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LessLoss DFPC Original power cable(s) review

  • Putting together a hi-fi system to one’s satisfaction can be a journey of seemingly never-ending steps, progression along which isn’t always linear. There are diversions and forks in the road to be taken. Some lead to dead ends, some don’t.

    It takes real world experience to discover whether or not a new amplifier or DAC will advance a system to the listener’s liking. To sit and pontificate about a specification sheet, internal photographs or a white paper will only get us so far. Sooner or later we must take ourselves beyond armchair audiophillia and make time to plug stuff in, listen and evaluate. This isn’t just the MO of reviewers; it’s played out each time an audiophile earmarks a new component for consideration.

    After choosing loudspeakers, an amplifier and source, attention turns to cables. How much to spend and on what? An oft-cited rule of thumb suggests that at least ten percent of our total system budget should be reserved for loudspeaker cable and interconnects.


    Of course, some corners of the Internet will claim this to be wasted cash and that all wire sounds the same. Loud and frequent talk of cables will sound the alarm of the double-blind brigade. They’ll crawl onto message boards and comments sections for a game called ‘prove it’, often placing the burden anywhere but their own responsibility to go listen for themselves.

    Thankfully, many audiophiles know that first-hand experience trumps conjecture. Hauling ass from chair to hi-fi rack to plug in alternative signal wire can – and does – solicit minor improvements. String enough of those minor improvements together and you have something substantial.

    If you’ve spent a thousand bucks on a DAC, the same on an integrated amplifier and double that again on loudspeakers, you’re already in for close to four grand. Hardly chump change. Once speaker wire and interconnects have been bought power cables often seem like a bridge too far, especially to the newcomer.


    I had newbies in mind when I reviewed the Morrow MAP1 power cable (US$159) this time last year. I found it made a noticeably small difference to most components to which it was applied. That experience represented a fork in the review road for yours truly. A fork from which I’m not returning. I’m now open to occasionally committing first hand experience of power cable amelioration to pixels on these pages.

    This year I pushed further down the power cable path in taking the DFPC Original from LessLoss for a plug-n-play. The DFPC Original is the cheapest in a series of three variations that include Signature and Reference editions. At US$595 for up to 2 meters, the DFPC Original is more expensive than the Morrow MAP1 but it’s also a better cable in both construction and sound.

    Let me explain why.

    The DFPC Original’s three-way braid brings flexibility and – according to LessLoss’s mainmain Louis Motek – a promise of none of the harsh sound often attributed to multi-strand mains wire. Motek sources IEC connectors from Oyaide in Japan. Ditto power plugs (except for Australia and the UK terminations where Furutech connectors play substitute). The DFPC Original’s physical features ensure that aesthetics keep pace with its higher asking price.


    But that’s not all.

    Mains power quality can be an issue for (some) audiophiles. What to do with all the noise being piped into our homes by electricity companies? They don’t care for audiophiles, only that they deliver the correct voltage at the right frequency. Power line noise doesn’t affect your vacuum cleaner or toaster but it will have a detrimental effect on your audio equipment: hello distortion.

    Then there’s the noise added to the mains by the end user. Yes, that’s you! Switch-mode power supplies often push nasties back into the home circuit…which can end up being fed back into one’s electronics.

    Moreover, city living means our listening environments are drenched in high-frequency signals for which power cables act as antennae, picking up the high-frequency detritus that moves around us and feeding it into noise-sensitive audio equipment. This problem can still exist even after filter boxes and regenerators have been applied.


    Louis Motek has taken a different approach to mitigate such noise. DFPC = dynamic filtering power cable. It’s a power cable that’s designed to filter out the noise.


    Noise is made up of undesirable high frequencies. The higher the frequency the closer to the outer-most skin of the conductor it will travel. This is called the skin effect.

    Motek has harnessed this skin effect to his advantage by turning the outer part of the conductor into a resistor in order to attenuate those troublesome high frequencies. A porous skin on the DFPC’s copper conductor applies high resistance to noise travel.


    Diving straight in after burn-in, I added a DFPC Original to the Clones Audio 25i integrated (reviewed here). Up went tonal colour, down went lower-treble glare. Radiohead’s “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” wasn’t as edgy or as mean. The Lessloss cable also introduced greater depth separation.

