As audiophiles for over 40 years MCRU know a thing or two about how to make a hifi system sound good or better.
The question we are most often asked is what cables should I choose for my system as you have such a large choice.
We always say the same thing, start at the wall socket (assuming you can’t put in a dedicated mains spur or have done already).
Invest in a good wall socket for starters, our recommendations are below. This will be the building block to start your mains improvements.
The cable going from the wall socket to your mains power strip/conditioner/regenerator/balance mains unit etc is the most important cable in your system, it will determine what your system sounds like overall.
If you don’t have a separate mains lead from the wall socket and would like to use a mains block with the cable hard wired then our recommended solutions are below all based on your chosen budget.
If you are considering some sort of mains conditioner or already have one but want to upgrade it then we recommend the Puritan Audio range of mains conditioners. Quite simply they offer instant sonic improvements withoutany of the bells and whistles that other manufacturers include which are not always needed. Puritan are based in England so you are also supporting UK manufacturing while it still exists. Depending how many components your system has our mains blocks and mains conditioners have between 4 and 12 sockets (mains block have 4,6 or 8 sockets and conditioners usually 6 or 12) so there will be a solution for most people’s needs.
A lot of hifi systems are built up over the years from when funds allow, mains cables and accessories are no different, try a few upgrades first to see if the results are commensurate with the money paid. Often just changing 1 mains lead will result ina discernible sonic improvement. Proven by customer feedbacks. Bigger improvements usually follow by upgrading to a mains conditioner so that the entire system benefits from a cleaner mains supply.
If there is room in your hifi rack for a conditioner we recommend the Puritan PSM156 which has 6 sockets on the back panel, compared to other brands who often charge 2 or 3 times more the Puritan punches well above its weight. It is also supplied with a quality mains power lead to attach to the mains wall socket.
If however you want the very best mains power lead to power your mains conditioner from the wall socket we have developed what we consider to be one of the very best mains leads in existence (and in case you are wondering how we know this its based on listening tests against the competition). The MCRU Ultimate MK6 is created!
Suffice to say MCRU use the PSM156 in our shop demo room along with the PSM1512 which has 12 sockets for bigger systems.
Starting at the wall socket we have now reached the crucial stage which is choosing mains power leads to attach to your mains block or conditioner. We fully realize a lot of our customers have mains solutions from other suppliers, our power leads work very wellno matter where you plug them in and whichever equipment they are powering, they are not system dependent at all. As with anything in life, most choices are dependent on available budget, we cater for all price points and have chosen to offer a range of mains leads based on sensible design and above all performance commensurate with price paid. A general rule is paying more gets better performance but the entry level cables we make still sound good!
Our recommendations on mains power leads are not definitive, if you already own an MCRU power lead that’s not on the recommended list fear not as even we struggle sometimes to choose a model to use in our own system.
Our number one selling budget offering is the MCRU No.14 which was one of our very first designs when we discovered Belden 19364 mains cable about 15 years ago! Belden 19364 is the world’s number one audiophile mains cable with tens of thousands of metres sold, it stands out for its competitive price, superb design and flexibility. there are not many foil shielded mains cables at this price point.
The No.14 ticks a lot of boxes for many of our customers, if however you want to aim slightly higher we have our audiophile model which is based on LAPP cable which is another superbly designed cable and a huge seller globally for over 15 years. The LAPP uses 2.5mm2 conductors and has proven to be a superb cable for making power leads.
We have customers who are happy to use the same mains lead design throughout their system and once they have reached audio sanctuary there is nothing more that needs to be done, we do however have
customers who are never finished on that up-grade path and arecontinuously tweaking to reach that artist in the room sound and beyond. We introduced the 7 series of cables after one such client asked for a complete set of cables from mains to speaker cables so the 7 series was born. A complete cabling solution (rca cables, xlr cables, speaker cables and mains leads/extension blocks). That brings us to our next recommendation which is the MCRU No.7 and its one of our best cables for the money. No tech specs as we never divulge what’s underneath as it will cloud your judgement, just listen is all we ask. The No.7 uses top quality connectors from Furutech and MS HD Power combined with a superb mains cable (not LAPP or Belden we might add but something far better). No wonder it is one of our most popular designs.
Firmly in the middle ground budget wise (we would never offer £4000 fuses or £10,000 mains leads to our customers as they are not needed) we have our next recommendation and its just above £100! We don’t advocate spending more than you need to on cabling and the No.75 proves that better sound need not cost the earth. A multi award winning design and one of our top sellers, all the No.75’s that we submitted for review in the hifi press were awarded the top accolade. The proof of the pudding is in the hearing!!!
Let us pause for a moment when it comes to all things mains and answer that age old burning question, why does the last metre of cable matter when the electricity has travelled 100’s of miles to your house from the sub-station?
First of all its not the last metre of cable its the first metre. As we said at the very beginning the first metre of cable from your wall socket is the most important cable in any hifi system. If you don’t use mains blocks etc and power all your equipment direct from an array of wall sockets then all the mains leads you use apply and should be up-graded to the best you can get.
The electricity may have travelled 100’s of miles to your house when it was first built, it was there when you moved in and is travelling around your house in a circle so to speak (known in the UK as a ring main) where all your sockets are daisy chained together to form a ring. Its moving so fast your can’t really measure it without specialist equipment but its about 670,000,000 miles per hour or thereabouts. So even if it did travel 100’s of miles to your house it would take nanoseconds to reach it.
Once inside a house in the UK we are thwarted from the very beginning, the plethora of household appliances that are sharing your mains supply all injecting interface into your hifi equipment and generally doing their best to dirty the mains. Then we have the scourge of the 21st century wifi or wireless internet which works off radio waves which like nothing better than travelling down wires! All your hifi cables are susceptible to this which is known as RFI. To prove it exists just take a long pair of rca cables and attach both into your spare rca socket on your amplifier, the other end hold one cable in each hand and put your arms out. Turn the volume up and you will almost certainly hear a radio channel coming through the speakers, there is RFI.
To have any chance of winning the battle against RFI and dirty mains we need shielded and screened cables where possible to make it harder for the radio waves to travel in the wires, if possible a seperate mains spur to avoid the frduge, freezer, micorwave etc form neing attached to the same mains feed as your msuic system.