Vintage Tube Amps And Power Cords

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by AudioSoul, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. AudioSoul

    AudioSoul Super Member

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    On some of the vintage tube amps I have seen, the power cord is smaller that the power cord on my turntable. Would these tube amps benefit from higher quality power cords? Even my Chinese tube amps have receptacles for installing higher quality cords...
     
  2. Sandstrom

    Sandstrom Hazlewoodism Subscriber

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    I have updated some power cords on tube amps in the past. In those days they used simple zip cord style non polarized cords. I have put new heavier duty cords on them which is always good for safety reasons and even added ground connections to a pair of monoblocks with no adverse effects although I've read time and again that this is not always a good idea or necessary. That being said, I didn't notice any improvement in sound but it gave me piece of mind that I wasn't running with an older cracked or drying cord.
     
  3. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    What gauge is it? Physical fatness of the cable doesn't really tell it, but I can't claim to be impressed with a lot of cords on Chinese gear. Its small gauge with crappy plastic insulation in a lot of cases.
     
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  4. thorpej

    thorpej AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Take a look at the power cord on a $20 1500W hair dryer. Now tell me again how the power cord on your vintage tube amp is too small :)
     
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  5. techguy0192

    techguy0192 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I also like how people feel a 3' length of whatever brand exotic power cable will make up for all the miles of crap that power had to travers to reach the home and then through the walls of the house.

    I was once guilty of spending money to "upgrade" power cables. I just use a reasonable awg standard cable; I have cut many down to length to reduce the unnecessary clutter long cables can generate.
     
  6. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

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    Look at the size of the wire in the fuse.
    10A doesn't need a lot of metal to transfer.
     
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  7. AudioSoul

    AudioSoul Super Member

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    Good point. I never thought of that....
     
  8. cademan

    cademan Addicted Member

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    I trust the engineers. Do you? o_O

    Another good point on the fuse!
     
  9. primosounds

    primosounds Single ended KT66/KT88 with 6SL7 or 6SN7 driver Subscriber

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    I don't fuss with exotic power cords as they only seem to affect the balance in your checking account. But in all my personal builds i do install a new IEC power socket with or without the included safety cap and some even come wiht a fuse and on/off switch.
    In one SE amp that i just finished there was a pesky buzzing sound and putting in a grounded cord after removing the original 2 prong cord, almost removed that sound.
    But, if you want to keep your vintage amp absolutely stock then you should not install an IEC socket, but, in some cases a grounded power cord might help and it definitely makes your amp more shock proof.
     
  10. unfairlane

    unfairlane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    And you are not even truing to be funny. Music is mot a continous signal, it is all about dynamics. The last piece of cable that feeds our amps is like the hearts arteria, it`s flow defines its capacity to perform.

    As primosounds says; do not waist ypur Money on exotic powercables, it`s mostly a hype even if some of them will give a slight improvement. An IEC powersocket will allow you to use a better cable, but the improvement will be lost if this IEC-socket inclused a fuse and mybe a on/off switch, avoid them.

    Are you into diying, try to make up a powercable from 12awg solid core, shielded if possible and listen
     
  11. faber12

    faber12 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For a short distance anyway. :)

    I always replaced the cords on my console pulls, because they looked ready to crack open.
     
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  12. MRL_Audio

    MRL_Audio AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That would be different because the cord is damaged and not safe. Otherwise, I agree with the previous comment and trust the engineers and the cord.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  13. crispycircuit

    crispycircuit AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Your not going to get a voltage drop over a 5ft. zip cord. I only replace damaged cords. Save your money.....
     
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  14. imready

    imready it's good to be the king!

