Audio Gear Smack-Down #1: Power Cables

 A BAAS MEMBER EVENT – Saturday, March 8, 2014         ))))) EVENT IS SOLD OUT (((((

power tangle

Yes, this is the longest invitation sent by anyone, to anything, ever.

This being the first event I’m coordinating for BAAS, I thought that making it easy, participatory, educational and fun would be a good start. So, I kept on thinking… hmmmm, how can we tap into the enormous experience and massive number of man-hours our collective membership has invested in researching, auditioning and breaking in a piece of gear?  And what do most of our audiophiles already have that is very personal, may have taken them forever to decide upon, are easily transportable, easy to get in and out of their systems, and make a HUGE impact on the sound coming out of their speakers? Of course, Power Cables!

Because A/B-ing Power cables is so simple and relatively immediate, what could be better than having a whole bunch to audition from many different companies, different philosophies, different architecture, and yes – from price points that range from reasonable to astronomical? Without any manufacturers taking the stage to present their products (which is important and we will do that at another time), I invite all participants to bring their own power cords to the event to see how they fare against everyone else’s!

This Power Cable Smack-Down should be fairly fast-paced and lively. To make it also sane, we’ll keep the variables low – swapping only the cable that powers the source component, which in this case is a DAC. Please bring paper and pen to take notes on what you hear. Cables will by graded by you, first and foremost for overall sound pleasure factor (SPF), and optionally, for specific nuances such as imaging, dynamics, tonality, transparency, speed, etc.  And… we’ll do all auditions blind!  As a group, we’ll rate each one, find out which sound best, reveal their identities, and publish the results in this blog. We’ll give special recognition to anyone who can identify their own cable when it’s being auditioned! Cool, huh?

Yes, I know that cables are very system-dependent, and nothing ever sounds exactly the same on your rig at home, but this event should definitely give you some idea of which cables you just might want to audition in your own system. Maybe the cable you are most impressed by will be attached to a new friend who would even bring it over to your place for a listen?

I remember the moment I heard a high-end power cord in my system for the first time… the difference was unbelievable. Whether you’ve had many such epiphanies, or you’re still skeptical, this event should be very enlightening and a lot of fun.

Some details: We’ll be meeting on Saturday, March 8th at 10:00am-12:00pm at the beautiful home of BAAS member Leslie Lundin, in Orinda, only 10 minutes from Jason’s soon-to-be-sold Casa Bellecci-Serinus. Leslie is an avid audiophile with a great CJ tube-amplified digital rig feeding a pair of Vandersteen full-rangers, flanked by two matching subs. The sound should be wonderful and very revealing for our purposes.

Here is a list of Power Cables we have for audition:

  1. Synergistic T3 SE with the Galileo mpc
  2. Speltz Audio Lab Level 3 Power Cord
  3. Verastarr Grand Illusion PC
  4. PS Audio AC3
  5. Triode Shunyata Cobra Zitron
  6. Hoveland PC
  7. Synergistic Research Element Copper 
  8. Audio Note PC
  9. Virtual Dynamics Genesis PC
  10. Pangea AC-14 SE
  11. DH Labs Encore power cable
  12. Lessloss DFPC Ref power cord



Sunday, February 16th, 2014 Alón's Posts, Announcements 9 Comments

How musical are you – really?

Go to this link to take a very interesting “test” of your musical skills and proclivities.

You’ll also be helping the BBC with their research.

Hint: A couple of the tests take a while to load. Don’t do what I did and skip them. You will get a low score! (Like me….)




Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General, Music Comments Off

Attend the California Audio Show and BAAS Membership is only $10

The California Audio Show (CAS) is running a promotion wherein BAAS members get a $10 discount on their 3-day tickets.

Since the membership fee for BAAS is only $20, new members can essentially join BAAS for free!

Just follow the link above to join, and I’ll send you the link for the $10 discount to CAS.

Great deal for Bay Area audiophiles….


Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, General 2 Comments

New Book from Ethan Winer Has Audiophile Appeal

Ethan Winer has been an outspoken critic of the more extreme — some would say mainstream (!) — aspects of our hobby. In fact, his (in)famous Audio Myths Video has been the subject of both scorn and admiration. The guy is certainly opinionated.

But he’s also knowledgable, passionate, and – it turns out – an excellent writer. All of this comes out in his new book: The Audio Expert – All You Need to Know About Audio.

Rather than go into details here, just read my short review on Amazon. Suffice to say, I think that many of you would find the book both useful and enjoyable.


Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General 1 Comment

It’s (Almost) Time…for Burning Amp 2011!

One of the true audiophile highlights of the year will be held on October 1st at Fort Mason in SF – Burning Amp.

Virtually mandatory for do-it-yourself (DIY) folks, I also recommend it for “general” audiophiles.

This year will feature a veritable “DIY God” – Douglas Self. I’m sure that I’m far from the only builder who got major acceleration from Mr. Self’s teachings.

Edit: The BA organizers are looking for help, especially in providing high-end digital and/or analog sources for the event. Contact info is on their site.

See you there,


Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Equipment, Events, General Comments Off

Be a Better Audiophile (Or Maybe Reviewer?)

This just in from member Bob S.:

Click here for Ear Training software from Harmon Intl.  Really cool, and it's free!
Some bugs are discussed here.
Finally, Figure 3 (here) shows the poor performance of a group of audio reviewers (how chosen?) compared to listeners trained by Harmon's method.
Bob S.

Thanks, Bob!

Friday, April 1st, 2011 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General, Technical 1 Comment

DIY Tube Phonostage Class at the Randall Museum by Ed Yang

Some of you may know that once a year I teach a DIY tube gear class. This time I’m offering a phonostage / phono preamps class. You will lean about RIAA equalization circuits and build one of my designs known as The Randall Phono.

I have subjected Randall Phono to a number of shootouts / comparison and it has always come out on top. It has a big tone with superb midrange, sparkling treble and solid extended bass. The sound stage is big without being bloated. Imaging is spot on where you can easily pin point the location of performers and instruments in space. At $196.00 for the class, around $350.00 in parts and 8 class sessions you take home a phonostage that is truly high end.

The phonostage you will build is the “passive” type based on the 6SL7 family of tubes, 5V4 rectifier with selectable cartridge loading. This is a medium gain phonostage so you can use it straight with 2mv and greater cartridge. If you use a low output moving coil cartridge (LOMC) you will need to use a step-up transformer (SUT). With a good SUT this phonostage have enough gain to accommodate LOMC as low as 0.14mv. The output impedance is around 30K so it should be able to drive most preamps or integrated amps.

This class is recommended for intermediate or advanced students. If you have taken any of the previous Randall Tube Audio DIY classes or have experience soldering, you are good to go. Even if you have never soldered but have good dexterity, then this class could be ok for you but contact me first. The class is limited to 10 students. This will be the only time I’ll offer the class so don’t wait till the last minute to register.

Class Announcement / Info:

Go to page 12 class #18824

Winter Class registration:

I think you can enter the class number on the search function. The class may not show up on the reg site until 12/18 but do check.

Museum Member registration:
December 11, 10 a.m.

General registration:
December 18, 10 a.m.

First meeting 12:30 PM Jan 8th 2011 in the Randall Room at the Randall Museum

If you have any questions email me Ed Yang at:

Monday, December 13th, 2010 Analog, Announcements, Audiophile, Events Comments Off

Blue Coast Records Hosts Invite-only Holiday Gig

On Saturday, December 11th, Blue Coast Records will host their annual, invitation-only “Blue Coast Artists
Holiday Party with the World” event in their Belmont, CA studio.

The gig will feature Keith Greeninger, Dayan Kai, Jane Selkye, Chris Kee, and a few other new artists performing live in the studio…and uploading the music to the internet in DSD and High Resolution PCM formats.

And BAAS has received a block of tickets! I’ll be there with a score of other BAAS members and special guests.

Sign-up emails have been sent. It should be great!


