Nitro and Heretical Analog Cable Plus Review
A detailed review of Nitro and HAC+ from Soundstage
I had deep silence and terrific pace and snappy snare drums and deep, Gordian Knot-tight bass. Holy moley, that sounded great! The aforementioned triangles and cymbals floated in three dimensions with sparkle and wonderful shimmer.....
I wouldn’t go wrong buying Mad Scientist Audio’s Heretical Analog interconnects and Nitro power cords -- they’re excellent products and incredible bargains. They’re not audio jewelry -- you may want to hide the Nitros from sensitive eyes -- but looks are clearly not everything. If your cable budget is limited and you want to know how great wires can transform a system’s sound, go Mad.
Heretical Analog Cable Plus Reviews
So what does it sound like? Actually like nothing. Comparing them to my reference Ansuz Ceramics, they have a very similar tonal balance, not as low as the Ansuz Ceramics go maybe, but very well defined. Highs are very transparent to the source, no harshness, no softening, rich and full of information. Mids are open, pleasure to listen to without any superficial emphasis on vocals like some very expensive cables. Compared to my Kimber Select 1030 interconnects (US$ 2.330 in retail), they are far more civilized, getting out of the way elegantly, thus letting the energy of music flow freely, in a way that it never jumps on you. When I returned to the Kimbers during the comparison session, they sounded harsh and rude to my ears and I disconnected them immediately, as my ears refused to investigate any further.
Overall, in my system and in my listening conditions, HAC+ proved to be a great cable with a musical performance far above its price. I will not hesitate to say it may easily outclass many legends of the high-end cable world.
Heretical Digital Cable Reviews
....I really needn’t have taken the trouble to take out all these cables and two DACs because the Heretical’s benefits were clearly audible right from the very start.
It’s when substituting the Wireworld
for the Mad Scientist Heretical that the best
balance is achieved: the tightness and speed of USB
with airy treble as sweet as the Wireworld’s and
with the engaging musical flow of the RG59 cable.
There’s a sense of freedom when listening to music
using the Heretical that I don’t quite hear when
using any of the other digital cables, or USB. Would
this be the non-metal nature of the cable? No matter
what the cause is, it’s amusing to note that
in spite of its non-75 ohm characteristic, the
Heretical actually sounds as if the clock is pulled
from the SP/DIF stream easier than with the other
digital cables that I tried.
If Asynchronous USB is considered the standard, then it should count as a small miracle when a digital coaxial cable sounds more engaging in certain aspects. But let’s leave aside the USB versus SPDIF matter. Judged purely as a digital coaxial cable in comparison to other coaxial digital cables I can be short: the Heretical has taken permanent residence between my CD transport and DAC and is as of now my new reference in digital cables. Highly recommended!
Your new digital cable really
is a top performer, when I received the cable I
Well as most cables; the perform better when they have played some hours I though - so connected it to my DAC and wanted to let the cable burn in a bit before any serious listening…..
Because I had mounted some 3M EMI/RFI damping inside the top of my DAC the evening before, and I wanted to tell which thing did what to my system sound,
From the first note after powering up my system, the sound was more open with better “ air “ around instruments, the sound is more natural with more realistic dynamics; especially a Michael Bublé CD with big band which always have sounded so compressed that I often have changed the CD quickly but with your digital cable the music caught me so much as never before; the music was still compressed but now I could cope to listen to it and the mix suddenly maked sense to me.
I played many other CDs and I thought of how the 3M EMC damping really paid off in my DAC, until I suddenly saw that my DAC was not on the "normal" ST ADAM entrance / entry
( = Proffessionel Light conductor ) that I normally use with my DAC, but the input was changed to the new comers Heretical digital cable (HDC) - after I had turned on the power on my DAC again.
Up till now - the ST ADAM cable had sounded absolutely superior any other digital cable I´ve tried = most open / natural and dynamic sound with the greatest joy of music in my audio system; regardless of the coaxial SPDIF cable else I had connected my DAC ( and regardless of price up to about 1450 Dollars, also inc. Hi Fidelity´s CT-1U 1m coaxial cable which have a price of around 2450 Dollars) so I switched back to the light conductor entry; now the sound suddenly was more unnatural with less dynamic, less air around the singer / instruments, the bass was not so defined anymore and handed nor quite as deep in the deepest octave.
Fortunately, I had mounted 3M EMC attenuation so that it could be easily removed - for what was it that really have had such a positive outcome on the sound ? The cable or EMC attenuation.
I could observe that the positive shifts in sound in my hifi setup/system was almost retained, without 3M EMC attenuation - it just stresses what my new digital cable from Bob have done in my system.
The HDC has my best recommendations - the guitar players has new strings - the singer performs in a more transparent microphone; and there is more space in the mix of all the musicians ect ect
I have no doubt - it's the best coaxial cable that ever tried in my DAC; my sound has been updated in the best manner and at a great price.
Thanks Bob. :)
Mad Scientist Audio Heretical
Digital Cable (HDC)
Heretical is a one metre long digital cable with a deceptively plain appearance, encased in a natural cotton dielectric with optional low mass KLE Innovations Silver Harmony connectors it looks like many other artisan interconnects.
