August 2, 2009

Torus Power RM8 Int'l - Take Two

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

Panzer has been waxing lyrical about the Torus Power RM8 In'tl power line conditioner, he even has a love poem for it :-) . With an endorsement like that, how can I resist listening to the Torus Power RM8 myself? Panzer is a great pal, he delivered the Torus to my place last Saturday, and, as we can see in his last post, suffered silently in withdrawal.

Well, I'll just cut to the chase - after a 3-day listening period, I admit that I am now firmly in Panzer's camp. I usually take longer to come to a final conclusion about a piece of hifi, but since my findings echo Panzer's, who has more extensive experience with the Torus, I believe my feeling is right.

Admirably, the RM8 displayed its excellent performance even with all the cards stacked against it. First is the powercord from the wall, since mine is a Shunyata Python 20A version for my Shunyata Hydra 8, while the Torus Power RM8 takes a 15A cord, I have to substitute with a stock powercord that came with my Pass Labs amp. Second, as the Torus Power RM8 Int'l comes with UK style outlets, I have to use adapters for all the powercords from it to my equipment.

With all these limitations, I would not consider what I am writing as a review of the Torus Power RM8, just take it as a person's listening experience then.

The RM8 needs some warming up period, about 2-3 hours, after that, as I left the unit powered on permanently, its temperature (just warm to the touch) and performance stabilized. Throughout all my listening sessions, my entire system sounded more confident, it was as if my EgglestonWorks The Nine luodspeakers were saying "yes, finally this is a signal that i can really work with". All the twists and turn, dynamic swings, subtle cues and broad strokes in the music came through clearly. It is quite unbelieveable that I was listening to many smeared and veiled moments in music before the Torus Power RM8.

Take Hugh Masekela's 'Hope' cd, the spontaneous shouts and applause among the live audience never sounded so well defined and so well separated. Previously, the vocal and saxophone could sound slightly hard and shrill at certain points in the recording, but with the RM8 in place, these artifacts were totally cleaned up. The entire recording sounded natural and unforced, even at the most explosive moments.

Compared to the Shunyata Hydra 8 that I am using now, I have to say that my system performs better with the Torus Power RM8, as it should be at close to 3 times the price of the Shunyata. Shunyata may portray vocal, especially female, a little more colourfully and sultrily, while the Torus Power sounds really neutral, at the end of the day it would be the listener's preference that it will come down to. However, in other aspects, Torus Power is indeed ahead.

From what Panzer writes, we know he takes the Torus Power RM8 as the leading contender for the king of plc hill. Though there are a number of others that we have not heard, I believe he is not far off the mark. Not at all.

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