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Adventures in Power (Spring/Summer 2016)

5 May 2016

In this series of articles for PULSE, we ask a prominent audio journalist to describe his experience with power and the importance of a clean mains supply. This issue,Terry Medalen of Primare explains why Primare uses IsoTek clean-power components when developing and demonstrating its products.

Primare is a Scandinavian company, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the brand are rooted in Scandinavian culture – in a particular way of living, and of experiencing music and film.

Every Primare model is designed with a certain Scandinavian concept in mind. In Swedish, the word for this is lagom. Lagom has no direct English equivalent, roughly meaning “just the right amount”. Not too much. Not too little. Everything in perfect balance, harmony and proportion.

The many design and production innovations that enable a Primare component to deliver uniquely harmonious and balanced performance can be listed objectively, but there is no measure of its ability to exhilarate and satisfy. That feeling is immeasurable. Ultimately, and true to this idea of lagom, the Primare experience simply feels ‘right’.

For Primare, the fundamental foundation for any design to achieve this feeling is the power supply – whether that is the main supply or discrete supplies strategically deployed within the circuit precisely where it can best deliver the power required. To tweak a cliché borrowed from the world of real estate, the three most important considerations in a Primare design are “power supply, power supply, power supply.”

Additionally, when designing the power supply, the goal is not simply to deliver the essential power needed for each product to achieve its full performance potential, but also to ensure that the supply injects as little noise into the total system as possible, whether air or line borne.

However, our internal power supplies can only do so much, and our products must work within a system environment that will always have noise or other power limitations of one kind or another. This should make it easy to understand why we take power conditioning very seriously during the design and demonstration of our products.

The listening phase is critically important to the design process. During this phase, it is vital that power conditions are in place to hear as completely as possible the performance characteristics of each iteration of a particular circuit or individual proto-type. These listening sessions can take place over hours, days and months, and it’s crucial that the power supplied to the equipment under test is absolutely consistent in order to ensure that subtle differences can be heard and analysed with complete confidence.

It lies within us all, that sense of perfect balance, of all things in harmony. When things simply feel right.

Demonstration conditions present even greater variability in the power environment for a system to work within, making it even more essential to have consistent power in order to demonstrate the performance of Primare components with the utmost confidence, whatever the environment.

No other power products we’ve tried give us same the level of confidence for our design and demonstration efforts as those made by IsoTek. IsoTek power conditioners and cables not only provide the necessary foundation for our products to perform at their best, but also ensure consistent power delivery and system performance each and every time.

A concern shared by both Primare and IsoTek is the importance of what we call the ‘system approach’. This plays out in a number of ways. Modularity is a key feature of Primare products, in order to prevent early obsolescence and allow for a convenient and cost-effective path to upgrade a component and, as a result, the entire system. IsoTek’s product line provides a similar system approach, where cost of entry is low and the array of devices available affords the ability to not only customise system power support specific to the circumstances, but also provide an upgrade path that consistently delivers noticeable improvements every step of the way. Existing IsoTek products in a system being upgraded are rarely made obsolete with the purchase of more sophisticated IsoTek components, as the products being replaced can be shifted to less critical duty.

Another important goal for Primare is for our products to integrate seamlessly into any system. True to our definition of lagom, no aspect of a Primare product should draw attention to itself; the music or movie should be the primary experience and the perception of technology at work should disappear. In this sense, the essence of a Primare experience involves things that have as much to do with the heart as with the head.

This is equally true of the effect IsoTek products have on total system performance. It can be difficult to describe the distinct areas of improvement resulting from implementing IsoTek products into a system, because they simply work to make everything sound better, and do so without drawing attention to any particular aspect of the overall performance. The results speak directly to the heart rather than the head, and in a way that is the definition of lagom – everything in perfect balance, proportion and harmony. It simply feels ‘right’.

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Terry Medalen of Primare explains why Primare uses IsoTek clean-power components when developing and demonstrating its products