In 2017 I reviewed the original Antigone power management system from Montreal-based DR Acoustics. It was remarkable piece of hardware which effectively lowered my system's noise floor by passively filtering its AC feed through a number of unusual techniques. To reiterate the advertised features, it used "micro quartz chamber isolation, vibration control subsystems built around the quartz-filled carbon fiber tubes and an individual phase filtration system". Parts of this AC conditioner were the epitome of premium like Rhodium-plated Alpha pure copper Furutech receptacles and 4-gauge ultra pure cryo-treated copper conductors. It was built like a vault and no-compromise solution to AC line noise and its performance proved remarkably effective. Yes it was aimed squarely at top-tier reference but absolute standards are a pursuit of passion, not financial constraint.

Note the new ground terminal.

When covering Toronto's Audio Fest 2018, I was fortunate to meet up with Mr. Daniel Robidoux of DR Acoustics and did some enjoyable listening to his products paired with KEF speakers and Classé electronics. We got chatting about a new version of his Antigone and the pending patents on the unique methodology implemented in it. The possibility of a review came up and a Mark 2 version with companion Red Fire Ultra power cord soon arrived on my doorstep.

So what changed? The basic concepts of the original remain for good reason. What Mk1 did well it did very well. The improvements now are refinements that allow Mr. Robidoux's approach to operate even more effectively; plus some ergonomic rethink that makes the new Antigone more accessible to a wider audience. The proprietary compound inside the carbon fiber filters has been upgraded to a new formula for even greater noise filtration. Damping was applied to the top panel of the thick black-anodized aluminum case and the feet were upgraded for greater isolation from external vibration. A fresh addition to the rear is a ground post. Tests showed that the inclusion of a grounding post made audible performance improvements so it was incorporated in the revision. Mr. Robidoux worked hard on getting the details right to justify a Mk2 variant.

With Mk1, a feature idiosyncratic to at least me had been the 20-amp AC requirement. While the concept of upgrading to 12-gauge house wiring and matching outlets made solid engineering sense, it ran against the grain of existing 14-gauge 15-amp circuits which predominate. Dealers at the time were selling 20-amp wall outlets along with Antigone as stopgap measure but Mr. Robidoux has since come up with a simpler more elegant solution at the connector level. While the rear panel of Mk2 retains the full complement of 10 x Nema 5-20R outlets and IEC C-20 power inlet to satisfy those wishing to undertake the 20-amp route, his Red Fire Ultra power cord can now be ordered with the required 20-amp male connector for Antigone's IEC input then with a premium-quality but standard 15-amp plug for the wall socket. The Red Fire Ultra is of course optional but a formidable beast with Rhodium-plated Furutech NCF FI 50 plugs, 5-gauge equivalent 99.99 OFC wiring and a multitude of applied shielding and tunneling technologies. Its inclusion in the purchase guarantees Mr. Robidoux's intended voicing and performance level for Antigone.

I assembled this review's system in the new listening room – Auralic Altair for Tidal streaming, DAC and preamp functions; AudioZone D-2 for amplifier duty; cabling by Arkana Physical Research. There also were brief flirtations with the Wyred4Sound music server and Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-11 to round out observations. Speakers were the Mark & Daniel Maximus Mk2. The Antigone/Red Fire Ultra combo replaced my Exactpower 15A/Audio Art Power 1 SE power management pairing. Since DR Acoustic chose that 20-amp IEC, my review reflects the sound of conditioner and cable as matched set. As during the prior review, I couldn't assess the effects of the cable independently but for a glimpse of what the cable alone does, our editor-in chief penned a separate review here.