“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” (Michael Corleone: The Godfather Part III).
Yes, of course I’m talking about AC power cords. Truth be told, except for my current long-term references I have turned a blind eye to most of them. But when I began listening to active loudspeakers like the Golden Ear Award-winning ATC SCM19A’s (each driver of which requires its own power cord), I felt that old familiar tug of curiosity. Fact is, it’s tough to get any two enthusiasts to agree on why power cords do what they do. And then there are the doubters that dismiss the whole segment as nothing more than voodoo.
And then, poof, as if by magic, I was assigned to review some power cords made by, you guessed it, VooDoo Cable. The California-based wire and accessories company supplied a threesome of its latest creations, the Infinity Power, Infinity Digital, and the Air Spectra power cords.
The Infinity Power is a high-current design for amp and power conditioners. It sports eight-gauge AWG high-purity silver-plated copper conductors, individually insulated in a Teflon dielectric. Infinity Digital is the low-noise version for digital sources and preamps. It uses finer ten-gauge AWG high-purity silver-plated copper conductors. Connectors are PowerPhase gold-plated tellurium copper.
The upscale Air Spectra is designed for use with digital sources. It employs eight-gauge AWG high-purity Cryo-Alloy conductors (stranded and solid-core copper, solid-core silver, silver-plated copper, and a propriety alloy). Connectors are PowerPhase rhodium over silver-plated tellurium copper.
For EMI/RFI protection, all of the power cords are shielded with heavy-gauge tinned copper braiding and double layers of abrasion-resistant nylon and polyethylene mesh. VooDoo uses its own cryogenic process to treat each cable at -315o Fahrenheit to structurally align and fuse the molecular structure of the conductors. My general impression of these flexible, handsome cables is one of durability and quality.
To begin, I removed my current reference Audience Au24SX power cords, and refamiliarized myself with the original equipment cords. Besides the ATC actives, the components involved were the dCS Puccini CD player and Pass Labs XP-12 preamp (review forthcoming). Four AC cords in all. Vague was the word that came to mind after I switched to the stock cords. Music had retreated behind a thin opaque veil—a little like looking through a lens coated with very thin layer of Vaseline. Images were less rooted, ambient space a bit scrambled. More telling were artifacts that suggested a coat of fine grain around the edges of vocals or the punchy brass solo of “Autumn Leaves” from the Manhattan Jazz Quintet. Plus, there was a hint of peakiness when voices or solo instruments increased in volume.