by Martin Appel
After finishing the review of the Nuforce amplifiers, Jason Lim, asked me if I’d like to try a product that he was distributing called Black Noise. He was interested in my opinion. Systems and Magic, an Italian company, makes these mains filters and surge protectors.
Lim sent me two of their products, the 2500 and the Eight, both of which he felt would be appropriate for my system. Each unit is made of 4mm. thick aluminum and is 4 inches x 1.6 inches x 12.8 inches. They weigh 7.7 pounds each. They do not come with power cords. For the sake of this evaluation I used only the generic power cords supplied with my Nuforce amps. Nothing exotic. Knowing in advance how high quality power cords impact the sound quality of any component, I could only imagine what the final performance of these units might be had better power cords been available.
First you plug the 2500 (which has two outlets) into your trusty wall outlet, and then plug the EIGHT, which has eight outlets into one of the two outlets of the 2500. Thus, a daisy chain of filtered and protected outlets is achieved. For a more technical description and full line of products, go to Nuforce’s website where you will also find pricing for their products.
The company claims that the 2500 does not impede the flow of current to your amplifiers and only reduces harmonic noise and interference through the use of multiple levels of A.C. filtration making for blacker backgrounds, an improved soundstage, greater detail… you know all the goodies we audiophiles seek. Now let’s see how well it achieves these goals.
I let the units cook for about a 100 hours and started serious listening. At first I noticed some subtle improvements as advertised. There was a perceptible quieter background and deeper sense of space. These were not of a dramatic nature but they were there. Small gains in clarity and separation were achieved as well. I did not notice any changes in instrumental timbres, which is a good thing. The old dictum, ‘Do no harm’ was in effect here.
Now, all these things are good but the acid test is in the area of amplifier performance, primarily in dynamics. Did they restrict or compress the output of the amplifiers reducing the impact of the sonic presentation? Before I answer that question one has to realize what amplifiers I’m dealing with. I’m using Nuforce 9V2 SE’s, which do not draw gobs of current, even though I’m using four of them in my bi-amplified setup. The answer to the question is no perceived loss of performance. No compression or restriction was imposed by the filters. They seemed to even squeeze a smidgeon more performance out of the amplifiers, which was already excellent and did so without harming the sound. How they would do in other systems, with more traditional amplifiers or in other areas with varying electric service, I cannot say. Clearly an audition would be in order and Nuforce has a 30 day try out policy which would give the potential buyer plenty of time to make a decision. I definitely recommend an audition.
Amplifiers: A pair of Innersound iPower 330’s, 4-Nuforce 9V2 SE’s monoblocks
Processor: DEQX PDC-2.6P
Preamplifier: Innersound iControl
CD source: Classe CDP 100
Analogue source: Avid Volvere / RB300 arm.
Cartridge: Shelter 7000
Speaker cables: Acoustic Zen’s Absolute, Wasatch’s Ultama
Power Cords, Acoustic Zen’s Absolute and Gargantua
Interconnects: Acoustic Zen’s Absolute
Accessories: Sound Fusion’s Sound Boosters, Black Diamond Racing Cones, Soundcare products, Vibrapods, Acme Audio Labs wall outlets. Black Noise 2500 and Eight power conditioners.
Distributed by NuForce
356 South Abbott Avenue
Milpitas, Ca. 95035
Price: MSRPs $1195 for the 2500 and $695 for the Eight
Source of review sample: Distributor loan