|Richard Gray's Power Company 600s Power Conditioner|
|Home Theater AC Power AC Power|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Saturday, 01 June 2002|
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Power-related products are gaining greater acceptance as more AV enthusiasts are realizing the benefits of cleaner power delivery and the negative effects it has on audio and video playback. This is a field that has had its history tied to high-end audio for years, where the benefits have been known to make substantial improvements to detail, depth of soundstage and low noise floors.
The Richard Gray’s Power Company’s 600S is the latest AC power product featuring their previously reviewed, patented choke inductor technology. This eight-and-three-quarter-inch wide, six-and-one-quarter-inch high, 11-inch deep enclosure is a very dense 22-pound package that splits the product line between RGPC’s 400S ($750) and the powerhouse 1200S ($2,000) for larger systems.
The 600S is for the consumer who wants the most performance out of gear and has a moderate-sized system that doesn’t require ultra-high current capability. Although there are nicer packaged power treatment products on the market, the 600S does look like a purist high-end component, with a switch-operated backlit logo centered behind a cutout on the thick aluminum faceplate that you can get in either black at a cost of $1,200 or silver for an additional $50. Using one of the same patented choke inductors that are used in the 400S, the 600S provides six beefy Hubbell outlets for your audio/video components in a 20-amp system.
When it comes to power conditioning, the desired result is to get clean, accurate power without sacrificing low-level detail or dynamics. Some products like PS Audio’s Power Plant models successfully use power regeneration, converting AC power to DC, then back to AC. This approach has its own sonic signature, because the Power Plants are basically their own power amplifiers. Other less effective AC products use filters that can constrain dynamics and introduce a thinner-sounding presentation.
The 600S addresses fluctuations in current caused by power shared by your neighbors using the same transformer that supplies your home. These fluctuations can also be due to components with switch-mode power supplies, like microwaves, TVs and digital gear, which definitely adds noise to your AC lines. Because all of these devices can be tied to the same electrical circuit of your home that serves your audio and video gear, there is an effect.
What Richard Gray’s Power Company simple, patented technology brings to the table consists of hundreds of feet of copper wire connected to an iron core to produce a large inductor, which stores a relatively small reserve of power that is immediately available through the six outlets on the back of the unit. Unlike standard power-line conditioners, isolation transformers and sine wave amplifiers, which are wired in series, the 600S is wired in parallel to the AC power and does not limit the supply that your system needs during transients, providing very stable current throughout the continuous dips and spikes on all home electrical systems. The 600S is effectively a transformer at the point of use, i.e., any audio/video gear that you would like to enhance. The 600S' surge suppression system provides the only dual stage protection from both the lethal spikes and constant smaller surges that plague electronic parts, causing eventual failure, making components work harder to overcome line anomalies. Should the "huge surge" manage to make it all the way through the 20 pound inductor (with over 1000 feet of wire), and it is of the intensity and duration, then hidden behind the inductor is a device which merely trip the replaceable fuse. Other surge protection devices, such as Power Line Conditioners (PLCs), attack the power surge problem with isolation transformers, ferrite rods and air core chokes, which can limit the available current to your amplifier under heavy loads. This is because the isolation transformer is smaller than the one on the pole outside of your home. For more a more detailed explanation of the inner workings of RGPC products, see Jerry Del Colliano’s May 2001 review of the 1200S.
The RGPC products are very user-friendly, as they require no special provisions, ventilation or wiring to start using them. Although there are no directions for actually bolting a 600S into a rack, two 600S’s will conveniently fit side by side in a 19-inch rack for easy storage.
An interesting aspect of all RGPC power enhancement devices is their claim that all outlets that are on the same circuit as the outlet that has, say, a 600S plugged into it, will benefit from the technology. The power reserve offered by the 600S is available to your components even indirectly through your home wiring.
RGPC also suggests that you use their "Star Cluster" approach for using more than one Power Company device. Starting with one Power Company plugged into a wall outlet, you then plug an additional Power Company into the first, thereby doubling the effectiveness of having two units wired in parallel to your AC source. Adding a third, inserted into the first unit triples the effectiveness. You don’t have to have a component plugged directly into a clustered RGPC to obtain the benefits of the "Star Cluster." The stored power readily transmits through all of the units to the component requiring it. In this configuration, it is possible to add and remove Power Company devices to determine what is optimum for your setup.