But it isn't.
Inside the unassuming exterior is a conductor made of carbon fibre that doesn�t even pretend to match the industry standard 75-ohm resistance that digital cables are supposed to adhere too. Hence the name Heretical. You can read more detail on this on the MSA website, suffice to say though, this cable shouldn�t actually work in theory.
But it does.
I have been using a VH Audio Pulsar Ag digital cable up to now and this has kept me entertained for the last year or more. This is a meticulously made silver solid core cable and I requested mine without the usual techflex sleeving, so it has the appearance of a very slim cable with the silver on show. This is terminated with WBT Next-gen low mass silver connectors.
So we have carbon fibre versus silver, KLE low mass versus WBT low mass and natural cotton versus, well not much really.
Initially I had a quick listen and the first impression was that the Heretical was darker sounding, this was before I rearranged my system to cater for the shorter cable length. This was when I noticed there was a directional arrow on the Heretical. So we now have a cable that is not only not supposed to work but it is a digital cable that transmits its binary stream in a preferred direction.
I have only ever used the VH AudioPulsar Ag from my Nagra CDC to Resolution Audio Canata before so the only other meaningful comparison I can give is with no cable at all.
I spent a few days switching from one cable to the other - the VH Audio is a fast sounding resolving cable with an emphasis on leading edge detail, it�s just a beautifully made non-directional conduit that gets on with transmitting digital data. It images well doesn�t seem to have a sound of it�s own.
Or so I thought.
On further listening, and when installed correctly, and with the Heretical burned-in (I loved writing that��) the HDC proved to be more three dimensional with more low level detail whilst being a good deal more transparent. It presents the music in a bigger space so everything is easier to hear. Paradoxically it is just as fast or faster than the Pulsar - but never sounds hurried. Recordings sounded more different from one another.
Although having said that, neither the Heretical or the Pulsar could match the solid black background and the immersive silence of no cable. There was a complete lack of distortion and even with an ear up against my Eclipse 721 TD Mk II (soon to become LeedH E2) there was no noise whatsoever. It was as if it was just waiting for the music to happen.
As ever, there is a caveat with no cable, as there usually is with these things, along with the vanishingly low noise floor you do tend to get no signal. It all depends on your listening priorities.
Digital disruption from MSA
Anything that purports to be a break from the traditional and the established I think is always worth investigating, and lets be frank, MSA do have quite a bit of history here with an array of interesting left-field products. (The cable came with one Magic Tube to experiment with - this is ongoing).
And so the Heretical proved - this is a low priced, high-tech, discrete, super high performance cable that will astound and delight you in equal measure. I don�t know how it will compare against the cable stratosphere, but I would suspect very well indeed.
HiFi+ Issue 131, Jan 2016. Jason Kennedy
..suffice it to say this cable is actually rather good. In fact, it is among the best I’ve put into the system and assessed.
Putting YANAM between source and amplifier relaxed the pace a shade, but improved the tonal richness. The presentation was marginally less percussive, but had better flow and it seemed less mechanical, which is usually a good sign. A cable or any other component should preferably not impose itself on the signal in any way and it seemed that this cable avoided this more successfully than usual.I reverted to my reference system which is more revealing and effortless overall: here YANAM did a similar thing, it brought out the languid tempo of Herbie Hancock’s version of ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ [Gershwin’s World, Herbie Hancock, Verve] and delivered very clean high frequencies in the context of a solid, three dimensional image. The tempo is delivered precisely but without a hint of glare, which made me wonder if the treble was being rolled off, but the brilliance of cymbals suggested otherwise. Nor was the bass softened, instead it remained taut and solid, helping to place the band in the room with plenty of space between instruments.
It also makes cymbals and high hat sound more real, as if the actual thing were in the room. In a system that was already wired for maximum transparency and minimum coloration, this interconnect increased resolution and revealed more subtlety in the phrasing of a sax, and brought out greater extension in the bass. I rediscovered the brilliance of the Hadouk Trio thanks to the gorgeous timbre that YANAM exposed on their Live à FIP recording of ‘Vol De Nuit’ [Mélodie]. This sounded hugely evocative and present with this cable, the tympani producing a huge image and the reeds a deep and chocolatey tone.
Click to read the whole review
Ceramic BlackPods Reviews
... Regardless of fine tuning, the sound takes richness, dimensionality and tonal beauty throughout. Bass is powerful and controlled, too, and this is where spending that little extra on the TC/Zirconia trio comes into its own - the standard guise gives greater bass weight at the expense of tempo and bass precision, while the better set restores temporal precision throughout. The acid test for such components is more on their removal - do I miss them enough to put them back? With the standard Ceramic BlackPod, the answer was 'probably', but the TC ball version, they were a definite worthwhile inclusion to the system. with no great downsides. That represents something of a footer first for me! Strongly recommended, especially in the TC version. +
..One of my friends has lent me his Mad Scientist Footers while he was at the Roskilde Festival (a tiny rock festival in the middle of Denmark somewhere.... like Woodstock festival just with new acts... though Paul McCartney was still playing here too...;)
After he (my friend, not McCartney) got his footers back yesterday, I turned on my good ol' stereo and was in a state of shock. The sound was bad, really bad. I thought something might be broken (speakers?)
