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February 2023

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

World Premiere Review!
Wells Audio Looking Glass II Level II Power Conditioner Review
Feeling as if you can step into it and become part of the performance.
Review By Ron Nagle

 

Wells Audio Looking Glass II Level II Power Conditioner Review

 

A Ghost In The Machine?
If you are like me, then you live in a multi-story apartment building and are contaminated with junk in the trunk-line. More than likely you are listening to your neighbor's dishwasher, air conditioner, foot bath or God knows what. As a consequence have you ever thought your expensive audio system has bad days when the sound is not so good? This is why some of us audio guys prefer to listen in the wee small hours late at night. Unfortunately, I have no choice, either fix my power source or become crepuscular like my cat.

Fire up your computer and do a search, you will find Power Strips, AC line Conditioners, Surge Protectors, Re-Generators, and Noise-Canceling devices. Why so many power source line tamers? That's because very few of us (Me) are blessed with a perfectly pristine power source unfortunately, most of us live on some sort of shared power grid.

 

Back Story
It was October 20222 (2022), when I represented Enjoy the Music.com at a Press event held in New Jersey. From time to time this high-end manufacturer showcases products made by different audio companies. That day it was Wells Audio and a Canadian company called Infigo Audio.

Previously in January of 2018, I composed a World Premier review of the Jeff Wells Audio Integrated Amplifier and this was published in Enjoy the Music.com. At this VPI event, Mr. Wells was in attendance demonstrating his entire system powered with the new Looking Glass II Power Conditioner. At this time Mr. Jeff Wells agreed to send me a sample of his new power conditioner.

 

 

Objet d' Article
The original or first version of the Looking Glass used off-the-shelf Hubbell hospital-grade duplex sockets. Like the first version of the Looking Glass Power Conditioner this second version is housed in a similar gray-painted rectangular box. The new LG2 weighs 9.6 pounds and measures 16.5" Long by 6" Wide. It measures 5" high Sitting on four metal feet.

The LG2 did not come with A Power Cord or printed owner instructions, you will find it on Wells Audio's website. The most striking new feature of the LG2 is the Gold Bezel of the Volt Meter mounted on one end of the case. The meter displays line voltage on a scale ranging from Zero up to Three Hundred volts.  The LG2 can accommodate line voltages greater than 120 Volts at 60 Hz or 230 volts at 50 Hz, and it has a maximum load rating of 20 Amperes. I have included a list of specifications at the end of this review.

Besides the addition of an AC voltmeter, the LG2 line conditioner has four duplex AC sockets that are super quality Furutech GTX-R. I believe that the Furutech company manufactures the most expensive and hi-tech AC receptacles made.

The GTX-R specifications include: Rhodium-plated Pure Copper Conductors. The last letter of this Furutech receptacles model number stands for Rhodium plating over high-purity copper. Additionally, Furutech features a patent-pending nonmagnetic 2mm-thick stainless spring pressure plate brace system. The body material consists of nylon/fiberglass with piezo ceramic and carbon damping material. I found each of these GTX-R receptacles listed at $250 each on a (unnamed) parts website. So the four $250 Duplex receptacles supplied with the LG2 total $1000. A short list of internal components includes Miflex copper PIO caps used to filter high and mid frequencies and a large oil-filled polypropylene cap that filters low frequencies.

 

 

Design Theory
In a phone conversation with Jeff Wells, he explained some of the innovative thinking and features that went into making the Looking Glass II. He stated the LG2 uses traditional LCR component filters in a novel way. The power line interference components comprise transient overshoots, ringing, and AC harmonics. Understand LCR (Inductors, Capacitors, Resistors) filters cannot handle all noise frequencies in an even handed-manner. In a worst-case situation, under-dampened chokes can overshoot and oscillate and ring uncontrollably. Like a three-driver speaker crossover, the LG2 attacks line aberrations at three separate frequency levels: Low, Mid, and High. Each of these three frequency levels requires a separate noise filter network so that the LG2 is divided into three functional sections.

The three filter stages in series combine to create a wide-band wall of harmonic suppression. Internal parts include a gas-discharge tube in combination with transient voltage diodes to shunt voltage spikes. Also, expensive Bybee Quantum Purifiers are used at the end of the entire filter network to kill any unlikely escapees. This is only a partial description of what's inside. There is a list of the LG2 parts count at the end of this report. It will give you some idea why it costs $7,500.

