Clarus Takes New Approach to Power Conditioning

Clarus, maker of high-end cables and sister company to Orlando, Florida-based cable specialist Tributaries, has taken a new approach to preventing AC line noise from contaminating audio signals in its first AC power conditioner.

Designer/engineer Jay Victor discovered that certain types of filters used in power conditioners can audibly degrade the audio signal even though they remove noise from the AC line in a measurable way.

That finding led to Concerto, the $3,600 flagship model in a new series of power conditioners. Instead of using one set of filters for everything, the component has three sections that feed eight hospital-grade outlets: Two are optimized for analog components, four for digital components, and two for high-current amplifiers.

The Analog outlets employ advanced C-Core filters designed to “ensure there is no restriction of dynamics,” while the Digital outputs use “complex multi-level filtering” to deliver clean power to DACs, CD players, and other digital gear. The High Current outlets use a “massive 30A C-Core filter” to deliver full power without restricting dynamics in amplifiers, powered subwoofers, and other high-current equipment.

Each outlet pair is clearly labeled and isolated to prevent interaction with adjacent outlets. The outlets are also designed to support the “heaviest high-current power cables.”

The C-Core technology behind the Concerto’s analog and high-current filters is proprietary and designed to “reduce audible noise emission when the voltage and current applied to the core are in the audible frequency range,” according to Clarus. The component also incorporates dampening material to prevent (audible) mechanical vibration that occurs when a low-frequency AC signal passes through the copper windings of an inductive filter.

In addition to cleansing incoming power, the Concerto employs thermal metal oxide varistors (TMOVs) to protect connected components from power surges and guards against power surges and over/under voltage conditions. If voltage drops below 90VAC or rises above 135VAC, an alarm sounds and the unit automatically shuts down; when safe voltage returns, the Concerto automatically returns to its last power-on state. The alarm can be turned off.

If the surge-suppression circuit is compromised, a Protection Fault LED on the front panel lights up and the unit automatically shuts down. Front-panel Ground and Polarity LEDs also illuminate to indicate that the power cord and outlet the Concerto is plugged into are properly grounded and in phase.

During development, Clarus said Victor evaluated the Concerto with test instrument but made final decisions only after conducting extensive listening tests and comparisons with reference designs. Apart from his engineering background, Victor is a life-long audiophile who holds 50 patents.

“The development of audiophile-quality power conditioners is a natural progression for Clarus,” said Clarus president Joe Perfito. “When the first prototypes were completed, our listening tests began. The results were remarkable. It was as if a cloth that spread across the soundstage and over the musicians had been lifted.”

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SuicideSquid's picture

Why do you publish these puff-piece regurgitation of manufacturer ad copy?

It doesn't do you any credit, blowing smoke up the ass of scam artists like Clarus/Tributaries. If you can find anyone who can hear a difference between this $3,600 "line conditioner" and a decent quality $100 power bar in a blind test, I'll eat my hat.

jeffhenning's picture

Having owned power centers and conditioners from both Monster and Furman, I can attest that clean power with excellent protection does make a difference.

That being said, the difference is very small. These claims of power conditioning transforming your listening experience are hyperbole.

The biggest thing I'm looking for in a power conditioner is the ability to take the hit from a lightening strike and not kill everything connected to it.

If it also, nicks a few dB's of noise from the equipment that's nice as well, but I doubt that it's much more than a couple.

The same can be said for power cords. The cord can only add noise to your system so a fully shielded power cord from a company like Pangea is great. Supra makes fantastic, fully shielded AC line for about $4/ft. They also make IEC plugs to go with it.

You can get documented, measured performance from other manufacturers whose equipment is cheaper than this box.

If your stuff is so good, prove it. Let's see the results rather than "It sounds good to me" testimonials and claims with no proof. Back it up, baby.

Talk is cheap.