Richard Gray's Power Company Model 400S A/C Line Enhancer
Clement Perry
31 March 2000

pc2.jpg (57535 bytes)Specifications

Model 400S
Power requirements: 100-135 VAC 60 Hz,
Detachable 14 Gauge Power Cord, 15 Amp IEC
Connector/15 Amp Plug
Dimensions: 5.5" × 9" × 4.75" whd
Weight: 20.5 lbs.
Suggested Retail: $700

Distributor:
Audio Line Source, LLP.
2727 Prytania Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Tel. 800 880 3474, 504 897-6688
Fax 504 891-0102
Website: www.audiolinesource.com

"I would classify these hefty little devices as somewhat expensive, though not excessively when one considers the benefit to both audio and video setups. In my humble estimation, If there's a downside attaching to this product, it resides in its price of admission."

The A/C line conditioning climate has been warming up around these audiophile parts since the introduction of another A/C line enhancer, The Richard Gray Power Company Model 400S, distributed out of New Orleans by a newly formed manufacturer, Audio Line Source Co.

So what is it, you ask, that makes this product work? More to the point, how does it differ from the two other major players, PS Audio and Quantum Symphony A/C products? Both of these A/C treatment gizmos received quite favorable reviews here. Before I go describing its improvements and such, let Mr. Richard Gray explain, via his Gray Paper, what this thing’s actually doing to one’s line:

An inductor is a reactive component when used under alternating current conditions. It resists changes in current flow in the circuit by storing energy in a magnetic field. When current flows through the inductor, a magnetic field builds up in the core and around the coil. When this current ceases, the magnetic field collapses and returns the stored energy to the circuit.

Theoretically, the current in an inductive circuit lags behind the voltage by 90 degrees; realistically, the lag will always be a little less due to the small amount of resistance in the coil of Richard Gray's Power Company. It is this lag that allows it to perform as a reservoir of current available to the circuit during the time period when the A/C line is dropping.

Simply put, this effect is very much like that of a flywheel used in mechanical equipment. It extends the charge time during which the power supply in an electronic component can replenish its stored energy.

I can only report on what I hear the RGPC doing (and seems to continually get better doing) to my home's A/C and ultimately to my audio/video system.

I'm reporting damn good news.

An RGPC is an odd looking A/C line enhancer. It's square-ish shaped, taller than it is wide (about 5 1/2" by 9" by 5"), in a dark finish at the center of which is the RGPC’s decal. It's also quite heavy (22 lbs.), necessitating two strong hands to maneuver. Four high-grade gray A/C receptacles adorn the top. Consequently, when you plug a standard 6-foot power cord in directly into the RGPC in its upright position, you may lose some slack, necessitating laying it on its side. I didn't have any problems using them upright.

With a US retail price tag of $700 each, I would classify these hefty little devices as somewhat expensive, though not excessively when one considers the benefit to both audio and video setups. In my humble estimation, If there's a downside attaching to this product, it resides in its price of admission.

Well then, how does one RGPC sound?

"In addition, the RGPC brought a heightened sense of the recording’s venue to each CD that quite amazingly wasn't as present before its installation. I remind you, this is with just one RGPC in the system."

First off, I've learned from fellow contributors Bill "The Brass Ear" Brassington, Lew "Left Channel" Lanese, and Bill Wells that the more RGPC’s you add on, the better they perform. This makes the price quite substantial when you start doubling, tripling, and -- if budget permits --quadrupling RGPC’s.

Starting out with one RGPC, first at my systems front-end (Sony SCD-1 SACD connected to a Tact 2.2 preamplifier) offered startling improvements throughout the system, ultimately enhancing the overall sonic portrait. As I’ve stated before the sound can be summed as The Big Easy. I would state that you best wait about an half-hour before hearing the improvements, so don’t get too anxious if you don’t hear anything the moment you pop them in. To be more specific, sonically that is, the sound oozed out of my Von Schweikert VR 6's more softly and gentler than I can ever recall, yet detail up around the 10k range seemed to increase substantially. The top end was immediate, but not up in your face-forward. It was simply more there without any of the accompanying harshness usually associated with this level of tilt in the upper treble. Was what I was hearing, or better, not hearing, all that noise, grunge, and dirt removed?

