Audiophile APS 1000
Sugg. Retail: $2795.00CA, $1925.00US
(Reprinted from the Fall 03 Audio Ideas Guide)
Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) have become a part of computer operation over the last few years, and have probably prevented data loss in many instances of power interruptions. Here we have the next stage of evolution, the Audiophile Power Supply, this one the largest and most expensive model in a line of three, with further variations in battery power also available.
As their literature states, “Now, we have literally thousands of non linear loads such as solid state motor controls, air conditioners and computer switching power supplies plus a myriad of other disturbances inducing devices from fluorescent lights to utility switchgear. The result is severely distorted waveforms, sags, notches, EMI, RFI, harmonic voltage and current distortion, line noise, transients, surges, brownouts and blackouts, all conveniently delivered to your home wiring. In this age of stressed utility systems and deregulation, don’t expect your local utility to come to your rescue.”
To explain some of these phenomena, let’s start with what is called Power Factor, described above as “voltage and current distortion”. When the voltage and current of the 60-Hz signal get out of phase with each other, as they do in long cable runs through numerous transformers, higher order harmonics are created that can induce distortion in audio/video component power supplies that can affect audio or video quality. And then there’s all the other junk listed above.
Over the years we have seen various kinds of audiophile power cables (see Power Trip, Summer/Fall 2000, Vol. 19 #4, and Power Chords, Summer/Fall 2002, Vol. 21 #2), some of which contain special filters, and others that have their electrical characteristics altered to make them serve as low-pass filters. The APS is a more active approach: “The utility supply from the wall is converted by a rectifier to direct current. This DC is then used to regenerate a new clean AC source in the APS’s inverter circuit.”
”A battery source placed on the DC side ensures that no matter what happens to the utility power supply, there will be full current and voltage at the rated value to keep the components connected to an ideal power supply.”
”This double conversion technology provides a perfect barrier to power problems that might exist in the utility line. No distortion can pass through the DC intermediate circuit. No spikes, no high voltage transients, no damaging surges can reach your component’s power supplies.”
”The APS maintains the accuracy of its 120 volt sine wave to a steady +/-3% no matter how high or low the voltage of the utility supply, so the amplifier never suffers current limits, no matter how momentary.”
However, there is a caveat to this, as I discovered when running the Sunfire Ultimate receiver, with its 200 watts X 7, through the smallest model, the APS 500. The large storage capacitors in the receiver’s power supply simply could not draw enough current fast enough to allow the receiver to play above a moderate sound level. This indicates that this model ($1895CA/$1295US) should be used only with low current draw components. However, there was no such problem with the APS 1000, which happily provided lots of juice to a Bryston 9B amplifier (the receiver having been returned to the distributor) and the matching SP1.7 processor and SPV- 1 video switcher.
In fact, all looked and sounded spectacular, with great dynamics and a superb high definition picture from Bell ExpressVu. I live out in the country, where brownouts and other minor interruptions are fairly common, especially when there are storms, so I’ve had a UPS on the computer for years. It’s saved me losing data numerous times.
With the APS 1000, we are adding to this safety a much greater purity of AC signal and all the benefits it confers on picture and sound. In a home theatre system well into 5 figures, less than a third of that amount spent on cleaning up the AC seems to me a good investment, one that you can definitely see and hear.