By Anthony Chiarella
Tired of reading about audiophile upgrades which make noticeable improvements but will set you back a week’s salary…before taxes? Relax! We’ve found a tweak which delivers massive performance dividends for a very small investment.
I first used Nordost’s Purple Flare AC Power Cord to power my video display: an application in which it made a profoundly positive difference. Replacing the stock cable—a cheap affair with molded ends and conductors the thickness of a shoelace—with Purple Flare, I had seen an impressive increase in resolution, color saturation and black level, combined with a lowering of video noise. Still, it took a completely unrelated event before I got around to using these cables in other parts of my system.
A few weeks ago, we were preparing a dealer demo of Dynaudio’s Xeo 6 Wireless Loudspeakers. For those of you who don’t know, the Xeo 6s are full-range, biamplified tower speakers that offer massive performance— orders of magnitude better than any other wireless speakers. Coincidentally, these speakers use “Figure-8” AC sockets on their back panels. We had to demonstrate the Xeos for a high end integrator in the Hamptons and, since this was a demanding customer, we needed them to sound as good as possible.
At that time, I only had one Purple Flare AC cord on hand, so I connected it to one of the speakers (the other was powered with the cheapo, stock cord), put the system in Mono and placed the two speakers next to each other. The result: The speaker connected with the Purple Flare had deeper bass, better dynamics and was at once more relaxed and more detailed. It was faster and more transparent and everyone heard the difference. In short, the Purple Flare cord kicked the speaker up a notch. A BIG notch!
Once I heard how much Purple Flare improved these speakers, I started experimenting, plugging-in these cables wherever I found “Figure 8” AC sockets— powering my Sonos Connect, BluRay Player and most especially my cable boxes, where the cords made a startlingly large improvement in both sound and picture quality. It seems that “Figure 8” cables are quite common in video products and, since there are very few high quality alternatives, consumers are forced to suffer with crummy power cords in otherwise excellent systems. Swapping out these stock cables for Purple Flare offers remarkable upgrades for what are probably the lowest quality cables in most AV systems.
Naturally, Purple Flare Power Cords use many of Nordost’s “Core Technologies” including Micro Mono-Filament dielectrics, hyper-pure OFC, FEP insulation and mechanically tuned conductors— science you can see as well as hear. Since the Purple Flare Power Cord was specifically designed as a two-conductor cable, it is available as a “Figure 8” AC Cable ONLY, which keeps production simple and pricing low. So here’s the best part: in the Grand Scheme of things, seasoning your system with a few Purple Flare cords is—at $160 for a 1 meter cord—a high-end bargain. In my experience, there’s nothing else you can do to your system for so little cash that will make anywhere near this great an improvement in your system’s sound…or image.