Having been a music lover and audio enthusiast for more decades than I care to admit to I’ve had the privilege of owning some tremendous components over those years and thought I had attained a level of musical enjoyment that would be difficult to improve upon without spending more money than I could afford. Then along came The Gate to turn my audio conceptions on end.
While I was quite skeptical of all of the positive proclamations regarding the Perfect Path mats, cards and contact enhancer ( how could they possibly bring about such sonic improvements?) I took the plunge and purchased a nano bundle to see what the hubbub was all about. Much to my surprise they not only brought about improvements to my systems’ ability to recreate a more musical sound but did so in spades.
When Tim of Perfect Path Technologies asked if I wanted to try his new product, The Gate, I jumped at the chance thinking it would be a nice addition to what the other products provided. I wasn’t prepared for the quantum leap The Gate brought to my music listening pleasure. As much as the other products brought about a much lower noise floor, greater detail and delicacy, improved dynamics, richer tone and more realism The Gate does so in magnitudes difficult to describe. The best way I can describe its affect is unreal purity leading the most realistic musical sound I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.....outside of a live performance obviously. It has me listening to all of my CD’s as if for the first time again.
I have no idea how The Gate actually works or what it does I just know it’s the most dramatic tweak to my system I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t think of being without it. As to how it’s implemented, it’s installed in the electrical panel with one lead connected to the common buss and the other to a breaker ( preferably 220). Hope I got the terminology correct.....I’m far from being an electrician!
At $4,999.00 it’s not cheap but worth every penny to me as I’ve spent more on components with less sonic improvement.
Lastly, I realize some will scoff at something they can’t understand and I get not understanding it as I don’t, but I would hope people could keep their skepticism healthy and civil. I am not here to promote or sell, nor do I have any affiliation with PPT. I am only sharing something that I’ve found to be transforming in my system. Sorry for the lengthy introduction.
So after a recommendation from Ron Hedrich at Marigo, who is now a PPT dealer, I took the plunge and had the Gate installed. My system already has some pretty extensive power conditioning (dedicated 40A 240V line with SR treated breaker and ground isolation -> Torus WM75BAL wall mounted (300lb!) isolation Tx -> two SR PowerCell 12 UEF SE Conditioners -> a mix of SR Galileo SX and AQ Dragon PCs) so the installation was non-standard. We ended up putting it between the floating neutral incoming to the Torus wall mount and one leg of the balanced primary. I’ve had it in place for a week now and while still seeing some small incremental changes believe I have a fair handle on things.
Anyway you're all wondering what did it do? The answer is complex. What the Gate does (in this system context) is subtle but actually pretty important. First up the Gate does nothing for most of the usual areas like lower noise floor, more dynamics etc etc that I got from things like the various generations of SR conditioners I've been through, or Power Cord upgrades.
Instead what the Gate delivers is a sense of integration and seamlessness between component parts of instruments or voices, or between players in an ensemble. What do I mean by this? Take something relatively "simple" like a piano note or a sharply struck chord on a steel strung guitar. Many systems will render the broad outline of the note and let you hear the different combinations of lower frequencies (the fundamental) and the overtones and leading edges but often they don't quite come together, it's almost as if the sound is made up of many different instruments playing at once. With the Gate somehow all of these constituent parts integrate in a new way that seems much more realistic. Piano in particular is a good test where the initial percussive impact of hammer on string, the tone, and the decay are all of a gestalt. The same is seen on vocals where differences in miking and vocal technique are much more apparent.
There is a possible downside however. What I’ve noticed across multiple recordings I know well is that the perceived soundstage has changed – in many cases becoming less deep with more of a forward, even “wall of sound” presentation. In other cases and other recordings a deep soundstage is however still apparent. My hypothesis as to what is going on is that the cues we use to decode soundstaging are about small timing differences between different frequencies in the mix i.e. we are able to interpret a slight delay between line A and B as A being further away. With the Gate removing reproduction driven delays some "artificial" perceived depth vanishes. But by the same token other more subtle cues such as height become more apparent. So instead of the system imposing a sonic soundstage signature across every recording you hear only what is on the original disc.
The types of effect I am describing are closest in my experience to what I found when applying grounding solutions – so those familiar with the benefits of grounding may know what to look for.
Net net for the cost of a power cord these days the Gate is a no questions asked benefit to a well configured system. I have no opinion on whether the Gate could substitute for other power conditioning approaches – that’s not how I am using it in my system and the benefits it brings are fundamentally different from what I get from traditional conditioning and isolation.
Thanks folkfreak, a very interesting and well stated analysis. With so much power conditioning and grounding solutions it’s impressive to me that the Gate was able to improve upon what you have in place at all. Your system is quite impressive and obtaining even the slightest improvement can’t be easy yet must be very rewarding.
I think your hypothesis is spot on. The Gate brings one closer to the original recording.....for good or bad.
