Part 1 - Power
We are reliant on clean stable power for our Hi-Fi systems to run at their best. We cannot do anything much about the incoming feed, this being our theoretical 100% of power and quality available. We do however have a few tricks to maintain as much of this power and carefully reduce any unwanted noise.
- Dedicated Ring Main for the Hi-Fi
- Upgraded Power Sockets
- Upgraded Power Cables
- Upgrading Fuses
- Mains Regeneration
- Mains Filtering
Each plug, socket, joint fuse or component in line will cause a loss within the power transfer. Our aim is to minimise this loss as much as possible. Better plugs and sockets make a better mechanical connection; some are also designed to reject RFI. The cable and construction of the cable also has a direct effect on the transfer of power. Standard power cables, whilst safe, often have relatively high resistance, which can reduce power transfer by a significant amount.
Less considered effects on power are RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), and induced noise (other electronic devices connected to the mains circuit (internally or externally). This unwanted interference has a direct relationship to the noise floor of the system. Although the transformers within our HI-Fi equipment are designed to smooth the power coming in, they will never effectively remove all of this unwanted noise. Removing the noise at source, or not allowing it to pass to the next component is a better solution.
In severe cases, where the power feed is badly polluted, mains filtering, or mains regeneration may be required. These methods often have a trade-off / side effect. Each case will be decided on if the performance benefit outweighs the side effect.
An example would be mains regeneration.
For: Cleans up and reconstructs the power wave form whilst filtering and removing unwanted noise, thus dropping the noise floor.
Against: Will reduce power to the system (as aforementioned), which could make the system appear less dynamic.
Regenerators can be inherently noisy (mains buzz) as a side effect of their function.
The decision would be to choose between loss of dynamics against a reduction in noise, couples with the ability to locate the Regenerator away from the listening area as required. Listening will be the only way of deciding the outcome.
Our main aim is to sympathetically get power to the system, offering the best balance of dynamics, musicality and a very low noise floor.
Author: Steve Forrest – Martins Hi Fi