Powerline dressing

Hi all!

 I already have a single Powerline on my SN2 and may add some more in the future. As they have a fixed length of 2 m some will be quite a bit longer than necessary.

How do you dress your Powerlines to deal with this? They obviously should be kept away from interconnects and speaker cables. Coiling seems like a bad idea as well. While there are a couple of threads addressing this subject, they are a few years old and I wonder if there are new(er) thoughts or experiences.

Original Post

My one Powerline going from wall to 250DR I have lying in hooks screwed into the skirting board running underneath the wall sockets behind my rack. It runs away from the wall socket and rack, does a 180 degree loop and then returns back to the rack and the 250DR. This keeps the cable away from other cables and off the floor. Not sure if this arrangements enhances SQ but it seems logical to me and I can't be bothered to fiddle around 'listening' to different arrangements.

I have two coiled in a loop under the rack. You can just see them poking out of the front, which is not ideal. 

Having said that, my system is currently in storage while I do a fairly major refurb of the room. This includes a proper dedicated mains supply, and I have had the sockets put as high as possible on the wall in order to use up some of the excess cable. Looking in the System Pics thread, it seems that others do this too. In a separate room, I'm putting in another dedicated supply where the sockets are low, but off to one side of the rack (where they will he hidden behind a sofa.) I've positioned the sockets so that there will be no excess cable to deal with, and the speaker cable will go in the opposite direction.

It may not only be Powerlines but all the other cables as well. I used to (tediously) swap equipment as I have two Naim setups. Whenever the amps are moved around, the cable orientation will change. Most of the time there will be a slight change in sound presentation when the cables are fiddled with. Just recently I moved the equipment rack from the middle of speakers to the side. Again a change in sound though that may be a combination of the rack being moved to the side and a cable configuration that's different. 

Ideally all cables shall not touch each other though it's easier said than done. All the cables in my system are more or less touching each other, hanging and on the floor. The power cords, interconnects and speaker cables are all a jumbled mess though it's all hidden behind the rack.

The sockets on the back of my XPS and 250 are only a foot from the wall sockets, which has meant that the Powerlines are coiled beneath the stand. It's a very loose coil, but there is little alternative. I did find that any coiling of the SL speaker leads needs to be avoided, so I have the one from the right hand speaker running away from the speaker then back again, as it says in the instructions. If I were to run the Powerlines in a similar fashion, they would get in the way of the speaker wire, so really it's a case of the lesser of two weevils, as they say in Master and Commander. 

I have made one small cable tweak today though: ever since getting an SL din to XLR it has just touched the top of the carpet pile, despite my getting longer legs for the rack. Today, while dusting, I thought I'd check whether I could raise the spikes on the SVT's bronze spikes, and was very pleased that it's indeed possible. There is now a clear gap between the cable and the carpet. It may or may not make a difference, but I find it reassuring that there is a clear gap when I know there 'should' be. 

My system is much less prone to slight setup shortcomings than the bigger system I used to have, but it still makes sense to get the best from it. 

I noted Ryder's comment above about everything being a mess behind the rack, and all I'd say is that it's an ideal time for Spring cleaning and a good tidy up. 

elkman70 posted:

I had the same issue with my SL interconnect. My solution was to put a very loose knot in it. Very loose.

Does keeping the Powerline off the floor really make a difference. Not sure how I would achieve this...

I use a wall hook.

I wouldn't worry too much about the Powerline touching the floor - the design of the Powerline connectors helps to mechanically decouple them (and the equipment) from the cable itself. One of the main benefits comes from the care taken with the floating pin arrangement on the mains plug and the clamping pressure of the contacts in the IEC plug.

At the length Naim supply them, it would be difficult without some type of support arrangement to keep them off the floor in most domestic environments. 

Hook posted:
elkman70 posted:

I had the same issue with my SL interconnect. My solution was to put a very loose knot in it. Very loose.

Does keeping the Powerline off the floor really make a difference. Not sure how I would achieve this...

I use a wall hook.

Good idea. I could use some spare Elk Antlers that I have lying around.

Thanks for all your input so far.

I think it would be very difficult to keep the Powerline off the floor, as it thankfully is among the two most flexible aftermarket power cords I know. And this is one of the two reasons why I like it as much as I do.

Has anyone noticed negative effects from running several Powerlines close together?

Hook and Elkman: you do honor your nicknames .

I do keep my cables apart from each other as much as possible and interconnects, burdys and snaics off the floor. Speaker cables are inevitably on the floor but are arranged to avoid loops. I swore this is as far as I would go with cable dressing.

But after reading this thread I have just caught myself snipping up a piece of old wash sponge and placing it under my Witch Hat DIN/XLR cable to raise it off the carpet and listening for a difference!

I guess I am a hopeless case. 

nigelb posted:

I do keep my cables apart from each other as much as possible and interconnects, burdys and snaics off the floor. Speaker cables are inevitably on the floor but are arranged to avoid loops. I swore this is as far as I would go with cable dressing.

