The pure power one Goes to Kansas, Dorothy
Our Trip to Acoustic Sounds



Clark and Kate Williams

Clark Williams, Chad Stelly, and Leesa Obermueller in front of various
photos of Chad Kassem – as Albert Einstein, Chewbacca, and Harry Potter.

 



I’ve been in Houston for almost 7 years now – just long enough to forget what the truly cold winters of Upstate New York feel like. The mild winters here spoil you. It’s hard to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder when the skies are sunny and the temperature is in the 60’s (currently in the high 70’s). However, my friends at Acoustic Sounds in Salina Kansas beckoned. They have supported my cable line since its inception and had recently taken on the line of power conditioners we produce, the pure power one. I wanted to show them in person what a difference one could make in a high-end system.

Salina Kansas is 700 miles due north of Houston. A very pleasant drive. Salina Kansas is also the epitome of the All-American town: tree-lined streets, folksy people, and a gorgeous old church someone has gone and made into a recording studio and showcase for the blues - http://www.blueheavenstudios.com/. Go figure. Better yet, go see it!

On the cusp of November/December, I rolled into Salina around 5:00 PM on a Tuesday evening, Polartec gloves on hands – bless you Malden Mills – and a couple hundred pounds of “pure power one” in the back of the old Volvo. We hauled the equipment into the new Acoustic Sounds digs and then piled into various cars to enjoy a lovely dinner at The Charcoal Room. Dinner and the company were wonderful – Thanks Chad.

After the meal, I spent a extremely enjoyable evening with my hosts, Clark and Kate Williams (newlyweds and too cute) listening to Clark’s system and relaxing. Clark now listens to music via SME 20 with SME 4.5 arm and Shelter 501 cartridge, Sutherland Ph.D. Phono Stage, Sugden A21SE integrated amp, Stirling Broadcast BBC LS35A V2 on Sound Anchor 4 Post Stands, Silver Circle TimeWise IC’s, and Silver Circle CS12 speaker cables and power cords.

The next morning (temp.: 18∞ F, -8∞ C.), I got a tour of Acoustic Sounds new facility. The new catalogue only begins to give readers a sense of what is under the roof. In the warehouse,: equipment, CDs, SACDs, LPs, LPs, LPs, and then more LPs, and a very thoughtful shipping department. In the offices: sales, inventory management, internet design and server management, graphic design, sales, listening rooms, and the office of the resident “genius,” Chad Kassem – always smiling as if he knows something you don’t. I believe he does.

Then we began in earnest to put the pure power one’s – both basic and 3.0 through their paces. We began in the Reference Room where we hooked the pure power one 3.0 up to the Pass Labs X350.5 amplifier driving the upper portion of the Avalon Sentinels. The complete system was comprised of the Pass Labs X1 preamp, Muse 11 digital source, Audioquest Cheetah interconnects, and Audioquest Kilimanjaro loudspeaker cables. The lower portions of the Avalons were driven by the Avalon System amps. As you would expect, we put it in, took it out, put it in, took it out, and so on, until the various ears in the house could ascertain what they heard or didn’t hear.


Reference Room before the pure power one



pure power one providing clean power for the Pass Labs X350.5 and the Avalon Sentinels



Evaluation Room


Following the audition in the “reference room,” we inserted a pure power one in the “Evaluation Room.” The equipment consisted of a VPI Scout turntable with a Shelter 501 cartridge, a Sutherland Director preamp and Ph.D. Phono Stage, Harbeth Model 30 speakers on Sound Anchor Stands, Cayin 860 monoblocks, Silver Circle TimeWise interconnects, Silver Circle Audio CS12 speaker cables and power cords.

The feeling in both rooms was unanimous: the pure power one power conditioners made a significant difference in the sound produced by the systems. I just prayed it was a positive difference. It was!

The first thing all noted was a most intangible feeling to describe, but nonetheless ever-present. All noted that when the pure power one was in the systems, the music was more “involving” and more listenable. The dynamics and detail at lower volumes were particularly greatly enhanced. The music become more seductive and attractive in the sense that you felt drawn into performances rather than merely being a distant observer.

In the reference system, when the pure power one drove the upper portions of the Avalons through the Pass Labs , in addition to the involving nature of the music, all ears noted a more dynamic and tighter bass – and more of it. This is made all the more remarkable owing to the fact that we were not even driving the larger woofers in the lower portions of the speakers – they were being driven by the separate amps. Stelly remarked that he was shocked to hear that the upper woofers were capable of that much bass. Pleased to be of service, guys.

In the room with the Cayin amps, we listened to predominantly analog via the VPI Scout. Sometimes the differences between the system with and without the pure power one were so extraordinary, that Clark and Stelly remarked that it was almost like hearing a completely different piece of music. Clark noted that with the pure power one in the system, he was hearing significantly more noise from the record itself. A word about what the pure power one does is in order here.

As we note on our website, the electricity in speaker cables is not generated magically by an amplifier. It can be traced back to the wall outlet. A portion of the sound one hears flowing from loudspeakers is electrical artifact: grunge on the line. The pure power one takes electricity from the line, filters EMI and RF, and then feeds it through a massive proprietary isolation transformer and then to 8 high quality outlets, free of grunge and artifact. What Clark noted was an effect secondary to cleaning grunge: you will hear exactly what your source provides. This effect is akin to using white noise to cancel out room noises allowing an insomniac to sleep. When you turn off the white noise, you hear everything. If your source is an LP with some inherent surface noise, the noise will be transmitted through the system to your speakers. Be careful what you ask for. If you ask for pure power, be prepared for the consequences: any weaknesses in your system will become glaring beacons.

I was truly overjoyed to see and hear all the reactions to the pure power one. It was very similar to Roger Greene’s reaction in his system and reinforces our feeling that the pure power one is capable of improving just about any system.

The day was broken up by some delicious BBQ and a visit from Mr. Jimmy D. Lane, blues performer extraordinaire. Jimmy uses our Custom Musician’s Cables while performing. We are honored to produce the “JDL Special” for him. Thanks to all at Acoustic Sounds (www.acousticsounds.com), especially Clark, Stelly, Marc, Leesa, and Chad. It has been, and continues to be, a pleasure working with you. Congratulations on a fabulous new facility to serve the audiophile community.

As a footnote, I have read in some of the audio magazines that when buying equipment over the Internet, you lose the service of an audio expert assisting you with your purchases. You need only to hang in the background at Acoustic Sounds for a short while to realize that when you deal with these folks, you lose nothing. I heard conversations in which Clark and Stelly conferred with customers on system synergy, analog needs, component compatibility, the attributes of various phono cartridges, and the synergy of various cartridges within certain arms. And on and on. You wanna ask a question? Call them. You wanna buy something? Call them. You won’t be sorry.

Wonderful visit and I will be back for the next Blues Masters at the Crossroads.