The best upgrade I ever made!

On 12-23 I read a thread here about wiring. One poster(E&lssr) suggested using a isolation transformer and posted the link. I checked it out as my local high end dealer has a quieting transformer hooked up to his ac for his high end room and it sounds incredible. To make a long story short, I ordered one from C & H sales in Pasadena. I hooked it up and was blown away by the amount of improvement. I already have a dedicated ac line to my hifi and that made a nice improvement in detail. The ultra isolator transformer has taken my system to a level such that I can't get away from it for very long! The musicality and naturalism as well as increased detail that is now present has raised my emotional involvement in the music to a level I never thought possible. Every other tweak or upgrade I have ever done has produced only a small fraction of the improvement of the ultra isolator. I will leave the link and name and phone number of the dealer so everyone can check it out. If you go to their site, from the home page go to search. Enter in isolator and then click on any model to view. All of them will come up. I chose the str2001 5k watt 42 amp model. It is 110/120 volt in and out so wiring is a snap: Three wires(hot, neutral, ground) in and out. If you have 40 amps going in the transformer, you will need to have a sub box wired in after the transformer to take the amperage down to a reasonable level for your wiring and outlets(20 amp circuits for example). By the way, it was cheap too... $300 plus shipping. The dealer is C and H Sales, 2176 e. Pasadena, Ca 91107 ph 626-325-9465 or 800-325-9465. Web address ***DISCLAIMER*** If you are not confident in doing this kind of wiring, please have an electrician do it(but don't ask them if this makes a difference as most will say no!). Also, I am not affiliated with the isolator manufacturer or the dealer..........I am just very enthusiastic about this and thought everyone should know. Cds that were bright are now very listenable, cds that were good are now great and cds that I thought were great are now unbelievable!!! WOWWWWW!! Tim
Tkmetz: Can this be utilized in an apartment without a dedicated line? I do have a breaker box located in my apartment that switches the line that I use for my gear and wonder if it could be added at the switch/breaker box. I live in LA (West Hollywood) and the power sucks big time. I currently use an inexpensive power conditioner that helps some, but there is a lot of room for improvement.
I recently remodeled my family room.In front of the existing drywall I placed a new 2x4 wall with 10 guage wiring, hospital grade outlets, inserted 6 inches of fiberglass & placed inch thick Tectum accoustical panels over the glass. I did this on the backwall & half the ceiling where I used 2x6s. The reason i picked the back wall is the opposite is half glass & my speakers are electrostatics so radiate as much sound to the rear as the front.I have a pretty serious system & there is nothing I have placed in it or done previously that made such a noticeable improvement. For most systems I would try doing just the wall opposite the speakers first. My room is 26x13 & to do the back wall & ceiling cost me about $800.I could have done the back wall for about $300. The improvement in sound was simply amazing. Lwin
Dekay, In the instructions that came with the transformer, they mentioned "if you have a model with a plug" so I assume there must be models that could be plugged into the wall. The only problem I forsee is that you would have a major magnetic field close to your equipment. Or you could place it further away with a high quality extension cord. I would call the dealer and see what they say. Tim
Thanks Tkmetz: The wall socket is ten feet from the equipment and I already use an extension cord. A plug in unit sounds easy, but I would also consider having it spliced in at the breaker box to get the unit away from me and my wife as well as the gear. I am also a half hour drive from the company. I will check into it when I get quotes on some other wiring that I need done. We rent but the landlord's plumber is never a real plumber, the electrician is never a real electrician - you see what I mean. I usually do the work myself or hire a pro as this is our home (even though we rent) and I do not plan on moving anytime soon. The transformer sounds very interesting and is reasonably priced as well. I will check it out.
This is a little known great secret -- highly recommended!! I currently have a transformer that balances the power -- but I paid much more... Is this particular model a balanced unit?
