Jimford

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Aug 13, 2018
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Good question but I think people hear differences. Also, once the power is "cleaned" up, then the power cords used from the components to connect to these devices would also seem to matter. Wire type, wire orientation, and connectors: doesn't it all matter?
I agree with power cords from the components to the PS would make a difference and YES most everything makes some kind of a difference.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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It changes the sound of the entire stereo. I've done this.

This is fascinating, and I suspected as much. I've heard lots of difference with power cords and power boxes in my own system over the years. Why does the cord going into the box make such a difference?
 
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Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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Why can you hear it? No idea.

Stock
Magnet whatever thing
My own cable

All very different. The magnet one made one of my favorite albums I consider to be very tube lush in nature unlistenable.
 

Alrainbow

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INTRODUCTION

Terry Brent, the National Sales Manager of Equi=Tech, very kindly delivered to me to audition a brand new Equi-Tech 2RQ. The Equi=Tech 2RQ employs an isolation transformer and a balanced power circuit to, among other things, cancel common mode noise. The 2RQ is rated at 2kVA.

The 2RQ is not large -- it is flat and short (16" X 16" X 3.5") -- but it feels as heavy and as dense as lead (72 pounds). It is extremely well-built and solid, and beautifully screwed together. There were no scratches anywhere on the case. It worked perfectly from the moment we turned it on.

Please see more details about the 2RQ here at Equi=Tech's website: https://www.equitech.com/model-q-shelf-or-rack-mounted-chassis-systems/



View attachment 62530



ISOLATION TRANSFORMER/BALANCED POWER VERSUS POWER REGENERATION

I have often wondered about the sonic differences in a particular system between PS Audio's power regenerator products (P10, P15 and P20) and isolation transformer/balance power devices such as those made by Equi=Tech and Torus Power. Invariably an audiophile buys a PS Audio regenerator or an isolation transformer device, and inevitably loves the one he/she buys. Virtually no one buys both a PS Audio regenerator and an Equi=Tech or a Torus and compares them directly in his own system, and makes a conscientious, thoughtful decision as to which sounds best in his system according to his ears. It is one of the comparisons in our hobby that rarely, if ever, is destined to happen in real life.

I have assumed that I would purchase a PS Audio regenerator or an isolation transformer/balanced power device for my front-end components. Who does not want to minimize audiophilia nervosa about the quality of the AC power swimming into the power supplies of our components by buying one of these devices?

Knowing that JeffreyT -- who lives within walking distance of my temporary rental house in Long Beach, California -- recently purchased a P10, I immediately accepted Terry's offer to try an Equi=Tech. I knew Jeff would be as curious as I am to compare an isolation transformer/balanced power device to his P10.

Another friend of ours, Jimford, has a P20, and he, too, was curious to hear the differences between a P10 and an Equi=Tech.



View attachment 62531



JEFF'S SYSTEM

Jeff uses M2!5 loudspeakers made by Peter Noerbaek of PBN Audio. The standard version of the speaker uses the JBL D2430H mid-range/tweeter compression driver, with dual-diaphragms and waveguide atop two JBL 2235H 15 inch woofers. Jeff requested a woofer - wideband driver - woofer (M-T-M type) configuration, so the compression driver is in the middle of the woofers. I think this is a brilliant request, and it is how I would’ve ordered the speakers myself. I call this version of the speaker the "Jeff Tyo Special Edition."

Jeff has a full suite of Lamm electronics: the LP2.1 Deluxe phono stage; the LL2.1 Deluxe line stage; and the ML1.1 80 watt per channel mono amplifiers. A skeptic of very expensive cables, Jeff has settled on Belden 8402 interconnects with Switchcraft RCA connectors, made by Jeff Day, after comparing them to Kimber Cables. Power cables are Ching Chengs from David Karmeli of Vintage Audio Specialties in Cedar City, Utah.

Jeff’s turntable is the Acoustic Signature Ascona sitting on top of its matching stand. The machining quality of the plinth is fantastic. A van den Hul Colibri Stradivarius cartridge rides on an SME 3012R tonearm.


TEST TRACKS

We listened mainly to:

“Send in the Clowns" by Bill Henderson, Live at the Times (Jazz Planet Records/Classic Records)

”I've Got the Music in Me" by Thelma Houston, I've Got the Music in Me (Sheffield Lab 2)

"Body and Soul" by The Thelonious Monk Quartet, Monk's Dream (Mobile Fidelity Ultradisc One-Step)


LISTENING IMPRESSIONS

Each of us noticed that subjectively the Equi=Tech sounded louder than the P10. I was using the SPL meter on my iPhone X, and, sure enough, the meter was reading about 3dB be higher with the Equi=Tech. But how could this be? How could a mere AC power device subjectively make the sound coming out of the stereo noticeably louder?

To me the Equi-Tech sounded a little bit more dynamic than the P10. Jeff and Jim disagreed, saying that because the Equi=Tech sounded louder I was mistaking that increase in amplitude for greater dynamics.

Near the end of "Body and Soul" by The Thelonious Monk Quartet, there is a piano piece. All of us heard that the piano keys sounded less full and more "tinkly" with the 2RQ than with the P10. To me the 2RQ sounded a little bit more transparent and more neutral in tonal balance. I thought it sounded a little bit more exciting than the P10. I feel like the 2RQ turned up the contrast.

Overall the P10 sounded warmer and fuller than did the Equi-Tech. String instruments and piano sounded more resonant and with longer decays on the P10 than on the 2RQ.

Was the 2RQ cleaning away common mode noise, leaving the sound with a more crystalline quality and pure sound, or was it bleaching the sound, leaving it thinner? Was the P10 eliminating distortion and harshness allowing the music's natural richness to be revealed, or was it bathing the sound in some kind of warm glaze? I truly do not know.

I suggested that the 2RQ made the test tracks sound like the speakers were being driven by a solid-state amplifier, whereas the P10 made the test tracks sound like the speakers were being driven by a tube amplifier, and Jeff and Jim agreed. Put another way, in terms of tonal balance -- neutrality versus fullness and warmth -- the 2RQ made the system sound like it was fronted by a Lyra Atlas cartridge on an SAT tonearm, and the P10 made the system sound like it was fronted by a ZYX UNIverse Premium on an SME 3012R.


CONCLUSION

I was shocked and not at all prepared for the very different sounds created by these two different power devices. I literally went into this comparison wondering if I would be able to discern any differences at all.

This comparison raised more questions than it answered. Why and how does the Equi=Tech make the system sound materially louder? If all these devices are doing is cleaning up the AC power, why does the system sound so different on each of them? And which sound is correct: the cleanliness and excitement of the Equi=Tech or the warmth and smoothness of the PS Audio?

Is power regeneration versus isolation transformer/balanced power another morass of subjectivity wholly dependent upon the idiosyncrasies of the current sound of one's system, one's sonic preferences and one's mains power quality? Apparently, the answer is a firm "yes."

If I owned Jeff's system, which power device would I buy? I don't know. I would need to spend a lot more time with both devices.

If I bought the P10, I might feel like I am missing out on the transparency and excitement of the 2RQ. If I selected the 2RQ, I might worry that over time I would find the 2RQ slightly fatiguing compared to the warm and smooth sound of the P10.

I wish we had had time to compare the sound of Jeff's system with the P10 and with the 2RQ to the sound of Jeff's system powered directly by his outlets. We can't be certain, logically, but all three of us would be willing to bet that we would've preferred both the P10 and the 2RQ to mains power directly.

Thanks to JeffreyT for hosting the comparison!

Thanks very much to Terry of Equi-Tech, and to Randy, Equi=Tech's West Coast dealer, for the opportunity to audition the very impressive Equi=Tech 2RQ!
If you remove noise you free up more power this makes it louder. Noise be it audible or not is using power.
To add to this if the psu transformers are getting a higher voltage it would be louder as well. Measure the voltage at the input to all devices both for power plant and iso.
 

Alrainbow

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The regen power is not the same as a balanced iso either.
If done well the grounding is not the same paths this leads to sound changes too.
 

Billygxx

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Nov 23, 2015
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Hopefully they weren't as IMO Lamm amps should go direct into the wall

I have the wall cabinet mounted Equi=Tech 10WQ. Like Mike I have the balanced outlets next to straight power. After a LOT of comparison time, I believe my amps sound better when they are plugged into straight power.
I cannot recall the brand name but the Balanced Power devises sold by Maier at The Audio Salon in Santa Monica have sounded very impressive in a couple of installations where i have heard them though I have not heard them in my own system. I believe they provided the power for the Wamm Master Chronosonic demo that Ron had good things to say about.
 

Ron Resnick

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I have the wall cabinet mounted Equi=Tech 10WQ. Like Mike I have the balanced outlets next to straight power. After a LOT of comparison time, I believe my amps sound better when they are plugged into straight power.
I cannot recall the brand name but the Balanced Power devises sold by Maier at The Audio Salon in Santa Monica have sounded very impressive in a couple of installations where i have heard them though I have not heard them in my own system. I believe they provided the power for the Wamm Master Chronosonic demo that Ron had good things to say about.

Do you mean Stromtank?
 

LL21

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Ron - are you still going with Torus? I thought there was a time when it was in your signature block to have Torus Balanced.
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron - are you still going with Torus? I thought there was a time when it was in your signature block to have Torus Balanced.

I found yesterday's comparison so befuddling that I think it is not prudent for me to buy an AC power device in advance of setting the system up. It is going to be difficult enough to hatch an entire complicated system in one go, without adding non-essential components as well. So other than the Herzan/Taiko Tana under the Io control unit I will start with the basic stereo components only.
 
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LL21

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Makes sense...I am not going to retrofit the house with an Equi-Tech. So I am starting at the wall (which does have dedicated lines and a Backup Battery UPS that sits between the street and the system). And we shall see what the Torus brings in comparison with the Burmester...for me, i will either leave it, go with Torus or possibly PS Audio given that I know the distributors of these.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Ron
We haven't spoken about this in a while, but I recall you were going with an industrial isolation balanced transformer outside the room that would be the source of all power inside the room. Has this changed?
Marty
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron
We haven't spoken about this in a while, but I recall you were going with an industrial isolation balanced transformer outside the room that would be the source of all power inside the room. Has this changed?
Marty

A couple of years ago I decided I could not get comfortable with plugging the high current amplifiers into the balanced power/isolation transformer wall mount unit. In addition, because of the location of my front-end equipment versus amplifier equipment versus wall mount location there is a risk of creating ground loops due to different lengths of cables from the transformer.

I was interested in an isolation transformer primarily for the front-end equipment, which would be over 50 feet from the location of the wall-mounted transformer.

All in all, I thought it made more sense to consider a floor-mounted unit right near the front-end equipment, if I chose to go in that direction.
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
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INTRODUCTION

I have often wondered about the sonic differences in a particular system between PS Audio's power regenerator products (P10, P15 and P20) and isolation transformer/balance power devices such as those made by Equi=Tech and Torus Power. Invariably an audiophile buys a PS Audio regenerator or an isolation transformer device, and inevitably loves the one he/she buys. Virtually no one buys both a PS Audio regenerator and an Equi=Tech or a Torus and compares them directly in his own system, and makes a conscientious, thoughtful decision as to which sounds best in his system according to his ears. It is one of the comparisons in our hobby that rarely, if ever, is destined to happen in real life.

…..

LISTENING IMPRESSIONS

Each of us noticed that subjectively the Equi=Tech sounded louder than the P10. I was using the SPL meter on my iPhone X, and, sure enough, the meter was reading about 3dB be higher with the Equi=Tech. But how could this be? How could a mere AC power device subjectively make the sound coming out of the stereo noticeably louder?

To me the Equi-Tech sounded a little bit more dynamic than the P10.


CONCLUSION

I was shocked and not at all prepared for the very different sounds created by these two different power devices. I literally went into this comparison wondering if I would be able to discern any differences at all.

The Equitech 2Q was the first power conditioned I bought way back in 2003ish timeframe. Being an engineer I was extremely skeptical of anything that claimed it could improve the already way overdesigned power supplies inside my Mark Levinson gear. I don't recall exactly how I came across equitech but back then they offered a 30 day money back guarantee. So I thought "what do I have to lose except some shipping (and shipping was pretty cheap back then). I got the 2Q installed and put in the ubiquitous "Jazz at the pawnshop". My wife and I sat down for a listen and "Wow! Do you hear the decay on the xylophone?" was the first words out of her mouth. My wife is not an audiophile and would rather hear no difference as something that good always means money flowing out of the checking account.

I heard the same thing you did with the equitech -- it makes the system sound louder. I always attributed that to a lowering of the noise floor which would in turn increase the perceptible dynamic range of the system.

I still own the 2Q although it has been replaced by another power conditioner several years ago. I have compared the 2Q with a few different power conditioners although not the PS Audio regenerators. None but one passed the test. The PS audio idea sounds good until I thought about it. It is turning a lot of the power meant for my gear into heat. But, if it sounds great to your ears then that's all that matters.

There are a lot of companies doing power conditioners and to me some of them are on the edge of snake oil. Anybody can do some casework, buy some Hubble outlets and wire it all together with 8 gauge wire. Equitech is using real science in what they are doing. The implementation is trickier than it looks. That transformer has to be precisely balanced to achieve the required results. Once I bought an off brand version for my home theater system. It hummed and even buzzed on occasion and never worked nearly as well as the equitech does. If you are going to buy a "balanced" power conditioner ask where they get their transformers and how they spec them.

One other note: The equitech will last forever. There is nothing that will wear out. A lot of power products use capacitors which will degrade with time.
 
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213Cobra

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Ron & Jeff,

I take at face value your commentary regarding the comparative system sounds when powered by Equitech or PS Audio. In that respect, you were comparing two devices. But you were also comparing multiple methodologies as encapsulated in the two heavyweights. The Equitech is completely passive. The PSA is completely active. The Equitech outputs balanced power. To my knowledge the PSA does not. The Equitech does not regulate output voltage. The PSA does. The Equitech passively cancels reflected power harmonics. As far as I can tell, the PSA isolates them within each discrete power bank. The load side harmonics reduction by the Equitech compared to the lack of it by the PSA could be part of the reason the P10 sounded more euphonic with the LAMM amps.

Both devices are very low output impedance devices, but I don't know which is lower. The PS Audio has a spec. The Equitech does not. The results relative to no isolation of any type are going to be specifically determined by a complex interplay of circumstances, making any outcome quite subjective. You quite likely will prefer both forms of isolation over no isolation. Relative preference between them is a judgment call. For example, there are no standards for mains output impedance. So my mains output impedance may be quite different from yours, better or worse. The quality of your wiring job, how tightly torqued are your myriad connections between your neighborhood downstep transformer and your specific wall socket affect it. The mix of what is running of your mains feed affects it. So on that alone, these devices will have highly variable effects. Then, as I have found in isolation transformers that allow operation in iso or bal mode, some gear seems to sound optimum isolated, while others sound better fed balanced power. Some gear will be more affected by mains voltage variations. Others will reward tightly regulated AC input voltage. And then, the sonic performance / signature of the studio recording and mastering gear will have been affected by the method of power isolation used. You have no reference to determine accuracy.

I view power cords as fixed parametric tone controls, along with variable dynamic restrictors. Some can sound quite bad, without any relationship to price. At best you can hope for neutral as possible, which is why my aftermarket power cords are Zu. But I would be surprised if the power cord conveying mains power to a PSA Power Plant made a difference. After all, the Power Plants all convert incoming AC to DC and then regenerate AC tied to a reference frequency ( the latest ones use a DSD DAC!). I suppose I can find a reason an isolation transformer's output could be affected by the PC feeding it, in a way that connected audio gear sounds different, but it's not coming to me right now.

Also, Ron, did you listen to the P10 with Multi-wave on or off? And if on, what setting? Multi-wave allows you to explore other frequencies than 60Hz, and allows you to tune the time duration of the sine wave peak, which can affect how completely your audio power supplies' filter capacitors charge. Certainly isolation transformers don't enable exploring these additional variables.

