The StereoTimes Most Wanted Components - 2001
Jim Merod
1 July 2001

The SineLock AC Line Filtering System
P.O. Box 2941, Camarillo, CA. 93011-2941
Ph/fax: 805-383-0662

Price: $2,500: Model 3 (3 amp version; larger models available)

Operation: nominal 120v, 60 Hz (must be connected to grounded receptacle)

Dimensions: 20 in. W 11.25 in. D 6.5 in. H. Weight: 42 lbs; 19 kg.

Several effective AC line conditioning systems have emerged recently, gaining adherents and skeptics perhaps in equal numbers. I can testify to the usefulness of such devices but do not (and cannot) probe the inner workings that differentiate one from another. I will attest to the more than congenial effect such devices can have on the delivery of musical signals.

Let me introduce a unit worth considerable attention. Up in Camarillo, California, audiophile veteran Chris English has spearheaded the emergence of the Sinelock AC Line Filter System, a passive device with a high degree of effectiveness in reducing AC line grunge. The figure cited is -80dB of line noise reduction in the spectral range from 6 kHz to 100 kHz and above.

That figure seems credible to me. Musical signals pop out with greater tactile heft when the SineLock unit is in the signal path. This is not a small shift of sonic presence. It is significant. I will not attempt to draw a verbal picture, but (in the time-tested tradition of recommended components lists) I'll nominate this box for a committed audiophile's earnest inspection.

The system works with two high current isolation transformers along with two-stage over-voltage protection employing a seven-pole filter system and two high-current isolation transformers in balanced topology throughout. The outcome is a fully professional device that clearly has a place in home theatre systems designed to maximize visual and sonic clarity.

Be prepared for the SineLock's 42-pound tug that will greet your desire to put it where you want it. The unit features separate isolated outlets for digital and analog use (a good idea), but the bottom line is the very real improvement in signal delivery that results from its sturdy, well-crafted design. Each power conditioning unit I have spent time with has its own virtues. The virtue of the SineLock is the sense of musical effortlessness that appears in the audio path. A more detailed set of comments are called for, but in the interim, the Sinelock AC Line Filtering System is recommended.

Amplifier:  The McCormack DNA-125: $1695

Reviewed 8/1/00. Large, expensive amplifiers attract considerable audiophile interest since their price tags promise an ultimate performance level and their cosmetic details often enchant the eye. Often overlooked in the press and by those who seek extraordinary sonic reality are those few unusual amplification overachievers, like the McCormack DNA-125, modestly priced but modest in no way that relates to music. The two amps that I have listened to most over the last few years are the DNA-125 and the classic McCormack DNA-0.5 -- an amplifier that defines what clean, honest sonic performance means. Both amplifiers demonstrate that there are very genuine "audiophile values" to be found.

Although it is no longer being produced, the DNA-0.5 can be found among used gear. It is a little champ that will take its owner a large part of the way toward musical bliss. The DNA-125 is currently in production at Conrad-Johnson. I have written about this giant slayer and need only say here that it is a very special instrument. You can spend five times the money and not equal its musical performance. No better amp values are available that I know of. Both of these McCormack units (as well as the larger DNA-225) outperform more expensive amps. Their strength is extreme musicality joined to sonic transparency, a remarkable (not often replicated) combination. Because of that -- emotional and musical vivacity expressed with wonderful sonic purity -- I have found everything (quite literally that: everything) necessary for exploring the joy and truth of first generation recordings. These are two highly recommended amplifiers.


























































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