August 2, 2009

More Power Play! Pure Power APS 2000 PLC(a follow up).

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

The Pure Power APS 2000


I felt original review done last week were deemed too prematurely terminated, due to an misunderstanding of the deadlines involved. I can understand, this is a near monumental PLC product today, or hot of the month, so to speak. Many in the industry are clamouring to have a go at it, the line is long, and nobody wants to be last. The product came to me brand new, with only a few hours clocked with batteries half charged.

The other possible reasons why the Pure Power got a less than glowing review are:

1) According to one of our readers, my crappy power cords used.
2) The unit has yet to break in when the review period had to be concluded.
3) Setting up issues.
4) My use of contact adaptors between US outputs and British 13A plugs.

Mr Eng, the local distributor and Bob Rapaport of Pure Power has contacted me since with some tips that might actually fix the high frequency issues I was hearing from the Pure Power APS 2000. Mr Eng have also graciously allowed me to keep the unit for a few more days for further investigations.

Many years ago in Hong Kong, I heard audiophiles there(mostly Marantz CDP owners) were clamouring to buy device to step down their wall voltage supply from 240V to 230V. Reason being that it sound better. So when Mr Eng suggested me that the Pure Power APS 2000 can be internally adjusted to output at 230V, as some systems may benefit from it. I jumped at the chance. As the adjustment is done internally, users would be advised to ask Mr Eng to perform this critical work. I took the chance to marvel at the internals of the unit, which I can only say that the internal build quality is even better that the externals. This is state of the art stuff.

Adjust to constant output of 230V.

Now voltage outputting at 230V, all further review experience would be based on this setting. The sound took on a slightly different perspective this time. The highs are first thing I looked out for and was not disappointed to find that the raggedness experienced earlier was no more an issue. High hats sound a lot more natural now with good timbre, texture and extension. The elements of attack, sustain and decay on many instruments like the earlier mentioned high hats and piano was impressively real. With the more natural highs, the vocals also took on a more open quality, less restricted you might say. Bass slam was well maintained, and the elastic bass quality heard before was still very well present. Towards the end of the review time last night, the highs started taking on a slightly mellower quality too, which I like, but also indicating the unit was just starting to break in.

Bob Rapaport suggested that I do an A/B test myself to see if the output from the batteries matched the output from regenerated power as I had earlier reported about the minor saw tooth pattern within the sine wave, when magnified via an oscilloscope, which may have contributed to the ragged highs I was experiencing earlier. Bob explained that battery power is the purest form of power and will certainly have no saw tooth pattern when measured, compared to PCM regenerated power. This very simple test that involves switching "Off" wall A/C supply to the Pure Power APS 2000, so it'll automatically switch to output from battery power. It lasted a good 25 minutes or so when battery charge level drop to 25% or so, then I switch "On" power supply from wall again. Bob says most people would not be able to tell the difference in A/B double blind test. I agree. But subjectively, I did heard a very, very, minute difference, when playing a flute solo during a quiet music passage, the flute just appears to be a little bit sharper outlined within the sound stage with A/C supply compared to battery supply.

Just don't challenge me to the A/B double blind test though.

Bob also pointed out that my recommendation to power sources and pre amps via a third party passive filter would result in diminished dynamic slam and transient response. Yes, fully agreed with Bob on this with the unit set to 230V output. When set up to power my sources and pre amp via my Isotek Sigmas which still takes power from the Pure Power APS together with my Pass mono blocks feeding direct via the Pure Power APS, I found the presentation to be lush, smoother, airier still, yet have just a touch more body and when listening to classical music, gave a more mid hall or row M seat presentation. The trade off, was little less imeadiate transparency, bass slam and transient response compromised.

Running the whole system directly off the Pure Power APS 2000 gave an overall closer, more immediate and up front presentation, great dynamic slam and transient response, plus details a plenty. However I found that for long term listening pleasure, it was a just a little overwhelming, after what was initially seemed to be very impressive. I can see rockers and other hard charging music listeners loving the unfiltered sound more. As they say your music dictates your sound.

