OOPS! I Did It Again - "Audiophile" Power Cords

Tom L.

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OOPS! I Did It Again!

Another DIY “Audiophile” power cord using DH Labs Encore - 14ga 3 conductor – shielded - Audiophile Power Cable DHLABS-75520


01-DH Labs 14ga power cable.jpg
Well I couldn’t help myself! I was trolling… Ahem! I mean pursuing another audio focused website/forums when I saw someone touting DH Labs as an affordable, but high-end, AC power cable available either pre-made from DH Labs or as DIY wire by the foot. I followed the link to the Parts Connexion website and found this Hunk-a-Hunk-a, smokein’ lookin’ power cable for $3.75 per foot. This is the DH Labs Encore 14ga x 3 conductor shielded AC power cable. It is only slightly more expensive than my favorite go-to DIY, 14ga x 3 shielded, power cord, Belden 19364. It is also available in a 12ga 3 conductor shielded for $6.00 per foot version.


Needing one more “audiophile” power cord in my system I ordered 10’ and sat back. Parts Connextion shipped the same day and quick as you can say “Hook Me Up!” it was here. It actually beat the connectors I had ordered from Amazon Prime!

When it arrived I took a quick look to see what it was all about. The cable itself is 14mm, just over .55 inches for those of us that are metrically challenged, thick and is a pretty kind of charcoal grey in color. The three 14ga stranded conductors are Black white, and green and the shield is 100% foil shield with a separate drain wire.


02-DH Labs 14ga 2.jpg 03-DH Labs 14ga 3.jpg


You can find this wire for sale in bulk at several different vendors or on the DH Labs website at;

https://silversonic.com/?_vsrefdom=adwords&gclid=EAIaIQobChMInsKcodDk4QIVhYbACh0dbgr6EAAYASAAEgJaxPD_BwE

There is a paucity of specifications to be found on this cable across all of the websites I found it on. I found the thickness and the claim that it uses OFC and that was about it. Nothing I could find told me anything about capacitance, inductance, resistance, insulating materials or strand counts.

I put it together as I usually do with High-Fi King Red Copper 15 amp connectors. And… because Heat Shrink tubing and TechFlexmakes all wire, look AND SOUND,better (and the fact that I had some left from previous projects) I covered the wire with black TechFlex to make it Audiophile grade. The drain wire was attached with the green ground wire on the SOURCE end of the cable.

04-DH labs 14 ga connectors.jpg


05-DH Labs 14ga complete.jpg
Cost to build this bad boy less than $50.00



As I did recently I ran a quick test with the resulting 6’ cable by using it as my pre/pro and then main power amp power cord. Just as the other power cables I tested, it did nothing positive or negative to the sound. In other words it did what a power cable was supposed to do :-)

You can find my complete review on the other various power cords that I played with on AV NIRVANA here https://avnirvana.com/threads/you’ve-got-the-power-cables.4181/ if interested.


It’s a handsome cable and does the job as promised. For the next one though I will probably go back to something that is more forthcoming on the specs (Belden 19364 for example).


Or maybe, just maybe…. I’ll go with Furutech DPS-4, sold by the meter by Parts Connexion as well,… Only $450 for one meter! Perhaps if I break the $1000 ceiling for a 2 meter power cord I will finally hear a difference!


I would love to hear if anyone else on AV NIRVANA has played with higher end power cables and what their experiences and impressions have been
 

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AudiocRaver

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Thanks for the info and the "review." I detected more than a little tongue-in-cheek!! But you kept an open mind about the potential results, and that is not always easy to do.
 

travis gidcumb

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I’m not into the high-end cable game anymore. I once paid 1000.00 for a USB cable. With that being said, I think that some very high-end systems can resolve differences in cables. My current system I believe cannot. If an individual has the means to purchase a 30,000 pair of cables then I’m all for it. Plus they look really cool hooked to their 250,000 speakers.
 

JStewart

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I’d buy your cable just because of how nice it looks. Really nice work Tom and thanks for the info.
 

tripplej

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I agree. Nice work and thanks. :)
 

Tom L.

