LessLoss Dynamic Filtering Power Cables

                             The Real Deal AC Cords

                                          Page 2

                   

The LessLoss Dynamic Filtering  AC Power Cord  is constructed of three wires braided together, each wire covered in an attractive woven black material. While it's true that braiding reduces inductance and capacitance, these parameters are far less important in a power cord that carries 60Hz energy, than in an interconnect that carries audio- (and, in the case of digital, radio-) frequencies. According to Mr Motek, an unbraided version of this  AC power cord  sounds essentially the same, but it has less flexibility, and power cord flexibility is important not just in the placement of equipment, but in the vibrational isolation of equipment. The LessLoss DFPCs are very large and robust, but are indeed quite flexible. The wire used in the manufacture of these cables receives a proprietary metallurgical treatment called FlowFluxTM which LessLoss claim yields results superior to multiple cryogenic treatment.

LessLoss auditioned numerous power plugs before settling on the Oyaide model 079. These plugs are quite expensive and are beautifully constructed of translucent red polycarbonate, with black polybutylene terephtalate (carrying 30% glass particles) forming the body that holds the metal pins in place. PBT is a very hard (Rockwell 118) crystalline material of remarkable strength and rigidity and temperature stability. The added glass enhances these characteristics. The metal pins are machined from solid deoxidized phosphorous bronze, which is then twice hand-polished and directly plated with two layers of gold. Just as important as the materials and finish of the male plug is the construction of the IEC connector. The Oyaide IEC plug was tested by LessLoss for hundreds of connect/disconnect operations and maintained a firm – and sonically excellent – grip. On my equipment rack the wires hang out the back, and the weight of the cord causes the Oyaide IEC plug to “sag.” (This can of course be easily remedied by supporting the plug and/or wire.) But I tested the actual grip of these plugs, and the Oyaide has a much tighter grip than the OEM plug. Unquestionably the finished product is beautifully conceived and constructed.

As I said, it is the filtering function of the LessLoss DFPC that is responsible for much of the audible improvement. The issue that gave birth to these cables (and the soon-to-be-released power filter) is how to deliver clean, unimpeded, power. This goal required rethinking traditional approaches.

It is not particularly difficult to deliver clean AC power; even a simple series inductor will roll off frequencies beyond resonance at 6db per octave. But a simple series inductor will also impede rapid changes in current, and this will tend to restrict dynamic range and, to some extent, high audio frequencies. (Live music has a very wide dynamic range, and a rapid change in dynamics will encounter reactive resistance just as a rapid change in frequency will.) The greater the number of reactive components there are in the power circuit path, the greater this restriction. Typical power filters and regenerators, regardless of cost, use inductors, capacitors and in many cases a large transformer: they deliver clean energy, but at a cost. As the LessLoss web site states, “In the end we admit that, although extreme filtering [using massive transformers and so forth] was producing the desired background blackness, it was reducing true musical dynamics.”

It is also not particularly difficult to deliver instantaneous power, and hence to approach the full dynamic range of which a particular piece of equipment is capable. A straight, direct run of heavy gauge, low resistance wire, capable of conducting large amounts of instantaneous current with minimal impedance, should do the trick. (There are of course other considerations: the metallurgical properties and purity of the wire – perhaps including crystal structure; the “burning in” of the wire, another vexed issue; the material(s) used for insulation; the spacing and configuration of the wire; the cross-sectional shape of the wire, to name a few. I have no experience with and little understanding of these finer details of cable design.)

What is difficult is to simultaneously accomplish both goals. And LessLoss claim to have done just this. They have combined a  AC power cord  with a filtering mechanism that does not restrict 60Hz current flow. “We want to avoid any and all bottlenecking of the power itself while at the same time attenuating all the unwanted high frequency energy before it even enters the destination gear...The low frequencies must experience no resistivity, and the high frequencies must experience complete attenuation.“

Not surprisingly, this is proprietary information and LessLoss are not forthcoming on the theoretical details of the materials used to accomplish it. The basic premise revolves around the behavior of alternating current in wire: the higher the frequency, the more the current flow will migrate toward the outer surface of the wire (skin effect). This is due to eddy (Foucault) current, secondary current flow induced in the conductor itself by the changing magnetic field of the primary current flow. The stronger the applied field or the greater the relative velocity of motion – frequency – the greater the eddy current and the greater the opposing field.

Consider this thought experiment: visualize an enlarged cross-section of a single wire in an AC power cord and imagine you can see the electrons as they flow. (Let us ignore the conclusion of quantum physics that electrons don't actually exist as such, like table forks and hot dogs.) Direct current, because it has an infinitely low frequency, will flow throughout the wire. Fifty or sixty hertz energy, because it is subject to relatively small skin effect, will be seen to flow throughout almost the entire wire. But high frequencies will be seen to concentrate in the outer surface of the wire, their concentric depths (skin depth) inversely proportional to their frequency. If you can figure out a way of impeding current flow only on the outer surface of the wire, the RFI and noise that have been pushed there will be suppressed. The LessLoss web site offers this tantalizing clue: “...a porous conductive material [is] mated to the skin of the cable...” It would be fascinating to understand the physics of this porous, conductive material! (Does the high frequency energy “see” it as a much longer and circuitous – a more reactive - path than the rest of the wire?) But we must be content to hear its effect.

