The tendency of all equipment to act like a microphone and re-amplify a delayed ghost image of what’s playing on the loudspeaker is called microphonics and this ghost image is what any proper isolation base or technology is trying to reduce. The audible effects of this ghost image are a loss of focus, decreased separation of massed instruments, voices as well as a general smearing of the image.
Audiophiles have spent countless hours trying various cures including: cones, feet, spikes, platforms, bricks and discs to reduce the level of microphonic pickup in equipment. However, aside from the fact that these various tweaks clutter the setup visually, they are also rarely a complete solution designed as a holistic approach to vibration control.
The PowerBase takes a different approach to vibration control by engineering a holistic multi-tiered system that includes both vibration dissipation and masking.
The key to effective mechanical isolation is to use multiple subsystems tuned apart by a magnitude difference, which dissipates the vibrational energy over a fairly broad spectrum. The PowerBase achieves this ideal by using two subsystems separately tuned apart by a factor of ten.
The first subsystem in the PPB is the base and suspension system itself. High durometer (very stiff) adjustable Sorbothane feet are attached to a specially damped 16 gauge steel and aluminum bottom chassis that forms the first level of energy dissipation in the system.
Mounted inside the base chassis is the second subsystem, formed from low durometer (soft) Sorbothane feet supporting a massive 20 pound damped 1/4â€³ steel plate that forms a floating platform the equipment sits on.
The combination of a soft suspension supporting a high-mass floating platform coupled with a stiff suspension lower-mass body form a broad spectrum mechanical energy dissipation system that is extremely effective at reducing induced vibrations from the loudspeaker pair.
Vibrations generated in the loudspeakers travel both through the solid surfaces of the room as well as the air and induce ghost images in all the equipment in the room. The PPB can dissipate a broad spectrum of energy sent through solid surfaces in the room (such as the floor) through its double diffusion suspension system, but equipment sitting on the PPB is still exposed to airborne vibrations. This is also true for just about every isolation reduction product on the market today. So regardless of how you may have isolated your loudspeakers from the floor, they are still moving the air in the room and your equipment at the same time.
The PowerBase addresses airborne vibrations in a unique way that has proven to be quite effective. The PPB’s massive floating equipment platform is designed to effectively couple any unit sitting on it to the diffused vibrations from the loudspeakers. This may at first seem counterintuitive to engineer the platform to actually couple the diffused vibrations rather than reduce them, but the design has effective purpose and improves system performance rather well.
Because it is nearly impossible to isolate the equipment in the room from airborne vibrations, the next best cure is to mask the effects of the delayed ghost image that naturally occurs in all equipment.
Masking is a simple system of adding back randomized noise to the signal. Our ear/brain mechanisms tend to ignore random uncorrelated audio in favor of correlated direct sound. In the same way that room diffusors work to enhance the stereo image and dither works to increase the apparent low level detail in digital music, coupling the diffused mechanical vibrations back into equipment sitting on the PowerBase helps mask any airborne vibrations picked up by your stereo system.
Complete vibration control
By combining both the mechanical vibration reduction system and our tuned masking system in the PowerBase, the audible results are immediately obvious. Noticeably improved separation of instruments and voices from within the soundstage as well as a clear reduction of smearing and grunge in the music gives a new level of clarity and musicality rarely achieved with equipment in the same room as the loudspeakers.
Even the most exotic vibration control systems lack effective power cleaning facilities built into them and require additional chassis, power cables and clutter in the system to achieve effective power isolation and cleansing.
AC power problems are inherent in both the wall voltage as well as the equipment itself. What’s needed to improve the power is an effective one-way-gate that reduces power line differential and common mode noises and distortions at the source. The closer to the equipment, the shorter the connecting power cable between the equipment and the power filter, the better the sound quality of the system.
PS engineers designed a new low impedance passive common and differential mode filter that’s built right into the PowerBase. Using large core magnetics and heavy gauge, low turn OFC windings, reductions of power line noise greater than 40dB can be achieved. The results are like a breath of fresh air to your system.
Power problems generated at the wall
We’re all aware that the power in our homes is never perfect and many times a detriment to the sound quality of our music systems. Noise from outside sources such as cell phones, satellite transmissions, computers and household appliances are polluting our power and being fed directly into our sensitive audio and video equipment. Lowering the level of induced power line noise and distortions without sacrificing dynamics and musical life is a challenge for any power filter, but the engineers at PS Audio have decades of experience tackling these issues effectively.
