I first heard of the Torus Power Transformers from Steve, my longtime audio bud in Birmingham. always liked Bryston products, owning some over the years. What really got my attention though was when he sold his Audience aR1p and purchased a power transformer that Bryston used from a company called Torus. The Torus Power products are engineered and manufactured by Plitron Manufacturing, in Toronto, one of the very best manufacturers of toroidal transformer. Torus Power products use proprietary and patented technology developed by Plitron utilizing the Toroidal Isolation transformer as a noise filter. Larger-than-necessary toroidal transformers are used to provide abundant current and power.
DESCRIPTION AND DESIGN GOALS
Torus doesn’t call their power products Power Transformers but rather, Power Isolation Units. They are supposed to isolate the audio/video system from dirty AC. Their designs are to:
- Do away with the typical power deprivation that occurs with most transformer-based units, which can result in weak bass as if the amplifier is running out of power.
- To use the inductance and capacitance that is natural to toroidal transformers to reduce AC line noise, and to act as a low-pass filter using proprietary and patented technology.
- To design a power transformer that reduces/filters RF fields.
The company goes on to point out that most high-end power products are simple filters and do not provide isolation between the outside power grid and the inside power source. They designed the Torus PIUs to deliver true isolation using toroidal transformers, and to provide low source impedance and large enough instantaneous current for today’s most sophisticated and powerful equipment, including high-power audio amplifiers. Again unlike most high-end power products, the Torus product is intended to protect your system from the ever-present risk of severe power line spikes caused by something as simple as common household appliances to something as powerful as lightning storms. So Torus products attempt not only to improve the power quality, but also to provide state-of-art protection. They do this without the use of common Metal Oxide Resistors.
How many times have you looked at a power transformer, power cord, or some other tweak and wondered what the heck is inside that box? Well, the people at Torus want you to know what’s inside their boxes. The toroidal transformers used in the Torus units feature triple-screens for ultimate noise rejection. They also use a metal mounting band that “suspends” the transformer inside the cabinet, further reducing mechanical noise. In most audio products, toroidal transformers are about half the size and weight of a comparable-output conventional transformers, but the Torus transformers are twice the mass of standard-issue toroids to provide extremely open, high-reserve power.
Torus Power transformers have sufficient reserve power capability to provide all the current needed for even high-power systems. I could go on and on with the technical information that I read about the Torus Power Transformers, but you can get that on the web, and I have to admit I don’t understand most of it anyway. I do however want to give Bryston and Torus credit. As most of the makers of audiophile Power Transformers are very secretive about what is inside their conditioners, I found it refreshing that Torus and Bryston are so open about what’s inside theirs, even if I don’t completely understand it. For this review I was supplied with Torus’ RM-15 AVR, which takes all the features of the RM-15 that I have talked about above, along with hospital-grade outlets and Series-Mode Surge Suppression. The AVR version adds new cosmetics, RS-232 and Ethernet connectivity, 12-volt triggers for automated and remote control, plus a microprocessor-based voltage regulation to ensure a consistent flow of electricity.
SET UP AND OBSERVARTION
The first thing I did for the review was to pull out the Audience aR6-T and listen to my system for a week plugged straight into my dedicated AC lines. Then I set the Torus RM-15 AVR in the same place the Audience aR6-T had sat; other than it being bigger and much heavier than the Audienc,e all I had to do was plug and unplug the power cords.
I used the Torus in three different setups; in two setups, I used only three of the receptacles, and I used four in another. I used it with my reference system consisting of the Shindo 301 turntable, Shindo Giscours preamp, and Wavac EC-300B amp, and also with another system consisting of an Electrocompaniet AW 2×120 amp and Atma-Sphere M-60 Mk. 3.1 OTL mono amps.
Compared to plugging everything into my dedicated lines the Torus RM-15 AVR greatly enhanced overall quietness, dynamics, and detail. It also improved the imaging and sense of scale. When I removed it from the system the soundstage diminished in size, resulting in a less three-dimensional sense of space. I have had several world class Power Transformers in for review, each of which costs more than three times as much as the Torus, yet the RM-15 AVR held its own very well. In fact, the Torus does nothing negative to the sound in comparison to these very expensive units, though with both the $6,300 version of the Audience aR6-T and the Synergistic Research Tesla PowerCell 10SE there were greater differences to be heard compared to no power conditioning at all. Over the years all the better Power Transformers I have used made a fundamental difference in the musicality of my system. The really good ones have had the ability to improve the overall detail, transparency and clarity of the sound.
The Torus does it even with powerful amps without inhibiting macro- or micro-dynamics, nor obscuring the natural rhythm and pace of music. The Torus also increased the musical flow of my system and improved my system’s overall PRaT. The audible difference that the Torus made compared to plugging everything straight into my dedicated lines is quite impressive, and the top-end no longer had that kind of grainy, hazy-sound. I could go on, but my system simply wasn’t nearly as good without the Torus. In conclusion, I find the Torus not only doesn’t limit dynamics, it improves them as well as the musical flow, and PRaT. It removes haze and blurring. The last thing I would like to address is the question of price. As I mentioned in the review, it cost much less than my two favorite Power Transformers, yet provides much of the magic for a lot less money. Without a doubt the Torus Power Isolation Units should be on your short list of things that give you a big sound improvement for the money spent.
Thanks to Jack Roberts for his careful and thoughtful review of the Torus Power RM 15-AVR. Torus Power products are made in Canada by Plitron Manufacturing Inc., at our factory in Toronto . Plitron has been designing and manufacturing toroidal transformers for almost 30 years, and supplying to many of the world’s leading audio manufacturers, as well as aerospace, medical, alternate energy and other cutting edge industries.
Your readers might find a further explanation for the noticeable improvement in audio performance provided by Torus Power interesting. Plitron has developed proprietary technology to utilize the characteristics of toroidal transformers to act as low-pass filters. Applied to power conditioning for audio and video, the results are outstanding- as Jack Roberts has noted. The over-sized Toroidal Isolation transformer is able to provide high amounts of current on an almost instantaneous basis, so that the amplifiers have access to that current when and as needed to meet peak demands in the music.
The transformer also acts as a noise filter, eliminating impurities on the power line. The connected equipment operates free of power line impurities, as if in a “protected bubble – the Torus Zone. “ The full range of Torus products use identical technology and provide similar performance and protection benefits.
For areas where voltage stabilization is not an issue, the standard RM 15 or RM 20 models without voltage stabilization are available at lower cost.
For the purist audiophile, and for custom installations, balanced input versions of Torus units with 240 Volts ( 2 x 120V) are available. To full appreciate the full range of Torus products, with models rated up to 100 Amps, your readers are encouraged to visit our website www.toruspower.com We would also like to provide clarification about the development of the Torus Power line, and the relationship with Bryston. Bryston is a leading manufacturer of audio equipment who has used Plitron transformers in their products for more than 20 years. Plitron consulted Bryston during the development of Torus products for performance evaluation and feedback.
Bryston has distributed Torus Power products to the audio industry, and have now introduced their own BIT line of Power Transformers utilizing Torus Power/Plitron technology. Torus Power products are available from Plitron, and through a growing network of audio/video retailers, custom electronic installers, and international distributors. Sincerely, Howard Gladstone President/CEO Plitron Toroidal Power Products
by Jack Roberts