Monster Power AVS 2000 Automatic Voltage Stabilizer & Equi=Tech 2Q & Q650 Balanced Power Systems Page 3

Martin Glasband didn't invent balanced power, nor is he the only person to employ it. But Glasband was probably among its earliest and most vocal champions in the pro sound/high-end audio industry, bringing deep insights into its practical applications and creative refinements, including a number of patents for the bifilar winding of balanced power transformers—which is what puts the sonic performance of Equi=Tech products in a class by themselves.

Balanced power defines the ground reference in a manner that cancels noise. Normally, you have 120V on the hot lead and 0V on the neutral lead, with the latter referenced to ground. But by applying +60V to the hot lead and -60V to the neutral lead, then referencing them both to ground, you cancel the harmonic currents created by the load (often referred to as "common-mode rejection").

Here's where it gets tricky: Unless the currents flowing in the positive and negative lines are precise mirror images of each other, you still end up with lots of residual noise, particularly in the high frequencies (hence my wincing wife). This is where Equi=Tech's proprietary technology comes into play, for what is claimed to be the most comprehensive, full-frequency noise rejection and the widest bandwidth.

Like the Monster AVS 2000, Equi=Tech's 2Q is a completely passive device that produced little if any heat. At first I used the Equi=Tech 2Q for both power amplifiers and front-end components. The 2Q has a 20 amp/120V input with a Hubbell plug inlet, and its rear panel has ground-fault protection, re-set circuitry, two unswitched outlets, and four analog and four filtered digital AC receptacles. (The Equi=Tech 1.5Q is identical to the 2Q save for its 15 amp/120V configuration and standard 15 amp receptacle.)

As I found the Equi=Tech power systems evinced significantly better sound when paired with better and better power cords, I rewarded my Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 300 power amp by calling on the king snake of my audio menagerie—the JPS Labs Aluminata. The results were stunning, and A/B tests involving brief dips back into straight wall current never lasted very long—the overall depth and resolution were so much more convincing with the 2Q. Low-frequency extension was simply phenomenal, with greater scale, authority, harmonic body, and liquidity—it was like swimming in sound.

My amp sounded as if it had significantly more power, dynamic headroom, and speed, which translated into truly extraordinary soundstaging illumination and dimensionality, image stability, and transient immediacy. Both analog and digital front-end gear exhibited enhanced midrange texture, layering, and depth of perspective, with smoother portrayals of high-frequency information. This illustrated, as has nothing else in my experience, what resolution is and what detail isn't. High frequencies were not depicted with analytical, overemphasized brightness, but were smoothly extended, their low-level cues fully fleshed out for a more relaxed presentation.

Then Equi=Tech sent me a new, lighter, lower-powered model. The Q650 was designed to be use with low-current-draw front-end components. Compared to the 2Q's lush liquidity and endless reserves of power, the Q650 sounded drier but appreciably more resolved. Everything sounded smoother and quieter, with blacker backgrounds—which set off tonal colors in bold relief. Images were more centered and resolved. The bass was tighter and more tuneful, more forward and detailed, with greater authority and scale—which contributed to a realistic sense of rhythm and pace. The midrange was beautifully articulated and exceptionally natural, the highs smoothly extended and devoid of glare. The Q650 smoothed over all manner of frequency hot spots; everything seemed to just fall into place for a more balanced, holographic presentation.

I missed the clarity, transparency, and coherence the Monster AVS 2000 Automatic Voltage Stabilizer conferred on my front-end gear, and found myself wishing I could find some non-current-limiting form of voltage stabilization and protection for my power amp. Then it dawned on me that a combination of voltage regulation and balanced power might just give me that nth degree of front-end resolution I craved.

I plugged the amplifiers into the 2Q and the front-end components into the Q650. However, the Q650 was plugged into one of the switched outlets on the Monster AVS 2000, using a new, active version of Synergistic Research's Designer's Reference2 AC cord. The results far exceeded my expectations: the precision, clarity, definition, brilliance, and coherence of regulated voltage, combined with the smoothness, layering, scale, and resolution of balanced power, made everything sound more relaxed and involving. I couldn't have been happier with the performance of my reference system, or more certain of what I was hearing up and down the signal chain. I was no longer amplifying noise—only the music.