Jaguar is pleased to represent the full line of Vibex power conditioning products, designed by Cliff Orman and imported from Spain. The role and importance of power delivery to sound quality is vastly misunderstood and underestimated, particularly in high-end systems. We fully believe the many elements that go into maximizing the performance of power delivery represent a third of the equation, with the other thirds being the system components and the room.
The Vibex GeneraLife model is the best choice for most users. It offers both DC and AC filtration and the performance is nearly as good as the Granada + Alhambra. Unless your system draws a high amount of current (above 1,000 watts) or you have a very high-end system, the GeneraLife is the biggest bang-for-the-buck.
We've used every type of power solution in the Jaguar Reference System over the years, from transformer-based units, power regeneration, filtration, etc. We've experienced solutions that killed noise dead, but also drained some of the life from the music, then we've experienced others that controlled noise late at night, when the lines are more quiet, but were ineffective other times.
Vibex represents a holy grail we've long sought...achieving a vanishingly low noise floor, without sacrificing musicality, dynamics or nuance.
Here's a 6Moons quote from the owner of Vibex, about the choice of materials:
“Like any other material Krion works more efficiently for our purposes when combined with elastomers and internal labyrinths that avoid accumulated energy at any one chassis point. Our combination of hollow machining and elastomers is critical to not over- or underdamp and produce a sound that's too lifeless or overly energetic. Silence is the reference point from where to begin a power delivery design. The quieter it is, the more information we can retrieve above our system's noise floor. But a very low noise floor obtained by overdamping will destroy dynamic contrasts. Any final material combination must react extremely quickly to power line changes. It's essential that dissipated energy be controlled to avoid any partial energy return which would mix with the mains power we want to purify. Uncontrolled energy is clearly audible as smearing and lack of phase stability. Plus any micro detail lost can never be retrieved again.”
Another quote about the product engineering:
“We also don't dump noise to ground as most filters do. We believe that the ground must be kept as pristine as possible. Testing quickly shows how important it is not to filter to earth. The earth connection is far more efficient when it doesn't become a garbage dump. The system noise floor is much lower if the ground is kept clean. We use a symmetrical power-filter coil* designed and manufactured in-house. As with every part in our designs this coil was fine-tuned by ear. We listened to many different ways of winding, then adjusted the best one by removing or adding half turns until we obtained the best results.”
We credit the 6Moons online audio magazine with having brought Vibex gear to our attention. Here's what they had to say about it in their reviews:
Vibex Granada | Dual DC Power Filter
“Since my discovery of Vibex powerline conditioners and DC filters, I've used them in my main system. Prior active and passive conditioners were consigned to secondary duty elsewhere.”
“None of my source components had ever exhibited even the faintest transformer hum. Surely DC filtering them was trying to cure a non-existent ailment. That'd be typical audiophile idiocy. Yet I had to eat crow. The Three 11R couldn't leave again. The sonic uptick it caused was far too important. So I purchased that 11-outlet combo AC/DC filter as well.”
“I owned and used various conditioners over the years. This included balancing transformers from BPT and various more or less passive versions from Walker Audio, Furutech and GigaWatt. Discovering the audible benefits of primary DC filtering changed my power religion. I've not gone back to dedicated AC filters though I do retain such Furutech and GigaWatt devices for various secondary systems. This explains my keen personal interest in the 'double-strength' attack of the Granada on the same DC topic.”
“We hear what the removal of a noise barrier reveals. The increased contrast ratio pointed at that. What didn't—or at least not in ways I found suggestive—was the improvement in bass impact and overall colour saturation and meatiness. That's why the overriding and instinctual reaction to the change called it louder.”
“That these results came from enhanced DC filtering and what must be extreme vibration attenuation in the same device was an ear-opening reminder that apparently little things can matter very much if you figure out where and how. It would seem to take a certain doggone persistence and relentlessness driven by joyful curiosity to have anyone delve this deep into any one solitary aspect of hifi. We must be thankful to extremists of Cliff Orman's caliber for letting us share in the fruits of their lonely labours.”
