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Sydney Audio Club Meeting - Sunday 9th October 2016 - Audio Active - Isotek

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For the October meeting of the Sydney Audio Club, we are very pleased to have Steve Behrens of Audio Active present (refer to http://audioactive.com.au/). Audio Active is a leading supplier of specialist audio-visual products, with a commitment to sourcing products of only the finest quality, while delivering value for money, even on the most high-end systems.  They are the exclusive Australian importer and distributor for some of the world’s most respected home theatre and hi-fi brands, including the UK brand Isotek which will be featured this month.


This month, Steve will present different Isotek power mains conditioning products.   Isotek is an English company that designs and manufacturers highly specialised mains conditioners that clean your power before it reaches your hi-fi or audio visual system.  


The one thing all electronic devices need is power.  And to some extent, your power is probably polluted with Differential and Common Mode mains noise.  Differential noise is created by the power supplies in all electronic devices.  Common Mode noise is introduced into your devices by RFI and wireless communications (e.g. Wi-Fi).   Isotek mains conditioners clean your power and allows your system to sound more pure, clean and quiet.  (Clean power also allows audio-visual gear to render better images.)   And of course, Isotek mains conditioners also provide protection from dangerous power surges and spikes.


Isotek is recognised as the leader in clean-power technology, and have recently won yet another award - the “Most innovative Brand 2016” – refer to http://www.plusxaward.de/en/innovativste-marke-des-jahres/.


Steve will introduce and demonstrate the various Isotek products, starting with the entry level Polaris through to the cutting edge Mosaic Genesis.  This event will give you the ideal opportunity to discover what clean power can do for your system.


Details of the system….


Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand Symphony speakers – gorgeous sounding and looking speakers made by the highly respected Austrian manufacturer. 

Refer to http://www.vienna-acoustics.com/index.php/products/concert-grand-series/beethoven-baby-grand-symphony-edition


Primare I32 Integrated Amplifier – fast, clean, agile sound.  2 x 120 wpc. 

Refer to http://www.primare.net/product.asp?ProductID=48


Primare CD32 CD Player – highly acclaimed successor to the CD31.  Uses Burr-Brown PCM1704 DAC chips, no op-amps, no capacitors in the signal path.

Refer to http://www.primare.net/product.asp?ProductID=49



Plus, the following Isotek mains conditioning products (from entry level Polaris up to the cutting edge Mosaic Genesis):


Isotek EVO3 Polaris – refer to http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/discovery/evo3-polaris/


Isotek EVO3 Aquarius – refer to http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/performance/evo3-aquarius/


Isotek EVO3 Sigmas – refer to http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/select/evo3-sigmas/


Isotek EVO3 Mosaic Genesis – refer to http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/mosaic/mosaic-genesis/



Isotek EVO3 Premier power cords.   All components will be wired with the excellent value-for-money Isotek power cord, the EVO3 Premier.

Refer to http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/get-connected/evo3-premier/


Note:  We will also have an Oppo BDP-105D Universal player on hand to allow the playing of SACD and USB flash drives.



The second half of the music sessions will be our popular BYO.   Members and guests are welcome to offer music to share with us all.  So bring along your favourite music on CD/SACD or USB flash drive.  (Sorry, no vinyl this month, but next month we will have an excellent turntable!)   All we ask is that the music and recordings be interesting.  We'll ask you to tell us a little about the artist/recording before it is played.  Tracks over 6 minutes will be faded out, to give everyone a fair go.

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned veteran, you will have the opportunity to listen, learn and share your experiences with others.  Feel free to come and hear the capabilities of the system, or to just share the experience with like-minded music lovers in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 


Guests are welcome – we are a very friendly club so you don't need to know anyone to join us for an afternoon of fine music and sound.

Venue:  Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park
Address:  26 Stanley Road, Epping

When:  Sunday 9th October 2016


Doors open 1pm
Meeting starts at 2pm


Best regards,


Tom Waters


Sydney Audio Club




Edited by TomW

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Steve's a great guy, and the demonstration is truly one to be heard.

If there was ever any doubt about conditioning, this will open your eyes to the concept.

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Hi all, I thought I'd share a few thoughts and give some feedback from members and guests...


When people sat down to enjoy the meeting, Steve had the system wired up with a ubiquitous white power board – the kind you’d buy at a hardware shop or supermarket.  And the electronics were wired with the power cords provided with the gear.   As Steve put it, all these power components are “designed to not kill you”.   They are not designed with sound quality in mind – their only purpose is to safely transfer power to your devices.   We listened for a bit to get the gist of what the system sounded like.  Because our starting point included good Primare electronics and Vienna Acoustics speakers, it already sounded good.  


Steve then took out a meter device to illustrate the noise from the wall socket – it maxed out (anything over ~1000 units is considered “max”).   The noise emanating from it was just that, unintelligible noise, lots of it.   He plugged in a small Isotek line conditioner called the EVO3 IsoPlug into the wall socket (the IsoPlug is the size and shape of a wall wart).  The noise on the line dropped to <700.   (The noise then sounded like radio signals.)  He plugged that same IsoPlug into the Polaris – the noise dropped to ~300.  That reflects the cumulative benefit of the Isotek Polaris and the Isotek IsoPlug. 