An isolation transformer of ANY type of current capacity would be relatively large and not be able to be installed inside of a "breaker box". Your best bet would be to keep it as close to your equipment as possible while still avoiding putting it "too" close. Unless the transformer is rated for quite a bit of current ( at least 15 - 20 amps), i would not hook up an amplifier to it. This could result in dynamic compression of the signal when hitting peaks or when driving it harder than average. There are many smaller isolation transformers ( 6 - 10 amps ) available to use for sources ( CD, tuner, preamp, etc..) that cost measurably less. C & H is a great source for surplus equipment and constantly has good buys on stuff like this. If you order a catalogue from them, keep in mind that their web prices are actually better than most of the "sale" prices in the printed book. Sean >
Sean: would you share the source and/or makes of other small "source" isolation transformers. I have a linen closet just below the breaker box that would be able to contain an additional transformer if it were properly encased and shielded, though a small less powerfull plug in model would be easier to use just on the player and DAC. I also have a coat closet 4 feet from the gear that could hold a plug in one. I am concerned about placing one behind the sofa (where the outlet is) because it would be a few feet away from where my wife and myself perch/roost:-) I also do not use cordless phones and only use a cel phone in emergencies because of this. My wife has health concerns and I try to keep our inhabited areas free of strong EM fields. I have been told that aluminum is a good shield for EMF's but have not researched it further at this point. If this is the case I could easily shield the inside of the sliding doors on the hifi cabinet as well as the other inside areas.
Dekay, any conducting metal could be used for a shield. If you are afraid of EMF's sit very far away from your TV. It gives off far more of an electromagnetic field than any isolation transformer ever could.
C & H might have some smaller units. You might want to check their website. Tripp Mfg. in Chicago also offers items of this ilk along with tons of other companies. I can't think of any "supplier" right off of the top of my head. If you are into "tinkering", you might want to pick up a magazine called "Nuts & Volts". This mag deals with all forms of electronics, kits, DIY projects, etc... and is a wealth of suppliers for surplus and budget electronic parts. As to shielding, Lead is the BEST shield from magnetic fields but as you know, it too has its own "health baggage" to deal with. Most of these type of products (isolation transformers, etc..) have metal cases as they have to have support for the plug in sockets to accept power cords. In other words, they are encased and not just "raw" transformers. Hope this helps. Sean .
Thanks GM and Sean. I am not a tech type when it comes to things that can kill me. For example I am taking our computer to a shop to have the fan replaced because it is contained "inside" the power supply housing. I have been shocked in the past by gear and TV's that have been unplugged for days. C & H has what seem to be smaller units listed at their site. If they are open (in person) to the public I will just go over there to see if they have something that is plug and play. I purchased a larger TV (20") a couple of years ago to place it further from the sofa due to what you speak of and use sand instead of lead shot in my stands. I am not a health fanatic but am concerned with my wife's wellfare and try to do what I can. I have the hifi electronics placed in a low traffic, non sit area as well. I am very excited about the possiblity of a low cost tweak for crappy LA power. PS Audio and the other high ticket conditioners are a stretch for me at this time though I just spent more than they cost for a "toy" SET, so perhaps it is my priorities that need attention as well as the power.
Dekay-Possibly not applicable or new to you, but I partially solved the problem of crappy power on the advice of an audionut/speaker builder friend who suggested something he and his friends came upon quite by accident and thought was great-APC power conditioners. I tried it, and liked it, it replaced a Bybee PC I was using, I thought it sounded better. I used a LR 1250 (actually 2 of em,they're so cheap)- $120 from a distributer named Insight. They're made for computers, but frankly sounded better than the $2000 Bybee unit I was using. Go figure. Well made with heavy transformers, just a thought for a quick fix. Sincerely, Mark
Thanks Mes: I have added it to the list of possibilities. The APC website is down right now and I will check on it later. I have heard general statements that computer stuff is not good for Hifi (something to do with what it does to sine waves or something like that) but as always it would depend on the design. Applicable computer stuff that does work well (for our uses) would probably not be excessively marked up, I would assume, and could be very good indeed at that price. Just a hunch as to why it worked so well for so little money in your case.
Dekay- I got mine through Insight-1-800-467-4448. Don't know why or how, but it worked quite well, I used it on some pretty high end gear and it honestly sounded better than the Bybee I was using. I've subsequently purchased a PS Audio, but for $120 the APC was fabulous.
Mes: I was able to get into the site last night. What is not clear to me from the description is: Does this unit have to be hardwired into the line or is it plug and play? Thanks. David.
Dekay-Plug and play. The 1250 handles that amount, and the 600 likewise. The 1250 has 4 outlets on the back along with the power button. Built extremely well and heavy as hell. Has a dedicated cord attatched. I have 2 of them I'm not using, I purchased a PS Audio recently. Your're welcome to try one out if you'd like, Mark