Today the postman came with your package, so now the sound is back where it belongs, in front of me and my speakers, and no where else. Thanks!
...No, I did NOT compare them to the Stillpoints, because the simple fact that I didn't have any. What I did compare Bob's BlackPod Footers with though, was the Danish Ansuz feet (and some Ikea feet, useless for HiFi and not worth to mention - but quite fun to look at, see picture). These Ansuz I have heard at several occasions with a tremendous outcome. They just do something magical to the sound of many a good system, the music gets a wonderful and precise rendition as if the system is broken when you remove them again. So they are not bad these Ansuz Darkz as they are called. I only had the Aluminum version at hand, I know that Ansuz also makes way better and way more expensive footers in 3 different levels, the ones I had was the most basic. And the sound, putting them under the loudspeakers was good. Removing them was a really bad idea. Changing to the BlackPods was even better, way better actually.
...If you imagine some tiny details in the music, as a brushed drum kit way behind the singer, the sound of that suddenly was clear as on a spring day after a long winter.When you are out on a boat, and the dark night sky is full of stars, and the sea as quite as only in your dreams, the stars are beautifully reflected in the sea. This image looks just like magic, and it´s how I seem to discover the sound with the BlackPods. Clear, shiny - and it definitely attracts you.....
...Most music sounded better with the BlackPods than without them, and I like how for once a set of footers doesn't accentuate treble, but on balance I find that Finite Elemente Ceraballs do a more balanced job. The BlackPods sound more interesting and colourful, but are somewhat uneven in their presentation and with some music the more integrated Ceraballs made for a better sense of PRAT. Do keep in mind though that these Universal Ceraballs cost 3 times what the BlackPods cost....
The Ceramic Blackpods share some
characteristics with the regular BlackPods yet don't
quite sound the same. The regular BlackPods were a
little dark, and the Ceramic ones improve on this by
sounding more open and articulate. Importantly they
still sound full, smooth and rich, and don't tip
over into edgy treble or shouty midrange. This is an
attribute that I hear in all Mad Scientist products:
the unforced musicality. Like the regular BlackPods,
the Ceramic ones provide a strong foundation in the
bass, along with almost as meaty midrange, but this
time with more articulation and enhanced
transparency, and also better focus. Treble, as
indicated, is more open but still well integrated
and definitely still friendly.
PRAT with the Ceramic BlackPods is better than with the regular ones. Again comparing with the Ceraballs, the latter still sound leaner but also more transparent, with slightly airier treble. The Ceraballs, because they're so devoid of colour, depending on the application, they can also sound a little more boring though, and they also weren't better on all tracks I played.
I also used to own a set of mini StillPoints, but sold the off. Not that they were bad: on the contrary, they had very large effect, but for me their effect was too strong, and like most if not all hard pointy coupling, the StillPoints sounded too lean in the bass. I have often compared them to the Universal Ceraballs and the latter sound a lot fuller. The BlackPods in turn sound a lot fuller than the Ceraballs, so that gives you an idea of where the StillPoints stand.....
Ceramic BlackPods - Customers' Comments
Chris W.,CO, US
I cannot say how happy I am with the Ceramic Footers. This is the kind of improvement I get when I upgrade an amp or preamp.I thought my giant brass footers were the way to go.Time to sell them and order more ceramics.....
BlackPods - Customers' Comments
Ric S., CA, US
I just tried the blackpods under my Oppo 103D.....wow......better than my DH cone/Walker lead puck combo. I will be trying them under my Class A amp when I start listening soon.
Subroto B., TX, US
I have received the Blackpods and now had a chance to listen to them for over a week. My review capabilities lack the finesse to accurately describe what these do in my system--I know what I like and I know what I don't. That being said, I concur with the effects that you state in your review. (although I have not compared them to the Stillpoints--will have to wait for my brother's feedback since he will have both). Bigger soundstage, better articulation of instruments (and the silence between notes), better slam (?!)...
I am very pleased with this product. It is very, very good. Kudos to you on this fine product and great value.
Joe A., NJ, US
This morning I removed them from the 105D and placed them in the recommended pointing up position under my Olive O3HD music server. Previously, I'd been using Mapleshade Triple Points under the O3HD and had been pleased. In this application, there's an improvement. The tonality is richer with no apparent loss of treble information. There also seems to be an increase in inner detail/timbre. Bass is also stronger without any tendency towards a one-note presentation.
So, things are good here in New Jersey. :)
Bob S., WA, US
In comparison to the 3 Stillpoints Ultra Minis I had been using under an upgradedย Cambridge Azur 840C CD player, the results are surprisingly in the favor of the Blackpods. Note that before I used the Blackpods I had been familiar with the Stillpoints Ultra Minis, Ultra SS and Ultra AL in my system.ย Frankly, I was convinced the system just would not benefit with the introduction of the Blackpods; since their use I am somewhat shocked to find there are little if any trade offs with the Blackpods vs. the Stillpoints Ultra Minis. Value wise, the Blackpods are hands down a better deal than the Stillpoints Ultra Minis.....
