An isolation transformer cleans up noise on the AC line yet often harms system performance. How can it be true that an improvement over here impacts performance over there?
The simple answer is that the problem is not that simple. The cleanest power in the world only gets you so far.
This question of influencing performance can be a real headscratcher: we know that lower distortion is a good thing yet not all low distortion amps sound good. We know that low output impedance is preferable yet at what cost?
Here’s the thing. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the Long Tail, as we get closer to perfection each link in our progress chain become more important. Where it used to be alright to swap a major piece of equipment in the chain without too much worry, now even the smallest bits have a great impact.
When we place an isolation transformer in the AC path we improve one area, cleanliness, by degrading another, regulation and impedance. An isolation transformer helps keep unwanted noise from the system at the cost of voltage regulation.
It turns out that voltage regulation is far more important than clean power. The greater the regulation the lower the impedance the better the sound quality.
An AC regenerator like our Power Plants provides the tightest regulation and highest current delivery of any power product on the market today. There are other technologies that might provide cleaner power, but none that focus more on what’s really important.
It’s just never quite that simple.