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events Comments Off

For Macintosh: Play is now AyreWave!

Stephen F. Booth, the prolific work-in-his-spare-time Mac audio coder, has publicly released beta code for the successor to Play – AyreWave.

Taking the same lean-and-mean approach as Play, AyreWave keeps the interface simple and adds ‘hog mode’ and ‘memory playback.’ The results are impressive. (I have been beta-testing the product for the last few weeks.)

I doubt if AyreWave is specifically targeted at Pure Audio and Amarra (it’s free after all), but this release closes the gap with those two products.

Stephen has agreed to do a future BAAS event.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Music Server 1 Comment

$1 Vinyl – Just Like the Old Days!

Friday, September 17th, 2010 Analog, Announcements, Audiophile Comments Off

Free Bax/Mahler/Barber Concerts in Sonoma in October


Gabriel Sakakeeny, Musical Director

WHAT: “Echoes of Innocence”

Conducted by Gabriel Sakakeeny
Soprano Soloist – Christa Pfeiffer
Bax – Summer Music
Barber – Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Mahler – Symphony #4

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2010, 3:00PM

Let the angelic voice of soprano Christa Pfeiffer transport you to a place of beauty, innocence, and truth as Maestro Sakakeeny and the orchestra evoke the romance of both the new and old worlds.
APSC has been giving concerts free of charge since 1999, sustained almost completely on the generosity of donations by audience members. To help us continue our mission to make the beauty of music and the power of community alive and available for everyone, a $20 donation would be gratefully accepted.
Tickets to the October 2 and 3 concerts are free of charge, feature open seating , and are available at the door 60 minutes prior to the concert. For more information please visit

Wheelchair accessible
American Philharmonic – Sonoma County
P.O. Box 7438
Cotati, CA 94931
Friday, September 17th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Music Comments Off

2010 Sonoma Classical Performance Schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 17, 2010                        Media Contact: Wallace Breitman



The Sonoma Classical Music Society inaugurates its seventh season of bringing great classical music to Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley when it presents the acclaimed San Francisco based Cypress String Quartet on Sunday, November 21, 2010, at 3:00 pm in Burlingame Hall, 252 West Spain Street, Sonoma.  Formed in 1996, the Cypress String Quartet, comprised of Cecily Ward, violin, Tom Stone, violin, Ethan Filner, viola, and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello, is noted for its elegant performances and its sound has been called “beautifully proportioned and powerful.  Tickets are $20 for members of the Society, $25 for adults, and $10 for students.  They will be available from the Society’s website,, Reader’s Books, Pharmaca, and at the door

At the November 21 concert, the Cypress String Quartet will perform Mozart’s String Quartet in C major, K. 465, nicknamed “Dissonant,” the last of the set of six quartets which Mozart dedicated to his friend Franz Joseph Haydn and one of his most famous works; Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet, a set of delightful dances which integrates modernist vocabulary, neoclassical elements, jazz and dance rhythms from a variety of sources and cultures; and Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor, op. 10, premiered in December 1893, influenced by Javanese gamelan music, and based solely on four tones and their relation to one another.

The Cypress is recording the Beethoven late quartets, having released the first of three discs in August 2009 to great acclaim (Gramophone praised it as “revealing artistry of uncommon insight and cohesion.”), with the second disc released in August 2010 and the third scheduled for a 2011 release.  The quartet members trained individually at institutions including the Juilliard School, Interlochen Arts Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal Academy of Music.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a superb ensemble perform great classical music live in Sonoma!

The next concert in the Sonoma Classical Music Society’s 2010 – 2011 season will be in January 2011.

About the Sonoma Classical Music Society

The Sonoma Classical Music Society was formed in 2004 with the mission of sponsoring a series of classical music concerts in Sonoma of the highest professional quality.  An application for membership in the Sonoma Classical Music Society may be obtained at the website:

Friday, September 17th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, General, Music Comments Off

BAASnotes tops Google Blog Search Results

Search Google Blogs for “audiophile.” What comes up first?

