by Steve Hoffman
Power conditioning. Some believe in it, some don’t. I didn’t really think it made a difference, I had tried an inexpensive conditioner once and it didn’t do a damn thing. But that all changed a long time ago.
I got to know Jim Weil, the inventor of Sound Application power conditioners at a CES show back in the day through my local sound guru now retired, Mike Slaminski. He got Jim to gave me one of his 12 plug units to try and I did, in my studio, mainly so I could plug everything in to one safe spot. I never did an A/B with the unit, I was just happy that it kept my studio tidy.
It was 14 years ago, after the CES in Vegas. Sean, inventor of ESP Speakers had come directly from the show to my house in LA with the show pair of his great speakers. We hooked them up in my living room, had giant tube amps driving them and I was playing a Peggy Lee remix I had done at Capitol (“MY MAN”) over and over so we could get the best setup. I knew the song well, obviously. Whatever Sean tried the result seemed a bit, I don’t know, lackluster. I remember being so sick of that song, but we tried over and over, got the best position and then(mainly out of frustration) I said “Wait, let me try a power conditioner down here, see what happens.”
So, I ran upstairs got my Sound Application LineStage power conditioner that Jim Weil had loaned me the year before (unhooked it from my studio and everything), ran down, plugged the amps, preamp and CD player, everything, into it, and the unit right into the wall outlet under my grand piano, ran back over to the same spot on the stairs expecting no change, played Peggy Lee again and HOLY COWSVILLE!!!!
What the hell? Everything changed, GIANT change, for the better. I am not exaggerating. It’s like I was hit in the chest with a Cupid sound arrow or something. The dynamics came to life, the fullness of the original Capitol Studio sound was now a showcase, the bottom octaves arose from the dead, Peggy’s voice became human and not a recording and the band sounded like they were right there. Nothing else had changed in the system, same volume, same everything, only the Sound Application LineStage power conditioner was added to the equation.
I ran down to Sean, looked at him and said (I remember exactly) “Is this POSSIBLE?”
He nodded and smiled, relaxed and said “We are there” which for Sean was about the nicest thing I’d heard him say about any setup.
We were there, and in system after system, in every room, over all these years I am still there because, thanks to Jim & Connie Weil, every stereo I have, new and vintage use Jim’s Sound Application LineStage power conditioners.
So, I became a believer in power conditioning. But as Jim explained to me, not all power conditioners are designed alike and some can do more harm to the sound than good.
I use Jim’s 12 outlet copper foil units, but Jim tells me something new is coming, very soon. Teflon, replacing copper. Jim is always inventing, also trying for more and I can’t wait to hear his new creation.
He writes me that his new design has increased the resolution across the entire audio bandwidth plus a lot more very sweet sounding razor sharp ‘fullness’ in the bottom octaves. He states that the harder his new units are run, the better they sound. Simply good physics. His current dependent power factor correction is always the key to his designs.
Jim says: “There are a total of four circuits all doing different things, in my Final Design. After 29 years of R&D, I am finished designing. That is how good these latest units sound.”
I believe him. I have NEVER forgotten that day all those years ago when my zillion dollar loaner system absolutely came to life when I simply added the Sound Application Conditioner to the system.
I should point out that the ‘Line Stage’, the Copper Foil and the T-7 Teflon are each of completely different designs. There was an almost 8 year interlude between the LineStage series and Jim’s Copper Foil model. The T-7 model is the newest model closely following the C-7.
With all recent SA designs, the higher the current load – either instantaneous or continuous – the higher the performance of the AC power. Amps absolutely thrive with this design. The total Resistance from IEC input to the last outlet is between 3/1000’s and 6/1000’s of an Ohm!
When I mention 7N, I mean the 99.99997% purity of the copper. The lower noise floor of the 7N wire is translated to the entire audio chain and is obvious. SA uses Acrolink 100 strand 7N, 10 Gauge power wire: this consists of single wire crystals, each 350 feet long. This wire sounds amazingly smooth.
Looking forward to hearing Jim’s new work!