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JPS The Digital AC power cord: The Sound of Silence
If you have read the listening test of The SuperConductor 2 you already know everything about this lively US Company that specializes in aluminium-based HiFi cables.
The JPS Labs make three models of power cords: the Power AC specifically built for amplifiers, the Analog AC for analog sources (preamps and phono preamps) and The Digital AC for digital gear (CD Players, transports, DACs and digital preamps). The Digital AC is the model under test.
While the Power AC can be built in different lenghts, depending on the customer's requests, the Analog AC and the Digital AC come in one lenght only: 2 meters, though on request, I suspect it would be possible to have a customized cable.
The reason why the lenght should be 2 meters is that these cables in some sense *absorb* the interferences while passing through the cable.
The list price for the Digital AC is 349 $.
Some technical data
The Digital AC uses, like any other JPS cable, aluminium-based conductors.
It is incredibly flexible and has a sexy (?) black cotton finish that gives a nice touch of class to the cord. Forgive me, I'm used to some ugly, monsterous power cord so stiff that you need at least two or three friends to give it the proper bending :-)
Power ratings are as follows: 10 Amps max. at 120 Volts and 5 Amps max. at 240 Volts (which equals to 1200 Watts max).
This means that this power cord should preferably be used with low power digital gear. For heavier duties there's the JPS Power AC.
The filtering effect of the Digital AC is quite heavy, since some special anti-RFI compound has been used to insulate the conductors plus a special designed digital noise filter is contained into the AC plug.
Everything has been fine-tuned for the 2 meters lenght.
This filtering effort should not have any effect on the 50/60 Hz mains frequency.
At least one week of burn-in is recommended to maximize the performance of the power cord.
In the owner's manual the JPS Labs warn us about a possible reduction of the perceived listening level, for the filtering effect can dramatically eliminate any unwanted noise from your system.
I'll try to test this later.
I'd like to remark that testing a power cord is quite difficult because of the smallness of the perceived differencies, especially when you are already using a special power cord.
A realistic listening test of a power cord should be done with a system that uses just standard cheap cables througout (interconnects, speaker cables and power cords) so that the filtering and shielding effects of the cord become more evident.
This would require a stereo system built for this purpose only, quite difficult in real life. I have two HiFi systems at home: the reference one into a large listening room and a budget-oriented one into a smaller room. A third HiFi system inside another room would turn my happy marriage into a nightmare :-)
I'll try to figure out the personality of this cable even using other HiFi systems (friends', colleagues' etc.).
The Sound of...Silence
The first thing you should ask to any cable is whether it makes a difference or not when compared with standard cables.
Well, I've compared the Digital AC not with stock AC cords but with special HiFi cords and the difference has always been noticeable.
The first thing that hits you is the silence: this cable can
really improve the signal to noise ratio of your HiFi chain.
Less noise FROM the CD-Player, less noise INTO the CD-player and INTO the amps, this is the secret.
A silence so silent :-) that every tiny piece of information will be brought from your CD player to your ears without any contamination.
This effect improves the level of detail extracted from your CDs
and the overall dynamics too.
Thanks to this improved dynamics the level of the perceived volume is HIGHER, not lower as stated in the owner's manual.
Take the mid range, for example: thanks to the Digital AC this range becomes more vivid and dynamic hence the attacks are faster and louder, giving you the feeling as the volume was higher.
With this cable into your HiFi system the drums seems more realistic (the ubiquitous Sheffield Drum Record is a good test for this) and the attacks more violent. The same happens with electric guitars chords
and electric bass *slaps*.
The overall balance of the sound is slightly dark (slightly is even too much...), probably the noise that the cable filters out contributes to the perceived sensation of a tizzy sound.
No noise, no excess in the highs.
The increased dynamics in the mid range makes you perceive this range a bit forward, just a little, tiny bit.
The increased silence add informations to the musical performance, every detail comes out easily, freed from every constraint. As a result the virtual soundstage informations increase and the 3D imaging becomes wider and deeper.
Now the echoes of the place where the recording has been taken are far more evident, either it was a recording studio, an audiotorium or a church.
When used with its brother The JPS SuperConductor interconnect, the musical experience into your listening room approaches the one of the real event, with a sense of realism which is simply amazing.
In few words I'd say that this JPS combo (the Digital AC + the Superconductor 2) gives you the Breath of Silence, that sensual feeling of the live Music.
There are many audiophiles who still don't believe on the effect of power cords on HiFi systems. There's no need to spend many words for these: just try.
The JPS Digital AC is a nicely built power cord, that works like a power conditioner and filter for your digital gear.
Having considered this its price has to be considered even low, if you know how ridiculously expensive HiFi power filters can be.
Like any other line filter its effect is variable and it depends on the connected component and the situation of the mains into your house.
Don't take everything for granted, never! The variables in this field are sooooo many that you can't be sure to get exactly the same effects into a different listening room with different components.
I've tried to minimize these variables as hard as I could, trying the Digital AC into various systems and houses.
So what you have just read is, more or less, something you can expect from this cable.
The JPS Digital AC is a nice (and cheap) power conditioner, plus it is also a power cord, very user-friendly and well-designed.
It can give your system that touch of realism to bring you nearer to the heart of your favourite Music.
Less noise = More Music!
A HUGE thank you to Joe Skubinski for having sent me these beauties for reviewing. If you need more infos on the JPS gear please visit their nice JPS Labs official site.
© Copyright 1998 Lucio Cadeddu
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