|PurePower APS 1050 Power Solution|
|Home Theater AC Power AC Power|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Tuesday, 01 February 2005|
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Movies and Music
I started with my Mark Levinson No436 monoblocks plugged directly into the wall outlets behind my equipment rack. I currently have a somewhat sub par, single 20A dedicated service that feeds my A/V gear (I am working with an electrical contractor to improve this currently). For this review, I am using the new Meridian G68/G98 combo, with Transparent Reference cables connecting to my Revel Salon loudspeakers. I should also note that I have been using the Transparent PowerIsolator as my reference, along with Richard Gray’s RGPC 400’s for my video, Vidikron Vision 2 eight-inch CRT video projector.
Let’s get things rolling with a recording that inspired my youth, yet is a less than stellar recording. Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies on DVD-Audio (Warner/Rhino) has no shortage of familiar classic rock melodies. Although not one of the era’s better recordings, I feel it’s as important to determine what a product can do for poor recordings as it is to evaluate the goods. In song four and the title track, Cooper’s scream sounded edgy and grainy when played without power correction. When connected to the PurePower 1050, his voice grabbed depth and the grain was virtually eliminated. What was originally a screech was now melodic and powerful. Although I have run power correction products for many years now, this was a sobering reminder of how important this product class is. In the song “Unfinished Sweet,” the snare drum was improved from a somewhat poignant crash to a detailed and engaging drum stroke. Snare drums are often the instrument that suffers the most from bad power. First my system needs tons of juice to produce the drum thump, then in the event of poor power, the chains on the drum bottom becomes compressed and tinny, making the drum sound like a crash of a garbage can lid. There are no such sounds when it is connected to the Audiophile APS. The snare was sweet and palpable, a huge improvement over the untreated power.
Yes’ Fragile is a DVD-Audio that I often use for evaluation, frankly because it’s one the few great releases on this format. In the sixth song “Long Distance Runaround,” the sound of Steve Howe’s hollow body guitar was vastly improved with the APS in the loop. It gave the guitar the natural tone that was originally intended. There were quieter spaces between the notes and much more prevalent decays. Howe’s guitar tone went from somewhat usual to infectious and addicting. Jon Anderson’s vocals, which are among the most unique in rock ‘n’ roll, took on a sweetness and palpability that were missing from the untreated power demos that I initially performed.
Auditioner beware: after hearing this level of performance improvement, there is no way I can live without Pure Power in my system. Although a $2,495 power correction device is not the right choice for all levels of systems, anyone who has significant money invested in their high-end AV systems should be looking at this piece. It makes no sense to have a $2,500 power correction device on a $500 receiver, yet it makes less sense to have a $10,000 rack of electronics plugged directly into the wall. Heard the cliché, “Garbage in – garbage out?” However crude, it is very accurate when it comes to powering your demanding and sensitive audio/video components.
So we’ve determined that the PurePower 1050 unquestionably improves the sound in your system. What does it do for your video? Video is a sensitive subject for me. I take great pride in my system’s video performance, as many of our readers do. I project my Vidikron CRT projector onto a 76-inch-wide Stewart screen that’s positioned a mere seven feet in front of my nose. I use a Faroudja NR series scaler that makes the picture clean and smooth. However, any negative anomalies can become easily magnified.
I started with perhaps one of the greater video productions of the decade and an unquestionably great video pressing in Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). This colorful epic serves as a marvelous canvas for evaluation. In the scene where Nicole Kidman’s character Satine meets the Duke (Richard Roxburgh), subtle characteristics were vastly improved. Overall, the colors were brighter and more tantalizing, yet the greatest improvement was in subtle nuances, such as skin tones and edge clarity. The picture took on a more vibrant film-like feel, with better black levels and more realistic skin tones. The face edges became more refined, making the images feel more three-dimensional. In the background during the tune “Your Song,” the blues and reds were unquestionably more vivid, with better overall saturation. It made the scene even more surreal than before. I paid a close attention to Kidman’s red locks as they intersected her pale forehead. The differentiation of colors was not only better defined, but also more natural-looking and engaging. There was detail in the color gradients that I was unaware of before. Clearly the Audiophile APS PurePower 1050 performed better than the Richard Gray 400s on my video projector.
For a demonstration of ultimate detail, I selected “Dinosaur” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment). This classic animated feature is one of the best animation transfers I have seen. Starting with untreated power, I went to the scene where the lemurs discover the egg that is soon to become the beloved T-Rex Aladar. After viewing this scene untreated, I switched to the PurePower 1050. To say that I was astounded with the results is an understatement. Details in the hair of the Lemurs were vastly better. As the fur blew in the wind, you could delineate motion between the strands with considerably more clarity. This scene is dark and the PurePower 1050 added much-needed contrast to make this scene appear as it did in the theater. I put this DVD in to evaluate a couple of scenes, yet ended up watching the whole movie with excitement.
I have come to the conclusion that the PurePower 1050 is the ultimate piece of electronics for video use. Combined with the vast improvements in color and contrast, something that many display devices lack in this day of fixed pixel digital displays, it provides better backup for safeguarding your display by allowing it to properly cool off in the event of a power outage. If you own a digital projector, the need for battery backup is even more important. Literally, in a power failure your projector can not only blow the $800 bulb, but it can actually melt your projector, leaving you with a prolonged insurance claim.