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July 2020
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

RSX Prime AC Power Cord
Presents the component, and thereby the music, to best serve your audio system.
Review By Dr. Michael Bump

 

RSX Prime AC Power Cord Review

 

  Guilty as charged. I'm one of those audiophiles who, in the early days of my high-end audio explorations, was a non-believer in the significant effects of after-market cabling, in particular, power cords. I figured, as long as it looked like a garden hose, it qualified to bring the goods from my (modestly) high-end components. Quickly, however, I realized how naïve I was. Perhaps it was the overwhelming design and price point options in the home audio cable market that kept me in denial. To a newbie whose best-bang-for-the-buck objectives still left dozens of audition options, the merry-go-round seemed a study in perpetual motion. Nevertheless, the crime taught me that, through patient research, listening, and thoughtful placement, quality cabling among quality components can yield significant sonic improvements to any fine audio system.

Most may agree that the foundation of any cabling blueprint rests in the power delivery (quality of wall source aside). As a conductor of current, a power cable is effectively part of the primary winding of a component's transformer. Consequently, the design of a power cable can significantly affect the reactance of signals within the power transformer, its success largely determined by its ability to fully deliver current while controlling the EMI effects of the components they're attached to. What separates the myriad of power cord designs is, of course, the materials used and the methods in which they are employed.

Though surely debatable, I might posit that cable effectiveness is not necessarily system dependent. Rather, cable neutrality allows audio components to demonstrate their natural dependency on each other. Every high-end audio component is designed to produce exceptional audio reproduction competitive within a given price point. Ultimately, a cable that is neutral enough to carry forth the intent of a component's design characteristics, allowing it to effectively interact with another, is one that best serves the audio system. Non-neutral interconnectivity within the signal chain can have the effect of flavoring to compliment or contrast component design characteristics, which can be quite the Pandora's Box.

However for a plethora of reasons, one might find this preferable – To relax or warm the output of one, or tip high to another. Though not part of the signal chain, power cords are best assessed based on their proximity to neutrality – Their ability to provide clean, fast current. Therefore, when evaluating the validity of a power cord, one is compelled to listen and ask, "Am I hearing more or less of the desired sum of the audio components and, in turn, the desired outcome of the music?" Finding a power cord that provides as close a neutral foundation as possible to this synergy will then allow one to move efficiently through the signal chain one interconnect at a time, seeking any desired changes (Ah yes, that persistent, subjective question that nags on our shoulder... Is the change better, or just different?).

 

RSX Prime AC Power Cord Review

 

The RSX Story
RSX cables are created by cable industry veteran, Roger Skoff, best known for his earlier XLO Electric cable designs. If you have even the slightest familiarity with him, then you are aware of his diverse resume and distinguished career in several successful entrepreneurial ventures. An accomplished inventor, electrical engineer, consultant, author, and high-end audio specialist, Roger was founder and lead designer of XLO, creating some of the finest audiophile cabling of their time. When he sold the company in 2002, he began a seventeen-year pilgrimage to further his research in cable physics, applying innovative thought, technology, and materials. In December of 2019, Roger launched RSX Technologies to showcase and further develop his new ideas. The resulting goals of his new venture can be summed in the following quote:

"No cable can ever be completely immune to losses from resistance; from cancellations or augmentations as a result of capacitive discharge effect; or even from the frequency-response-shaping effects of simple capacitance and inductance. True "nothing" can't be done. It is possible, though, to minimize those factors and others and to balance them in such a way as to move their effects far beyond or below the audio spectrum and otherwise outside the thresholds of human hearing. This is what RSX has sought to do."

Thus, it is RSX's continuing objective to make its cables do better towards "nothing" than any others. Their marketing slogan, "Hear the music, not the cables," is not necessarily a new idea in high-end audio. However, Roger has a clear vision and technical prowess to succeed to this end like few others before him. He believes his designs "sound so good because they sound so little," and by adding, subtracting, or otherwise changing nothing, sonic neutrality / transparency is brought significantly closer to reality.