Martin I., Denmark
I will make a real review later within a week or so - but have to say that these footers of yours are the best I have heard so far incl. the stillpoints.
Christiaan Punter of hi fi advice, his first impression....
I've listened to the footers and although I wasn't immediately sold because they don't sound like Ceraballs or even standard spikes, I must conclude that they do indeed do a very good job. Their influence is different from the usual footers, and this of course is because of your special recipe RFI killing technique isn't it?
I noticed that a large portion of the magic (a creamy smootness and luxuriousness) also is imparted with the footers positioned in front and in back of the CD player. But then I was missing out on bass impact and dynamics, which are improved when actually using the footers under the component. This makes sense because the Meridian 506's feet are soft compliant rubbery affairs.
NEO OCC Power Cord Reviews
While I was reviewing the Neo, Bob (AKA Mad Professor) informed me that he was working on a variant using OCC wire. Lest one think that copper and OCC copper are interchangeable, and a mere swapping of wire results in an overall better cable, it really is not that simple. There's rather more to it. OCC in generic has a very relaxed quality, which can become too much, especially if the cable has some form of filtering included. Because of this, the cable's sound balance had to be re-balanced. In case of the Mad Scientist Neo OCC, various approaches were tried, and what ultimately did the trick was to change the Kegs' composition. In doing so, the balance was restored to a spot-on mix between smoothness and livelyness. OCC is expensive wire, especially in the 9AWG size of this review model, and this drives up the price of the cable, but I can already tell you that the difference is not subtle......
Yes, I finally did put the OCC version power cord to the tests with the copper plugs. I compared it to the previous NEO versions and several other power cords that I had on hand. (If I list the other brands, Audiogon will delete the post.)
The OCC 9 gauge version was used on my Pass Labs X350.5 Amp and the OCC 11 gauge version was used on my PS Audio P-10 power regenerator.
Compared to the original Neo version the newer OCC 9 gauge has better defined and tighter bass with extended highs. Also, I noticed a very impressive deep sound stage.
I also tried using the 11 gauge version OCC on the Amp. There, it was still better than the original NEO version but the 9 gauge OCC was definitly a step up without a doubt.
Believe me, once you get one of these OCC 9 gauge power cords plugged into your Amp you will thank me. So feel free to send me $$$ donations. LOL
Now, I know I have mentioned this before, but I might as well include it again in this posting. The regular Neo cord is no slouch and exceeds many of my other power cords. I especially was impressed with the improvement it made with my video equipment, such as; providing better richer colors and a more 3d image.
No real downside with these cables,the cost is low, performance high. Perhaps the only negative I can comment on is that they are not as professional looking as I am used to, but, its about the sound...
First Power Cord Reviews
The First is a fast-sounding and lively cable, but without any harshness or strain. Bass is tight and articulate, midrange is open and communicative and treble is pure, extended and sweet. The only thing I could say to count against it would be a slight leanness in the midbass and lower midrange, a lack of color if you will. Then again this aspect is highly system-dependent and subject to taste. I prefer fuller sounding cables, because my system can sound overly clean if I'm not careful. There are plenty people who don't like color(ation), and the match with a Wadia 861 in a friends' system further substantiates the importance of system synergy. The First however is very neutral and also sounds very natural. Its timbre might be a little lean, but its midrange is pure and not marred by any congestion which makes it acoustically very convincing....
Extended listening in my friends JW's setup was relevatory, in that The First was the first cable that JW could see himself using instead of his usual powercord, a Lapp 110CY 5G2,5 with Gold Oyaide connectors. The Lapp is very basic, but somehow it has always been synergistic with the Wadia in his system. I have tried to change JW's mind for over 10 years and only now with The First, there was no incentive whatsoever to change back to the old cable, or to move to another cable, if it wasn't for the availability of the Neo.
Basis 1400 turntable with Rega 301 arm and Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge
Audio Note CDT Two/II transport and @.1B Dac with tube output stage
Shindo Auriges preamp with built in phono stage
2 each David Berning ZH270 power amps
Magnapan 3.6 speakers with Mye stands
PurePower+ 1500 Regenerator
I placed one each MSA cable on the Dac and power amps. I wanted to put a cable on my preamp but I could not get the cable to stay connected to the pre
The cable as ordered is only 1 meter in length but can be ordered at longer lengths. The cable is somewhat stiff but can be carefully bent to suit. It is bright white so in my all black system they visually stand out. All cables in my system are plugged into the regenerator. The original cables were over 5 years old and were top of the line Synergitic Research and a Nordost cable. Sorry I don't remember the model numbers. I also have tried some Venom cables but there was no improvement in sound and even a slight roll off of high frequencies.