I certainly heard an improved buoyancy to the bottom end. While the upright string bass had a noticeably improved tautness and articulation to each distinct pluck, the signature was of a warmer, more alive tone, as if the bassist took a step closer to the microphone. In addition, the RGPC brought a heightened sense of the recording’s venue to each CD that quite amazingly wasn't as present before its installation. I remind you, this is with just one RGPC in the system.

Add One Mo'

There’s a new jazz club in Brooklyn NY, called the Up Over Jazz Club, where I had the pleasure to catch legendary ace tenor saxophonist Billy Harper. After he dazzled me with his performance I purchased his CD, Destiny Is Yours, a pleasurable a jazz CD as I've heard in some time. Harper's performance is downright 'Trane-like. Stimulating and deeply moving, this is what jazz ought to sound like and it takes someone like Billy to prove it.

Still glowing from the title track, Destiny is Yours, playing it through two RGPC’s, however, proved even more electrifying a performance. It sounded so much closer to the real performance I only heard some weeks ago that I immediately forgot I was doing this review and started digging the vibes all over again. All at once, smoother, easier to hear into the recordings venue, with instruments floating (but locked in place), in a huge soundspace, with accurate a placement as I could wish for. In my rig, it wasn't necessary to go back and forth, even though to A/B is a cinch, by simply plugging a RGPC in, then out, of any existing receptacle next to your components. The instant Harper's drummer, Newman Baker, hit the snare, cracked the tom-tom, depressed the hi-hat told me all I needed to know about the RGPC's in my system: Using two is better than one and I’m keepin’ em both! As much as one RGPC worked as a stand-alone device on my front-end, doubling added even greater improvements to the music's ability to flow, along with even a quieter, blacker backdrop. Spooky.

Applying a RGPC to my video setup consisting of the all new Dream Vision DL 500 DLP projector along with the astonishing DVDO iScan Plus line doubler caused an immediate stir. I had some folks over and invited their opinions, not that I couldn't see it for myself. My friend Terry Smoak watched the new Jet Li movie, Fist of Legend (quite a good remake of Bruce Lee's The Chinese Connection). Essentially, Terry was doing a blind test, since he couldn't tell whether the RGPC's were in or out as I maneuvered behind him. He remarked each time I took them out with a resounding "You lost dimensionality and the colors faded!" Terry's not what you would describe as an die hard audio- or videophile type, so the improvements wrought by simply attacking the A/C proved too much for Mr. Smoaks. Poor cat wouldn't stop talking about them for days.

Dare I Compare

These RGPC's overall effects are unlike any other device's I've tried thus far in my rig. This includes the Quantum Symphonies as well as the PS Audio Power Plant 300. The Quantum and PS Audio both do what their manufacturers claims. The Quantum Symphonies apply an entirely effect to the music, best described as cleansing the sound. Impressed as I am by this feature, I was not ready for the differences brought about by the RGPC's. Nothing I've owned has contributed more to my system's sense of ease and delicate flow. Nothing I've used in the past offered this utter sense of complete leisure as two PC's installed at my systems front-end.

Compared to the PS Audio Power Plant 300

Attempting to compare the RGPC against the PS Audio Power Plant 300 proved very difficult. Both perform as claimed when it comes to ridding one's system of all the grit, grain and grunge that travels in one's home A/C. The PS Audio's A/C device really cleans up and brightens my system's front-end, taking it to an entirely new level. However, that's exactly where a success story ends, at the front end. The PS Audio 300 is only suited for low current-producing components like preamplifiers, dac's, and turntables. Larger 600 watt Power Plants are slated for shipment this month and I can’t wait. I can only imagine what they might do to improve the sound of an amplifier. (Rumor has it that SE amplifiers, since their power output is quite low, are being used with the PS Audio 300 with startling results.) Leaving your amplifier out of the equation can be an big mistake, especially when you hear what the RGPC's does.

Crude by side by side comparison, the RGPC isn't equipped with all the fancy buttons found on the PS Audio 300 and doesn't come close to matching its beautifully made chassis. On the other hand, the RGPC's one huge advantage is that it's designed to be modular: you can place more than one together doubling-up its effects (and cost). It can go anywhere in one's system, making it more convenient and effective. You can start from your system's front-end, downstream to your amplifier's wall socket, if you so choose, with no problems.

