Located in Massapequa Park, New York, the Triode Wire Labs company set to build some affordable but highest quality power cords currently available.
Founded by Peter Grzybowski also known as “Triode Pete”, a professional engineer with a B.S. from Clarkson University and a M.S. from the New York Institute of Technology.
From their website we learn that: “Pete has been an avid audiophile since he was 10, when he repaired and restored his older brother’s blown JBL L-100 speakers. Working for over 25 years in the power generation industry, Pete has gained considerable experience and knowledge in electrical theory and construction.
Experimenting with DIY power cables, speaker cables as well as interconnects, Pete constructed numerous variations and configurations with different metals as conductors, assorted construction techniques, various stranding sizes, different twist lengths and insulation, as well as grounding and shielding techniques. After all this experimentation, he found a material and construction combination that worked “best” for hi-fidelity audio applications that also could be assembled for affordable audiophile prices. One of Pete’s philosophies as an engineer is Efficiency & Effectiveness; he believes that “AFFORDABLE” & “AUDIOPHILE” should not be an OXYMORON!
After finding the “best” materials for audiophile power cord, interconnect and speaker cable applications, Pete determined that the “best” assembly technique for AC power signals and AC transmission was to utilize Litzendraht braiding. This technique was developed in the 1930s in Germany. This type of wire construction offers very wide bandwidth with excellent phase performance, especially for audio signal transmission. The great and famous Western Electric Company utilized Litzendraht construction in military applications during World War 2.
Pete found that his “hand braiding” techniques were not the “best”. However, he found that his wife and three daughters with their long, blonde hair were “expert” braiders and they currently “Litz-braid” all Triode Wire Labs cable products by hand.
Why the name Triode?
In 1926, the ‘71A direct-heated power triode was introduced, followed by the ’50 in 1928, the ’45 and PX4 in 1929, the PX25 in 1930, the 2A3 in 1932, the 300A in 1936, and the 300B in 1938. Over 85 years after their introduction, these triodes continue to be the lowest distortion amplifying devices ever made. These fairly simple devices can produce exceptional natural musical fidelity. Triode Wire Labs believes their products produce the same exceptional natural musical fidelity at “common sense” prices. Please see our Testimonials page regarding the sound of our hand-made products.”
Visually, the Triode Wire Labs are not of the “cool, industrial design” variety but rather more artistic in their appearance, which is a nice alternative in my view.
The powercords sent for a review were the following:
- The "High Power Digital American" utilizes a IeGO 24 kt. Gold-plating over pure KME (German) copper Schuko. The IeGO C13 IEC uses pure Furukawa (Japan) copper. The connector bodies are CNC-machined aircraft grade aluminum with carbon fiber housings.
Specifically designed to reduce the noise floor on all types of digital electronics, especially SACD / CD players, DACs, Class-D amps, DVD / Blu-ray players, audio and video servers, computer and media based systems as well as HDTVs (Plasma, LED, LCD, projectors) and more! The “Digital American” should be used as a perfect synergistic partner with the Triode Wire Labs family of audiophile & videophile cable products.
- The "Silver Statement" uses thin rhodium plating over 99.999% Solid Silver UHPL-OCC IeGO Schuko. The IeGO C13 IEC uses the same thin rhodium plating over 99.999% Solid Silver UHPL-OCC material. The connector bodies are CNC-machined aircraft grade aluminum with carbon fiber housings.
- The "Obsession" utilizes the crazy expensive Furutech FI-E50 (R) Schuko connector (MSRP - $402USD each) and the Furutech FI-50 (R) C13 IEC (MSRP -$308USD each).
Both the "Silver Statement" and "Obsession" power cords have 20% more conductors than the 7 AWG "High Power Digital American".ˇ
All powercords utilize conductive silver mylar as well as patented conductive carbonized external sleeving to assist in maintaining clean signals as well as providing interference & RF filtering.
All powercords are deeply Cryogenically treated conductors and connectors.
Resonance controlling dielectric potting adhesive utilized on all powercords.
All powercords are “burned-in” at Triode Wire Labs, featuring a brand new audiodharma CABLE COOKER™ HIGH POWER Anniversary Edition 3.5 with premium all-copper billet Cardas CCGR binding posts.
