November 11, 2012

Gutwire C Clef2 Powercord

My first encounter with audiophile powercords was when they first appeared on our shore a couple of decades ago. They were from XLO, the ones with the green and purple jacket, terminated nicely with chunky MK UK plugs. They cost just a few hundred Ringgit for a 1m length, but was considered a princely sum then.  Despite what my engineer friend would say, these audiophile powercards actually brought some improvements to my system, reducing background hash and making the music sound more coherent.

The audiophile cable market has exploded since then. There is an abundant of choices now, at various price points. I myself have tested a few over the years, and can attest to the different ‘flavours’ that the disparate brands bring to the table, just that why it should be so, I can’t explain.

Anyway, to support the case of getting a good powercord for our hifi equipment, I like to see the electricity from our wall as the raw material that makes up the music signal all the way in our hifi chain until it reaches the loudspeakers, so if we can maintain or improve the quality of our electricity supply, the quality of our music replay should be better too.

The Gutwire C Clef2 powercord is the subject of this write-up. The C Clef2 goes for RM2,650/5 feet and RM3,350 / 8 feet. It sits in the middle of Gutwire’s 12 model strong powercord range. This is a very well made powercord, it feels solid and heavy holding it in my hand. The specifications from Gutwire’s website states the following:

• Cable Diameter: .975"
• Conductors: Multi-Strand High Purity Oxygen Free Copper
• Insulation: Low dielectric Polyethylene
• Discrete Conductors: 279
• Shield Coverage: 100% Copper braided shielding
• Shielding Type: Quadruple with individual shielding
• GutWire Electron Rectification Processing (GREP): Yes
• Conductor Current Carrying Capacity: 52A
• IEC Connector: Wattgate 15A or Hubbell 20A
• AC Connector: Hubbell Hospital Grade 8215(15A) or 8315(20A)
• Option: Wattgate 330i AC plug

Since I have only 1 piece of C Clef2, I can’t try this hefty powercord on my monoblocks. Instead, I tried it on my Ayre C-5xeMP universal player and Pass Labs XP-20 preamp in turn, and in both cases replacing Shunyata's Python Helix Alpha powercord.

The Gutwire C Clef2 was already in use for some time at the dealer’s. At my place, its performance settled down after a few of hours of use. Over the 2-week test period, the character of the power cord did not change. The first character from this powercord that announced its presence was ‘Quietness’. I'd describe this quietness as such - when no music was playing, I felt the room was just that little bit quieter, and when music was playing, the background was slightly darker and the silences between notes were, well, more silent. Switching back to my own powercord, while I was not able to discern obvious noise, I just instinctively felt that it was ‘noisier’ and the music sounded just a smidgen edgier.

The Gutwire C Clef2 has an interesting feature that I have not seen in any other powercords I came across. It has a little clip connected with a thin wire to the cable shield. You can earth the shield by clipping the clip to your equipment’s chassis. The difference between earthing and not earthing the cable shield in my system was minor. If I am pushed, I might say that I could discern just a little bit more quietness with the shield earthed. Your mileage may vary so please do experiment.  (Note: this feature is not to be confused with the earth wire in the powercord itself. The earth leg of the powercord is always connected).

The overall sound from this powercord is definitely ‘North American’ (Gutwire is Canadian) – big, bold, solid. The bass was strong and well defined, the mid was meaty, and the high was clean. Detail portrayal and delivery of musical nuances were very very good, I suppose this point is greatly helped by the quietness of the powercord. As it is, I’d just like to ask for a little more sparkle to the highs, in order to take fuller advantage the TAD-CR1 loudspeakers that I use, but that is just me. The clean highs from this powercord will balance nicely with a system that has some issues with brightness. It will also counter any roughness in that area.

Do check out the Gutwire range at the Audio Store. Contact Mr Aw at 03-78872233

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