Clarus Takes New Approach to Power Conditioning

Clarus, maker of high-end cables and sister company to Orlando, Florida-based cable specialist Tributaries, has taken a new approach to preventing AC line noise from contaminating audio signals in its first AC power conditioner.

Designer/engineer Jay Victor discovered that certain types of filters used in power conditioners can audibly degrade the audio signal even though they remove noise from the AC line in a measurable way.

That finding led to Concerto, the $3,600 flagship model in a new series of power conditioners. Instead of using one set of filters for everything, the component has three sections that feed eight hospital-grade outlets: Two are optimized for analog components, four for digital components, and two for high-current amplifiers.

The Analog outlets employ advanced C-Core filters designed to “ensure there is no restriction of dynamics,” while the Digital outputs use “complex multi-level filtering” to deliver clean power to DACs, CD players, and other digital gear. The High Current outlets use a “massive 30A C-Core filter” to deliver full power without restricting dynamics in amplifiers, powered subwoofers, and other high-current equipment.

Each outlet pair is clearly labeled and isolated to prevent interaction with adjacent outlets. The outlets are also designed to support the “heaviest high-current power cables.”

The C-Core technology behind the Concerto’s analog and high-current filters is proprietary and designed to “reduce audible noise emission when the voltage and current applied to the core are in the audible frequency range,” according to Clarus. The component also incorporates dampening material to prevent (audible) mechanical vibration that occurs when a low-frequency AC signal passes through the copper windings of an inductive filter.

In addition to cleansing incoming power, the Concerto employs thermal metal oxide varistors (TMOVs) to protect connected components from power surges and guards against power surges and over/under voltage conditions. If voltage drops below 90VAC or rises above 135VAC, an alarm sounds and the unit automatically shuts down; when safe voltage returns, the Concerto automatically returns to its last power-on state. The alarm can be turned off.

If the surge-suppression circuit is compromised, a Protection Fault LED on the front panel lights up and the unit automatically shuts down. Front-panel Ground and Polarity LEDs also illuminate to indicate that the power cord and outlet the Concerto is plugged into are properly grounded and in phase.

During development, Clarus said Victor evaluated the Concerto with test instrument but made final decisions only after conducting extensive listening tests and comparisons with reference designs. Apart from his engineering background, Victor is a life-long audiophile who holds 50 patents.

“The development of audiophile-quality power conditioners is a natural progression for Clarus,” said Clarus president Joe Perfito. “When the first prototypes were completed, our listening tests began. The results were remarkable. It was as if a cloth that spread across the soundstage and over the musicians had been lifted.”

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