Despite being quite bulky in their appearance, all Triode Wire Labs powercords were surprisingly flexible and easy to handle.
The High Power Digital American is the most affordable of all three and was the first one that I have tried. It superseded the original powercord that came with the Totaldac d1-dual DAC and the change in sound it brought was quite dramatic. The resolution and transparency were immediately increased a few notches but luckily, the sound didn`t become bright, quite on the contrary, the tonal color density was even richer and more believable. The Totaldac d1-dual is already an extraordinary musical machine but to discover new bits and pieces in the familiar music, was of course nevertheless very welcome indeed. This shows us that we actually never really know the limits of high quality audio devices since every now and then a component (a cable) comes along that is able to provide improved working conditions for the electronic devices and many times we are surprised to find out that these devices we thought we knew quite well, show unexpected sonic potential.
The High Power Digital American showed strikingly that incredible performance gains could be had without sacrificing an arm and an leg. This powercord combines all the desirable traits a true music lover seeks and appreciates most: a very immediate and open sound with proper harmonic structure, a balanced frequency response and top to bottom coherency that serves a highly organic sonic presentation that is very dynamic and alive sounding - on top of it all. The resolution across the whole spectrum was very impressive and what is more important: it served the musical message in a most convincing manner.
Some other cables lying around for comparison were Cabledyne Reference Silver, JPS Labs labs Kaptovator Lite and LessLoss DFPC Signature.
Except for the JPS Labs labs Kaptovator Lite, all other cables were pretty close in their portrayal of the lower frequency octaves but above upper bass, things differed quite a bit.
Here, the High Power Digital American pictured warmer tonal colors but it still managed to sound the most open and transparent of all of them. These comparisons also showed that natural warmth and fantastic resolution can go hand in hand and not necessarily exclude each other. The High Power Digital American showed a great sense of body AND control in the lower midrange which I consider crucial for any component wanting to approach a believable reproduction levels. If a component decreases energy levels, the sense of body/weight will be lessened and the music will immediately sound less convincing. The same goes for micro and macro dynamic abilities: introduce even slightest compression and the reproduced music will sound dead and boring.
Continuing with the aforementioned comparison; the High Power Digital American powercord exhibited openness at the highest frequency spectrum that went beyond what other contenders were able to show. With the High Power Digital American, the backgrounds were very silent but the upper octaves showed nice sparkle when called for.
The whole frequency spectrum appeared harmonically rich and alive sounding. These things elevate the overall sound quality and believability to very impressive levels and ensure highest involvement factor and emotional charge.
With all these subjective and objective virtues, the High Power Digital American proved to be an incredibly musical powercord that also managed to easily highlight every corner of the soundstage in terms of 3D precision. Soundstage precision is not something I would consider of paramount importance in music reproduction (first come tone, energy and dynamics) but if on hand - it is very welcome.
After so much positive virtues exhibited by the High Power Digital American, I wondered how much if anything would be gained by introducing the "Silver Statement" and "Obsession" to the system but first I had to use these two on the Totaldac d1-dual source, to observe the differences.
Without any doubt, these two powercords showed that there is always room for improvement. The differences weren`t huge but nevertheless important and noticeable, especially the "Obsession" proved to be highly adept in pushing the performance envelope even further. With it, the micro and macro dynamic shading improved markedly and it brought even greater sense of weight and control across the whole spectrum.
At the end I have tried all three powercords in the system: High Power Digital American for the source, "Silver Statement" for the preamp and "Obsession" for the power amplifier. The end result was absolutely stunning and dare I say seductive. The music sounded very alive and effortlessly communicated the emotional content to the listeners. As a matter of fact, during one listening session, two audio designers were present and both of them were literally stunned by the difference the Triode Wire Labs powercords brought to the system`s sound.
The Music according to the Triode Wire Labs...