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    This is an old tread but I feel compelled to remind people of the "death cap" issue that is, I'm guessing, fairly common in old tube gear. I had replaced the "death cap" in my Bogen ap 250 about 5 years ago only to have it go bad again about 6 months ago. If you feel a "tingling" sensation when you touch your amp when it is on it could possible be the "death cap' going bad. I replaced my power cord from a 2 wire to a 3 wire and eliminated the dangerous cap from my Bogen using the simple schematic here on AK. I used a cord that was heavy gauged and handy but it's a little short so I am doing a little research before replacing it . The amp is dead quiet with the new cord and the Bogen ap 250 which gets little love outplays my Scott, Pilot, Harman Kardon , etc.. We have excellent power at my home as they put in a new booster unit about 2 miles from my home. I noticed an immediate improvement in all my systems with better clarity, more power and more bass from tube units. Voltage up to about 125vac last I checked. All that new wire at the power station and an increase supply capacity sure did a lot of good for my audio enjoyment. I wouldn't be surprised if better wire in a power cord could make some difference but I've never experimented with and upgraded cord. I am positive, that changing wire in speaker, interconnects and tonearm can make a huge different in the sound that comes out of your speakers. Resulting opinions on wire change fluctuate wildly. There are so many variables involved with conclusions people draw from their results the only way to find out if your system will benefit it to give it a try. My main tube system used to have difficulty playing rock and roll with the pace and crispness I desired. Made some interconnects from 26awg sliver plated copper with inexpensive Rean connectors and the problem was solved. Sorry to run off course a little on this but for me, the validation of performance changing wire on my interconnects leaves my mind open to the possibility of better performance through a better power cable. Why silver plated copper
     
  15. Hyfi

    Hyfi Super Member

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    I just got great results by replacing all the cheap 16 and 18g cords on my system and replaced with low cost Pangea and PS Audio cords. It sounds like a totally different system now and I am more than happy with the performance upgrade for the $450 I spent on 5 power cords.

    Maybe they don't help in every system or pc of gear or environment, but if you want to try, Audio Advisor gives you 30 days to see for yourself.
     
  16. jaymanaa

    jaymanaa AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hmm, feels like TOL in here. :) Check ohms law and Kirchhoff's (spelling?) theory, they had it figured out. You can also look at the primary wire in the power TX for further convincing.
     
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  17. imready

    imready it's good to be the king!

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    Sorry not to finish my reply, the phone rang then my keyboard quit responding. LOL Anyhow , I'm guessing silver plated copper is sooo good because electrons go to the outside of the wire getting the benefit of better conductivity while the copper core somehow keep the signal from becoming sharp. If find litz wire to be excellent also and silver plated copper litz ton arm wire works well with my sme3009 and Bogen. That with small guage silver plated copper speaker wire brought that system to life which now out plays my main system due to wire change experiments.
     
  18. imready

    imready it's good to be the king!

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    The object of the OP was to learn about the possible benefits or drawbacks of replacing a power cord on a vintage amplifier. Talking over his head, suggesting engineers from the 50's and 60's had all the knowledge about such things as we do today is silly. The rules have changed without a doubt and though many principles remain valid, there have been a caveat or two added to them as we continue to learn. Otherwise, Spock and Kirk would be the only ones with cell phones and we'd be driving Edsels.
     
  19. maxhifi

    maxhifi Super Member

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    Those old cords are mostly AWG 18, just like modern cords, but they appear to be thinner than new ones because modern insulation is thicker, due to more stringent UL requirements. The benefit to changing a cord to a new one is that the new one is safer, and possibly has a slightly lower voltage drop if you go to AWG 16 or bigger (the performance impact of this part is quite arguable, since the power cord has much lower resistance than the power transformer)

    The drawback is that anything changed on a vintage piece is no longer original, and this may affect collector's appeal. I only change what is necessary to make a piece safe and functional (for example a frayed cord, or one with stiff dried out insulation) others have different ideas.

    0a4524a0d0a2235b526a2c43380bcfe9--vs-need-to.jpg
     
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  20. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    What do Edsels and cell phones have to do with conducting current from a wall outlet to an electrical device? The rules governing the appropriate gauge cord for a given level of current have not changed.
     
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