RSX Technologies currently produces three high-end AC power cords and three phono cables, with more new audio products planned for introduction over the next two years (In April, RSX introduced a multi-outlet power box, "Power8," which will be shipping this summer). Both power cords and phono cables are distinguished through three progressive (in ascending order towards neutrality) design models – Prime, MAX, and Beyond. Roger refers to them as "Better," "Much Better," and "Best," respectively. The power cords all make use of 100% long crystal, Laboratory Grade copper (utilizing three times as much copper conductor material as conventional "heavy-duty" cords), proprietary air and advanced Teflon fluoropolymer dielectrics, full-floating Bi-metallic "Faraday Cage" shielded construction, and high-contact/low mass connectors.

 

RSX Prime AC Power Cord Review

 

A Prime Example
As you'll note, I run an entire loom of JPS cabling for reference. It was, in fact, the introduction of my first JPS Aluminata power cord years ago that made one of the most profound improvements to my audio system to-date. Consequently, I'm very keen on the current "house sound," as it were, with any introduced anomalies easily identified. Thus, the process of cause/effect as I repositioned the Prime to various components was readily discerned. With the exception of the amps (Merrill Audio Veritas monos), which are coupled directly to the wall, all my components run through a Running Springs Haley power conditioner. Sure, the amps are more susceptible to power line/house grunge, but this is where the good versus great power cords distinguish themselves, IMHO. As RSX's entry-level AC power cord, I was eager to avoid aurally stereotyping the Prime as such. Rather, I preferred to simply listen without assumptions, as if nothing in the system had been altered, and allow experiences to find their path.

It should be noted that burn-in for RSX cables tends to run longer than average, due primarily to the high quality of dielectric materials. Expect 100 to 200 hours of actual use time before the cable is at its best. Roger provided two adaptors for me to string the cables together to assist in the burn-in process (a refrigerator works as a great source for this, btw!).

 

Listen To The Music
I began my listening perusal with a brief, controlled sampling of one reference track each from three of my core compact discs (1. Redbook - Alison Krauss/Union Station-Paper Airplane [Rounder], 2. Redbook - Ravel-La Valse, Dutoit/Montreal Sym [Decca], 3. SACD - Al DiMeola, McLaughlin, DeLucia – Friday Night In San Francisco [Columbia]). For purposes of limiting scope, I did not test drive the Prime on the VPI turntable. This was intended as a get-acquainted experiment, noting the broad strokes of influence the Prime had on each component in the audio chain (sorta like audio "Speed Dating"). Each move of the Prime was followed by two hours of non-evaluated play to allow for adjustment. After completing the cycle, I then spent a few days going through each component again, giving a more extended listening to each.

Like most perhaps, I experienced the most audible changes with my amps and secondly with my Esoteric K-03 digital front end. The relationship between the Prime and the Veritas offered the first glimpse into the major league playing field these power cords occupied. They possessed no particular character or influence, other than to offer as much full, tight lower frequency control as the Aluminata. Spatial rendering, depth, and the fantastic speed the Veritas are well-versed at were all there with no compromises. Extreme upper frequencies were crystal with perhaps a slight loss of luster when compared to the Aluminata. Most impressive was the absence of noise, clearly on par with the Aluminata, as well as the wonderful placement and separation of instrumental/vocal sources.

Equally influential sonically was via the Esoteric K-03. This component has been my warhorse for five years now and rarely sees me for want of a better digital source. Its analog-like soul with tremendous transient presence was never lost with the Prime power cord. I was again equally impressed here with the full, rich, tight lower frequency control noted through the Veritas. There was only a slight sense of thinning of mids via the two Redbooks, but no hint of stridency or lack of luster in extreme upper frequencies as per the Veritas. Transient articulations, a continuance of organic timbral truth, and again, placement and instrumental separation were fortes equal to those available with the Aluminata – no audible change.

