Perhaps this might help, I am an Electrical and Electronic Engineer by profession and this is drawn from my personal experience of using a Step-Down Transformer with HiFi audio equipment.
Let us get some fundamentals in place first.
Electricity is all about the flow of electrons in wire. "Voltage" is a measure of how hard the electrons are pressing to get through--it's like water pressure in a pipe, or like the rotational force in our car's wheels. "Current," measured in amps, is a measure of how fast the electrons are flowing--it's like the gallons-per-minute flow in a pipe, or the feet-per-minute rate of spin of the tires on our car. Total power delivery, in an electrical circuit, is measured in watts, which are simply the volts multiplied by the amps; in the same way, the total power delivered by the car in our example is the amount of rotational force delivered by the wheels, multiplied by the speed of rotation. A number of watts may represent a very high voltage with relatively low current (such as we see in high-tension power lines) or a low voltage with very high current (such as we see when a 12-volt car battery delivers hundreds of amps into a starter). <p>To all this let us add a new dimension. This dimension is called 'frequency'. Unlike direct current (DC) that flows in one direction all the time, alternating current changes direction (represented as +ve and -ve) at a predetermined cycles per second. In the US it is 60 cycles per second or 60Hz. In EU, it flows in 50 cycles per second or 50Hz. 50/60Hz in Japan.How does this affect us? Well most AC equipment such as tube lights, heaters, and motors have been designed to work with these cycles. Are you aware that a tube light flickers (comes on and off) at the same frequency as the AC current? Step down transformers, as with any transformer, are usually around 96% efficient. They can never be 100% efficient as there is loss of energy and current in the windings. But the catch is most step down transformers do not worry about frequency. So if you take a step down transformer and convert 230 volts to 100, what you will get is 100 volts but at 50Hz. Now we come to the best part. Your audio equipment should not be affected at all. Why. Simply because all audio equipment work on direct current. Power supplies inside the audio equipment contain a TRANSFORMER which converts the mains AC supply to a safe low voltage AC. Then the AC is converted to DC by a bridge RECTIFIER but the output is varying DC which is unsuitable for electronic circuits. So the next step is SMOOTHENING of the voltage. This is performed by a large value electrolytic CAPACITOR connected across the DC supply to act as a reservoir, supplying current to the output when the varying DC voltage from the rectifier is falling. Even this will only supply DC current with small ripples in voltage that yet cannot be fed to the electronic circuits. So a last step is a REGULATOR. This is usually an IC that consists of a zener diode regulator and resistors. Irrespective of what voltage is fed to the diode, it always sends out constant voltage that can be fed to the electronic circuits. Since the HiFi equipment does an internal conversion from AC to DC and from high voltage such as 100/120/230 to somewhere around 5 to 25 volts, most equipment can, by themselves, perform well with mildly varying input voltages (voltage fluctuation). So if you do put a step down transformer between your power supply and the equipment, it should not make too much of a difference to the equipment. If the frequency is not properly managed, highly sensitive parts such as DC motors (in a CD player) could be affected. This is where PSRR of the equipment's power supply plays an important part.
Both of my Pre and Power Amp were purchased from new in Japan and used there for about 18 months, where I lived and worked for few years.
After moving to europe, I am using them with a 2Kva step down transformer. Never noticed any impact or degradation with the sound quality not even fractionally. The key here is to use a Large enough Step Down Transformer. The power draw on my Pre and Power Amp are about 444va (34 + 410) or watts. I am using a 2Kva Transformer which is rated 5 times more. If you are still unconvinced, they can easily be converted to work with EU Power supply, though its not very obvious, someone who is handy with a multimeter can easily find the 230v primaries of the internal transformer and hook them up to the mains connection and dont for get to change the fuse on the circuit board next to the AC in.
Hope this helps to bust some HiFi myths
Accuphase C-2820 > Accuphase A-46 > Avantgarde Duo Primo
Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP / Musical Fidelity AMS 35i / Focal Electra 1028be / MIT AVt MA speaker cable-Matrix 12 xlr / Chord powerchord / GIK acoustics
Hello Audiotastic - I have to confess that my eyes tend to glaze over when it comes to electrical/tech stuff but in any event, welcome to the forum, from a fellow user of an Accuphase A-46 power amp!
I'm currently using the E-560 as a preamp and have bi-amped my speakers but at some stage might go for the C-2820 pre. Are you still using this config?
Many thanks for the welcome. My Accuphase journey started with the E-560 and then at some stage I bought the A-46 and used the E-560 as a Pre and power for the High Frequency and A-46 for the Low frequency, in other words Bi-Amped like yours. A year or so later I bought the C-2820 and replaced the E-560. The E-560 is now in my secondary system. Please drop me a line on skewered at yahoodotcom. Will be happy to keep in touch and exchange ideas. Thanks
Just thought i'd provide you with an update regarding the Accuphase DP-800/DC-801 demo.