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I’m not into the high-end cable game anymore. I once paid 1000.00 for a USB cable. With that being said, I think that some very high-end systems can resolve differences in cables. My current system I believe cannot. If an individual has the means to purchase a 30,000 pair of cables then I’m all for it. Plus they look really cool hooked to their 250,000 speakers.
Hi Travis,

Agreed! If you can afford it then it’s your money to spend.

My system is probably not nearly at the level where ultra high end cables would make a difference. That is, of course, if I believed that they could make a meaningful difference and could overcome the “laws of diminishing returns” at any level.

It is still my belief that while cables can and do make a difference the differences are so slight that a touch of EQ (Gasp!), phase tweaking, or room/speaker tuning is normally a more constructive, cost effective, and meaningful approach.

Just having fun and possibly learning something at the same time :-)

Tom
 

Tom L.

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Thanks for the info and the "review." I detected more than a little tongue-in-cheek!! But you kept an open mind about the potential results, and that is not always easy to do.
Thanks! I’m convinced quality cables do matter. I’ve also proven to myself at least that, shielded power cables can improve the noise floor in certain environments (mine). What I can’t buy into are the claims of different manufacturers of the incredible changes in the sound of a system by simply changing a power cable (given that the cable it is replacing is a quality built cable and of sufficient gauge for the situation).

My own little experiments sort of discount the idea of huge, night and day differences in power cables or speaker cables.

But I am certainly open to being convinced otherwise :-)

Tom
 

Tony V.

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Tom, as usual you did a nice detailed job of your thoughts. I want to build some of my own power cables, can you link to the location on amazon where you got the ends from?
So you recommend the Belden 19364 for the cord of choice?
 

Tom L.

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Hi Tony,

Thank you! DIY is the way to go on power cables!

For 14ga I do recommend the Belden 19364. You can buy by the foot here... https://www.wireandcableyourway.com/belden-19364-14awg-3-conductor-foil-shield-type-sjt.html


If you want to go heavier I would recommend Belden 83803 12ga x 3 double shielded. You can by by the foot several places but I have been buying from Parts Express... https://www.parts-express.com/belden-83803-12-awg-3-conductor-power-cable-1-ft-usa--100-790

There are plenty of connectors on Amazon but I have had good luck with The King of Hi-Fi :-) They are robust in construction and the wire captures are nice and strong. And the name can’t be beat!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W88ES8C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W88NDHY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For a twenty amp plug I recommend either Aweking or Hubbell.

For IEC C7 I recommend Viborg or King of Hi-Fi.

If you want to dress up the cable ½” Tech Flex and 3/4” shrink wrap is cheap on Amazon as well.

Let me know what you settle on and how it goes!

Tom
 

Tony V.

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Thanks Tom, I will look at the Belden 14AWG. Ive got a whole spool of the Tech Flex and sots of heat shrink already :)
 

Todd Anderson

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Awesome write up!
 

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I agree, very nice work making those cables. They are beautiful!
 

AudiocRaver

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My views on high-end cables are that any cable might be the "bottleneck" to better sound depending on the system. If so, a better cable can make a big difference. Better usually amounts to a $20 cable instead of a $3 cable. In another system, that improved cable might make no difference at all.
 

Tom L.

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My views on high-end cables are that any cable might be the "bottleneck" to better sound depending on the system. If so, a better cable can make a big difference. Better usually amounts to a $20 cable instead of a $3 cable. In another system, that improved cable might make no difference at all.
That is something I have always believed as well for the most part. Quality cables do matter!... but only up to a rapidly receding point! Most of what I do in the way of experimentation is to prove a point (sometimes if only to myself)!

It is still my belief that while cables can and do make a difference the differences can be so slight that a touch of EQ (Gasp!), phase tweaking, or room/speaker tuning is normally a more constructive, cost effective, and meaningful approach.

So I’m just having a bit of fun and possibly learning something at the same time while making my system look a little prettier:jump:
 

Tom L.

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My views on high-end cables are that any cable might be the "bottleneck" to better sound depending on the system. If so, a better cable can make a big difference. Better usually amounts to a $20 cable instead of a $3 cable. In another system, that improved cable might make no difference at all.
I’m also a big believer in the DIY route if you have the time and the chops :-)

T
 

Tonto

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Nothing wrong with having nice things, and no doubt, those are nice. I think I'd go for the 12 ga at least.
 
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