The Quantum Products, Inc. ElectroClear™ Modules
|The Quantum Products, Inc. ElectroClear™ Modules|
QRT for Every Man: a follow up
23 November 2001
Plastic cased AC socket/plug - 4" × 2.5" × 2.25" each
Most music lovers and film buffs have by now read and heard about the highly effective, and by conventional thinking, logic defying Quantum Products, Inc. QRT™ power conditioners. Until now, it would have taken a minimum ante of $300 for the Symphony or doubling that to $600 for the exquisite Symphony Pro to experience these superb products in your system. To these ears, both are well worth their investment – so much so that I have 2 Pro’s. For those of you who have been hesitant, Quantum has recently taken away your last excuse not to try these musically engrossing devices with the introduction of their ElectroClear QRT™ modules: three for $179.95 or a six-pack for $299.95!
Quantum is headed by William Stierhout, who I first had the pleasure of meeting back in March 2000 at the Festival du son et de l'imageheld in Montreal, Canada. I was so fascinated by the demo of the products, and Bills explanation of how they worked, that I soon had some on their way for my own scrutiny. My impressions, which were published back in July 2000, were so positive that I purchased the review units. Since they have taken up permanent residence, I’ve been demonstrating their remarkable attributes to anyone who wanders into my music room or theatre.Quantum Resonance Technology. Briefly put, Quantum Resonance Technology™ is claimed to neutralize EM & RF Interference through the application of an electromagnetic field theory in a proprietary manner to enhance the transfer function characteristics of conductive materials. This process is said to neutralize chaotic electron motion behavior within the circuitry so that it becomes more ordered and coherent.
Along come the ElectroClears. For $180 you get a three-pack of small plastic off-white or black "wall wart" looking devices, each roughly 4" × 2.5" × 2.25". Their stated purpose, aside from being treated with QRT™, is to act as highly refined shunt filters that install across the AC line. Near the top of the back surface of each box is a three-prong plug permitting the box to be "plugged in" to an AC outlet. On the bottom face of the box is an AC socket, where you insert the power cord from your product of choice. This is a bit different from the original purely passive products in that, for the first time, you actually plug your products into this QRT™ device. You merely insert them in line with your chosen products and they start doing their very welcomed brand of magic.
Being the tweeker I am, it was inevitable that I take a gander inside. It didn’t help! There were only a couple of diodes, some capacitors, some resistors and one IC, all neatly mounted on a nice little green circuit board. Researching the IC revealed it to be of the 74HC family of parts. This one is a CMOS compatible 12-bit Asynchronous Binary counter in a plastic DIP case. I don’t know about you, but that didn’t help me understand how these little gizmos do their legerdemain.
The Sound of Three ElectroClear’s Clapping
Mike Silverton had taken some time to discuss how the ElectroClear modules affected his video system back in March of this year, but I felt a more in depth look was called for, especially as Mike didn’t go into their application for audio. To prepare for this evaluation, I first switched off and removed my 2 Symphony Pro’s. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the sound of my system without the QRT advantage.
After only about an hour of listening to the QRT™ "nuded" system, I’d had enough! It was time for some QRT™. After installing the three-pack of ElectroClears in line with three of my systems power cords (two amps and the preamp first), I sat down to make some notes. Within minutes I began to notice that almost every aspect of the presentation was returning to some vestige of the heightened clarity I’d grown accustomed to with the Symphony Pros in place. Though the ElectroClear’s start to offer their singular form of enhancement immediately, their effects seem to ramp up and maximize over 20 to 30 minutes of use.
The most notable improvements came in the areas of musical dynamics, the space of the recording, image and soundstage focus, enriched instrumental timbre (most notably in the upper midrange), lower noise floor and an overall clarification to the whole presentation.
Music seemed slightly louder with the ElectroClear’s in place than it had been previously at the same volume settings. Though I cannot be absolutely certain, my suspicion is that it has much to do with the darker background – i.e., lower noise floor – the system now presented. I believe that this is also responsible for the slight improvement in dynamic contrasts, in particular, those of the micro variety.
While the soundstage was not quite as focused and full as I recall it having been with the two Symphony Pros installed and engaged, it was none the less noticeably sharper and better focused than the "nuded" system. Instrument layering was better realized, giving recordings, when they permitted, a more lifelike feel. Upper mids, in particular those of piano, massed strings and the human voice, had taken on a more honest sense of voice. It was slight, but it was readily noticeable.
The most remarkable thing these products do is offer an overall sharpening or clarification to the entire presentation. It is as if some layer of grunge or noise is removed, offering a more clear view into the entire musical event. You will likely not even be aware that this "film" is layered over your sound until you hear it removed for the first time. Nevertheless, the result is a more articulate, concise view into the recording, and it is a very desirable one.
I should point out that in my experience, I know of no other product that offers this particular brand of clarification. The closest analogy I can offer is that their collective effects are somewhat similar to those of the Bedini UltraClarifier - but they last. The downside to the wonderful effects of CD treatment with the Bedini device is that, after about 20 or 25 minutes, it wears off, requiring retreatment. Not so with the ElectroClears!
While some may debate the degree of improvement they provide, I have to say that the areas that are affected are all quite noteworthy, thereby making the overall effects these gizmos infuse very significant. Don’t think of their contributions as being similar to replacing speakers or amplification. Their effect is more along the lines of the results you experience when synergistically chosen cabling replaces entry-level patch cords and zip cord. Their magic is highly musical and undeniable. In my estimation, I would say the troika of ElectroClear Modules offer up something in the neighborhood of a third or more of the performance that the Symphony Pro provides. That is pretty outstanding for under two hundred bucks.
I moved this threesome throughout the system, eventually using them in-line with my phono stage, digital front-end power supply, turntable and transport. While I noticed no apparent advantage or disadvantage to any one arrangement, I would urge you to try them in different locations for yourself. And don’t be shy. Try them with your computer, table radio, etc. The results may just surprise you. They did me!
In general, these unassuming little boxes illuminate and heighten the emotional involvement of the recorded event, whether I used them in my home-theater or two-channel system. While the degree of enhancement they offer may be seen by some as hard to quantify, the musical import of their contribution is anything but to this listener. Given their reasonable asking price, the sonic impact they provide, and their ridiculous ease of use, they get my highest recommendation! Tell Bill you read it here.
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