You Put a Spell on Me
Swapping the standard power cords and going full VooDoo was a little like squeegeeing the windows and grabbing a dustbuster. The impression of images sounding pinched or constricted was largely reduced. The interplay between musicians, orchestral sections, and the ambient space between sections grew just a little more open and layered—with Air Spectra, even more so.
Compared with the reference, the VooDoo power cords had a very slight forwardness that tended to close the distance between the stage and the listener. They also had a cooler overall tonal character, not laid-back or overly dry but leaning toward a more clinical and precise interpretation of the music. Transients were quick and dynamics very good. Bass response overall was extended, controlled, and exact in timbre. Instruments with deep resonant signatures, like pianos and bass viols, were full-bodied but not bloated.
As I listened to Peter, Paul & Mary’s classic In the Wind (an exceptional SACD remastering from Steve Hoffman), I was reminded of how much low-level complexity resides in this minimalist analog recording. As if breathing as one, the trio’s talent to control, blend, and balance precision harmonies is still a thing to admire, fifty years later. With the VooDoo cords in the system I was able to contemplate each singer’s work and appreciate their artistry individually, as well as as a cohesive trio. During “All My Trials” for example, Mary Travers doesn’t approach a note or “glide” into it, rather she hits it straight on and in perfect pitch. It’s also easy to hear how the threesome soften their distinctive vibratos so that sustained harmonies remain tonally clean and in sync. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was another prime example of how they modulated their volume to suit the lyrics’ emotional content.
My key takeaway from using the VooDoo AC cords was the return to concise and believable spatial orientation. It was not just a matter of being able to pick out instruments in the orchestra either—they were also joined together and stably imaged within acoustic space. When I played selections from Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, and Bruch with cellist Pieter Wispelwey, the stock AC cords delivered a somewhat phase-shifted performance where placement and dimensionality were indistinct. VooDoo seemed to settle and relax the presentation, restoring stable imaging and the hall sound. It resolved layers and depth that had been flattened by the stock power cords. One other note: If you’re going to change AC cords incrementally, I found replacing the amp cords provides better initial bang for the buck.
The sonic divide between original-equipment AC power cords, medium-priced upgrades, and state-of-the-art has, um… tightened. It’s easy to overstate what power cords can achieve. They’re highly system dependent, plus the quality of the AC outlets, your home-wiring, and even the neighborhood power utility can impact the final result. However, power cords remain yet another piece of the puzzle in a hobby where everything is consequential, where minutiae are revered and even the smallest piece can add up to something ultimately magical. Which, as I discovered, is precisely what adding a little VooDoo does.
Specs & Pricing
Price: Infinity Digital, $600/ft.; Infinity Power, $700/6ft.; Air Spectra, $2000/6ft.