High end power cables they might be but, as Paul Rigby explains, they also walk hand in hand with the company’s Router technologies
On the face of it, what you have here is a new power cable of suitably thick diameter. It looks massy, it feels heavy and robust. And I would be happy to review the thing on that basis alone.
But then there’s that black box positioned, in line and sporting a socket of its own, right by the mains plug.
So what’s going on here?
The EVO-S PowerKord offers you an essentially Kimber-built power cable that utilises 24, high conductivity, oxygen free electrolytic VariStrand copper conductors plus a woven outer skin to lower high-frequency noise. I talked about the VR tech in my recent 4PR review that you can find HERE. Basically, inside this cable are a bunch of wires of different diameters. Normally, they would all be the same but, as I say, not here. The idea is that, if you shove wiring of the same diameter into a finished cable – power, interconnect or speaker – then reportedly a single frequency tends to be highlighted and favoured but when you vary the diameter then the cable shares the love, you might say.
So VariStrand or VS as the company calls it, is in this new power cable release. At either ends of the cable, you’ll also find a Rhodium-plated AQRH mains plug and a W350Evo RH IEC plug which falls in line with the high-end nature of the cable itself. Expected yet welcome, none the less.
That boxed extra, though. The box that sits just under the mains plug? That’s where things change. Basically, this little boxed addendum allows the cable itself to ground to either the RF Router or the more expensive SuperRouter, lowering the noise floor. Now I’ve experienced this kind of approach before via AVID’s own ASC series of cables plus the Atlas Grun cables.
That is, if you change your perspective for a moment, the RF Router and SuperRouter accessories have previously allowed to you hook up their grounding cables to HiFi components such as amplifiers, CD players, DACs and more. Now? You can also hook these boxes up to your cables. Well, the EVO-S power cables, at least. Who knows? More may follow.
So when you buy yourself an EVO-S PowerKord, you also get a ground wire to plug into a RF Router or SuperRouter. Of course then, to get the best from this new power cable, you really need to either have these grounding boxes in place or on your shopping list. So you need to think about budgeting for those accessories too.
To be honest? I was rather excited to check this one out because I rather like both the RF Router and the SuperRouter grounding accessories. Both enhance my HiFi, helping to boost clarity and more. In fact, the SuperRouter has never left it. It’s part of my reference, I’m happy to say.
So how does this power cable perform and does the grounding addition make any difference?
I began with CD and The Pearl from the Emmylou Harris album Red Dirt Girl (Grapevine) plus excerpts from the Frank Zappa vinyl album, Hot Rats and I also began with the power cable ‘as is’, without the ground wire attached. To see what sort of basic personality the power cable was going to provide.
That character has, what you might wish to describe as, a solid bottom. I do like a solid bottom, I have to say. But enough of my love life.
The EVO-S has a weighty bass. There is real weight from this one. I felt that this Harris track was weighted, fixed with a sonic anchor that wasn’t going to be shifted too easily. With Zappa, this one aspect provided a confidence to the overall LP that moved from the obvious – the drums and bass guitar – to the less obvious, the electric guitar and, in Harris’ case, the vocals. The latter offered a sense of thought and introspection and, above all, a real notion of control. The lady sounded like she was in the driving seat with the EVO-S.
This strong lower site of frequencies influenced the uppers too, giving them a surety. The mids were firm, there was sense of authority and discipline from the midrange so the vocal performance was a little more believable. Adult, you might say.
Treble from both sources retained its fragility but the response from certain guitar strings and cymbal strikes provided the ear with extra definition.
A good start, in other words. So, does the ground wire add anything to the above?
Well, it was odd. To begin with, I didn’t hear any improvement at all. In fact, the music sounded worse for about half an hour and I’ve no idea why. A little muffled and bloated perhaps? Then it got better all of a sudden. All ground wire set ups need to to sound their best as noise drains away but I especially recommend a run-in period on this one.
After the bumpy beginning, what I heard was an expected lowering of high-frequency noise. Vocals were clearer in their delivery while instruments that often have a rather boomy attache bass or flabby midrange performance certainly tightened up. On the Emmylou Harris track she, her backing singers and instrumentalists all become rather excited towards the end of the song while crescendos built. It was during this long crescendo period that the sound can become confused and muddled – especially with the just terrible basic mix included on this release – but the grounding wire added a sense of calm to the EVO-S and an enhanced clarity.
Zappa’s output similarly benefitted from the order that the ground wire provided to the complex arrangement.
This review is a bit of a 2-1 affair: the power cable and the ground wire added to that. I like both but I especially like the dual cable and ground wire set up. The power cable on its own provides composure and a commanding presentation to any HiFi set up. The addition of the ground wire adds both focus and precision. You can really hear the difference during crescendos or blown out electric guitars which normally distort and not in a nice way, all over the soundstage. In such cases, the the ground wire added a sense of order and clarity and welcome it is too.
Definitely worth investigating, if you don’t have the RF Router/SuperRouter in your HiFi chain, don’t forget to budget for one of those units too when considering your EVO-S purchase.
RUSS ANDREWS EVO-S POWERKORD POWER CABLE
Price: £1,149 for 1m (up to 2m can be ordered)
GOOD: strong bass, commanding presentation, ground wire addition, low noise
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Lawrence28th October 2022 at 12:31 pm
I honestly believe that such products are all theatre and there is no satisfactory technical explanation of how they might work. All decent equipment should have well designed power supplies which take into account likely small mains voltage and frequency fluctuations and voltage spikes from nearby high power equipment. And with so many products employing switch-mode power supplies, the mains power source is completely
I challenge any reviewer to carry out a completely blind test of this product where he or she has no knowledge of whether or not it is in use. I know what the result would be!
Paul Rigby28th October 2022 at 2:05 pm
Look, I’ve been doing this sort of thing a long time. It’s my job. Like anyone who practices, I’m good at it because I’m at it all the time (so to speak 😉 )
Blind tests are a stunt, used to supposedly make you look good in front of the public. To give you that impartial, ‘Wisdom of Solomon’, ‘let’s be totally fair about this, guys’ image.
Blind tests are for those who don’t trust their ears. Blind tests are for those who have no listening strategies. Blind tests are for those whose personal bias swamps their objectivity.
If critics out there need blind tests for others to trust them then good for them. Although I worry about their self confidence.
If you trust me as a critic then great and I talk about that very thing here: https://youtu.be/-NWuE-1yFJ8
Anyone who has an issue with my comments here should view that video first before shouting at me 🙂
If you don’t trust me as a critic then find another. And I don’t say that out of malice or bitterness. Again, I advise this in the video above. You need to filter trusted critics.
As for me? I don’t do blind tests, I don’t use machines, I don’t set up listening panels – I use my ears. Ultimately, so should you.