Core Power Technologies DEEP=CORE 1800
Life in a loft space can be a challenge for some. It’d be easy to infringe on each other’s activities without a fair amount of compromise. Thankfully, we’ve been pretty good about sharing space – and having different schedules from time to time certainly helps especially when dominating the space with audio and music.
I have a lot of room in which to stretch out and that includes system placement – my rig doesn’t have to be stacked symmetrically in the center between the speakers sitting too close to walls. At present, my system is offset, with the guts of my rig – analog sources, preamps and one stereo/mono amplifier(s) – 7 feet to the right of my right Tekton Double Impact tower, with the left one nearer to a side wall than the right one. The other of my amplifiers is near-center between the floorstanders, allowing the use of shorter speaker cables, being fed by a long run of good XLR IC’s. My sweet spot is 17 feet from my rack stand at the far right and 10 feet back from the speakers.
Nice, right? It is, except when you need to make adjustments with a component by oneself and note any changes… not as easy as it sounds, depending on the component being tested. That’s where friends and family come in – with my wife at work, I decided to enlist the ears of Clement Perry (CP), while I spun the component’s knob. “I could use your ears,” I texted. CP arrived shortly thereafter.
The DEEP=CORE 1800
The DEEP=CORE 1800 is a simple unit, similar in styling to other Core Power products – black textured metal, black beveled top and bottom plates and rounded aluminum corner elements. It measures 8” x 8” square and 4” tall with the feet included, similar in size to the EQUI=CORE 300. The DEEP=CORE 1800 differs from its EQUI=CORE discontinued counterparts with no embedded cables, instead providing a rear IEC connector and one red duplexed receptacle. It also has one user-adjustable rotary knob and a reset button.
I quote the following copy about the DEEP=CORE 1800 from Core Power Technologies/AV, a new division at Underwood Hi Fi: “The Deep Core 1800 is a multi-function power conditioner that re-defines the category. The Deep Core 1800 is designed to not only provide clean, spur free power but it also allows the user to optimize the power delivery interface via a user adjustment. The optimization of the power delivery interface can significantly affect sound quality as the power company is a major contributor to attributes such as poor noise floor and dynamic range of the system. The Deep Core 1800 can be used with almost any system configuration providing optimized power for both source components and power amplifiers. It will work as a stand alone device, in front of the Equi=Core 1800 or older 1200, 300 etc., or in front of any other power conditioner you may already own. However, it works best when used in front of a quality power conditioner, like the Equi=Core 1800 balanced power conditioner.”
The manufacturer suggests that the DEEP=CORE 1800 be connected in front of your power conditioner “as the ‘final’ word in preparing your AC for a good power conditioner,” praising its ability to not only full cleanse AC power of DC, EMI and RFI noise “as well as match your AC to your individual components.”
For evaluation, I placed the DEEP=CORE 1800 in 4 very different configurations: 1) as the power cleansing front end in my main rig equipped with an EQUI=CORE 1800, 2) in my vintage rig (in front of an EQUI=CORE 300), 3) directly connected to a power amp with a passive preamp and a MacBook Pro with an external DAC and 4), between the wall and my integrated tube amp using that same digital source.
Musings from Mark Schifter
Mark Schifter recently sold his Core Power Technologies business to Walter Liedermann and remains as a valued resource to Wally’s Underwood HiFi. A paraphrase of Mark’s response follows:
“The EQUI=CORE’s, with their balanced power, really knock the noise level down on the front end, which is just fantastic. The DEEP=CORE 1800 removes that nasty DC (which in many parts of the United States, is up over four volts on the line) and gets rid of that bit of distortion as it presents a better and more cohesive power source to any conditioner, including our own. Remember please, that the EQUI=CORE balance has the power but, in and of itself, if you have bad power coming into it all it can do is do, at best, is a balancing act with what it is presented. A great spaghetti past and an equally great sauce make for a great dinner. If you don’t have a great sauce, no matter how good that pasta might taste, without that great sauce, it’s just plain old spaghetti.”
Mark Schifter was one of the people behind Audio Alchemy. My paraphrase continues: “I have described the DEEP=CORE as a lot like the old audio Alchemy DTI. Here is where we de-jittered the source before the DAC, thereby allowing the DAC to really do its thing. When I’ve explained it that way to customers, a light goes on in their eyes.
