February 9, 2013

Evolutionary Power! IsoTek EVO3 Polaris PLC.

The Isotek EVO3 Polaris power strip, next to an iPhone 4 for size comparison.

Having previously owned, reviewed, and lived with various Isotek power line conditioning products of the three generations over the last couple of years, I've witness steady improvements, sometimes subtle, other times immediate with each new generation of Isotek PLCs. With the latest EVO3 Polaris power strip, with built in PLC function, I was very much impressed with the big leap in the areas subjective sound quality parameters.

Before we get start talking about sound, how about brief description of the item in question? The Isotek EVO3 Polaris is a 6-way power strip with some rudimentary built in power conditioning capabilities. It's quite heavily built for a power strip, with it's polished aluminium casing for a bit of audiophile glam. There's a fashionably bright blue LED status indicator(which lights up once power supply is connected) right in the middle of a Isotek logo soft touch decal(which is rather classy rather then chessy!). The review sample came with  US standard Nema style sockets(BS standard sockets are available on request, do check with the good guys at Centre Circle Audio if you prefer that). The sockets are rather generously spaced out which is good, as most audiophile quality power cords come with over sized plugs too.
Isotek EVO3 Polaris in action.

I substituted the Isotek EVO3 Polaris in place of my usual Sine SA-6 ME power strip, which is non-conditioning on it's own. The power strip is placed as such that it draws clean, regulated power from my Torus RM8A AVR, then splits to supply power to all my front end audio components, such as my digital media player, DAC, pre amp, turn table, and phono stage(as seen on picture above).

Almost immediately, I noticed that my system back ground noise became jet black, and musical notes just burst out from that nothingness, holds it's timbre and harmonic textural as the artist or performance intended, and then fading just as required, back in to the jet black of nothingness back ground. The experience of that is just nothing short of amazing! No grunge, hiss, white hash or hum made it's way in to my system's power supply via the Torus and more importantly Isotek EVO3 Polaris combo. My past experience with previous Isotek products, just never reach this kind of convincing equilibrium.

And then there's Isotek signature bass, with voluminous fill and dynamic woofer control which can make many amps sound like they've just acquired a few more juicy watts or speakers with an added woofer or so! I say bass first in tonal balance this time because it was the most impressive aspect of the whole spectrum. Having a little more bass doesn't mean it has to be bloated or over riped, at least not where the Isotek EVO3 Polaris is concerned. Bass have that tight, propulsive, start-stop with snappiness and note to note transfer quality that I seldom experience in mine or many other systems for example. It's kinda like the woofer has become a well trained guard dog, after under going obedience school training. The woofers do bark louder, yet maintained it's discipline on all times, with the musical notes as it's instructor.

Enough bass talk, the un-coloured, open and clear mid range deserves a mention in continuation of Isotek's signature sound. Perhaps that's why I thought the images within the wide open sound stage are very solidly defined? Who knows, but I know Isotek improved on another area too, if it's the highs! I found the highs now very refined, like hearing thru the sonic signature of a Shunyata Hydra 4 power line conditioner! Previous Isoteks always struck me as a bit business like in the highs, not that they're particularly noisy or show signs of hardening when the musical going gets tough. The highs are just previously characterless and not particularly shinny either. With the soft(texturally speaking), refined and gentle high frequencies, we audiophiles can now have our power bass cake and eat it with the gentle highs too!
The soft touch Isotek brand decal is a classy, quality touch! 

I would never accuse the EVO3 Polaris of being unbalanced due to the above observation of a soft, gentle highs, un-coloured mid range and strong gutsy bass. In fact the whole she bang still had that overall coherence if somewhat managed sound signature of the previous Isoteks. It's just that the top end is somewhat tweaked to sound freer-er, and the already tidy bottom end further tightened(Ouch!, much like the G-string in between my bum cheeks, chicks dig guys with red coloured G-strings too, ssshhh..... I didn't tell you that, Ha! Ha!).

The Isotek EVO3 Polaris cost RM$1,500.00 a piece and would've been my reference power strip with PLC, if not for my AV binge lately, and as with any blue collar Malaysian worker with an shrinking income, there are certainly limits to my vitamin M resources, plus it's that time of the year to give away those little red packets of joy that everybody loves to be on the receiving end too!

Wishing all our Chinese readers GONG XI FA CAI!

Isotek products are sold by Centre Circle Audio, contact Sky or Nelson at 03-77282686.

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