|Silent Source Signature Power
Sound of… Need I say it?
10 July 2003
High purity (stranded) copper conductors
plated (proprietary) with precious metals and
insulated with Teflon. Vibration dampening
the entire cable length. Multiple shield
geometry with inner shield at a fixed
reference for maximum effect. Entire cable is
cryogenically treated after construction.
Power cords use custom connectors with 100%
hardened OFC terminals for the IEC and wall
plug and are direct plated.
Low Current AC Cord: $580 for 6'
Medium Current AC Cord: $599 for 6'
High Current AC Cord: $650 for 6'
1139 Thrush Lane
Audubon, PA 19403
Silent Source Audio Cables
PMB 122, Suite 109
10455 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75231 USA
First, a few words about me and my power
Several moons ago I had the mundane
notion that power cords made minimal
difference in the sound of a music system. I
was a power cord heretic then and I openly
admit my past transgressions. I used stock
cords up until a good audiophile friend said,
"Keith, I cannot believe you are plugging $5k
monoblocks into the wall with stock cords."
He goaded me into trying some aftermarket
power cords. Thus began my descent into power
Fast forward three years later. Suffice it to
say I have tried many of the well-reviewed
power cords on the market today. My friends
call me a power cord nut. My enemies call me
a raving lunatic. I call myself a little of
both. As a power cord nut, I'm confident
stating that power cords make a huge impact
on the sound of a music system. As a raving
lunatic, I have spent thousands of dollars
over the past few years on power cords for my
audio system. What drives me to these
extremes? I have heard my system's sound go
from jaw-droppingly amazing, to absolutely
awful with the simple switch of a power cord.
Why exactly this phenomenon happens is beyond
my limited knowledge of electrical theory.
However, experience tells me that power cords
can make or break the sound of a music
system. This is enough to drive even a casual
audiophile stark raving mad!
Reviewing a particular power cord is a
difficult proposition. It is difficult, I
have learned, because the performance of some
power cords can be system specific and
component specific. The only way one can tell
how well a cord performs with a given
component in a given system is by listening
to that system. I have learned that some
brands of power cords seem to do a superior
job with a wider range of components than
other seemingly inferior power cords. But I
must stress, that the level of performance
may vary depending on your system and
components. Careful evaluation is recommended
before laying down hundreds of dollars for
something with the same basic function that
can be bought for $9.99 at Circuit City.
Let's face it, if our "significant others"
ever found out we were spending upwards of a
grand per power cord, they'd leave us and
take our beloved expensive power cords with
A few good cords at a reasonable price… Enter
Walker Audio distributes both Omega Mikro
power cords and a brand called Silent Source.
After talking with Lloyd Walker on several
occasions, I have come to the following
conclusions about the man: First, Lloyd is an
honest and upfront guy who will not sell a
product that he thinks is not a good value at
its price point. Second, Lloyd likes to let
people make up their own minds about audio.
He is not into big advertising, preferring
good word of mouth to sell his products.
Third, Lloyd also has a very good ear for
music and sound. He is a great designer who
lets his ear be his guide, no matter how
counterintuitive the proposition is. Finally,
Lloyd loves to talk about audio. I love to
talk about audio too, so Lloyd and I can
easily spend upwards of an hour on the phone
chewing the proverbial audio fat. In fact,
only a dead cell phone battery cut our last
Lloyd informed me that the Silent Source
power cord he was sending me for review was
in the mid-priced category, costing $599 for
a six foot cord. This cord can handle 15 amps
and work well on both low wattage and high
One reason I wanted to review the Silent
Source power cord is because I felt that my
current reference, the Omega Mikro AC LCX
active cord was probably better than the
Silent Source. Sometimes it can be difficult
for a reviewer to be objective when reviewing
a component or cable that he or she feels is
the best they've ever heard. It can be hard
to put the component in any reasonable
context or perspective. Sometimes your review
finds you babbling about it like a fool.
There was going to be no babbling like a fool
in this review … or so I thought.
I put Silent Source power cords on my
Ayre CX-7 CDP and V-5x amplifier. My Ayre
K-3x preamp seemed the least affected by
changing power cords, so I left an Omega
Mikro Red power cord on it. My initial
thought was that my entire system started
sounding good … make that incredible. It
seemed I was not missing much from using
Omega Mikros all around.
