How Hi-Fi Magazines Write about Cables, Part 12: Power Cables

This series is becoming so popular that readers are sending me links to some of the most interesting products and “reviews” that they’ve encountered. Thanks to Mark B. for leading me to this gem.

The High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Power Cord is a $6,900 cable that takes electricity from your wall to an audio device. Obviously, it does nothing with the electricity that comes beyond the socket in your wall; not for the hundreds of feet to a main power line, or the miles to a transformer, or the dozens or hundreds of miles to a generator. Just those last few feet where, apparently, $6,900 can make a world of difference.

(Note that this is the cheapest version of this cable. There are three models, at prices from $6,900 to $12,900. “…experience the amazing effect of Magentic Conduction technology.”)

I guess it’s hard to not appreciate that the cable is “unusual.” As one reviewer says:

“These cords are unusual. Quite unusual. They consist of conductors that are impregnated with a substance that when magnetized, aligns the signal flow at the atomic level. Each termination contains powerful neodymium magnets.”

The reviewer is, at least, honest about how appearance affects expectations:

“We as audiophiles are surprisingly visual creatures. Looking at the CT-1 Ultimate power cords, with their thin conductors, white jacketing, and high bling factor terminations. I expected speed, dynamics and a highly resolved presentation.”

He then shows that appearance can have a negative impact on expectations:

“But they looked a little thin, so my assumptions were that it would sound thin as well.”

Of course, this being a cable review, we know he won’t be telling us that they really sound thin.

“I was wrong. Dead wrong. The CT-1 Ultimate did have the speed and dynamics, but it also had body, warmth, organic flow and super quiet background.”

But then it was time to wax poetic, and come up with some newspeak to explain what the cable did:

“I expected higher resolution, but at a cost of some type of tonal shift. Nope. No tonal shift, just MORE. More of everything musical and real, less (much less) of everything that is electronic, tense and fatiguing. The cables allow one to relax. Much like when one goes from redbook CD to DSD or vinyl. There is a physical relaxation that is in response to the sound being produced by one’s audio system. I hope that makes sense.”

Nope, it doesn’t. At least he asks the important question:

“The question is this. Is a power cord ever worth paying $6900 for?”

But you know what the answer will be; you’ve seen it in reviews like this before:

“For most of us, no. There are a few out there with the means and the audio systems that a $6900 power cord would bring a worthwhile improvement. Perhaps even a transformational one.”

A “transformational” improvement, from a power cord. Imagine what would happen if he got speaker cables that were “impregnated with a substance that when magnetized, aligns the signal flow at the atomic level.”

Fools and their money…