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Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Source:CEC TL5100, Audio Note tube DAC; Philips DVP 5500S SACD/DVD player; iPod Video; Thorens TD 104; 2x Thorens TD 160; Thorens TD124
Preamp/Integrated: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Tri TRV EQ3SE phono stage; Trends Audio TA-10; KingRex T20U and Slap; Yarland FV 34 CIIISA; Qables iQube; RSA Predator [in for review]
Amplifier: FirstWatt F5, ModWright KWA-150, Octave MRE-130 monos with SBB
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Avantgarde Acoustic Solo in HT 2.0 setting; Podium Sound Podium 1 [on loan]
Cables:Audio Note AN/Vx interconnects; Siltech Paris interconnects; Gizmo silver interconnect; full loom of Crystal Cable interconnects, power cables and loudspeaker cables and cable accessories; Audio Note AN-L; Gizmo silver LS cable. Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201 nano3; full ASI LiveLine set; LessLoss DFPC [in for review]
Stands: Two double sets of Solid Tech Radius; Acoustic System amplifier shelves
Powerline conditioning: LessLoss Firewall [in for review]
Sundry accessories & room treatment :IAR carbon CD damper; Boston Audio graphite CD damper, Denson demagnetizer CD; Furutech DeMag; Nanotec Nespa #1; Machina Dynamica Magic Box; wood, brass and aluminum cones and pyramids; Manley Skipjack; Boston Audio Design TuneBlocks; ASI TopLine; Full apartment treatment by ASI  with Acoustic System Resonators and Sugar Cubes; Gizmo's Harley Davidson cap
Room size:a. 8.0 x 4.70m with open extension to a 2.20 x 2.40m A/V bay and open kitchen. Ceiling height is 2.50m, reinforced concrete walls of 45cm, reinforced concrete floors and roof of 30cm. Room has on one side a large glass bay.
Review Component Retail: $4,995

Thinking out of the box - in a box.

When you look up power conditioning at the Wikipedia site, you’ll find the following: "A power conditioner (also known as a line conditioner or power line conditioner) is a device intended to improve the quality of the power that is delivered to electrical load equipment." By this description though no definition, the LessLoss Firewall may be dubbed a power conditioner even though its looks might steer an observer in a different direction.
What to think of an obvious block of oak 20cm high, 76cm long and 18.5cm wide? If this log weren’t fitted with a male Furutech IEC on one end, 4 Oyaide Schuko sockets on the other end and another quartet of outlets flipped 90° to the long side, you’d think it a nice piece of firewood. But it’s quite the contrary. It is a fire wall aimed at keeping bad things at bay and passing only the good. A laser engraving on the long side states Firewall and Power Foundation.

We have reviewed the LessLoss Dynamic Filtering Power Cable here and during the process had some intensive contact with LessLoss’ Louis Motek. Louis isn’t just another music lover who thinks he needs to serve the world with a musical tweak of some sort. A music lover he is for sure by making part of his living typesetting and transcribing musical scores. But there’s more to Mr. Motek. For one, he is an avid physics enthusiast and loves exploring the world guided by the likes of Richard Feynman. This generates wild ideas rarely pursued in the audio world. His DFPC power cable is based on the fact that the in audio circles known but perhaps not fully understood skin effect phenomenon may be exploited as a filter. Here Louis emphasizes that the gradation between conductivity, skin thickness and length are of importance as is the structure of the skin, i.e. its relative roughness or smoothness.

Louis developed a process which in combination with different materials and procedures can be applied to a cable’s conductors to form an almost unsolvable maze for the high frequencies to be subtracted from the signal. Best of all, it works just as advertised. With the Firewall, LessLoss treads this path much farther to provide clean power to the music system. The basic consideration behind it is the knowledge that the music we hear at the end of the chain is nothing but modulated AC power. In simple terms, the cleaner the incoming AC power, the cleaner the music we get to enjoy. Compared to many other power conditioners, the Firewall is completely passive. There are no transformers with their own EM radiation, no coils or capacitors, not even a lone fuse tucked away inside that 16kg log. The entire workings of the Firewall are based on a further deployment of the ideas and techniques used for the DFPC, albeit in enhanced fashion. Because the Firewall is intended to deliver the cleanest possible power, one must first identify what to filter out of the AC delivery. As Louis believes, the culprits are all frequencies above the radio bands: "The power [delivered] encounters non-linear loads because on the way from the (nuclear) power plant to your home, it passes several power transformers with hysteresis [cause of energy loss in transformers - Ed.]. Generators with non-perfect flux distribution are used during power creation. In your home, things that buzz and hum add harmonics to the 50 or 60Hz line frequency. This all sounds pretty bad but read on.

"The above is pretty well handled already by the input circuitry in your gear. These are real-world problems with real-world solutions. As to how much these solutions really worsen the sound you’ll never know until you unsolder the input filter internal to your gear. However, this filter is basically there for this type of harmonic distortion until we get to radio frequencies. My LessLoss solutions go well beyond these bands without curtailing dynamics. Hence the real culprits are nothing remotely close to 50 or 60Hz including the first few harmonics. In fact, it might be argued that anything in the audio realm of frequencies is not a culprit. I postulate that the culprits begin only at around, say 500.000Hz."
Louis once performed an interesting experiment. "I put on headphones and just listened to my 50Hz power. I listened all night. It changes all the time, every 4-8 minutes or so. It is the ugliest thing you’ve ever heard, with harmonics all the way up to the end of the audible range. And I switched from listening straight to listening to it through my DFPC. Same sound, no difference. I could not hear any difference. It sounded bad at all times. Even when I filtered out the fundamental (50, 100, 150 for example), it still sounded horrible with or without the cable."

A goal of 120 times the effectiveness of the DFPC’s filtering capability was the goal for the Firewall. Why this specific figure we don’t know but it seems a nice target regardless. Further, dynamics were to remain untouched and this was to distinguish the Firewall from all other solutions. In Louis’ words, "…otherwise we already have several industrial solutions, some way better than mine; much cheaper for sure and available at Wal-Mart in the home theater section." For a starting point, theory suggested that low frequencies needed low resistance to pass while high frequencies should see a high resistance to get blocked.

In the many following trial and error sessions, the researchers at LessLoss discovered that metal behaves not only as a conductor. At frequencies above RF, it also acts as a reflector, inductor and even broadcaster. To make things worse, these behaviors occur simultaneously. Further Lessloss testing revealed that at very high frequencies, the signal no longer stuck to the metal surface of the filter under development. Nodes formed instead that bounced haphazardly off the surface and hovered some centimeters above the material being tested. This proved how skin effect exploited as filtering method was insufficient. Confining the erratic high frequency behavior would impede dynamics which conflicted with the design brief. As the goal was a 120 times increase of effectiveness over the DFPC, the filter’s cross section would have to be 120 times bigger. That meant 120 x the 18mm² of the DFPC = 1650 mm². From this calculation, the circumference of the filter’s skin should be 120 x 26mm or a whopping 78cm.