"Submitted for your approval: A videophile-in-training had settled in for what he thought would be years of non-stop, carefree viewing pleasure. Then they attacked: the "what ifs", "why nots" and "let's sees" that lurk around every corner in the rabbit hole. Next stop: The Blu-ray Zone"
I thought that it was time to quit living an austere life and indulge in some home theater power infrastructure (and other) improvements.
1. The Monster Cable in-wall subwoofer cable was replaced by Blue Jeans LC-1 subwoofer cable (36 foot run-up the wall, across the attic, down the wall).
2. The two Power Port Premier AC receptacles that each AC regenerator is connected to were replaced with Soloist Premier SE in-wall power conditioners.
3. All Signal Cable MagicPower cords were replaced with PS Audio PerfectWave AC-5 power cords (Power Plant Premier AC regenerators), PS Audio xStream Plasma power cord (subwoofer) and PS Audio xStream Statement SC power cords (preamps, power amps and source components).
4. The subwoofer interconnects were replaced with Monster Cable Z200i interconnects.
The Summer Of Hum
After installing a Sony TA-P9000ES 5.1 preamplifier last summer (figures 15 and 16 of this thread), I would get a loud hum from the subwoofer when the preamp was going through its five second mute cycle after turn on...then the hum would stop once the preamp was switched on. There would also be a loud hum from the sub if the the input selector was turned to the unused "2 Channel Bypass" input. There was no hum from inputs "1"-Blu-ray player, "2"-unused, and "5.1 Bypass"-pass through connection for Sony TA-E9000ES preamp/processor. It really wasn't a pressing issue to correct the hum since it only occurred at initial startup and at an unused input...but you know me.
The subwoofer cable was previously configured as a 6 foot RCA terminated Monster in-wall cable from the preamp to the wall patch panel (double-ended female RCA jack), then a 36 foot Monster in-wall cable, then a double-ended female RCA jack, then a 3 foot RCA terminated Monster in-wall cable from the wall patch panel to the subwoofer.
Prospective cable solutions were tested out on the floor before running cable through the walls.
Curiously, if I directly connected the sub and preamp with either the 36 foot section of Monster ZBass100 or the 36 foot section of Blue Jeans LC-1, I would get the same level of hum as with the Monster in-wall cables.
When I connected a 6 foot length of LC-1 to a double-ended female RCA jack, then the 36 foot length of LC-1, then the other double-ended female RCA jack, then the 3 foot length of LC-1, I got worse hum than with just the 36 foot length of LC-1.
When I connected a 6 foot length of Monster Z200i interconnect to a double-ended female RCA jack, then the 36 foot length of Zbass100 to that, then the other double-ended female RCA jack, then the 3 foot length of Z200i, the hum was less than the previous two configurations.
The hum completely disappeared when I connected a 6 foot length of Monster Z200i interconnect to a double-ended female RCA jack, then the 36 foot length of Blue Jeans LC-1 to that, then the other double-ended female RCA jack, then the 3 foot length of Z200i. This is what I installed in the wall.
The subwoofer's IEC power cable jack does not have a ground pin connection.
All three of the dedicated AC outlets serving my two channel system are terminated by PS Audio Soloist SE in-wall power conditioners. The AC circuit that feeds my home theater subwoofer is also terminated with a Soloist. My curiosity finally got the better of me and I replaced the Power Port Premier receptacles with Soloists. The power cables from the Soloists feed two Power Plant Premier AC regenerators which power the television, preamplifiers, amplifiers, and source components.
Figure 1. Old home theater patch panel with PS Audio Power Port Premier AC receptacles.
Figure 2. Improved home theater patch panel with PS Audio Soloist Premier SE in-wall power conditioners.
On CD's I heard:
1. More bass weight, slam, clean articulate rumble and growl.
2. More overall clarity and image weight at the sides and rear of the sound stage.
3. More three-dimensionality.
4. More ambient reflections.
5. Apparently louder sound level (lower noise floor).
On HDTV broadcasts I saw:
1. More depth.
2. Slightly better black levels.
3. More detail in dark scenes.
4. The picture remains smooth and detailed at a closer distance to the screen. I now have to be closer than 4 feet before I can see individual pixels.
5. Apparently louder sound level (lower noise floor).
On Blu-ray movies I saw:
1. More depth (The wide shots of the stone quarry scene in the opening car chase of "Quantum of Solace").
2. More fine detail (fabric texture in Dryden's herringbone overcoat, woodgrain detail in Dryden's office door and the sheen on stray fibers on Dryden's suit jacket in the opening scene of "Casino Royale").
3. More detail in dark scenes (Bond's black coat in the opening scene of "Casino Royale").
4. Apparently louder sound level (lower noise floor).
I also found myself noticing details in the picture that I had not seen before, but were always there in plain sight. For example, the opening credits sequence for "Casino Royale" has a scene of a gun scope sight moving across a queen of hearts playing card. The queen's face momentarily turns into a picture of Vesper Lynd (the woman who breaks Bond's heart) as the scope sight moves across the card. The term "queen of hearts" is a slang term for a cruel, manipulative woman.
Unfortunately after the installation of the Soloists, hum returned...but not from the subwoofer this time. This time, it was from the center, front and surround speakers, with the hum from the surrounds being the loudest.
Using a cheater plug on either of the Power Plant Premier Signal Cable MagicPower cords reduced the hum by 1/2. Using a cheater plug on both power cords completely removed the hum, however, the cheater plugs caused an obnoxious veiling of the sound. I made a grounding strap from a 1 foot length of 8 gauge speaker wire and terminated it with banana plugs. This strap was used to connect the Power Plant Premiers to each other by one of their empty ground sockets. This also completely removed the hum.
I opted not to break in the Soloists on the JuiceCyclone only because I did not want to pull my 6 million pound equipment rack away from the wall and I did not want to remove the Soloists from the wall. With the components connected to each Power Plant Premier (PPP) on and idling, each PPP draws a little over 1 amp of current. The required 300 amp-hours would be reached in 12.5 days. I could wait.