Nanotech Systems Japan

 

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What happens when you disperse nano sized (1-100 nanometers) particles of conductive copper, silver, and gold in deep-sea shark oil? Well, you get a unique product that aims to fill in any uneven gaps with electrical contact points. Think spades, RCA, XLR pins, and Power plugs.

Nanotech Systems Japan has been developing products to improve audio, video, and even automotive experiences for some years now. Beyond the contact points, This company has also designed speaker and power cables with nano particles in a colloidal liquid, More on that in a minute, but first let’s see how this nanotech can be applied.

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Silver nano, half silver half gold mix, and copper nano particles suspended in shark oil

Well, it can be used for just about any electrical contact point. I started off using the silver nano liquid on my speaker cable spades. I was told this would effectively fill in any gaps between the spade and speaker terminal. I also found a use for the copper nano liquid when building power cables and power distribution centers. These nanoparticles (used sparingly) of precious metal ensure that full power transfer is occurring at contact terminals.

I encourage experimentation of application to various contact points in your system. It should be noted that these are enhancers, not cleaners. So beginning with a clean contact is a good start. One experiment I did was with a very worn and noisy guitar cable plug. The solder points were all intact, but for some reason the plug made a noisy connection. I applied the gold contact liquid to the plug and the intermittent noise ceased. Excellent, now to try it in my audio/video system.

As for sonic improvements, these products may indeed help in that area. I recommend that you apply and test for yourself.

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After speaking with Nanotech Systems Japan, I was able to test out fully terminated power cable (Golden Strada) that had been treated with nano particles. Gold and silver nano particles are dispersed in a colloidal liquid, then applied to the full length of conductors in this power cable. In addition, an electromagnetic wave absorption material is also applied to this power cable for reduced interference. This nano liquid, when applied to the full length of conductors seems to prevent signal jumping which I suspect is one cause of distortion. See my article on solid core copper vs stranded copper cables. For more information on how this tech works at improving signal transfer and lessening distortion please read here.

For my application (audiophile systems), I used this cable to provide power to my power distribution bar (Oyaide MT-UB). I also tested it directly connected to my power amplifier.

With the Golden Strada providing power to my entire distribution bar (which I built with nano copper enhancers) I found a sense of ease and flow to the music which seemed to emerge from a blacker (quieter) background. When connected directly to my power amp I found similar results when compared to the generic unshielded power cable my amp came with.

I especially liked the Golden Strada power cable for picture quality in film. When used for powering a Blu-ray player in my system directly, the contrast and depth of picture was easily improved.

While using other power cables to provide power to my Oyaide MT UB, I found the unique abilities of the Power Strada to shine through when directly connected to my system components. Experimentation is encouraged, and using more than one in an audiophile system will provide varied results – build your own or buy terminated.

Nanotech Systems Japan has created a whole line of DIY products, enhancers, and completed products to improve audio/visual systems. These products are also not excessively overpriced.  If you are ever in the Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo, I recommend finding some shops that carry these unique science-based audiophile products.

Happy Listening!

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Oyaide Electric Company; A Materials Science Approach to Power Distribution 

 

Power Distribution Parts by Oyaide Elec & Acrolink Japan

The Japanese hi-fi market exists alongside a healthy DIY audiophile scene. The Akihabara neighborhood of Tokyo is a great example. One step off the Sobu line and a world of electronics specialty stores become available for professionals and hobbyists alike. One of my favorites, Oyaide Electric shop provides cables, connectors, and parts for building your own audio, video, and power cables/distributors.

Oyaide is a long established electrical wire company that  has been in business since 1952. Over the last 30 years they have grown to develop products for the audiophile and pro audio markets. Materials for Oyaide Elect. are developed and produced in Japan with a combination of technological innovation and traditional craftsmanship.

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 P-004 Beryllium Copper no plating hand polished by traditional Japanese craftsmen

Oyaide power distribution materials are carefully auditioned and produced to provide tonal options for audio enthusiasts and professional musicians. Both the AC wall outlets and power plugs from Oyaide have been developed with several different base alloys and platings.

Their standard 15 amp Power plug and IEC connections (P-004/C-004) have become available with and without the plating of platinum and palladium. This has allowed me to listen to various power cables (Acrolink, Oyaide) and hear how they interact with different plugs and outlets- giving me a better understanding of what the AC conductors sound, which inludes: dielectric materials, shielding, plugs and ultimately the outlets they interface with.

After investigating several brass alloys, I have come to appreciate the sonic qualities of the Beryllium Copper alloy when used for AC power in highly resolving audio systems. Beryllium Copper is used for its spring like qualities combined with electrical conductivity. This alloy has corrosion resistance and maintains its original shape due to its ductile properties.

The Oyaide R0 AC duplex is made of beryllium copper for the contacts and PBT (with 30% glass) for the thermoplastic outlet face. Mechanically, the Oyaide duplexes provides excellent AC blade retention, and the PBT and glass filled body helps dissipate unwanted vibration. The R1 employs the same construction but adds a plating of platinum and palladium to the AC receptacles base alloy.