    However, by far the most noticeable improvement was more obvious – and better – bass. Or rather, greater prominence of acoustic mass across the board was more readily apparent in the lower frequencies. The DFPC lifted the skirt on Modeselektor to reveal a fat-bottom girl. Baby got back! Double-checking with the REDGUM RGi60 showed this was no fluke result. Behind Mr Speakers Alpha Dog headphones and applying the DFPC Original to the Schiit Asgard amplifier this enhanced robustness was not as conspicuous.

    A second DFPC was then applied to the Resonessence Labs INVICTA Mirus (reviewed here). Here the after-market cables blew the dust from surfaces to better reveal textures up and down the frequency spectrum. Bass didn’t get bigger but more mass and density better secured music’s foundations – a lower centre of gravity was now at play.

    What else? Beck’s acoustic guitar on Morning Phase took a chill pill, now rendered a touch smoother it was now even more of a delight; string-plucked transients weren’t as overtly strident. I’m talking about small changes that were readily reproducible when switching cables back and forth several times during the review period.


    Completing the system overhaul a third (and final) DFPC power cable went rearward into the Antipodes DS music server (reviewed here). This was by far the least conclusive of the three. I think I might have maybe perhaps noted a possible slight uptick in micro dynamics but it’s not something I’d put money on. With close attention already paid to noise suppression/elimination from Antipodes’ bespoke internal power boards, I suspect Mark Jenkins already had most of this covered. Other music servers might not be so fortunate.

    Upon reversing the procedure, the DFPC cables were removed from the system one by one in reverse order. On results alone the music server amelioration I could easily live without. On removal of doubt and for the sake of completeness, it stays. However, switching power cables from LessLoss back to vanilla on DAC and amplifier took music several steps backward to something a little more tepid, less micro-dynamically interesting and thinner.


    Guilty until proven innocent. First hand experience with the LessLoss DFPC cables swiftly erases the healthy skepticism with which I greeted this assignment. The magnitude by which these power cables collectively lift system performance has me reassessing the notion that money should first drop on interconnects and loudspeaker cable. Perhaps source first is the way to go. Well played, Louis.


    Associated Equipment

    • Antipodes DS
    • Resonessence Labs INVICTA Mirus
    • Clones Audio 25i
    • REDGUM RGi60
    • Zu Soul MKII
    • Schiit Asgard
    • Mr Speakers Alpha Dog

    Audition Music

    • Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall 1971 (2007)
    • Neil Young – Dead Man OST (1996)
    • Beck – Morning Phase (2014)
    • Warpaint – Warpaint (2014)
    • Plastikman – EX (2014)
    • The Auteurs – Now I’m A Cowboy (1993)

    Further information

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. An interesting dalliance for DAR and to my way of thinking a productive one, thanks John.
      Certainly I’m not keen to see proliferation of Power Cable reviews here, however given that Aus power noise in many locations is real and sometimes a very problematic issue IMO the odd fork in the road can lead to some interesting destinations.
      At 3 x $595 though I’d have to say it really makes me keen to try out a Red Wine Audio Integrated with phono board solution thus bypassing the issue altogether. As noted at some point in time ‘one must make the time to plug stuff in’. I feel a dalliance is in order with my system this piece is providing a nice push in that direction.
      Cheers Damo

      • That’s right Damo, for the same cash down you could snag one of Vinnie’s entry-level integrateds. For existing mains-powered devices power cables are worth exploring, if only to satisfy one’s own curiosity.

    2. If the bass output increased, then it’s measurable! End of discussion with the double-blind brigade, right??

      • I take your point but we have to be careful here. It’s hard to know if bass increased (as you say: measurable) or if it was just easier to discern as part of a broader improvement in across-the-board acoustic mass.

        • In which case the ‘broader improvement in across-the-board acoustic mass’, whatever that means, should be measurable.

          • Excuse the noobish question here, but how would I go about measuring this if I had a bunch of cables on hand. I know some speakers, especially those in the active monitor class, come packaged with (eg: Event Opals) mini measuring mics and some form of software that gives you a FR graph. Would “more acoustic mass” simply equate to a slight rise in the low frequencies? I’m sure there’s more to it than that. Just don’t know how I’d measure it.

