MCRU #38 mains cable
This article written by Malcolm Steward was first published in Hi-Fi Choice magazine (UK) 2012.
I can already see the response to this review from the “mains cables make no difference” brigade, which will be along the lines of “this man is deluded and convincing himself he is hearing differences that cannot possibly exist: it’s just a length of wire, for crying out loud!” I have heard all those exclamations – I refuse to call them arguments – before, and I refute them because my experience tells me otherwise. I do not need anyone to point out to me that this is just 1.5 metres of OFC cable tacked on the end of a mile or more of rubbish copper cable connecting my home to the local power station and ultimately to the National Grid. Regardless, it made a difference to the performance of my audio system. The lead uses an IeGo gold-plated over a pure copper cryogenically treated IEC connector, and. at its other end there was an Isoclean Audio gold plated mains plug with a gold plated fuse. None of these would make any difference either if you are a cable disbeliever but I mention them regardless.
I used the MCRU No38 lead, which retails for £155.00, to replace the stock cable on a hard disk server and noticed immediately that it furnished the performance with greater dynamic contrast and detail. Transients appeared faster and sharper, with more bite apparent on guitar and cymbal strikes. There also seemed to be more information at the back of the sound stage during – the seemingly quieter – quiet passages, with decaying notes appearing to decay for longer.
None of these improvements were what I would describe as dramatic differences but they were none the less appreciable. If you are looking for greater detail and dynamic contrast from any source in your system this might well be the first place to investigate making changes. Definitely worth auditioning, not outlandishly expensive and, so, the No 38 is enthusiastically recommended. If you intend to connect any Naim equipment with an after-market cable such as this do make sure that you compare its performance to that of the supplied cable and the MCRU #27, which in my experience seems to work extraordinarily well with Naim. The #27 is also about £60 cheaper than the #38…