Message started by nico on 08/14/11 at 14:13:30

Post by nico on 08/14/11 at 14:13:30

Having your setup tweaked out? Think there's nothing more to do..?
Try running your gear off the grid. Steve already wrote about it, and I'm powering my gear that way already for years.
It started by listening to various car-audio amps powered by a battery; they just sounded so much better powered that way than with a power-supply! [and I've had some VERY good power-supplies].
Then my passive Array Audio Obsydian arrived which can be powered by a 12Volts battery as well.... another major step forward.
Now, the ZEN is getting it's power from the main transformer as well, and after several try-outs, everyone here who was asked to choose, preferred the sound, using the "off the grid" connection.
Like Steve describes so well; "it's like beeing able to listen to music all day the way it sounds late at night".
I found myself playing louder without any feeling of stress since playing "off the grid".
So if you have a chance to try it out; DO IT!
I strongly recommend to ALWAYS TRY IT FIRST before buying; results will vary a lot per install/ household.
You can view the 1Kw separating-transformer I use here; [bottom of the page]
You will also find more audio-related pics that might trigger some ideas...

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Lon on 08/14/11 at 14:50:46

nico, have you ever tried a "power regenerator" such as those made by PS Audio?  I've had these in my system twice, and it's given me that "sounds all the time as if it were late at night" sound and more.  I've also found them to offer me great protection from surges etc. That's the way I roll now and am very happy about it. Blacker blacks, great dynamics, you can clearly hear what your components are doing.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 08/14/11 at 18:01:27


 I have owned battery equipment in the past as well as a PS Audio power RE-generator. Both definitely have great benefits. I always wonder why this type of equipment isn't more popular in audio. I will take a look at what you got here with great interest. What are the power limits of your transformer?

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by nico on 08/15/11 at 06:27:02

Hi guys; no, never tried a PS audio. There are so many brands out there that make products like these, that I limited myself to trying only those I could try out at home before buying.
The transformer I currently use has a 1kw powerlimit.
Given the fact that it feeds only the ZEN plus my CD-player you could say it barely "sees"that load. ;)

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/14/11 at 18:52:14

Unfortunately, AC power is grossly misunderstood by most people(especially audiophiles). Because of this, the 'finer audio companies' prey on that fact. There are few truths that hold their own, but suffice it to say, an active discussion can take place with such a subject. Buyer beware...

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/15/11 at 20:38:17

Heh, I think it fair to say that AC power is poorly understood by most. There are a number of good audiophile products out there designed for battery power. I believe Red Wine Audio makes a few. I have two PS Audio Power Plant Premiers [the immediately previous generation which, while not made in the USA, can generally be had for a pretty good price]. I also have a Transcendent Balanced Power Supply I built, and it also provides some very nice black background for my office headphone rig. I still have my Monster AVS-2000, which also did a decent job of providing stable 120V, but it did not seem quite as "black" as the PS Audio units.

It's tough to beat battery for clean power, but I am unlikely to buy an audio device purely because of its battery power.

Steve has recommended isolation transformers like the Tripp Lites, but I was less happy with the ones I tried. Just didn't seem as quiet as the other stuff. [I do have two of their UPS units, that I really like, and that I use to protect my network servers.]

In the future, I will probably upgrade to the current generation of PS Audio regenerators.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/16/11 at 02:16:20

I have owned a few power products as well, and some of them are quite good, including the PS Audio products that you mentioned. Also, as you stated, a good balanced isolation transformer gives a lot of the potential that the PS audio products do, minus the sine wave alterations. I presently own a BPT product and like it very much. Although I appreciate the Tripplite products, I find them a little noisy, and maybe restrictive as far as current delivery is concerned. When you get the new PS Audio product I think that you will be happy with it's performance. It has been upgraded to handle  more trouble from outside AC trouble which is a growing problem.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/17/11 at 14:12:46

4krow, which BPT do you own? My Transcendent is nice, but is limited to 1000 vA or 8 amps and has but one receptacle. So, I use it with my headphone rig, where the current draw is well below that level, and I attach the very simple supplied 6-outlet power strip.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/17/11 at 17:34:13

