|PurePower APS PurePower 700 Power Regenerator|
|Home Theater AC Power AC Power|
|Written by Ken Taraszka, MD|
|Friday, 01 February 2008|
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Power is an elusive beast for the audio and video enthusiast. If you live in the United States, each and every AV component you have ever bought was designed to run on 120-volt 60 Hz power. Sure, they can function when your AC power doesn’t exactly meet this specification, but at a cost, and that cost can be quite pricey in top-performing systems. Many of us who are looking to the last areas of improvement in our home theater systems have run dedicated power lines to our rooms with hopes of limiting noise on the incoming AC, thus affecting our sound and allowing our components to get all the power they need. However, I live in Florida and, quite frankly, our power outright sucks. We frequently get spikes, over and under voltages, brownouts, and let’s not forget the noise seen, heard and felt all over the entire power grid from the eight gazillion air conditioners running nearly every day of the year. During storms, surges and power outages are common and don’t even get me started on the threat of lightning.
PurePower has been working to solve all the demons that can affect the power your components see. The subject of this review is the PurePower 700, a power regenerator that offers battery backup for short-term brownouts. Make no mistake, this unit is no simple power filter. It takes your incoming power, converts it to DC and then regenerates it into 120-volt, 60 Hz power, plus or minus three percent. Amazingly, all this is done with a 92 percent efficiency, thereby not limiting power to your high-demand components, such as power amplifiers. This product also protects your system from power sags, surges, over and under voltages, line noise, power frequency variations, switching transients and harmonic distortion. Power disturbances can potentially damage your sensitive hardware through either catastrophic failures or wear over time from excessive load on your components’ power supplies. The PurePower 700 can prevent these problems from happening.
The PurePower 700 offers eight Hubbell outlets and surge protection for two cable lines, as well as RG46 and RG11 lines, allowing it to protect an entire system. This model is the smallest offered by PurePower and can output 1000 watts of pure AC power continuously and 1500-watt peaks with 24-amp peaks to your components and allow battery backup for 20-plus minutes when necessary, all for $1,795. The PurePower units aren’t current-limiting, and in fact can deliver more current than your AC lines alone.
The PurePower 700 I received came to me double-boxed; the outer box was even padded to protect the inner one. Opening the inner box revealed another layer of protection in two half-boxes heavily padded to protect the conditioner, which was neatly wrapped in plastic. A small box inside contained the power cord and manual. Mine came in the black finish and it was gorgeous. The fit and finish was truly first-rate, even when compared to the likes of electronics from Krell, Meridian and Mark Levinson. The front is quite simple, with only two buttons, one for power and one that cycles through the display options, a small display and three lights for output, utility power and alarm.
The display has two lines that can show you the status of your unit: the first line shows when the unit is functioning normally or in bypass mode, which can happen during extended overload or internal failure, when you are on battery backup, testing or short-circuit, should the unit detect the situation in your system and overload indicator. Should your system draw more than the units rated power output, its response will vary. If it is a small overload of one to 10 percent, it can tolerate it for several minutes; larger overloads can be tolerated for 30 seconds, after which the unit will switch to bypass mode and go on utility power. The second line displays input and output voltage and frequency, current temp, battery level and load level. I must admit, I loved cycling through the display. It was interesting to see my actual power input. I found I frequently ran over 120 volts even during the day. I used the load percentage to judge just how many components I could run on this unit. Battery life is quoted as average of five to seven years. The batteries are replaceable through the front panel, so should you rack-mount the unit, you can do it all through the front panel.
The rear houses eight Hubbel outlets on the left rear, with an IEC power input in the center. On the far right are an RS 232 control port and a USB port that allows you to connect it to your computer as its APS. This is no lightweight piece of gear, weighing in at 34 pounds and measuring three-and-a-half inches tall by 17 inches wide and 19 inches deep.
Setting up the PurePower 700 was amazingly simple. I connected it to a dedicated 20-amp line run to my room for audio and video. The 700 conducted a brief self-test and swiftly entered standby mode. I turned on the power with the front panel button and connected my components. I put this unit to the test in my reference rig, which consists of a Meridian 861v4 AV preamp, a Meridian G98 DH transport, an Esoteric DV-50s universal player, a Toshiba HD XA2, a Sony BDP-S1 and PS3 and a Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD DVR. Power comes from a Mark Levinson 433 for the fronts and a Proceed HPA-2 for the surrounds. I am currently running four Def Tech Mythos ST speakers with the matching Ten center and a Paradigm Servo 15 subwoofer. The majority of the system is wired with Transparent Reference interconnects and speaker wires.
I first connected the PurePower 700 to my key source components, my Meridian 861v4 and G98DH player, as I didn’t want to overload it at the outset. Later, I checked the display to find I was only using six percent of the rated output power, so I added more components to it. In my system, I have programmed my Harmony 890 remote to keep all unused components turned off when not in use, so adding more sources didn't excessively tax the PurePower. I next added my Mark Levinson 433 power amp, which is rated for 200 watts per channel into each of the three channels. Quite frankly, this amp is a little more than this power regenerator is designed to handle, but I carefully turned it on and watched the meter to ensure I didn’t overtax the unit. When I had the amp connected, I was able to turn the system up to extreme levels in two-channel and only use a high of 67 percent of its rated output power. I was even able to unplug the PurePower 700 from the wall and listen to this system on battery power. If you want to impress your friends, try this trick, but only with a PurePower 700 in your system, or you will suffer untold potential damage.