Assessing the influence of the Prime on the VAC Signature SE pre was a little more elusive and revealed only subtle changes. This world-class preamp seems to have a life of its own, capable of revealing amazing sound even without a power cord! While the frequency spectrum appeared unaffected, the dynamic/amplitude spectrum seemed ever so slightly narrowed, with the most notable on the SACD reference. The acoustic natural beauty and clarity of all three reference examples remained present and strong, particularly most impressive during reduced amplitude assessment. Above all, the complex harmonic structures and inner detail that this preamp is so well-versed at remained fully in the presentation.

With continued listening, it became clear that, regardless of component association, the RSX Prime power cords contribute to an undeniable sense of literalness in the presentation, but in a very realistic sense. The palpable presence of music and musicians is omnipresent. Is the injection of a couple of outstanding power cords really that significant? You be the judge within your own audio world. I've spent a good deal of effort developing an audio system within my budget that can place me viscerally at and within the gig. As a professional musician, it's the only standard of reference I can relate to. What I can tell you is that the RSX Prime noticeably helped take this palpability to a higher level.

In some ways, the JPS Aluminata power cord can tend to expand the frequency and stage experience a bit beyond realistic expectations, which can be thrilling, but can also oversaturate. Inserting the Prime, particularly with the Veritas, presented instruments and voices in beautifully spaced three-dimensionality, truthfully and distinctly placed in the listening room with amazing realism. Yes, the Aluminata does this too, but the Prime does this differently, and I dare say in many ways, more believably. It is also worth noting that, at $1250 per 6ft length (MSRP), the Prime is roughly 75% less the cost of the Aluminata ($4999 for 6.5 foot length).

 

RSX Prime AC Power Cord Review

 

Coda
To lift the card and acknowledge the entry-level status of this design suggests that the RSX Prime power cord is an overachiever of the highest order, and a bargain beyond compare at its price point. I have not yet had the pleasure of assessing either the MAX or Beyond power cords, but I indeed smile to imagine what these "Much Better" and "Best" contenders must be capable of offering. Regardless, anyone seeking state-of-the-art refinement to high-end audio enjoyment via an after-market power cord upgrade would do well to audition the RSX Prime. Knowing what this "entry-level" foundation can offer to your components is nothing short of tremendous. Again, it is the ability to be transparent enough to simply present the component and thereby the music that I feel best serves the audio system, and the Prime does this in spades. I thank and congratulate Roger and his team at RSX Technologies for again moving the bar and inspiring all of us to continually seek out the best of electronically reproduced music through the most transparent conduits possible.

 

RSX Prime AC Power Cord Review

 

If you have any doubts as to how the Prime AC Power Cord or any of RSX Technologies new designs can help your system sing, take them up on their no-risk, 30-day money-back guarantee. Time well-spent, IMHO, and I guarantee you'll be impressed with the upticks in your system's presentation.

 

 

Reference System
Preamplifier: VAC Signature mkII SE with phono stage
Amplifier: Merrill Veritas monoblocks
Digital Source: Esoteric K-03
Analog Source: VPI Scoutmaster Signature with Dynavector XV-1s
Speakers: Daedalus Athena v.2
Subwoofer: Velodyne DD10+
Cables: JPS Aluminata power cords, interconnects (XLR and RCA), JPS SC3 speaker cables
Power Conditioning: Running Springs Haley

 

 

Specifications
Type: AC power chord
12+ AWG (per conductor 'leg') 100% long crystal, ultra-pure Laboratory Grade copper.

Exclusive Demand Coupled design with Premium Teflon – variant fluoropolymer insulation.

"

Available with 15A or 10A connectors.

Standard Lengths: 4 foot is $925, 6 ft. is $1250, 9 ft. is $1750, and 12 ft. is $2250 with NEMA (USA) or Schuko connectors. Custom lengths and connectors are available.

 

 

Company Information
RSX Technologies, Inc.
8211 Rochester Avenue
Suite 102
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Voice: (909) 870-9292
E-mail: rogerskoff@gmail.com 
Website: www.RSXtech.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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