I first learned about ESP (MusicCord-PRO) power cables when I met founder Michael Griffin at an AES in New York City some years ago. I was interested in his design and intrigued by the notion that power might impact sound quality. I hoped one day to test them and promptly filed the notion in the Bermuda Triangle inside my brain.
A couple years later, a close friend mentioned ESP cables (he had 10 of them). He offered to loan me one. I watched many YouTube videos showing real-world examples of guitar amplifiers powered with and without ESP. Even in the compressed format, I could easily hear the difference. In bass guitar, the contrast hit me like an iceberg, tearing across the hull of my convictions. I knew then I could not perform on stage without one. My low-end was simply anemic compared to what it should and could sound like. I borrowed the ESP (MusicCord) PRO cable from my friend and tested it on my rack interface. The difference was shocking — richer/smoother highs and tighter/smoother bass! Game over man...
I needed to act! I immediately switched to a 14-gauge power strip and 14-gauge IEC cables across the entire studio and threw out every 18-gauge cable and cheap daisy-chained power strip I had amassed. That yielded an immediate improvement in the quality of my mastered files, proving to me once and for all that better power cables resulted in better audio quality. Ultimately, I learned that more electrons with less resistance fill up capacitors faster, so when transients demand energy to generate analog signal, that energy needs to be available — or the audio starves! So I made the final move: I bought two MusicCord-PRO cables! I also replaced DC adapters on my mobile interface and a Class-A Tube preamp with ones having matched voltage and polarity yet much higher amperage (larger capacitors).
The combination of ESP (MusicCord) PRO cables and better DC adapters created a difference so utterly stunning, I couldn't get over it. I just listened over and over to masters bounced before and after the power upgrades in supreme and lasting awe. The newer bounces were vastly more three-dimensional, and my old (otherwise identical) bounces sounded flat by comparison.
Additional tests proved that AC and DC stages both played critical roles. In essence, every part of the power supply chain matters. This was a new plateau of comprehension and quality that I never thought possible. Alas, large mixing consoles like SSL have an average of 35 watts PER CHANNEL. And now I know why. You need power when your equipment demands it... or you simply do not get what you asked for. Some argue that equipment cannot benefit from capacities over stated requirements. But when I spoke to someone who builds audio amplifiers from scratch, I got a very different opinion — one that emphatically confirms my observations: more power availability equals better sound quality.
I've shared this cumulative knowledge with several industry peers. They tested and all agree wholeheartedly. We are forever-changed people. In retrospect, ESP's prices seem earnest and even generous next to those of its competitors. My next studio upgrade will be the ESP MusicCord-PRO Power Distributor, so I can plug my MusicCord-PRO cables directly into it, which in turn will plug directly into the wall or power regulator. And that, my friends, will literally be the pinnacle of power!
Jer Olsen, Lodestone Audio (USA)