Next, I let these power cords burn in for
more than 60 hours before I made any other
observations. However, I did note that the
Silent Source cords sounded great even though
they were brand new from Walker Audio without
any break in time. Lloyd did say though that
he put some hours on them before he shipped
the cords to me.
After several weeks of listening to the
Silent Source power cords in my system I came
to the following conclusions:
I like these cords much better than any
other cords I have tried short of the Omega
Mikro LCX active cords.
I agree with Walker when he states on his
website that these cords " … have a huge
soundstage and sound very natural." The key
word here is natural. These cords sound more
natural than any other cord I have tried save
for the Omega Mikro. The background these
cords present is black, or as the cords are
called, the background is amazingly silent.
This black background enables the cords to
better convey both the attack and decay of
musical instruments within the soundstage.
The midrange of these cords is remarkably
detailed and transparent. It is not bright or
forward. Many cords have pinpoint imaging but
present the images of instruments as too
bright or forward and/or constrained, without
letting the images breathe naturally. These
ping-pong ball-imaging cords sound like what
I would call "hi-fi," but they do not sound
like music. Silent Source cords allow
instruments to take on a more
three-dimensional image that seems much more
natural than other power cords I've tried.
The bass of the Silent Source power cords
is well controlled. They do not play quite as
deep as the Omega Mikro cords, but their bass
is natural and tonally balanced against the
midrange and treble (This is a very subtle
difference. Maybe only a few decibels at
frequencies in the 25Hz range on my Vienna
seems to be very clean and extended. The
Omega Mikro cords may have just a slightly
cleaner and more detailed treble. This is a
close call and a subtle difference.
The tonal balance of these cords is as
neutral as I have heard in any power cord.
The Silent Source cords seem to have such a
black background with such an undistorted and
coherent musical presentation that I get a
warm feeling in the depths of my soul just
listening to them in my system. These cords
present music without impacting it either
way, and I love it! Compared to my reference
Omega Mikro cords, I would say the Omega
Mikro's are a bit liquid and smooth sounding,
and they tend to add a little tube-like
dimensionality and tube-like tonality to a
system. For many systems, this can be a
wonderfully synergistic sound.
Silent Source cords are also very fast as
power cords go. They got my toes tapping with
every piece of music I played. Leading edge
transients and timing of music is greatly
improved over most power cords I've used.
Additionally, the Silent Source cords are at
least as dimensional as the Omega Mikro power
cords are. I thought my soundstage might
collapse with the insertion of the Silent
Source cords … NOT! The Mahlers projected a
huge soundstage that seemed to, if anything,
be widened a little by the introduction of
the Silent Source cords.
Silent Source cords also work very well
with Omega Mikro power cords elsewhere in the
system. I understand now why Lloyd Walker
carries them to complement the Omega Mikro
line. Mark my words, I think the Omega Mikro
cords are great, but I am beginning to think
that sometimes too much of a great thing in
certain systems, can be not-so-great. The
Omega Mikro cords do sound a bit too liquid
and smooth. Adding too much liquidity to some
systems can put the sound over the top on the
liquidity scale, making them sound like
audiophile ear candy. This sound, no matter
how beguiling, is NOT natural! Surreal? Yes.
Beguiling? Yes. Natural? NOT! The complete
Ayre system I am using as a reference is
already liquid and smooth sounding without
the Omega Mikro power cords. Adding three
Omega Mikro power cords to the Ayre system
seems to add a bit too much liquidity and
smoothness to the sound for my tastes. I did
not come to this realization until I inserted
the Silent Source power cords into my system.
Thus, I have found that you can capture
enough of the Omega Mikro power cord sound by
using the Omega Mikro cords on just one or
two choice components in a system. The rest
of the components can have Silent Source
cords on them.
Before I recommend or review a power
cord, I like making sure that it works well
in other systems, because you never know when
you may find a special synergy between power
cords and components in a system that cannot
be easily duplicated. I have taken the Silent
Source cords over to my friend
Frankenfurter's house (I nicknamed him
Frankenfurter because Lars was taken, and
Franko sounded too darn much like something
out of Goodfellas) and put them on his
high-powered tube MFA monoblock amps. The
rest of his system has two Omega Mikro Red
power cords as well as an Elrod 3 Signature.