“If you haven't tried it yet, DC filtering of especially low-level components could seem exactly that. It's not. Not only is it real, to my ears it is far more effective than traditional AC filtering. If you decide to wrestle with this subject, I know of no more formidable opponent than the Granada.”
“As a late-blooming transistor man—since divesting myself of my tube amp inventory, I now only tolerate valves in low-level circuits—I have no issue admitting it. What on a whole their glowing lot tends to do better is exactly what the Granada improves. Getting tube-type colour saturation and chunkiness from solid-state amps plus of course their native low noise, wider bandwidth, greater control and lucidity... well, that really is one of those most fortuitous yin/yang affairs. Award time!”
Vibex Alhambra | AC Power Filter
“Having had such terrific results with the Vibex DC filters that I unceremoniously relegated sundry AC filters and power bars from GigaWatt, Walker Audio and Furutech to secondary systems”
“What had, with the particular music playing then, first indicated brightness proved upon more inspection to act as primarily higher incisiveness. On more forward steely recordings, this narrowed the margin for error. Bright productions acted even brighter. More natural recordings became dynamically more alive and communicative.”
“The Alhambra acted silvery: quicker, more articulate but also sharper. This was the old truism. More resolution shows both good and bad in more detail.”
“For the bass the only provision I had to make was a lowering of the Zu Submission subwoofer's attenuator. I needed less <40Hz assist. The main speakers did more on their own. The effect really wasn't that different from a more powerful—or better damped—amplifier.”
“With the Alhambra in play, the energetic perspective was closer to stage. Transients were piquant. Separation was high. The subjective contributions of the presence and higher brands had the nearfield's typical directness and vigor before being mellowed in the farther seats by increasing reflections.”
“…none of these were stereophonic effects. They were plainly audible well outside the listening window, even 4 meters beyond the left speaker behind my work desk. All of it clearly spoke to the effectiveness of Cliff's black Krion slab. It also spoke to the precarious balance which ever increasing resolution can upset between the polarities of attack speed and body, honed definition and languorous ease, spunk and warmth. Interestingly, where the best Vibex DC filter had a quasi tube or DSD function by increasing tone and colour saturation and a certain temporal fluidity, its AC counter part acted like wide-bandwidth direct-coupled highly damped transistors or high-level PCM. Sugar and salt. If properly administered because the surrounding hardware keeps the scales centered, music's flavour intensifies. As a clear accelerator—Llyod Walker immortalized that effect by naming his passive power box Velocitor—you can predict where the Alhambra would be tailor-made”
“My happy exposure to Vibex now means that when their man Cliff Orman says that something of theirs makes a very obvious difference as he did say for the Alhambra, I can take it as gospel. This is powerful stuff. You only must want or need what it does.”
Vibex Three 11R
“Nasal instruments became more nasal, twangy sound twanged harder, reediness grew in reedaciousness, sympathetic metallic buzzing of sarod strings had more buzz. Sorry but language isn't quite as malleable as it could be for max expressiveness in these matters. The many diverging flavors which various instruments create with their peculiar transient flavor—plucked, struck, bowed, blown, forced, tickled, hammered—and their harmonic tone modulations of the core timbre each grew keener. The obvious upshot? The contrast of difference deepened. This added salt, sugar, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, chili peppers, galangal and fish sauce in equal measure. No percentages shifted to move the flavor in a different direction. Everything stayed put as it'd been before. It simply got deeper, clearer and more intense. Like putting more weight on each side of a multi-headed scale without tipping its needle. Spicier. That was it!”
“Things also got louder. When this occurs and you haven't touched the volume control, you know that the signal voltage didn't magically go up. The only possible explanation is that your scale dropped on the other end. The noise floor lowered.”
“The Vibex seemed to lower the noise floor but its suppressant side effects were clearly lower than with the GigaWatt (here I refrain from claiming no side effects at all since we only recognize their deeper absence in the presence of something even better). Clearly though the vitality of my music patient had improved. There was more pep in his step, more zing in my sonic sauce. I'd been thai'd up and loved it. I promptly bought the above Three 11R for my front-end stack.”
“Given its efficacy, flawless build and fair price, Vibex's best deserves serious consideration.”