Audio Note SOOTTO power cords, power cables, mains cable, PC… whatever you want to call them.
You know when you start playing with $11K-ish power cords, things are going to start getting weird. A person is likely to have some expectations and demands going in to the process, with a few eye-rolls and ‘what has this world come to’ heart-felt commiserations by the spectators [by those that are not the 1%, and since 1%-ers sometimes feel left out and like to fit in with the 99%-ers, EVERYBODY complains about these kinds of prices].
Although we have very much enjoyed the Nordost Odin One power cords, at this same exact-ish price point, little else has impressed us. Audio Note itself has made several forays into the power cord universe, but we have withheld our unflinching approval of these efforts [unlike our absolute repeated vociferous exclamations that everyone should own their own (brown) PALLAS interconnects and SOGON interconnects – price performance is just way too high to not take advantage of, shall we say the quite unusual, *extremely* reasonable prices compared to the competition here].
But lately things have changed vis-a-vis AN power cords. We have recently had the Audio Note ISIS power cords in. For $600-700-ish [the dollar is being driven down against the world’s other currencies, and prices are changing… aka rising]. These make us giggle. They do so much, so well. Really excellent all-round performers. Yep, that is six or seven HUNDRED, not thousand. Crazy, huh? 😉
And now we have the $11K-ish SOOTTO power cords.
In this case we have two to play with. And three components. The Audio Note CDT-Five transport. The Audio Note DAC Five Signature. And the Acapella LaMusika integrated amplifier. Not quite $300K in gear, but enough so its not like couple of $11K power cords are completely unwarranted. Right? Say “right, Mike”.
So… eeny-meeny… we put the first SOOTTO on the DAC. All of these components are superstars but the DAC has called attention to itself many times for being so wonderfully un-DAC-like [sorry, digital-philes, but ‘digital sound’ is still a pejorative if our ears get to choose what THEY want to hear. Just sayin’ … :-/].
OK. Install power cord. And………. play.
Unlike the Odin, there was no, almost 3db(!), jump in volume.
So for the first 1/2 second or so it was like, “Compared to the ISIS, that is not that much diff…er…ent…….”
The INCREDIBLE subtleties of music and emotion and musicianship and… the INCREDIBLE depths this hobby has to offer keep surprising me.
Why does a person start crying at times like these? I don’t know.
I like to think it is because of the beauty of the music thus revealed. Or the thoughts about all the wasted hours listening to music withOUT this level of playback. Something that can at least be tied to some kind of logical reason to be reacting so emotionally to something, let’s face it, is just a rather banal case of just exchanging one power cord for another.
Silly me. One of the first thoughts I had [trying to hide my tears from Neli, long story] is that it did not matter that these speakers were quite modest in the general scheme of things these days [the Acapella Cellini High at about $60K now (dollar is sinking people)], and that this kind of performance was indeed achievable on this system with the right combination of upstream gear [we periodically worry, like several times per day (maybe it is just me, but… knowing Neli…), that our choice to get smaller speakers for a smaller room than we are used to is comprising the playback too much. It’s kind of like we got spoiled with such a large room as our main listening room in Boulder in our mountain ‘chalet’ haha :-)].
My next thoughts, something a little less ‘silly’, I think, was that “oh. THIS is music”. This is SO hard to describe and such a fleeting concept, it is hard to grasp on to it long enough to identify it in enough detail, to understand and categorize it sufficiently, in order to describe it to other people. Or just to be able to describe it to myself and kind of stick a flag in it in a “to name something is to have power over something – to start understanding something” way.
I believe we all have these kind of “Oh, THIS is music” experiences spread out during our lives. This is a special kind of “Ultimate Music Experience” we talk about here on the blog periodically.
This is about the intrinsic musicality of music. So hard to describe and this recursive definition isn’t helping much, I bet.
In my life… I was in the glee club in Junior High School [not really my choice, in my case]. Although I sing wonderfully awful, every so often there was this resonance between Music, with a capital M, and what we were doing.
Same with when I spent several years learning to play the guitar badly, every so often this focus would be rewarded in experiencing a little bit of the Music.
Same with when I experimented [too much :-)] with alcohol and other recreational pursuits.
And of course all those special, all-too-fleeting, occasions that high-end audio has produced for us over the years – like perfect 10-inch snowflakes.
These is a deep, very, very simple rhythm that we all dance to and respond to, and it is so easy to obscure it with the massive clutter of everyday life [and the clutter of what ‘we know’ about sound and music]. To be able to uncover the inner truth of our core existence, to experience it: “this is me, a human hearing other humans making rhythmic sounds”. Such a rare and precious experience.
These kinds of experiences… they are so very rare. If we were to have them more often, they would not be as precious, nope, but perhaps our mental health would be improved. [?] At the least it seems like they would help ground us in reality [realities like less than 1% of events out there are actually negative, but negative events are 99% of what is ‘reported’ (perhaps I exaggerate. A little :-)), and this is used to manipulate us in various ways that accentuate the negatives]. Music is such a very, very clear sign that there is so much beauty inherent in this world.
Anyway THIS is why we are all audiophiles, THIS is why we all like playing with this level of gear, to make THIS kind of experience much more common than it would otherwise be in our stressed out, f’d up world.
THIS is why I like these power cords. 🙂
[Oh we tried them in several combinations. Liked it best with the two SOOTTO on the DAC and transport, and the Acapella power cord on their LaMusika amp. Yes, putting the better PC on the amp would normally be best, and it WAS more or less ‘better’ – more open and dynamic, but there was just more charm and engagement with the cords on the other two pieces of gear in this case. As you can see below, the DAC 5 Signature has moved on – now replaced by a DAC Zero :-). Next: the TT2 Deluxe turntable with the two-box Audio Note M9 RIAA phono stage, before it goes off to an official review by the esteemed Fred Crowder at Dagogo].
Little AN DAC Zero standing in for the DAC 5 Signature in the middle shelf of the HRS SXR rack.