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POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 7
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balanced power technologies

BP-2 Ultra and BP-2.5 Ultra

as reviewed by Larry Cox

 

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LARRY COX'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
ATC SCM 20.

ELECTRONICS
E.A.R. 509 amplifiers and E.A.R 864 preamplifier.

SOURCE
Audio Note CD3 CD player.

CABLES
Ensemble Dynaflux and Calrad balanced interconnects. Speaker cables made from Belden 1219A wire & IXOS 6003a.

ACCESSORIES
API Power Pack. BDR cones.

 

Balanced power is apparently the rage in the AC line-conditioning world. Last year I had the opportunity to listen to two products from Balanced Power Technology, a company out of Defiance, Missouri. I'm not sure why balanced power is supposed to be better, but my experience with the BPT products was good. One of the models I tried had a single massive transformer for all of its electrical receptacles and the other had four transformers, one for each pair of receptacles. Both units provided more drive, more bass, and a better sense of rhythm. The single-transformer model provided the greater sense of drive, but the four-transformer version had more delicacy. Their prices were also quite reasonable. Each was about $900, compared to the megabuck units that other Positive Feedback writers have used and purchased.

Neither of these two units was system-changing in the way a new pair of speakers or a CD player can be. Rather, the effect was more like changing the system's existing sonic signature. If the system was laid back, it stayed laid back, though if it lacked bass, the BPT units gave better-defined bass. If the system was thin, it stayed thin, but would be clearer. Imaging also improved, along with a greater sense of "being there." These were the best power conditioning units I had tried in my system, and they complemented each other—two BPTs were better than one.

Recently I had a chance to hear BPT's latest and presumably greatest, the BP-2 Ultra and BP-2.5 Ultra, the latter equipped with Bybee filters and a high current filter upgrade. If there was a question about whether the new products measured up to the previous ones, that question was eliminated almost upon their receipt. Of course, reviewing requires listening as well as looking, but my visual impressions were positive.

I first compared the $999 BP-2 Ultra to a friend's API Power 116 Pack that I had been using for some time. The 116, which is at least five years old, couldn't match the BPT. Through the BPT, there was a greater sense of quiet, with more music to be heard. There was also deeper, tauter bass, with better delineation of bottom-end textures. I can't say rhythm was improved, but it wasn't degraded. There was a greater openness in the midrange, and the top end also sounded more open. The fact that the background was quieter allowed "smaller" sounds to appear in bolder relief, which made them easier to hear.

Between the BP-2 Ultra and the $1599 BP-2.5 Ultra, the difference was just as great. Again, everything was clearer and easier to listen to. I could distinguish individual instruments in the most complex passages. The sound was bracing and clear, like live music can be. I must confess that after I plugged in the BP-2.5 Ultra, I neglected my reviewer duties. I didn't want to go back to the BP-2. This is not to say that the BP-2 was bad, only that the BP-2.5 was better. If there were any problems to identify, I'd say that the BP-2.5 made things a bit lean, although not bright or thin. I was however, quite happy with the sound. I have a disaffection for bright systems, and would object quickly and strenuously to that sort of sound. Each performer seemed to sound more present, more like they were in the room. The BPT-2.5 Ultra made my system sound "right," though not always enjoyable. Poor recordings sounded poor, but very immediate. Exacerbating poor recordings isn't a desirable thing, but with the BP-2.5 Ultra, it was acceptable because my experience was more like a live experience.

If your system is where you want it to be, the Balanced Power Technology Products are worth your attention. If you have the bucks I'd say go with the BP-2.5 over the BP-2, but if you can't swing the extra $600, the BP-2 is still a good choice. If you haven't gotten close to putting your final system together, get your system straight. Once you've done that, check out the Balanced Power Technology products. Larry Cox (See Francisco Duran's review at: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue7/bpt2.htm)

 

 

 

2 Ultra
Retail: $999

2.5 Ultra
Retail: $1399

Balanced Power Technologies
web address: http://www.b-p-t.com
email address: contact@b-p-t.com   

 

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