            • Gan – alas this is where I have to step out of the technical discussion ring with a resolute “I don’t know”. Perhaps someone else with greater tech knowledge than I can step in?

          • Except that what we perceive as bass is not necessarily the same as 20-150 Hz components of a discrete Fourier transform. Our perception is highly nonlinear and ultimately different from a linear spectral analyzer. I do believe one day there will be some overcomplete wavelet-like basis or what not that we can use to measure accurately what we perceive, but we’re not there yet.

    3. Hi,
      What kind of power cable, and do you have any idea of the length, is on the other side of the wall? Did you plug all components direct into wall sockets or did you use a powerboard?

      • All three plugged into wall but no idea what’s on the other side. That’s beyond the scope of this review.

    4. I’d stick with your original thoughts that matters such as these are indeed tomfoolery. As Mike and RM have indicated, there should be measurable differences if there are sonic ones. Being in possession of the necessary measuring equipment however is another matter!

      For what it’s worth I’ve mostly enjoyed your reviews which are far less strewn with audiophile wankery that most other hardware reviewers but find another cable review disconcerting.

      On a somewhat interesting note, you may find the following interesting (if a little long):

      • MickyC – indeed. If the LessLoss theory holds true then the DFPC cable should result in a decrease in measurable distortion. With more time and money, such measurements could be possible. Without the necessary equipment though I can only report on what I hear.

    5. Zog,
      Being a sparky and looking at John’s wall socket I’d say a standard flat 3 x 2.5mm squared cable; plenty thick enough to run a washing machine so should be able to run enough current for any amp. Of course it also works like an antenna and can pick up enough noise to already be noisy when entering the power cable. I used to install satellite receivers and antennae and from my experience (and I learned this from my employer, who was somewhat of an electronics genius) what happens is the noise already in and around the cable just before entering the component actually enters the component through the air, like a transmitter. That noise can infiltrate any part of the component so having the best filtered power supply in the component still won’t help. In my opinion it is the capability of the cable to keep the noise in, not out that makes them work. That’s also the reason why the wires are twisted; the magnetic field around one wire, created by the current going through gets cancelled by the magnetic field created by the other one. Hence less noise flying around, like in Cat5 cable. The reason Cat6 and 7 are better is because the twists in the cable are better laid out and kept more stable by the construction of the cable (some are like little conduits with 4 separate channels)
      Hope this makes sense to you all.
      Cheers, Pim

      • I’ll second that, thanks for the informative post Pim.
        Did you read the KIH#13 article by Srajan and perhaps the comments following? I got the feeling what you just shared might have some relevance in that discussion also.
        Over there, regarding an expensive ethernet-cable, their sharing has laid out the “bit-perfect or not”-point a couple of times over now only using different words it seems. Your insight eased me back in to fresh thinking and seeing new possible explanations regarding SQ and distortion. So I just figured, maybe you wouldn’t mind connecting with ‘dem guys as well?

        As this is my first post, I wanna say thanks to John also for his great site, the great reviews and the space given for discussion, which tends to have a nice and – informative – climate.

        Cheers from Sweden,

        • Welcome Robert – yup, trying to keep things informative and convivial in these follow up discussions, even if I have to defer to the greater technical knowledge of others. I’d like to say that Srajan’s piece (on keeping an open mind) and mine (on this power cable) were carefully co-ordinated…but they weren’t. Pure coincidence that they both landed the same week. 🙂

    6. If most of the “dirty” power is accumulated long before it reaches your room’s wall socket, wouldn’t a decent power conditioner + stock cable combo be better than a non-conditioned wall socket + aftermarket cable combo?

      Not trolling, btw I’m genuinely curious here.

      Back when I auditioned a Mytek Stereo 192 DAC (last year), the guy who loaned it to me included some fancy aftermarket cable, claiming it improved the sound considerably. No idea what the brand was, but it was fat, heavy and came with sexy Oyaide bits on both ends. The darn thing was so big that I had to put something on top of the Mytek to prevent from tilting back. Thing is, I noticed no difference compared to the stock cable when plugged into an Acoustic Revive power conditioner (also loaned, but from another source). There was a slight (could’ve been placebo, for all I know) difference – favouring the aftermarket cable – when I didn’t employ the power conditioner though, but the SQ with the power conditioner on either cable was still noticeably better.

