The pass through chain
In yesterday's post, I gave a bit of background on our path at PS Audio of increasing power transformer sizing. Quite by accident, we had found that oversizing the power transformers in our products delivered audibly superior performance. It was the increased wire gauge with its subsequent lowering of impedance that brought us closer to the power source, the power utility's transformer feeding our home. The lower the impedance the less restriction. This turned out to be something we could easily hear. By the late 1980s, large low impedance power transformers graced all of PS Audio's products. We had found yet another in a growing army of secret sauces to crafting great audio products. It wasn't so much in the analog circuits themselves, but surprisingly (at the time) in the power supplies that fed them. Fast forward a decade later as the 1900s were ready to get modernized into the 2,000s. It was a time following my stint with loudspeakers at Genesis Technologies that found me thinking once again about big, low impedance power transformers—something every audio manufacturer should have been paying attention to but sadly was not. It was as if our discovery of lowered impedance on the AC power line had faded into the dustbin of audiophile lore. Lamenting about this problem with two old friends, my former partner in Genesis, Mark Schifter, and Northrup Gruman engineer, and fellow audio whacko, Doug Goldberg, an idea was sparked. It was Doug that casually reminded me to think about the AC circuit as a whole, not in pieces. That the power transformer within an audio product doesn't sit alone. Rather, it reflects not only its own internal impedance but the impedance of the power lines feeding it. In other words, it was a system—a chain—not an island unto itself. That's one of those aha! moments. That our audio equipment sits hundreds, sometimes thousands, of feet away from the source of AC power—the big utility transformer feeding our home and those of our neighbors. When it comes to delivering power over wires, with distance comes increased impedance—something we now understood had to be lowered for better sound quality. What would happen if we could eliminate the impedance of the wires feeding our homes?
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