The Audiophile Apartment

The Wireworld Stratus™ and Electra™Shielded Mini Power Conditioning cords

You Can’t Unhear em!

Wireworld founder David Salz makes some of the world’s finest cables, used by audiophiles and endorsed by recording engineers the world over. He’s a big thinker, and this time he’s solved a problem that a lot of us didn’t know we had – mini power cords. Applying their Fluxfield™ technology, he’s developed the world’s only two conductor fully shielded (others only have the shield connected at one end) power cords.

A long time ago, I plugged my Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin into the wall with a 3-prong to mini adaptor, using a fairly expensive power cord and did notice a difference in sound quality, but the adaptor kept falling out because of the power cord’s weight. Besides, who’s going to plug a $1,000 power cord into a $795 Zeppelin anyway? (ok, I know some of you might)

However as more components are being released with mini power sockets instead of standard IECs, the Stratus and Electra, at just under $100 and $250 respectively, make a lot of sense. The constantly rising price of vintage gear using these plugs also makes a $100 -$250 power cord of high quality a great addition to your system. TVs too.

One of the most annoying arguments against high performance power cords and power conditioning products is “The power comes miles to my house, why would I need a power cord that filters the power?” Many audio enthusiasts compare AC power to water, which isn’t the worst comparison you can make, but again, if the water came miles to your house, why would the last few feet matter?

Because the water (or in this case the AC power) is full of dirt, noise, and artifacts. Zillions of people install water purification systems, or at least a PUR water filter on the end of their water line. More than a few of my crazed car buddies have spent thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of dollars on water purification systems to make sure their cars are squeaky clean. So why not do the same with the power coming out of your wall? That’s why the last 6 feet does matter.

Enter Stratus and Electra

The first two devices I tried the power cords with were the as mentioned Zeppelin and our Naim MuSo QB. Both get heavy useage around here, so I’m very familiar with their sound. When evaluating wire products, I’m of the mind that you should hear a fairly succinct difference at first, perhaps improving more as the cable has had current flowing through it. Both Wireworld cables pass this test easily. My test cables are each 2M and because of the filtering effect, Wireworld suggests the longer will have more effect. (you can get 1M and 1.5M versions)

Please click here to go to the Wireworld site for more tech information.

A killer desktop solution

Interestingly, the MuSo QB responded better to the beefier and more expensive Electra. Our MuSo is out in the living room and is almost always playing classical music. It keeps my English Bull Terriers calm. Both cords made a difference in the size of the image presented, and the stringed instruments of the orchestra sound more relaxed, natural and less electronic. Think of the Stratus as delivering about a pint of this effect and the Electra a quart.

Moving on to some bass heavy music from Massive Attack, Kruder and Dorfmeister and RUN-DMC, an even bigger jump in performance is realized in the low frequencies – and again the Electra is well worth the step up in price. Bass is more controlled and hits harder. As with the orchestral selections, the electronica tracks, with a lot of spatial information feels bigger in the room. The MuSo QB already does an incredibly convincing job at almost imaging like a pair of stereo speakers, but this is a big jump! If you have a MuSo (large or QB) I suggest the Electra is must have accessory.

The Zeppelin, while sounding better in much the same way, did not show as much of a delta between the two cords, so I’d suggest sticking with a Stratus. Again, damn good for a $70 item. Congrats to Wireworld for being to offer so much in such a reasonably priced cord.

Don’t forget vintage

Finally, and perhaps the biggest surprise came when plugging the Electra into my vintage Revox A-77 reel to reel deck with the enclosed adaptor. Not only does the deck sound quieter with existing tapes, but I could definitely hear a similar difference when moving the recorded selections made with Electra in versus out on playback. Same for my TEAC A-3300.

A few years ago when these decks were only fetching a couple hundred bucks on Ebay, I doubt many would consider this option, but now with decks like this easily fetching $1,000 – $2,000, a $240 power cord moves the performance needle enough to make sense. Being a crazed audiophile, I would have still bought one, but it’s an easier decision now. Here’s to hoping Mr. Salz will find enough interest in the tape community to produce these with that rectangular end for the rest of us.

Won’t get fooled

Here’s the final blow to the cable naysaysers. I know what you’re thinking. Audio memory, listening position, blah blah. There can’t be a discernable difference, it’s expectation bias. I told you Mr. Salz was pretty clever, didn’t I?  He included his own “Power Cord A/B Switch” featuring a mini cord male stub on the end of the box with two outlets. One for your stock cable and one for the WW cable. Or any other mini power cord. With a little help from Pam at the switchbox end, it was easy to stay in exactly the same position and move between the cables.

Three sets of listening confirmed what I heard initially. Stock power vs. Stratus, stock power vs. Electra, and Electra vs. Stratus. On all devices. I also enlisted a couple non audiophile friends with good ears to see if they could hear anything, without telling them what was going on. Again, everyone picked out the differences readily and repeatedly.

I’ve been using Wirewold cables in various systems and configurations since I started reviewing gear at The Absolute Sound over 20 years ago. The Stratus and Electra power cords are yet another product from a legacy hifi company that incorporates solid design principles at an approachable price. Which is why we gave them our Product of the Year award in the cable segment for 2023. And I know I’ll be buying a few for around here, so they get the #toneaudioapproved award (only given to products we own) as well.

Very highly recommended. – Jeff Dorgay

$60 – $90 Stratus™

$160 – $240 Electra™

(price dependent on length, both cables)