Saturday, August 26, 2023

A New Foundational Power Conditioning Product

Two QSA Treated Circuit Breakers

The power flowing to your audio system, be it through a wall outlet, a power conditioner, or power distributor, has a huge impact on the overall performance of your components and more importantly, your overall sense of well being when listening to music through your system.

Power, like room acoustics, isn't terribly sexy. It's hard for us audiophiles to justify spending much time or money on power conditioning components because they technically do not produce sound. They are "helper components".  They don't make sound, they make sound...Better. 

Power is the foundation of your audio system's performance. I don't care how expensive your gear is, if you have noisy, bad power, your system will not sound good. At least not as good as it could. 

In my view, a well optimized power delivery system might look something like this:

  • Dedicated 20 amp Circuit
  • 8-10 AWG High quality in-wall wiring 
  • Audiophile grade wall receptacle with Cover
  • High Current, high quality power cord
  • Non-current limiting power conditioner
Experience has taught me that the further up the power chain you can go, the more potential improvement to the overall system can be realized. My hypothesis for this is that by catching noise and distortion very early on, you prevent it from trickling down further into the power chain. The components further down the chain, freed from this noise, can work on even lower levels of noise.

I have taken my Studio's power system as far as I thought I reasonably could with all of the above items installed in the Tweek Geek studio. I had even added some tweaks to the breaker box and sub panel in the store, but that was as far as I could get. I had heard about cryo treating circuit breakers, but honestly wasn't motivated to do so because of my experience with cryo on other items. It was always marginally helpful at best.  To my knowledge in the US, nobody makes an audio grade circuit breaker. Part of the problem is that there is no standardized breaker size or shape, like for example wall receptacles. So if one were to make an audio grade circuit breaker, they'd have to make at least 5 different types (that I know of) to accommodate all of the brands and sizes of breaker boxes used in homes.

I decided to take this challenge on in a different way by taking existing brands and models of breakers, and sending them to Hong Kong to be treated by QSA. I started with breakers that fit my own sub panel, and went with Black/Red. My theory was since the QSA fuses were so powerful in their effect, having a similar device at the very start of my dedicated circuit would be more powerful, and trickle down through the entire system.

If you are not familiar with QSA, they have discovered a method of treating conductors that goes way beyond cryo, zapping with tesla coils, graphene, nano fairy dust, everything (I know, I've tried it all). They treat fuses, power adapters, and signal adapters for use in audio systems. Their products are very much results oriented, and not aesthetically oriented. But for what they may lack in visual appeal, they more than make up for in the performance they squeeze out of your system. I've said it before, but it bears repeating. The QSA process is the most significant tweak, bar none, that I in my 20 years as the Tweek Geek have ever encountered. It's not even close. 

Installing the Breaker

First, the obligatory warning. Do not attempt to install your own circuit breaker unless you are a licensed electrician. If you decide to do so, you do it at your own risk. There. My ass is covered. It's not a physically or mechanically difficult thing to do, it's just the risk of death from electric shock, that's all. If you are willing to bear the risks, know how to turn off the main breaker to your house, and operate a non contact voltage detector, you are half way to safely being able to replace a breaker. 

I had a main panel outside of my store that had the only main breaker switch on it, so that is what I turned off. I then checked my sub panel to make sure there were absolutely no live wires in it by using the non contact voltage detector. All Good. After unscrewing the front panel from the breaker box, I was ready to replace the existing non QSA breaker with my Black/Red QSA breaker. It was a breeze disconnecting the old and connecting the new breaker. I put the front cover back on the breaker box, left the new breaker in the off position, and headed outside to turn the main power back on. Once that was on, I turned the power on to my main audio circuit. I had an outlet tester in the receptacle that powers my system so that I would know when the power comes on to the circuit, and also to ensure the wiring was still in phase.

The Sound And My Reaction

All levels of QSA treatments offer significant improvement, but there are some that are more "special" than others. Violet is one such level, and Black/Red is what I consider to be QSA's highest value performance level. At the Black/Red level, the noise floor plummets, and there is just a sense of naturalness. Instruments sound like their base materials in a way that is just more realistic. Strain, edge, and graininess are gone. Not papered over with softened highs or transients, just gone. Three dimensionality increases very dramatically. Overall, the improvement is not just an improvement, it is a transformation towards realism. It has to be heard to be understood completely, but this is why I love this product so much. With the introduction of the QSA Breaker, all of this happened to my already heavily QSA'd and power conditioned system. But it went deeper than any of the previous QSA products had been able to go. I felt the improvement "in my bones". 