The MSA cables out of the box sounded a little dull with slower transients and a little loss of detail. They require a settling in after there shipment coiled up from New Zealand. After about 30 minutes the dullness disappeared and sounded very nice. There is an increase of overall clarity to the system as well as an increase in low level resolution. These improvements are small in nature but definitely audible.
The changes are comparable to putting new interconnects into the system. The change in sound is enough to keep the cables and at a price of only $139 are worth it to me. I might try moving the Dac cable to the input of the regenerator although I cannot see how this would work when the regenerator creates a new sine wave.
I recommend this power cable. Also shipment from New Zealand was only 5 days
NEO Power Cord Reviews
The sound was reproduced in a most “organic” way, never entering into the “harsh” territory or becoming congested; the “ease” effect was maintained at all times.
Putting it all apart, I would say the bass was of good quality, well defined and controlled, the lower mids likewise and if anything, I would wish for a more “weightier” presentation in this spectrum but despite that, the overall impression was satisfactory nevertheless.
The upper mids were relaxed and non-fatiguing, with still above average levels of resolution, detail and 3D insight.
The Mad Scientist NEO power cord went a long way in attempt to ameliorate the typical “digititus” effect; the music possessed a nice analog feel that was most welcome with any musical genre and ensured relaxed musical sessions for many hours.
Orchestral music was rendered in a very listenable fashion, devoid of any nervousness or anxiety; the individual instruments were perhaps less precisely focused but the tone colors were still rendered beautifully which is rarely the case. The sound of piano was rich and nicely balanced; the upper keys never sounding peaky or otherwise annoying.
The depth effect was very good by all standards, the width and height a bit less so.
The solo voices and choral works were a joy to hear, they all possessed a natural dose of warmth with sibilants sounding smooth and open but not overly so.
In general, all pop music was rendered in a much more listenable fashion than is usually the case with other cables from this price region.........
The subject of this review, the Mad Scientist NEO power cord showed a strong performance with a distinctive sound capabilities that elevate it from the rest of the pack.
This power cord has strong long term qualities that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. It can suit many systems and tastes provided the owners do not seek ostentatious performance but rather a balanced one that will satisfy on the long run.
....The quieter backdrop allowed me to hear more detail in the tracks, with spatial cues more obvious. The tidying up was also obvious in the bass, which sounded tauter and cleaner, with better focus. Some power cords then to sound smooth and rich, but draw the presentation back rhythmically. I found the Neo leaning to the neutral and doing nothing to restrict the music’s natural flow.
The Neo also seemed to facilitate better projection of the vocals and instruments, lending more air in the stage, and allowing instruments to be better fleshed out in the mix. The overall impression was that of a tidier, more on-the-edge and detailed presentation.
APPLAUSE: Obviously, the Mad Scientist people put a lot of thought into the Neo. Rather than espouse the virtues of the conductors itself, the company has focused on peripheral elements that work towards getting rid of the AC gremlins between the wall outlet and the power receptacle. The Neo succeeds in its brief, and for what it does, seems reasonably priced.
In my own system, The First was a little bit too lean for my taste, but when I moved to the Neo to feed the Levinson 390S, I was perplexed. All the positives of The First remained, but with its downsides entirely taken care of. Bass was fuller and deeper, midrange was more voluptuous and richer and soundstage was wider and more enveloping. The whole sound had taken on a more seductive, even magical feeling. Importantly, the Neo accomplishes this without sacrificing midrange clarity and overal pace and attack. This is a really important thing to note because there are plenty cables that can sound either very informative or very romantic, but very rarely are these two qualities combined. Until now that is.
The Mad Scientist is clearly on a winning streak, each new product trumping the last. The current batch of power cables is seriously something else. No longer in the experimental stages, but true audiophile products to recon with. The First is a fantastically neutral and natural sounding cable that is not only an upgrade on pretty much any affordable cable but is also way too cheap for what it offers. The Neo is not only good at the price, but simply one of the most musically involving cables I've heard at any price.
I must start off by saying that I was one
of the original skeptics about power cords improving
Audio quality. The first power cord that changed my
mind was the Synergistic Research Master Coupler.
Back in the day I think they sold for about $150 but
once I inserted it into my system, the bass was much
stronger and I was a believer.
So through the years I spent a lot of time and money getting the power cords that seemed to grab reviewer’s attention. That list includes, top of the line products from Purist, Virtual Dynamics, Nordost, and Synergistic Apex power cables. I borrowed many more to try from the Cable Company.
Well, one day on Audiogon a thread appeared about HiDiamond power cables and the comparison to most of the cables that I had owned. I ordered a few HiDiamond P3 power cords (which were less than half the cost of my current cables ) and to my amazement they did in fact better my high cost Synergistic Apex cables with all the active shielding modules and such. One by one I replaced the Synergistic with the HiDiamond P3’s. Then a few months later HiDiamond introduced the P4’s. Now these were much pricier than the P3’s. But, eventually I accumulated 6 of the P4’s and defended these to all that these power cables are the best ever made.
