The subject of electricity has been increasingly occupying my attention in recent months. There are two main reasons for this growing interest. Firstly, there’s the evident rise in high-frequency disruptors, ranging from switching power supplies to power tank charging stations for electric vehicles, all of which can have a detrimental impact on sound quality. Secondly, the end of 2022 has seen the release of numerous intriguing products related to electricity management, including the IsoTek V5 Elektra power filter, which quietly but effectively improved the listening experience in my setup. I particularly noticed its efficiency when I removed it from the system; without it, everything sounded duller and less vibrant.
IsoTek is renowned for delivering power products that offer an excellent price-to-performance ratio. While the company often replaces older models with newer ones in its V5 range, the Elektra stands out as a cost-effective yet highly capable model that mirrors much of what the V5 Aquarius offers.
The V5 Elektra retains the curved case design seen in the V5 range but differs in some aspects. It features a more uniform black or silver wrap-around panel instead of the thicker fluted panel found on the V5 Aquarius and V5 Titan models. The Elektra also uses a power switch and fuse system instead of the resettable thermomagnetic fuses. While visually, it may seem simpler, its effectiveness lies in its performance.
- Suitable for all audio or AV systems
- RFI reduction 55dB
- 6 optimized power cleaning circuits to effectively remove Common and Differential Mode mains noise
- 4 independent outlets for source components (5A)
- 2 independent high current outlets for power amps, active subwoofers, active loudspeakers, TVs etc. (10A)
- Easy replacement fusing system
- 67’500A instantaneous protection, 32’500A continuous
- Fully star-earthed network
- 6n oxygen-free copper silver-plated internal wiring with FEP dielectric
- SYSTEM LINK outlet for extending the outlets and maintaining a starred earth reference
- Supplied with IsoTek EVO3 INITIUM POWER CABLE (1.5m)
- UK, EU, US, AU & CH outlets available
Design and Features:
The IsoTek V5 Elektra is an entry-level power cleaning system with six independent outlets, each equipped with its own power cleaning network. It measures 450mm in width, 350mm in depth, and 106mm in height. Among its six outlets, two are designated for high-current devices like amplifiers and are supported by a two-stage high-current power cleaning network featuring choke and double Pi filter design. The remaining four outlets are intended for source components and incorporate four independent six-stage delta filter power cleaning networks, providing substantial power cleaning, especially at higher frequencies. Further, five independent filter stages are situated between each output, and IsoTek’s Adaptive Gating system helps eliminate Differential Mode cross-contamination between power outlets.
One notable advantage of the Elektra is its avoidance of series connection commonly seen in power filters. Instead, it employs an electrical architecture and multiple power cleaning networks, ensuring that Differential Mode Noise is minimized, and Common Mode noise is significantly reduced. This approach keeps cross-contamination between connected components to a minimum.
The V5 Elektra also offers efficient lightning protection, which is a valuable feature to safeguard your audio system in case of unexpected electrical surges. Additionally, the grounding system is designed in a central star shape, ensuring that all connected components share the same potential.
The technical data
|IsoTek V5 Electra|
|Technical concept:||Power filter|
|Socket locations:||2 x high current (10A) and 4 x low current (5A)|
|Additional function:||Lightning protection|
|Particularities:||Star-shaped ground wiring|
|Dimensions (W x H x D:||43,5 x 17,0 x 48,5 cm|
Under the Hood:
Underneath the surface, the V5 Elektra shares several similarities with the V5 Aquarius but also features some differences. Both models offer four independent source component inputs (5A for the Elektra and 6A for the Aquarius) and two high-power independent inputs (10A for the Elektra and 16A for the Aquarius). Both models are fully star earthed and use high-purity, silver-plated copper internal wiring with FEP dielectric. The Elektra employs 6N copper, while the Aquarius uses OHNO copper. Notably, the Elektra offers significant surge protection, providing up to 67,500A of protection.
The IsoTek V5 Elektra played a crucial role in our reference system in a small listening room for several weeks. It served as the starting point for numerous experiments with power cables and grounding systems. It also accompanied me on visits to friends who were seeking to enhance their audio systems.
The impact of the Elektra was immediately noticeable. It brought a sense of calmness and harmony to the sound, improving overall clarity and delineation of individual instruments and vocals. The soundstage gained depth and three-dimensionality, making the listening experience more engaging. What’s remarkable is that this effect was consistent in all scenarios, suggesting that unwanted RF interference can indeed affect all audio systems.