Even some of my lesser quality recordings suddenly had more dimension to them, more kick, in the drums, and definitely more listenable mids and highs. This was a huge win.

And on the good recordings, it was simply amazing. There was a physiological relaxing of my body and mind when the music played. There was no tension. It's as if any hint of artifice or electronic unnaturalness was no longer triggering a response by my ears and brain. Musical decays, and transients that one instinctively knows to be natural but often are missed even with ultra high quality playback systems were present and startled my senses. Subtle things that make the music even more real, but if absent the music can still be very satisfying and realistic. These elements were all of the sudden there and my body and brain reacted to them as if they were closer to reality. I hope I'm making sense.

A "free association" of the QSA breakers attributes would look like this to me:
  • Colors and richness
  • Decay
  • Air
  • Space
  • Dimensionality
  • Dynamics
  • Immersiveness
  • Layering
  • Sweetness
  • Flow
  • Relaxation

A Word On Break In

A funny thing about QSA products is the break in. The higher you go in level, the longer the break in period. It normally takes about a month for a Black/Red treated product to reach it's peak consistency in performance. Sometimes at the beginning it can be pretty rough. Taking one through highs and lows over the ensuing weeks. The breaker sounded amazing immediately, and every day since then it has gotten better. I walk in to the store in the mornings and turn the system on, once the music starts playing I just have to sit and admire what an amazing sound I am getting now. So far, there are no off or bad days, but it's only been about a week.


I cannot imagine having an audio system that does not include the QSA Breaker as the bedrock of an audio system. If I were starting from scratch today, I would invest half of my power conditioning budget in a QSA breaker. With that in mind, I would also revamp my Optimized Power Delivery System to include a QSA breaker.
  • QSA Breaker
  • Dedicated 20 amp Circuit
  • 8-10 AWG High quality in-wall wiring 
  • QSA wall receptacle
  • High Current, high quality power cord
  • Non-current limiting power conditioner
Thanks for reading this far. Next time you are shopping for a power cord, conditioner, or even a new component, remember the QSA breaker and consider giving it a try. 

Friday, June 30, 2023

The Innuos Pulsar: The Best Sonic Value In The Innuos Lineup

Innuos Pulsar


Spoiler Alert: The Innuos Pulsar is the best value in the entire lineup of Innuos products.  If you've been lusting after the Statement, and either don't need a local library of music, or you have it stored on your network, this may be the best alternative. Add  a PhoenixNET switch later on as funds permit, and you get really, really close to the performance of the Statement for just over $10,500.

Power Supply. One of the first things you will notice about the Pulsar is the weight. It's darn heavy. This is in a large part due to the massive power supply they've implemented. The Pulsar incorporates a custom ARC6 power module with Active Rectification, over 130000 uF of Mundorf Capacitors followed by a Mundorf Silver Gold Oil output cap, a large inductor and a massive 300VA audio-grade toroidal transformer.

Optimized USB port. the Pulsar offers an optimized USB output with a PhoenixUSB Lite Reclocker built right in. This is powered by a custom DC4 CX power regulator module with Audionote KAISEI capacitors.

The MSRP is $6899, and it comes in black or silver. Order turnaround times are super fast, considering they are built to order and ship from Portugal. It takes less than seven days.

Buying a streamer is unlike buying most any other audio component. Because you aren't just buying a component, you are buying a user/listener experience that involves software, a user interface and networking. There is a lot that can go wrong, on the networking side, that's obvious. Everyone's home network is different, and usually not optimal for audio (don't worry, we can help). Then there is the streaming component, and it's app. Most streamers these days have the hardware down, the setup is usually smooth, but it's the music playback where things can be a little dodgy. User interface design is a key component in a high quality streamer This is something that many audio manufacturers did not have to dedicate much intellectual capital to until very recently. But they are finding out just how important it is to the overall impression a streamer can give to a listener. A crappy user interface, clunky setup process, or instability in the operating system of the streamer can immediately bias the listener to not like the product. I've seen it firsthand, as well as experienced it myself. Having to struggle to get a streamer to make sound can put one in such a mood that by the time the component is working as it should be, one is no longer in the mental space where they can enjoy music.

