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Positive Feedback ISSUE 30
march/april 2007


Tweaking with Oyaide
by Mark Wagner


My audio guy (make that great friend) Brian Kurtz of Sound Mind Audio here in Austin is a tweak meister of the highest order. It did not take Brian long to show me how aftermarket power cords, isolation widgets, maple shelves and all things Walker could bring about substantial improvements in one’s system. In fact, the past several years have been a seriously fun journey seeing just how far one can actually tweak a system.

The most recent tweak in my system actually starts with Joe Cohen of Prana Wire/Lotus Group. I had the real pleasure to meet Joe at last year’s RMAF, and I have to admit that Joe is one of a group of true gentleman in the wacky world of audio. It was my meeting Joe that introduced me to the Japanese company Oyaide, who makes all sort of tantalizing AC products like receptacles, plugs and power connectors. I never really gave much thought to any new AC cords, much less the plugs and receptacles as I was happy with my current batch of cords. It was not until Brian tried an interesting experiment where he ordered a pair of P/C-079 ends. Brian then sent the ends to Tara Labs for placement on one of their AC Reference cords after had spent some time on the phone with Joe learning the various sonic qualities of the different ends and settled on the P/C.

It was actually another audio friend here in Austin who auditioned the new custom Tara/Oyaide cord that Brian got. After my friend got his own cord, I auditioned the new cord (already broken in, thankfully) in my system, trying it on my McCormack UDP-1. It took all of about 45 seconds of listening to Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth to tell me that this cord was special. Immediately the sound stage opened, from front to back, side to side and up and down. Detail increased while maintaining a still smooth and natural flow to the music. The next selection, MTT and the SFO performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (SACD) …Bartok, RUSH, Debussy, Brahms …it got better and better. The next day, I ordered my first Tara/Oyaide AC cord. As of now, I have three of these custom Tara/Oyaide AC cords in my system: one for my UDP-1, my SIM i-3 and one from the wall to my power strip.

My second Oyaide product was a new AC receptacle. Oyaide makes three AC receptacles in their SWO Series. I chose the SWO-XXX. What follows is listed on the website "with Palladium plating (0.3 micron) to finish. Surface is thoroughly (twice) polished before each plating process". Brian and I decided that this unit with my system would add a little extra resolution yet keep the music relaxed as this is what I like when listening.

Even something as simple as an AC receptacle still required several days of solid cooking in to develop. Back on the Lovett, the soundstage had grown some more, with the ensemble solidifying with a definite organic feel. I listened to a Telarc SACD with Geri Allen (piano, drums and bass) and the group was tight with a nice sense of space. Large scale orchestral music, string quartets, brass ensembles to rock bands all benefited from the new plug, with more space, more organic-ness and more presence.

Now, after roughly a week of playing (I lost about 8 hours due to some severe storms/much needed rain) I think that the AC receptacle has fully cooked in. I love the organic nature of everything I listen to, to the smallest jazz combo to the largest symphonic piece. Detail, warmth, space, transparency …all of these things are improved. SACD’s and RBCD’s all ready sounding great before the plug now sound even better. I have to say that the Oyaide AC receptacle was the best $85 I ever spent on my system.