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VH Audio Power Cord Review - Flavors 1 and 4

Posted by music 1st on October 26, 2005 at 13:29:11:

I have not been a convert to the 'AC Power Cords Make a Difference' mindset. Not that I didn't think that some benefits to the gear was illogical, but that the bang for the buck was best found elsewhere.

I was wrong.

I have a very nice and very revealing system based around Avantgarde Duo speakers. I have a dedicated room, dedicated 20a line - all the things I felt I needed - but I have had two problems.

The most serious one was a bass 'bloom' around the 140-200Hz crossover from the subs that tended to mask the bass and oftentimes made deeper bass notes more thump than note. I figured it was a room anomaly that was going to require significant bass trap treatment that I was frankly not looking forward to.

The second issue was occasional AC mains hash that, due to the high efficiency of the speakers (103dB) could at times be heard from my listening seat. While it is not all the time, I also suspect that if I substantially reduce this it would only improve the already excellent low level detail reproduction of the Duos.

I decided to take VH Audio up on their trial and bought three Flavor 4s (2 for the subs and one for my BAT preamp - my amps already have good cords) and two Flavor 1s (transport and DAC). Here are my notes:

a) Service: Very prompt service. Everything shipped within 24 hours despite five cables and three differing lengths.

b) Product: I loved that the cables arrived in a simple box with peanuts. No fancy bags, graphics laden cartons, wood boxes. Makes me feel that I paid for cables and only cables! And the fit, finish and feel of the cables are excellent.

c) Break-In: Chris clearly states the need to break these in for at least 100 hours. So of course I didn't! I plugged everything in and started listening. But I did allow them to continuously play music for the first 24 hours and the comments below relate to the performance after solid break-in time, now in excess of 100 hours.

d) Issue #1 - Noise: Unfortunately, the Flavor 1s didn't get rid of the hash that sometimes comes through. I had hoped that the hash was coming from my transport / DAC, but I feared that it was from the mains. There is some noise reduction, but I have somewhat confirmed that I am facing some AC filtering, despite my dedicated 20a line. (I have also tried to avoid the constant search for the right PLC – perfect power with no sonic degradation, etc.! We audiophiles are a strange lot!)

e) Issue #2 - Bass Bloom: What the heck?!> Where did it go? What bass bloom?! I cannot tell you why but I can certainly tell you that these cables almost immediately reduced the bass bloom issue to where it is a non-issue. No other room treatments or changes, just the Flavor 4s (and perhaps the improvements of the 1s on my CD/DAC, too). The bass is demonstrably more extended and coherent, with clear delineation of bass notes. And intensity? Listening to tympani has more dynamic punch and that wonderful 'roundness' and decay that is there live. So more bass, deeper bass, consistent and coherent bass and now a seamless integration between the Duo's subwoofer and midrange! Incredible and wonderful!

f) Service, part 2: I communicated back to Chris about my preliminary observations with less than 24 hours of break-in. I was so impressed with the bass resolution but wanted his thoughts on the mains noise. This was on a Saturday afternoon. I had a very rapid and thoughtful reply with helpful input about using Auricaps on the mains, etc. Nothing radical - no sales job on some other costly cables. Just a discussion about a tweak that, in my case, would cost under $100 to try. I appreciate this type of service and the personal touch that Chris takes the time to provide.

So overall, I am extremely pleased with the VH Audio power cords that I purchased. High quality, excellent service and while they could not solve my mains noise, the dramatic improvement to my key concern is so staggering that I keep pulling out my most demanding CDs simply for the joy and continued surprise at how much better than ever this system sings! These are the types of products and the type of person that I wish I could find for every transaction I make!

Who knows? Maybe the 11g Stage III silver power cords supplying my amps will be up for sale! Flavor 4s just might be in their future, too!

MAS