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My past is in Pro audio, both live reinforcement at high level (I was a human fork lift and could empty a truck of P.A. like a well informed “side fill, stage left”, Lummox!) as well as recording studios. In fact, a bit of CV time, as I never ever needed one in a small world of car audio, my best ever job for learning stuff was Audio FX, right behind the TV-AM studios where Lorraine Kelly worked on Breakfast TV, along with my mama, who was on-screen agony aunt. “A household name, dahling… like Harpic!” was the way it was described. At Audio FX, they rented out stuff. Eventide harmonisers, AMS processors, Lexicon reverbs and digital tape recorders, so costly, not everyone could afford one. They also had analogue two-inch tape recorders and racks of professional Dolby Spectral Recording modules, 24 in a double twelve rack. AKAI had the S1000 sample machine, that The Petshop Boys took on stage. My job was very junior but the most fun. I was test bench boy. That meant that I was to check for normal function, everything that came back from rentals, so it went into the security cage, ‘perfect tested, working order’. One time, the magic word ‘bollocks’ that I childishly used as my test sequence for the sampler, did not work. The technician came to see why, when I raised the issue and congratulated me. The last user had swiped the extra 1GB of solid state storage chips (about the bulk of a big USB stick each, six of them for the 1GB) at a thousand quid’s worth! Yep, 1GB chips for an AKAI S 1000 was a grand in the digital dawn….

Anyway, this informed my whole approach. Real, testable audible differences and by then, I knew I could tell.

So in later years, I tended to apply this pro audio, rather than emotional approach to electronic performance, including the HiFi and speakers I became a reviewer of…..

So there I was in the HiFi show, my badge revealing me as ‘press’ turned over ‘accidentally’. I was nervous as the room was IsoTek, who make mains conditioners. Devices said to clean up the power supply going into your audio kit. I was totally ignorant and utterly biased and hostile, too, if I am honest.

The longhaired chap who demonstrated their four sets of kit, as well as a four-way extension socket from ASDA, started with their entry level and finished with a unit that cost thousands. He was animated, talked a lot about emotional perception rather than physics and while he did explain how and what the things did, I wasn’t sure if I could tell at all, so mixed were my thoughts.

So at the end, when he asked for any questions and his roomful sat there a bit quiet, I stuck my hand up a bt and asked, “Er, I am a reviewer and am having real problems hearing the differences you describe. Could you make it really obvious for a green horn and do the ASDA £1.99 four-way mains plug extension and then the top product you do, again, so I am at risk of having my nose rubbed in what it does?” I detected a moment of irritation but to his credit, he immediately asked the room and got a rather stronger agreement and general ‘yes please!’ than he was expecting. He duly did the demo and at last I think I heard the difference between an amp struggling to get the sheer current to feed itself, down a shared crappy conductor and what the IsoTek EVO 3 Titan actually did to the sound. (The even more awesome IsoTek Super Titan is £10,950…)

Hilariously, it was bloody hard to describe in normal, non-poncy words, so I first forgave the chap, then suggested that it was like the power behind the sound was fatter and easier flowing, like too many fat ladies trying to get through a door at the same time had had the door frame widened - the device opened the doorway wider. But that is as piffley as what the chap was saying. You DO have to be right up there with an awesomely good quality HiFi to get the benefit of the IsoTek thing, but even so, this mains lead press release had me marvelling and wanting to show you guys. And I can tell you that in the Far East, there are mains cable makers that make these look like budget items!

What follows is the press release from IsoTek.

IsoTek, the leading brand of power conditioning solutions for hi-fi and home cinema systems has launched a new high-end flagship power cable. The Ascension represents the ultimate in conductor purity and power cable construction. Unlike other traditional 3-core power cables Ascension features three, 4sqmm Ohno Continuous Cast copper (OCC copper) high purity conductors, these are then silver plated before being encased in extruded FEP with an air dielectric barrier. This assembly is then individually wrapped in Mylar and shielded with an Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) braid before being deep cryogenically treated down to -196 ºC. This complex construction delivers extended openness, a sound with more perceived micro dynamic detail, and inner space and air between instruments within the soundstage. Ascension brings you closer to the music, with unprecedented tonal accuracy, as well as an open yet dynamic delivery of your favourite recordings.

Priced at £2,750.00 for 2m terminated cable, the Ascension power cable is designed for high-end audio systems and customers searching for the best possible performance level.

Key Features and Benefits:
Deep Cryogenic Treatment (DCT)
– The cable is deep cryogenically treated down to almost -196 degrees. This process benefits the crystal structure of the copper and further reduces resistance. DCT increases the material strength making the cable highly resilient and less likely to degrade over time, resulting in an improved sound quality making it more detailed, definitive and more revealing.

Construction – Encased in a high-quality Teflon FEP dielectric and air (insulation) provides a very low dielectric constant over a wide frequency range. Each conductor is individually shielded preventing any negative magnetic field discharge as well as reducing the effects of Common Mode noise interference entering the cable conductors.

Conductors – 4.0sqmm silver-plated Ohno Continuous Cast copper (OCC copper) conductors provide an exceptional level of connectivity. The OCC copper provides over 700 feet length of a single crystallised copper rod, ensuring that a single crystal standard conductor is free of impurity, flexible fatigue-resistance, corrosive-resistance, low electric resistance, non-crystal boundaries, rapid transmissibility and perfect in structure ideally suited for low resistance & fast transmission of power.

IsoTek VAD barrier – To obtain a dielectric Constance close to a vacuum, IsoTek has created a Virtual Air Dielectric offering just 1.0548 dielectric Constance. This air barrier is achieved by minimal conductor contact and the use of an FEP (Teflon) bridge. FEP is an excellent dielectric in its own right, with low coefficient, and the first choice for safety in both temperature and electrical insulation.

OFC Braid Shield – it reduces electrical noise from affecting the signals, and the electromagnetic radiation that may interfere with other devices.

Wrap – A Mylar wrap is used to shield the cable from high-frequency radiation.

Jacket – PVC is used as an outer jacket to give a high degree of flexibility and mechanical damping & strength.

High-Quality Termination – The Ascension cable is terminated using IsoTek’s bespoke audiophile-grade connectors of solid OFC with silver-plated connectors in a durable carbon fibre and metal casing. These offer the highest quality performance and are less prone to tarnish.
The Ascension power cable is provided in a standard length of 2-metre and is available from early October; terminated with UK, EU, US, and Australian mains plugs.

About IsoTek
Headquarters in Winchester UK, IsoTek is an English company making award-winning power optimisation products for hi-fi and home cinema systems. IsoTek has offices in Switzerland and the United Kingdom with over 100,000 customers in over 45 countries. IsoTek has earned numerous accolades from specialist audio and AV publications worldwide and was voted most innovative brand in the Home Entertainment category at the PLUSX Awards, Germany 2016.
IsoTek was born with a singular aim: to create a better solution to the problem of poor mains quality, which restricts the performance of audio systems, through rigorous research and genuine innovation.

To learn more, visit http://www.isoteksystems.com/