While some claim that the V5 Elektra enhances dynamics, I couldn’t confirm this. Classic power filters like the Elektra typically don’t significantly impact dynamics. Instead, the Elektra excels in providing greater clarity, reducing noise, and enhancing overall audibility without compromising dynamics or transparency. This is a significant advancement compared to the Aquarius, which had a slight damping effect on the sound.
The IsoTek V5 Elektra power filter plays a pivotal role in enhancing the sound quality of an audio system by addressing issues related to electrical noise and interference. During sound tests, the following observations can be made regarding the impact of the V5 Elektra on audio performance:
- Reduced Noise and Interference: The primary objective of the V5 Elektra is to minimize electrical noise and interference from the power supply. This reduction in noise is immediately noticeable in the soundstage. The background becomes quieter, allowing subtle details in the music to emerge with greater clarity.
- Enhanced Clarity: With the reduction in noise, the audio system can reproduce music with improved clarity. Instruments and vocals are more defined and distinct, making it easier to discern individual elements within a complex musical arrangement. This heightened clarity contributes to a more immersive listening experience.
- Improved Instrument Separation: The Elektra’s ability to clean the power supply results in better separation of instruments within the soundstage. Each instrument occupies its own space, reducing muddiness and allowing for a more precise and enjoyable musical presentation.
- Soundstage Expansion: The removal of electrical noise contributes to a more expansive and three-dimensional soundstage. The music gains depth, and you can perceive a greater sense of space in recordings. This expansion adds a layer of realism to the listening experience, making it feel as if you are in the presence of a live performance.
- Tonal Balance: The Elektra’s impact on tonal balance is generally positive. It does not introduce any noticeable coloration to the sound. Instead, it helps maintain a more consistent tonal balance by eliminating unwanted noise that can affect the frequency response of audio components.
- Dynamic Range Preservation: Unlike some power conditioners that may inadvertently reduce dynamics, the V5 Elektra does not compromise the dynamic range of the audio system. This means that soft passages remain delicate, while loud passages can still deliver impactful dynamics.
- Reduction of Listening Fatigue: By removing noise and interference, the Elektra contributes to a smoother and more relaxed listening experience. This reduction in listening fatigue allows for longer and more enjoyable listening sessions.
It’s important to note that the specific impact of the V5 Elektra on sound quality can vary depending on the quality of the incoming power supply and the overall quality of the audio components in the system. In setups with significant electrical noise issues, the Elektra’s benefits may be more pronounced, making it a valuable addition for audiophiles seeking to optimize their audio systems.
In conclusion, the IsoTek V5 Elektra is a well-crafted and visually elegant power filter that not only enhances the aesthetics of your audio system but also significantly improves sound quality. Its ability to reduce noise and provide a cleaner power supply makes it a valuable addition to any music lover’s setup. While some may find its price of 1,600 euros relatively high, it’s essential to consider that more advanced conditioners can cost significantly more. If you’re looking for an affordable, no-nonsense product to address electricity-related issues and improve your audio system’s performance, the V5 Elektra is an excellent choice.
Advantages of IsoTek V5 Elektra:
- Improved Sound Quality: The IsoTek V5 Elektra effectively reduces electrical noise and interference, leading to enhanced audio clarity, instrument separation, and a more immersive listening experience.
- Multiple Independent Outlets: With six independent outlets, the Elektra accommodates a range of components, allowing you to connect both high-current devices like amplifiers and source components without compromising performance.
- Efficient Power Cleaning: The power filter features multiple power cleaning networks for each outlet, significantly reducing both Differential Mode and Common Mode noise, ensuring a cleaner and more stable power supply to your equipment.
- Lightning Protection: The Elektra offers lightning protection, safeguarding your valuable audio equipment from electrical surges, which can cause irreparable damage.
- Enhanced Build Quality: IsoTek’s commitment to high-quality construction is evident in the Elektra’s design and materials. It not only improves audio performance but also adds an elegant and valuable aesthetic touch to your audio system.
Disadvantages of IsoTek V5 Elektra:
- Relatively High Cost: The V5 Elektra is priced at around 1,600 euros, which may be considered expensive for some users, particularly those on a tight budget.
- Bulky Size: The unit’s dimensions (450mm width, 350mm depth, and 106mm height) may be relatively large for some setups, requiring ample space for installation.
- Limited Surge Protection Information: While the Elektra offers surge protection, the specific details regarding its surge protection capabilities are not extensively disclosed in the provided information.
- Complexity for Novice Users: Setting up and optimizing a power conditioner like the Elektra may require some knowledge and expertise, which could be daunting for novice users.
- Potential for Overkill: In audio systems with exceptionally clean and stable power sources, the benefits of the Elektra’s power cleaning capabilities may not be as pronounced, potentially making it an unnecessary expense for some users.