I am happy to report that this is very much not the case with Innuos. They have not only conquered setup and configuration interfaces, but the music playback interface as well.


Setup couldn't be easier. Plug in the Pulsar, connect an ethernet cable that is plugged in to your network, turn the unit on, then open up a browser on any networked tablet, phone, or PC and type in the URL "" That should launch the sense app and connect to the Pulsar. You don't even need to download an app if you don't want to. They do have one for Android and iOS devices, and I do recommend downloading it, but this is a testimony to the well thought out setup process.

From within the app, you connect to your streaming services, and to your music library. Boom. You are ready to play music. 

I like to enable the "keep screen always on" feature in Settings so the app stays continuously connected to your control device.

The Sense App

The Sense app works on Apple, Android, Mac and Windows devices. Any PC that connects to your network and can run a web browser can be used to set up and play music through the Pulsar. I think this is super cool. Many manufacturer apps only work fully on Apple or Android tablets. You might be able to do some configuration via a browser, but no control of the music playback. With the Sense app, if my phone rings while I'm listening to music, I just use my PC to pause the music while I take the call. I appreciate being able to use the larger screen of my PC as well. 

Innuos has done a nice job with the interface as well. It's visually appealing, logical and makes for a short learning curve. Roon is my favorite streaming app in terms of features and interface. Their Roon Radio feature and DSP functions make it tough to beat. But, that being said, the Innuos app sounds better, and is catching up in terms of features that I enjoy.

Sound & Experience

Break in is somewhat long and painful. When we first hooked up the Pulsar the sound was hard, and pretty flat. It took a good two weeks before things started settling down. By week four, we didn't miss the Statement in our reference system. The Pulsar does the same unveiling of midrange detail and richness that the Statement does (at least to my very unreliable audio memory). The midrange is very transparent, rich and focused. On the Stein Bobby S speakers I felt locked in to this all encompassing soundfield. It lacked nothing, and was just so relaxing and enjoyable. This is not an analytical sound. You can tell Innuos made a priority of nailing the midrange as this is where the streamer really shines. Not that they sacrified much of anything else in terms of bass weight or high frequency extension, they didn't. It's just that I have heard more precise image placement and detail in the high frequencies from more analytical, or more expensive streamers. I don't miss it at all when listening to the Pulsar. I feel they made the right decision in terms of sonic attributes.

In terms of dynamics, again the Pulsar excels. The investment in the power supply really pays off in terms of punch, slam, jump factor, whatever you want to call it. There was no compression imposed upon the music by the Pulsar whatsoever. If it was in the recording, it was reproduced faithfully by the Pulsar.


I have every Innuos streamer at the store, and have heard them all. They are a great brand with one of the best house sounds I have heard. The Pulsar is no exception. What sets the Pulsar apart and makes it such a great value is when you compare it to their Statement streamer. The Statement is better, and offers more in terms of capability, but it's more than double the price. I feel that what the Pulsar offers sonically should cost $10,000 or more. I highly recommend the Pulsar.


Monday, June 19, 2023

Use Case For The Modwright Analog Bridge


The Modwright Analog Bridge

Modwright introduced the Analog Bridge in the Spring of 2023. What it does is takes a line level signal and runs it through either an 6SN7 based, or 6922 based tube circuits. Both circuits are ultra high quality, very low noise, like all Modwright designs. The power supply is also tube rectified, adding to the tubey character this device imparts on ones system. You can switch between the 6922 sound (euphonic with a very beautiful midrange), and the 6SN7 sound (more focused imaging, with the tube air, space and presence).


  • Between digital or analog source(s) and preamp. – Any digital that is deemed thin, bright or lacking depth and body will definitely benefit. Even digital that is not bright, but lacks body, will benefit from tube body and weight.
  • Between preamp and amp. – An all SS system that customer feels is lacking in body, depth or warmth. Perhaps system is very resolving but uninvolving. The Analog Bridge will bring 3-dimensionality and broad soundstage to the system.
  • Between source and amp. – A simple system one or two sources (with integral volume control) and amp is ideal. It adds the sonic benefits of tubes while keeping the system simple. Very low output impedance means it will drive ANY amp.
  • Between passive attenuator and amp. – Same as above, source(s) – passive pre/attenuator – Analog Bridge – Amp. Analog bridge provides necessary buffering not provided by a passive.

