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Claims made for the Black Rhodium TITAN/Stream Power Cable (£795) are shown below.

Is it true that this cable improves the sound quality of hi-fi systems?

Black Rhodium Stream Power Cable

A POWER CABLE OPTIMISED FOR MUSIC BY ITS LENGTH

'Stream is a new audio mains power cable designed to achieve high sound quality by using the latest Black Rhodium high end cable technology.'

Stream is optimised for the best sound quality by its length. During the design period, Black Rhodium tested one of its most popular power cables in several different lengths. Listening tests showed consistently that the best sound quality was obtain from cables cut to a length of 1.65m (wire length 1.68m after untwisting). This aligns very closely with the quarter wavelength of the 50 Hz mains frequency of 1.7m. Further tests showed that cables in multiples of 1.7m sounded superior to lengths than those of slightly above or below. However the longer cables in multiples of 1.7m did not match the sound quality of 1.65m.

Stream is hand built at the Black Rhodium factory in Derby to advanced design techniques developed by Black Rhodium for use in its most expensive products.

LOW LOSS SILICONE RUBBER INSULATION REDUCES TIME SMEARED DISTORTION.

The wires in Stream are insulated in silicone rubber because its low dielectric loss ensures extremely low distortion due to dielectric absorption effects in which sound energy is absorbed in the insulation and released at a later interval of time to create highly audible time-smearing distortion.

ULTRA LOW TRANSIENT PHASE DISTORTION THROUGH INNOVATIVE DESIGN.

Stream gives a very clear diction of a singer's voice and separates musical instruments superbly through a dramatic reduction of 'Transient Phase Distortion'. 'Transient Phase Distortion' is reduced by using thicker insulation than is usual in speaker cables, increasing the distance between conductors and thereby reducing the magnetic field seen in each conductor wire as a result of the magnetic field created by the current in the other conductor wire.

Black Rhodium TITAN Mains Power Cable 13A UK Plug to C13 IEC 2.0m

The manufacturer’s website stated:

TITAN is a superb cable for upgrading hi-fi music systems. Even if you already have good mains cables, Titan will give you further improvement in all areas of performance.

Titan mains cables have three separate layers of screening to protect the mains voltages it carries from all external noise.

...

Continuous current rating 13A Cable length optimised for best sound at 1.7m Silver plated copper conductors for greater clarity of sound. Fitted with two high mass Vibration Stabilisers to minimise effects of vibration with the cable Low loss PTFE insulation designed for clearer beat and rhythm of music, with increased distance between conductors for reduced “transient phase distortion” Triple screened, two layers of tightly braded silver plated copper wire plus aluminium tape, for outstanding rejection of RFI

Advanced DCT++CS cryogenic processing for superior Depth, Clarity and Timing Silver plated copper conductors for greater clarity of sound. Low loss PTFE insulation designed for clearer beat and rhythm of music, with increased clarity of sound Fitted with two high mass Vibration Stabilisers to minimise effects of vibration with the cable Terminated in Deep Cryogenically Treated rhodium plated connectors

Black Rhodium: Titan (archive.org)

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Does cable xxx provide improved sound quality to hifi system?

I say no for me, and perhaps yes for you. This is a very long running issue in Hifi circuits. There are lots of published comparisons -- simply look in any Hifi magazine.

Generally there are two approaches to this issue. One of them is to do controlled blind testing. Almost every test done this ends in conclusion like: Testing audiophile claims and myths

test of interconnects and speaker cables found that no one could pick out the differences between a series of wires from ‘blister pack $2.50 to $990 speaker cable. All the results were even with approximately 50% going for the cheap and expensive options.

The other approach is generally quite subjektive: I can hear a difference when I test. This is what the marketing material says.

As I cannot find any blind tests published on the specific Black Rhodium Stream Power Cable we have to look at the marketing material.

First (and this is quite common in this kind of marketing): they contain what I call "high-tech" stuff. Examples are:

  • This aligns very closely with the quarter wavelength of the 50 Hz mains
  • Stream is hand built
  • to advanced design techniques
  • LOW LOSS SILICONE RUBBER INSULATION
  • low dielectric loss
  • three separate layers of screening
  • Silver plated copper conductors
  • high mass Vibration Stabilisers
  • cryogenic processing
  • rhodium plated connectors

The important point to note that there are no proved connection between these factors and any effects on sound.

There are as well a few statements of effects that actually could be measured, but no measurement results are presented:

  • ULTRA LOW TRANSIENT PHASE DISTORTION
  • extremely low distortion due to dielectric absorption effects
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    Except that "aligns very closely with the quarter wavelength of the 50 Hz mains" is factually BS. It isn't mere waffling like the rest, it is an incorrect usage of real facts. The acoustic wavelength (1.7 meters is 1/4 of the 50 Hz wavelength in air) has nothing to do with the electrical wavelength (around 6000 kilometers.) – JRE Sep 27 at 7:59
  • @JRE. Yep. Makes good marketing hype though. – ghellquist Sep 27 at 15:24
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I couldn't find a test about this specific cable but overall the answer about cables is yes and no...

The test It's Done! Power Cord Shoot-Out-- 22 Power Cords Reviewed! summarize it with

I’m A Skeptic, Prove to Me That Power Cords Work! I didn’t believe in them either, until I tried one on a lark a few years ago. It had a 30-day no-hassle return policy-- I didn’t return it, and haven’t looked back since

You can find the details inside, but basically the listener could hear and quantify differences between cables.

On the other hand this test Testing audiophile claims and myths when comparing high end cables to a kettle cable found that

The overall conclusion was that the kettle lead could not be properly identified or that one cable was better than another.

You will find the same results for speaker cables, interconnect cables, digital cables and other gadgets like audio cables holders. This is always a base for heated discussions

I couldn't find any laboratory comparison of power cables, while a comparison of interconnect cables found no significant difference

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    Was the “It’s Done” test double-blind? If not then could be placebo effect. – A E Sep 24 at 14:29
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    @AE reading through the intro it was a single-person review by someone on an audiophile forum. So it was not even single blind. – Jan Dorniak Sep 24 at 18:31
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    It is relatively easy even with basic knowledge in physics and electronic engineering to debunk most of the snake oil products targeted at audiophiles, but it is also more than relatively difficult to prove a negative. I've a few times offered friends to blind-test different audiophile products and those who dared never succeeded, but always (after the test) managed to find some kind of debatable problem with the test setup. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 25 at 10:38
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    When it comes to power supply cables, the total cable length between the actual power station and the electrical outlet, into which an amplifier is plugged, may easily be 100km or more, at least when ignoring the complicating fact, that the power does not come from a single power station. It should be fairly obvious that any improvements to the last one or two meters of cable between the outlet and the amplifier, if there are any improvements at all, will be insignificant. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Sep 25 at 10:48
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    I don't disagree, now all we need is to find an actual measurement comparing two cables- ideally comparing the output of the power supplies and filters, and if there is a differences do a double blinded test to compare hearable results – Rsf Sep 25 at 11:43

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