|Richard Gray's Power Company 400s Power Conditioner|
|Home Theater AC Power AC Power|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Thursday, 01 June 2000|
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So often when we contemplate music and video playback systems, we think about their components, components such as amplifiers, preamplifiers, CD players and DACs, and let’s not forget cables. Then there are lists of accessories: racks, stands and dozens of other items that can aid in the pursuit of playback perfection. Rarely do we consider the word "power," although many of us know that there are significant advantages to improved power.
For some reason, many think that bad power is somebody else’s problem. We continue to spend big bucks on equipment to improve the sound of our playback systems, while neglecting power. The problem with the average household’s power is that it is shared, in most cases, with many others, including your neighbors, their computers and appliances. These things cause noise in your power that will greatly reduce your system’s ability to accurately recreate music and theater sound. Additionally, with fluctuating amounts of available current, your components are often robbed of their true potential.
Power has been the source of many debates in this industry. There are not many in the know who would dispute the existence of sonic maladies caused by poor, inconsistent and noisy power. Dozens of products are available that supply filtering, conditioning and a variety of other manipulations to your power, but often at the expense of other aspects of your musical reproduction system. These products can reduce sound dynamics and create other less than desirable effects.
I have long known about this hazard but fall into the group of people who don’t want to get suckered into all of the industrial hype nor want to compound a problem in trying to fix it. The optimal answer, although highly impractical, has always been to have the utility company supply you with your very own dedicated transformer to supply your audio and video gear.
I have known for some time that my audio system’s performance is much greater after 11:00 in the evening when many have gone to bed. The power becomes much quieter, allowing soundstage depth to increase and improve overall spaciousness.
I have tried several line conditioning and filtering products and, although I heard some level of improvements, felt an unacceptable loss of many aspects of my sound system. As I read the fine print in the Richard Gray’s POWER COMPANY literature, I would classify myself as being apprehensive, or perhaps at least a tad skeptical.
Before my fears could fester, two Richard Gray POWER COMPANYs had arrived at my doorstep. Each POWER COMPANY has a height of nine inches, is five-and–one-half inches wide, and four-and-three-quarters inches deep. Each one weighs just over 20 pounds, a box with a simple black finish. The POWER COMPANY has a main power cord connection on the upper side and four electrical outlets on the top. POWER COMPANYs sell for $700 each.
The basic purpose of this product is to supply much-needed current as your components demand it. The POWER COMPANY works much like a flywheel, making additional power available for your system’s needs. It does so by creating an inductive circuit with the use of a large choke. In an inductive circuit, voltage lags behind 90 degrees. This lag is what creates a reservoir of current available to the circuitry supplying power to the unit. With patents pending, many details of the POWER COMPANY’s makeup were not disclosed, and in all honesty I found myself a bit mystified as to why and exactly how this product works.
Being curious about what is really going on inside this unit, I removed the four screws that held the top cover on. I found that the entire enclosure is potted with polyurethane to protect the secrets of the internal workings. I suppose that’s fair.