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ISOTEK EVO3 Aquarius Power Conditioner Review

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 200 93.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 5 2.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 3 1.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 5 2.3%

  • Total voters
    213

solderdude

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Is a physician running a cardiolab an electronics engineer ?
Is sensitive equipment looking very low frequency sub-mV signals using some contact stickers placed on a body measuring differential signals using a very high impedance and non screened wires the same as audio signals connected with screened cables and low source resistances ?
Do you happen to know exactly what equipment was used and what other circumstances may have changed and what was filtered ?
Would you expect the situations in an operating room to be the same as home stereo ?
How would you conclude that it must be DC power rails in any of the measuring equipment to be responsible for the improvement ?

Point 2 is the biggest problem in measuring signals from the brain, heart and even muscles (though near the surface this is easier) and hum being picked up by the body is a thing.

I would suggest to build the circuit I proposed and have a listen to the DC rails in various audio gear before assuming filters help with lowering differential noise in power rails.
Look for common mode issues to be the real problems in audio.
 

sarumbear

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if the degree of ripple exceeds the capacitors' ability for smoothing the ripple, then how might the sonics be affected?
In other words if the power supply was badly designed. I think as a consumer we should replace the unit in question. Besides, none of those AC conditioners change the 50/60Hz AC signal, hence they will not help you in the scenario you suggested.
Second- Does the level of noise on the mains contribute to the potential level of ripple.
No it doesn't noise energy is much, much lower than the power energy.

The video is off-topic.
 

MaxBuck

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Electrocardiophysiology and audio amplification seem to me not to be analogous fields of endeavor.
 
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amirm

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My question however pertains to how much ripple can the capacitors remove, e.g., if the degree of ripple exceeds the capacitors' ability for smoothing the ripple, then how might the sonics be affected? Second- Does the level of noise on the mains contribute to the potential level of ripple.
I noted that I already measured this and it made no difference. This is with a PS Audio P12 power regenerator: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...io-powerplant-12-review-ac-regenerator.31298/

index.php


Not a thing has changed in the spectrum of the noise on the output of the power supply. Here is another in the same test:

index.php


If anything, you can create a new ground loop where one wasn't there as the last measurement above shows.

So I suggest not using intuition and instead, measuring as I have done.
 

Suffolkhifinut

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With regards to Mike82‘s question on how much ripple can capacitors remove? It depends how much capacitance is installed. the amplifier’s load current and it’s duration. A while back some manufacturers started banking up capacitors connected in parallel saying it was better than using single large value capacitors. Capacitors discharge quicker at the start of their exponential discharge characteristic.
 

egellings

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For an EKG company, the custom electronic module manufacturer I worked for made 50Hz and 60Hz analog notch filter modules with a very deep null.
 

DWMB

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the ISOTEK EVO3 Aquarius AC Power conditioner and filter. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,999.

View attachment 181182

From the front, the unit looks fine but on the back, I was disappointed by the thin sheet metal that bent when I tried to insert and remove the included "Premier C19"
AC cable:

View attachment 181185

Likewise, the sockets feel plasticky and loose as evidenced by them not lining up. On positive front, I like the 20 amp rated socket.

The unit has won a number of accolades:

“In suppressing line noise, IsoTek unlocks low-level transparency in the same way that removing layers of old wax from a fine wood surface allows more of the inherent depth and beauty of the wood-grain patterns to shine forth.”
– Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound

"That the IsoTek Aquarius revealed previously unheard details from my familiar LPs, says it all. An effective improvement to a good hi-fi system, this serious product justifies its price."

Hi-Fi World

"The lift in performance is quite remarkable."
Hi-Fi Choice

"[A] mains product really has to do something extremely special to beat the IsoTek Aquarius."
Hi-Fi+

"The Aquarius is brilliant."
Record Collector

Let's see if we can objectively verify any of this.

ISOTEK EVO3 Aquarius Measurements
As usual with power devices, I first determine their "transfer function" but treating it as if were a preamplifier. I feed it balanced sine wave and measure what comes out:
View attachment 181186

While there is some filtering, it doesn't kick in until 1 kHz. You might think this is still good but is not when we look at where the "problem areas" are in AC mains. Here is the measurement and spectrum of my AC feed tonight:


View attachment 181187

We see that our sinewave is visually distorted. Looking to the right FFT spectrum, we see the desired 60 Hz main in that first tall spike. But then we have a ton of harmonics and noise. The worse part of this is up 600 Hz or so. In order for filtering to make a difference, it needs to go way lower, ideally down to 120 Hz. Let's see if the EVO3 does that:

View attachment 181188

As we could tell from the transfer function, it does not do that. It attenuated the higher spectrum but that was already way low in level anyway. To wit our SIAND for the AC mains is essentially the same: 34.3 dB vs 34.1 dB. Here is a higher resolution FFT showing the same:

View attachment 181192

But maybe the device does something with a real audio product connected to it. For that, I grabbed the excellent Topping PA5 stereo amplifier and tested it first with its cord going directly to AC mains:

View attachment 181189

Now let's power it through the ISOTEK EVO3:

View attachment 181190

Beyond run to run variation, there is no difference whatsoever.

Let's do a power sweep and see if that shows any difference:

View attachment 181191

Nothing. No difference at all where the output is noise dominated (e.g. below 60 watts) or at max power.

Conclusions
As I have explained many times, the reason these devices don't do anything for your audio system is twofold:

1. They don't filter high amplitude harmonics and noise in AC mains which is below 500 Hz and most of it below 240 Hz. Such filtering will be quite expensive and large.

2. The first thing our audio devices do is convert AC to DC. That conversion has mandatory filtering which is far easier to implement due to much lower voltages.

So no wonder that in test after test, we find no difference in quality of AC mains, or output of audio device tested.

Why do people attribute better fidelity to these devices? Simple: lay intuition says "filtering" removes noise. So they pay more attention to what is playing and "hear more into the music" with the AC conditioner in the path. And report veils removed, noise floor going down, blacker backgrounds, etc. This happens even if I gave them an empty box but told them it is a power conditioner.

The only time above false observations go away is if the testing only uses one's ear, i.e. blind testing. Then, the listener doesn't know if the device is in the path or not, and will read such differences into either sample showing no statistically valid value to the device. Sadly, people don't want to know the truth here as that would invalidate years of claiming other differences so false statements are made about benefits of such devices. And folks become $2,000 poorer that they could have used on something more useful.

Needless to say, I can't recommend the ISOTEK EVO3 Aquarius.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Hi Amir, thanks for this review. If this product and the PS Audio PowerPlants are a waste of money, what would you recommend to remove DC from the AC line to prevent transformer hum on an amplifier, that does not degrade sound performance? Thank you.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Hi Amir, thanks for this review. If this product and the PS Audio PowerPlants are a waste of money, what would you recommend to remove DC from the AC line to prevent transformer hum on an amplifier, that does not degrade sound performance? Thank you.
Hi there. I don't have any experience with DC removal devices. Other members may though. Are you getting physical hum from the transformers when idle?
 

MaxBuck

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Hi there. I don't have any experience with DC removal devices. Other members may though. Are you getting physical hum from the transformers when idle?
The only DC removal I'm aware of is when my mom threw out my Superman comics because she said they were too violent.

I had a pretty crappy childhood.
 
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