Time To Tear It Down!

Finally, with the racks placed and levelled, I give each shelf a wipe over with Nordost’s Eco 3 anti-static fluid. This helps keep the dust at bay – and living in a house that was built in the early 1600s, dust is an ever present.

Stage 4 – The AC supply

Before loading the racks, I like to get the AC distribution positioned. In this system, that means the Chord Co. PowerHAUS M6 and a seriously long 20A power chord to feed it. That runs from the dedicated Russ Andrews Power Block that’s wired directly into the fuse board, via its own, Russ Andrews supplied DCU. The Power Block also provides the necessary additional, parallel sockets for Chord’s PowerARAY and other, similar devices. The ground socket on the PowerHAUS is connected to the Reading Room’s dedicated clean ground.

The PowerHAUS M6 is located directly behind the system, the asymmetry of the room creating an angled wedge between the racks and the angled wall that leaves more than enough space for access and dressing cables. Rather than sitting the distribution block directly on the floor, it enjoys its own, custom built ‘sand-box’ to help isolate it from acoustic feedback, as well as sinking mains-borne mechanical vibration.

With the distribution block in place you can start reloading the equipment into the rack(s) and hooking up the power as you go. Most distribution blocks or dedicated supplies have a preferred plugging order. In the Nordost QB8 this revolves around its central star grounding point. On units like the AudioQuest Niagara or Isoteks, sockets are sub-divided by function (digital/analogue, source/amplification) while in the case of the PowerHAUS M6, equipment should be connected in system/noise order: in other words, the ‘noisiest’ items – often digital source components – should be placed nearest to the ARAY technology at the input. After that, the units should be connected in running order. A little experiment will likely be necessary to achieve the best results. But one thing that always holds true: connecting the power cables in order leads to the neatest arrangement and helps avoid tortuous tangles of cable down the back of your rack.

Stage 5 – (Selecting and) Hooking up the system

By now, both the connectors on the interconnects and speaker cable, as well as the sockets on the equipment should have been cleaned with a contact cleaner, so everything should be ready to re-install.

For many of us, the relative position of equipment in the rack is a bit of a no-brainer. However, it’s still worth pausing for a moments reflection before simply re-installing pieces in the same old positions. Usage and priorities might have changed, or there may be change coming to the system. In this case, as a review system, change is going to be a way of life and that impacts both the choice of equipment and its arrangement. I already mentioned the reasons behind the decision to use the versatile and tractable VPI Avenger. The rest of the system follows similar logic. The Wadia S7i (the last great CD player that Wadia built) is no slouch and acts as both an excellent standalone CD player, capable of challenging many more recent and more expensive options, or as an extremely capable transport. DAC is my original Wadax Pre 1 Ultimate, just upgraded with the new Akasa DC cable between power supply and head unit. Again, this versatile piece encompasses the full range of digital and analogue inputs, with multiple balanced or single-ended outputs and its own output buffer and volume control.