REFERENCE AUDIO – WITHAM ESSEX
BOB’s Review Series - No 51 – IsoTek V5 Titan High Current Power Cleaning System
Introduction – There is no denying that a clean power supply has significant benefits when it comes to helping an audio or AV sound system perform at its best, and it’s unlikely that anyone has more experience of how to provide clean power than IsoTek. IsoTek is a British company with products supplied to 45 countries around the world and they have been making mains cleaners, filters and regenerators for decades. Their new Version 5 products were launched late 2021 and currently comprise the V5 Aquarius and the V5 Titan on review here. The 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’.
I have been using IsoTek devices for some time now with the earlier version of the Titan, the Titan 2 providing power to my source components and a newer Titan One Evo 3 supplying clean power to my power amp. I was therefore interested to hear what these new products could offer over my earlier versions. The Aquarius is priced at £2,599 and the V5 Titan at £4,499 (at the time of writing) and are available in silver or black finish.
Technology – The V5 Titan has 3 independent high current outlets that can provide clean power to stereo or monobloc power amps and subwoofers, or perhaps to active speakers. Each outlet has its own dedicated power cleaning network. It has a single 16-amp IEC type mains inlet and comes with a supplied and suitably terminated IsoTek mains lead for connection to a wall socket. It also has a single 16A system Speakon link outlet for connection to other IsoTek products in a daisy chain fashion. The V5 Titan has 5 internal transformers, 4 of the same size and 1 larger one and provides 153,500A instantaneous protection, 75,000 continuous and is fully start-earthed internally. The styling of the V5 is a vast improvement over my V2 and the V3 (there is no V4 version) and looks so much nicer sitting next to my power amp and although it looks to have lots of heat sinking it runs cold under all conditions. But best of all it gives peace of mind in terms of surge and lightning protection, which is worth the price on its own, notwithstanding its sonic performance. It measures 220mm x 147mm x 350mm (WHD) and weighs in at 12kg.
System Components used in this Review:
Pre-Amp: Gryphon Essence Pre
Power Amp: Gryphon Essence Power
Streamer: Innuos Statement
Compact Disc: Shanling SCD-T200 CD Player
Music Streaming: Tidal, Qobuz, Roon
DAC: Gryphon Zena DAC Module installed in the Essence Pre
Analogue Sources: Sansui TU-719 Tuner
Speakers: Marten Mingus Quintet
SUB: REL Carbon Limited
Cables: Jorma Cables throughout
Performance – Having already used the V5 Aquarius in the showrooms I can confirm that it provides greater clarity, background silence and some peace of mind in terms of surge protection to anything connected to it, including reasonably powerful power amps. To insert it in my home system would have required a ground up rebuild of my racks to accommodate it so I decided instead to concentrate on the new V5 Titan verses the Titan One Evo 3 supplying my Gryphon Essence power amp.
I’m not one of those naysayers that are still of the opinion that you shouldn’t run power amps from mains blocks or conditioners especially those containing filters, and should instead make a direct connection to a wall socket. I know that in times past these devices could hamper dynamics but today those concerns have been removed by advanced design and understanding of mains conditioners and filtering by companies such as IsoTek. So, I confidently connected the V5 Titan to my power amp and sub to see if I could hear any difference to warrant an upgrade from the Evo 3.
IsoTek say the V5 Titan reduces both differential mode and common mode noise and reduces connected component crosstalk and whilst I have no way of verifying this what I could do is listen to hear any differences between when it’s in and out of circuit and compare it to the Evo 3. The differences are not subtle and all in a good way and whatever music I listened to I found there was always a sense of less background noise, darker silences, improved (yes improved) dynamics and a more involving and engaging sound. Clearly feeding clean power to my power amp allowed it to always perform at its best. Going back to the Titan One Evo 3 which is a single high current output device I found it was still better than not have one of these protection and filtering devices in circuit but the new V5 Titan was clearly much better in all respects.
It is of course difficult to hear less noise especially when you weren’t aware there was noise in the first place so when I say it gave less background noise what I really mean is that with the V5 Titan in circuit the overall sound was clearer, more dynamic, much more engaging, less fatiguing and more vibrant than before and I assume this was a result of it providing an even cleaner power supply. Another benefit was that FM radio never sounded so good even though it was not powering my tuner.
Conclusion – £4,500 is a lot to spend on a mains device with just 3 outlets but it is 1 more outlet than my Titan 2 and 2 more than the Titan One Evo 3 but it’s the sound improvements that matter most. Once you have heard one then perhaps, just perhaps it will seem like good value. It did to me so this is another piece of equipment I’m adding to my list of must have components when funds allow.
Bob – Team Reference Audio