Can’t We All Just Get Along

Here's a real pleasant surprise: if you're using a power line conditioner or perhaps the PS Audio PP300, plug it into an RGPC (or two). I plugged my PS Audio 300 directly into one RGPC, while the other went directly into the receptacle. I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and Hello! The results were so astonishing, I thought I died and was going to have to hear Liberace’s greatest hits the rest of my days! Much clearer highs, and a much cleaner top end with more palpable flesh on instruments. The soundstage's width and height seemed to like the match by gaining greater focus, while the system's character edged closer to what I only can describe as "lifelike" performance. This is no easy feat, especially when I thought I’d already squeezed that last bit of what my system was capable of having these two components working independently. I was wrong. One huge improvement was the sound of cymbals, for example, lost their 'chromium' resonance and sounded so much closer to the real thing. Kudos to the RGPC's here again in the compatibility department. (PS Audio owners manual, on the other hand, warns against plugging its units into additional line conditioners).

In addition, I used to leave the variable level switch on my PS Audio 300's A/C setting at the standard 60 Hertz level. Going beyond this number, by upramping to say 70 or 75 Hertz would bring about a better dimensionality, but with an added sense of something-just-isn't-right-feeling, causing me to fidget around in an attempt to fix what's wrong. Only after I reset the PS Audio back to its normal 60 hertz setting do I return to my listening chair in sonic bliss.

The RGPC is impervious to current demands. Well almost.

Plugging a Krell Fully Balanced Power 600 amplifier, for example, directly into a Power Company isn't a brilliant idea since the internal fuse on the PC is only a (fast-blow) 15-amp while a Krell 600 has one beast of an A/C appetite. A friend, who chooses to stay anonymous, simply removed the 15-amp fuse and replaced it with a 30-amp. I speak with him often and he's seems to still be in good physical health since this modification some weeks ago. No loud noises, fires, or explosions reported happening from downtown Manhattan as yet!

Important: The company does not endorse this practice and recommends instead that when you have a large amplifier with harsh turn on transients, plug the amp directly into the wall, and merely plug the RGPC into the wall plug beside it (on the same A/C circuit) and the amplifier and your system will benefit from the RGPC 400S parallel technology.

Compared to the Quantum Symphony

The nice thing about the Quantum Symphony product is that you don't pay as much for the improvements they bring to a system. Though they don't perform as well as the Power Company or PS Audio Power Plant, at $250 a pop, they are still very useful and quite a bargain. Here's why.

The great white shark rests securely at the top of the food chain, having no enemies other than man. However, even this great predator needs the help of hundreds of tiny little cleaners known as pilot fish. These little guys eat stray bits of food off these great man-eaters. Their job, whether the shark likes it or not, cleans them up, with many benefits. The Quantum Symphonies provide this same type of service. They keep the last remnants of noise, dirt and grunge clear of their path. Without them in, on, or around even the RGPC, and Power Plant, takes something away, preventing less than the stellar performance they’re both capable of.

If I had to choose which unit I'd purchase first it would be the Power Company RGPC, without trouble. My reasons are numerous, but I'll give you two very important ones: first, the very fact that you can place them anywhere in your system (unlike the PS Audio), makes the RGPC the more versatile, thus important, of the two. The other is price. At $700 each, the RGPC's a lot less expensive than the one Power Plant and performs similarly sonically. However, with its greater flexibility; the ability to apply one on your amplifiers dedicated circuit has huge benefits in the sonic department. Serious benefits indeed.

Since no warranty card is yet included with the product, I inquired. The warranty on the RGPC is 5 years parts and labor. If you return a damaged unit to the company, they will either repair or replace and return it UPS prepaid.

End of Story

The improvements with only one RGPC in my rig are very impressive. The more I added, the greater the improvements, ultimately convincing me that four (two on the front end and two on the amplifier) provide the best and most costly improvements. As disposable income permits, I recommend upgrading. I believe a total of four RGPC's really brings out their full potential. Going for more than two (as I've tried) per dedicated component (or A/C line) brings back that ol' devil Mr. Diminishing Returns. The improvements are not as noticeable when adding more than two per component. For example, using three at the front-end and one on the amp didn't provide the sense of performance as having them evenly placed on both ends.

Start off with a pair.

Put one RGPC on your CD player, transport, or pre-amp with the other plugged to your amp or powered subwoofer and see what a difference it makes. If you live in or near a big city, a big apartment building, or an old house, I urge you to give this product a whirl. In my place, a big Victorian brownstone, it works magic.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villetri

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luminous Audio