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ESP MusicCord

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pdbass, Mar 29, 2009.

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  1. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    First of all, let me say that I fully expect the maelstrom of responses to this thread keeping in touch with what I've read in the archives. There's no way that a power cord can affect your sound--that seems to be the consensus.

    I purchased the ESP MusicCord (which is the less expensive of the 2 power cords) recently, influenced by a couple of gigs where I had to deal with suspect power but also because of my interest in having high-quality connections for my stuff. I'm one of those foolish people that believe that my bass sounds just a little better when I'm using the right cord to my amp. Why not get the best connection to the AC? I used the MusicCord on one gig and, quite honestly, was very surprised. I was not perceiving something much better, but 3 things jumped out at me (and my untrained ears):

    1) More gain.

    My amp was a little louder--same settings.

    2) More punch.

    I perceived the sound of the instrument to have bit more presence and 'punch', particularly in the lower mids, but very focused. While the sound with the original cord might sound like a flashlight with a wide beam that fades out around the edges, the MusicCord was much more focused with sharp edges, like a spotlight--"tighter" sounding.

    3) No noise...at all.

    This one surprised me a bit. I play a Fodera 5 with Bartolinis and was a little used to that hiss that comes if you turn your treble up all the way on a gig. The amp was totally quiet...ridiculously quiet, studio quiet--no matter what setting, whatever volume. With less than perfect power (sharing a strip with keys), the amp, at HIGH volumes, was like I had the bass on standby. Nice.

    I also put the cord through its paces at home through various amps, combos, etc. The audible differences were SUBTLE, but were there. Trying to describe the sound of the MusicCord with my bass through my gear would probably be like trying to describe my mom's fried chicken. You can't know unless you've had it. I will say that if you can hear the difference between certain instrument cables, you'll notice a difference with the MusicCord. Some of you hear it, some of you could give a damn. To my ears, there was a subtle audible difference and the way it took away the noise and hiss was obvious. Was it worth $130? To me it was, but I also play a "boutique" bass with "boutique" cords through a "boutique" cabinet. It makes everything sound a LITTLE better, which is why I bought it in the first place.

    Disclaimer: I am a nobody. You've never heard of me. You probably never will. I know that most of you have never used this piece of equipment, but I thought it a service to share my experiences with it so far. I thought I'd offer an opinion on this piece of gear because nobody wants to spend that much money on a power cord. That's why we go to talkbass, no? Your Mileage May Vary, but In My Humble Opinion, the MusicCord seems to make a difference, especially in the noise dept.
    jondiener likes this.
  2. Y'know this was totally debunked in HiFi circles, although you can still see ads for these things. Here we go again in this forum!

    Think about it! Your super duper cable is something like 6-8 feet in length. How much cable connects the end of it to the breaker panel? Add the length of wiring from the panel to the distribution transformer. Then you add the cabling from transformer to the switching station. How many transformers did the supply go through and how many miles of transmission lines in the grid.

    Sorry I simply don't buy it! Next someone will be saying "Hey we're running on HydroElectric power today. Sounds so much better than yesterday when we were running on Nuclear power or the day before when we has fossil fueled electricity!"

  3. All I will say on this is if he hears a difference, he hears a difference. No one has his ears but him, it is not my purpose in life to berate anyones beliefs.
    Chances are he may have had a marginal power cord to start with or even a defective one. Would any well made power cable have made a difference? Power cords are the last thought and most times the cheapest made componet. I won't spend that much on one but have IME seen them cause problems.
  4. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Anyone here see the movie, CADILLAC RECORDS? ...Just imagining what these fine folk would have been able to pull off had they a passel of these AC cords, and the electric code to support them ; }

    Howlin' Wolf as portrayed in the film, and on the records, still mighty fahn, BTW!
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    I think Bruno Putzeys puts it right that if a power cable makes a piece of gear sound better then there must be something wrong with the gear.
  6. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    I only submit my humble opinion for those that haven't tried one of these cords yet. Apparently, you've walked a mile in my shoes.

