Should the ratio of audiophile to the layman be 1:100, then in the highest population density section of the Hong Kong SAR of 16,000 in a square mile, there would be 160 audiophiles dwelling within those high-rises, their audio systems plagued by colossal, detrimental AC irregularities. The resultant demand for AC solutions in Hong Kong, understandably, is as fervent and unreal as it can get anywhere.
On the other hand, should a Hong Kong product’s probability of success be weighed by its functional effectiveness in addressing issues specific to its original market, as well as its commercial success there, then my 2-day exposure to Isoclean’s PT-3030G II Isolation Transformer in my home in 2006, an Isoclean AC solution that is now in its “III” iteration and retails for $3,500, represented none but one more extra testimonial in its overwhelming effectiveness on this side of the Pacific. This, of course, falls in the scope of another review.
This review is to highlight the expanded roles of Isoclean’s Supreme Focus and Super Focus power cables, the company’s upper echelon of power cable systems, in augmenting the performance of equipment they are connected to, as compared to the company’s $1,100 Focus power cable reviewed in Dagogo’s April, 2006 Issue.
Amidst the level of power supply dilemma faced by our fellow audiophiles in the Far East, common to audiophiles everywhere is the quest for the audio equivalent in aphrodisiac. For the audio system, that is, not for the audiophile himself. The extents to which both the Supreme Focus and Super Focus fulfilled this wish is at once indisputable by considering how each augmented the output capability of a variety of amplifications, including the $3,000, 150Wpc/8Ω, Luminance Audio KST-150 solid-state stereo power amplifier, the $10,995, 200Wpc/8Ω, Nagra Pyramid Monoblock Amplifier and the $24,000, 7Wpc, Combak Harmonix Reimyo PAT-777 300B SET stereo power amplifier.
Construction of the nimble, $2,100, 2-meter Super Focus compounds upon what is given to the Focus, namely a core of three, 6mm British copper for enhanced current delivery, sealed within three layers of anti-static Nylon, which is then covered under heavy-duty, vibration-damping shields of copper for RF absorption, and terminated finally with WattaGate IEC and AG plugs. The Super Focus is endowed additionally with a custom, RF-shielding copper module that houses the WattaGate IEC plug on one end and the AG plug on the other, and then fitted with a custom stabilizer copper module positioned in immediate vicinity to both ends of the cable.
The Super Focus compelled the Luminance Audio KST-150 to produce richer top- and bottom-end contents in driving the 78dB/8Ω, $10,000 Murata ES301 Spherical Speakers, at the same time rendering tonal nuances dramatically more discernable. With the Super Focus, the Luminance Audio-coupled Murata speakers rendered instruments of all variety with increased tonal substance and spatial definition, contributing to the dimensionality of instruments and realism of venue immensely.
Tannoy’s discontinued 95dB/8Ω, $19,000 Churchill Wideband loudspeaker system was auspiciously rediscovered. Despite a meager output of 7Wpc, the $24,000 Combak Harmonix Reimyo PAT-777 300B SET power amplifier had always proven itself as the most conducive amplification choice in its price range towards inducing tonal coherence and meticulous tonal balances from the speaker’s 15-inch Dual-Concentric™ driver. Nonetheless, the Isoclean Super Focus brought a most profound increase in dynamic competence and tonal articulation to the setup, prompting the Combak to propel the large speakers seemingly with twice as much drive and output energy.
The Isoclean Super Focus’ effects on 47 Laboratory’s $26,800, twin Power Humpty-coupled PiTracer CD transport also revealed itself to be a major upgrade to the company’s $1,100 Focus power cable. Whereas the PiTracer realized marginal degrees of improvements from the two Focus’, pace of music quickened when the Super Focus’ were enforcing the operation, and instruments’ tonalities became more vivid. The fact that such performance advancements took place in a venue where the digital signals were not going through digital-to-analog conversion pointed to either a sizeable reduction in AC noise as delivered by the Super Focus, or merely that the twin Power Humpty’s that powered the PiTracer were given more potent flow of electricity to work with.
Audio Note’s $34,350 DAC5 Special and $36,800 M8 Phono preamplifier also manifested more pronounced tonal distinction and more punctual dynamics, amidst a collective foundation of sonic excellence that was superior to machines I have experienced in their respective categories.
Yet, the Super Focus is not Isoclean’s top power cable. The 3-meter, $4,000 Supreme Focus power cable system, essentially a Super Focus equipped with a non-intrusive, passive apparatus for counteracting pulsing noise and mechanical oscillation that occur during power transmissions, is Isoclean’s top power cable and one of the industry’s most unrelenting exercises in power cabling refinement. The Supreme Focus apparatus is potted and encapsulated in an enormous, 20lb rectangular case of polished brass, positioned several feet after the WattaGate IEC plug to take in the flow of power through one end and send it out on the other.
The result of such consummate and downright maniacal effort is a class-busting, accessory-category product that expanded the role of what a power cable can do at the fundamental level of an audio system. Concurrently, the application of the Supreme Focus created a fundamental priority conflict in the job of a reviewer.
For the $4,000 Supreme Focus elevated the performance of equipment it was powering to astonishing heights. Its degree of sonic improvement as manifested in my listening room was of such fundamental and colossal scale that budget and top products alike all underwent transformations of sort. Instrument textures became more discernible, low-level details became breathtakingly clearer, even speaker-driving capability of SET amplifiers was strengthened immensely.
For what the $2,100 Super Focus had already accomplished, they dwarfed in comparison to the huge strides of improvements manifested in performance envelopes of all equipment as wrought by the Supreme Focus. The addition of the Supreme Focus’ pulsing noise-canceling, oscillation-damping shiny brass enclosure conjured up instances of respective sonic prominence as displayed by equipment with power supply schemes of considerable proportions, such as the 3-chassis, $67,900, Audio Note M10 tube linestage, the $9,580 Oracle CD2500 CD player with an outboard power supply, and the $8,995 Nagra PL-L tube linestage also with its outboard power supply.
For the Dagogo reader employing the services of no-compromise products, such as the $79,000 Audio Note Ongaku 211 integrated amplifier, the commercial availability of the Supreme Focus represents an exciting opportunity for such readers to be finally able to complement his/her critical system-building efforts with the no-compromise Supreme Focus.
Isoclean may not have intended for the Supreme Focus to supplement the limitations of connected equipment’s power supply system, yet the fact that the power cable would allow equipment to rid itself of its old sonic shell is certain. To use such a powerful tool in review sessions will constitute irresponsibility on the part of the reviewer, for the Supreme Focus will transcend the finesse of equipment to beyond recognition and reasonability, so much so that conclusion drawn from such sessions can hardly represent any value whatsoever to the readers.
The Super Focus, on the other hand, manifested a less aphrodisiacal effect on equipment it powers and hence represents a viable tool for allowing a reviewer’s reference equipment to function at its utmost potentials and yet staying in line of its intrinsic character. The Super Focus, therefore, is of particularly outstanding usefulness to both the readers and the reviewer as long as it is applied on reference equipment used in the review.
But it would be an audiophile adventure not fully realized if financially capable readers of Dagogo not experience the Supreme Focus in their systems.
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