A few months back I found a thread on Audio Asylum about a New Zealand company (Mad Scientist) that was sending out free samples of some little discs that when placed atop of cables were to improve the sound quality. The tweaker that I am, I had to try them. So, that I could get an ample supply to try them at several places I had my wife and daughter order some of the free samples also. Well the Mad Scientist noticed that the same address with different names was getting extra free samples. I fessed up to my little scheme, and was sort of embarrassed.
Anyway, The Mad Scientist later came out with a new power cord, the “NEO”. This cord appeared to have some actual technology involved other than just a different type of wire or braiding techniques, shielding, connectors etc that ever other Cable manufacture claims is what makes theirs superior to others.
No, the Mad Scientist NEO Power cord design goes beyond just wires and uses some proprietary black sticks, and bell shaped things woven in and out of the AC wiring. I ordered up one of the NEO power cords with upgraded AC / IEC ends and 11 gauge wires.
Surprisingly, though New Zealand is on the other side of the world I received them in a matter of days.
I was in the process of remodeling my Audio room and placed the NEO power cord on my Audiodharma cable cooker for about a week. Once my room was finished I remembered that I still had the NEO on my cooker.
Well folks, I first placed this Mad Scientists NEO Power cord on my Pass Labs X350.5 amp (which replaced a HiDiamond P4 Power cord). To my surprise, immediately, there was a marked improvement in bass, bass quality and definition. The midrange showed that special quality that brought the magic of the recording into my room. This is my belief that the improved tonal quality accompanied by a very large soundstage was of such high quality that when compared to the HiDiamond P4 power cord, it made the HiDiamond sound, well, HIFI!
Now, the HiDiamond P4 power cord had beaten all other power cords in my 15+ year journey through the power cord jungle.
So here is a power cord that looks sort of homemade and costs 1 / 5 of the HiDiamond P4 and was making my system sound way more real sounding. I’ve heard people use the word “organic” to describe sound quality and never really knew what that meant. But organic or “realganic” is correct for the sound of the new Mad Scientist NEO power cord.
I then tried it by replacing the HIDiamond P4’s power cord that was on my Pass Labs Preamp XP-10 and later on my BSG QOL. In both places, the sound improved to quite a large extent with the Mad Scientist product. I then ordered 3 more of these Mad Scientists cords. Each and every place, be it digital, analog, power conditioner, power amp the change in sound quality improved.
I just received the newly designed Dac from PS Audio, called the “Direct Stream”. Placing this New Zealand power cord from the Mad Scientist on it made an already fantastic sounding Dac into extra ordinary.
I have no financial interest in this company. I paid the price for all of the power cords. The newly designed power cords with 11 gauge wire sells for less than $500 with the better quality AC ends(a must). But consider how much all of the other power cords that I have mentioned in this review cost and you can see how great of a deal these cords are.
They don’t look pretty. They have a cotton outer covering and several shrink wrapped bulges at the end that is holding in the black sticks, magnets, copper plates and the power kegs.
But boy, is it one great power cord.
NEO Power Cord Customers' Comments
Jack S., US
New Neo cable: excellent performance after 48 hours run time, and getting even better.
Martin I., Denmark
A short listen to the cables - without any burn in time at all - I think you are into something completely positive different......
Wayne M., US
O-------------- M--------------G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm in a state of aural shock as I type
this. I've only listened to vinyl in my system for
1/2 an hour at this point and I'm reeling from
sensory overload. I don't know where to begin…
Firstly, because my Mac tube preamp is on the bench getting tweaked big-time, I'm currently using my trusty li'l, radically-modified Denon solid-state unit.**
The incredible dynamics produce an effect of apparent volume increase to the point where I literally had to back off my normal volume control setting a bit to unpin me from my chair. The bass has live, powerful weight and awesome harmonic detail. (I had an early impression of slightly rolled off high-freq harmonics because of this, but, further listening proved that concern to be unfounded.) And then there's the height of the bass in the soundstage… Something I've never experienced previously in my system. The imaging is huge, yet sounds very realistic. Isolation of sound sources in a good mix is staggering. Multi-track has never sounded so good! (I'm strictly rock'n'roll, ya know.) The mids and highs have a lush smoothness that balance very well with the low end. So far this cable doesn't seem to favor any segment of the audio bandwidth. I could go on and on, but, I'm thinking you get the idea that I'm liking the cotton model!
Chris C., US
The early results are just astounding. Your cords are indeed transformative! I will give them more time to settle in and warm up tomorrow before getting more specific, but suffice to say, it is clear that you have something very, very special with these power cords.
Power Purifier Reviews
"my review notes stated in large bold face: “BASS!!” Not excessive, tuneless, flabby, exaggerated bass. No, this was focused, deep, tuneful bass with PRAT and exceptional detail and drive...Its simply astounding effect on bass reproduction, coupled with its superb reduction in over-all grunge, allows the music to speak in a way that is deeply communicative and moving."
"With blacks improved, many aspects of reproduction immediately benefitted: details were sharper and more defined, giving a more 3d imaging and naturalness to the video reproduction. Things like wisps of fog moving against a sunlit backdrop in a forest became easily revealed and well delineated, far more than was previously attainable on our set-up. Likewise, the depth of field achieved was much better, giving 2D playback a far more 3D appearance. But it was that sense of ease and naturalness that struck my wife and I most. Things just looked more ‘life-like', with more of that ‘reach out and touch it' realism. As for colors and hues, we both felt that saturation and color balance were all enhanced nicely, with a deeper, more satisfying rendition across the board."