I tried the SR Active Grounding Block SE after installing the Gate and didn’t hear enough of a sonic improvement to warrant me keeping it. I also found my system sounds better without power conditioning when using the Gate. I notice greater dynamics, better pace and greater tonal purity without a power conditioning. The SR grounding black provided an even blacker background, albeit just slightly, and while nice I couldn’t justify spending that much on such a slight improvement.....especially after experiencing such a drastic improvement with the Gate.
Having said that, implementing a SR Powercell UEF 12 SE with their Active Grounding Block SE along with the Gate would be magical most likely, except I’d have to sell a kidney to afford it! 😜
What folkfreaks system demonstrates is how versatile the Gate is in imparting it’s affects upon a system. For those of us with less extensive systems the Gate can be a revelation. Even those like folkfreak with very well implemented power conditioning and grounding solutions the Gate can still provide some special sonic improvements.
folkfreak - Thanks for your description of the effect of The Gate. I plan to take the plunge soon. I will also have 2 PowerCell UEF SE units on hand soon. I already have one. Do you have any advice for the best use for 2 of them, if any? A brief answer would suffice, as I don’t want to unreasonably derail The Gate thread.
I'm still amazed by what The Gate is doing in my system. Over the past two weeks, I've been pulling out vinyl recordings that I haven't played in a few years. What I remembered as okay recordings, now have new life. Little details, once obscured, are now very present.
Anyone besides me like the "Persuasive Percussion" albums? I have quite a few. They are fun listening from both an audiophile and a music lover's standpoint. Some of them are demo quality.
Reflecting back to the past several years I wonder the following: How good would the Gate enhance one's system if they did not have any of the expensive fuses or any of the other products that Perfect Path Technologies have available? I ask because I know that most of you that have the Gate have all the other goodies also.
@whostolethebatmobile -- I have two PowerCells because my system is configured with the sources 30' from the power amps so one conditioner cannot cover both ends (plus I need a lot of cords for my sources).
And @lak I use no other PPT products (I did try the paste but was not convinced) -- as each product is doing something completely different I would expect the impact to be additive but also presumably complementary if others' comments are to be gone by
When I installed The Gate, there were already tons of tweaks in the system. Even with all of the tweaks previously installed, The Gate has opened up the SQ to a point way beyond where it was before. I know this isn't the question you asked, but it does establish a baseline.
What would a "Gate" do on a completely stock system containing no upgrades? I think it would be a revelation to the listener just as it was in a heavily tweaked system.
The Gate cleans up dirty AC throughout the entire home, so it stands to reason that all appliances, i.e., TV, computer screens and stereo systems would benefit from it.
I had one mat, ten cards and treated with TC before adding the Gate and like Frank said the Gate’s impact was immense. I believe it would be an equally immense sonic improvement on a system without any other PPT products but the overall affect wouldn’t be as good as the additive affect achieved using all of their products.
Its only 40 days since the first post back when this was so new it wasn't even on their website yet. A few who added them later, might not even have had them a month yet. The Gate by its very nature is always "on" so we can count everything from installation as burn-in time. We know its fantastic but what's the big picture 30+ days in?
By now it has probably transitioned from being mind-blowingly better every time you turn around to mind-blowingly better each day to every once in a while damn how is it still getting better to, well you get the idea?
And now that you're used to it, do you still notice the usual "it still sounds better late at night" kind of thing or is that now just a thing for us poor unenlightened schlubs now?
I wish someone would make a YouTube of the installation process for us folks living on the other side of the world, probably having different voltages and electrical systems from the US.
I remember being one of the first few from the Far East to purchase Total Contact and Omega e mat but those were straightforward to "install."
I have had a few email exchanges with Tim regarding the installation process and he has been great with his response but due to limited electrical knowledge, I do not feel comfortable enough shelling out a decent sum of money for The Gate. Tim asked how close my Distributor box is to a socket? Does The Gate need to be plugged into an electrical outlet or just connected to somewhere in my DB?
As requested, having a YouTube video on the whole installation process will help those of us on the other side of the world make a quick decision to make this investment.
Okay so that is the hardest thing to swallow so far, that it works so good you can no longer hear any difference between day and night. That's not even something a lot of people are even aware of or have ever noticed.
Okay so here's another one- the breaker test. Listen to your system. Flip off breakers to the rest of the house. Listen again. Sound the same? Different? Better?
It’s night all the time since installing the Gate for me. Ultra pure signal any time of the day. Love it!
fazee, The Gate does not plug into an outlet. It has two wires coming out of it. One wire is connected to the common buss inside of the electrical panel and the other wire connects to a circuit breaker....preferably 220v. The Gate itself sits at the bottom of the panel.
Not sure what voltages you’re dealing with so Tims input would be best. I believe I have pics on my ‘ virtual system’ page of it installed. If not I’ll post some soon.
I can get into the spirit of The Gate actually, as I am not on house AC at all. No circuit breakers, other circuits, power cords, fuses or AC Ground. I have the lowest noise and distortion and the greatest resolution I’ve ever heard. If your nose offends thee cut it off.