The power filter specially built into the PowerBase will not only restore life to your music through line noise reduction but will actually improve dynamics as well. Cleaner, better bass, lower noise and improved dynamics.
And generated by the equipment itself
Certainly there’s no better method of dealing with AC power problems than a Power Plant, but even the venerable Power Plant AC regenerator itself isn’t all that kind to the AC coming into the Power Plant itself.
Not as many of us are aware that our own equipment can sometimes be our worst enemy when it comes to adding back power line grunge, but it’s true. With few exceptions the power supplies in our equipment kick back current spikes and generate power line noises that can pollute other connected products on the same home power system. To effectively reduce their cumulative effect, PS engineers built a one-way-gate power filter for both common and differential mode noises generated by the equipment.
Sitting atop a PowerBase and powered through the internal filtering system, connected equipment suffers little from either power line induced noise or those generated in the equipment itself.
Power Plants and conditioners on the PowerBase
While it may be intuitively obvious that source equipment, turntables, CD players, DACS and power amplifiers would benefit from the PowerBase it may not be quite as obvious that a power conditioner or Power Plant can equally benefit.
In fact, the first work on the PowerBase was with a P10 Power Plant sitting atop it. Power Plants and power conditioners are just as prone to passing on induced vibrations from the loudspeakers because they, like all electronics, are also microphonic. Reducing vibration levels as well as adding back effective masking noise to power products has the same beneficial improvements enjoyed by source and control equipment.
And Power Plants also add back their share of power line noises as well. It’s important to remember that a Power Plant is a large power amplifier and kicks back its share of differential mode line noise when its asked to regenerate new power to connected equipment.
Placing a Power Plant or power conditioner on the PowerBase and powering them through the PPB’s one-way-gate filter is an effective way to gain a new openness to the sound your system produces.
Together, they improve everything in the system
By lowering mechanical vibrations, adding effective masking techniques to the induced vibrations and providing an effective one-way gate for the AC power going into units, the PowerBase improves just about every piece of gear placed and powered by it.
An elegant, gorgeous component grade solution
One look at the PerfectWave PowerBase and you’ll know instantly this is a thoroughly engineered product fit for any system at any level. The fit and finish, the soundness of the engineering will all bring a sense of satisfaction to your system.
Performance levels of connected equipment will be immediately upgraded both in therms of openness, spacial improvements and a reduction of grunge and smearing. Think of the PowerBase as a double whammy for your system: cleaning up both mechanical as well as power line problems all in one lovely, elegant product that will stand the test of time for years to come.
The original design prospectus for the PowerBase was for a vibration control platform without a power filter built in. Engineering approached our director, Dave Paananen, for his advice on building an isolation platform that could significantly reduce both mechanically induced and airborne vibrations from the loudspeakers in the room.
Dave had considerable experience in a “former life” designing platforms for very sensitive laser and antenna devices on satellites. Each system had to withstand the intense vibrations of the launch vehicle as well as work flawlessly once in space. It would seem that a platform for a high end audio component would be a simple task, relative to his former experience.
The first steps in designing an acoustical vibration reduction platform was to develop an accurate measurement system. This involved multiple accelerometers strategically placed on the vibrating surface as well as the reduction platforms. Once designed, these accelerometers pointed the way to reduce the primary vibrations but it became obvious that airborne vibrations would be another problem altogether: hence the idea for masking came into the discussion and proven with our many tests.
The first listening tests we performed using the PowerBase prototype was on the P10 Power Plant and it was immediately obvious just how effective the platform was.
At this same point in the PowerBase development we were right in the middle of proving our technology for our newest passive power device, the Dectet. It didn’t take long for the idea to kill two birds with one stone popped into the discussion, and we built a new prototype featuring both mechanical and electrical isolation. The results were excellent and soon found their way into a new design specification that eventually became the PowerBase of today.
To further bolster our notion of both mechanical and electrical vibration control, a few United Kingdom manufacturers started displaying and publishing similar thoughts on reducing induced vibrations through the actual power cords themselves, an idea that bolstered our own thoughts on the subject.
In the end, we believe we’ve created a magnificent product and a new category for the industry; mechanical and power isolation embodied in one, elegant design.
Each and every PowerBase is hand assembled from the ground up in our local operation by highly skilled artisans that care about every piece that leaves our dock.