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StereoNET review Evolution-300 PowerKord

Wednesday, 13th December 2023

John Pickford, of online Hi-Fi magazine StereoNET, has a good listen to our Evolution-300 PowerKord, and comes away impressed.

Russ Andrews Evolution-300 PowerKord Stereonet review

The review begins with an outline of where the Evolution-300 sits in the range – with the 100 below and the 500 and EVO-S above – and notes that, in this context it hits a bit of a sweet spot, offering “keen value” with twice as many conductors as its 100 sibling (sixteen vs eight).

A 'pre-cleansed' system

Before moving on to testing, John explains that he already has a number of mains-cleaning solutions in situ, including a dedicated mains spur, but is still relying on the standard ‘kettle leads’ which came with the kit. He decides to leave these as they are, and assess the effects of upgrading the cable feeding his Isotek distribution block (though concurring with our general advice to start from the source components and work back*).

Tight Fit

The first thing he notices is how tight a fit the Evolution-300 offers, observing that it “needs to be pushed firmly home” to achieve this (a point well worth noting, as otherwise the cable won’t be connected properly and could appear loose – see our guidance video on plugging in your cable here).

Let the listening commence

So, with the cable in place, the listening begins and we are pleased to report that the effects are clear, bringing “improvements in several subtle ways, which together add up to a far more immersive listening experience”.

The first thing is an opening up of the soundstage, which leads John to surmise that there may previously been a level of “almost imperceptible congestion beforehand”.

Although the sound became more expansive this was not, as can sometimes be the case, at the expense of focus, which in fact was itself improved. “Centrally placed lead vocals become more solid”, he writes, “yet there's a sense of extra space and air surrounding them”.

Natural Sound

All of these improvements lead him to argue that the overall effect “is a more natural and organic sound”. Specifically, when playing the track America, from Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic album Bookends, he suggests that Paul Simon’s double-tracked vocal “becomes bathed in extra reverb as it increases in volume”, an illuminating effect which he freely admits he had never noticed before.

Evolution PowerKord Kimber Kable
Like the rest of the Evolution PowerKord range, the 300 features KIMBER KABLE woven conductors (16) along with our unique 'low-induced noise' helically-wound earth

And it’s not just soundstage width that is positively enhanced either, as the reviewer reports that the Evolution-300 PowerKord also “gives greater soundstage depth, making for a more three-dimensional image”. Importantly, he proposes that this added sense of spaciousness around the recording:

“makes for a more realistic and involving listening experience… It's as if you're getting more of the music with all its nuance and emotion”.

Musicality; again...

What he’s talking about here is what we refer to as musicality, that element of a well-presented recording which draws you into the performance and makes you forget everything else – including the fact that you are listening via Hi-Fi. To achieve this, ultimately your system needs to get ‘out of the way’ and
American IV: The Man Comes Around let the music communicate with the listener - and it’s the benchmark which underlies everything we do to bring you closer to the original recording.

As if to underline this, the reviewer picks a powerfully emotional track from Johnny Cash’s final album, American IV: The Man Comes Around. The track, Hurt, was originally written and recorded by the band Nine Inch Nails, and is widely regarded as one of Cash’s finest achievements.

With the 300 in place, John reflects that the Johnny Cash recording “sounds even rawer and more emotive” than before and, conversely, when it’s removed “the music seems somewhat flatter and less engaging”.

Concluding remarks

Summing up, he concludes that the Evolution-300 PowerKord is “an impressive performer at the price and well worth auditioning if you have a mid-priced hi-fi system”. Whilst acknowledging that there will always be sceptics when it comes to upgrades such as mains cables, he argues that, if you are prepared to listen for yourself, there are clear improvements to be heard.

With our 60-Day, Money-Back Guarantee, he suggests that “[Russ Andrews] is, in effect, putting its money where its mouth is” and therefore encourages readers to “try it for yourself and make up your own mind”.

Stereonet logo

Media: Stereonet UK online magazine
Publication date: December 2023
Verdict: N/A

Buy Evolution-300 PowerKord

Audiograde.uk review (Evolution-300 with X8 Block)
Hi-Fi Choice review
Hi-Fi World review

*the reason for this? It’s like the principle of a water filter; you want the water to be the cleanest where it goes into the glass. Similarly, if you clean the mains up to the extension block but then leave the standard cables feeding your kit, you leave the opportunity for mains noise to be introduced again on that last leg - especially RFI, as these cables can act as good aerials for radio frequencies.

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