David Chesky – The Zephyrtine: A Ballet Story - this is one spectacular orchestral work that seems to be very well recorded. This is David Chesky’s fantasy ballet for children but I highly doubt adults will be bored while listening to it, quite on the contrary, the music itself may contain a certain kind of innocence but the story is very captivating and brings a positive message:
“The Zephyrtine is a wonderful adventure that revolves around a little boy from Vermont, Ben, represented by the piccolo, who meets a magical creature, a Zephyrtine, represented by the French Horn and journeys to the enchanted land of Eudora. Eudora is a Utopian society where people are different colors: red, blue, green, and yellow! Vegetables are not grown (instead built in factories), ice cream grows on trees, and fish fly. When the Blue Princess is captured by Ib the monster, it is up to Ben to rescue her and save the kingdom. Families are taken on a thrilling colorful orchestral journey where children learn the importance of friendship and accepting cultural diversity.”
Chesky says: “The Zephyrtine ballet is an audiophile’s delight. This orchestral spectacular with its extra large colorful percussion section was recorded with one binaural microphone from the conductor’s position and fed directly into an A/D converter. Both the converter and microphone were running on batteries for the purest sound possible. We believe it is our best sounding orchestral album to date. You will hear some of the best spatial imaging, dynamics, and tonality ever recorded of an orchestra.”
True indeed. The album is full of unexpected dynamic bursts and sonic fireworks. The Triode Wire Labs powercords provided an incredible amount of raw as well as very refined energy to all connected devices and ensured staggering dynamic gradations throughout the entire album. They provided a level of musical insight that is quite rare among top powercord offerings nowadays. The soundstage was extremely stable even during the wildest orchestral passages and one could feel the sound pressure over the entire body.
The separation of various instruments was immaculate and instrumental lines were very easy to follow. The airiness of the soundstage was phenomenal and here, I think the Triode Wire Labs powercords went further than the aforementioned competition.
Here is a short excerpt:
Joseph Tawadros - Chameleons of The White Shadows is another gem worthy of your attention. The easiest way to describe the music, would be: Oriental Jazz but there`s more to it. Joseph Tawadros’style is described as very eclectic. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, "he has taken the oud out of its traditional Middle Eastern setting and into the realm of classical music and jazz". The winner of an Australian Recording Industry Award (ARIA) "Best World Music Album 2013" features an all star music cast: Joseph Tawadros (Oud), Béla Fleck (Banjo),
Richard Bona (Electric Bass), Joey DeFrancesco (Hammond Organ), James Tawadros (Req' & Bendir), with special Guests: Roy Ayers (Vibraphone), Howard Johnson (Tuba)
and Jean-Louis Matinier (Accordion).
The musicianship and instrumental interplay are simply breathtaking and with the help from Triode Wire Labs powercords, the sonic presentation was simply marvelous and loaded with energy which in turn ensured deepest emotional involvement. The Triode Wire Labs powercords communicated everything with ease: the rich harmonic structure, the refined see-through transparency, the micro and macro dynamic bursts and most importantly - the musical message of this phenomenal album.
For vocal music I have tried a number of familiar tracks from my favourite singers like Gianmaria Testa, Ania Dabrowska, Dan Fogelberg, Michael Franks, Alisson Krauss, Jose James, etc and of course, some choir music. Regardless of the type of music I have listened to, the Triode Wire Labs powercords always delivered a sound that always seemed full of energy, was immediate and possessed unmistakable live character. They provided a huge amount of information AND emotion and the mighty combination of these two is always a characteristic of the truly special products.
All Triode Wire Labs powercords show stunning sound performance levels and this, way, way above what their prices would suggest. Actually, they bring a level of sonic excellence which just recently seemed totally out of rich in their respective price regions. I can only recommend them very strongly to all who seek phenomenally capable powercords regardless of the price considerations. They have set a new price-performance ratio that surely will leave a great impact in this market segment. The Triode Wire Labs powercords are very well thought out products, built with utmost care, attention to detail and an incredible sense for visual excellence. Already the "High Power Digital American" shows staggering sound performance attributes and with the "Silver Statement" and even more so with the "Obsession", the music just begins to sound decidedly more natural and above all, very believable.
These powercords are true gems, worthy of inclusion in top class systems regardless of price and my final verdict can only be: highly recommended!
Triode Wire Labs
"I'd like to thank Matej and the entire staff at Mono and Stereo for the insightful review on my power cable products. My design goal is to produce super high quality and affordable cable products that are balanced throughout with an exceptional organic (you are there) naturalness."
Pete/Triode Wire Labs
Triode Wire Labs