But after reading this thread I have just caught myself snipping up a piece of old wash sponge and placing it under my Witch Hat DIN/XLR cable to raise it off the carpet and listening for a difference!

I guess I am a hopeless case. 

How do you avoid loops with speaker cables? A single run of speaker cable in my system is arranged in a loop as the rack is on the side of the speaker with the amp located very close to the speaker. Does a loop arrangement of speaker cable affect the sound in a malicious way? Interconnects are hanging freely though the power cables in my system are in a mess, either touching each other or criss-crossing over speaker cables and/or interconnects due to the tight space between shelves. The Virtual Dynamics Nite II power cord which connects to the source is stiff as a board and needs to be pre-bent to fit into the socket of both power block and equipment.

The crux of the problem to me is that Naim offers Powerlines in only a single length, same as their ICs. One size doesn't fit all so the user is left without options when a shorter cord might be more practical. Hence these questions arise.

One option is to cut the Powerline to a suitable size (readily done at the plug end) but that devalues the resale where that's a concern. Another option is to look at alternative mains cords available in varying lengths, many far less expensive that may yield better results.

Another option is to use a Powerline as is and not get too hung up on how it's "dressed". If you're worried about how a Powerline is laying, what it's touching, or how it's coiled, you may have bigger issues with your system. There's only so much oil to be squeezed from a snake.

joerand posted:

The crux of the problem to me is that Naim offers Powerlines in only a single length, same as their ICs. One size doesn't fit all so the user is left without options when a shorter cord might be more practical. Hence these questions arise.

One option is to cut the Powerline to a suitable size (readily done at the plug end) but that devalues the resale where that's a concern. Another option is to look at alternative mains cords available in varying lengths, many far less expensive that may yield better results.

Another option is to use a Powerline as is and not get too hung up on how it's "dressed". If you're worried about how a Powerline is laying, what it's touching, or how it's coiled, you may have bigger issues with your system. There's only so much oil to be squeezed from a snake.

I think you may have hit the nail on the head! If this cable dressing really is so very important, would not Naim be offering different lengths of their power and interconnect cables, or at the very least a custom build service? The fact that they seem content to offer just a standard length seems to suggest to me that it really doesn't matter a jot whether a cable touches the floor or not!

ryder. posted:
nigelb posted:

I do keep my cables apart from each other as much as possible and interconnects, burdys and snaics off the floor. Speaker cables are inevitably on the floor but are arranged to avoid loops. I swore this is as far as I would go with cable dressing.

But after reading this thread I have just caught myself snipping up a piece of old wash sponge and placing it under my Witch Hat DIN/XLR cable to raise it off the carpet and listening for a difference!

I guess I am a hopeless case. 

How do you avoid loops with speaker cables? A single run of speaker cable in my system is arranged in a loop as the rack is on the side of the speaker with the amp located very close to the speaker. Does a loop arrangement of speaker cable affect the sound in a malicious way? Interconnects are hanging freely though the power cables in my system are in a mess, either touching each other or criss-crossing over speaker cables and/or interconnects due to the tight space between shelves. The Virtual Dynamics Nite II power cord which connects to the source is stiff as a board and needs to be pre-bent to fit into the socket of both power block and equipment.

Sorry, by loops I mean single or multiple 360 degree loops. I have several 180 degree 'bends' in my speaker cables. It is the 360 degree loops that are best avoided, even though they clear up the mess caused by surplus lengths of cable.

Where cables need to cross each other then try to arrange crossing at 90 degrees (without touching if possible) and not running parallel/close to each other.

A degree of pragmatism is required and in certain environments where space is limited and cables lying neatly spaced becomes an eyesore, intricate cable dressing is not possible. Best not to sweat it and enjoy the music. 

Timmo1341 posted:
joerand posted:

The crux of the problem to me is that Naim offers Powerlines in only a single length, same as their ICs. One size doesn't fit all so the user is left without options when a shorter cord might be more practical. Hence these questions arise.

One option is to cut the Powerline to a suitable size (readily done at the plug end) but that devalues the resale where that's a concern. Another option is to look at alternative mains cords available in varying lengths, many far less expensive that may yield better results.

Another option is to use a Powerline as is and not get too hung up on how it's "dressed". If you're worried about how a Powerline is laying, what it's touching, or how it's coiled, you may have bigger issues with your system. There's only so much oil to be squeezed from a snake.

I think you may have hit the nail on the head! If this cable dressing really is so very important, would not Naim be offering different lengths of their power and interconnect cables, or at the very least a custom build service? The fact that they seem content to offer just a standard length seems to suggest to me that it really doesn't matter a jot whether a cable touches the floor or not!

