts available from his website.
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  9. #9

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    I agree with drumminman: Give DIY cables a try. I've done a few with -- what I consider -- good success, judging by the results in sound quality.

    Chris VenHaus's designs are not ones that I have tried, but they certainly look reasonable. But you can also find a lot of good advice on this Forum.

    Invest in a couple of good sets of connectors, and you can reuse them till you find the wire you prefer.

    You have little to lose and much to gain. IMHO
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    that's a sweet system you pieced together there.....except to me it's deserving of some better cabling.
    That's the thing...I know I've got to give this system the cords and cables it deserves. Just getting started on that adventure.
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  11. #11

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    I can't believe an extension cord could do anything but detract from the performance of any component. How long are we talking with both cords together?
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    I can't believe an extension cord could do anything but detract from the performance of any component. How long are we talking with both cords together?
    3.5 meters...a little over 10 ft. Actually barely makes it from amp to outlet.

    It's just the nature of my space...the best place for my components is a bit of a distance from outlets, and I give the amp its own outlet/circuit, so that's even a little bit farther. I am thinking about at least trying out a direct connection to outlet, but that'll be a bit of work, moving things around.

    As far as DIY goes, I just don't think I have the expertise to pull off a home-made cord. I uh don't solder...

    btw thanks for all replies, very helpful.
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    All of the DIY connectors for power cords that I have seen don't require any soldering at all, just tightening some screws.
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