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Limmie

Holton DC Blocker's impact in my system

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Posted (edited)

I auditioned the Holton DC blocker in my system today.  I don't have any humming issues from any of my components. I was just looking for more sonic goodness during the Vic lockdown.

 

I was doubtful that it would bring much to the table as my system was already powered by a separate mains power line and hence I really believed my power quality was quite "clean".

 

At first listen the difference was subtle but when I removed it and had a listen again it seemed like everything was less precise the sonic image sounded significantly smeared like someone putting Vaseline cream on your prized Leica lens. 

 

I put the DC blocker back again and it seemed like I could hear deeper into the recording, bass notes were more precise, there was a greater sense of space and ambiance in the recording.  

 

I don't believe the DC blocker just solves a hum problem, it will probably help improve your entire system's performance.   I just placed an order with Anthony last night.  Highly recommend you try it in your system

Edited by Limmie

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That sounds promising.

Who is Anthony?

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, lenticularis said:

That sounds promising.

Who is Anthony?

Anthony Holton of Holton Precision Audio

Edited by Cardiiiii

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He used to be pretty active around here, always interested seeing his CAD designs, not sure what happened.

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8 hours ago, Limmie said:

I really believed my power quality was quite "clean".

 

Too many people have the same belief.  To me it is not a valid belief.  My experience is that treatment with various strategies can have a benefit as you have discovered.  It all starts with the power

 

John 

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4 minutes ago, Assisi said:

Too many people have the same belief.  To me it is not a valid belief.  My experience is that treatment with various strategies can have a benefit as you have discovered.  It all starts with the power

 

John 

I concur, I use a PS Audio P10 regenerator, but still had an amp hum, DC can still get through the P10 so I added a Holton DC blocker. Although the blocker didn’t remove all the hum it did reduce it considerable, and It had a tangible benefit to the sound.

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Posted (edited)

 

 

It's a really worthwhile investment imo. The box doesn't look or feel like much to be frank but the effect was significant in my system. 

Edited by Limmie

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21 hours ago, Limmie said:

The box doesn't look or feel like much to be frank

Take a look inside... Caps are maybe $10- each, the meters are probably the most expensive item in the box... $550 yikes...

image.png.28c47caec8d74a5b5bf66577078951b5.png

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9 minutes ago, mbz said:

Take a look inside... Caps are maybe $10- each, the meters are probably the most expensive item in the box... $550 yikes...

image.png.28c47caec8d74a5b5bf66577078951b5.png

It is the result which counts. Have been using one for a number of years across 2 changes in system and this has stayed because it works.

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Think I'll diy and "see" if I can hear any improvement before handing over the $$$'s for the assorted bells and whistles.

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1 hour ago, mbz said:

Take a look inside... Caps are maybe $10- each, the meters are probably the most expensive item in the box... $550 yikes...

image.png.28c47caec8d74a5b5bf66577078951b5.png

Very Old Model 🙂

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1 hour ago, mbz said:

Take a look inside... Caps are maybe $10- each, the meters are probably the most expensive item in the box... $550 yikes...

image.png.28c47caec8d74a5b5bf66577078951b5.png

That's a fair point and I thought exactly the same thing until I heard one in my system. It's the smarts Anthony has applied in the circuitry somehow. Anyone of course is free to try to diy their own solution but I believe the first casualty is normally the lost of dynamics with some benefit in a quieter soundstage. 

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19 minutes ago, Aussieamps said:

Very Old Model 🙂

Are you able to share details of the current spec without revealing any secrets?

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44 minutes ago, mbz said:

Think I'll diy and "see" if I can hear any improvement before handing over the $$$'s for the assorted bells and whistles.

Prior to the Holton, had mhouston DIY which has been commercialised as DC Duffer in 2 channel setup.  Holton beats 

DC Duffer (now used on plasma TV).

 

Sorry, this no DIY dressed up with bells and whistles. 

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danger-electrocution-sign-25305829.jpg

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9 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Sorry, this no DIY dressed up with bells and whistles. 

No suggestion the item is DIY. I have a small "hi-fi" budget so need to spend wisely. The item pictured is a bit expensive though I understand product development, short production runs, warranty, sales and profit margins. Keep in mind such items should only be considered if you have a Vdc issue and not as a upgrade path for SQ. First step for me will be to check for mains Vdc and go from there. As an engineer I'm comfortable working with 240Vac, thanks for your concern. Others, keep in mind 240Vac can be lethal.