For the moment, the Pure Power APS 2000 is the most full featured PLC in market. Factor in the very neutral, highly focus and dynamic sound, not to mention the big, big sound stage projection(beyond my room walls), it's probably also one of the best PLC at the RM$10K plus price range. I would certainly say that it would be very foolish to buy a PLC within the price range or higher without auditioning the Pure Power APS 2000 first! As you've read from my experience, the unit offers all the protection and it's very adjustable too.

My usual caveat for recommending PLC still stands, due to the following conditions:

1) Every system places different demands on PLCs.
2) Every area's power supply off the wall is not the same quality. Some will hear more improvement than other's, only because the power supply from the wall was poorer quality to start with. These people will certainly benefit more from PLCs.
3) Every person's musical taste and hi fi journey is different, hence the expectation is different too.
YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARIES!

Finally, a little technical observation. I very much admire the efforts taken by Pure Power to take the 240V A/C supply from wall, converts it to 72V D/C partially stored in batteries then amplifies the D/C back to 230V or 240V of your choice. One look inside shows the amount of design commitment to make this the best PLC ever. However, I am a little puzzled at the output stage, where all the outlets are daisy chained and un isolated, un filtered. My personal concern is this will only allow the digital source to bleed back noise via the power cables only to be transferred to all the other equipment connect to the other outlets within the daisy chain. Perhaps Pure Power can enlighten their thoughts on this concern in our desirable thoughts section?


Pure Power is sold by Sound Precision, contact Mr Eng, tel:012 2353763

2 comments:

pncd1 said...

I tried to purchase a PurePower 1050i in October 2010. The European distributor had two available at a discount (I gathered later that they were flushing old stock) and I ordered one. It took three weeks to do just that - the man was a terrible communicator.

The unit arrived, eventually, after a month. On plugging it in, the display immediately went to FAULT!!!. The unit passed a current to my equipment (at that point just a lamp as a precaution), but the display was clear, even when restarted. I asked if there was anything I should do before returning it. After one week of fruitless back and forth I stated that I wanted to return the unit as I no longer had confidence in the product or the company. No reply for five days until I sent another email demanding a response with a read receipt.

At that point the US Sales Director got involved who immediately relayed to me the wonderful accolades that a recent customer in Scotland had sent. He ended with: PurePower is the real deal, worth a little bit of hassle for what it does. I guess that is why he is head of sales! He won, I wanted the unit after all, so I tried to work with a technical guy in Canada. The result was Fault!!!

It took ten days before I got a response from the USA that he would get the European to arrange for a return. It is now 16 weeks later. The unit was returned only five weeks ago, and I heard nothing back from Europe or the US. I sent an ultimatum last week that I would put the matter in the hands of an attorney if I did not receive a confirmation of payment by the end of today. The Head of Sales read it, but never responded. The European distributor responded with a promise to make the payment. Today I notified them that they had missed the deadline and immediately received a response that the payment was sent and they could fax me the slip. That was followed by an email saying that the payment failed, despite them having my international payment instructions since December.

A long story. I am contributing this because I would have wanted to read it when I was looking into PurePower.

Big E said...

pncd1,

Thank you for sharing your plight and predicament with us, so that prospective buyer beware.

It was a long time ago since I had the Pure Power unit with me, and as far as I can remember, I had no operating problems nor issues with the review sample.

I know 2 other guys who have been using the other Pure Power model 1050i for nearly 2 years now with absolute reliability. Never failed them, while proctecting and providing clean power to their audio systems.

I guess it really pays to buy from a local authorised distributor or agent just to safe guard on warranty issues. This is due to the product's inherent complexity, which may make it difficult, or impossible to repair locally.

I do sincerely hope Pure Power can resolve your woes soon.

Good luck.