Torus Power CS 15 AVR
Extremely well designed both inside and out.
Review By Brett
goes that a system is only as strong as its weakest link. However, while most
people might consider that when planning and evaluating an audio or even
audio/video system, very few of them would ponder that the power used in the
system itself might actually be one of the weakest links. In a very informal
poll of people, most of them mentioned that the only concern they have with
power is that there might be a surge and so they would likely use a surge
protector in their system.
Unfortunately those that do not consider power to be a
consideration in their system would be woefully wrong. Consider the following
example. Imagine yourself in a beautiful meadow with a stream filling the air
with sounds of flowing water and the birds chirping softly in the background.
The colors are vibrant and brilliant and everything seems to fit perfectly into
a montage of the "perfect" surroundings. Yet as you are sitting there enjoying
the scenery and listening to nature's sounds, every once in a while there seems
to be a slight fog that comes and goes, maybe not quite enough to obscure the
meadow, but certainly enough for you to notice. At the same time you can hear a
slight ringing in your ears, like a fly off in the near distance, the sound
tends to increase and decrease for no apparent reason as there is nothing to
really make the sound. This is the sort of thing that happens when things are
not entirely in tune.
The same can be heard when listening to music,
especially when consider more and more revealing audio systems. Take for example
you are at home listening to a piece of music that you thoroughly enjoy. The
music is somewhat low and there seems to be something that changes. Perhaps it's
a slight hum or the orchestral music that normally has a huge dynamic range
seems to be somewhat compressed. Yet, as you are listening to the music, you
notice that this "trouble" disappears and then reappears almost without any
seemingly logical explanation. One reason for this could be that the power that
you believe to be the 120 Volts in the United States or 220 Volts elsewhere in
the world is not flawless. Perhaps it's the middle of the summer and you have
your air conditioner running, the lights in the room are on, someone is using a
hair dryer somewhere in your house, in maybe in the next house. The result is
that many things might happen including a substantial decrease or increase in
the voltage your system is receiving or the addition of noise from any number of
sources including those mentioned above. Whatever the case, suddenly the power
has now become one of the weakest links in your system.
Luckily there are ways to offset or completely
eradicate these problems from your system. One such way is with a power
conditioner such as the Torus CS 15 AVR. This unit from Torus Power offers not
only the obvious protection from catastrophic surges which can destroy
electronic equipment, but the less obvious and more incessant problems of sudden
voltage increases and decreases. It also offers isolation from noise that is
present on nearly in nearly every power configuration, even those on their own
circuit. The CS 15 AVR is not unique in its ability to provide these additional
methods of insuring the best reproduction from your system. However, it does
feature some rather unique ways to combat these problems as well as some
features that make the unit function quite effectively in a variety of different
configurations depending on your individual setup.
What Happens On The Inside
The first is that it utilizes an automatic voltage
stabilizer to maintain output to your equipment to within +/- 5 volts of what
should be the "standard" 120V coming from your electrical socket, it will accept
incoming power from 85V to 135V according to its specifications. This means that
your system is not suddenly lacking power because your air conditioning has
turned on, or there is a slight brown out within your area. While this might
seem like fluff imagine you're listening to a full orchestra and pushing your
amplifier to its limits and suddenly the amount of power it's receiving is
decreased substantially. The result is likely to be a sudden somewhat
unexplained decrease in the overall sound, perhaps even causing your amplifier
to clip as it struggles to reproduce things in the most correct manner possible.
The second feature of the CS 15 AVR is a Toroidal
Isolation Transformer. This completes the ability to isolate the incoming power
making it possible to attenuation of noise from 2 kHz to 1 MHz. Once again
imagine that you are listening to you are listening ro your music and there
seems to be something not quite right with it. This could be cause by something
as simple as a light causing noise which is subtlety changing the tonal
qualities you have come to expect from your system. Another example could be
that you have a refrigerator which is adding noise to the line creating a less
than desirable effect on your listening experience.
The third feature of the CS 15 AVR is its ability
to remove surges as mentioned above. It can protect against surges from
lightening or other sources up to 6000 Volts and/or 300 Amperes according to the
specifications. It also uses series mode technology so it does not contaminate
The CS 15 AVR is also somewhat unique in that it
offers the ability to connect an wired Ethernet network. While not necessary for
the operation of the unit, it does add some functionality which would otherwise
have to be done manually or with an external controller. The setup is extremely
easy, all you need to do is connect an Ethernet cable to the unit's input and
depending on your network, it will automatically assign itself an IP address.
After that it's merely a matter of opening a browser and you can control the
front panel lighting, turn the unit's power on or off, indicate if you want the
unit to turn off in case of an extremely abnormal voltage increase or decrease
and even monitor the unit's incoming and outgoing voltage as well as amperage.