Do remember as well, Greg, that one of the neat things about the DEEP=CORE is, if you live in a home that has something like refrigerators, air conditioners and air compressors going on all the time, that the instant spike of DC really harms an audio system. The DEEP=CORE completely scrubs that. Since everybody’s power and power supplies are different, we included a user adjustable rotary Contour Control potentiometer for selecting how much DC you want removed, because not every system will respond to the same position.
You want to get the very best power you can to your conditioner. That includes our conditioner – any conditioner is only as good as the front end you give it.”
Enter the Ears
Our crazy barking dogs are always happy to greet one of their favorite people, I secretly believe CP is Dudley’s favorite, preferred over yours truly. It was nice to see Millie happy to see CP too (she tends to be a bit reserved, compared to the boy). They climbed all over him while sitting in the sweet spot until tired out enough to hang alone by themselves watching us from a distant chair.
As I said, it’s a challenge to listen, get up, walk those 17 feet to adjust a knob, to then return and listen for differences with any adjustable product, and adjusting the DEEP=CORE’ 1800’s rear mounted scrubber knob was no exception. A remote with motorized rotation would be cool, though such an addition might be something used by some to set it and forget it, making it hard to justify such an added expense. I even spent some of one night thinking about make-shifting a long pole with which to rotate the scrubber knob by myself… my wife thought me quite mad. Thankfully, most reviews involve just a change of music or source, easily accomplished with a couple of iPad apps that allow the remote control of two digital sources. while still seated in the sweet spot.
As I played a familiar piece of music, CP told me when to turn it up and down. Of course, on the very first turn, even way off axis, I thought I heard something. Now, it’s easy for the mind to play tricks, for our body position and a little physical exertion to simulate change or stimulate our ears to hear said change. It is, after all, a challenge when quantifying changes in our own systems from time to time. i.e.: Is the effect from a tweak something I heard or merely change I wanted to hear?
After a number of on/off sequences, CP said “It’s thickening up the signal” as I knelt, adjusting the DEEP=CORE 1800 (it was placed at the bottom shelf of my rack). CP only had a short time to stop over, so I was (again) on my own without being able to sit in the sweet spot and hear things aided by another’s turning of that scrubber knob.
The EQUI=CORE 300, 1800 and the DEEP=CORE 1800
I’ve listened with Core Power’s products since the introduction of the line. My first experience with the EQUI=CORE 300 was revelatory (then offered in 50 and 150 models as well) – its conversion of power from the wall to balanced was easy to hear with no power conditioner in the system at that time.
The EQUI=CORE line could each feed a single component with IEC connector or, with use of a Wireworld Matrix 2 power strip, provide balanced power to 6 components and accessories.
I thought the EQUI=CORE 1800 proved a significant step up in both sound quality and convenience, offering far more capacity in it’s handsome, and heavy, all-in-one unit with its built-in quartet of red duplex receptacles and ability to handle far more of a load. At the time, CPT offered a 1200 model as well, but the 1800 is the only model remaining in the current EQUI=CORE lineup now that the company has been acquired by Underwood HiFi. They tell me a 600 watt and 20-amp 2400-watt unit are coming shortly.
In my case, at this time of year, with no air conditioner needed nor homes yet heating, listening to the new DEEP=CORE 1800’s on a good conditioner was a subtle errand. As I noted above, I also installed the DEEP=CORE 1800 by itself in a couple of rig configs with no conditioner. A different placement of Jack Bybee’s iQSE’s at the amplifier, per CP’s suggestion, helped bring greater clarity, taking a bit of sterility from the amp’s presentation. Amazing things, those IQSE’s (the same can be said for CP’s ears).
I was ready to jump back into listening, anticipating my wife’s exit just after midday (typical for her mid-week work day), when, as life would have it, she surprisingly told me that she’s now on hiatus for the next few weeks, starting that very day. This meant a lot of sleeping while recovering from her hard weeks of work and hours on her feet. So, here I sit, writing my thoughts on the DEEP=CORE 1800 as she sleeps in the back corner of our one big room. I refer you to the first paragraph at the top of the page.
Makes Sense To Me
Days later. Placing the DEEP=CORE 1800 as the front end for power in a variety of configurations, CP was correct, the signal was indeed thicker but, maybe a better description would be “information-ally dense” – cleaner, more tangible and engaging, with a touch more life to dynamics and a touch of blacker background in quiet areas. To my ear, the volume control felt raised slightly (perhaps from the sound coming out of a denser black). Subtle, yes, but there.
