VAN DEN HUL The Mainsserver

MJ10.10.2009

Power cables

This cable starts to build its sonic capabilities from mid-range, which is always more than welcome. That´s the reason for its great musical depth, sound palpability and smooth performance. It virtually surfs on musical waves with very enticing effortlessness and liquidity.

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
25%
Sound
70%
Appearance

The cable’s conductors are OFC stranded wires coated with silver and combined (hence the ´hybrid´construction) with the VDH’ s proprietary Linear Structured Carbon technology – for details please check our VDH The Orchid review. The effective cross-section area of individual neutral and hot leads is about 1.7mm2, which is quite modest in comparision with some other constructions on the market, however, Van den Hul points out the importance of a very low series resistance as a crucial element for achieving good performance.

Bass management

Weight
76
Slam
68
Articulation
56

The built-in filtering ability of The Mainsserver is said not to exhibit any current delivery limitations as there is series impedance absent in its AC current path. Therefore we should not theoretically suffer from sluggish response or dynamic compression when using The Mainsserver. It is important to say, that, as with most other power cord designs, VDH does not sell lenghts below 1.5m to ensure proper noise suppression behaviour.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
69
Air
54
Transparency
63

Visually the Mainsserver is not the type of thing that you would buy impulsively, just by seeing it at a dealer. It is not particularly thick, despite its golden colour the sheath looks very plastic and its pale greyish connectors do not exhibit anything that could be considered as ´audiophile´. Yet, after sonically struggling with many entry-level cables, the Van den Hul The Mainsserver did prove itself to be an audiophile power cable.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
58
Dynamics
51
Temporal resolution
51

Actually, when we used The Mainsserver between the GigaWatt PF-2 power strip and the IEC inlets of our amplifiers we were amazed by the difference it made. While on previous instances (that is with the other cables in the entry-level category) the differences were often subtle, with the VDH it was like an upgrade of a component by one level up.

Borrowing and reformulating a bit a few sentences from our power cord test we observed that, quoting “ Emotionally the Van Den Hul was able to draw intimate fragility of both Rebecca Pidgeon and Jacintha’s voices in such a good manner, that it was difficult to concentrate on our jobs, that is a review. Overall sound of The Mainsserver is on a sweeter, darker and soothing side but don’t be mistaken: those analogue-like qualities are hand in hand with precise imaging, good to great ambience (though it is not apparent right away and you have to listen for it) and capability of delivering textures of voices and instruments. The midrange is where the VDH is very good and despite the soloists were a bit recessed in the soundstage their voices were always delicately hovering in our listening rooms with great palpability. The gap between other cords in the entry-level group and the Van Den Hul increased even more when we were listening to male and female choirs of Carl Orff that were exchanging their parts over a wide and deep soundstage (reaching far away beyond right or left speaker) and it was for the first time [in the power cable test, Ed.] when we were able to pick out individual voices from the choir. It was very refreshing to hear that there is a cable for such a low price which is able to keep pace with our picky power amplifiers.”

Spatial resolution

Holography
88
Soundstage width
90
Soundstage depth
90

You see that we got really excited about this ´ugly duckling´. Maybe it is due to the promoted ´no current limitations´abilities, maybe it is just about superb interaction between The Mainsserver and our power amplifiers, but it was possible to really feel the power flowing through the wire – the power which was both unrestricted and under control. Let us openly say that the above words of praise are valid only within the limits of the VDH´s price category and the performance cannot be mixed up with that of twice as expensive products. Let us also say that The Mainsserver is not a neutral cable – if you search for something such ephemeral like ´neutrality´, rather give a try to either LessLoss´s DFPC Mini or Krautwire´s Orbit C. Instead, the VDH provided us with heartfelt musical emotions.

Despite being such a good performer on amplifiers, we were a bit dissapointed when The Mainsserver was used on CD players. Here, it was perhaps too silky and the music seemed to be tamed way too much. On the other hand, we tried to match it with some of the finest digital front-ends available – for standard CD players the extra silkiness and smoothness could be more than welcome and the Van Den Hul The Mainsserver may become the ultimate fix you’ll need.

[This review is a part of our extensive POWER UP! power cord megatest. For other valuable information, competitors,and lists of recordings and equipment that was used we recommend to check the full article here.]

Price as reviewed:3 250,- Kč

Recommended resellers

High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-78, Linn Unidisk 1.1
  • Amplifiers: Accuphase A-60, Spectral DMA-150
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Krautwire Fractal, Homegrown Audio DNA, MIT MA-X and MIT MA
  • Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 8, Audio Physic Virgo V
  • Power conditoning: Nordost Thor (modified), Nordost Valhalla, GigaWatt PF-2 with GigaWatt LC-2 power cord

Gallery

ANALYSIS PLUS Power Oval 2

Zvuk byl doslova třpytivý. Nejvíc ze všeho mi svou barevností připomínal mýdlovou bublinu za plného slunečního světla, na jedné straně plnou spektrálních odlesků, a na druhé nezastírající svou průhledností pohled posluchače. V rámci ...

Recommended resellers

Audiostudio s.r.o., Olomouc, tel. +420 608 752 475

Sound
53%

ANSUZ MAINZ C2

Long 10 years passed since I've declared in my review of Nordost Odin power cables "There is no other piece of wire like it". In the context of high-end audio market of 2009 I still stick to my declaration. In the context of ...

Recommended resellers

RP Audio, Ostrava, +420 737 366 831

Sound
97%

AUDIOQUEST Hurricane

I had reviewed the AudioQuest Hurricane few months ago at a local distributor's place. It was that good that I have decided to audition it again in my own system to verify what I heard and to challenge it with competitors from ...

Recommended resellers

AQ s.r.o., Červenka, +420 585 342 232

Jasyko, Brno, +420 541 210 108

Sound
92%

BLOCK AUDIO Snakeblock

All power cords have certain filtering effect. The best case scenario is that a power cord filters itself out from the sound, and this was the case of the Snakeblock. It stepped aside and let the music communicate with me with more ...

Recommended resellers

Audiostudio s.r.o., Olomouc, tel. +420 608 752 475

Sound
28%

CARDAS Golden Reference

Please be warned in advance: the Golden Reference is, and similarly most George Cardas’s cables, not neutral. If your definition of neutrality is a strident professional sound, that is stripped of emotions in favor of precision (and ...

Recommended resellers

Absolute Audio, Praha, tel. +420 777 739 377

Sound
52%

FURUTECH Powerflux

After sharing our homes with more than 20 different power cords that had resided for over three months in our reference systems we learnt that, yes, a power cord could make a sonic contribution which is far from being insignificant. ...

Recommended resellers

Audiostudio s.r.o., Olomouc, tel. +420 608 752 475

Sound
89%

GIGAWATT LC-1

The LC-1 definitely is a huge improvement over a standard power cord that is usually supplied with audio components, however at its price there are better performing competitors on the market. I missed a richer tonal pallete ...

Recommended resellers

GigaWatt, Zgierz, Poland

Sound
15%
Back to category