If you’re talking about signal transfer, often the fewer transitions, the better. Following that thought, it is likely that skipping the power extension block altogether will be the best solution. But is it?
It is often said that simple solutions are best. Along this line, I decided to simplify the power connections to my system by removing the wall outlet and leaving out the extension block. The cable coming out of the wall was connected directly to a main cable via a large screw terminal. On the other end this cable connected to all the separate cables that my system required, all again connected directly via a large screw terminal. Importantly I always let the cables overlap inside the terminal so that the connection does not in fact run over the inferior metal used in the terminal. The main cable was made of solid core installation wire while the individual cables for the components were made of Lapp 191CY, normally a full and smooth sounding cable.
After that I went the final mile and installed cables straight to the fuse box, one for every component. Technically this would seem like the perfect solution but judging by ear, it seemed like I had gone overboard.
The fact that I only had a Wadia DAC and two Bryston 7BST poweramps probably didn’t help… What you get this way is maximum dynamics, slam and detail, but at the expense of air, fluidity and overall organic flow in the music. Although the sound was now certainly very impressive, the now very dry and gray sound seemed to lack soul. It’s like all the extra control has transferred into the sound. Bypassing a preamp is one thing, but with all the excess warmth and fluidity that a preamp and the extra cabling normally provide removed, the change in power cables was too much for my system.
It seems that there is a balance to be maintained with power cables, and this balance functions much like the “tilt” knob on old Quad equipment: one knob for both treble and bass. Turning it toward one end increases the highs while toning down the bass and vice versa. In matters audio in general it is often a similar case, improving one aspect of sound while degrading another.
Technically speaking, the sound gets better by skipping the extensionblock. But in my system (Martin Logans) it is emotionally less appealing. I guess that sometimes the degradation and coloring going from contact to contact, passing different cables and metals, can be desirable in a system. In the end, I reverted to using the wall outlet. While less dynamically impressive, the resulting sound this way is also a lot more fluid and relaxed, and in my setup, emotionally more engaging.
Going direct with powercables is pretty similar to going direct to a power amp and bypassing the preamp with a Wadia CD player: technically superior and making a big difference indeed, but you may also lose something along the way. Don’t assume that less is always more!