Originally Posted by C17FXR
With all your research on A/C power filters, what is your thoughts on a balanced A/C power circuits? I understand it would take a monster transformer for an entire system but what about one for like say the source and preamp/processor section? Or is it worth it at all?
Good question, but unfortunately I have no experience with balanced power and therefore cannot provide a definitive answer.
My suspicion is that they will help the lazy person but may not help the serious tweaker. Here is my thinking:
When they wind a power transformer they have to put so much wire on that it is wound in layers. Therefore one end of the winding is closer to the core of the transformer than the other end.
Next, it is crucial to remember that the AC coming from the wall is asymmetric. That is, one contact is essentially at ground (zero volts), while the other contact has the full voltage on it (120 volts in the US).
When you take these two points together, it is inevitable that there is a preferred orientation to the power plug. When you plug it in one way, the end of the transformer winding closest to the core has 120 volts on it, and the other way it has zero volts on it. Capacitive coupling creates a leakage current on the chassis proportional to the voltage.
If you are serious about sound, you will go around to each component in your system and make sure that the AC cord is oriented properly. The reduced AC leakage current results in significantly improved sound. (You don't have to do this with Ayre equipment, as we have already done this at the factory.) But the normal lazy person doesn't do this. And most equipment is randomly oriented, with a 50-50 shot of having the correct polarity.
Now comes the "balanced" power transformers. With these, each orientation of the power cord is equivalent. They are both equally good or equally bad, depending on your perspective.
If you are lazy and don't orient your cords, then they will reduce the stray current on your equipment. But if you are a hard worker and already have your equipment oriented properly, I don't think they will help and they may even hurt.
Now all of this is theory and may be completely wrong. The only way to know for sure is to perform a listening test. But before I spent hundreds of dollars on one of these, I would borrow it from my dealer AND make sure
that all of the power cords were properly oriented before listening to the balanced power transformer. It may be wonderful or it may do nothing, I don't really know.
Has anyone read a review of one of these where the reviewer was careful enough (or smart enough) to make sure that his AC cords were properly oriented beforehand?
EDIT: Orienting the AC power cords makes a HUGE difference in sound quality. Don't take this tweak lightly. It is very low cost and the rewards are significant.