I'm doing the same as you ... discovering recordings all over again. Those late 50s and early 60s LPs that were recorded during the Golden Age of Stereo are super fantastic now. I have a lot of early pre-stereo jazz albums. With The Gate installed, Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry are in the room.
I know ... I know ... who's Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry? :-)
My Gate is now 'mature', and its been installed for just over one month. My system is now stone 'quiet' with deep blacks, lowest noise floor I've had in my rig, better sound stage, and more musical magic and presence than before. My LCD TV is also a bit sharper, and the TV sound thru my AV pre-pro is also improved, on same circuit as my two channel rig. I still use Shunyata Triton III power conditioner to good effect. I am keeping my Gate, and sent in payment. I like its additive effects with the eMats and TC paste. As Frank has described, now I am just sitting back, and rediscovering my music collection, listening and enjoying more, and worrying less about tweaking gear or focusing on equipment issues. Tim has a hit on his hands with this product...highly recommended
Okay, as to the Omega E-Mats which are 1% as powerful as The Gate, I have good news that I didn't realize. I use 12 E-Mats in my system/power panels which resulted in a "night" quality listening 24/7. I didn't realize until now how good my system sounds all day. I used to have particularly uneven sound between 6pm and 9pm which really bugged me the last 25 years.
That’s interesting (The Gate completely eliminating night/day listening differences). Because if true it would prove that night/day differences are the result of AC powerline disturbances, not air quality related (Franck Tchang’s theory), or the often speculated difference in listener relaxation states.
I always believed that the hourly fluctuations in sound quality were the result of the power conditions. That's why most people prefer the sound after midnight. I just love what the Omega E-Mats did to up the sound quality at peak power usage hours. I don't have to apologize to guests from 6pm to 9pm any longer.
I have been following this thread and this exciting product. Sounds like The Gate is wired in parallel across an arbitrary circuit. So why can't one just go get a high quality Furutech plug, connect the Gate's Hot and Neutral lines to this plug, leaving the earth ground line not connected, and just plug this into a wall outlet...perhaps the one where the main rack of components are plugged into? Or, for my situation, where there is an outlet a few inches on the side of the main circuit panel, all built into a little wall closet, I could plug The Gate into that outlet and no need to worry about needing an electrician, turning power off, etc. And it would be hidden inside there. It would be easy to A/B with and without The Gate. AND, it makes things a lot easier when I move. Yes? No?
Good question jafox, hopefully Tim will chime in with an answer.
I imagine there’s a greater advantage having it in the electrical panel as it benefits the entire home but your solution would be great for apartment dwellers. Not sure an A/B comparison would be so easy as it takes days/ weeks for it to energize the signal. It will be interesting to see what Tim has to say about it.
The Gate has afforded me the most enjoyable music listening experiences ever. It would be great for everyone to hear what it can do for a system.
@jafox. You could mount The Gate in your situation. Few inches to an outlet next to the panel, doesn't get any better then that!
I have had several homeowners that had no room left for The Gate in their panels, due to one reason or another. They attached theirs by adding a workbox, connected to the side of the panel. My point is close proximity with the device is all that is needed.
I have also come up with a good non invasive hanging system for The Gate, that I will include for those who want to plug theirs in.
As far as plugging it in, and putting it by your rack, well................. You could, but that is not what it was designed to do, you could also put it under your bed with great results, but again that's not what it was designed for.
What would two gates in the circuit panel sound like? Or three? @oregonpapa
Frank I don't think you would make a good recreational drug user. LOL
Thank you PPT. What I was thinking about was a non-invasive installation and thus just a direct plug-in to an existing outlet. I realize this was not the intent of The Gate. Such a device would clearly be on the load side of a breaker switch and thus only in parallel to all the outlets on that circuit. This would be a user friendly solution for many people here who can’t or don’t want to fuss with the circuit panel and can run most or all (except for big amps) of their system on one circuit. Perhaps a light duty version (lower cost) of The Gate, e.g. The Hinge would fill this void?
Who would have ever thought that Redbook CDs could sound like this? I can't say at this point which format sounds the best. CD's are quiet, dynamic, convenient and involving. Vinyl has that something extra that suggests more organic realism. With vinyl, one has to put up with some surface noise and less convenience. I like both.
I have to say, with The Gate installed, new life has been brought to my early mono jazz albums. Vocals are super intimate. June Christy, Jo Stafford, Ella, and Sarah Vaughn are to die for.
@oregonpapa-I don't have a stick in this fire; I have no interest in this $5,000 white box and wouldn't install it in my house breaker panel (or anywhere else) if it came free inside a box of Cracker Jack (in which it would likely fit). I read through this thread from time to time merely to give myself a break from work. But I must point out that with your last post above you have in my estimation officially jumped the shark as going from the nominal extreme to the absolute absurd in your efforts to promote this product. You have not posted anything that is the slightest bit new or different than your previous comments so why do you persist anyway? I will be in Oregon for two weeks in September. If you are for real, and if you are truly independent of PPT in every conceivable way, perhaps you will PM me and I will meet you and listen to your system and report back. Life is short and fascinating, so why not? Feel free to PM me.