 

The Proof Is In The....
To find out what the LG2 can do I needed to remove three devices that block noise feeding into my audio system. All that remained was the orange Hubble duplex wall socket and a basic power strip that provided spike protection using fuse and MOV's (Metal Oxide Varistors). Jeff Wells said the LG2 was previously broken in. So all I needed to do was plug it in and play music. The first test would be to listen to my stereo system naked powered only by the wall outlet and fed by my apartment's electrical Jigsaw Puzzle. Since the LG2 is not supplied with a power cord. I will try a variety of power cords to see if this has any effect on the sound.

 

 

Raw Power
If you are tired of hearing about Diana Krall then you haven't heard the CD titled Stepping Out. This recording is from very early in her career. As a matter of fact, this Canadian native recorded her album Stepping Out on a Canadian label; Just In Time [Just 50-2] was Issued in 1993.

This flea market find is one of the most un-messed with natural-sounding CD recordings I have heard. Listening to the wall-outlets raw feed took me on a time trip back to 1974 and reminded me of my first audio system. The image depth between my speakers was foreshortened and slightly narrower. The whole sound space between my speakers was imbued with a slight overtone of grit and grain. The sound that was immersive before and had a calming effect was lost. There was another more difficult test I had in mind. Let me play a vinyl recording that will have even more subtle and finer harmonic details. The vinyl recording is, Nils Lofgren Acoustic Live, [Analog Productions APP 090].

The fifth track on side one, Keith Don't Go, the dynamic shifts and transient treble guitar chords are incredibly revealing. With nothing to protect my system, there was a lessened sense of depth. That effect was subtle, but it is was rendered something like a two-dimensional photo print. The higher frequencies are where most of the atonal effects are evident. I believe over an extended period of time listening fatigue will set in.

 

 

The Looking Glass Effect
Using the same stripped-down system as before with my AC line conditioners removed I plugged everything into the LG2. At this point, my power cable swap fest ended. Out of six or seven power cables, two of the cables were homemade. Clearly superior was a Kaula 2 Essential power cord, made in California by Bella Sound.  By way of a direct comparison once again I cued up my Diana Krall Stepping Out CD. This time it was as if the music I heard was rendered by a different audio system. As I said before, this recording has a very natural and coherent acoustic. Ms. Krall's voice appeared just as it should, far more natural with a greater degree of harmonic coherence. The image resolution increased and projected a finely filigreed and dimensional stereo stage.

The acid test has to be on vinyl and by comparison, employing that Nils Lofgren recording. The thing that smacks you in the face is the dimensional breadth and depth of the place where the recording was made. Now you can better sense where Nils Lofgren stands. And just off to his left side and a bit farther back his brother stands accompanying Nils on guitar. The dimensional stereo stage is everything to me. I want to feel as if I can step into it and become part of the performance. 

 

 

Conclusion
It doesn't matter how much you spent on your music system. It must be built on a foundation of silence. The looking Glass II is expensive but so is my entire audio system. To get the very best from any system, it is an investment you should seriously consider. For many years to come and with many component changes it will always be the basis of a good audio system.

 

Remember to enjoy the music and from me, Semper Hi-Fi!

 

 

 

Tonality

Sub–bass (10Hz – 60Hz)

Mid–bass (80Hz – 200Hz)

Midrange (200Hz – 3,000Hz)

High Frequencies (3,000Hz On Up)

Attack

Decay

Inner Resolution

Soundscape Width Front

Soundscape Width Rear
Soundscape Depth

Soundscape Extension Into Room

Imaging (with footers)

Fit And Finish

Self Noise
Emotionally Engaging

Value For The Money

 

 

 

Specifications
Type: Electrical power conditioner
Standing Current: 400mA Maximum continuous current
20A (Fuse melts in 15 minutes @ 20A)

Peak Current: 40A (Fuse melts in 1 second @ 40A)

Input-To-Output DC Resistance: <0.125 Ohms

Common-Mode Noise Suppression: -3dB @ 20kHz, -34dB @ 500kHz, and -40dB @ 1MHz

Differential-Mode Noise Suppression: -3dB @ 500Hz, -12dB @ 20kHz, -34dB @ 500kHz, and -44dB @ 1MHz 

Parts: Gas discharge tube, two air-core ribbon coils, two iron-core chokes, iron-core common-mode choke, ten damping resistors, two Bybee Quantum Purifiers, three optional TVS diode clamps, and four Furutech duplex AC power outlets, plus other parts.

Price: From $2500 and $7500 (as reviewed)

 

 

Company Information
Wells Audio
106 Bascom Court
Campbell, CA 95008

Voice: (408) 376-0861
E-mail: jeff@wellsaudio.com 
Website: www.WellsAudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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