MCRU #27 mains cable
This article written by Malcolm Steward was first published in Hi-Fi Choice magazine (UK) 2012.
The legendary Crump Asylum mains lead is an example of uncommon audiophile pragmatism: TG Audio Lab’s Bob Crump kept trying after-market mains cables but could never find one that performed better than the moulded cables that came with his Levinson amplifiers. When he replaced their wall plugs their performance advanced further. He then replaced their IEC plugs with better quality versions and the performance of the cables took another step forward. The resultant cable has been his reference mains lead for more than two decades, and he has written about its construction on the Audio Asylum internet forum, hence the name it acquired, the Crump Asylum lead.
Unlike many after-market leads, the Crump Asylum and the similar MCRU No 27, look mundane when you peruse their materials: fundamentally, the No 27 consists of two high quality mains connectors – a gold-plated MK Toughplug and a Martin Kaiser IEC connector – and a length of Belden 13964 cable in a carbon-infused sheath to reject interference. There is nothing outrageously exotic here: but I don’t think that the bill-of-materials approach is appropriate. The cable design of the MCRU No 27 differs only slightly from Crump’s original. For example, the sheath drain wire is connected at only one end (the wall end). It has been suggested by commentators also that one should solder the cable within the IEC plug but MCRU considers this not to be a good idea, primarily because of the metallurgical differences between the gold-plated ‘pins’ on the plug and the solder.
The MCRU No 27 delivers an overall performance boost unlike most after-market cables that seem to offer dramatic improvements in one or two specific areas only. For this reason I was happy to use the cryogenically-treated No 27 within my Naim Audio and Neat XL10 primary system, which does not truly appreciate after-market mains cables. Happily, with the No 27 feeding my pre-amp, the system simply delivered more of its usual musical coherence and communication, along with a super quiet background, and greater definition of micro-dynamics and nuances from the back of the sound-stage. That it promotes discernible, persuasive improvements within such a sensitive electronics set-up merits genuine commendation for me. The £95.00 MCRU No 27 comes particularly highly recommended, especially for users of Naim equipment.