From Tone Audio Magazine, December 2019, Shanon Says … Audio Musings from the Great White North by Shanon Swetlishnoff
One of the most important factors in keeping your gear performing at its best is the power it gets fed. We all know the “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy, so providing your system with clean consistent power is essential for optimal sound quality. When it comes to toroidal power isolation transformers, this Canadian company from Toronto, Ontario has been doing it right since 1983. You may not have heard of Plitron Manufacturing, but perhaps you’ve heard of Torus, the subsidiary that concentrates on making isolation transformers for your home. You should hear what a Torus Power transformer can do for audio.
Plitron excels in research, design, development and manufacturing toroidal based products for audio, AV and medical applications with over 400 off the shelf pieces. They also offer customized products to suit a customer’s specific needs. Torus Power models in the RM series remain unparalleled for performance, protection, and value, ranging from 5 Amp to 100 Amp. The goal here is to introduce you to the Torus RM 15, a Power Isolation Unit (PIU) power transformer offering 120 V output with high power capability, isolation, surge suppression, and noise reduction. The RM 15 is reasonably priced under $3,600.00 Canadian ($2,499 USD), offering tremendous value for the price asked.
When choosing a power supply, consideration should be given to the advantages of toroidal power as compared to EI transformers. The toroidal design virtually eliminates mechanical hum, running cool and silent as a result of the lack of an air gap in the grain-orientated silicon steel windings. This advantage reduces acoustic noise 8:1 over EI. What this means for the discerning listener is the elimination of floor noise or any background interference that takes away from a recording’s ultimate dynamics.
Toroidal transformers have 1/10th the magnetic field as their EI counterparts, reducing interference to sensitive electronics nearby. And toroidal power is highly efficient, requiring 1/16th of the electricity EI transformers need in standby. This steps right in line with Plitron’s response to consumer demand for cleaner, greener power, by developing innovative energy efficient technology. This incredible transformer isolates 120 V to power your equipment with low impedance and high current. The result is pure isolation and consistency, even with spikes in household power or electrical storms that can damage your treasured equipment. The larger models have the ability to step 240 V power down to 120 for even more current reserve.
The RM 15 weighs a manageable 21kg (46lbs) measuring 42cm x 29cm x 9cm (16.5” x 11.5” x 3.5”) making it fit nicely into any rack. The front panel has a large recessed toggle switch which turns blue when engaged while the rear panel offers an AC input, 10 hospital grade outlets and a ground.
The biggest question for me was how would using the RM 15 impact the music. I’m a vinyl enthusiast and a huge fan of classic rock but listen to a wide range of music in both digital and analog. Honestly, there was some initial skepticism that there would be a huge sonic improvement, but the RM 15 made me a quick believer. When you are savouring time in your listening chair, you know how much full-bodied bass, crisp vocals, fine details and unimpeded power add to the overall experience. The increased enjoyment the RM 15 brings to my entire music collection is instantly clear. Major improvements in texture, channel separation and fine detail resolution disappear the minute I go back to merely using the wall socket.
The RM 15 brings bass out of the background giving it more kick and dynamic punch. Even without a sub added to the system, there is more bloom, texture and power to the low end. Going straight to Who’s Next, the bass drum and guitar take on a more commanding role in this classis rock recording. While I usually need to play Rush’s “Anthem” and “Subdivisions” at window shaking level, I found the power behind these cuts still on tap at modest levels, where I didn’t before.
Small background details that often get lost are hard to miss while vocals are crisp and genuine too. Slowing down the pace for the Buena Vista Social Club record, Ibrahim Ferrer’s voice mixed with the intimate percussion on these tracks feels more alive than merely plugging into the wall. I went back and forth a number of times, just to make sure I wasn’t freaking myself out.
Now I appreciate the sweet spot more than ever, yet even off axis, I can still hear the improvement. If you haven’t addressed this aspect of your system, your eyes and ears will be opened.
Time to crank up some more Rush…