    Any opinions on what I had for breakfast this morning? How did it taste?
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Tripe - I'd guess :D

    Can you actually record the difference? Maybe post a sound sample?
  8. Thanks for sharing your experience. I've been thinking about getting a couple of these for my power amp and analog synths. What kind of amp were you using?
  9. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    I fried my eggs with snake oil this morning. You'd just have to try it to find out how it tasted.
  10. Me wonders if the OP is now sorry he decided to share with this forum :scowl:
    You can doubt all you want, that is no excuse to behave this way :help:
    jondiener likes this.
  11. jnewmark

    jnewmark Just wanna play the groove. Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Stax 1966
    Third St. Cigar Records staff musician.
    Nah, I like the way those old Chess records sounded!
  12. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    Markbass LMK II, Markbass 1x12 combo, 121p cab, Epifani UL-310, GK MB150, and Acoustic Image Contra. Haven't tried anything else yet.
  13. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Have you tried a blind test? Have someone else swap cables and listen.
  14. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
  15. mrkreuzschlitz


    Jun 30, 2008
    Dacula, GA

    Dumb power cable crap.
    Seriously, I want to A/B them and see if its true.
  16. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    My question is whether a subtle audio difference will be heard in a live performance setting. Perhaps on a recording, but not in any environments where I've played.
  17. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    I actually did try a blind test--and the difference was clear to me, albeit with someone else playing my bass. I also played in a group setting with the cable--drums & keys, and louder jazz/groove-type music. I did hear a difference, believe it or not. Like I said, some people can hear a difference when they plug in a, say, Monster bass cable. For some, it's just a damn waste of money. I just so happened not to form an opinion until I tried it out ;)

    I'm just trying to help somebody out, you know? I happened to buy a bass that was getting alot of really great reviews over on the DB board about 5 years ago. Allegedly, you couldn't go wrong with this instrument. Everybody just heaping praise. I ended up buying this instrument, and it was a 14 month utter waste of my time. I tried for over a year to get my sound out of it, to no avail. I sold the bass to a student and came on and posted my failed experience with it. I was downright attacked on here. How dare I say something bad about this incredible fiddle that everybody put on a pedestal. There had to be something wrong with me! How dare I disagree with post after post?

    If 100 people loved it, I thought I should do a service for the 2 or 3 on the fence. A good review is great, but you learn a hell of a lot reading negative reviews, as well. We've all read why a power cord shouldn't make a difference, many times over. I respectfully present the flip side, for the 2 or 3 of you out there thinking about it. It was worth it.
  18. gregbackstrom

    gregbackstrom Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Tacoma, Washington
    Hi PDBass,

    Don't be discouraged by all the animosity regarding cables. This is just one of those odd issues that some people have strong-but-not-necessarily-informed (or experienced) feelings about!

    My first cable epiphany was when I lived next to a hospital and was getting a weird, nondiscript distortion in my audio system. I had no idea what was causing the noise until I acquired a pair of Polk Audio Cobra Cables to test. Those cables so significantly improved the "focus" and clarity of the noise that a technician from the hospital who was kind enough to visit me was able to identify it as the hospital's kidney dialysis machine.

    I can't--and therefore won't--try to explain why different signal and power cables make an audible difference. Regarding signal cables, I've heard a lot of folks say that it has more to do with the capicitance of the cable than any other property. I'm sure the story is different for power cables.

    It's interesting that Richard Bona and Victor Wooten--both players with amazing ears and little to gain from gratuitous endorsements--have claimed to hear improvements with particular cables. Until someone with that level of credibility challenges what you're hearing, I'd ignore the self-righteous, inexperienced, uninformed responses you're getting and just be happy you've found an improvement that doesn't involve buying a new amp or cabinet!

    And thanks for the review! You sound like a critical listener. I may have to try one of these power cords myself.

  19. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    The OP has the right to post what his experiences and beliefs and that does not entitle anyone to berate or belittle him for it. Rule #1 applies to any topic discussion including those that the majority are against.

    Now, show some respect or you won't like the communication you have with me.
  20. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Hi. Physicist-wannabe checking in. Cables DO make a difference, with passive basses. Capacitance in the cable does cut highs, and you can even show it on a FFT graph, i believe. What i'm trying to say is, there's a physical idea, a physics concept, behind what people hear when they put in a Monster Bass Cable, or something unnecessarily long. It's cutting highs.

    Not to berate you, but unlike instrument cables between a passive bass and the first buffer/gain stage, i can't think of a single physical concept that would change the sound produced from an amp by changing the power cord within the audible range. That's what people have a bone to pick with.

    I would record some samples. If hiss is really reduced, it should be really apparent on a microphone mounted on a stand, set slightly away from (the horn of) a normal cabinet.

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