We then started to listen to all the Isotek power conditioners in sequence – from the Polaris up to the Mosaic Genesis.  Steve used the same Isotek Premier power cords on all the power conditioners.  We stopped for comments and thoughts along the way. 


The improvement with even the basic Isotek Polaris (~$600AUD) was noticeable.  We listened to the same track we’d previously heard through the white power board – with the Polaris, bass was now a bit tighter, more articulate, clarity improved.   And we now had some degree of surge protection we didn’t have before, always a good thing.  Of course, at this price point, the difference was subtle, it wasn’t night and day. 


We then listened to a second track through the Polaris, and then the same track through the next step up, the Isotek Aquarius (~$3000AUD).   This time many people were more certain they were hearing a real difference, and not possibly an imaginary difference they thought they “should” hear.   Power conditioning is a lot about lowering overall differential and common mode noise, isolating devices from each other, and offering a high degree of protection.  With the Aquarius in place, the lower noise floor allowed even more brilliance and clarity (with no brightness) to come through.  Sibilance was reduced, bass was better yet again – tighter, less bloomy, articulate.  The music started to sound more free of the actual speakers – it was becoming more difficult to close your eyes, listen and point to the precise location of each speaker.


Next step up was the Isotek Sigmas (~$5000AUD).   Again, the improvement was quite noticeable.   A number of us were on our phones checking our finances.  


The last was the Mosaic Genesis (~$6000 - ~$11,000, depending on configuration).   Again, there were further improvements.   The differences were largely of the same nature, just more obvious as you step up through the range.


To my ears and for the system on the day, the Aquarius was likely the price/performance point before you start to get diminishing returns.   The trick with such upgrades is to buy the level of improvement that is appropriate for your system.   For example, if the total value of your system is say $5,000, then spending $5000 on a new Isotek Sigmas is probably not going to really allow you to hear all that it is capable of.   With the Mosaic Genesis, to me it sounded like the improvement was beginning to be beyond what the Primare/Vienna Acoustics system was capable of illustrating.   (And that isn't a slight on the system..!)  However, in a hi-end system, the Mosaic Genesis would certainly find its place.  The Isotek website (http://www.isoteksystems.com/products/discovery/) provides excellent recommendations on which power conditioning device should work best in your system.


Lastly, after listening to the Mosaic Genesis for a while, Steve took us back to the white power board and the stock/standard power cords.   What this listener immediately noticed was that the sound closed in,  everything sounded restricted and glued to the speaker cabinets – the music was struggling to get out, the expansiveness was MIA.   The brilliance was gone, the clarity was reduced and the bass was too bloomy & uncontrolled.  Impressive.



Here’s a few comments that I lifted from the Feedback forms…


Changes from unfiltered --> Filtered NOT night and day. Too expensive.


Didn't expect to be convinced by power conditioner but I was impressed.


Enjoyable meeting.  Surprisingly good.


Great meeting.  Steve knows his stuff.  What a change with power conditioners.


Entertaining.  Informative on power supplying.


Very pleasant session. Good system.


Good bass from small box.  Impressed by power conditioning.


Highlighted the importance of clean power.  Power conditioning is to be in proportion of the value of the system to be of benefit.  Also power supply at home used needs to be looked at. Dedicated circuitry and a separate ground to isolate it.


Interesting demo on power cables.  Perhaps not as obvious as other demos I've heard.


A good demo of clean power. Not sure about the value in $ terms vs the improvement achieved.



Thanks again Steve for spending your Sunday afternoon with us.  It was an excellent demonstration, a real eye/ear opener.


Edited by TomW
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Guest Arthur

I was planning to upload a video of this meeting, however, the quality of the take was not as good as I have expected so, I will give it a miss this month.


I will try to make a more 'professional' effort in the next meeting, with close ups of the equipment on display as well as a 'take' of the system performing.


One word about the meeting.


I wish I could afford a Mosaic Genesis.. It IS seriously good!



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To my ears I in this demo, thought the  Isotek Sigmas  gave the biggest bang for the dollars spent.

Audibly better than the next down (Aquarius),  and to me just as good and next up in price (Mosaic Genesis).


Cheers George   

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Guest Arthur
On 10/16/2016 at 10:51 AM, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

What are the units of noise?


Is that a 'tricky' question?  :)

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On 10/16/2016 at 10:51 AM, Sir Sanders Zingmore said:

What are the units of noise?

Units of noise is the figure displayed on the Mains Noise Analyser - http://www.kempelektroniksshop.nl/accessories/divers/blue-horizon-mains-noise-analyzer.html



This analyser also emits a sound and what you can mostly hear is radio interference being pick up through the lines and/or cables.

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4 hours ago, chefscuba70 said:

Units of noise is the figure displayed on the Mains Noise Analyser - http://www.kempelektroniksshop.nl/accessories/divers/blue-horizon-mains-noise-analyzer.html



This analyser also emits a sound and what you can mostly hear is radio interference being pick up through the lines and/or cables.


The linked 6moons article has a bid more detail too

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Guest Arthur

I always thought that *noise* is measured in decibels.


What this device is displaying must be some abstract unit, (perhaps linear?) that goes from 0 to Max reading.


In any case, a very handy tool to have me thinks. :)

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