Mains Filtration Cascade Theory – Forming a Quiet Bubble

Earlier in the upgrade sequence we described how you could use a Jaya filter together with a Taga distribution block (which also contains a filter) in a ‘filter cascade’. Many times in the past, setting up this cascade arrangement has proven critical in getting a system’s performance up to a much higher level – it’s a very important part of the Systematic Approach. In essence we need to provide a quiet bubble around a system with layers of protection using Vertex filters and Vertex mains leads.

In the basic scenario we had a Standard Taga distribution block feeding the system, with a Standard Roraima mains lead powering it, and two Standard Roraima mains leads feeding each hi-fi component. We then plugged a second Jaya into an adjacent wall output socket which setup our simple cascade filter. This Jaya will lower the RFI at the wall socket, therefore pre-filtering the mains feed before it gets to the Taga, but also, because conductors carry noise both ways, the Jaya will help to draw system generated noise further away from the system.

Using Different Conductors and Insulators

But there is a second, and equally important element to the cascade theory – and that concerns the type of mains leads we use to feed the Taga and the components. Depending on our choice of cables we can lower the impedance (at radio frequencies) within the mains loom, and allow the filter network to work together more effectively.

In part 8 we discussed the reduction of system RFI, and using our system scenario we constructed a diagram showing representative RFI noise reduction as we built up our mains loom of Standard Roraimas, a Taga and up to three Jayas. But let’s consider this scenario again with the Taga and just one Jaya used in the adjacent wall socket.

If we start off using the Standard Roraimas with their silver-plater copper conductors and extruded PTFE insulation we will find that their properties, together with the properties of the Standard Taga and Standard Jaya will produce a network which will lower the general RF noise in the system down to a certain level within the components. But if we then replace those leads with a set of Silver Roraimas with their solid-core silver conductors and Teflon tubing insulation, we significantly lower the impedance of the cable loom at radio frequencies and that brings the levels of RFI noise in our components down further.

Click on the diagram below and you will see a full schematic representation of this important factor. Please study it in some detail, paying attention to the relative noise level reductions around the system. You will notice that we have shown that the RFI noise is always a little higher in the components than in the Taga say, this is to represent that the components themselves are also always generating their own noise. Remember it is never just a simple case of blocking RFI from the outside – we need to drain RFI from within the components and keep the whole local level of RFI signals down, but keeping impedance low. In our view it never works to raise impedance with weaving or criss-crossing conductors or simple in-line ‘choke’ filters, this simply leaves the system generated RFI locked-in.

Mains leads and filters 1 v2.0 feb 15.001

Lowering noise further with Silver Roraimas – click to enlarge

Adding More Jayas

In the original scenario you also saw that we can put yet another Jaya into another socket, a socket that in reality would be somewhere else in your listening room, or even in another room. This can often be a very important step, and it should be done with the idea of testing and discovery in mind, because by using another Jaya and trying it in different wall sockets, you are able to determine quite a lot about the RFI environment of your house, and how your system reacts to it. Think of this second Jaya as if it’s a little vacuum cleaner, and plug it into different sockets around the house, one at a time, and listen carefully to the results. What happens quite regularly is we find a ‘dirty spot’ somewhere else around the household wiring, maybe in a garage or kitchen (yes, some Vertex customers do have Jayas permanently installed in garages and kitchens!). Shunting this new found noise away at this other dirty spot can bring a significant lift to performance, because you have actually tailored the configuration of your cascade ‘network’ to the specific characteristics of your house and its wiring.