QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD power cord review


There is a new player on the power cord scene: QSW-Audio from Poland. In this ever expanding field, products are being brought to the market and while some are of, kind of “passing importance”, others bring exciting and fresh, new ideas to the table.

One thing is for sure: power cords can make a big difference to the the way our systems sound and neglecting them is not a wise decision. 

The role of a power cord is of course to supply all the needed energy to the electrical components of the system and here not all power cords are equal. Additionally some manufacturers have implemented various tricks to clean up the electricity from RFI (transmitted frequencies that surround us but we cannot see) and differential mode mains noise (created by all electrical appliances) but these measures may or may not bring improvements to the overall sound, still, the fact remains: powercords are the critical component of every audio system that aspires for higher quality reproduction levels and they should be chosen with utmost care.

QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD construction

Not much is known about these powercords but here are some bits and pieces from the manufacturer: “This is a hand-made power cord made from solid core 7N copper. The mains plug has two pure silver pipes, both perfectly polished.


The connectors of the power cord are designed in such a way that the conductive part is tightly pressed by the wedge, and then it is all covered with epoxy resin to keep the wedge in place (at the same time, the air is pushed out, so it can be considered anaerobic).



There is a box in the centre of the power cord, with a proper tourmaline mineral EMI filter (see photograph below). In the plugs, it uses MC-8, as presented in the photograph below.

QSW-Audio MC-8 CD Reference power cord is the result of many years of experience and testing.” 

Looking at the photos one can observe the “MC-8 magnetic” and in all fairness this powercord does seem to bear some similarity to the HFC magnetic induction powercords.


As can be seen from the photos, the overall fit and finish of the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord seems perfect.

The sound of QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord


Upon inserting the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD into the Totaldac d1-dual, two things immediately became obvious: 1) the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord delivers a very refined sound and 2) the bass became just a tad softer but not severely so. 

Both characteristics can help in many particular cases (edgy, dry sounding systems).

In all other parameters it could easily compete with nearly all established competition from JPS, LessLoss, Audiomica, etc.



Starting from the bass, this range has excellent extension and natural harmonic structure but as already mentioned, may be perceived just a tad soft at times. On the other hand this very same characteristic helps making the sound of bowed instruments appear less mechanical and rough. Here, the lower midrange benefited a lot with a fluid and smooth overall impression. Just a bit higher up in the vocal range, the female singers also sounded very smooth, fluid and open; here only positive remarks could be reported.


The openness of the vocal range was impressive and apparent on all male and female voices, solo or choir. The presence range which represents a tough challenge for many powercords because it is located where the ear is most sensitive, presented an easy job for the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD; everything remained highly civilized but still very informative. The complex musical passages were rendered with precision, insight, calmness and excellent resolution that left no dark corners untouched.


The smooth and fluid sound character ensured stress-free reproduction of orchestral strings but none of this smoothness and fluidity negatively influenced the micro and macro dynamic shading; quite on the contrary, in this regard the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord provided simply a faultless performance, on a par with the best powercords in this price region. 

The spectral balance, harmonic richness and instrument “weight/body” were all reproduced in a very natural and self evident manner. This powercord does tone very well and this is not always the case with some lesser powercords.



The 3D stereo presentation was characterized by stunning precision making the instruments` positions rock solid on the virtual soundstage. The width and the depth of the sound field were exemplary, likewise the height and within this vast virtual space, the individual instruments and voices were very easy to follow and separate from each other.

I really enjoyed piano recordings, this instrument was reproduced with all the mighty power AND finesse - throughout the entire frequency spectrum. Same could be said for any other instrument or voices for that matter. The percussion instruments in particular sounded highly resolved and refined while maintaining explosive dynamics.

Once again the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD`s smooth and fluid character intensified all genres and music styles and made them a real pleasure to listen to. The emotional content was always preserved and the involvement factor was very high at all times.

The treble area was remarkably open, transparent and extended through the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord; instrument`s decay and reverberation were fully preserved and this was another strong point of this cable which must be highlighted.


In general the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord showed consistent results across the whole spectrum and in the end could be described as precise but also highly musical - things that we always look in a cable.

The QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord explores some music


I highly doubt there is anyone who loves Fado music but isn`t familiar with this phenomenal female singer from Portugal. Mariza was born to a Portuguese father and a mother of partial African heritage. At age three, her family moved to Metropolitan Portugal, and she was raised in Lisbon's historic quarters of Mouraria and Alfama. While very young she began singing in a wide variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul and jazz. Her father strongly encouraged her to adopt Fado; he felt that participating in the traditional music would grant her greater acceptance in the Portuguese community. Mariza has sold over 1,000,000 records worldwide. Her 2015 release “Mundo” features some beautiful music that must be exposed. This album marks a more contemporary sound though:


Incidentally, Mariza worked with another fantastic female singer, Roberta Sá from Brasil:


Some interesting Jazz from Cuba, Harold López-Nussa Torres is a jazz pianist who plays Jazz music with Cuban flavor:


Yuka Honda is a Japanese musician who resides in New York City. She is a multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, record producer, and co-founder of the band Cibo Matto. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with a diverse array of musicians, including Petra Haden, Sean Lennon, Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Tricky, Harper Simon, Beastie Boys, Los Lobos, Mitchell Froom, Medeski Martin & Wood, Marc Ribot, Yoshimi P-We, Arto Lindsay, Edie Brickell, Vincent Gallo, Luscious Jackson, Dave Douglas, Bernie Worrell and Caetano Veloso. 

On her Heart Chamber Phantoms (2010) album she was in charge of sampler, bass, guitar, percussion and vocals:


Bright Sheng is a Chinese-American composer, conductor, and pianist. He has lived in the United States since 1982 and is on faculty at the University of Michigan. In 1999, the White House commissioned Sheng to compose a piece to honor the Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji at a state dinner hosted by President Bill Clinton. 

Bright Sheng is respected as one of the leading composers of our time, whose stage, orchestral, chamber and vocal works are performed regularly by the greatest performing arts institutions throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 

Proclaimed by the MacArthur Foundation in 2001 as “an innovative composer who merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries,” Sheng’s music is evident with a strong Asian influence. However, it is the synthesis with Western musical tradition that makes his work truly distinctive and original, an outcome from his profound understanding of both cultures, as Sheng admits: “I consider myself both 100% American and 100% Asian.”


These are some of the music recommendations for this round and let me just say that with the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord feeding the Totaldac d1-dual, the musical enjoyment was simply of a very high order: what more could one wish for?

CONCLUSION


The QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord pursues a different path than other powercords and this quite successfully. The overall construction seems very sturdy and inspires confidence in regard to the long term reliability. Sound-wise the QSW-Audio Reference MC-8 CD powercord distinguishes itself as a very refined performer, possessing an organic see-through quality that makes listening, regardless of the musical genre, a pure enjoyment and makes for an exciting, involving experience. For all the qualities it showed - it earns my firm recommendation.

Price: 1.80m  EUR 2000

CONTACT: e-mail: Qsw-audio@wp.pl