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The Triangle Art RA6 Power Conditioner Review

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Impressions

My goal in evaluating the Triangle Art RA-6 is based upon the assumption that it has no sonic signature, and thus should not present a sonic detriment or coloration of its own. In order to ascertain that to be the case, I performed two evaluations.

The first was to test for dynamic compression. In order to do this, I ran my most power cord-sensitive equipment through the RA-6 with the same model and length powercord at inlet and output and evaluated the sound compared to without the Triangle Art being present.

Triangle-Art-Ra-6_2

For this first test, I used the Conrad Johnson UDP1 Deluxe universal player as the source. This unit is quite sensitive to powercords and given the optimal one, performs at a level that is nothing short of miraculous for its vintage. I played a variety of material and came away with very concrete and consistent findings. The Triangle Art RA-6 is indeed like no other power conditioner I have tried. First, there is no question that it reduced an already vanishingly low noise floor. The backgrounds were impressively black and the RA-6 introduced no grain of its own. In my view, this was already an impressive achievement.

Moving on to dynamics, once again the RA-6 did nothing but impress. Whether playing percussive material such as from the Toy Matinee CD or well-recorded explosive rock passages such as the Kevin Gilbert CD or Gentle Giant’s In a Glass House, it became abundantly evident that the Triangle Art RA-6 did nothing to impede speed nor energy of these recordings. In fact, due to the reduced noise floor, the overall effect was that of greater dynamics and poise.

For the next phase of this evaluation, I looked for a signature. Did the Triangle Art RA-6 introduce a sonic signature of its own? The answer, in short is a qualified yes. Throughout the several listening sessions I had with the RA-6 in place at the front-end of the system, I noted that the midrange had come forward. Voices and stringed instruments presented forward of the speaker’s horizontal plane when typically they were to varying degrees of distance behind the speaker horizontal plane. I also discovered that the lowest bass octaves were a bit muted through the RA-6 unit. These observations come across very much like the all too familiar process of break-in with many audio cables and this is why I qualified my affirmation regarding signature. The Triangle Art RA-6 had by this time been inserted in my system for about 8 weeks. Throw in the holiday season and the admittedly limited system “up” time during that period of time, I cannot absolutely rule out that this may be an issue of break in of the various components in this device. After all, I did not know to what extent it was utilized by the manufacturer as a demo unit. Since the RA-6 needed to be rushed back to the manufacturer, I could not be absolutely sure that full break-in had taken place.

My final listening sessions with the Triangle Art RA-6 provided an even broader picture of the true capabilities of this power conditioning device. In this round of listening tests I connected the fabulous Pass Labs XP-20 line stage, Merrill-Williams motor controller, Zesto Audio Andros PS-1 phono stage, and McCormack/Conrad Johnson UDP-1 deluxe universal player into the Triangle Art RA-6, together at the same time. The ensuing listening sessions proved to be remarkably consistent with the previous findings; basically confirming all of my earlier findings regardless of source. Once this was established, I decided to mix things up a bit. By now, I have a very firm grasp on the signature of the various power cords I have on hand. These include the Enklein Taurus, MIT Magnum ZIII, Aural Symphonics MagicGem V2t and the superb (review forthcoming) Enklein T-Rex. Next I wanted to ascertain if a power conditioner such as the Triangle Art RA-6 would negate or reduce the need for specific expensive and esoteric high-end cables to be matched to each component. It is important to note that for the duration of these final listening sessions, the powercord I utilized to connect to the power inlet of the Triangle ART RA-6 was (for one thing) the most neutral of the lot, the new EnKlein T-Rex.

I then purposely began to change and “mismatch” power cords to components. I swapped in an MIT Magnum ZIII in place of an Enklein Taurus on the digital player. The expected result was that the sound would take on a warmer signature, the images would drop in height, and bass would become a bit diffuse. Indeed, even through the RA-6, that was the exact result. The RA-6 did not impeded or alter the signature of the powercords despite all of the filtering that was taking place ahead of the power cord. I then moved the EnKlein Taurus back to the digital player and swapped out the Enklein T-Rex from the RA-6’s power inlet, replacing it with an MIT Magnum ZIII, and expecting similar results. Well, that did not occur entirely. The changes in imaging were not as pronounced nor was the bass quite as ill-defined, The added warmth was still clearly evident and somehow exacerbated the forward projection that the RA-6 was adding to the overall sonic image. However, the RA-6 managed to improve the sound of the MIT Magnum ZIII through its various levels of filtration.

Moving on to the vinyl front end, I mimicked the entire series of power cord swaps on the Zesto Audio Andros PS-1 and also with the Pass Labs XP20 line stage. Both of these units have always proved to be quite immune to changes in power cords. This initial observation held true throughout the series of swaps. There was little if any change in the sound regardless of the cables employed. However, both line stage and phono did benefit from the quieter and more velvety black background that the Triangle Art RA-6 provided.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

The Triangle Art RA-6 is one very interesting product. It is the first power line conditioner that I have tried in my system over the past 30+ years, that I didn’t want to immediately toss in the street. The RA-6 does not exhibit the normal sort of shortcomings I have long held as truths for these types of units. It did not seem to compress dynamics, it did not seriously impede bass response (in fact right on up to the time it left my house, I believe it had continued to improve in this area), and it did indeed reduce the noise floor. In my book, these are all outstanding achievements. The nagging issue of midrange emphasis did present a problem for me however. It made listening to many recordings uncharacteristically fatiguing. With the rather short term visit this item had here, I could not really ascertain the permanency of that particular issue especially since above all else, the Triangle Art RA-6 proved to be amazingly neutral in all other respects. Were it not for this one issue I would say that it unequivocally enhanced the overall sound of my system. Regardless, I would say that the Triangle Art RA-6 is definitely worth a listen. All components react differently to changes in power cord, so the final result would vary. Irrespective of the cords, the RA-6 enables each cord to perform at its best. As such, the Triangle Art RA-6 would prove to be a steal for many at its $3,000 MSRP.

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