Power Purifier Users' Comments
John Broskie, Tubecad.com
First of all they look great. I like the logo. They arrived last week, but I only got a chance to try them today. I started at 11:30am and I planned only listening for about an hour. Well, two hours later I had tear myself away. I used my Beyer DT8990 Pro headphones and my Grado SR-225s and a solid-state HP amp. I didn't expect much to happen, as the HP amp already held a power-entry module with an EMI filter in place and I used RC pre-filters and a regulated PS. I was wrong. With your filter in place, the sound became much more tube like. (Why is it that sonic improvements always sound more tube like?) At first, I though the highs were diminished, but they were only cleaner sounding. (The same thing happened the first time I demagnetized my phono cartridge 30 years ago; I was convinced that I had destroyed the cartridge, but extended listening established that the highs were now glare-free.)
I found that it was much easier to follow individual instruments and groups of singers. I played a lot of classical music (Respighi, Mozart, Bach, Shostakovich, Arvo Part...), then a lot of popular music (such as Anne Bisson, Martin Simpson, Led Zeppelin, GoldFrapp, Rachel Z, Alison Krauss...). In all the types of music, I could delineate the bass lines better. But at the same time, I could hear the recording engineer's fiddling more readily and with one classical church recording, I could hear the truck outside the church drive by.
I went back to work and returned to listen at 3pm. Interesting, the difference had become much smaller. The sound was still very good, but the change was subtle; nonetheless, I always preferred piano with your filter in place, as it made the piano sound more expensive, just as it made the headphones sound much more expensive. Two hours later, I listened again and this time the difference was as big as it was the first time. I think I know what was going on. At 3pm, neither my house or my neighbors were up to anything that might pollute the AC. But at noon and at 5pm, the wall socket was grungy from extra use.
Lloyd S, Canada
Those kegs must have Canadian beer in them. They are awesome.....:)...No, really the Power purifier has added another layer of subterranian bass under the bass and everything is more in a good way...I don't know how this happens..the music is more effortless and yet more dynamic at the same time...almost like I went from Luxman class AB to Luxman class A..My L503S is class ab but what a musical piece of gear....Gobs of detail without etching of any kind...Very natural...You should hear the layered atmospheric concoctions of Massive Attack on this..Cassandra Wilson is so smokey clear.even country music[heaven's forbid], is easy to listen to[without a headache...most of the time...:).....].....It is amazing how the music presentation seems slower but actually it is unhurried or relaxed without any loss of snap..you can really hear how good the Audio Sensility cords and Power Condition is[it has no power limiting either. AS designs with the idea of no damage to the music.....and it works. Your decives really work with AS designs, almost like competing each other....and that's a wonderful thing....gotta goand listen..
Kegs are a tongue in cheek name for two Smidgens from Bob Prangnell of Mad Scientist Audio, installed face to face on power lines. They are tremendously effective and I believe one of the most cost effective tweaks anyone can install in their audio components....
Black Discus Reviews
"..When the BlackDiscusses were unanimously perceived to work with the specific cabling connector points, there was general consensus among the three of us that the main effect was to clean up the treble, smoothening the sound and allowing for a slightly more “dense” image of the singer or instrument to be perceived, with little vocal inflections captured or reverb effects applied by the recording engineers being more easily heard. Ambient cues of the recording venue sounded clearer, giving a better picture of the acoustic environment of the recording, and fade-outs seemed to just trail on that bit longer...."
"..it became clear that the effect ofdigititus, that edgy digital sound especially noticeable in poorer quality efforts, was significantly reduced but with no loss of detail or clarity. That alone made the BlackDiscus a winner. But wait, there's more. I was listening to Fleetwood MacGreatest Hits from 1988. This is an example of the good music but mediocre digital transfer typical of a lot of '80s CD releases. But instead of the expected flat, nonexistent sound stage, I was actually hearing depth, instrument placement and in some cases sound that actually projected an image out into the room."
Unassuming tweaks that really do work
"The effect when used on the model six power amps is far from subtle and easy to hear within seconds: midrange becomes warmer and less shouty, bass is more rounded and treble is more fluid. Overall the effect is of a warmer, more analog sound."
Smooth and sweet, but with better details
"The over-all effect was, to my ears at least, a palpable increase of weight and solidity of the instruments/sounds being reproduced, a lower general perceived noise floor, an across-the-board reduction in distortion, all resulting in a concomitantly clearer window upon the performance in each and every application."
A few pairs of the Discus will elevate your system to a point where you would think that you have added a newer, much more expensive component in your system.
