Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Anyone tried surplus isolation transformers such as Xentek or Topaz?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone tried surplus isolation transformers such as Xentek or Topaz?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Has anyone tried 1:1 isolation transformers such as you can purchase from surplus supply stores, or Ebay?

Surplus Xentek


Topaz Ultra Isolation Transformer 500VA - eBay (item 160344119108 end time Jul-22-09 15:28:11 PDT)

These are not directly intended for audio use, but many audiophile-oriented power conditioners include isolation transformers in their design. It could be that these are good alternatives to audiophile-oriented designs. Or it could be that they do more harm than good.
post #2 of 20
Donald North from DNA here on the forum uses two ios trannys that look exactly like those. Try sending him a PM to ask for more info.
post #3 of 20
I don't have those makes, but I have an isolation transformer that I had been using while restoring old radios. Isolation transformers and Variacs are the best way to keep from cooking yourself or your project.

Anyhow, on Donald's recommendation, I've used the isolation transformer on my gear and think it's worthwhile. I'm looking into picking up one of the big Xentek or Topaz models from Nebraska Surplus, though you occasionally find them for less on eBay.
post #4 of 20
I bought a 500VA Topaz Ultra Isolation Transformer, very similar to the model that you've linked to, from an Ebay seller just over a year ago. I agree that the security it offers of safe, consistent voltage is reassuring. Moreover, it *does* have an ameliorating effect on a stereo system. My Topaz has somewhat diminished hash and enhanced the 'black' background of the system. I *can* distinguish the difference between the system with and without the transformer in the loop. I *can't* assure you that you will experience similar sonic qualities if you integrate one into your system. YMMV, and, as a "stereo wierdo" suggested in another thread, listen with your ears if you should try to gauge the affects of an isolation transformer on your system.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ServinginEcuador View Post
Donald North from DNA here on the forum uses two ios trannys that look exactly like those. Try sending him a PM to ask for more info.
Actually seeing Don's tranny at the meet is what gave me the idea and I did talk to him about it. If I understand Don correctly, he brings it to the meets to protect his gear, but has not tried to evaluate them for improvements to sound. He has not tried one in his home system.

-Mike
post #6 of 20
I just started using one on my computer and DAC last week. So far I have heard slight but positive results. Better focus and quieter. Not tried it on the amp yet.
post #7 of 20
One of the biggest benefits is not necessarily a sonic one. An isolation transformer keeps DC on the mains (there is usually some DC offset coming out of the wall) off your power transformer. That's a good thing since DC helps to heat the transformer, and heat is the enemy of all electronic components. So while the sound might not change, your transformers will run cooler and happier.
post #8 of 20
If anyone in Los Angeles is looking for something like this, shoot me a PM. I have an older OneAC isolation transformer that I wouldn't mind selling. I used it in my system for years, with positive results. When my system got too large for it, I picked up an Equitech and have been using that since.
post #9 of 20
I use an isolation transformer at meets because there is more than likely a lot of noise and hash on the power lines from all the other gear in use, particularly anything with a microprocessor.

I see a couple purposes for using an isolation transformer:
1. As Uncle Erik mentioned, it blocks any DC on the AC power line from getting into your components' power transformers which will affect their magnetic behavior with possible saturation.
2. The very low capacitance type do a good job of filtering high frequency noise on the AC mains from entering your components.

However, an isolation transformer does not address the conducted noise generated by each component dumped back up the AC line and into the adjacent component. Perhaps we should use 1 transformer for digital components and 1 for analog/amplifiers.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald North View Post
I use an isolation transformer at meets because there is more than likely a lot of noise and hash on the power lines from all the other gear in use, particularly anything with a microprocessor.
Don, I'm curious if you have done a comparison to note improvements in sound. If you only ever use them at meets, a sensitive comparison is going to be difficult (due to the ambient noise [acoustic]). However, maybe you feel that the line noise at meets is far worse than typical home conditions and the benefit from a tranny at meets is obvious.
post #11 of 20
I have not yet tried an isolation transformer in my big hi-fi at home and plan to soon.

I do believe the AC at meets has to be worse than that at home due to the number of audio components and computers in operation.
post #12 of 20
I suspect this would work on video gear as well. Damn heavy moving around for experiments but it's in the pursuit of performance.
post #13 of 20
Tonight I got to hear Mike's K Works Silencers in his system. They look like wall wart power transformers. I listened to a Mozart flute concerto with and without the Silencers plugged into the AC mains. With them installed, to me the instruments sounded clearer, purer, and more palpable. The sound didn't change in presentation in terms of forwardness/recessed. I switched back and forth several times.

I chose classical music for the reference to actual acoustic instruments over electronic/rock music.

This started me thinking: Perhaps the combination of a good isolation transformer + some sort of noise suppressor (like the K Works) on the secondary, to deal with the noise generated by each audio component and conducted back up the AC polluting one another, is a total solution for good power...
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

x


Edited by mike1127 - 8/1/13 at 12:42pm
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Got the Topaz Ultra Isolation Transformer. It's a relatively small one, only 500 VA, and you can see the relative size in the photo:



What's good is it only cost $200 from Ebay. It doesn't hum. It's light at 24 pounds (light for a tranny). And it improves the sound.. more defined, sweeter highs.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › Anyone tried surplus isolation transformers such as Xentek or Topaz?