Country of Origin
Reviewer: Glen Wagenknecht
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Wyred4Sound server/streamer, Auralic Altair and Altair G1 server/streamer, Wyred4Sound DAC-2, Ideon Ayazi
Preamplifier: Tortuga Audio LDR6 passive, Auralic Altair
Amplifier: Audio Zone D-2
Main Speakers: Mark + Daniel Maximus Mini Monitor, Mark + Daniel Maximus Monitor Mk2, SVS SB3000 subwoofer
Rack: Codia Acoustic Design Stage 3000 BAB
Stands: Charisma Audio Function, Target
AV Speakers: JohnBlue M3s
Desktop speakers: Swans M200 MkIII
Desktop DAC/pre headphone amp: DA&T U-2
Cables: Arkana Physical Research Loom, Audio Art SE, SE-2, e2,and Classic cable looms, JPS Labs Ultraconductor 2 speaker cables, Madison Audio Lab E3 Extreme 1 Interconnects/Extreme 2 speaker cables, Signal Cable Silver Reference interconnects, optical and coax digital cables, Audio Sensibility Impact SE balanced interconnects, Statement S/PDIF and Impact USB digital cables, SwanSong USB cable, DH Lab Power Plus AC cable.
Resonance Control: KAT Audio Terminator 1 Feet, Solid Tech Feet, EquaRack Footers, Weizhi Precision Gold Glory footers, Boston Audio TuneBlock2 footers, Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs, Audio Exklusiv d.C.d. Footers, CA Electronics Standard Cones, Feet, Cable Clamps, IsoAcoustics L8R130, Aperta and L8R200 SUB speaker stands
Powerline conditioning: Exact Power EP15A, GutWire Ultimate Ground cable
USB conditioners: Ideon 3R Renaissance
Listening room 1: 12' x 17'
Listening room 2: 10.5' x 16.5'
Review component retail price: $599, $899 and $1'199 respectively [Canadian currency]
Publisher's foreword. As we're told, certain of Gilbert Yeung's original amplifier designs remain available from Amherst Audio in the US. By gentleman's agreement between all parties involved, Walt Stagner's TLP Audio dealership handles today's power delivery products for the US under his own house brand. George Taylor's Entracte Audio dealership in Toronto covers them for Canada under his own brand as presented here. Upon request, certain custom units are available. It's how Gilbert Yeung remains involved on the design level without having to conduct his own sales & marketing as he once did under his own brand Blue Circle Audio.
The quiet life? Why would you need a power conditioner? Good question. Noise reduction and power conditioning are probably not on top of your wish list for system building. You're too busy with the big shiny toys during those demos, not the black boxes in the background. That's a pity. The professional audio/video community takes the subject of power line noise very serious and goes to great lengths to guarantee clean power for their equipment. If they consider it crucial, shouldn't we? In the distant past, simple hair dryers and appliances were among the perennial noise culprits. Now the modern age has brought a proliferation of gadgetry rife with switch-mode power, wireless Internet and television, CFL and LED lights. So the noise has exploded exponentially, often to disastrous effect. With this condition accepted as the new electrical normal, the status of power conditioning elevated from luxury to necessity if you're a serious listener.
Yeung & Taylor
Power line solutions run the gamut from inexpensive to house down-payment, effectiveness from marginal to spectacular. How can the average audiophile gauge how much to spend and when is good enough? One designer who successfully covered a broad cost range to critical acclaim was Canada's own Gilbert Yeung, the man behind the legendary Blue Circle banner. When Mr. Yeung decided to shift priorities and step away, he became a very desirable free agent. Unfettered by the shackles of manufacture, sales and marketing, he could lend his design expertise and insights to fresh endeavors. For one retailer this presented an interesting opportunity.
George Taylor of Markham Ontario's Entracte Audio has a longstanding passion for music and audio gear. He applied his degrees in musical performance and education to multiple disciplines as educator, musician and conductor on the global stage; as well as taking on the rigors of Canada's high-end audio retail. Among the distinguished products he championed was Gilbert Yeung's Blue Circle line. With that winding down, there was a distinct void needing to be filled. Capitalizing on his decades-long professional relationship with Blue Circle's legendary designer, Mr. Taylor enlisted his creative talents then stepped into audio manufacture himself. Thus Entracte by Design was born.
There are a host of slated collaborative products including a DAC, preamp and integrated amp. First out of the gate is today's trio of power conditioners ascending from the entry-level EF110 to the middle EF120 to the top EF130. These are pure noise filters, not surge protectors or power regenerators. Three tiers offer increasing performance for a sliding balance between system needs and budget constraints. All borrow from Mr. Yeung's classic Blue Circle PLC filters augmented by improvements in design and aesthetics. They retain his capacitor-based non-current-limiting ethos and employ networks of different values "specific to the various frequencies ranges of electrical noise" but with differences. Mr. Yeung updated his networks and values for better performance and added multi-point grounding for superior noise rejection. The new Entracte conditioners lose the signature silicone/ABS pipe construction that was a décor challenge to adopt a more understated metal casing with superior shielding and even lower noise levels. To gauge the intended improvements, I quote Mr. Taylor: "We were hoping to get about the same performance at the price points of his earlier PLC units. However, Gilbert's latest actually work a fair bit better. The EF110 is a bit better than the PLX FX2 X0e CxT, the EF120 turned out superior to the PLC 660 SI. The EF130 is actually better than the BC6000 – at $1'199 vs. $2'295. Needless to say, we were both very pleasantly surprised."
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