this in December, but plan to travel to the Caribbean in February for three
months of rest and relaxation. Of course my entire 7.1 horn loudspeaker tube
amplifier system will be coming with me, figuratively
of course. The system will consist of an OPPO BDP-95 disc player, my home
theater computer, the Smyth Realiser A-8, and my Stax headphones with amplifier.
The reproduction of my home system will be about as close as possible using
headphones. The headphones also take out the room anomalies and the speaker
vibration effects on the components that damage the reproduction. That leaves
only the electricity gremlins to damage my bliss.
Unhappily, I won't be able to take along one of my Pure Power PP 2000 units. As the electricity on the island is less than ideal, with at least one shutdown per week with its turn-on surge, a 60 Hz. wave that looks more like a rollercoaster than a sine, and noise on the line that would remind one of the roiling Atlantic. Even though there's little in the way of noise producing machinery or computers, the electricity is produced by up to six separate generators which are only partially synced giving the erratic sine wave, and a couple of them are old and produce noise. And we think it's bad in the United States of America! So what's an audiophile to do?
Solar Panels on the roof would be a possibility
as they produce clean relatively trouble free current, but they are still
expensive in the Caribbean where the local governments don't give tax credits,
and they produce current only during the day unless one has a huge battery bank.
That's a possibility for the future. Another would be to bring the Pure Power
unit down here, but it's a little too heavy to carry back and forth in my
carry-on. A generator would be a third option, but they tend to be noisy and at
$6 per gallon for gasoline, a little pricy to run. The surges and some of the
sine wave anomalies can be controlled with the Environmental
Potentials EP 2000, a small but effective line isolator-surge
suppressor, which was reviewed way back at
AA 75. As it is light and compact, that will be brought along. But
what to do about the noise? I've become so accustomed to the lack of electrical
noise by the PP2000, that trying to listen without it is difficult.
As luck would have it, Steve Kline of Sounds of
Silence came over a couple of months ago to demo a new power filter, the
Linebacker from PranaWire.
The one brought here was their $1950 15 Ampere unit, which consists of a 6" long
black hexagonal box with a female IEC plug on one end to attach to your
favorite power cord and a male IEC plug on a 10" power cord. One can either
attach to an individual component or to a power distributor or line conditioner.
As my pure power conditioners have 20 Ampere IEC input plugs, it couldn't be
used to help the whole system, so we tried it on my Classé CT-SSP
preamp-processor and my home theater computer source.
Remember as I discuss the findings that my system already has three, Pure Power isolation units running off of two Audience aR2P isolation units, with myriad high end power cords, and all contacts throughout the house treated with Tim Mroz's silver paste. There was still an improvement in electrical background noise with the Linebacker in place. As with most improvements in removal of AC noise, the noise floor decreased, there was an increase in ambience information and a decrease in high frequency noise. It was not large but still significant considering all of the other AC noise suppression components in my system.
It worked somewhat better to clean up the
electric gremlins when used on my home theater computer compared to my pre-pro.
So it appears that not only does it clean up the electric line it also seems to
isolate electric back noise from digital equipment. Considering it reasonable
cost of $1950 and the possibility of having a 20 Ampere IEC unit produced for
$300 more that could improve the isolation of all of my source equipment by
being plugged into the input of my source PP2000, an order was placed for one.
Of course that would negate its ability to isolate components from each other,
but with funds short, I couldn't afford to by several units.
It took about three weeks for the company to send my...
Now if I can find some way of affording another
15 Ampere Linebacker for my Caribbean system, my AC isolation problems may
be ameliorated enough to be able to enjoy my system on my deck overlooking the
Caribbean with that Pina Colada in hand. Ah, the problems of an audiophile
reviewer! An even better idea may be to just make an AC distribution box with
six outlets and plug the Linebacker into that. Now that's got my Scot blood
boiling. To my soldering station!
And now a few words from Joe Cohen of PranaWire: