Anyone running balanced power?

I did a search but didn’t see anything here. Is anyone running their audio, and specifically dCS components, on balanced power in the US? I’ve used balanced power in the past with good results on a small headphone rig, using a Transcendent Sound kit I built, but nothing larger scale. I am generally happy with my PS Audio P10 regenerators, but this has always been on my list to consider as one of the final steps for the speaker system. I am specifically considering one of the Equi=Tech systems. Any thoughts or experiences?

There is a long thread on AS forum about isolation transformers.

This part has most of it covered.

"The isolation transformer I’m using is a Topaz model, it is a very special transformer. It has extremely low inter-winding capacitance (.005pf according to the manufacturer). Most transformers have two mechanisms that transfer AC from one side to the other: magnetic and capacitive. The magnetic part is low frequency (it is what the 50/60Hz mains signal uses) and the capacitive is high frequency. The combination means that a “normal” transformer lets a lot of high frequency crud through.

With its extremely low capacitiance the Topaz doesn’t pass the high frequency crud on the AV main, just the base line frequency and a couple harmonics. Thus it is a very effective noise filter.

In addition it is a very good surge suppressor as well. Most of the energy in high power surges is contained in high frequency components, which get suppressed by the low capacitance, thus it is quite an effective surge suppressor without needing any other special circuits to achieve this.

This isolation transformer keeps noise and surges from the rest of your house and neighborhood out of your audio system and fully preserves your safety ground.

Yes you are correct about the application, the Topaz plugs into the wall, the power strip plugs into it.

My recommendation is to use a simple power strip with NO filtering or surge suppression, the Topaz does it much better than what will come in almost any power strip. I plug EVERYTHING into thepower strip. This dramatically cuts down on the impedance between boxes, significantly lowering noise generated by leakage loops.

Some people will say “but then the noise injected back into the AC mains can go right into other boxes”. Yes it can. BUT recent experiments have been pointing to the leakage loops being a significantly greater detriment to ultimate good sound than the injected noise. Of course different systems are different and this may not be true in all systems, but it is looking like this is a good place to start for many systems.

John S."

Yes we are running our Rossini Dac and Clock into a Vertex Balanced Taga. Absolutely delighted with the sound. Vertex have now morphed into Quiescent and they do a considerably more expensive balanced power supply.

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Thanks @octaviars. I know that thread, and a couple of other similar ones about isolation transformers elsewhere. I am more specifically interested in balanced power, not just isolation transformers. And more specifically, I am interested here in whether any dCS owners are running their systems on balanced power, and whether there is anything about our stacks that is vulnerable in such a power environment.

Thanks @ledcam. That’s encouraging. And I will also check out Vertex/Quiescent., though I suspect they are, like the Symetrica, designed for 230V.

This is the new website

You’ll find them a very helpful group of people. Their CEO Steve Elford is likely to get involved in dialogue and is a thoroughly decent guy and very helpful. We have a few of the Vertex boxes in our system with a few of the new isolation supports scattered around. Very, very impressed.

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Archie, thanks for that, because I had trouble finding them under that new name. Some interesting kit there.

You are welcome. They have plans to bring a lot to market so it will be interesting to see how that evolves. Their site meanwhile makes for interesting browsing.

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Yes, I’m running dCS kit from balanced power: Puccini with a Paganini clock, plugged into an Equi=Tech model Q along wth pre-amp/headamp (Benchmark) and power amp (Bryston). When I first tried it - in a grumpy “well, it’s here so I’d better try it” kind of mood - I was shocked. There was straight away better bass definition and extension, or so it seemed, with great improvements in the upper mids and treble. I listened first, with headphones, to a jazz big band track. Brass instruments that had before sounded a touch metallic and wearing became more tonally realistic, detailed, and easy to listen to. I was thrilled. I’ve told the story of this purchase in another forum (Hi-Fi Critic, I think), and I’ll add just one piece of advice here: buy the Model Q and not the Son of Q. That’s important.
Simon C.