Homemade Power distribution with Oyaide MT UB Power tap case, R0 & R1 outlets

To satisfy my curiosity, I built a passive power distributor from Oyaide called the MT UB. This 2 mm thick brass and nickel/chrome plated 2 duplex box exemplifies Japanese craftsmanship. Four separate mounting poles with special washers allow each duplex to be well isolated from each other. I wired it with high-purity Japanese solid core copper and used one R0 un-plated beryllium copper duplex and one R1 plated with the platinum and palladium. I will try and describe the sonic differences of each outlet below.

Oyaide R0 duplex: This un-plated Beryllium Copper AC outlet provides an un-hyped and natural soundstage when used on analog and digital equipment. Compared to several other outlets with various metal platings, the R0 has provided me with the most neutral sonic presentation, a robust and taught distribution of power without any accent in the audio band.

Oyaide R1 duplex: Beryllium Copper plated with platinum(0.5 μ) + palladium (0.3 μ). This outlet helps create a sound of focused and refined sonic presentation. While the un-plated R0 maintains an organic flow to the music, the R1 also adds a sense of lowered noise floor with some equipment, and I found that digital gear and video (improved contrast and blacks) benefited most from the R1 outlet. While I still hear a neutral presentation (Sonically), the R1 has a highlighting or spotlighting ability, albiet subtle. 

Over the last decade I have been experimenting with various aftermarket power cables and power conditioners. Sometimes with fair results, and sometimes the cables or conditioners have effected the sound negatively. Starting with a materials based approach, I have been able to better understand how different conductors, dialectics, plugs, and  AC receptacles will effect the sound quality of professional and audiophile sound systems. Oyaide Electric company has provided a basis for AC materials to be judged in audio systems, see for yourself.

-Happy Listening

Caution: AC power distributors and cables are serious and should only be built/worked on by trained/licensed professional electricians.

Clean High Current Power

Update: After a decade of experimentation with power cables and conditioners I have sold all my Shunyata gear in favor of Oyaide Electric Company. Building power cables, outlet wiring, and distribution has led me down the path of passive power conditioning. Read more here

My personal experience involving after market power cables came at a young age. While playing my electric guitar at friend’s studio I noticed some curious looking power cables and inquired. We quickly decided that an evaluation must commence. After I plugged my amp into the AC socket with a high current power cable the rest was history. The first note I picked rang out of the tube amp with a greater sense of responsiveness that startled me. It was as though the efficient delivery of power allowed my amp to react more quickly/accurately when picking a guitar string. I felt a greater connection to my guitar because the amp was now able to mirror my playing movements with better accuracy and ease. I was hooked!

Getting hi-fidelity sound starts at the source. Whether you play musical instruments that are electric, record audio, or just listen on the Hi-Fi, proper power delivery is essential. In essence, all the sound these devices reproduce comes from alternating current. More specifically, the AC from your outlet is converted to DC by the audio equipment’s power supply. This direct current is the electrical force that drives loudspeakers and powers audio circuits. Providing the cleanest and most unhindered flow of electrical current will allow your audio gear to sound its best.

A few design principles seem to be shared by various high end cable manufacturers. Larger gauge conductors are used to maximize current flow, while radio frequency interference and electro-magnetic interference are addressed by the shielding or geometry of the conductors. Treating the conductors with cryogenics or using specially extruded copper are also known to improve conductor integrity. After listening and evaluating a variety of power cables, I was most impressed with those produced by Shunyata Research of Poulsbo, WA.

No, It’s not a substation on the television series Lost. The Hydra 2 is Shunyata’s smallest power conditioning unit. With special filter networks to remove noise produced by equipment sharing an AC circuit, the Hydra furthers improvements brought by specialty power cables alone. This device excels at current delivery, noise suppression, and even has special surge protection. Small systems will only require one Hydra 2*, while larger audio/video systems may want a 6 outlet Hydra.

I experimented with two Hydra units in order to separate my digital and analog equipment. My system’s background noise was greatly reduced and sound emited from a black back drop. Micro dynamics and the full extension of bass notes were rendered clearer. Even as I turned the volume up, the resolution maintained. The strain I associated with my sound system was removed once efficient power delivery was introduced. Be prepared to hear a clearer, wider, and deeper soundstage – you can’t help but be fully immersed in the music!

Hydra 2 supported and isolated with Black Diamond Racing

Shunyata does not recommend placing their power conditioners directly on carpet. While special carpet piecing spike can also isolate the Hydra 2, a solid rack shelf is prefered. In order to isolate my Hydra units from external vibrations, I use Black Diamond Racing support systems. These carbon fiber cones and disks reduce the transference of mechanical vibrations. The resin/carbon cone coupled into the cabon fiber disc is a great starting point for those wanting to experement with this improvement.

Black Diamond Racing Carbon Fiber isolation discs are dimpled on other side

*Hydra 2 has been replaced with a new version called the “Hydra-a or alpha.” These newer Hydra power distributors only provide spike protection on the larger Hyrda Alpha 4 or 6 outlet units. All photos by: Vahan Baladouni

Note* I have recently had the opportunity to try Audioquest solid-core high purity copper AC power cables. I was very impressed with the NRG-4 on mic preamps, AD converters, DACs. The Shunyata power cables are a fine product, but I would recommend checking out the Audioquest power cables too.