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Agoraquest • View topic - iFi AC iPurifiers Tested and Reviewed

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View topic - iFi AC iPurifiers Tested and Reviewed

iFi AC iPurifiers Tested and Reviewed

This forum addresses questions on installation, configuration and troubleshooting you might encounter with your Sony Amp/Receiver/Speakers/Connections/Cables.

Moderator: jttar

by Maxxwire » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:00 am

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It was a couple of months ago that I first became aware of the iFi AC iPurifier through the end user reports on several of the computer audio related websites that I frequent. On their website iFi explains the capabilities of the AC iPurifier in great detail, but in essence it cleans up the supply of AC Power in an A/V system by performing these 3 basic functions:

1. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) - covers high KHz and low MHz ranges
2. Passive Noise Reduction (PNR) - covers the high MHz range
3. Intelligent Earth - connects to devices without earth to drain mains leakage noise to earth

When considering how to best implement and test these devices within my all digital computer based A/V system I decided that it would be convenient to place one AC iPurifier in each of the isolated ground hospital grade duplex outlets that my 4 pieces of digital equipment draw their power from.

In order to get an idea of the contribution made by each individual AC iPurifier I staggered their deployment of one in each of the 4 duplex outlets that my PS Audio Extension Link AC distribution hub has which provides AC power to the entire A/V system allowing the use of one AC iPurifier in each duplex outlet for each piece of equipment.

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The following describes the order in which I installed the AC iPurifiers along with a brief evaluation of the change that each AC iPurifier brought to the overall audio and video performance within my A/V system:

1) I installed the first of the 4 AC iPurifiers in the outlet which the video monitor with it’s Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) uses to draw it’s AC power. I immediately noticed a substantial improvement in picture quality along with an accompanying improvement in audio playback quality as well.

2) Next I installed an AC iPurifier directly into the same duplex outlet that my Mac Mini computer which supplies audio over USB and video over HDMI is plugged into. I have read many times that computers designed for general use like the Mac Mini use very noisy Switch Mode Power Supplies and because of this the best advice is that they should never be used in conjunction with sensitive purpose built A/V equipment. The introduction of the AC Purifier soon offered a very clear and undeniable confirmation of this advice.

As with most of you reading this review I have spent many years experimenting with ways to improve both my audio and video playback quality keeping in mind that everything we see and hear from our A/V systems was once AC power coming from the wall. That said, the AC iPurifier which was used directly as a ‘firewall’ in parallel with the Mac Mini at the shared outlet it uses to draw AC power brought a level of improvement that in my estimation is in inverse proportion to what must have been the huge amount of RFI and leakage current pollution that the power supply of this general use computer otherwise distributes back into the collective supply of AC power which is shared by all of the other A/V equipment. I am very reluctant in making extraordinary claims, but in this case I must admit that the improvement here was definitely on an order of magnitude allowing both the audio and video equipment to turn in their best ever performance and for the first time finally be able to operate ever so much closer to their original intended design capability once the AC power that the entire A/V system uses was cleaned up by the AC iPurifiers.

3) The third AC iPurifier deployment was to the outlet that the Wadia 151 Power DAC with it’s SMPS uses. This device processes PCM in S/PDIF format into PWM which is subsequently L/C filtered to produce a speaker level signal. The perceived improvement here was very much on the same level as was noticed with the treatment of the video monitor where there again was an appreciable improvement in overall sound quality accompanied by a noticeable improvement in picture quality as well as the general supply of AC power was once again filtered from the RFI and leakage current that the Power DAC with it’s SMPS was creating which in turn benefits all of the equipment using the now less polluted supply of AC power.

4) The SOtM DDC which converts PCM over USB to S/PDIF format and sent over Fused Silica Glass Toslink for processing by the Power DAC is the only piece of equipment in the system that uses a Linear Power Supply (LPS). I mention this because the deployment of the AC iPurifier to the duplex outlet which this LPS draws AC power from was the only instance in this evaluation where there seemed to be no discernible change in the performance of this device or any other equipment in the A/V system. My opinion about this is that this grounded LPS is probably not creating the same large amounts of RFI and leakage current pollution as the ungrounded Switch Mode Power Supplies of the other 3 pieces of equipment are and therefore there is simply little or no noticeable improvement for the AC iPurifier to make in this deployment.

