ANSUZ MAINZ C2

MJ04.11.2019

Power cables

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 2019 the things look quite different, though.

100% reference

Function and form

92%
Ease of use
97%
Sound
98%
Appearance

The Ansuz Mainz C2 looks quite hi-tech. The grey/black sheeny braid and anodized aluminium cases of terminations with grey lettering are understated in appearance and one can easily trace a clean Scandinavian design school. They are neither exceptionally heavy nor exceptionally stiff and so slight axial torsion is possible and I had no issue whatsoever to use them anywhere in my system.

In design the new C2 range of cables Michael Børresen & Co. aims to keep the inductance as low as possible, while at the same time keeping capacitance as low as possible, plus they strive to eliminate electrical peak resonances (antennae effect).  Mainz C2 power cable comprises of three twisted 5 mm coaxial cables with Direct Ground Connector Technology, with 2x6 wires twisted in reversed directions to minimize inductance (Dual Twisted Double Inverted Helix), and with 3 noise suppressing coils (NSC) to reduce induced electrical noise and RF interference.

Bass management

Weight
97
Slam
98
Articulation
98

The Ansuz Mainz C2 was the last cable that arrived for a high-tier power cord auditions that have been continuously running since spring this year. Ten years ago the team of Audiodrom ventured into a megatest of 22 different aftermarket mains cables (please see our comprehensive Power Up! article) that was a great exploration into how power supply can affect what we hear from our systems.

Since then we have been regularly revisiting the topic and the benchmark level has been raised. Ansuz Mainz C2 had much more difficult position as it needed to stack up against strong contenders – all new AudioQuest Hurricane, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Synergistic Research Euphoria Level 3 and Synergistic Research Galileo SX cables, excellent Roth Audio prototypes, and my reference loom of Nordost Valhalla V1. To make the challenge complete, I also loaned a pair of Nordost Odin V1 power cords because they still sat at the top of Audiodrom’s rating at the time of compiling this review. In case you have no time to read through all the paragraphs here's an executive summary: the Ansuz Mainz C2 killed them all.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
96
Air
98
Transparency
97

The sound of the Mainz C2 was thick and transparent at the same time. Thicker and more transparent than with any other power cord that I’ve auditioned. I was floored by its grip on bass that caused amazing and demanding pieces like my long term favourite Bacchanale (Saint-Saens, Exotic Dances from Operas, Reference Recordings) to really shine through. There were drum sections where a big orchestral drum bursted with full power, or passages with timpani softly rolling in the background. From the lightest touch on the drum skin to the hard hitting dynamic machine gun march the Ansuz Mainz C2 remained totally composed and articulated – the bass was heavy and resonant without any smear or overhang, thus otherworldly delineated from the other sounds of the orchestra. I talk no nuances - the difference between the C2 and the closest runner up (guess which one it was) was that of replacing an amplifier.

Among all the cords that were a part of the review proces, the Ansuz Mainz C2 had the lowest noise. Actually, there was no noise at all, at any level. The background became very ‘black’, blacker than I have ever experienced. Yet it was not the black hole blackness where subtle ambient clues desperately disappear; the softest of sounds were not damped or attenuated, quite opposite, they became strikingly clear and crisp against that very deep dark backdrop. It was not only the background where the utter absence of modulated interference was apparent – the clean sustained tone of violin in my system, for example, had a certain level of fuzziness that could be detected on top of the mere sound of a bowed string. With the Ansuz Mainz C2 powered system the fuzziness was gone and I could savour the intricacies of the violin sound much more.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
96
Dynamics
98
Temporal resolution
97

Many audio enthusiasts find beneficial to combine different brands of power cables in the system. Perhaps because none of them is perfect and the combinations help compensate each other's flaws. Not with the Mainz C2. When I replaced just one cable in otherwise fully Nordost wired system I experienced improved transparency, better focus and deeper bass. In fact the bass became deep exactly the way I liked it and was it even deeper I would maybe call it ‘too much’. So I was sceptical about adding another Mainz C2 to the system not to spoil the already achieved balance. A pure misconception. The effect was not cumulative in terms of getting more of everything, however it was cumulative in terms of removing the layers of hash and ambiguity. The clarity of sound transformed from great to outstanding and the tonal balance did not suffer at all.

The tonality of the Ansuz was saturated and colourful, overtones were heard as clear as fundamentals. The sound was neither cold nor warm, it just was, and everything was framed in unrestricted dynamics, both macro and micro. It was no surprising to hear Kodo drum thunder with a greater impact, it was surprising to hear the same explosiveness in softly played instruments like John Williams’ acoustic guitar in Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Spanish Guitar Favorites, Sony SACD), though. The acoustic guitar is a very quiet instrument and as such it should not be played back overamplified. However, when you play it back at realistically low volumes at home it can sound flat for the microdynamics suffer. Through the Ansuz Mainz C2 I could not detect any compression and the sound had subtle dynamic shading even during quiet late night listening session. Competitors felt a bit more ‘faint’ in this and lost the presence.

Spatial resolution

Holography
98
Soundstage width
96
Soundstage depth
98

In our Power Up! series we used Johnny Cash’s Hurt to torment the cables (Rick Rubin's The Man Comes Around, American). With the Mainz C2 the voice was beautifully delineated on the dead quiet backdrop and it was top notch articulated. The Hurt is not a bass heavy piece and because of the deepest bass missing the Mainz C2 was exposed to be a slightest bit less sonorous, as if chestiness was replaced by throatiness. In this respect I felt the Nordost Odin was a tad weightier. But once again the Odin was beaten by the way the Ansuz Mainz C2 separated individual words and instrumental lines and pinned them down within the soundstage. It was as if I was listening via superb headphones and the room itself had no effect.

The all new Exhorder’s album Mourn the Southern Skies was released this September (Nuclear Blast). I was taken aback by how it sounded through the Ansuz Mainz C2: the sound exhibited insanely shredding guitars, the breakdowns leaped at my like a wild beast, and the bass was deep and crunchy at the same time. While the sound was gritty and filthy as thrash metal required, I could not but admire how precise and accurate the delivery was. The Ansuz had the force that made energy flowing through the system as if the gears of electronics were shifted.

Is the Ansuz Mainz C2 the best power cord I’ve ever reviewed? I guess so. Is it the best power cord ever made? Consider this: Ansuz has another two power cables in their range, the D2 and the DTC, positioned above the C2. Should I ask for review samples? Something says to me that some things should definitely remain unearthed if I should have a peaceful sleep. Let me first digest what I heard with the Mainz C2.

Price as reviewed:85 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

RP Audio, Ostrava, +420 737 366 831

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720, SPL Q2048 Mastering Equalizer, McIntosh MCT500 SACD/CD transport + the DAC integrated in McI C2600
  • Amplifiers: TAD-M2500 MkII, McIntosh pre/power C2600/MC611
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Redwood, Audioquest Wild, AudioQuest King Cobra, InAkustik Referenz, Ansuz Signalz C2, Ansuz Signalz D2, Tellurium Q Ultra Silver, Tellurium Q Silver Diamond, Vovox Sonorus XL, Nordost Valhalla V2, McIntosh Balanced
  • Loudspeakers:  TAD Evolution One E1, Sonus Faber Olympica III, Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III
  • Power conditioning: Shunyata Research Denali, Nordost Valhalla, Ansuz C2, Pangea AC-9SEMKII, Roth Audio Orfeo + další prototypy Roth Audio, Synergistic Research Atmosphere Level 2, Synergstic Research Euphoria Level 3, AudioQuest Hurricane

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