The Torus Power RM8A.

James of AV Designs called, "hey, are you having problems with the Torus Power?" I replied, "No, why would you say so?" James responded, "I just saw your posting called Power Struggle?, with a picture of the Pure Power and the Torus side by side".

In truth, I actually struggled to review the Torus Power RM8A, because every time I sit down and play some of my favourite music through my hifi system, with intention to evaluate it's performance and how it subjectively changes the sound perceived, I always end up just flipping thru disc after disc, for a few hours, drawn in to and subconsciously unaware, lost in music! Totally forgetting to do my evaluations just minutes in to the first song! And that, is no bad start. James must be relieved to hear that.


The rear panel with 5 outputs and 1 input(right, not shown).

The Torus Power is a 32kg beast of an PLC, which required again, the help of another good friend to help me haul it up in to my first floor audio cave. The build quality is first class inside out, as should be for a top price point PLC costing RM$18K! Unlike the Pure Power reviewed the week before, with it's high tech, sophisticated look, the Torus sports a rather plain if very sturdy look. There's no fancy blue dot matrix display, no multi function settings to monitor or set. Just a plain "ON/OFF" switch on the left side that glows half orange when switched "ON". At the back panel is a standard 10A rated IEC input and only 5 British 13A style outputs! I wish there was at least 6 outputs(8 would be even better!), that way I can power my whole system via the Torus Power RM8A. James, care to advise Torus Power to be more generous with the outlets, if possible?

The full rear panel pic.

The theory of Torus Power as per explained by Richard of Pure Power(whom knows his competitors well!), uses a huge transformer to isolate the audio system, plugged in to it, from the rest of the power grid in your house and quite possibly your neighbourhood! I tested the Torus Power RM8A by using a multi meter and found the input is indeed completely isolated from the output. However, I also found the same daisy chaining of the outlets as per Pure Power practise, but only after a filter and protection circuit board( seen on the right hand side of the internal picture). It would seems that both the Canadian companies choose to do things differently from their American and British competitors, whom seems to place more faith in individual or duplex output filtering.

The simple insides, the secret is in the giant isolation, balanced transformer, which sits on custom mounted brackets with sorbothane like material for insulation againts vibrations(which I never felt with hand placed on top of unit). Note the filter and protection circuit board on the top right, some say because of that, the right most (viewed from this pic) output sounds the best and should be used for source.

The sound, the Sound, oh.... the SOUND! With the Torus Power RM8A powering my Marantz CD7, Pass x-2.5 Pre and Aleph 0 Mono blocks, all the best virtues of my system is enhanced. The already warmish tonal flavour of the system blossomed in to a rich, full aroma gold blend coffee like "kau""kau", sensation. It's sound?, the mids are thick in density yet smooth in the highs, leaving no after taste what so ever. The bass, while not iron fist ed like presented with the Pure Power, is just very tune full and bouncy. It doesn't make my amps sound like it's on steroids, neither did it make my speaker sound like it's grown a pair of 8 inch woofers either! It's forte is micro dynamics rather than macro dynamics! Every thing sounded as it should be, only with the musical emotion factor brought to the fore. There's a certain way the music flows through the system powered by the Torus Power RM8A. Call it P.R.A.T. but not like Naim style, which is fast and bouncy. This P.R.A.T. factor here is of the rather relaxed kind, it lulls the audiophile in me with a sense of serenity, while the music slowly but surely, does it's magic to disarm all my audiophile prejudices, and just allow me to subconsciously flow in to the music, connecting with it's emotional message. This elusive quality(seek ed by so many, yet never knew it, but seldom found on systems at any price point) my fellow readers, is what separates the merely good hifi from a system with greatness!

My self, and a few other lucky souls included, have already witness the greatness in the by now legendary LS3/5A speaker, vintage amps based system of Mr Jo Ki. Jo has always waxed lyrical on the profound influence of the Torus Power RM8A had at shaping the sound of his system today. With the Torus Power RM8A in my system and from this brief experience, I can, finally relate to his point of view, because I can too, finally, experience musical playback at a higher emotional connecting level, stimulating goose bumps inducing sensory to boot. This experience is priceless, and one will not know that it's there until one experiences it. A hifi system playing music without this sensation, no matter how good it's audiophile qualities are, is just like watching the "Happy New Year's fireworks!" each year, very nice but also pretty pointless once the shows over.

O.K. back to the audiophile reality, the noise level of the system is the most silent that I've ever heard. The overall sound presentation is very coherent, almost liquid like yet very tidy. Images are solidly anchored within a sound stage(almost like you're there too!) which is beyond room boundaries, and very clear perception of depth, should a recording contains the spatial information. In live concert hall recordings, like the Jacky Cheung Live 2004, the hall ambiance is convincingly reproduced and the band backing Jacky Chueng can be clearly heard arranged in layers just behind the solid image in front, which is Jacky himself. Audience hand claps are also very realistic, very important if you need convincing yourself to "be there!".

I have a little poem, context taken and modified from a U2 song which nicely describes the at odds behaviour of the Torus Power RM8A that I've experienced.

It's silent yet never dark.
It's dynamic yet doesn't thrill.
It's substance yet without style.
It's loud yet never noisy.

Greatness in a box!