Using the Silent Source cords on his amps
made Frankenfurter's system come alive. His
soundstage improved dramatically as did his
bass, midrange naturalness, and overall
system transparency. He said he had never
heard his system sound this natural before
and I agreed. I fully admit to being an
insane power cord corruptor.
I brought the Silent Source over to
another friend's house. He was running a
Jadis Defy 7 mkI tube amp with the Genesis
350 speakers and external bass amp. The only
other time I heard this setup, I thought the
bass was slow compared to the midrange, and
there was a serious peak in the bass at
around the 60Hz level. I had shrugged these
problems off on his room acoustic
difficulties, but we were now to find out
that his room was not the primary culprit. We
inserted the Silent Source power cords on his
Jadis amp and Genesis bass amp. The sonic
transformation of his system was startling.
His bass got a lot quicker and that 60hz hump
seemed to go away. His bass also got deeper
and much more solid. The Silent Source power
cords also improved the depth and focus of
his soundstage. His central image went from
being disembodied to being tightly focused.
The total tonal balance of his system seemed
to even out. It was not perfect of course. It
is impossible for a 12" woofer to keep pace
with a fine ribbon midrange. However, adding
the Silent Source power cords to his
amplification was a huge improvement. I
really sympathize with this guy. It is tough
to calibrate the three tweeters on each
Genesis 350 speaker. There are also
calibrations for the bass. I do not envy
anyone who has harder speakers to setup than
"Because all things of the highest power
should go up to 11." - Spinal Tap
What separates the Silent Source cords
and the Omega Micko power cords from other
power cords I have tried, is their sheer
transparency, amazing soundstage, and black
background. They both let components pass
close to the same amount of detail along to
the speakers, whereas so many other power
cords tend to be veiled in comparison.
Ultimately, the Omega Mikros are a tad more
transparent at over one and a half times the
price of the Silent Source power cords. It's
a close call though, and requires a resolute
system to even begin making this subtle
determination. The Silent Source and Omega
Mikro cords do not suffer from the many
pitfalls other cords fall prey to:
brightness, a rolled off top and bottom end,
over-emphasis of different frequency bands,
muddy sounding, etc. Additionally, the Silent
Source cords offered much more transparency
and a better overall tonal balance. The word
natural keeps popping into my mind when I
want to describe the Silent Source cables.
These Silent Source power cords demonstrated
no weaknesses on the equipment I tried them
on. Although I consider the Silent Source
cords to be only slightly outperformed by the
Omega Mikro cords, the latter cords have one
minor drawback: Omega Mikro cords are
FRAGILE. If you have young children, animals
that like chewing, or if you are a complete
klutz, Omega Mikro cords may not be for you.
Silent Source cords will better fit your
lifestyle. Even if you do have Omega Mikro
cords on all of your components, you still
might want to try one or two Silent Source
cords if you feel the sound you are getting
is a bit too liquid and smooth. I think the
Silent Source cords have a slightly more
natural and neutral sound than the Omega
Mikro cords. Didn't I write earlier in this
review that I would not babble like a fool
about these Silent Source cords? So much for
a coherent review.
In any case, I have listed many reasons why
one should demo power cords in their system
before buying them. And when you do demo
power cords, try several brands at one time.
Walker Audio has a 30-day audition period on
all of their products, so you have little to
lose trying out these cords. If you do not
like a Walker product, or if it does not
measure up to your standards in your system,
you can return it (less shipping) within 30
days, and get your money back. How can you
beat that deal?
Are these cords worth $599 each? This is the
$64,000 question. If your current power cords
run over $600, I doubt you will regret trying
out the Silent Source cords. If you like
them, odds are they are going to cost you
less than the cords you own. If your current
power cords cost less than $600 each, you
might just want to splurge a little and buy
the Silent Source cords to get a more neutral
and natural presentation from your system.
Personally, I think the Silent Source cords
are worth every penny-even at full retail.
They are reference power cords at less than
half the retail price of many so-called
reference power cords. If you have reference
components, and you are missing reference
power cords, the Silent Source cords can make
a bigger sonic difference/improvement in your
system than spending obscene amounts of money
to get more state-of-the-art components.
Also, if you do not have reference level
power cords on your components, you will
never know the potential of how good your
system can sound. Call me a power cord nut,
but the power cords you are using throughout
your system dramatically influence the sound
of your system. One must hear this to believe