- Written by Jason Victor Serinus
- Published on 30 October 2008
Technical Description and Design
The Electric Bamboo line purifier is an entirely passive, transformer-free device. Unless viewed from the outlet side, which many owners prefer to position face up, it has a distinctly utilitarian appearance. In fact, save for the barely noticeable engraving of “Electric Bamboo” on one side, it is pretty plain Jane.
Designed by Jim Pierce and David Kalin, along with a few friends who have chosen not to take credit, the Electric Bamboo is manufactured in the USA. David and Jim have previously designed two speakers, the Galante and Grand Forte, both of which are available from Amazing Audio.
The EB has eight Hubble star grounded receptacles, four of which are designed for digital, the other four for analog. Plugging an analog component into a digital outlet, or vice-versa, will not yield optimal results.
Other design elements of interest include: (1) All components are cryogenically treated; (2) Audiophile grade Sonicap capacitors are used; (3) There are no transformers or other current limiting devices; (4) Special damping materials are used; (5) It has a non-ferrite design; (6) It has custom designed high performance "noise interceptors" on all outlets; and (7) It uses an audio grade 15A ceramic fuse.
In an extended phone interview, David Kalin explained the genesis of the Electric Bamboo, and described its features:
We were noticing that no matter how many equipment and cable changes we made, music seemed to change from day to day, be it in imaging or sound staging. We expected our power supply wasn’t being consistent. So we tried a few of the fancy name line conditioners that have reviews from major magazines, such as Nordost and Shunyata. Even though they corrected a lot of problems, the music still didn’t have that wow factor you get at a nice live concert. We weren’t getting goose bumps.
Because we had modified amps before, we started modifying some lesser quality line conditioners. After we made some significant improvements which brought us close to the Nordost and Shunyata, we decided to install better quality parts, fuses, fuse holders, and caps. We also used silver in key spots, and cryogenic treatment. To help dampen some of the electrical vibrations, we encased the unit in epoxy.
We spent two years tearing things apart, rebuilding, listening, and re-listening. Thousands of hours went into the development of this product. We kept coming up with new ideas, to the point where it began to drive us crazy. Finally, we ran out of ideas. I do have some new ideas how to build an even better product, but I need someone to do the investing, because it would cost about $5,000 just to buy the parts and build it.
We also tried different woods, and found bamboo the best for absorbing excessive energies that were vibrating around in there. When we’ve put it on brass cones and a slab of maple, and competed it against other line conditioners in showrooms around the Bay Area, it’s been head and shoulders above the rest of them. I think it may be because too many of them use too much capacitance, or use big inductors that limit current flow and don’t allow for a stable image when you get a vocalist singing ath high energy levels.
We eliminated the problems of other units with a truly revolutionary passive design. It shares a few things in common with the other designs, but it has technologies in it that no one else has tried. We’re glad that covering it with epoxy works, because it also conceals our secret knowledge.
I’m going to explain how the unit works in laymen’s terms, because no one on the planet seems to agree theoretically on the quantum physics level. On the sine wave that transmits AC, you’ve got ghost waves following it that result from other people’s refrigerators and computers. Those little ghost waves are not 60-cycle. If they’re not eliminated, they get into the power supplies of your components, and eventually put a blanket over the sound. When we’ve compared our unit to the Nordost, people have commented that it’s like removing a blanket that has been placed over the sound.
When we chose our IEC we listened to a host of them, and found Furutech’s gold over copper superior to their more expensive rhodium over copper. The Hubbell 688 outlets are brass with a very high copper content. The double-element, 15-amp, gold plated, ceramic body industrial and audiophile grade fuse we use is from Little, a manufacturer who builds appliances for heavy-duty industrial applications. Hence, it is non-current limiting.
The internal wiring is oxygen-free copper, different gauges throughout, 14- gauge in key spots, 12 in others. We also use high purity silver 12- and 14-gauge. All our metal parts except for caps are cryogenically treated in a proprietary manner that takes several days to do properly. The person we use to do it does a better job than others.
The digital outlets have different types of filters to eliminate noise on the high frequencies. We don’t use any resistors or magnetic or ferrite materials, because they degrade the sound. Instead, we found another way to remove the ghost noise that sounds like a blanket thrown over the speakers. Our filters also help get rid of high frequency glare. You’ll find sibilance highly reduced through our machine, with the highs intact in their full glory and harmonic decay. The noise that makes high frequencies irritating, noisy, spitty, or otherwise annoying to the ears is gone.
The problem is that the only way to measure high quality components such as the Electric Bamboo is with the human ear and brain. You can’t put these power conditioners on scopes and measuring tools and say that one will sound better than the other. It’s not possible. You can’t measure a tube amp and say whether it will sound better than a solid-state amp, because so many people prefer the sound of a tube amp.
Half the people we sell the Electric Bamboo to like to run it with the sockets face up. Our final product will have a black anodized aluminum faceplate with silkscreen lettering on the socket side rather than the plastic faceplate you’re showing in your photos. The rest of the unit will retain its bamboo siding.