We found the problem and it is us!

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Our story of the development process of the PowerBase continues in today's post.

I might mention that the final product will not be ready for anyone to see or try until the end of this year - as I know quite a few of you have asked to see what it looks like. This series is giving you a sneak peek both of a new product we've yet to even announce and the process we went through to design it.

Yesterday we figured out the final form of the PowerBase, how it would integrate into a single chassis product. Essentially two isolation bases, one floating on top of the other providing a very diffuse vibration pattern to whatever sits atop the final 1/4" steel plate.

We used several of these concept pieces to great advantage with the new P10 and P5 Power Plants sitting atop them. We had yet to experiment with source and control equipment because we were so focused on simply getting the Power right first.

One of the issues we have in our reference sound room is, surprisingly enough, power. The way the sound room is setup we have all the source and control equipment sitting close to the listening position on a big shelf rack designed specifically for audio (sitting on spikes). The power amplifiers are located some 20 feet away and behind the loudspeakers, fed by a long XLR balanced cable. I am sure this is typical of a lot of setups and so you're no doubt familiar with it.

In both the source setup and the power amp area we have a P10 Power Plant feeding the equipment and plugged into a dedicated AC power line. While this might seem ideal - it is not - and here's why. Power Plants, as well as any piece of electronics, generate noise and distortion on their AC inputs and add that distortion and noise to the AC in your home. So while the output of the Power Plant is delivering clean low distortion sine waves, the cost of doing that can be high to anything else plugged into the power.

This problem is made worse as the demand for power goes up. So, for example, a power amplifier delivering hundreds of watts to your loudspeaker, places big demands on the power line (or whatever is feeding it). When it does that its power supply is spewing out nasties back into the AC power. A Power Plant is a big power amplifier as well and so it too has this effect on the power line. And, if the Power Plant is powering a power amplifier, then the situation at the input to the Power Plant is magnified because the demands the power amp is making on the Power Plant are being satisfied with lots of current being drawn from the wall.

One might think that if you have a dedicated line going to each piece of equipment that you'd get better isolation from this problem - and you'd be right. Unfortunately that isolation is rather small. Secondly, you might also think that a Power Plant or power conditioner feeding your equipment would fix any of the issues generated by equipment on the line - and again you'd be correct. But the plain fact of the matter is even if you have something as sophisticated as a regenerator rebuilding the AC, the quality of its output is influenced by the quality of the power being fed to it. The cleaner the power the better chance the regenerator has of making perfect power.

This is a long winded way of explaining what was happening in our system and yours as well. Each piece of equipment generates its own garbage and puts it back on the line. What would help this situation is a one-way gate connecting each piece of kit to the line.

Tomorrow the gate.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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