 I think that you are on the right path, but with only one outlet, it can be difficult to impliment the conditioner in a practical way. I dont know the exact model of BPT, but it is the only one that is built this way. To explain: It has a total capacity of 10 amps. if I remember right. However, there is a twist in the outputs. There are five seperate outputs, but each has it's own winding. Each output is rated for 10 amps each, but the total of all the outputs cannot exceed 10 amps. since the primary winding of this unit is rated at 10 amps. The real advantage here is that each secondary winding is in effect a dedicated circuit. The value of this is obvious. I can put all my digital devices on one circuit, analog on another, video on another,etc. And the unit is VERY well built.As always, I took the top off, and after a close look, decided there was absolutely nothing that I could improve on. I would encourage you to browse the BPT website and see if there are any products that might fit your needs.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/18/11 at 00:51:12

4ktow, I assume you are referring to the BPT website here? Their B-2 is well-reviewed here, though I don't know if that particular model is still available; too bad, it was a heckuva good value. Seems like very good stuff, but their prices are ramping up there, though not to the Equi=Tech level, it seems.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/18/11 at 01:17:49

Turns out, it is the BPT 10.5 ultra. Seems like I got it for about 1,000. 4 yrs ago. There are many upgrades for it, but I think that it performs very well as 'stock'.
A few years back I owned an old Equitech. Nothing wrong there either, but I decided that a conditioner is better off minus as much circuitry as possible to escape power surge harm itself. The BPT came out a winner that way.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/19/11 at 14:51:10

Thanks 4krow. Nice unit indeed. Very good value at that price. I like my BPT at the office,but right now, I don't see much reason to add to or replace the two PSA PPP units I have in the home system. If either of them ever fails, then I would have a difficult time deciding whether to go the PS Audio route or the BPT route. it is interesting that, within the last few years, the NECA recommended balanced power supplies for home audio/theater systems.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/19/11 at 18:28:44

I agree with you about the PSA units. I owned one and was very impressed with it's performance. The reason that I got rid of it was that in my town, the power is soooo weird that even the PSA unit was having some issues. Even at night, I could hear it clicking. I sent it back to PSA and they did some modifications, but I was just afraid that there would never be an end to the bad power. So, when I looked into power conditioners, I looked for one that had the least circuitry as far as ic's, transistors etc. BPT was the best in that catagory. Balanced power reduces most of what is going on with your power, but it also needs good surge protection. That's why my BPT is fed by a BrickWall product. This product is unsurpassed for stopping spikes and surges. And it only cost about $215.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/20/11 at 05:09:01

The Brickwall stuff is good, but given the way the PSA units work,  I wonder if there is any benefit to having a Brickwall either feeding or being fed by the PSA? Any thoughts on that?

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/20/11 at 19:05:33

In the case of PSA, I would say no, probably not. In the case of BPT, it depends on the options in the BPT unit itself. I chose to feed the BPT only because of the very poor service at times that this town has to offer. I even have modded the Brickwall to accept a detachable power cord, and have replaced the outlet with a higher quality one(one that has greater prong pressure)

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/20/11 at 19:12:32

Thanks for he feedback 4krow, makes sense. I checked the forums over at PS Audio, and that seemed to be the consensus as well. I also noticed some interesting discussion about balanced power (which was a feature of some earlier generation power regenerates), though a bit of it seemed a bit market-speak driven.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/20/11 at 19:48:27

Good observation about 'market talk'. Remember when speakers were declared 'digital ready'? Put my mind at ease. "Consider the source'  was some of the last advice my father offered.

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Pale Rider on 09/21/11 at 07:07:07

Off topic: had a friend years ago, happened to be a proctologist, who was fond of saying: "There is no such thing as 'digital ready'." ;)

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by 4krow on 09/21/11 at 13:36:04

funny, I heard the same remark from a gyn...

Title: Re: OFF THE GRID.
Post by Mark Strama on 09/27/11 at 11:56:36

Your best source of practical information on off the grid living and surviving today and in future times when life may not be as easy.

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