Use Case #1 Between a Lumin T3 and Amplifier

The Lumin T3 is an incredible Streamer/DAC. It has the LEEDH Lossless Volume Control built in, so it is ready to connect directly to a power amplifier, bypassing the need for a preamp. We initially set up the T3 direct to the Modwright KWA150SE .  The sound was good, but lacking "life". A little on the analytical side. Loads of detail and resolution, but lacking some soul.
We placed the Analog Bridge between the T3 and our KWA150SE solid state power amplifier. We heard no additional noise eminating from the speakers when no music was playing. This thing was quiet. With the 6SN7 circuit engaged the sound was full of the life that was missing previously. The midrange was gloriously rich, layered and so detailed. Image placement was slightly less clear, but we did not care in the least. Music was such a relaxing, engaging joy to listen to with this setup. Switching to the 6922, their was less of a tubey, euphonic sound, but it wasn't completely gone. There were significant gains in instrument placement in the soundstage as the image became just a bit more well lit. With the 6SN7's engaged it was candlelight, and with the 6922 it was Edison incandescent bulbs. In both cases the music was alive, soulful and captivating.


In this use case, the Analog Bridge proved it's worth in our system. It essentially allowed us to have two different tube circuits available to add some life to an otherwise analytical, but very resolving presentation. There was no loss of resolution, and no noise was imparted into the system by the addition of the analog bridge. It only added to the enjoyment of our system. 

Try The Analog Bridge In Your System

We offer in-home auditions of the Modwright Analog Bridge. If you are curious if it will bring more enjoyment of the music played through your audio system, shoot us an email or give us a call to set up a time to listen to it in your own system.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Getting More Out Of Streaming Audio Pt 3: QSA "Jewel" Stones

Romancing The Stones

The QSA Small Stones, or as I like to call them "Jewel" Stones are not new. I have carried them as long as I have carried the fuses. Until very recently I found it difficult for them to find a place in my system. Other customers have had success , but for me, they kind of screwed up the sound. 

I have since learned much about these little red, clear, and blue stones that come 5 to a package. Glued to some kind of black damping material that has an adhesive backing. 

  1. The colors that are easiest to work with - It took awhile to understand what these three colors do sonically, as there is a bit of overlap between them. 
    1. The red stones add body, warmth, and decay all the way up to the midrange. 
    2. The Blue add openness to the midrange but also overlap somewhat with the red, and even more with the clear stones. 
    3. The clear stones affect the mids and high frequencies. But there is much overlap with the blue here and I don't recommend the clear stones unless your system is very dull sounding.
  2. The most effective use case to date - as of this writing, the most positive impact I have had with the Blue and Red stones are with streaming audio and network components. I actually got the idea from looking at the QSA modified network switch.
If you look closely, near each ethernet port is a Red or Blue stone. There is also a Red stone placed near the power input. Of course there is a lot more going on with the switch than just the stones, but this was something I could do to my own network switch, the Innuos PhoenixNET. My PhoenixNET already has a QSA fuse inside, but to be honest, the improvement was minimal. Not at all like the effect the fuses had on my other audio components. I chalked that up to the switch being a data component, and whatever magic the fuses did to audio components, it didn't correlate as well to data components. The stones however were far more like the fuses in their effect however. It was quite remarkable. I placed the Red and Blue stones on my Modem (a Red and a Blue on either side of the single ethernet port), My wireless router (alternating Red and Blue stones on each port, and finally on my switch (alternating Red and Blue on the ports). One more placement. My internet provider is Spectrum, and they use a coax cable running from outside to their modem. they used a splitter on my run of cable, so I placed a Red and a Blue stone on either side of the splitter as well.

If you are familiar with the QSA products and their sonic effects, I would liken this to be like upgrading my network to a Red fuse or AC adapter. The sound was much more holographic, natural, with startling transient attack. Highs were super defined and transparent. Instrumental decays and hall ambiance lasted longer, and the soundstage had incredible density you could almost reach out and touch. 