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In my effort to try to understand the mechanisms behind these truly unique and highly effective results it occurred to me that in addition to broadband RFI abatement the AC iPurifier’s Intelligent Earth feature which connects to devices without earth to drain mains leakage noise to earth may be largely responsible for eliminating high impedance leakage currents that exist between the SMPS power supplies of the equipment.

By definition AC leakage currents are common-mode AC that travels via DC cables, and which jumps from component to component via any DC zero-volt connection (USB cables, HDMI cables, analog cables, etc.), and any two connected power supplies in a system will also interact to create leakage loops and this leakage current can go from one power supply to another power supply, even if both have two prong plugs. It is now my strong suspicion that not only does the AC iPurifier work to eliminate a wide bandwidth of RFI contamination, but it is also shunting the Switch Mode Power Supplies to ground thus making the high impedance leakage currents that they create go somewhere else instead of trying to block them.

In conclusion: Three of the 4 iFi AC iPurifiers which I installed over a week’s time have collectively proven to provide the greatest and most transformational improvement thus far to both the audio and video quality of my A/V system which I have been working diligently to improve using successful AC Power delivery upgrades since I bought my first TG Audio aftermarket power cable back in 2000. These truly spectacular improvements that the AC iPurifiers have allowed are the single most impressive set of enhancements I have ever seen or heard in the performance of my A/V system the thanks go to the AC iPurifier’s adept elimination of the copious amounts of RFI noise and leakage current pollutions that were once being spewed back into the supply of AC power severely compromising the performance of the equipment. The AC iPurifiers have now enabled my existing equipment to function strikingly closer to how it was originally designed to perform and in this case resulting in a true ‘component level’ upgrade.
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by RickeyM » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:04 pm

Would these devices be of any benefit to my audio system? It consists of a receiver-CD player-DVD/CD/SACD player-a turntable and a power amp. The CD player, receiver and TT are the only ones with two prong A/C plugs.
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by Maxxwire » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:35 am

RickeyM- I had the very same question last spring when I first heard of the iFi AC iPurifiers and after reading all the reviews I could find it became even more unclear if they would be able to solve the problems in my AC Power supply as it appeared as though almost everyone was getting different results with their equipment and setup.

After reading several of the more credible reviews on the Amazon website which contain a very wide spectrum of results I decided to buy 2 of them based on their 30 day money back guarantee policy and find out how these devices might work in my A/V system...

https://www.amazon.com/IFI-iPurifier-Ma ... ll_reviews

One way to look at the iFi AC iPurifier is as a diagnostic tool which can tell you whether or not any of the problems it was created to address exist among the equipment in your A/V system in that if it 'doesn't work' then your AC Power is free of those particular problems.

I could not begin to guess as whether or not the problems that the AC iPurifiers were designed to address exist within your equipment's supply of AC Power or not, but I do think that buying one on Amazon and testing it out would provide a good opportunity to find out on a free trial.

That said, the first place I tried an AC iPurifier was on my monitor which has a switch mode power supply and I knew immediately by the very noticeable improvement in picture quality that the AC iPurifier was definitely not going back especially since eliminating the leakage loop that it's power supply was creating cleaned up the general supply of AC Power and the Audio equipment as well began to sound better as a result.

The iFi AC iPurifier gives the Triluminous display in my Sony XBR43x800E a distinct advantage in picture quality that the Panasonic and LG OLED's I've seen on display around town can not match while they are set up running on untreated garbage grade power in a retail store. This advantage manifests itself as a remarkably sharper picture in the Sony's Quantum Dot display as compared to the technically superior OLED displays which appear to have a slight amount of what manifests itself as a type of gaussian blur in the video images they create while being powered by an inferior grade of AC Power.
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