      • Hey Gan, possibly yes and possibly no. If power cords act as an antenna for noise then some of the conditioning work done post-wall socket *could* be undone with stock cables.

    7. I emailed Louis Motek of LessLoss, inviting him to get involved with some of the technical aspects of this discussion.

      His reply: “Thanks for sharing. Here’s a PDF which answers all those questions. It also contains lab measurements of a 20 cm length of an earlier iteration of Skin-filtering wire, just to prove its effectiveness at reducing the conductivity of high frequencies. Feel free to post.

      • Thanks, John and Louis.

        Interesting stuff. Everyone seems to be referring to the Devialet lately. I remember the first time I saw images of it. Thought it was some fancy bathroom scale. =D

    8. Hi guys,

      Using a Devialet as an example doesn’t sound right; I own a 200 and when I first installed it I listened to it till the early hours of the morning. At this point in time my setup was possibly as bad as can be; Mac mini 10cm behind my tv which I use as a monitor, and tv, Mac, dvd player, tuner, fan and outside christmas lights all on two piggy backed Woollies quality power blocks. At the end of my listening session, just before turning it off I did one more thing; I paused the music, turned the volume up to max and put my ear on the tweeter. This was in the middle of the night so there was very little back ground noise. I still heard absolutely nothing coming from my tweeter. I’m assuming that’s the ‘black background’ reviewers talk about when reviewing a product. I can’t see (hear) how it can get any more black than that.

      I’m working away from home at the moment but when I get back I will have another go at that and will let you know. I’m still in the camp that believes a cable can keep noise out of equipment by keeping it in the cable but when I hear nothing at all when turning the volume to 10 it’s hard to convince myself a cable would make a difference with this particular piece of equipment. I’ve got some smaller, more efficient speakers that I can try it on. See if I can make some noise happening on them. Interesting times!

    9. PIM. If you’re concerned about high-frequency noise (that’s what the power cord topic is on about here), you wouldn’t hear squat with your ear on the speaker and a really quiet amp. Your hearing craps out at 20kHz if you’re lucky and young, remember?

      What you want to listen for is *music* and how HF power line noise intermodulates with music signal. In other words, inaudible noise way out of band can and does interact with audible sounds in the music spectrum. That’s the interesting part here.

    10. My pleasure. This also connects to a loosely related subject of circuit bandwidth. If our hearing cuts out at 20kHz more or less, why worry about 50kHz or 200kHz or 2MHz amplifiers, preamps or DACs? Never mind that the CD medium itself doesn’t carry anything higher.

      This is where a thing like phase shift in the audible band enters. The connection is that out-of-band behaviour well beyond our human hearing affects the range we can hear.

      The ultrasonic noise of switch-mode power supplies, cell phones, modems and such in theory shouldn’t bother us neither since we aren’t bats. But again, paying attention to confining such radiation and shielding signal-path circuitry from it has audible benefits.

    11. Wouldn’t clipping a ferrite bead on the power cord accomplish the same noise reduction? I have found they work well on cables when doing both conductive and radiated noise emissions testing.

    12. They can.

      What I don’t know is their effective bandwidth of suppression vs. the LessLoss approach. Marja & Henk reviewed the latest LessLoss power cords for my magazine a few months back. They performed some basic tests on an outlet which they know receives a Christian radio station like an antenna. They have an actual ‘noise sniffer’ with a built-in speaker which both plays back the received noise and also has a read-out calibrated for a particular bandwidth. With the LessLoss cord on that outlet, there was exactly *zero* suppression of that particular RF band. The Hail Maries kept on coming. With a competing cable of a different design, the noise suppression of the bands their noise sniffer ‘patrolled’ was better than 90%.

      But what did their ears tell ’em? I won’t link to the review since this isn’t the place but you can easily find it in our archives. Often we seem to return to the old “do we really know what to measure for” or put differently, “what do certain measurements actually *mean* relative to our musical enjoyment”. If we had more of those answers, our designers could make some real advances perhaps…

      In a manufacturer’s reply, Louis explained that their approach filters in much higher bands which he claimed were sonically more detrimental, i.e. filtering them was more important.

    KIH #13 – Keeping an open mind vs. being taken for a fool

    Tapping the great gig in the sky with the Sony NWZ-ZX1