I would say my system needed  1 or 2 more Red Stones than Blue stones. Too many Blue stones and the midrange becomes too forward, leaning out the overall presentation. Too many red and the sound has too much bloom and warmth. 

The Final Tweak (To date)

I listened to my system for a few days with the stones in place, and as things settled in I felt very pleased with the results. It was time to add the QSA switch to the mix. I had one on hand, QSA calls for two, but I felt with the PhoenixNet being engineered so well, and tweaked with the stones, that it would do just fine. The PhoenixNet sat next to my modem and router about 30 feet away. The run of ethernet cable that went from the PhoenixNet to my statement now went from the PhoenixNET to the QSA switch, then another run of ethernet cable took the output from the QSA switch to the Statement. Whoa, this took the sound quality up a significant level. I mean, really significant. I would compare it to the jump from the Violet level to Red Black, maybe even Silver. The soundstage was THICK. It was wrap-around, in the room, around you, so detailed, natural, rich. Unbelievable. This is the best streaming audio I have heard from this system, or any other. I literally have to pull myself away while I am at the Studio. It's hard to get anything done besides listening.

I am receiving a second QSA switch in a few days. It will be interesting to see if it improves over the PhoenixNET. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Living With, & Without QSA: What I've learned & What You Need To Maximize Your Investment

As many of you know, it's been a bit of a love-hate relationship between QSA and Tweek Geek. Not because of their sonic quality or workmanship, but the delivery times. I even stopped carrying them for a few months because of production timelines causing order backlogs. Well I am happy to report that we have both agreed to do better.

As a result of my hiatus from QSA, I was able to listen to the effect of removing each QSA product from my system.

There was no doubt in my mind that their products had an overall positive, and in some cases transformative, impact on my system. But they were not equally impactful, some products were more effective than others. As a result, I have come up with some ideas on which products are foundational, and which products are icing on the cake. My goal is to help the person interested in trying QSA products use their budget to the greatest sonic effect.

Additionally, I also discovered that placement of certain QSA products can be critical, and also that one can overdo it with QSA if one is not careful. 

I will try to articulate that for you with the following information:

 Foundational QSA Products

To my ears, these are the products that were solidly positive. They worked every time, and were also powerful in terms of effect.
QSA AC Receptacle

  • AC Receptacles -  These offer a huge benefit, not quite that of a fuse, but there is zero risk of your outlet failing unless something more worrisome than a failed outlet is happening. That is why they get my #1 vote. These are solid, put 'em in your wall, not your power conditioner. There is something about placing tweaks as close to the breaker box as possible. The closer you get, the more pronounced the impact. That is why I will very soon be offering QSA treated US circuit breakers. This is as close as one can get to the source of power, and I have a good intuition that they will prove to be amazing. Additionally. Spend some money here. Don't be tempted to dabble. I have gone from Yellow all the way to Gold, and know a thing or two about this. The sweet spot is from Violet to Black/Red. The Yellow is too minimal by comparison to really let you in on the potential of QSA.
    QSA Fuses

  • Fuses - I didn't want this to be true, because selling fuses is an unbelievable pain in the ass. But, the sonic impact is undeniable in terms of effect. My reservation, and logic for naming them as #2 on my list, is the very fact that fuses are designed to fail. Yes QSA will give you up to 2 replacements. But their logic is, if you blow a fuse twice, the problem ain't the fuse... The sweet spot here too is Violet to Black/Red. The gap between levels however is more pronounced than with the AC receptacles of similar color. If you can afford Black/Red, get Black/Red. If not, get the violet or Red and never think about it again.

Next Level QSA Products

QSA Silver Switch

  • Router & Network Switch - Depending on your Network Needs either one of these will be a transformative upgrade for your streaming audio system. These only come third in my list of favorites because they don't affect your entire system. If you have a vinyl rig you will not benefit from a QSA router or switch. The effects are similar to the fuse and AC receptacle, a pronounced increase in resolution, dimensionality and naturalness. One has to spend a lot more money on components to get this level of sonic performance.
    QSA Jitter AC Adapter

  • Jitter AC adapters - These are fantastic as well on most power cords. I have specifically had reports of them not making much difference on Audioquest Dragon power cords, but the person who mentioned this also hated the looks of the adapters. Still, really high end cords may benefit less. On the other hand, a tonally well balanced, but less expensive/revealing power cable can be transformed into something much better with the addition of QSA Jitter AC Adapters.

