The Flavor 1(shielded twisted pair, 12AWGx2) and Flavor 2 (unshielded twisted pair, 12AWGx2) Power Cables were my first experience with Chris’ DIY recipe and products, this was in spring of 2007. Up until this point, I have never been too “worked up” about the power cables. I have been using “audiophile” power cables including the highly regarded XLOs Reference 2s but I was not too certain that power cables have good return for investment so to speak.
The main reason, I decided to try Chris’ DIY power cable recipe using VH Audio wires was because they seem to be reasonably good cables that cost much less than other commercially available ready-made audiophile cables. There were many excellent reviews on the internet and the idea of making my own resonated with me as gotten into DIY building kits and doing modifications. Power cable seemed the least risky investment I can make as I needed one anyway and I had thought at the time that they were not too critical for the sound.
For the Flavor 1, I used Furutech F-11M Cu (male AC plug) and F11 Ag (IEC) and for the Flavor 2, I used cryogenically treated Wattgate connectors (5266i and 320.) I used the Flavor 1 with the Audio Note Kits’ DAC 2.1 Signature (at the time that was later upgraded to 4.1) and Flavor 2 with the Audio Note Kits’ Kit 1. I was very surprised that both cables made notable improvements. With the addition of Flavor 2 to the Kit One, the bass gained more weight with improved definition. With the Flavor 1 used with the DAC, more details appeared with greater sense of “air” around the instruments and sound stage widened by a notable margin. However, to me, these improvements may be clearly discernible but mostly incremental.
When I tried Flavor 2 in my subsystem which consisted of Sharp EX111 (CD player, tuner and amplifier all in one) and Monitor Audio Radius 90s, The improvement was very significant. I was playing Beethoven’s 4th Symphony perform by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado. With the Flavor 2, the strings sounded richer and sweeter, brass was more “brassy” and the timpani sounded quite respectable in spite of the small size of speakers. I get a better sense of the ambiance and hearing much more details coming out of my subsystem as I have never heard it before. It almost sounded as I am hearing a different sound system. So, I’ve asked my wife and two daughter if hear the difference just to make sure that I am hearing right. They too were quite amazed and bewildered as to why changing an AC cable could make such a huge difference in sound. This experiment led me to believe that some equipment responds for significantly to power cable upgrade.
About two years later, I’ve decided to make Flavor 4 cables using VH Audio’s Star Quad wires (unshielded twisted pair, 12AWGx4) as upgrades. For the connectors, I used Furutech’s F-11Cu plug and IEC as they are the least expensive plugs that can easily accommodate 4X12AWG wires. I have been warned that the Flavor 4 can take a long time to break-in and it was indeed true. It took roughly about 4 weeks playing music few hours a day before the cable began to sound good. But once broken-in, the improvements over Flavor 1 and 2 were quite dramatic. Bass now was clearly better with more authority with improved rhythm and pace. Vocals are bit more forward with more “body.” Orchestral strings sounded fuller and smoother with better textures. More details overall and much better sense of “air” than before. The best part was that, with all these improvements, the sound was never bright, analytic or fatiguing.
Overtime, I upgraded all the power cables for all my key components (Pre-Amp, Power Amp, Phono Amp, DAC) to VH Audio DIY Type 4. With each upgrade, the sound improved by several notches and now my system sounds as if it is at a level or two higher. I have been using the VH Audio DIY Power Cables for a few years now, and at the moment, I do not have any urge to upgrade further. Well, actually, I do like to try the AirSine but I can resigned with the fact that AirSines are out of my budget range.
I would personally recommend Chris’ power cables but please note that I do not have as much experience with the power cables in general. I have had tried quite a good number of interconnects, digital cables and speaker cables to be able to evaluate more critically. So, if you find anything that you think would surpasses Chris’ cables with equal or lower price tag, I would appreciate if you could send me a note via email.
PS: I have recently added two VH-Audio Hot Boxes to my system. They are much better than Furutech ETP-60 that I used to have.