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Image: Oyaide Black Mamba V2 bulk power cable terminated with VH Audio's Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors
After a number system changes, I placed more effort into upgrading audiophile-quality cable options including power cords, which is a key factor in how an audio system can actually sound from a subjective POV. Having had experience of VH Audio's exclusive Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors (a special order gold-plated version of the Furutech FI-50 rhodium-plated AC connectors), I knew the SOTA option for use with Oyaide's new-ish Black Mamba V2 bulk length power cord option for DIY would be a set of those SOTA AC connectors. The FI-50 Gold is a good investment, since the sonic signature is supremely neutral, wide open, and offering a lowered-noise floor, without any inherent coloration or sonic artifacts that I can detect. A true reference-quality design without caveat, to my ear. It mates especially well with the Furutech GTX, Oyaide SWO-XXX, Oyaide R1 AC outlet, or any AC outlet that deserves a neutral and very detailed sounding AC connector option. The first DIY Oyaide Black Mamba V2 power cord I built was terminated with Oyaide 004 Beryllium AC connectors, which sounds excellent in the way the platinum + palladium plated beryllium copper contacts impart a musical sounding presentation that I've come to be familiar with, and appreciate from an audiophile perspective.
The first DIY power cord build for use in the recent digital front end AC delivery upgrade project was a 12 AWG Acoustic Revive 8800 bulk length power cord terminated with VH Audio's Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors. The sonic signature was a mixed-bag. Although the leading edge was well-pronounced, the essential shape of images tended to not be well fleshed-out in terms of spatial cues and timbrel information. A "plastic" sounding sonic effect became apparrent that stepped-on the soundstage presentation and 3D imaging. The factory-terminated Oyaide Black Mamba Sigma V2 with bare/unplated berrylium copper Oyaide AC connectors excels at front-to-back spatial cues and neutrality, which makes it my favorite power cord for use with an Apple iMac computer AV server.
After comparing Furutech's entry-level FI-11(G) AC connectors with VH Audio's exclusive gold plated Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors, I came to find even more so how important cutting-edge technology can be when it comes to high-performance power cords, especially the critical aspects of termination-generated turbulence and dielectric energy dissipation issues, as well as effective mechanical resonance control provided by a SOTA AC connector design. Much of what can be gleaned by such a comparison is not so much what a SOTA AC connector can do, it's what it does *not do* as compared to a more basic design with less costly factors involved in a lower-priced design. This is to say that the performance level of a SOTA connector is not based on an additive factor, it's more so a matter of no obvious sins of commission nor sins of omission. Most obvious should be that of a veil lifted and superior coherency vs. a hi-fi-ish "wow factor", tonal coloration, or an otherwise artificial sound shaping capacity. However, the various sonic signatures of particular power cords, AC connectors, and AC outlets can be great tools for custom system tuning efforts, so there is plenty of room for diversity when it comes to audiophile-quality AC delivery systems.
It's become apparent that when comparing an AC connector with a flimsy nylon shell vs. a more rigid polycarbonate shell that rigidity is a key factor in how well an AC connector tends to perform, so when an AC connector design goes a step further by the use of a low-mass plastic inner insulator, a rigid stainless steel outer shell, with a carbon fiber inlay that helps dissipate both electrical and vibrational energy, much of what makes a typical plain plastic shell less than optimum is eliminated. What this does is to provide a far more transparent, uncolored clarity without obscured details nor dynamics, with true to life timbrel characteristics, spatial cues, and dynamic subtleties otherwise obscured via lesser designs. It's often true that a listener needs to hear something valuable before it can be understood or missed for that matter, since it's about peeling back the onion to reveal more layers, as well as satisfy audiophile expectations and goals based on both analytical perception and musical aesthetics. Yes, if a small electronics part can be called a component, then an audiophile-quality power cord can definitely be considered a vital component, as well.
The evaluation of the Oyaide Black Mamba V2 power cord terminated with Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors involves a Monarchy Audio DIP and a Gustard X12 DAC placed in my main audio system. Both serve as the primary source component combination within the system, with equal importance since they each work in tandem as my primary digital front end, serving both a Theta Pearl digital transport within the main audio system, and a distributed audio signal via a digital optical Toslink interface via my computer workstation system in a back corner alcove located across the listening room. The other power cord placed in the digital front end is a VH Audio AirSine terminated with Wattgate Audio Grade Gold AC connectors, which is my reference standard upon which all power cords in my audio system can be fairly compared with, especially due to the old-school Wattgate AC connectors.