This issue has been raised before, and I seem to recall that some cables are made to a specific length to optimise their performance, and that is why Naim are reluctant to offer a range of lengths. What I can't remember is weather that reasoning applies to Powerlines, as opposed to Hilines, Burndies etc.......

nigelb posted:

Sorry, by loops I mean single or multiple 360 degree loops. I have several 180 degree 'bends' in my speaker cables. It is the 360 degree loops that are best avoided, even though they clear up the mess caused by surplus lengths of cable.

Where cables need to cross each other then try to arrange crossing at 90 degrees (without touching if possible) and not running parallel/close to each other.

A degree of pragmatism is required and in certain environments where space is limited and cables lying neatly spaced becomes an eyesore, intricate cable dressing is not possible. Best not to sweat it and enjoy the music. 

Thanks for the clarification. I knew you were referring to a 360 degree loop(s) when you mentioned loops. That is exactly what I did to one of the speaker cables, several 360 degree loops. I don't think I will do a 180 degree bend to the cable as it will ruin the shape of it. To each his own. I have seen this 180 degree arrangement when someone posted a photo on this forum 2 to 3 years ago. Not too sure if the cables were NACA5. The NACA5 is surely too stiff to have a sharp 180 degree bend unless the curvature of the bend is a considerably wide U-shaped parabolic, and the arrangement will require quite a bit of space behind the rack. My current speaker cables are Chord Epic Twin and although the are more flexible than the NACA5, they are rather thick and do not form sharp bends.

In summary, personally I don't think I can get away with the 360 degree multiple loops with the speaker cable, only on one side. What I can do is to ensure all other cables, power cords and interconnects will not run parallel to each other. IF they do run parallel I will try to ensure that there is sufficient space between the cables. Thanks for the heads up. At the end of the day, it's the music that matters and I agree not to sweat it.

nigelb posted:

I have just caught myself snipping up a piece of old wash sponge and placing it under my Witch Hat DIN/XLR cable to raise it off the carpet and listening for a difference

I wouldn't doubt that somewhere else in the world of Naim someone has snipped-up a piece of old carpet to raise a cable off a hardwood or tile floor and listened for a difference.

The question for me is at what point do you simply accept what you have, sit back, and enjoy the music? Focus on the larger, readily identifiable system aspects and abandon the minutiae. My point being that if you're looking for betterment via a sponge or piece of carpet, bend or coil of a cable, you may be lost in a hopeless chase that is ultimately meaningless. I see these kinds of "tweaks" as pursuits of anality that only you'll be able to rationalize.

OTOH, if such pursuits work for you and you can relax in the end ... great.

joerand posted:
nigelb posted:

I have just caught myself snipping up a piece of old wash sponge and placing it under my Witch Hat DIN/XLR cable to raise it off the carpet and listening for a difference

I wouldn't doubt that somewhere else in the world of Naim someone has snipped-up a piece of old carpet to raise a cable off a hardwood or tile floor and listened for a difference.

The question for me is at what point do you simply accept what you have, sit back, and enjoy the music? Focus on the larger, readily identifiable system aspects and abandon the minutiae. My point being that if you're looking for betterment via a sponge or piece of carpet, bend or coil of a cable, you may be lost in a hopeless chase that is ultimately meaningless. I see these kinds of "tweaks" as pursuits of anality that only you'll be able to rationalize.

OTOH, if such pursuits work for you and you can relax in the end ... great.

Indeed, I was being self-crtical in my post. In my defence it has been ages since I have engaged in such strange behaviour. It was reading this thread and noticing the only lead dangling onto the carpet was my DIN/XLR. The great thing is that I managed to convince myself I hear a positive difference after the sponge went in. It doesn't really matter if there isn't a real difference, I think there is, so there is.

Free upgrade! Whhooppee!!

Just thought of a new revenue stream for Naim - counselling for audio nervosa. They can have that idea on me!

Little foam pad cut offs can be useful to help cables loops stay in shape. I don't have many cable dressing issues in my simple  two boxer, apart from my Chord Sig USB cable. However i pre form it into a nice stress free loop, this cable will eventually sag and touch the wall. One pad placed against the wall and another placed on the bottom shelf of my rack allow the cable to loop freely between server and amp and keep its shape over time. 

Inevitably, after reading through this topic, I visited the plumbers merchant yesterday, and purchased, for an outlay of 98p, a 2m length of foam pipe insulation, which I then cut into 2" chunks and lifted my speaker cables off the wooden floor in the music room.

Any improvement?

Who knows, but it'll be the cheapest upgrade yet which didn't work! 

james n posted:

Little foam pad cut offs can be useful to help cables loops stay in shape. I don't have many cable dressing issues in my simple  two boxer, apart from my Chord Sig USB cable. However i pre form it into a nice stress free loop, this cable will eventually sag and touch the wall. One pad placed against the wall and another placed on the bottom shelf of my rack allow the cable to loop freely between server and amp and keep its shape over time. 

I always imagined that such an arrangement might exert a little extra pressure on the plug/socket compared to a free hanging cable, and that any such loading was bad. (Maybe more relevant to Burndies than USB cables, though?!)

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