Stream power cable looks much like Polka as it has the same fabric outer braid, but it comes in the somewhat more specific length of 1.7m, which was chosen on the basis of listening tests and which apparently “aligns very closely with the quarter wavelength of 50Hz mains frequency” (in the UK). So it’s a good thing that they are quite flexible because having so much cable could get in the way where circumstances are tight. Stream has silver-plated copper conductors in a low-loss silicone rubber insulation, chosen for both its low dielectric absorption and mechanical damping capabilities. This too has a tightly braided screen and comes with rhodium plated 13A (or Schuko) and IEC plugs. There is also Powerstream which has a higher quality IEC plug that’s not unlike a Furutech in appearance for an extra £100.
Using the signal cables first with Overture between the Chord DAVE DAC and ATC P2 power amp and Polka from there to Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 floorstanders I was greeted by a relaxed and natural tonal balance that seemed dynamically a bit weaker than I’m used to, but with good depth and well-defined vocals. The treble is appealingly clean, which means you can play at higher levels without discomfort, yet the soundstage is not restrained; quite the opposite is the case as the soundstage expands out into the room. With Radiohead’s ‘Decks Dark’ [Moon Shaped Pool, XL] the vocals are right there in the room. It’s not the most detailed of presentations, but musically there is a lot to enjoy and there’s no shortage of bass power where required.
Taking the Polka alone its smooth, natural balance isn’t quite as coherent as it could be, it lacks the realism and definition of nuance that can be achieved at the price, but in its favour is an effortlessness that encourages you to focus on the music rather than the sound. Overture interconnects are closer to what I’m used to with good detail definition, especially when it comes to cymbals and other upper midrange sounds. And it times well but without any undue emphasis on leading edges. Putting both Overture and Polka in the system and replacing a more affordable (Russ Andrews Power M) mains cable with a Stream on the Innuos Zenith server (the power to the source being the most critical in the system) resulted in a quieter, calmer presentation with better focus, depth, and overall transparency that gave way to improved timing, a worthy upgrade. Switching over to Powerstream produced a more realistic drum sound on James Blood Ulmer’s ‘Crying’ [Live at the Bayerischer Hof, In+Out Records] and a bigger soundstage for this excellent live performance where vocal definition and the sense of hall acoustic was much clearer.
Black Rhodium also supplied a six outlet power strip with Stream cable and adding this proved beneficial as well; using it between the wall and the Powerstream on the Zenith added more power to the kick drum and greater overall dynamics. I also gave the standard Stream a spin on the ATC P2 power amp and there the sound got more open and bright (after another Power M cable) and had cleaner highs. Switching over to the power strip helped as well, bringing out greater dynamic resolution and depth in the soundstage.