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A week ago, one of our readers got in touch to ask for advice about his hi-fi system. He described how the sound was failing to satisfy him, with a fatiguing effect he often found irritating, but he couldn’t identify the root of the problem. He was considering purchasing new speakers and a new amplifier, and was asking for our opinion.
Before he’d finished explaining, I’d already worked out the real cause of his problem. I asked him what sort of power strip he was using; of course, it was one of those cheap, plastic, multi-outlet things. I strongly suggested that he sort that out before buying a new amp and speakers.
At first – like many others – he couldn’t understand why it’s so important to take care of the system from the very input: mains electricity. I explained that every piece of metal acts like an antenna, but nobody wants RFI/EMI in their system. High frequencies cause serious issues if they get into the system and affect the audio signal. Unless our hi-fi system is situated in an isolated cellar, tucked away in a forest, we all have this problem.
So, what’s the solution? There are various products on the market aimed at improving the power supply for audio systems. Some are very cheap and deliver only small effects – not all of them positive. Others are very expensive and do a kind of over-effect, removing some of the music’s energy as well as the distortions. Nobody wants that!
For us at hifi & records and i-fidelity.net, the perfect solution turned out to be IsoTek’s EVO3 Sigmas. It’s present in our system for almost all our reviews because it’s reliable and delivers consistently excellent results. It’s the size of a small, traditional power amp; pleasingly solid and weighty, with six sockets on the back including two for more current-hungry components like integrated amps, power amps and active speakers. The remaining four sockets are intended for source components and preamps.
Integrating the Sigmas into an audio system is simple and listeners are often surprised by the significance of its effect. For years, they’d changed their source components, amps and speakers to improve sound quality, but nagging problems always remained: a lack of natural sonic accuracy and an edginess in the upper frequencies. Both these issues vanish completely when IsoTek clean-power products are involved and, even better, none of the musical energy is lost.
IsoTek’s EVO3 Sigmas has proved to me how important power cleaning is if any audio system is to perform at its best, but only when it’s done right
To fully understand the effect that IsoTek power conditioners have on your system, try living with one for a while and then uninstalling it. I spent eight weeks of intensive listening with the Sigmas in my system and was more than satisfied with the results. The ear, however, adapts quickly to these positive changes and they are soon taken for granted. The shock came when I removed the Sigmas from my system and returned to my previous configuration; as the noise floor leapt back to its previous level, the negative effect was so dramatic that the Sigmas became impossible to live without.
I’ve also found I can listen to music for longer with the Sigmas in my system. IsoTek power conditioners make music less fatiguing to listen to, ‘destressing’ the sound without losing the energy. It just sounds natural, the way it should sound, free of distortions that can tire the listener – and that’s everything a music lover can wish for. No matter the price of the system, no matter its configuration, the effect of IsoTek clean-power products is always positive. There’s really no point in seeking sonic improvements by upgrading your source, amp or speakers if you haven’t dealt with the mains supply first.
Back to our reader… I finally got through to him when I asked whether he would like to fill up his car with contaminated fuel. He was shocked, saying “this will be the end of the engine!”. It’s similar with an audio system; electricity is the fuel that powers it, from which the audio signal is formed. Clean, uncontaminated power, free of common mode and differential mode noise, is the foundation of a superior-sounding system.
I’m pleased to say that our reader is now the owner of an IsoTek EVO3 Sigmas. He no longer wants to change his amp or speakers and his system now sounds better than he ever thought it could. The Sigmas finally unlocked its full potential.
IsoTek’s EVO3 Sigmas has proved to me how important power cleaning is if any audio system is to perform at its best, but only when it’s done right. I would encourage every reader to try the Sigmas (or other products from the IsoTek range, depending on your budget). But be warned – once tried, it’s impossible to live without!
16 March 2017
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, Olaf Sturm, editor-in-chief of German magazine hifi & records and website i-fidelity.net, chronicles his and his reader's journey to find 'clean power' with IsoTek's EVO3 Sigmas.
13 March 2017
Imagine being able to manage your power usage, control electronics, set start-up dates and times to turn on/off your audio or AV system, save power when not in use or warm up your system before you get home. SMART power is this and more....
24 June 2016
PLUS X : FIVE Product Awards & Nomination for "Most Innovative Brand"
23 May 2016
IsoTek launched their EVO3 Initium new entry level power cable earlier this month, and have already picked up three industry awards! Initium is a must for replacing all of your free standard black plastic power leads.
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.
12 April 2016
Hear Keith Martin and IDC Klaassen's Martin Klaassen at Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage talk about IsoTek's commitment to our customers, and why IsoTek and its power conditioning product range are the best on the market.