Sunday, July 13, 2014

Review: High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Power Cords

CT-1 Ultimate Power Cord
High Fidelity Cables CT-1 Ultimate Power Cord

Rick Schultz was kind enough to send me a pair of High Fidelty Cables CT-1 Ultimate power cords for my evaluation. The cords arrived in a very nice case, and they should, the cost for a single one meter power cord is $6900. 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. At or near the center of the cable are three "tubes", one for the hot, neutral and ground. The tubes contain even more neodymium magnets. Everything is custom made for High fidelity cables. This, the patented technology, and the research involved in developing this technology are major factors in the high price tag of the CT-1 Ultimate power cords. The other factor is the sound that they allow your components to achieve.

Since I had two cords, I evaluated their performance on my Acoustic Imagery Atsah monoblock amplifiers. The Atsah amplifiers are extremely revealing, with a signal to noise ratio of 128 dB, they are also extremely quiet. I had been using the Onda Rapture power cords with them, and was very satisfied with the sound I was getting with the combination.

The Best?
The Onda Rapture power cords are the best power cords I have ever had in my system. They incorporate 9 AWG solid core silver conductors, and some proprietary tweaks. They use a lot of silver, and as a result have a high material cost. The drawbacks of the Rapture power cords were their weight, inflexibility, and the build quality at least aesthetically wasn't the best. The way they made my components sound allowed me to overlook and deal with those drawbacks. These are damn good power cords.

The cost of the Rapture power cord is about half of the CT-1 Ultimate power cords, but still not cheap by any means. The Ondas exude body, weight and organic richness. The noise floor is super quiet, and as a result ambient information and soundstaging are exceptional. The best I have heard.

Looks can be deceiving
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. But they looked a little thin, so my assumptions were that it would sound thin as well. 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. The improvement over the Onda's was a shock. 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.

The question is this. Is a power cord ever worth paying $6900 for? 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. In my opinion, the High Fidelity Cables line of products represent the current state of the art in cable design. If you have a super high performance audio system, and love trying bleeding edge technology when it comes to audio, you owe it to yourself to try the High Fidelity Cables power cords.

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