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REVIEW: DIY by Jon Risch Signal SU/DU balanced conditioner Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

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Model: Signal SU/DU balanced conditioner
Category: Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Suggested Retail Price: $varies
Description: balanced power conditioner
Manufacturer URL: DIY by Jon Risch

Review by rhyno on July 08, 2012 at 07:07:39
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for the Signal SU/DU balanced conditioner

Signal DU-3 Balanced Transformer
I’ve tried the following tweaks / products for AC conditioning, with varying levels of success:

• Dedicated lines
• High grade in-wall AC
• Alan Maher CBFs and ERS paper in breaker box
• Hammond 193-L chokes around house
• Environmental Protections EP2050 (whole house filtering / protection)
• Oyaide WPZ wall plate, R-1 outlets, along w/ Maestro outlets
• R-C and Cap arrays (latter using Teflon caps, 1.0 uf to .01uf) around the house
• Bybee filters (previously on hot or neutral, now on ground)
• Audio Magic Pulse Gen DX
• High grade power cords by various manufacturers (now using TG Audio and Tel-Wire)
• Power conditioners by TG Audio (in service), Weizhi, Acoustic Revive, Bybee Tech, Silver Circle Audio, Audience, Isoclean. (note: a mix of both passive and active; I’ve come to like passive more).

So I’ve been trying a while to get 1am power to 11am, with varying (but never consistent) success.

Picked up a DU-3 on ebay for $300 (mounted to an oscilloscope stand---anyone interested?!?) and wired it for balanced AC per Jon Risch’s website. Primary has a 15a fast blow fuse, secondary is hard wired into a custom AC cord that has an IEC attached to its end, permitting it to plug into my TG Audio (passive) outlet boxes, which feeds all line level electronics (amp on diff circuit). Maestro outlets exclusively in TG box.

Quick test of wiring showed I was getting 70/70 off the secondaries! When I triple checked my wiring, no errors; measuring at the wall (July in Houston), my voltage was 138/0 (I’m using a Fluke DMM). Yowser!

So into the rig it goes. After a few hours, I noticed how the sound had an overabundance of mid-range energy and NO top end. Was rather disappointed in the results, and then remembered: I still have that Teflon cap array (1.0 to .01) plugged into the same outlet as my amp. So out it came.

Now, where were we? Oh yes. I was about to write about the best thing (behind dedicated lines) I ever did for AC. With the DU-3 in the path, bass depth and impact were more pronounced; top end energy was extended without aggressiveness or any whitening / hardening of the balance the way 11am-9pm power is notorious for. The DU-3 allows me to hear much deeper into each recording, revealing more information than previously experienced (lowest level information in a recording is always obscured by the noise floor of the system—clearly the DU-3 lowered my rig’s noise floor quite a bit). I consistently noted these results regardless of volume setting, though volume settings on my preamp (Audio Research Ref3) were consistently higher than before, which I always take as being evidence of the removal of an unnatural distortion (same thing happened when I introduced dedicated lines and room treatments).

While nothing would please me more than to say it completely removed the up & downs associated with summer power (137vac!), I don’t think its that good (as sonics are still better late at night)…but its done more for my summer power woes than any other product I’ve come across. Its staying, and strikes me as the 2nd best thing I ever did for power (heck, it might make dedicated lines unnecessary, I just didn’t tweak in the sequence to test that).

Downsides: time consuming (1 day) to build properly, heavy, and kinda bulky. Doesn’t address over-voltage situations.

Finally, much appreciation to two gents in particular: Jon Risch (for coming up with the formula, and for having the plans on his website) and Dave Garretson (for always pushing the art of tweaks and building such a nice box, and posting pics, that I copied it almost screw for screw---the weight of the tranny requires a well-engineered box to ensure stability; Dave’s design does that).



Product Weakness: big, heavy, DIY
Product Strengths: wonderful and cheap

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Boulder 1060
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Audio Research Ref 3
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Esoteric P/D02, Modwright 5400
Speakers: Rockport Merak / Sheritan2
Cables/Interconnects: TG Audio, Audioquest
Music Used (Genre/Selections): varying
Room Comments/Treatments: everywhere
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): TG Audio
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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