As mentioned above, Walter Liedermann, the owner of Underwood Hi Fi, has purchased the assets of Mark Schifter’s Core Power Technologies, making Underwood HiFi the new home of Core Power Technologies/ AV. This review of the new DEEP=CORE 1800 wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the new line of Core Power Technologies/AV power cables as well.
The review sample of the DEEP=CORE 1800 came upgraded with a Valiant Gold AC cable, one offering in the new line of cable products that Mark Schifter composed for Underwood Hi Fi. Nicely presented inside the review box and in its own back bag, the Valiant Gold cable is one handsome product. The cable itself is sheathed in a woven skin of gold and dark grey outer strands, with hefty high-quality gold plugs branded with the Core power Technologies AV name. Both prongs and ground appear to be solid copper and the IEC male end solid and heavy and fits snugly in the components.
Underwood Hi Fi decided to begin importing their own cables under the Core Power Tech/AV brand. Paraphrasing from the website: In design for more than a year by some of the best engineers in the world, these cables, like all Underwood owned products, represent unparalleled value at prices that bring sanity to the cable segment. First offering 4 cable types – interconnects, speaker cable, power cords and Digital cables – each cable type will have Silver, Gold and Diamond versions.
First in the lineup is the “Valiant” Power Cords line, currently offered in 6 & 11.5 foot lengths. As stated on the website, Core Power may offer other lengths in the future based on demand.
The “Conduit” line is their digital cable series, composed of 2 USB, with coaxial digital cables following shortly. The “Conduit Silver USB” is a high-quality Silver cable that this maker says can compete with $350-$500 cables. Core Power’s state of the art “USBe Perfect” powered cable will set a standard and compete with any cable made.
The “Linx” interconnect line will also come in Silver, Gold and Diamond versions, offered in 1 and 2 meter lengths in both RCA and XLR terminations.
I’ve listened to two of the Valiant Gold’s on both the EQUI=CORE 1800 and DEEP=CORE 1800 in my rig for the week and can tell you the Linx Gold sounds as good as it looks… even my wife, Robin, commented “that’s gorgeous.” Good looks and good sound at a competitive price? Great stuff – the Valiant Gold performed comparable to my Oyaide power cables.
“Defiant,” is the Core Power’s speaker cable line. gain, offered in the same 3 tiers as the other types,
Underwood Hi Fi notes that these speaker “cables sell for a small fraction of the cost of competitive products.” I look forward to hearing more of each of the products in the Core Power Cables lineup in the not too distant future.
Placing the DEEP=CORE 1800 as the front end for power in a variety of configurations, I noted that the signal was indeed enhanced – more palpable, more engaged, with a touch more life to dynamics and cleaner, with a touch of blacker background in quiet areas. These attributes were subtle but apparent.
Depending on your power circumstances and the amount of grunge in your DC line (your mileage may vary), use of the DEEP-CORE 1800 with other Core Power products, or other power conditioners, should offer some noticeable improvements to your exiting presentation as it should with other brands of power conditioners.
Do give the DEEP=CORE 1800 a listen and try out the new line of Core Power Cables a listen as they roll out. If the quality of construction and performance of the Lynx Gold power cables are any indicator, the rest of the Core Power Cable line should perform admirably and offer performance above their price point.
Core Power Technologies/AV DEEP-CORE 1800
(comes with the 14g standard cord – there are upgrade deals available)
Core Power Cables
(Call for pricing and availability)
Maui, Hawaii 96761
DEEP-CORE 1800 Features
Multi-Stage Deep Cleaning of any Power Source
Innovative DC block Input Stage
• Prevents DC From Saturating any upstream Component
Common Mode RF Filter With Custom RF Components
• Blocks all Common Mode RF Interference Imposed on Power
Complimentary “Deep Stage” RF Filter on Line and Return
• Deep Cleans Any Remaining RFI Before Output
Adjustable Coupling Control
• Variable Earth / Return Coupling to Maximize Signal Integrity Across Load
• Surge protection
Size and weight
8 x 8 x 3.5″ (12x12x12 shipping box)
7 pounds (13 pounds shipping weight)
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