Equipment Report by Neil Gader – Sept 15th, 2014 – Issue #245
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Three Power Cord Upgrades

       

Voodoo Cable Electra and Black Diamond Powercords

The Voodoo Cable Electra (6ft-$1500USD) and Black Diamond (6ft-$1100USD) occupy the midpoint in an extensive line of power cords. Black Diamond is recommended for solid-state and tube power amps, whereas Electra is suggested for source components and preamps. Voodoo reports that the primary difference between the two is tonal balance and harmonic resolution. It states that “while the Black Diamond offers a clean ‘dead neutral’ tonal balance, the Electra offers higher harmonic resolution that reveals subtle musical detail and micro-dynamics.”

The winding of Black Diamond (6ft-$1100USD) is an #8 AWG concentric lay of twelve discrete conductors made of solid-core silver, solid-core copper, and stranded silver-plated copper, all hand-threaded and wound in Teflon dielectric. Electra’s winding is similar to the Black Diamond, but with the addition of hand-wound copper and silver Litz conductors in a heavier-gauge Teflon dielectric for lower noise and increased harmonic resolution. Both power cords are shielded with heavy-gauge copper braid and terminated with rhodium-plated tellurium-copper IEC and AC connectors. All the conductive materials and components have been treated in Voodoo’s Cold Fusion cryogenic system—both vapor and deep-immersion cryogenic processes, depending on the part or alloy to be treated. The process is said to structurally align and fuse the molecular bonds of the conductive alloys for significantly less resistance, leading to improved performance.

The Voodoo combo conveys a more midrangy character, with good extension at the frequency extremes, a drier top but with an emphasis on the wider acoustic environment of the venue rather than specific and isolated images. To my ear this is often the way real music sounds. Certainly image definition and focus is very good, just not overly individuated—a trait I noted during the Ricki Lee Jones’ track “I’ll Be Seeing You” where the clarinet, classical guitar, and acoustic bass seemed bathed in a warmer, more diffuse ambient atmosphere. In the case of orchestral music, the musicians assume positions on stage but don’t so much stand apart from the orchestra as become fully integrated within it and the ambient space that surrounds the performers.

Low-level detailing and transient textures were very persuasive. So much so that during the “Nublado” track the Voodoo tandem captured the low-level cymbal cues without smearing the finely grained metallic timbre of the instrument. Plus the delicate bell cues that ring forth at the four-minute mark were startlingly clean and sustained. During Holly Cole’s cover of “I Can See Clearly” the Voodoo pair reproduced the punch and rhythmic pace of the opening bass vamp with assurance, and Cole’s torchy delivery had all the texture and come-hither nuance I’ve come to expect from this track.

In soundstaging, these cords reproduced the lush ambient space and immersive qualities of the Rutter Requiem although, again, they didn’t quite illuminate individual choristers quite as clearly as the $2800 reference power cord. As an aside, and in light of its strong performance driving the Parasound JC 3+ phono stage, I found the Electra the more musically open and revealing power cord of the two that Voodoo supplied.

Conclusion: Balanced and immersive big-buck performance for half the price of the Big Boys.

Copyright –The Absolute Sound 2014

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