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56 minutes ago, mbz said:

No suggestion the item is DIY. I have a small "hi-fi" budget so need to spend wisely. The item pictured is a bit expensive though I understand product development, short production runs, warranty, sales and profit margins. Keep in mind such items should only be considered if you have a Vdc issue and not as a upgrade path for SQ. First step for me will be to check for mains Vdc and go from there. As an engineer I'm comfortable working with 240Vac, thanks for your concern. Others, keep in mind 240Vac can be lethal.

 

Now I'm curious - what equipment do you have to measure mains VDC?

 

(That's asked w/genuine curiosity)

 

Would agree you need to have a problem before these do anything lest they introduce anything else.

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37 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

 

Now I'm curious - what equipment do you have to measure mains VDC?

 

 

I’m curious too. This is not a straight-forward thing to measure, due to the huge potential difference. Being DC, it also cannot be characterised/measured easily as distortion. The closest I’ve got so far was using the Average function of my oscilloscope, but likely without any semblance of precision. Given that the DC component is supposedly around a couple hundred millivolts, this goes hard up against the dynamic range of a typical 8-bit sampling oscilloscope.

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59 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

Now I'm curious - what equipment do you have to measure mains VDC?

My starting point would be to use the trusty tektronix CRO. If the Vdc is not detectable by the CRO then I would research "best practices" for measuring low Vdc on mains and consider building/purchasing necessary test equipment

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35 minutes ago, mbz said:

My starting point would be to use the trusty tektronix CRO. If the Vdc is not detectable by the CRO then I would research "best practices" for measuring low Vdc on mains and consider building/purchasing necessary test equipment

 

Yeah that'd do it, though I'd wonder what's to be said for time of day/load conditions/etc. 

 

I have a Schneider ION7650 power analyzer running at a customer home with solar and a few other things; it'd be interesting to set it up to do periodic sampling to see what we get under various conditions. I imagine it's not a constant, neither would mains harmonics be. 

 

Brings around the question of what an ideal endgame setup would be given the intent of beautiful sine wave mains + no DC + low Z etc. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Steffen said:

I’m curious too. This is not a straight-forward thing to measure, due to the huge potential difference. Being DC, it also cannot be characterised/measured easily as distortion. The closest I’ve got so far was using the Average function of my oscilloscope, but likely without any semblance of precision. Given that the DC component is supposedly around a couple hundred millivolts, this goes hard up against the dynamic range of a typical 8-bit sampling oscilloscope.

True. Depends what you've got I guess. One of my contractors walks around with a $50k Yokogawa power analyser, that's his life and it's a very impressive bit of kit. I guess you could make something work with on a more usual scope with long enough sampling through I'd think the condition itself would be sufficiently transient to nullify that approach.

 

The primary concern with a DC blocker I'd have is that you need to have a problem for it to be truly useful, otherwise what you might hear is simply a sine wave of a different shape. Consider that a DC blocker isn't regenerating the wave, you're just getting a different shape. Better shape? Dunno. 

 

This one's got similarities to the ethereal jitter argument in that yes, it's possible to measure this stuff directly, but only with extremely expensive equipment and very specialised analysis. 

 

Edit: None of this is to say anything nasty about Holton's parts! Anthony makes some excellent kit, I'm simply another one in the cash-strapped reluctant-without-data engineering camp.

Edited by rmpfyf

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I had a problem of audible transformer hum (physical vibration, as well as some audible from the speakers) and put in a DC blocker from RFwaves, it got rid of all of the audible speaker hum and almost all of the vibration hum, the remaining hum I would put down to normal transformer vibration. Hiss dropped measurably too, but a regular power filter would have helped that.

These aren't splitting hairs audiophile improvement but a really significant improvement that any layperson would notice.

 

Pretty happy with the result there. 

 

However, as others have said, DC-blockers aren't a fix all magic bullet. they will have no effect at all unless you have a DC bias on your mains line. That said, it doesn't hurt to try one if you can.

 

I will add though if anyone looks at the RFwaves blocker/filter/soft starter be aware that they do not make it clear that it has a 4A limitation, most of the description given states 10A and is simply wrong.

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@GaryT would make you wonder what a 'first principles awesome' audiophile power setup would look like, doesn't it.

 

Still, for a box that does what it does from a manufacturer with honest engineering, a warranty and all that... the Holton box is pretty good.

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Well to me that would be a totally isolated direct DC battery powered system. no AC at all. No transformers, no mains hum, no grounding issues.

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42 minutes ago, GaryT said:

I had a problem of audible transformer hum (physical vibration, as well as some audible from the speakers) and put in a DC blocker from RFwaves, it got rid of all of the audible speaker hum and almost all of the vibration hum

Yes, in the absence of expensive specialised test equipment, this would seem to be the best way for regular end users to determine whether

  1. they have a problem
  2. whatever fix they applied actually worked

 

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