Aletheia psu-1 History

Some five years ago, we used to make the Elbrus balanced PSU. This was based on a ‘double-transformer’ topology, whereby we used a bigger capacity filter in-between the two transformers. This arrangement was quite effective but quite bulky, and only allowed space in the case for a single output module arrangement, with the feed then split to each of the output sockets.

As we learned more and more about the polluting effect of hi-fi components themselves (both noise and vibration), we realised that performance would benefit more if each balanced output had its own dedicated module with a ‘light-touch’ shunt filter circuit and acoustic absorption labyrinth. We also found that having a far higher quality single transformer, specially wound to our own specification (the original Elbrus were good-quality off-the-shelf items) was again better than the original design. And this shift to a single transformer, but with four individual output modules, was also manageable in terms of size and weight for the type of unit we wanted to build.

Gaining More Performance

So when we designed the new topology, and developed the psu-1 prototype, our listening tests proved we were right. Of real significance was the way the new psu-1 behaved in complex systems. In such systems the interaction between multiple source components (a separate transport, DAC and preamp say) can be surprisingly significant. These components undoubtedly benefit from a balanced supply but, buy individually isolating them in terms of vibration and RFI, their individual performance is elevated to a higher level again. And as these source components are sequential in the audio chain, the combined musical benefit is summed, resulting in a dramatic overall system improvement.

So now the performance of psu-1 is exceptional. Fundamentally, providing greatly improved power, and preventing systematic interactions between the components within a system, brings huge benefits. Placed in a high-end system context, immediately the sound is richer, smoother, more detailed. It’s less fatiguing, more dynamic, has much truer tonal colour and vibrancy. Imaging is hugely improved, providing a real ‘walk around’ sense. But best of all is the huge improvement in the reality of the performance – music is exciting, emotional and convincing – the transformation is massive.