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Thread: isol-8 minisub axis - mini review

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2017

    Location: Sussex

    Posts: 324
    I'm Simon.

    Default isol-8 minisub axis - mini review

    Im borrowing this conditioner at the moment. I'm still trying to work out if it's worth it ATM.

    I've plugged all my kit listed in my signature into it, including power amps which go into sockets one and two. It has common mode noise and differential mode noise filtering and dc blocking which I think stops dc off an ac wave going into the unit and henceforth into hi fi components.

    What's immediately obvious is a bit more detail in things you didn't hear before. For instance the cymbals on leftfields 'melt' on the leftism album are more pronounced. There is more dynamics to the sound and better edges to some of the electronic sounds such they sound more real.

    Trying other music and a bit of Amy winehouse and 'love is a loosing game' what's more obvious is the vocal and just everything is more projected and in your face.

    Another thing is bass is slightly tighter and deeper and punchier, which is the other main trait.

    The added detail is certainly making the detail of my Cyrus stuff shine, but I wish I had started with naim stuff before I built my system as I heard a pair of pmc 25-24s in a shop recently with some naim stuff and it was quite awesome. But that's another matter.

    I doubted myself on some boards of Canada stuff being a bit flatter in the mid range drums, but flicking back to the bog standard power bar it was confirmed that was already there in the soundtrack anyway.

    I don't know if it's me, but I tend to sometimes find the sound always gets better in the evening. Maybe it's because your ears take in more information as it gets dark and your senses rely on your ears more, but I'm definetly getting a sense the isol-8 is helping at a time everyone comes back home from work and more noise is emitted - I live in a top floor flat. This better sound in the evening is usually preserved for late night listening when I clearly hear big differences and I suspect that's because everyone else turns off. But I'm getting a sense this better sound is coming earlier with this device. A lower noise floor.

    I've still yet to make my mind up on whether this is worth it for the price and whether I go for it. But if you are prepared to think that you can never probably get the same improvements with these types of devices than with amp or speaker changes, then you can look at the value of this item in that context. Also that it offers an improvement for lots of sources and it's maybe the type of improvement when you've maxed out on the pre amp, dac, or monoblocks etc, and no further improvement can be made to those items. For instance you've gone nearly to highest specced devices in the range, as I have with Cyrus. You just want reliable power all times of the day.

    But if you've got a mid range or budget system I wouldn't advocate these devices at this price as amps and speaker expenditure will do much more for sound quality, pound for pound. Also you have to rate the quality of stuff like for like I think, as with all hi fi. You can't expect it to shine with budget stuff. So too in my set up, would it be the case going for better amps of a different make would probably yield more benefit, but I think these devices offer a benefit where you are really happy with what you have speaker and amp and source wise, and are looking for a final improvement to round off the system.

    Compared to hearing an isotek Aquarius demo at the Bristol show with a bog standard b and q power bar, the difference was more marked at Bristol I believe and even with cheaper kit there than mine, so I'm not sure if the Aquarius is a better bet, but I suspect it was simply that the mains was probably awash with all the interfearance with so many demonstrators at Bristol. In a home environment it's much less. The Aquarius is lower specked without dc filtering. How much of a difference this makes I've no idea.

    I too wonder how much the filtering aspect versus just isolating sockets is an issue. With isolation the 'muck' from one component doesn't go back down the chain and effect another but how much is it this which brings an improvement over all the other things the isol8 does - dc filtering and the filtering described. I suspect it's a combination of all the tech it has.

    I'm trying a test to see what it sounds like with the power amps into a standard power bar but the sockets on the isol-8 are high current and up to 16 amps I believe, so I doubt any difference.

    I'm listening to Ulrich schnauss far away trains passing by and the sound is very good indeed now.
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    Last edited by Dynamics; 11-05-2017 at 19:00. Reason: Spelling and update content

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