120/115V vs. 100V

I just successfully transported my Musical Fidelity A3 CD player from the US to Hong Kong. I'll also be bringing over an A324 DAC as well, in a few months.

The CD player has an input voltage of 115V...so to get it to work, I purchased a step-down power converter to get the local voltage down from 220V. However, I was only able to find one that converted to 100V instead of 115/120V. (Presumably for Japanese electronics.)

I've read posts about pre-mature electronic failure if the voltage is above certain tolerances. What about the case when a 115V component is only receiving 100V? Also, is there a sonic impact? I can't tell, because I am using new speakers and a newly modified amplifier that hasn't burned in yet, all in a new room.


Low voltage can be harmful, but this depends in part on the way the power supply is designed. If it is a regulated supply, and the voltage is close enough to be within the regulator range there would be no effect at all. I don't think that there is an answer which applies across the board for all equipment. You need to consult with the manufacturers technical people.

Because of the global economy electronic equipment is increasingly designed to operate on various voltages. The first step in this direction was power transformers with dual primary windings that can be wired (or switched) in series or parallel to accomodate 110 or 220 volts, and perhaps 100 volts. But now I see power supplies that pretty much work with what they get, without any need for rewiring or switching. The Behringer DEQ2496 for example takes anything between 85 and 250 volts, 50 /60 cycles.
Yeah, Japan is 100v. Might be like a brown-out to use it.
Taiwan uses the same voltage as the USA. Maybe you can find something in Hong Kong made for that market.

Congratulations on your move to the Pearl of the Orient, one of my favourite cities (by far) in the world!

Someone asked me recently if they would have problems/issues using a rig in Australia using step-downs. I wrote my brother in Perth, here's his response:

It is true that often things that I plug into my converters tend to run hot and eventually stop working altogether, but not everything. Examples include:

(1) my electric shaver still works, but I just plug it in once a week.

(2) My wireless router conked out, but it was just the AC/DC adapter so I bought a 240 version here and it works fine now.

(3) Wife’s electric toothbrush worked for a few months then died.

(4) Electric clippers (for shaving the dog) run VERY hot (used to run hot in the US, but here it’s way worse). They still work, but don’t sound good. Will probably die sooner or later.

(5) When I plugged my receiver into a converter, you could here a relay inside clicking real loud (this is a very old receiver). So, I haven’t used it at all.

Electronic stuff here can be WAY expensive, so unless you plan on staying a while it’s tough to justify the $$. That being said, prices for things can be inconsistent, so you better do your research. If you plan on returning to North America, I'd store the gear.
Thanks for the information everyone. Actually, my move to Hong Kong is pretty permanent, for at least the near term.

It sounds like I should look out for a 120V converter instead. Sounds like it might be a bit safer to have the proper voltage.

Hack, I'm a little worried by what your brother said...that eventually all gear running off a step-down will fail. Is that really true? I'd rather not purchase all new gear, as I've already put good money on the CD + DAC I purchased from the US. They both draw less than 50W, so I'm thinking if I purchase a step-down that at least provides twice or three times as much, I should be OK.