The unit in this evaluation was designed for 15 Amps, but they make a 20 Ampere
version as well.
On The Outside
On the front of the CS 15
AVR is a power switch and a
panel which displays the same information you can get through the network
interface. It shows the input and output voltage as well as the current amperage
being drawn from the unit. A small button below the display allows you to find
out what the IP address has been set to so you can quickly open a browser if you
should wish to monitor the unit away from the front panel. In the case of a
serious voltage overage or underage, it will show a warning and will down the
outlets if configured to do so in the settings. On the rear of the unit, there
are five duplex medical grade receptacles offering ten individual outlets. It has an
RS232 connection for access to automation and external control, and two 12V
triggers, one for On/Off and the other for Fault Output. Finally it has a
detachable power cord should you wish to use a different cable.
After allowing the unit to break in for about 200
hours, I placed it into my reference system. My power is fairly stable; however,
I always use some sort of power stabilizer. However, before evaluating this unit
I removed it to see what the difference would be between the "typical" surge
protector/power strip and the CS 15 AVR. Interesting in my first round of
listening I found that the difference between using the component and not was
not nearly as audible as might have been expected. The most notable changes were
when listening to orchestral works where the system was somewhat forced to its
limits. There were times where the sound seemed to become somewhat muddied, but
only when listened to with the most critical ear. However, the unit had the
input voltage well within the +/- 5 Volts.
On the second round of testing, not only was a CD
player used, but a turntable as well. It was here that the differences became
far more noticeable. On Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon, you could
definitely hear a change in the lower bass, partially because of a ground
problem that became more evident, but also because things seemed much clearer.
In addition, it seemed that the music had a constant tempo where it was subtly
different without the CS 15 AVR in place. After listening to it on vinyl, I
listened to it once again on my CD player and while there seemed to be somewhat
less of a change, it was definitely present. In fact, there seemed to be even
more detail when using the CS 15 AVR than with my reference power conditioner.
It was on the third and final round of evaluation
that the CS 15 AWR B really shined. This summer has been extremely hot so far
and needless to say the air conditioning runs nearly constantly. Without the CS
15 AVR in place listening to Mozart: Piano Concertos 17 & 20 played
Leif Ove Andsnes one EMI's record label lacked the vitality and exuberance that
I have come to expect from the CD. In addition there was definite noise that
detracted from the overall sound quality that would normally be heard.
Interestingly the CS 15 AVR's front panel display indicated that the input
voltage was between 113V and 115V, something that normally does not happen.
However, the moment I put the unit back in place all of this disappeared and
once again the might of the piano concertos could be heard.
In short, the unit itself is extremely well designed
both inside and out. It does not require much to install and can be used in a
variety of configurations depending on your individual situation and system. It
even comes in two colors to fit better in your system and a rack mounted version
is available as well. Although a good portion of the time it tends to have less
auditory impact then perhaps a new amplifier might in a system, which does not
mean it is any less important. As mentioned earlier, a system is only as good as
its weakest link, and while one might believe power is not usually a weak link,
all you really need to do is remove a power conditioner such as this one from
your system to find out how wrong you could be.
In addition, the Ethernet, front display panel,
and the ability to integrate it into externally controlled systems makes it a
perfect fit for nearly all systems. The only downside I found was that the
receptacles are not isolated from one another as in other unites. While it did
not impact my system, I really did not have any "noisy" equipment on hand to see
if there would be some sort of bleed through. Overall, I would definitely
recommend giving the Torus Power CS 15 AVR a chance in your system to see just
how much difference it will make. Although at $3000 it is not inexpensive. It is
doubtful you will be willing to take it out once you have.
Type: Automatic Voltage Regulator/Power Isolation Component
Input Voltage Range: 85 to 135 VAC
Frequency Range: 57 to 63 Hz
Input Current Limiting: 15 Ampere Circuit Breaker Front Panel
Input (inlet) connector Rear panel: 15 Ampere inlet
Line Cord (included): 15 Ampere (Type A)
Input current rating: 12A
Output Voltage Range: 120 VAC ± 5V
Output Current Limiting: N/A
Output connector: Medical Grade Duplex 15A (Qty 5) 10 Outlets
Suppression: Meets IEEE C62.41-1991: Series mode type;
Built to withstand 6000 volts, 3000 Amperes for 1000 repeats
Noise Reduction: Performs as low pass filter, attenuating noise from 2 kHz to 1
Attenuation: 12 dB/Octave to 500 kHz.
Interfaces: RS232, Ethernet (10Base-T)
Triggers: Two 12volt
Weight: 46 lbs.
Front Panel Display
Front Panel Circuit Breaker
Web Based Interface
#8 601 Magnetic Drive
Toronto, ON M3J 3J2
Voice: (416) 667-8473