The clarity of the Oyaide Black Mamba V2 bulk power cable terminated with Furutech FI-50 Gold AC connectors is on par with the best I've heard. The only factor that I might prefer is a 10 AWG version of the Black Mamba V2 for high current applications, but for a digital source component, 12 AWG offers an excellent sense of speed while still providing a good bottom end. That said, I would fully expect the power cord will perform very well for high-current applications, including from an AC outlet installed at the wall to a power line conditioner or distributor. The most impressive aspect is how little dielectric involvement there seems to be, which is half the battle in any case, regardless of metallurgy and geometry. This factor is not a surprise, since both the conductor insulation and the jacket are minimal-mass, which makes the outer diameter of the power cord substantially thinner than most 12 AWG power cords, IME. As for the metallurgy, the copper is virgin, not recycled, and the strand lay is of an advanced design that avoids detrimental aspects of strand interactions claimed to be closer to that of a solid core conductor, but in my experience the Black Mamba V2 does not sound like a solid core AC conductor of which I don't enjoy for an aftermarket power cord build.
As a final note, I've enjoyed the Oyaide Black Mamba V2 bulk power cable so much, I bought a factory terminated Oyaide Black Mamba Sigma V2 power cord for use with my Apple iMac computer workstation system, and find its sonic signature to be perfect for a computer audio application. The unplated beryllium copper AC connectors seem to provide a very detailed and neutral sonic signature, while allowing the uncolored sounding Black Mamba V2 to perform without issue. Furthermore, yet another DIY Oyaide Black Mamba V2 bulk power cable terminated with gold Oyaide P/C-079 AC connectors sounds excellent when placed on a new T-Music ES9018 Sabre DAC for use in my computer workstation system.
When you make a powercable, what length do you normally use?
(1.8m / 6 feet ?)
Thanks for the info !
Other than a specific configuration within a power line distributor/conditioner array that allows very short power cords that act like short-length AC umbilical cords, and for specific applications that require rather long-length power cords, my general rule is to build 5 foot (1.5 meter) power cords, since anything shorter than that might become a big mistake if I choose to use the power cord for another application that requires a longer length power cord. I consider a 5 foot power cord to be a "happy medium" length, not unlike I consider a 1 meter rca interconnect to be a "happy medium" length, even if the originally intended application could use a 0.5 meter length.
Duster, you have made so many good and solid inputs on various topics that help others. I always try to read your posts when I see them, to include Cut-Throat, McShane, and others. Thank you for always sharing guys. Hats Off.
I've had my Mamba Sigma V2's connected to my Acoustat servos now for about 2 weeks and I could not agree more with your comments about the Mamba Sigma V2 performance. With the last upgrade of the servos I had my guy replace the IEC inlets with Oyaide's and had been using Oyaide 004 connectors on either end of some vintage CryoMax III cable. I've lived with that setup for nearly a year and was very impressed with the way things sounded. Replacing those home-brews with the Mamba Sigma V2's has been a bit of a revelation. Acoustats, and ESL's in general, are excruciatingly revealing of everything in the chain before them and this change in PC's was immediately obvious to me - and for the better. Neutrality, speed and detail is exactly the words I would use too. Now I have two sets of 004 connectors and I am seriously considering some bulk Mamba to rewire them with. I have some CyroMax in other applications with other Oyaide connectors that I'll likely replace with revamped home-built Mamba ones.
Once again, thank you for sharing your experiences with us here. It's helped me better my system.
The Oyaide Black Mamba V2 terminated with Oyaide 004 AC connectors is an excellent option. I gladly use a DIY Black Mamba V2 with 004 for a component within my main audio system.
Duster, do the Oyaide 004 AC connectors have screw type terminals for attaching the AC cord leads?
Not Duster, but yes, they do. They use a clamping approach and the screw terminals provide the pressure to secure the wire in the clamps. The screws are not intended to hold the wire themselves.
While this image is of a Furutech connector, the Oyaide 004 features termination slots that are similar to what is shown. There is plenty of room on either side of a central termination screw for each termination slot, with a clamping plate mechanism that firmly holds the conductor within the termination slot. Notice in the image that the clamping plates are tightened all the way for the live and neutral slots which need to be loosened all the way before the conductors are inserted, while the lower ground slot clamping plate is shown to be slightly loosened.
how do you terminate this cable ( what wire for ground together with drain wire, shield one side only?)?
Typically, the drain wire should only be connected to the ground prong of the AC plug, and left floating (unconnected) at the IEC end of the power cord.
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