IeGO POWER CABLES
PRICE: $219 and $339
When I first saw this I recall thinking, “Now how many plastic pieces would it take to snap together to make a power cord and why would a toy manufacturer make audio cables?” Well luckily the joke was on me, it's IeGO, pronounced I-'eGO (ai-'yi-go) - not LEGO.
IeGO Power is a company in Taiwan that specializes in OEM/ODM and R&D in power related fields. Services and productions include design and manufacture of aerospace/satellite wires and cables, military anti-explosive power cables, heavy electricity R&D, project design, implementation, and management, etc. In the year 2000, the name of IeGO Power was officially established to serve global OEM/ODM demands in the fields of High Fidelity Power, Audio, and Visual Products. All IeGO Power's products are manufactured in-house with it's own satellite production plants around the globe. So it seems this is not a mom & pop operation.
I first came across this cable when a guy in Taiwan was offering IeGO's entry level power cables for sale that are designated by the model number L70530. I have noticed recently that a number of power cable manufacturers are offering a base cable with the option of upgraded connectors as opposed to having different cable configurations. The entry level had two cords priced at $65 and $95 with $25 shipping from Taiwan. The cables under review are considered mid-level (which suggests there will be an upscale version coming) are designated as L80229. This L80229 comes in three flavors (connectors), rhodium plated copper (8075), gold plated copper (8085), and rhodium plated silver (8095). The cable uses wires of copper sourced from Japan Furukawa along with pure silver and alloyed copper/silver/gold wires for approx. 12AWG gauge. Did I mention that they are cryo treated?
Below is a cutaway of the L80229:
When the IeGO cables arrived I was not totally unfamiliar with their power cords as I own their top entry level cord, the L70530+8065ct. The cables arrived double boxed with the fit and finish getting a good WAF factor only lacking tech flex as the finish of choice. The cable color is an earth tone tan/light brown with the only difference in the two being the color of the connectors, one black and the other blue. The cables are flexible and easy to route around equipment.
The two cables that I received are the L80229+8075 4n Japan Furukawa pure copper with rhodium plating ($219) and L80229+8095 5n pure silver with rhodium plating ($339), where the L number is the cable designation and the four digit number being the connector. Why not a name for each cable? Numbers don't sound sexy.
The hard part was deciding how to go about this review, as my best sounding system is with the Consonance amps, but since I didn't have two of each power cord to put on the amps I started with the Usher power amp for comparison and when switching to comparisons on my cdp and preamp I switched to the Consonance amps. Best for me was to start by reviewing one of the IeGO cords and at the end compare it to the other IeGO.
I thought it best to start with the least expensive L80229+8075, copper/rhodium connectors and using the Audio Art Power 1 power cord as my reference. The Power 1 is a great overall performer and at its price point is hard to beat. Most times in my reviews I try not to compare products to others as I don't have an extensive collection of different components, so I review from the stance ”Do I like the way it sounds?”
I started with the excellent Songbones cd by Grayson Capps as I wanted to get a handle on the tonality and timing of the IeGO. Capps voice is a mixture of blues and country from the great state of Louisiana and along with his guitar playing and the quite lively sound of the harmonica is a great test piece. Tonality was very natural as witnessed by the guitar playing throughout the cd and the harmonica on “Washboard Lisa” and “Psychic Channel Blues”. The IeGO seemed to bring the guitar a little forward with increased percussive attack from the strings. Two of my favorite songs are “Guitar” and “Mermaid”. Capps distinct voice is a joy to listen to. This is one of those discs where you get a bottle of Wild Turkey and let the good times roll.
After a good dose of Capps it was time for some female vocals. For this purpose I picked Kate Walsh and Shirley Horn, two different styles but both great in their own rights.
Horn's cd is great because of the minimal amount of instruments where tone, timing, and balance are easy to discern. The three songs that I used were “Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'”, “Beautiful Love”, and “Too Late Now”. Each instrument had it's own space with a very dark back ground, balanced sound spectrum, and Shirley's voice is oh so natural. The tempo just flowed with an ease and sense that you are there. Cymbal work, piano, harmonica, and bass playing were all crystal clear. The sound stage had great depth and width. I second Marvin's choice of this recording - it is superb both musically and sonically - publisher.
Now to Kate Walsh. This is a voice I could listen to forever and a day. On “Talk of The Town” I listened for balance and naturalness of tone, needless to say it was there in spades. The next song I listened to is “Is This It?” where I listen for the crispness of the surf and sea gulls in the background at the beginning of the song. You can also listen for the tonality of the guitar. I could clearly hear the plucking of each individual string. Kate's voice is very relaxing and there is no stringency in her upper register.
For tempo testing I use “Take The A Train” from Ray Brown's Soular Energy cd. If your system or a component is not right on as far as tempo is concerned this song will not sound right. You can tell when you find yourself trying to speed up your toe tapping. The IeGO passed with flying colors.
I then put in Manu Katche, this entire cd is great on a number of levels. You get great cymbal brushwork, trumpet, sax, piano, and bass showing off tonality, tempo, transient attack, balance, and just plain fun. The songs I concentrated on were “November 99”, “Lullaby”, “February Sun”, and “Rose”.
Cymbal strikes were sharp and crisp, piano notes were clear and percussive, on the brushwork you can hear each individual wire bounce off the cymbal. The tonality of each instrument was natural and tempo was not lacking.
The L80229+8075 (copper/rhodium) is a very good sounding cables, they have good bass, detailed highs, smooth clear midrange, and a balanced overall sound.
Going back and listening with the L80229+8095 (silver/rhodium) the differences that I noticed were:
1) A little faster
2) A little more energy in the upper midrange
3) A little more bass extension
In a nutshell the difference to me is that you get more emphasis in high end details with the 8075 whereas the details are still there with the 8095 but the upper midrange is more pronounced.
The first thing you should take away from this review is that replacing your standard issue power cables with after market power cables absolutey can make a significant difference in the performance of your components. Some of you may find this difficult to believe, but it is a fact - assuming the listener is able to discern real differences in sound in the first place. It does not necessarily take "golden ears" to hear it. Like any other component, cables come in all prices. Our publisher recently did a review with power cables priced over $10,000 each, so like everything else, let your ears and your wallet be your guide. But even with lower priced entry-level high-end products, most audiophiles should hear a difference. So specifically, hese cables would be appropriate for lower priced gear, but would probably improve even very pricey components that come with stock $3 power cables.
I like and could live with either cord, in fact I would probably purchase both and use them as mood cables. Both cables did well on amp, preamp, and transport. If I had to just pick one, I would take the 8095 but then again I would have to take a serious listen to determine if there is a $120 difference.
By the way, these two cables did make me replace my entry level IeGO as they made it sound bright in comparison. Both IeGOs were a step or two above my Audio Art Power 1 cord.
By the way, in comparison to my 6sonsaudio Windigo and Thunderbird power cables, the IeGOs were no match for the Windigo period and on my transport the IeGOs did beat out my Thunderbirds for bass extension but in every other area the Thunderbirds were superior as I would expect as both the Windigo and Thunderbirds cost 2 to 3 times as much.
It's getting harder and harder these days to make bad equipment otherwise you would not be in business long, this also makes it harder to discern between different pieces of equipment, but take your time and trust your ears.
For more information contact Howard Chi (Onesimusaudio@gmail.com) at Onesimus Audio (www.onesimusaudio.com)