"The most obvious change is in bass response. Bass becomes deeper and significantly tighter. You hear more of the bass note harmonic structure. In the clearing up of these harmonic structures, the midrange becomes also much clearer, almost as if playing the distortion present before was clouding the upper frequencies. As such, with the clearing up of the midrange and upper frequencies, the soundstage increases tremendously and there is a much greater sense of dimensionality. You hear more of the body behind a voice: you can hear the room in which the recording was made. In short, fine details previously hidden seem to become revealed, but never in an in your face type presentation. The sound simply becomes more natural. "
Black Discus Customers' Comments
Jan P., Echt, Holland
I've received the Black D.'s in good order - - have installed 2 of them on the Trafo of my power amp - - it's amazing what it does to the sound. One of the 'medium sized' BD's on the mains inlet of the subwoofer (I have a regular stereo set, however with additional sub) and also there, an overall sound upgrade to the whole system (not only the bass - side, also the high and midrange!) results that is hard to believe....My only regret is, that I only ordered 4 of them...
Tony I., Canada
Your Black Discus pieces have performed
as the original free samples led me to expect. They
have been successful in most of the locations
mentioned in your literature, especially when
playing CDs. Glare and edginess have been removed,
sounds are smoother and more pronounced in the
soundstage. One surprise was a noticeable effect
when they were placed on the sub-out connections
from my amp. I was not expecting to hear any changes
there, but the usual effect was noticed. Black
Sticks placed on the sub-out cables themselves was
too much, however, and I settled on placing the free
samples on the sub out connection at the back of the
The overall effect has been astonishing, much greater than any other tweak in my experience, as much a major component upgrade.....
Ken S., NM, US
I received your free samples of the Black Discus and placed them on the positive terminals of my mains speakers. The improvement was immediate. A blacker background and all of its associated benefits. Greater transparency, improved presence, sharper attacks, longer decays, extended bass, sharper highs and a weightier presentation.
I immediately ordered two more!!
Gilbert M, Mauritius
Following receipt of the BlackDiscus,and after careful evaluation over 1 week with the help of 2 family menbers, I would like to give the following feedback :
I built the DIY power purifier from the
2 samples and am using it for my Bel Canto DAC 3.5 .
I am also using 3 can openers per Bel Canto Ref 1000m monoblock : on the power cord, XLR interconnect and on the +ve speaker cable.
Another can opener sits on my stereovox XV2 cable at source.
With this setup, I can state that the system has a made a significant leap forward in the following aspects ( hoping the words convey what I expereinced):
1 Bass delineation
2 Vocals: naturalness and texture
3 High frequency and low level details: presence and acoustic signature
The combination of these make listening
to music more involving and there is not one CD in
my collection that has not benefited.
Living in a country where hifi hobby and dealership is next to inexistant, it has been a refreshing journey to discover and implement this cost effective tweak .
Bob has been very responsive to my anxious queries all along and I wish him all the best in his enterprise.
Dennis Y., HI, US
wow..bob..a great tweak you have come up with..
Kzrystof J., Poland
The best place for BD in my system is on the two power transformers ( big BDs ) of MC phono preamplifier and next one is on the input vacuum tubes (cry treated NOS CBS 7025 from 1958 year ) in my tube power amplifier. I can`t imagine listening the music without BD !!!.
Gunnar N., Germany
i received the blackdiscus (samples) a week ago. Let me first tell you, that I use very strong tunes audio system....
I payed at least 20.000 EUR for
tweaking, let alone the money for vibration control
(stillpoints) or cables (nordost Valhalla and Odin).
And even those cables are tuned with Albat Chips and
much other tuning gear from "Schallwand"
(see www.schallwand.com). And believe me, these tweaks work very well and transformed my system to an amazing degree...
I started with these words, because it makes it even stranger that your tiny little BlackDiscus work in such an environment very well and to an amazing degree.
You can instantly hear a blacker background and smoother highs. That alone would be worth the effort. But better still, everything gets more musical and more relaxed, without loosing dynamics.
The two discs did not transformed my system in any unpleasant way, but made it better yet another step. That is more than anybody could have imagined.
I think I have to try your new BlackDiscus sticks.....
Lloyd W., CA, US
Thus far it is very easy to hear the changes they make. Currently placed on digital cable and on the transport's power supply cable. The transport is highly modified and draws power from a 12v battery.
Donald L., WA, US
..did receive the discuses. They seem to wok great - placed on my isolation AC transformers and preamp PS transformer - but I am not completely finished with my project yet. So, more to come later.
Joe A., NJ, US
I tried the can opener size Black Discus and can definitely hear the difference. In order (best to least) on my Oppo 95 it was horizontal on top of case, vertical above IEC inlet and then horizontal on plug going into IEC inlet. Great product!....I wish you the best of luck in your enterprise. It's refreshing to find an effective product that's reasonably priced.
Paul A., NY, US
These things have had a big impact on my system. One more will be welcome.
Loren L., PA, US
……introduced me to your black discus, I have used them quite extensively in my system and am very impressed at how they have improved the resonance, detail, smoothed off the rough and harsh edges of some recordings. … I feel as though I have had a significant upgrade to my system.
Gregory B., NY, US
The free samples were fantastic. Thank you. I'm sure these addition pieces will also sound great! Cheers.