There’s always a spot of trepidation when a company with a commanding reputation in one sector decides to branch out. Many of the best brands in audio are highly specialised, and the skillset required to make the best phono cartridge in the world (for example) will not extend to making an equally stellar power amplifier. Fortunately, in the Pion N3 ZF, German Physiks has proved itself to be as good at making power cords as it is making omni-directional loudspeakers and high-power amplifiers.
German Physiks felt the sound of its products were held back by power cables having insufficient cross-sectional conductor area (causing higher than required resistance) and an absence of high-frequency noise filtration. To achieve these demands, Pion builds up each of the three conductors in its thick matt black braided sleeve with six individually insulated 0.8mm solid copper strands tightly wrapped around a central core of 0.8mm zinc-plated iron strand, thereby making a cable with higher inductance, which aids HF noise filtration and better preserves the dynamic range of a beefy power amp.
These three conductors are themselves tightly twisted around one another, and terminated in top-grade Furutech pluggery (US, EU, or UK mains plugs supplied). This makes for a fairly chunkinormous 18.5mm diameter power cord. The Pion is supplied as a 2m cable as standard, with other lengths available to custom order. The Pion comes supplied in a good stiff fibre box with the name embossed in silver on the front and top and while the company doesn’t pile on the ‘case candy’ (additional velvet bags, instruction manuals, etc), the German Physiks dog tag or key-fob that sits on a ring on the cable is a nice touch.
In use, the cables took a while to bed in, presumably a by-product of trying to wrangle a cable that has a 152mm minimum bending radius and can cause lightweight DACs to float above the table. But, this is a power cable for power users; hefty power amps in particular show just what this cable is capable of and while that applies across the board, its sense of dynamic flow and absence of dynamic obstruction really come across when using something power-hungry in and of itself. This is not simply edge-of-the-seat dynamics, but the more subtle shading and interplay between fingers and instrument that are often lost in a sea of high-frequency hash.