As I mentioned in another post, I opted for ISO xformers after trying PSA PPs various times going way back to the original in the late 1990s. I found they made my systems sound a little less vivid, though they improved other things in the way that ISO xformers do as well. But I would not ever be surprised someone else with different circumstances comes to the opposite conclusion. Far too many variables to create a rule. For me, ISO xformers fed by continuously regulated 120v AC is the combination that works best so far. When I have had a chance to hear PSA vs. ISO xformer in my systems over the years, I have agreed with Ron that ISO xformers help the gear powered deliver discernibly better transparency. I haven't agreed in the past that decay was extended with Power Plants when I listened on power delivered by them. But look, you listen to your power supply, and yours is different from mine.

Phil
 
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MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
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Buy a P20 and don’t look back.......
 
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Ron Resnick

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Buy a P20 and don’t look back.......

Why? Have you compared the P20 and an isolation transformer/balanced power device in your own system?
 

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
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The P20 , yes, but not with an isolation transformer. The P20 is superior to the P10 in every area, including dynamics, so I am just extrapolating from your comments/ observations vis a vis The P10 and the Equitech.
 

Uk Paul

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Hello Ron,
You may not recall, but I did this comparison back in 2015 & 2016. Not with an Equitech but a pair of industrial balanced (symmetrical output) 2 Kva transformers, vs my PSA P10 and Isotek Titan x2. I tried many connection permutations, and in short, the outcome was as per below:
  • Isotek Titan did not fare so well against P10, and only marginal over wall mains which was constantly used as a control btw.
  • Isotek Titan could not handle my power amplifiers (ZL200 solid state by Concert Fidelity) inciting lack of drama etc.
  • P10 could not also handle my amplifiers, preferring wall supply, again, lack of dynamics and scale, with an overall mudiness to the sound.
  • P10 and wall combination seemed the way to go and this i used for 4 years.
  • Intro of my 2 existing 2kva balanced transformer which I had retired due to mechanical humming prior to P10 selection showed more air, space and detail, ie it did a better job at removing line noise than the P10. But still DC offset was an issue with certain appliances in the proximity affecting them.
  • 2 x trafo's, with oversize DC filter, (after several test versions) overcame the DC issue, and sonically now the P10 was no longer comparable. Connection to the performance was simply not there in comparison to balanced. All sound characteristics as per before were still relevant, but noise floor was considerably lower via balanced.
  • When I first bought a P10, I took it to 2 good friends system's, both long term classical fans, and ex recording engineers, and reaction was indifferent.
  • Then it was clear to me the way to go; sold off P10 and spent the money designing and building what developed into the Symetrica, and have not looked back. I took my first unit again to my 2 friends, both requested I build one for each of their systems within an afternoon listening. All components connect to the Symetrica, including power amps including huge valve mono's. (CAT JL3)
  • One thing to bear in mind when testing is that design of the transformer is critical! In addition, one transformer for the whole system is not optimal, and misses out on a considerable elevation of sonics compared to multiple dedicated transformers. For digital, this is paramount, and I'd say that listening to digital any other way is far less enjoyable. Vinyl and CD are comparable this way. Full scale complex orchestral does not collapse into a confused mess this way, which may be what you dislike about digital, in fact, you may like digital, but not it's power delivery and implementation after all..
  • Wall connection is flat flat flat in comparison now.
  • Have not tried the P20, but reports are more positive for sure and this should be your test, not P10.
My only advice is to finish your room, assemble your system, and get trialling power delivery systems to find your own preference, with your system. Saying that, power should not be considered 2nd level importance, it is 1st level as this is what you are listening to, otherwise we would not need amplifiers.

BR,
Paul
 
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jeffrey_t

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This was indeed an interesting comparison. Although I own the P10, I was somewhat biased toward the Equ=tech as I think it is a less complicated power solution. Whenever I've gone for the more simple route with my system (cables, platforms, etc), I've been much happier.

In my opinion, there was no comparison, the P10 was far superior. The Equ=tech was indeed louder, but it also added more distortion to several of the tracks that we listened to. When I turned the volume down on the Lamm LL2.1 to compensate for the 3 dB, the sound lost dynamics. The P10 had less distortion but nothing was lost in the recordings, the music really draws you in and keeps you engaged.

Over the years, I've found a very simple metric of system enjoyment: how long I/we sits and listens to records. We started with the P10 spinning Ron's reference recordings, moved to the Equ=tech and then moved back to the P10. Once we moved back to the P10, we just started spinning jazz records and drinking wine.
 
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