Spent a good few hours listening to some of my CD/SACD's & left mightily impressed. The Accuphase pair were partnered with Esoteric pre, mono-block power-amps. & Usher Diamond-tweetered Be-10 speakers. Hadn't heard such organically presented detail & dynamics from digital playback in quite a long time. And neither had i heard Usher speakers so relatively easy on the ear & non-fatiguing compared to my previous encounters.
Even had a brief opportunity to compare the Accuphase transport & DAC's oft described near-analogue sound to an actual & a not quite commensurable high-end analogue front-end. And came away feeling that the Accuphase pairing's performance - while not entirely having as much body, presence & weight as the opposing combination of tone-arm, turn-table & phono-stage - was by no means disgraced by the comparison.
The only potential fly in the ointment so far being the inability to trace it's provenence ie. Dealer/Distributor it was bought from. Aside from the EU 230volt/60Hz input-power designation.
Not wanting to be left stranded if a fault were to develop later, i resolved to obtain some assurances from Accuphase's EU distributor that they would be prepared to assist me(inevitably at my own cost) in rectifying or repairing any technical problems which may arise.
Apologies for the slow response, but I've been away for a week.
Thanks for the feedback on your experience with the 800/801 combo... if you can get some assurances from the distributor, do you think you will go ahead with the purchase?
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
That's a funny coincidence. I went to demo an Accuphase E560 this evening, also of uncertain provenance (well, actually privately imported from Japan, so without warranty etc etc). Caveat emptor.
I'm not sure if it was me or the amp, but I came away feeling ever so slightly underwhelmed. When I say it might have been me, I think my ears may still be recovering from 3 hours of Springsteen at Wembley on Saturday.
Anyway, the system was impeccable:
Linn Akurate DS (playing ALAC files) > Accuphase E560 > Harbeth Super HL5s.
First things first: the amp does many things right. Everything has a lovely warm glow. People use the word 'golden' to describe the Accuphase sound, and that's pretty much right. But there's also as much detail as you could wish for. Strings and cymbals have a glorious sweep. Percussion strikes are very proper. Leading edges are nicely marked. This is an amp you could listen to for hours and come away feeling invigorated by the sonic sensation.
The bass is very rich and round, but also precise. You can hear the wobble as the resonance of a kettle drum resonates away.
The sound stage seemed good. Though here the negatives start. I've heard a more 'holographic' presentation from the Musical Fidelity AMS35i and Devialet D-Premier. Also I felt the dynamics weren't quite as exciting as the MF and Devialet. (I should say that I heard the Devialet through Harbeth Super HL5s too, and I plan to hear the MF through the same next week.)
So in the end what left me slightly -- and I stress slightly -- underwhelmed was the lack of drive and excitement. The Accu seemed wonderfully suave and tremendously detailed. But ...
I should also mention that because this is a Japanese grey import, it was using a step-down transformer. Whether that makes any sonic difference, I wouldn't know.
Interesting you found the dynamics of the E560 somewhat lacking, as this is an area in which I noticed a marked improvement over my Sugden Masterclass... I therefore, regardless of any techy explanation, can't help but feel the transformer must have had some negative reaction on the Accuphase.
You may well be right. Perhaps @Audiotastic can enlighten us on the question of the transformer.
And there are other variables, most obviously the speakers. So the comparison between my two auditions is very shaky. But I hope to demo the AMS35i with the Harbeth Super HL5s next week, which may shed more light. And what I'd really like to do is get the AMS35i and the new Devialet 170 in the same room, both playing through the Harbeths and e.g. some PMCs or Focals. That would be really tasty.
What classical music are you listening to?
Not sure if these would fit the bill for you Matt, but just came across http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?88247-Pre-owned-PMC-PB1i
and did you know Trevor at Guildford Audio stocks Devialet?
Cheers, Mac, you are a genius at sniffing out this second-hand gear. But I fear the PB1is may be a bit big for my room. I have the OB1is in my sights though.
Re. Devialet, yes, I was aware that Trevor stocks them. And my local dealer is also going to stock the new range. I don't know how well they're selling, but there does seem to be a lot of wind in the Devialet sails. And you'd have to say that on paper the new range looks relatively keenly priced, given that they comprise streaming, a DAC, DSP and future upgrades. Like the Daleks, they're going to take over the world. (Or not ...)
Ah, OK, I did wonder... I'll keep my eye out for some OB's.
Not sure how much the new Devialets are going for, but I noticed Trevor has an ex-demo D-Premier for sale for approx 8K.
Just found these... http://www.fanthorpes.co.uk/pmc-speakers/pmc-ob1i-speakers-ex-demo-2191658-281061-.php
Don't know how up to date the add is, but still worth contacting them.
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