REFERENCE AUDIO – WITHAM ESSEX
BOB’s Review Series - No 63 – IsoTek V5 Titan Revisited + Aquarius V5
Introduction – Around 18 months ago I wrote a review of the then relatively new IsoTek V5 Titan high current power cleaning device designed to supply clean power to power amps, subwoofers and other devices that demand high current supplies, and I was very impressed. Since that last review my home system has had various changes and I thought it was worthwhile trying it again. One of the additions to my system since that earlier review has been the incorporation of an IsoTek V5 Aquarius 6-way power supply device used as intended to supply clean energy to my various source components and this review gets to grips with how best to make them work together.
The V5 Aquarius is designed mostly with source components in mind with 4 medium current outputs, but it also has 2 high current outlets designed for power amps and subwoofers. The V5 Titan on the other hand is solely dedicated to high current equipment with 3 Isolated outlets which IsoTek describe as ‘the ultimate high current conditioner in the smallest form factor’. It replaces the Titan Evo 3.
Prices have remained static since my last review, something that can’t be said of most audio equipment in the last couple of years with the Aquarius priced at £2,599 and the V5 Titan at £4,499 and both are available in silver or black finish, I went for black ones to sit better with my other components.
I’m not sure why IsoTek call some of their products Titans but perhaps they refer to ancient Greek mythology where the Titan Gods predated the Olympian Gods. Apparently, there were 12 original Titans, 6 male and 6 female and they had a great perchance to marrying each other and having children. There were also three elder Titan Goddess Muses that were Gods of music, song and memory so perhaps this is what IsoTek had in mind, seems fitting anyway. And they do work well together!
Both the V5 Titan and the V5 Aquarius have a System Link outlet for extending the number of outlets available without using more wall sockets by linking one device to another whilst maintaining a starred earth reference throughout. The otherwise comprehensive owner’s manual mentions these outlets but doesn’t give any indication about which way, if any, they should be connected, so I asked IsoTek, and this is what they said “Technically they can be connected either way around, but we recommend connecting the V5 Titan to the wall socket and then using the System Link output on the V5 Titan to connect it to the V5 Aquarius. Connected this way the V5 Titan also acts as a parallel filter and all connected devices at the V5 Aquarius will experience a further upgrade”. This is how I used them for this review:
Wall socket -> V5 Titan, V5 Titan (System Link) -> V5 Aquarius. I connected my Gryphon Essence power amp to the V5 Titan together with the REL Carbon Special subwoofer and all source components were connected to the V5 Aquarius.
Technology – Each outlet on both units has their own dedicated power cleaning network to remove Differential and Common Mode mains noise. The V5 Titan has 5 internal transformers, 4 of the same size and 1 larger one for the input and provides 153,500A instantaneous protection, 75,000A continuous and is fully start-earthed internally. The V5 Aquarius provides 81,000A instantaneous protection and 40,000A continuous. The Aquarius has 4No 6amp outlets for source components and 2 16amp outlets for power amps. Both units are fully star earthed. These specifications are considerable enhancements over previous models.
The V5 Titan measures 220mm x 147mm x 350mm (WHD) and weighs in at 12kg. The V5 Aquarius measures 450mm x 110mm x 350mm (WHD) and weighs 9.5kg,
System Components used in this Review:
Pre-Amp: Gryphon Essence Pre
Power Amp: Gryphon Essence Power
Streamer: Innuos Statement Mk 1
DAC/Compact Disc: Gryphon Ethos
Clock/Time: Ideon Absolute Time
Music Streaming: Tidal, Qobuz, Roon Management
Analogue Sources: Magnum Dynalab T106 Tuner
Speakers: Marten Mingus Quintet Mk 1
SUB: REL Carbon Special
Cables: Jorma mains, Analogue Interconnect and Digital Cables Throughout
Performance – As noted in my previous review these modern devices from IsoTek no longer compromise dynamic headroom in power amps because their filtering is no longer directly in the signal path. I know many audiophiles still believe that mains filters and enhancers do reduce dynamics, but this is probably a hangover from the past and they almost certainly haven’t seriously listened to these new IsoTek devices. Not only do they not reduce dynamics they actively improve it by offering up the clean mains supplies which modern amplifiers relish. Don’t believe me? Then book a demo and hear for yourself.
I don’t think anyone can argue that PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing) is essential to an enjoyable musical experience but it’s not the be all and end all of quality performance. The ability for notes to start and stop on a sixpence add to the dynamic experience with the differences between high and low volume sound bringing life and realism to the fore but for me there is more to be had. With these two IsoTek units providing clean power instruments and vocals just seem to hang in the air between your speakers, rising fast and decaying slowly, lingering just that bit longer to get the hairs on your arms standing up with the emotional impact. Every album or track that you own will display this added emotional content. Its easy to spend more than the cost of these two IsoTek components on an interconnect or a single mains lead or a dozen high performance 13amp fuses but none of those will bring the same bang for your buck as providing your system with clean power, and these two V5 units do just that.
As I write this The Beatles are back in the news having just released their ‘final’ single Now and Then using John Lennon’s vocals recorded in 1977 and with their 2023 remastered Blue and Red albums due for imminent release I just had to play some of their tracks starting of course with Now and Then (Qobuz 96kHz, 24bit). It’s now nearly 43 years since John’s untimely death and 22 years since we lost George Harrison to cancer but all four of them played on this new release through the miracles of modern technology and they sound as good as ever. The V5 IsoTek’s adding to that sense of togetherness.
Conclusion – £7,100 is a lot to spend on a couple of mains filters and protectors but if you have invested significant money in your home system then these two IsoTek devices are worth it just for the surge protection they give let alone the cleaned mains leading to sound quality improvements. Once you have heard what they can do you will want to own them, they really are that good. And yes, the V5 Titan will soon be becoming a permanent part of my home system.
Bob – Team Reference Audio