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Linear Power Supply for Clearaudio Performance DC Turntable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by normychas, Jun 2, 2021.

  1. normychas

    normychas Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    I just got a new Clear Audio Performance DC Turntable and was kind of surprised at the cheap power supply. Out of curiosity do folks feel there is value in getting a nicer power supply.

    My dealer is pushing the CA Linear Power Supply at $700-$1200 but I have been online looking at the Sbooster 12v power supply from Upscale at $400.

    Does anybody have thoughts on the value of either of these two options?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I doubt it would make a difference.
     
  3. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    For under $15 you can buy a new sealed lead acid (SLA) 12VDC battery. No digital or switching involved, pure linear analog. Of course, it's powering a DC servo motor, so probably some digital electronics in there :)
     
    Ingenieur and blakep like this.
  4. Donaknight

    Donaknight Member

    Location:
    Yokohama
    Hi, i got one two weeks ago as well. I came from CL Concept. I have used a PSU purchased on Ebay from China, 150 dollars. I can tell you that it is like night and day. Now after several years, the display shows 12.2V. It scares me a little bit because it might damage the motor of the CL. Thus, i am thinking of buying a new one but this time not from China. There are several brands, Prado, MCRU, from upscale audio, and the original CL. They are more expensive but more reliable, i guess, hope.I do really suggest to get one. The original CL should be even better but very expensive.
     
  5. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Check the speed. Don’t use an RPM app on a smartphone. Use a speed disc and a strobe light (KAB sells a good kit). If, over time, checking at various times of day and evening - during any potential listening hours - the speed of the Performance DC is always steady and unvarying at 33.33 RPM then the little power supply is providing exactly what the motor requires. No point in a replacement power supply.

    If, on the other hand, you find that speed varies slightly at different times of day or evening or that it’s never spot on, then you may have a slight problem. Keep in mind that most people - the exceptions being those who are pitch-sensitive or occasionally playing an instrument along with an LP - don’t hear any audible effect from speed errors in the +/-0.06-0.10 range at all. Still, the turntable is supposed to operating exactly at 33.33 RPM, so use an RPM disc and strobe light to check speed accuracy and stability.

    Cheap little power supplies sometimes start to oscillate, which is sometimes audible as a very high-pitched whine up around 8kHz or thereabouts. When one of the myriad wall warts (or a wall wart masquerading as a linear PS brick though it’s actually not) for one of the components I own or that I’m assessing or reviewing blows or starts to oscillate, I replace it with whatever utility linear PS I’ve got lying around. SBooster makes well-designed, reliable linear power supplies. Or, sometimes, I just grab a spare wall wart that is still operating to spec. Again, if a turntable is already speed accurate and speed stable over time with its stock, factory-supplied power supply, as @Phil Thien implied there’s nothing to be gained by spending four hundred bucks (let alone twelve hundred??) to solve a non-existent problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
    jonwoody likes this.
  6. Vincent Kars

    Vincent Kars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europa
    In my country this TT sells for € 3.725,00
    I expect it to have a circuit producing perfect DC to drive it
    If not, you are scammed
     
    Agitater likes this.
  7. Donaknight

    Donaknight Member

    Location:
    Yokohama
    Yet, a better PSU makes a difference. The only way it is to try by yourself. I purchased one from China, and the difference was huge. Now i am going to change it because the display shows several different voltages, from 12v to 12.3v. I do not want to take any risk to ruin the new TT.
    This is my experience, and i suggest to buy it. That said, there is freedom and anyone can believe what they want but before talking it would better to try and see. This is my opinion.
     
    blakep likes this.
  8. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    What, specifically, was the huge difference?
     
