Dorthy and the Tornado

Welcome to the Whirlwinds of Change phase! Let me tell you Dorthy’s house spinning on the top of the tornado is not too far away from the feeling I have today. Thankfully there are no flying monkeys or “dream flowers” in my story.

I brought the system home with an older Monster Cable power system as protection and filtering. One of the early tests was to put a loaner Transparent Powerbank P2 on the system at the wall with the Monster Cable still in the system. There is was more bass and the imaging started to improve. Now we were cooking with gas! So to improve the power quality and thus the sound I ordered a Transparent Powerbank P6.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Fast forward to a Sunday evening when I was working at my computer in my basement office and my son was playing a game on his computer when we heard this rather pronounced 60 cycle buzzing sound. That is NOT good! The circuit breaker for the furnace was buzzing madly when the furnace kicked into high fan. You could feel as well as hear the breaker buzzing, ouch! So rocking the breaker a bit the buzzing diminished. But it took a trained person to actually fix the problem. Over time the wiring in the circuit panel had loosened some of the connections. Seventeen breakers needed tightening and five neutral lines needed the same treatment including two that were physically loose.

The next day I went to listen to the system to start evaluating a possible cable change… The world had flipped, the sound was better on the “before” test, I had changed nothing and the system sound changed, WAIT I did change something; one of the loose wires was on the living room circuit where the stereo is. JAW DROP TIME! Everything matters, Everything!

The whirlwind continued with power cables. The Rotel gear has IEC connections so I am able to work there to improve sound. The P6 Power conditioner is first and there upgraded Transparent cables on the Power Amp and on the Pre-amp. Note that this testing was so obvious I never had to complete the ABAB loop. “A” was good “B” was better than “A” by a noticeable amount. So in the long run there will be money spent on power cables!

During the discussion around electrical power and the issues with the panel in my home I also implemented another small change in the system. I changed the electrical wall outlet that the system is plugged into, replacing it with a Hubbell hospital grade duplex outlet. One of the best $18 I have ever spent! YES it does sound better. The contacts are broader the copper is better and the spring system is stronger for better contact. It works! I am still holding off on one more electrical change that I will talk about next time.

Those are some of the basics. We can talk about High Frequency (HF) interference, time/phase distortion and a lot more.

The system is pretty stable now. I can play music from LP, CD and digital files. I have the ability to purchase and play Tidal Streaming. It is now a “performance listening” music system. Is this audio nirvana? No! But wow it sounds pretty good.

— RJF