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REVIEW: Purist Audio Design Dominus Cable

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Model: Dominus
Category: Cable
Suggested Retail Price: $1,495
Description: power cord
Manufacturer URL: Purist Audio Design
Model Picture: View

Review by tetsuo ( A ) on August 09, 2004 at 22:47:01
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for the Dominus

A few weeks ago, I obtained a PAD Dominus power cord. Some fellow Agoners (thanks, Albert Porter) shared their experience with aftermarket power cords, and indicated that the greatest benefit would likely be obtained when combined with the power amp. I did a little experiment last week. With my local electronics tech, my Counterpoint amplifier (power consumption: 260w at idle) was modified so that I could directly A/B compare the stock hardwired power cord against the PAD Dominus power cord, by adding an IEC recepticle in the power supply. Previously, the Dominus was plugged into the Sony CDP (power consumption: 43w at idle), being used as a transport, and earlier I described this as a "nice" improvement in performance. Based on this experience, I expected a similar subtle improvement with the power amp.

I was wrong. The benefits were NOT subtle, they were dramatic (sorry about the "hype", but this describes the magnitude of the experience). I, and my skeptical electronics tech listened to the amp with the stock cord, and then again using the Dominus power cord, on the same music in the same system. We were able to switch power cords as desired, with the modification. The difference was clear on the first notes. Specifically in much improved dynamic range (more delicate ppp and powerful fff), much quieter background, and very physical, toneful and dynamic bass. Strings are more vibrant, piano is more percussive, and drums have more raw impact. Crescendos are more stirring, and diminuendos more, well, diminuative. The overall effect is a substantial improvement in musical dynamics, which in my opinion is one of the most important characteristics in reproduced music, and that most audio systems fail to capture. At home, I play (poorly) a Steinway piano, and like to use solo piano recordings, among others, as benchmarks to gauge changes in my system performance.

I am not claiming that the Dominus makes recorded music sound live - I do claim that in my system music sounds more "alive" than ever, in a natural and unforced manner. The effect is physical. Naturally, I proceeded with removing the stock power cord and permanently installing the IEC socket in the amplifier, and am enjoying the benefits as I write this.

Downsides? The cord is on the large, heavy and inflexible side, so it is not convenient when there are bends or twists in the pathway. My amplifier is heavy (~ 65lbs) and anchors the Dominus, but in a smaller, lighter instrument like some preamps, the weight of the Dominus might be impractical.

So, should I conclude that the stock power cord (circa 1986) was vastly inadequate? Or that the Dominus is vastly superior to stock power cords? I can't say, perhaps it is a combination of both. But I trust my hearing, and my ears were corroborated by a second pair of ears. We heard what I described.

Guys (and gals), in my system, this upgrade was the real deal. And I entered into this experiement as a skeptic. Highly recommended.

Similar products used: Acoustic Zen and Shunyata

Product Weakness: Heavy, unwieldy, inflexible. May be difficult to use with light-weight components, without mechanical support. Expensive.
Product Strengths: Clear benefits in terms of dynamic contrasts, especially apparent on crescendos, diminuendos, percussion intruments, strings, etc. Bass is more clear, natural, and toneful.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Counterpoint SA-20 (220wpc)
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Counterpoint SA-5 upgraded by AVA
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Micro Seiki/SME/Shelter, Sony transport/Lavry DAC
Speakers: Alon Circe
Cables/Interconnects: PAD Dominus and Venustas
Music Used (Genre/Selections): piano, chamber, symphonic, jazz, vocals, soul/r&b, rock
Room Size (LxWxH): 18 x 15 x 8
Time Period/Length of Audition: 3 weeks
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Purist Audio Design Dominus Cable - tetsuo 22:47:01 08/9/04 ( 0)