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Understanding AC power was the first topic in our 3 part series on watching us develop a new concept for high-end audio. I will wrap it up in today's post and then tomorrow we move on to part 2. We've learned a lot about AC: what it is, why we need it and the importance of its purity of shape. I'll remind you that the importance of the purity of the AC shape concerns not the AC itself but rather its end product: DC or Direct Current, the same that's in a battery. The goal of achieving clean power for our equipment, defined as achieving pure steady DC without any traces of AC left, will always depend on the purity of the starting point - what comes out of your wall socket - or what you do to it before it reaches your equipment. What is it we want to do with the resulting pure DC? Why, turn it back into AC again! I know, it sounds silly but bear with me. Music comes into our homes through a loudspeaker. Inside a loudspeaker is our old friend we've been learning about: a coil of wire and a magnet. If we put DC into a loudspeaker coil the cone moves forward (away from its magnet) and stops - do this long enough and the coil of wire will get so hot it burns up and you have a dead loudspeaker driver. What you need to make the speaker driver move back and fourth is ..... wait for it ....... AC! If you start with pure DC and then convert that to AC using a power amp (which is all that a power amp does), then when you connect the power amp up to your loudspeaker - the speaker's driver moves only to the perfect AC - the result is as perfect a reproduction of the original musical content as the speaker is capable of producing. BUT, and this is a big but, if the DC isn't perfectly clean or if it isn't perfectly steady, then those changes in the DC are either added to the music in the form of distortion or the power amplifier must work harder to correct for those problems, thus changing the nature of the music as we hear it. Let's review:
  • AC power is nothing more than moving DC power
  • The goal of clean power for our hi-fi systems is pure DC without any traces of AC left on it
  • The purity and steadiness of the incoming AC determines how pure the DC our amplifier needs is
  • Music is made by converting the DC back into AC again with an amplifier
  • The purity and steadiness of the amplifier's DC determines the perfection of the final music AC
  • Perfect AC at the loudspeaker terminals is the best chance we have of getting perfect reproduction
Tomorrow we start part 2.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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