By now you can probably tell, that when hifikaki takes the Torus Power away for a counter point, to see if it effectively solves the dreaded Bandar Utama power supply quality issues, I'll be having a tough time re-adjusting to the cruelty called reality! The reality is I can't afford the Torus Power RM8A at this point in time now(with bad news coming in every single day about the impending and what could be a long lasting "Great Recession!"), but I know that I have found the last piece in my equipment chain of intended purchase, the final piece that brings greatness to my system. For my system and subjectively, my ears(certainly not healthy for my bank a/c), the Torus Power RM8A(or may be the RM16A?) is still the best PLC out there today!

A Technical note: Balanced transformer? What's does it do to our music? Just like our XLR balanced interconnects, the "positive" and "negative" signal cores run along side within the cable, thus canceling out each other's noise, resulting in lower overall audible noise floor. A balanced transformer works the in the same manner where both the "live" and "neutral" carrier core is winded along side each other, thereby cancelling, each other's inherent noise, there by lowering the audible noise floor.

Torus Power is sold by AV Designs, contact James Tan, tel:03-21712828

14 comments:

marten said...

THE Canadians sure know their hi-fi;

1.Pure POWER is so much better than PS audio;background gets darker music note just becomes clearer.

2.As far as transformer based isolations are concerned ,TORUS slay Richard Gray in seconds;quite literally..

3.Amplifications;simaudio is infinitely better than MARK LEVINSON/KRELL.and TENOR?perharps sit at the top as the finest amp around.

4.PSB,REFERANCE 3A,COINCIDENT;RANK AMONGST THE finest loudspeaker around;if only the cost more.

that has been my observations in 3 yrs plus playing hi-fi.

p/s i am not Canadian
4.budget speakers

marten said...

correction;30 yrsplus playing hi-fi,I am in my 50s now....

CHEEKEONG said...

THAT is a humongous transformer inside!!!!!!!!

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

Panzer, no offence, it is "its" and not "it's". Otherwise, you sound like you are in love ;-)

Panzer said...

ML,

None taken, it's meant to be as it's, because I am indeed very much, as you say "in love!"

hafiz said...

PANZER,

this is a masterclass on how to write a review of hi-fi products.

you have outdid yourself;Thoroughly enjoyable and informative...

futurekaki said...

I can see the review's content is like dancing, very enjoying! That is him :)

Panzer said...

hafiz,

Thanks for the compliments. I only wrote about a product I enjoyed thoroughly.

futurekaki,

Yes, the Torus Power RM8A made my system sounded like glorious music, not merely good hifi.

Bob Rapoport said...

Hello to all from Bob at PurePower, thanks Marten for your observation about PurePower vs. PS Audio, we are biased but we believe we have a superior product too.

Regarding Torus, I visited their site, noticed that all they offer is noise reduction as a low pass filter plus surge suppression. Aside from the fact that Torus has current limiting (they wont admit how much) and that it sucks up about 500 watts of power away from the components that need it the most, it may very well beat a RGPC, but thats not saying much since the RGPC does nothing to begin with.

As I said in a previous blog entry, the only true acid test for benchmark power is a fully isolated battery. In double blind AB tests, nobody can hear the difference betweeen PurePower's regenerated ouput and the battery supply. I wonder if the Torus could pass a similar test vs a $99 power strip?

Ciao,
Bob

km ng said...

Hi Bob,

As a manufacturer, I find your remarks on the Torus (and RGPC) quite nauseating.

Other than visiting Torus's website, have you listened and compared the Torus with your PurePower?

Felix said...

Bob,

Lets leave it to the consumer to try and decide which PLC is better for their systems.

I think the Malaysian public is more open minded when it comes to product evaluation.

I always believed that battery regeneration works and always had good regards to Pure Power's products. Therefore I am a bit perplexed to read your posting.

Let the products speak for themselves and not add more "noise", shall we?

Panzer said...

Hi! Bob,

Thanks to your earlier tip off, I did in fact put the Torus Power vs a power distrubutor strip made by Audio Prism to the test. I put 2 persons whom I know are experienced listeners to the A/B blind test, in my system. I asked them, if they heard a diference? Both said yes, and very clearly too!

I have no interest in either Pure Power or Torus Power. I've known both Mr Eng(Pure Power) as long as I known James(Torus Power), whom are the respective distributor for the brands mentioned.

I do however, recomend that if any one have RM$10K-20K to burn on an all in one power solution for your hifi system, please audition both and make your sound decision.

Bryan said...

Can you say more about the differences in what you hear between the purepower and the torus? I didn't really see any comparison comments. Other than the bass probably being deeper with the purepower. What else is different?

I am now comparing a torus RM10 (not balanced in) and an equi=tech 1.5RQ (balanced out). Both are isolation transformer based whereas the purepower is a regenerator. I find the two units are very, very different. The Torus does not have the same lower noise floor. And it's sound is colored, and liquidy, opaque. The equi=tech has a startling amount less noise and much more transparent. Now keep in mind in Canada we don't have balanced lines and the RM10 is not a balanced model. But on these same unbalanced 120V circuits the equi=tech takes the same AC out, and outputs balanced 120V. It's 60/60 out instead of 120/0 out like the torus. So I give the nod to the equi=tech for noise reduction and it shows up big time in the music.

However, I'm not sure which I like better. The equi=tech is making system sound a bit too detailed and I might have to tune this with speaker placement maybe. But I like the warmth that the torus imparts in one sense. But how can an AC product inject warmth when its not in the signal path? Very weird. But I also don't like the liquidness of it that much as its colored.

I might bring a purepower next. But I'd like some to read some comparison notes and thoughts to see if it might really be worth paying for shipping.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi bryan,

the blogger here has moved to http://hifi-unlimited.blogspot.com