Are braided power cables better?

December 10, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

20 comments on “Are braided power cables better?”

  1. Between components, makes sense. But the longest length of power cable is behind the wall going to the power board / breaker box, and they aren’t braded.

    Sorry, but what am I missing?

  2. Paul I see in the BHK 600’s you use multiple smaller capacitors versus a few very large ones. My Creek Amplifier does that too. Can you explain in a few sentences the benefit of that? I think you explained that once but I forgot. Thanks.

  3. Wow, the costs involved here for ‘said’ cable really make a person wonder when it’s enough already. $5400 (for 1 meter!) makes it almost 75% the price of the signature BHK and the power plant you’re plugging it into. And heck, why not go for gold (which these things better contain 3 ounces of) and connect another one from the plant to the wall making it a cool $11K?!

  4. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use techie language in explaining this to the questioning masses.

    Feeding ac to any audio gizmo, they crave sucking up what they need. They grab what is at hand — at the top of the loopy bit of the sine wave. Just enough to fill up the storage capacitor for now.

    Nature resents having power taken from her so she gets balky. That action negates the previous reaction. Messy eh? The form of this reaction is to zoom a pulse back down the power line. This is the sine qua non.

    Which is a Bad Thing especially if you are some adjacent gear also on need of a top up. Dirty dirty Nature.

    So we react to this reaction by raising the resistance of the ac cable, obviously. Everyone knows however that it’s dc resistance, is constant also super low.

    So we get sneaky and use rapid up and down voltage to hop up the “resistance”, hereinafter called inductance.

    How to raise inductive resistance? By cross-crossing the current pair. Paul knows

    Bonus points section left for Honours Students : Maxwell’s equations, please explain electro-magnetic fields.

    E&OE

  5. Time for a serious talk. I’m afraid I’m going to have to use techie language in explaining this to the questioning students.

    Feeding ac to any audio gizmo, they crave sucking up what they need. Power for the people and all that. They grab what is at hand — at the top of the loopy bit of the sine wave. Just enough to fill up the storage capacitor for now.

    Nature resents having power taken from her so she gets balky. That action negates the previous reaction. Messy eh? The form of this reaction is to zoom a pulse back down the power line. This is the sine qua non.

    Which is a Bad Thing especially if you are some adjacent gear also on need of a top up. Dirty dirty Nature.

    So we react to this reaction by raising the resistance of the ac cable, obviously. Everyone knows however that it’s dc resistance, is constant also super low.

    So we get sneaky and use rapid up and down voltage to hop up the “resistance”, hereinafter called inductance.

    How to raise inductive resistance? By cross-crossing the current pair. Paul knows

    Bonus points section left for Honours Students : Maxwell’s equations, please explain electro-magnetic fields.

    E&OE

    1. I think I might pass on that challenge Peter. 😉 However, I will channel Mr Maxwell a little bit. Maxwell’s equations do show how a varying magnetic field induces an electric current in nearby conductors. Now you can either move the conductors relative to each (in the case of a constant magnetic field) or you can vary the intensity of the magnetic field and keep the conductors motionless relative to each other as with power cables.

      The other thing Maxwell’s equations show is that the amount of induced current varies according to the cosine of the angle between the two conductors. So the maximum amount of induced current happens when the conductors are parallel to one another, or zero angle between them (cosine of 0° is 1). So if you put the conductors at right-angles (90°) to each other then the amount of induced current is zero (cosine of 90° is 0). So the wire braiding is intended to try to get the conductors at 90° to each other as often as possible in a run of cable.

  6. Regarding Maxwell’s equations, the induced current in the adjacent wire is in the opposite direction of the primary current, is it not? If so, then the induced current is in the same direction as the return current from the load. Likewise, inductance is reduced when the capacitance between the cables is increased, hence the parallel strands of wire has more capacitance and less inductance than the same wires farther apart. This all seems to me that braiding increases inductance, not decreases it. What am I missing here?

  7. I don’t understand the power cable argument for spending large sums of money for a power cable. I mean come on….you have Romex in your walls…..why not make a Romex cable to plug directly into your components (solid core wire)? Are we to believe spending 30K on a 5′ power cable pugged into a Romex circuit will improve the sound for that final 5′?

  8. Your comment is quite valid if the advertising from cable manufacturers made real engineering sense but the fact is most of it does not. I believe Paul hit it right on a few videos back when he stated the better cables eliminate noise, RFI, and EMI. In that light, a 6 foot filter between a few thousand feet of outdoor antenna makes a lot of sense.

    1. RFI & EMI effect Romex and the power wires on poles the same way

      Until there is a PS audio “Audio battery pack” invented that can power an entire system (Similar to a Tesla powerwall but with specific Audio filtering)

  9. Actually, Romex is designed not to induce parasitic currents into the earth wire, which is a plus as far as audio is concerned. If we did run off batteries, then we would have inverter noise to deal with unless we had internal batteries in every audio device we owned. That would work until the batteries went dead, in which case we would have to deal with an inverter noise to charge them back up. A linear power supply could do the charging although we still would have the line noise. Definitely, there is no such thing as a free lunch! 🙂

  10. Well I am sure inverter Nosie can be mitigated for a result greater then AC from the City power lines.
    I would envision the “PS Audio wall” unit that has smaller battery cells that could be easily changed out by the consumer, over time. And obviously your not listening to the system while the unit is charging. Also hoping companies like QuantumScape, who are currently developing Solid-state batteries, will be successful. 🙂

  11. You don’t understand – batteries are DC Volts and our equipment runs on AC Volts. No one has ever invented an AC Voltage battery. So to convert DC Volts into AC Volts, one must use an inverter, which is usually more difficult to control the noise than simply filtering the AC Grid. It is not impossible to control inverter noise, it can be done, it is just more difficult than eliminating AC Grid noise.

    1. Hi Robert,

      I understand batteries are D.C. and line voltage is A.C…….I think it’s possible to deal with the inverter problem very well. I have a little 15 watt digital amplifier that I made to be powered by a sealed lead acid battery and it sounds pretty incredible (obviously in this case the amp runs on direct D.C.) Similar to Red Wine Audio.

      Hmm an A.C. based battery……interesting idea!

      Cheers and happy listening

  12. Braiding (twisting) cables is primarily to reduce both susceptibility and emission of E-M fields. Each adjacent twist has the magnetic field in the opposite direction so you get some level of local cancellation. This should be possible without spending crazy money for a power cable but I’m not sure what magic materials and construction are included in this Dragon from Audioquest.

    Regarding interconnect cables I recently upgraded to the AQ Yukon balanced cables with good results so far. I draw the line at needing batteries in my interconnects with the 72V system AQ promotes. Everyone has different goals and needs for their systems so no anger from me.

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