Don’t ask me how this happens…or how long it”ll last…but I like it!   ;-)


Thursday, August 26th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Humor Comments Off

More on the Beethoven Sonata Series

The entire cycle of 32 will be performed by Robert Silverman in the lovely Le Petit Trianon Main Theater, San Jose.
Dates: Various, Sep 9 – Apr 14  (9 concerts)
Sponsored by Audio High; CD’s mastered by Steve Hoffman forthcoming.
BAAS members and a guest get very special pricing to the first two – wait for my email.
Concert details here….

Thursday, August 26th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, Music Comments Off

New DIY class next January

San Francisco audio designer, Edwin Yang, will be once again teaching a class starting in January, 2011 at the Randall Museum. For the last few years, Edwin has been teaching students how to build a tube linestage, myself included. The linestage, although not expensive, is a terrific piece of gear – I sold my other 2 tube linestages after building it.

The next project is a tube phono stage. This class will be more challenging than the linestage class, but still possible for the student that has confidence and some dexterity. It is not necessary to have built anything before but that it desirable.

The class will be for several Saturdays starting in January. Some will finish quickly while others, like myself, will take the total of 10 Saturdays to finish. The class is always entertaining and educational and I highly recommend it. Cost will be around $600 – $700.

Phono stage comparison at the Randall Museum October 9th

The Bay Area Tube Users Group will be hosting a phono stage comparison at 1pm on Saturday October 9th. I will be bringing my Nighthawk and Prism Orpheus to compare to Edwin’s phono stageIf you have a favorite phono stage you want to compare, please bring it along. So if you are on the fence as to whether it is worth the effort to build one, attend the event and decide for yourselves.

Peter Truce

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 Analog, Announcements 4 Comments

Sumiko to Hold Open House in Berkeley

See the flyer below for details of Sumiko’s Open House (9/15/2010):

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, News 1 Comment

Silverman to Return to Beethoven Sonatas

Audio High will bring pianist Robert Silverman back to the Bay Area, this time for an eight-concert series of the entire cycle of Beethoven piano sonatas (32 in all).

These events will be open to the public and all proceeds will benefit the Elf Foundation. Dates are Sept 9th & 16th and Nov 11th & 18th, 2010; Feb 3rd & 10th and Apr 7th & 14th, 2011.

Audio High will be recording and producing a CD set of all 32 sonatas with Mr. Silverman that will also contribute to the Elf Foundation’s Rooms of Magic program. The recordings will also likely be offered in a high-resolution format. (Yah!)

BAAS was treated to Silverman’s masterful playing in a private session last year.

More information will be available at (note the .org).

Monday, July 19th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, News Comments Off

Blue Coast “BAAS Session III” Coming June 26th!

Matt & Jenna at Blue Coast BAAS Event II

Great news: BAAS members and their guests have been invited to another “insider” recording session at Blue Coast Records.

The recording artists include Jane Selkye and Chris Kee (think “Blue Coast Collection”). Yeah!

In addition to the recording session itself, two other special events will be featured:

  • An “engineer-in-training” session where a BAAS member can “ride the levels” and do other cool studio things.
  • A BBQ feast, cooked by a “Special Chef” – a great time to mingle with Cookie and the artists

Invitations are being sent today.


Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events Comments Off

New Audiophile Web Site Launches

There’s yet-another-audiophile-website up and running – the e-zine HIFI ZINE.

And the first issue looks good: an interview with the colorful Albert Von Schweickert, a DSP article, DIY stuff, reviews, and more.

A pretty impressive debut IMO…enjoy!

Friday, June 4th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, General Comments Off

Music@Menlo to Kick Off 2010 Summer Festival

If you love chamber music, let me recommend a local festival put on by Music@Menlo in – where else – Atherton (near Menlo Park!). This Merc article provides a nice preview.

Great music, performed well. And sometimes much better than “well.”

If you don’t believe me, try a couple of their well-produced CD’s (available on the web site).

Good listening!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 Announcements, Audiophile, Bob, Events, General Comments Off