The Equi=Core 1200 and 1800 Power Conditioners Balanced beauties!By Jeff Dorgay
After the initial success I experienced with the Equi=Core 300 from Core Power Technologies, it only made sense to request review samples of their big-boy 1200 and 1800 (watt capacity) models. At $1,399 and $1,799 respectively these two not only feature fully balanced power, but feature four Hubbell duplex outlets. This should be more than enough capacity for even the biggest power amplifiers.
That’s where the torture test began, with the massive Pass Labs XS300 monoblocks, which draw over 1,000 watts each, continuously. I would not suggest the 1200 for this extreme duty, at brain damage volume levels, I could feel the transients flattening a bit, but the 1800 is more than up to the task, when used on separate 20 amp circuits for each amplifier. At $1,799, one for each channel is an easy choice to make and it works like a charm in the context of a nearly $90,000 pair of power amplifiers.
For nearly every other amplifier, you should be able to get by with one 1800. Keep in mind, I like to play music loud with big amplifiers. If you don’t have monster power amps, you might even be able to get away with the 1200. Check the total wattage drawn by your components and add a little extra for fudge factor when cranking it – that will tell you what model you need.
It’s worth noting that even at extreme volume via the XS300s, the Equi=Core 1800s do not limit dynamics whatsoever, and this is usually where a power conditioner craps out. Playing small scale music or female vocals is a cheap parlor trick, most gear shines with a light load like this, but you can play Slayer at nearly concert hall levels and the Equi=Core conditioners do not give out or give up. That’s pretty awesome. As with my Torus power conditioners that also use a variation on the large isolation transformer concept, the Equi=Core units will benefit from a higher quality power cord, so I suggest using a good one to feed them from the outlet to the power conditioner. After all, why scrimp now?
A certain percentage of audiophiles will ponder and/or argue that your power comes a zillion miles from where it’s generated to your house, so why would a bit more wire make a difference? But it does. More than one PLC manufacturer has told me that they look at the power in the line as this giant river that you tap into and the power cord and PLC is the first line to your components. Clean power helps your components deliver everything that you paid for, because any noise and grunge on the power line is modulated into your component’s power supply and amplified thusly. But we can all argue about that on your favorite internet forum.
The 1200 proves perfect for a combination of conrad-johnson GAT 2s2 preamplifier, c-j MV60SE power amplifier, Gryphon Kalliope DAC and a pair of Quad 2812 ESLs and just like the other two Equi=Core power conditioners, offers the same effect. Background noise is nearly eliminated and much like every other vacuum tube component plugged in to the Equi=Core units, they seem to respond even more dramatically than solid-state components. I’ve noticed the same effect when plugging tube components into my Running Springs, Torus, and IsoTek conditioners. Bottom line, the Equi=Core will improve the sound of anything you plug in, but it’s super sweet with tube gear!
Cuing up some high resolution digital files of Keith Jarrett’s legendary The Koln Concert brings it home immediately. Not only is there considerably less background noise than before, Jarrett’s versatile and complex style comes through better than before installing the Equi=Core 1200. As he runs up and down the keyboard, the Bosendorfer’s resonance comes through more clearly, with more of a three dimensional effect, offering a higher level of tonal contrast than before. It only takes a few minutes of listening, and then plugging straight back into the power line to hear the soundstage shrink dramatically, with a veil now added to the performance.
The sparsely arranged 1969 demo of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Marrakesh Express” from the CSN Demos offer the same thing to Graham Nash’s vocal track. With barely any instruments added at this stage, the realism of his voice through the Quads sounds almost larger than life; it’s sheer beauty.
Sonically, the 1200 and 1800 are identical, the larger unit just has a larger capacity, and by that I mean they both do no harm to the musical signal and add no tonal shift of their own. I could wax poetic about this track and that, but a power product either does what it is supposed to or it doesn’t. The Equi=Core 1200 and 1800 conditioners deliver the goods and offer outstanding value for the price asked. They are all made by hand in the Core Power factory in Colorado, and have a 30 day return policy, should you decide for whatever reason these are not the droids you want. I highly doubt that you’d send it back after you experience it, so there is nothing to lose. And for those seeking additional value, they’ve got an awfully good “premium” power cord that can be bundled for only $99. The Shunyata Venom used to be my budget go to power cord, but this one easily takes it’s place.
Even if you think you have “clean power,” you’ll be surprised at what one of these do for the overall sound quality of your system. It’s about a 10-minute demo. Plug it in, listen to your three favorite tracks, then take it out and repeat. This is an easy one, folks. So what are you waiting for? Give them a call, they love to chat with their customers.
$1,399 and $1,799
Analog source Grand Prix Monaco 2.0 table, TriPlanar, Lyra Etna
Digital source Gryphon Kalliope DAC
Preamp Pass XS Pre
Phono preamp Pass XS Phono
Amplifier Pass XS 300 monoblocks, Pass Aleph monoblocks, Audio Research VT80, PrimaLuna DiaLogue HP integrated, Esoteric F-07 integrated, C-J MV60SE
Speakers Quad 2812, Focal Sopra no.3, GamuT RS5i
Cable Cardas Clear