Fine Tuning QSA Products

QSA Crystals
  • Crystals - QSA Crystals can work wonders on a finely tuned system. Our favorites are the Black, and Red. Below is a description of what each color of QSA Crystal does sonically.

    • Black Crystals - Soundstage. That is what I think of whenever I implement the Black Crystals. They don't have an affect on any certain frequency band, they just add dimensionality and space. Musical decay trails off more holographically, and the tone is more natural.

    • Red Crystals - Warmth and body are what the Red Crystals appear to enhance. If a component or your system lacks warmth, these are my go to tweaks.

    • Blue Crystals - Openness of the midrange frequencies. If your midrange is dull, lifeless or recessed, the Blue Crystals can resurrect midrange openness and presence. 

    • Clear Crystals  - Middle high frequencies are affected by the Clear Crystals. These can give a sense of air and space, and bring up the higher frequencies. For example, I feel like the KEF wireless speakers with their Meta drivers are a bit closed in and dull sounding. A Black and a Clear crystal on either side of the AC input seems to resolve this issue. Giving more of a 3 dimensional presentation with more air, space with longer reverberant decay.
Forthcoming products

Tweek Geek will be offering some QSA treated products in the coming months. Below are just a few items we will be offering "QSA'd" versions of:

Circuit breakers: This is as far up the AC chain as you can go, and should provide a huge bang for the buck. 

Bybee AC Purifiers: Why not combine 2 great products to see what the possibilities are?

There is much, much more to come, but we have to leave the rest as a surprise for now.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Which Streamer is Right for me? 2022 version.

Back in April of 2019 I wrote a post titled "which streamer is right for me?". It summarized the features and functions of the 3 main brands of streamers I carried at the time. Those brands were Auralic, Innuos, and Lumin.

Flash forward to 2022 and we have another arrow to add to our quiver of streamers, Hifi Rose.

My goal in this post is to update you on the features of each, and perhaps give you a little more insight into their sonic flavorings. I will tell you up front that they are all more similar than different, but there are subtle differences.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

House Sound: Audience Cable Line Breakdown

Audience Cables have a well deserved reputation for possessing a full bodied, harmonically rich, natural flowing sound with a large soundstage. I am going to attempt to break down the Audience "House Sound" in order to help customers decide if Audience cables are for them, and if so, which line.

The Audience House Sound

The Ohno Through frontRow series of cables from Audience can be summed up in three terms: Warm, Natural, and large soundstage.  They all offer up a warm, rich sound with a full bodied vocal range, natural tones, and a large soundstage. Below is our description of each series' sonic characteristics.

Ohno: Warm, natural, and limited extension at the frequency extremes. Think of the Ohno as a budget AU24 SX with less high and low frequency extension, but the characteristic warmth and naturalness of AU24SX.

Studio Two: This is more closely related to frontRow. the Studio two has less of the midbass energy of the Ohno, but is more dynamic, and extended. This leans slightly more neutral than the Ohno or AU24SX

Studio One: Also in the frontRow family of sonics. This in our opinion is the best value if you like the frontRow dynamics, extension, and tonal characteristics which are slightly more neutral than the AU24SX.

AU24SX: A very rich, warm, 3 dimensional and natural sound when mixed with gear that has a leaner midrange or midbass. Think Solid state or Class D amplification. For equipment that may already possess some midbass or midrange bloom, we recommend the Studio One, or frontRow cables.

frontRow: Increased dynamics and transient attack, along with a slightly more neutral midbass and midrange are what give the frontRow it's top-tier status amonst the Audience line of cables. You also get higher resolution, and a wider, deeper soundstage than any other Audience line. 

Recommended Applications

In general, we recommend audience cables in any solid state audio system where vocals can be touch lean, or where the overall characteristic of the system is on the neutral to analytical side. Tube components like Modwright which tend more neutral, can also benefit. 

We hope you find this helpful in your cable quest.