Preoccupation with mains-borne intrusions is not a condition to which I'm enslaved. Simply put, I live in the countryside, my listening room has separate, dedicated mains supplies wired with politically-correct cabling and sockets, and the AC distribution lump for the neighbourhood - located in my back garden! - provides a constant 241V to 246V supply. And while I wouldn't say that the system is immune to mains accessories, neither would I ignore any opportunity to improve my lot.
Isol-8's Nic Poulson, late of Trilogy and Isotek (for whom he developed their original line of mains filters), suggested that I try his new PowerStation, feeling that I might find its improvements more vivid than those of mere mains filtering systems. Like those from PS Audio, Accuphase and precious few others, the PowerStation an actual mains regenerator, not a simple filter, which should ensure an absolutely perfect 240V/50Hz supply ... or whatever else you might specify. Where it differs from most is that it has a truly separate 'channel' for two components, rather than a shared set-up.
Nic said that his goal was, 'to get as close to the perfect power supply as is practically possible. Power supply quality is a key influence in any system's performance. Passive filtering can achieve only so much by working with what is already there. But by locally generating a perfect mains waveform, consistently free from distortion and noise, a system can have total freedom from the many compromises our common power grid imposes.'
To this end, he developed a unit that supplies two independent channels of 'clean, pure regenerated power [that] will transform even the highest quality source components.' In the PowerStation, 'noisy mains power is transformed into relatively clean DC (or Direct Current) and is used to supply power amplifiers that produce a pure and precise sine wave. The output is proportioned to suit the requirements of the equipment powered.'
Inside the PowerStation are three microcontrollers to generate and oversee the operation of two 'ultra stable waveforms of purity (0.05%THD) that are simply unobtainable from your domestic supply.' Thus, the unit will feed two components, e.g. a preamp and a CD player, with their own direct, high peak current supplies, via a pair of three-pin mains outlets on the back of the unit, with no risk of 'cross contamination.'
Nic has provided each channel with frequency adjustability from press buttons on the front panel, in five steps of 50, 60, 67.5, 81 and 100Hz, to allow a component's power supply to take advantage of a higher 'refresh' rate. I have to admit that I was nervous about playing around with frequency, but the gains were clearly audible, including even lower noise and a sense of added precision. Every single device I tried, including the Audio Research PH5 phono amp, Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista preamp, and Musical Fidelity kW25 CD players sounded sharper, faster and better controlled with a step up to a mere 60Hz. As Nic explained, 'At 100Hz, a linear power supply connected to the PowerStation will have effectively double its normal capacity, leading to further gains in sound quality.'
Read more about the ISOL-8 on Page 2.