  9. Donaknight

    Donaknight Member

    Location:
    Yokohama
    Well, if you have tried a PSU you know what i am talking about. In case, the background is darker, the stage becomes bigger, and more details because there is a better separation of the instruments. My experience was with a Clearaudio Concept and a PSU made in China, paid 150 bucks. Now i have a better TT, the performance and because the PSU is not precise, i will get a better one but i won’t pay more that 10% of the TT’s value. This is the ratio i give to a PSU. If i had to spend 600 buck i would save that money for a part of a better tonearm or cartridge. This is my personal opinion. I can tell you that other people who tried an external PSU would say the same. In HiFi quite often there is not an answer...same thing for power cables....but this is another topic.
     
    old music lover likes this.
  10. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I have tried many different after-market power supply units. Some are electrically/electronically quieter than the units supplied with, for example, a turntable or phono preamp. Sometimes, the factory-supplied switching power supply has a fault (e.g., because of incorrect DC voltage output, or because of variability of its output) when a turntable is not operating at 33.33 RPM and an after-market linear power supply (or a better quality switching power supply) can solve the problem. Incorrect speed - faster or slower - affects sound quality because it changes pitch and timbre. Variability of speed can cause shifting of soundstage.

    So, my question is about exactly what the after-market PSU did with respect to platter/motor speed that the factory-supplied PSU did not? If you don’t have that answer, specifically, then statements such as “...the background is darker, the stage becomes bigger, and more details...” are not helpful. Such statements have no measurable basis. Because a power supply is supposed to do a very specific job consistently and unvaryingly over time, the obvious other question to ask is what was the platter speed measurement before (with the factory-supplied power supply) versus the measurement with the replacement (linear? switching?) PSU? If you don’t have that answer, no problem, but almost tropes about dark backgrounds and soundstage don’t actually help or tell us anything about what your turntable needed that its factory-supplied PSU was not providing.
     
  11. J.D.80

    J.D.80 Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    At least you don't require the larger CA supply that runs 3500 bucks! I believe that one uses a bank of batteries in it too. I looked into getting one a while back, but could not justify it for my turntable which already sounds superb with its godawful cheap wall wort. I don't have golden ears by any means.. but I am hyper-sensitive to pitch which is part of the reason I purchased their innovation line. It uses an electronic speed control system. Piano played back on a turntable that doesn't have rock solid pitch is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
     
    jonwoody and Agitater like this.
  12. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    A simple linear power supply likely won't make a difference but I remember a lot of people swearing by the Naim Armageddon model for the LP12. If the box is a linear PS with a speed control function that more accurately regulates the motor speed and reduces motor noise then there are advantages. Examples would be the Michell Orbe controller and Linn Lingo 4. Sometimes it's difficult to describe improvements but you can't dismiss claims of blacker backgrounds lower surface noise and more precise timing. Mobile phones and strobes likely won't show any significant differences. I'm sure the Clear Audio addons likely make a difference but they are charging crazy prices and frankly they should provide something better than a plug top PS with a TT in this price bracket. Project now provide an optional PS to replace the plug top with their Xtension 10 turntable and reviewer Paul Rigby (The Audiophileman) reported a significant lift in SQ.



    Detailed description of differences from around 15.00 mins.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
    MGW and Agitater like this.
  13. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

    Location:
    PA
    Does the wall wart produce 12 VDC?
    can someone post a picture of the label please?

    Does the 12 VDC go to the motor or a controller board? It must have voltage regulation to account for line V fluctuations.
    So a linear supply may not make a difference.
    A linear supply will droop or sag under load, how much depends on design.
     
    Agitater likes this.
  14. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendora, CA
    I’m an Xtension 10 owner and have read that review. I have the older model with a standard wall wart power supply and I’m trying to wrap my head around how a power supply can make a sonic difference. It can’t be speed related since the Xtension has the Pro-Ject Speed Box built in, so speed is well regulated. I’m a retired electrician and have a hard enough time wrapping my head around power cord upgrades for amplifiers and such, but on a turntable who’s speed is already well regulated?
     
