Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Moving Day Part 3: A Funny Thing Happened While Waiting For The Electrician...

Moving Day Part 3

Well,  the original electrician selected for the job flaked out. After several phone calls and promises to drop by, no dedicated line as of yet. Time to find a new electrician who needs the work. In the meantime I took the opportunity to evaluate my existing AC situation more thoroughly. As it turns out, I have a sub-panel in my basement which is where my listening room is located. I already have dedicated lines, wired in the same phase. Cool!

The existing wiring however is a puny 14 awg romex, nothing in comparison to the cryo'd, 10 AWG high purity copper from Audience that awaits it's installation, but far from awful. But even as it is, it's not terrible.

So as my disappointment over the situation subsided with the discovery of the existing dedicated lines, the gears of my tweaking mind began to whir at high speed.

Below are the following tweaks I have implemented to the existing AC circuits:

Tweak #1 Stillpoints ERS

Stillppoints ERS is one of the first products I carried back in 2003. It is a cloth/paper like product that has metal coated carbon fibers incorporated into the pulp. It absorbs RFI and has on average about 66 db noise reduction in it's 10meg to 17 gig range. I placed some Stillpoints ERS on the inside door of the main breaker box. This was quite a surprise. Not only is the Stillpoints ERS inexpensive at about $25 for an 8"x10" sheet, it was one of the most powerful improvements. But first a warning...

Stillpoints ERS IS conductive. You are at risk of a severe electrical shock if it comes into direct contact with live AC current. 

With that said. I placed two sheets inside the front door of the sub panel that houses my dedicated lines. I used duct tape to hold it in place. The placement inside the door brought it close enough to the breakers that it was effective, but kept it away from exposed wires. I heard about a 10% improvement when I did this. Meh. But this is also where it gets a little weird. Not satisfied with the improvement, I went "upstream" to the main breaker box, and did the same thing; Two sheets taped to the inside of the front door.  Holy shit! Wow! This was way better than I was expecting. Especially from the breaker box that was further away. My thoughts were that the breaker box further away was subject to more noise pollution from all of the circuits in the house, plus the incoming electricity coming off the grid. Placing the ERS there, it had the opportunity to absorp more RFI before it got to the sub-panel in the basement.

Tweak #2 Akiko E Tunig Gold MK II

I've not been a big fan of this tweak on AC cords. It seemed to mellow things out too much. Somehow softening the highs beyond what I prefer. However, I tried placing the E Tuning Gold MK II on the top of the breaker box where the incoming and outgoing AC wires were entering and exiting. This seemed to mitigate the edginess (Almost always caused by RF) on the AC, making things subtly quieter too. Sold.

Tweak #3 Bybee Quantum Signal Enhancers

I haven't finished my experimenting with these just yet, because I want to add more. I placed 2 right above the Akiko device, one on each side of the AC wires on the sub panel, and fastened them together with velcro. This seemed to enhance the fluid nature of the music on my system. I have several of these placed under components and power cords as well. They all seem to take the system in a more musical, less electronic sounding direction. I want to place a few on the main breaker box to see if the effect will be more powerful there then at the sub panel.

Tweak #4 AudioMagic Pulse Gen ZX

The Pulse gen ZX is a little black box from AudioMagic. It has 2 wires coming out of the box that one uses to attach to the incoming AC of a component. The Pulse Gen ZX is then adhered to the inside of the component. It attacks RF by actively emitting a cancelling field inside whatever component it is placed in. In this case however, I placed it inside the breaker box, since there was enough room. If I could describe the Pulse Gen ZX in one word it would be "presence". With the Pulse Gen wired up and in the Breaker box, music had more of an organic, live energy to it. Very impressive. If you do not have room behind the front door of your breaker box, I would recommend hiring an electrician to install the Pulse Gen ZX behind the front panel, inside the breaker box itself. You can power it up by wiring a separate breaker just for the Pulse Gen ZX, or as I did, I fashioned a power plug to the end of the existing wires on the Pulse Gen ZX, then plugged it in to an AC outlet that was very close by. I did it that way so I could power the unit down for A/B testing.

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