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Thanks Simon. The 2RQ was on my short list, along with the Torus AVR2 20, Niagara 7000, and PS Audio P20 (none the same as 2RQ, I know). And I almost pulled the trigger yesterday. But, at the last minute, I did an about face and decided to go with the Torus. It should be here in a few days. I wish it was balanced, but its noise technology—which is what this is primarily about for me—is also superb (as Audioquest says, there are multiple ways to attack this problem), its transient current capability appears superior to Equi=Tech, and its interface and monitoring are the equal/better of the P20, and far superior to either Audioquest or Equi=Tech, each of which has none.

Because I came to the conclusion that each of the alternatives would offer me an improvement over the technology I have now in the PS Audio P10 (and would have with the P20), and the Equi=Tech and Torus are similarly priced (much less expensive than the Niagara), the UI advantages of the Torus won out. I may still end up having an electrician install either an Equi=Tech or Torus full sub panel for the audio room. I sent their information to my electrician to get his assessment of which he would choose to install in his home.

Thanks again for your feedback. It is much appreciated.

I like the idea of the sub-panel (you must have read the 6-moons review in which the author installed one), and I hope your Torus sounds good. Although I’m not an electrical engineer, I found the Equi=Tech arguments about grounding convincing, and also what they say about the way a balanced supply interacts with the power supplies of the equipment. I speculate - and it is just that - that a balanced supply delivers some of the benefits of having separate boxes for transport, dac, clock, etc. To determine whether that is true I’d have to have a Paganini system side by side with my Puccini. I don’t think that is going to happen! Please post about your experiences with the Torus, when you’ve come to an opinion. (BTW: I have the Equi=Tech 2RQ-E, as I live in the UK.)

Simon, I did in fact read that 6moons review, and it was what for me thinking about the sub panel. Like you, I was very convinced about Equi=Tech’s technology, and I still am. I learned a lot reading their website. I wish the Torus had balanced power output. And I wish I could be in a position to do a side-by-side comparison of the 2RQ and the AVR2. But, I didn’t have that luxury this time. So, my fingers are crossed for a happy outcome.

I am using balanced power for over 15 years now. It is based on a Plitron 4KVA NBT, LoNo, Imin transformer (230V in the Netherlands) and it is a fantastic product.
The bare transformer is mounted on the wall in the utility closet.
A shielded star-quad cable of 4x AWG11 runs to the stereo set.
All important equipment runs from that power and a few devices via extra filters.
In all honesty I haven’t switched back for a while but when I tested it the set on the transformer always won in the regions of top frequency sweetness and midrange precision. A top product

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Thanks for that info Peter. I’ve read very positive reviews about Plitron bits elsewhere, including the 6moons review of the old Balanced Power Technology BP-3.5. I suspect their stuff is in a lot of equipment.

fyi I use a balanced mains supply for all of my system which includes a Bartok. I think it has helped on clarity but, I admit, there might be a bit of a placebo effect here :wink:

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Hey Steve, you know what’s great about the placebo effect? It’s actually real.

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Greg, did you end up plugging in that Torus? Would love to know how it worked out for you. (Apologies if I missed the results in another thread.)

Ben, I sure did, and I love it. Enough so that I felt comfortable pausing the never-ending quest for the “next great thing.” Maybe I’ll try some other thing Fe again in the future, but not now. Much as I liked the PS Audio P10—and I still use one on the home theater side—I prefer the AVR2-20.

Very interesting — especially since you mention the P10. I had one of those until recently (it’s still here actually, just boxed up…and unboxing those isn’t fun!) and am waiting on its replacement to arrive because I wasn’t as impressed with it on my mono-blocks. Lovely for my front-end gear, though with my Pass XA-60.8s everything just sounded a metre or so more distant, which I didn’t like. Are you using yours on amplification, or just on source kit?

I’m part way into trying some IsoTek gear, though almost as soon as I had the first bits on the way I started reading good things about balanced. Doh! I’ll stay the course with IsoTek for a few months, then embark on some fresh dalliances if they seem worth the faff. Based on what you’ve said they might be…

Did not run the BHK amps through the the P10. Have tried it both ways with the Merrills, and I think they are slightly better out of the wall socket than through the P10, though nowhere near as negatively affected as the BHKs. I have the Merrills going through the Torus right now, and they seem quite fine that way. The Torus seems much better at current delivery, and the Merrills don’t draw as much power as the BHKs.