    Agitater likes this.
  15. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

    Location:
    PA
  16. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

    Location:
    PA
    Linear
    Dead accurate
    Line and load regulation, 0.05% 6 mV
    Ripple 3 mV
    Adjustable
    $85
    TT max 3 W or ~ 1/2 A at 12 VDC

    you can a cover for it
    Then just put a power cord and a DC cord on it.
    You will want to hide it though lol

    put this in an enclosure with an IEC power input and compatible VDC output, you have an instrument grade linear power supply.



    https://www.emerson.com/documents/a...r-line-series-power-supplies-en-us-164038.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  17. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I strongly suggest you just try one. Don't think they are expensive but appear to be free if you buy a new Xperience 10 now. It's likely got a lot to do with the low quality of the standard switch mode PS.
     
  18. MGW

    MGW Less travelling, more listening

    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    ... another example is the Michell HR PSU for the Gyro SE and Gyrodec. Blacker backgrounds, lower surface noise, better timing, ..., etc.
     
  19. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendora, CA
    The linear power supply from Pro-Ject is about $500 - $600, and not available in the States.
     
  20. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
  21. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendora, CA
    Not the same unit. The one for the turntable has a TT designation, and is 15v high current. I’ve only seen it available for sale at UK dealers (and probably EU). TBS, before I spent $500-$600 on an upgraded power supply I’d want to hear a convincing argument as to how this helps with SQ.
     
    Ingenieur and Agitater like this.
  22. Donaknight

    Donaknight Member

    Location:
    Yokohama
    Your first question was to explain the improvements, and i did and it turned out that you had the same experience. Now you asked me to to give data. The only test i did was to check the speed, but i did with an app, that you or someone else said it is not reliable. Anyway with the original psu the speed was lower: 32.67. Now with the chinese psu it shows 33.2.
    That is the only data i can give you. When i had the Concept, i adjust the speed with the original and frankly adding the chinese PSU and re adjust because the speed became higher, the quality of the output was better with the PSU: darker, a bigger stage, and separation and less noise.
    For these reason i suggest to buy a better psu. Frankly a TT that costs more than 4000 buck to get that wall plug in psu is unacceptable. Besides my suggestion is to to spend 10% of the value. Maybe the original PSU with he battery of Clearaudio might be better, being a battery, but to get that you need 1000 dollars and i think that it is a little bit too much even because you can get things with high quality from Teddy Pardo or MCRU for 400 bucks. Maybe with a Performance dc i can understand the battery clearaudio psu, but with the concept the ratio is 50% of the value it is Too much, for me. I mean i can spend that money, but i would prefer to do for a better upgrade.
    guys i have to go to work, being morning here in Japan.
    Regards
     
  23. BillWojo

    BillWojo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington, NJ
    For a hundred or two you can find very nice used adjustable laboratory power supply's on ebay that you can set the voltage to and it will regulate it far more precisely than any of those power supply's.
    Look for names like Power Designs and Hewlett Packard. On the better ones you can dial in say 12.00000 volts and there is no drift worth worrying about. Incredible pieces of engineering that are light years ahead of any so called "Audiophile Power Supply".
    Most are adjustable for both voltage and current limiting. They won't sag under a load even if it's a spike.
    New, they were very expensive but today they can be had cheaply.

    BillWojo
     
    Vinyl Archaeologist likes this.
  24. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur I love to travel, but I hate to arrive.

    Location:
    PA
    A switching power supply may have an advantage in this application if that motor needs exactly 12 VDC, ie, related to speed.

    A linear power supply follows the input voltage. If it falls from 120-115 that out put will fall from 12 to 11.5..

    A switching PS uses feedback to regulate the voltage regardless of input fluctuation.
     
  25. Davey

    Davey Heavy Rotation: Merope "Salos"

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I think all of the linear power supplies being discussed here are tightly regulated, generally with feedback type voltage regulators referenced to a low noise DC voltage.
     
    Ingenieur likes this.

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