I think it is worth noting a particular aspect of reviewing a  AC power cord : It never sees the actual audio signals that are the meat and potatoes of CD players, digital converters, tonearms and turntables, interconnects, preamps, amps and loudspeakers. It is not “warm” or “articulate” or “rolled off” or “bright” or “extended.” It simply mediates the quality of the electrical energy and therefore how closely existing audio equipment approaches the maximum performance of which it is capable.

I listen to a lot of piano music and I found that every CD I played sounded better with the DFPCs; all of them had enhanced dynamics and detail. However, the Stuart & Sons piano used in Gerard Willems' recording of The Complete Beethoven Sonatas (ABC 465 264-2) is ideal for testing purposes; its unique ranges of voicing, rich, sustained overtones, and ringing tone provide immense amounts of detailed information. One of the most obvious improvements is in the lower register. The bass notes seem more “gutsy” and have greater harmonic richness. It's no substitute for a full-range loudspeaker or a good subwoofer (my loudspeakers roll off at 40Hz), but it is some compensation, and I found myself missing that lowest octave less. Something I especially enjoy is the physicalness of the piano, the fact of metal strings being struck by mechanical hammers seems more palpable. I seem to hear more going on when a note sounds, the attack, sustain, the damping of the vibrating string, all wonderfully tactile and obvious. I have even heard sounds, mechanism and sympathetic vibrations, I will swear I never heard before.

Beethoven: String Quartet Opus 74 (Chandos 10191). I've had occasion in the past to refer to this supreme work of Beethoven's so-called “Middle Period.” I have heard this particular disc dozens and dozens of times over concentrated months, I feel confident that I know most of its nuances. A string quartet is not a particularly demanding ensemble as far as dynamic range is concerned, though the violoncello does have a great authority and heft with the DFPCs . What mostly strikes me though is a wonderful clarity, and a noticeably richer retrieval of ambient detail. Switching back to the OEM cords something goes missing, something I find difficult to describe. Not precisely as if cotton wool were inserted in my ears, or as if I'd moved my head outside the dispersion pattern of the ribbon tweeters, more a sort of fuzziness, perhaps analogous to looking at an image through very slightly frosted glass, a loss of clearly defined edges. I experience the return to the DFPCs as an added dimension of instrumental and dynamic excitement.


Our Man in Jazz: Sonny Rollins (RCA Victor Gold74321851602). This is a new addition to my library. What an introduction to the artistry of Sonny Rollins! The first cut is called Oleo, with Rollins on tenor sax, Don Cherry on trumpet, Billy Higgins on drums, and Bob Cranshaw on bass (what a lineup!), It's a long cut – 25 minutes and 25 seconds – and is one of the coolest, most exciting and awesome excursions into jazz in my experience. Like a number of jazz recordings I've heard, the microphones were placed to feature Rollins and Cherry, with little thought for authenticity of stereo imaging. But the sound, the sheer presence of the instruments is thrilling. In no music is the razor sharp presentation enabled by the DFPCs more evident or more valuable than in such highly improvisational jazz. You can really sense the energy that carries these musicians along in perfect sync with one another.

Reviewing the LessLoss Dynamic Filtering AC Power Cords has been a real pleasure. It's been a pleasure having my eyes opened as to just what a “mere”  AC power cord  can do. It's been a pleasure knowing that human ingenuity is still at work approaching the ideal of perfect sound, and that as good as sound reproduction has gotten, it continues getting better. Most of all, it's been a pleasure to hear music in all its glory, a giant step closer to that ideal.

 

Manufactures response: I would like to personally thank both Clement Perry of Stereo Times for such a welcoming press review of the LessLoss Dynamic Filtering Power Cable. It was a pleasure personally meeting Clement Perry at Munich High End in 2008, and, having had the chance to exchange but a couple of short phrases with him, it was a pure pleasure to have received his invitation to review the LessLoss Dynamic Filtering Power Cable just a short time thereafter. I am no less grateful to Russell Lichter for the speed and quality of formulation in his review.

It is very heartwarming that the joy of creating and offering this product is felt with the same joy of appreciation by members of the press, who write thoughtfully and clearly, and do the necessary research to be fully informed before sharing their final opinions with the public. I was impressed with Russell's keen questioning (we did quite some emailing back and forth) and true interest in what LessLoss is doing, where we come from, and where we are going. We thank Stereo Times very sincerely for your support by publishing your positive impressions of our achievement to further the fine art of audiophile playback.

 

                                 

 

Specifications:

* Standard lengths: 1, 1.5, and 2 meters
* Custom lengths: 2.5 meters and 3 meters
* Cross sectional conductive area is 6 mm2 per conductor.
* Total cross sectional conductive area is 18 mm2 (between 5 and 4 AWG)
* Very flexible design. Bend radius 6 inches
* Oyaide model 079 double hand polished double gold plated power plugs on both IEC and wall socket ends.
* Oyaide model C-279 20A IEC plug available upon request.
* Hand made quality and attention to detail.
* Generous rebates offered for orders above one single unit.
 

Price: DFPC standard up to 2m price ranges from $432 to $569 depending on quantity.
Longer lengths (2.5m) add $59 and (3m) add $149.

Manufacturers Note: ALL PRICING ALREADY INCLUDES SHIPPING FEES.

LessLoss Audio Devices
P.D. 1231
46005 Kaunas
Lithuania

Tel.: +370 698 48706
email: info@lessloss.com

web info and store: www.LessLoss.com