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Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 300

08-13-2017 | By Victor Chavira | Issue 92

Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 300

Image courtesy of Tweek Geek

Power conditioners are an essential part of a high fidelity audio system. The reproduction of musical sounds in our homes begins with AC power. Unfortunately, AC power is susceptible to all manner of electrical contamination that impedes audio components from sounding their best.

Even dedicated sound rooms with independent wiring can suffer from noise produced beyond the electrical box. Core Power Technologies' EQUI=CORE 300 suppresses noise by converting alternating current to balanced power.

In the same way that balanced signal cables uses two signal conductors plus a ground, allowing noise picked up along the way to be canceled through polarity inversion, so does balanced power. The EQUI=CORE 300 contains a toroidal transformer and robust filtration to deliver clean power to components up stream. The unit features of a pair thick shielded integral cables that can be ordered in several lengths. My review sample came with an 18" cable to the wall duplex and a 5 ft. length for connecting the included Wire World Matrix 2 power strip with six outlets. The EQUI=CORE 300 could not have come at a better time since I had recently sent my long term reference Pi Audio UberBUSS to New Mexico for upgrades.

Admittedly, the original electrical box and wiring of my 1950s era suburban ranch style house are less than ideal for the pure reproduction of sound. There isn't a socket in the house without appliances, TVs, or power strip for gaming consoles and device chargers that all contribute very fine grit overlaying the music. Thankfully, Southern California Edison delivers consistent power to the pole without frequent outages or severe voltage fluctuations. My first generation UberBUSS excelled at eliminating AC noise to imperceptible levels.

I began the review period by listening to the system without the EQUI=CORE 300 to establish a baseline. My Bel Canto C7R and the Wire World Matrix 2 power strip were plugged directly into the wall duplex. Following several hours of listening in this manner, I inserted the EQUI=CORE 300. Given that this was my first encounter with balanced power in the context of my system, I was curious to hear what impact, if any, the unit would have on my favorite tunes. What I discovered was quite compelling.

The soundtrack of this summer was Calexico's 2007 collection of instrumental recordings called Tool Box. The music is evocative of remote dusty Southwest roads and old desert towns unmarked by the passage of time. If you were a fan of Joss Whedon's Firefly television series or Serenity movie, Tool Box will undoubtedly bring a warm smile to you face. Listening to this music from my MacBook Pro USB output to the unfiltered C7R was very enjoyable as expected from the lauded Bel Canto. Even after years of work, the C7R consistently communicates the emotion and energy embedded in my digital files and LPs.

The first track "Above the Branch" is a lovely ballad that features delicately finger picked acoustic nylon string guitar, banjo, accordion, bowed bass, and drum kit struck with brushes. The melody conjures an image of a child on a swing under the shady branch of an old tree while the child's thoughts soar high above. Music occupied the listening space before me and drew images with draftsman's precision. Similarly, the gentle waltzing song "Hair Like Spanish Moss" with cello sounded like the end credits of an old western romance movie that only existed in my mind.

Inserting the EQUI=CORE 300 resulted in a remarkable transformation of space and sound. Rather than occupying the space before me, the music opened up significantly across the entire front wall of the room. Pings on cymbals, brushes on snare, and plucks of the banjo defied their association to the LS50s. The banjo in particular sounded as if the musician were seated the dinning room adjacent to the listening room. Bass drum activated the house with quick deep jolts of energy. I anticipated a lowering of the noise floor and reduction of electrical residue but I did not expect the effortless flow of music and energy that my system was now producing.

My Afro-Cuban jazz streaming selection for you this month is by singer Concha Buika from Spain. The popular Cuban song "Siboney" is artfully arranged with "Milestones" by Miles Davis to very swinging effect. Listening with the EQUI=CORE 300 rendered lively musical images. Voices in harmony substituted for the horn section of the "Milestones" excerpt and sounded deeply layered. Six string electric bass purred with profound power and percussion just popped. Listening without the 300 produced constricted soundstage and attenuated the liquid dynamic energy experienced with the 300 in line. Another essential stream is "Mami Me Gustó" from Buena Vista Social Club's 2014 Lost and Found. The live track bursts with enviable energy from the late great Ibrahim Ferrer and company. The grand space and openness of the venue are transmitted perfectly with the 300.

My 1963 Epic stereo LP (BC 1272) of Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition orchestrated by Ravel and performed by George Szell and The Cleveland Orchestra is eloquent and amusing. The massive bass drum in "Gnomus" startles with surprising force. My Pioneer PLX-1000 already noted for rock steady and smooth performance revolved effortlessly like an ice skater tracing circles on a frozen rink. The melody drifted gracefully in "The Old Castle" demonstrating a profoundly quiet background and micro dynamic responsiveness.

With the untimely passing of both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, I revisited tracks from Soundgarden and Linkin Park. "Black Hole Sun" and "What I've Done" are more frequently listened to on ear buds to keep my legs pumping during the final minutes of an elliptical session. Listening on the main system with the 300 reminded me of the emotional depth and power Chris and Chester possessed in conjunction with down tuned and overdriven electric guitars. How many times does Chris repeat "Black Hole Sun!" in the corners of the song like a long fading echo down a well whose darkness only they could understand?

Finally, even thought music system serves as 2.1 home theater, I did not connect the 55" TV or Play Station Blu-ray/DVD player to the EQUI=CORE for the purpose of this review. In the context of music and the particular AC issues of my home, The EQUI=CORE 300 was a very impressive performer. Residual noise from old house wiring and device interactions vanished. The system regained effortless vigor and super quiet operation. I believe the 'CORE created optimal conditions for my components to sound their best without fundamentally changing the familiar synergy that I enjoy. Solidly recommended with confidence!


Retail: $799

Core Power Technologies