Review by AUDIOING
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
FPB, Lord of Power
This post supposed to come later but I couldn't hold my enthusiasm. Story goes like this, on one fine day, we gathered for small talk. I challenged the banker if he commit to a Frank PB-15000WS Power Bank Storage, I'll follow suit. Knowing the shrewd banker had committed so many upgrades, that he would eventually slow down. Big mistake, he did not give a second thought about it and went on to commit. Me and my big mouth, too late to back down now. I thought I could take a rest on upgrade and enjoy my audio fruition. And now this, I now have to play a fatter Keanu Reeves in Matrix to swallow the bullets. My biggest worry is if Frank Power Bank would upsets my sound equilibrium, I do not want my years long efforts go down to the drain. The designer, Dr Mimosa had reassured me that Frank Power Bank will not.
So, Dr Mimosa brought two guys along with him to fix Frank Power Bank. First off, I heard a lot of good things about hifi fuse. Out go the standard fuse, come the cryoed hi fi fuse. I could have inserted a 100A fuse but it will be overpowering. The cryoed fuse should receive some credits for added gain and audio elevation.
Power Bank measures approximately 15 inch length, 19 inch, 7.5 inch height, weight 38.5kg.
Frank Power Bank bright blue indicator is eye piercing in total darkness. Damn light too glaring. Sun glasses in total darkness is cool but the sound isn't. The glass reflects the sound. I rushed to get a masking tape to cover the indicator. According to Dr Mimosa, Frank Power Bank is a low maintenance component and expect to last forever. Do switch off the main if you are away for a couple of days, I was advised. I love low maintenance stuff, not anti tube. Running cost worry me.
I always make it a point to ask the objective, the logic and the impacts when product debut. How I wish I have ton of money! Purchasing decisions become easy. Dr Mimosa explained that the power coming into our household is of floating impedance, Frank Power Bank fix and stabilizes such floating impedance. Ha! Impedance, that is the only audio jargon that rings my bell. Dr Mimosa revealed further that similar technologies have existed more than twenty years ago for non audio applications and he is not reinventing the wheel. After more than a year of R&D on size of transformer, quantity of transformer, power cord, filters and tuned by ear, he came up with audio grade Frank Power Bank that promises audio elevation.
Frank Power Bank comes in two options of connectivity, connect directly to the sub distribution box or to the wall socket via power cord. The later caters for those who do not have a sub distribution box. Beware, Dr Mimosa tuned Frank Power Bank with the standard power cord and he does not warrant the use of other presumably after market exotic power cords to deliver desired results. Hence, using them is a double edge sword. Use them at your risk. It is also not advisable to have long power cord for power loss. Don't push your luck, you have been warned.
The guys connected Frank Power Bank via three 6mm thickness copper wires to the sub distribution box. Frank Power Bank is a passive component, it only consumes little current, 2-5W. So, need not worry about the electric bill.
You will be sorry
Prior installation, the main have to be switched off. So please ensure that such inconvenience is tolerable. You might want to avoid your wife's screaming while she is in hot pursuit of her beloved soap drama, don't you? She will bite you!
Lets see what you got
OK, bring it on, the guys took 30-45 minutes the most, installing Frank Power Bank. Let hear what Frank Power Bank got. No, be patient. Frank Power Bank requires a minimum six hours for charge up to sound optimum. Consider Frank Power Bank as a huge capacitor. Six hours is not a long time to wait, so six hours it is. Dr Mimosa and the banker wanting to drop by the same night to have a quick listen. Itchy back side. Coincidently, I have to attend a wedding dinner with my wife in Cheras in same the evening. Timing was perfect, just in time for my private audio party.
I rushed the dinner for I was curious how the night will go with Frank Power Bank. The guys were punctual, Dr Mimosa and the banker showed up at the doorstep at a little over 10. The banker took a long 360 look at my room, wanting to know what voodoo I have installed. Si beh cunning fella, I waited no time to switch off the light.
Frank Power Bank has a magical way of purifying the contaminated current. The occasional irritating hum was reduced, the stage was more silent. I can now hear the blowing of my air conditioner even though it was in silent and low fan mode. Tonal quality improved, clean and vibrant definitely not bleached. I got a tad smoothness, less edgy sonic texture. On the wining duo Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb's Stranger In A Strange Land, a beautiful number, you folks owe a listen to this number. A much improved edge delineation, Frank Power Bank distinguished two voices o so vividly. You have no idea how difficult to achieve this. The images have shed some weight, no more blurry edges that many consider warmth.
Kidding? I am dead serious. Presence is one of the audio elements that gets you involved. What separate a high end system and the mid fi kingdom is presence, single driver and horn are exceptional in this regard. Single driver suffers from limited bandwidth while horn never sounded linear. The presence accorded by Frank Power Bank akin to single driver speaker, close but not the same league I am afraid. This is nevertheless phenomenon. Nothing beats the rawness of single driver and horn thanks to simple crossover.
Swallowed by a fish
On Youn San's gut wrecking Pancake, the banker jumped, sighed and told that he was experiencing a biblical episode of Jonah swallowed by a fish. The bass ate him? Very interesting description, these type of remarks definitely get me into trouble!!! He was shook up by the authoritative, taut and whopping bass. Dr Mimosa said the bass driver have grown 2 inch bigger in diameter than they really were. The bass quantity and quality were both more than acceptable, to the least, the bass will not chase you out of the room. Anyway, I heard better bass from Wilson Audio, the forte of the brand.
The PRaT thing, the immediacy got better. The musicians were pumped up to give a more energetic performance. Another glaring virtue of Frank Power Bank is the cleanliness of sound, mirco and macro detail retrieval was astonishing. Difficult subtleties shine, no ambiguity. Loads of details. The stroke of drum, the plucking guitar and the brassy percussion were more direct and decisive. I was pretty pleased with the cleanliness of my sound. But this time, I see ghosts in broad daylight!
Speakers suck up current during the complex passages. This is an acid test to determine if your amp is up to the task. I'm not suggesting that Frank Power Bank can resolve your amp current delivery at low ohm, this is largely the amp design matters. If your amp could not supply the current at low ohm, Frank Power Bank can't be of any help. Change the amp instead!
Frank Power Bank is Lord of Power, my 150W power amp sounded more like 250W, extended the frequency bandwidth. Eat that out! Dynamic and transient benefited the most. No dragging if you know what I mean. With great power, come greater volumetric soundstage dimensionality. The images were rock steady, no wobbling. The stage was akin to spooky electrostatic. On Brendan Perry's This boy, the banker sworn he heard the sound coming from the back wall. The spatial thing was generous, good deal of space around the images and nothing stands in between the listener and the imaginary stage.
After the grueling test, nobody complaining about the noise which itself is a compliment in disguise. There is a toggle switch at the back of the Frank Power Bank, offering three filter options namely, high eccentric, default and bass eccentric. As implied, high and bass eccentric alters the tonal balance. We prefer the default filter as it sounded most natural to our ears. The above listening impression was based on default filter.
Probably I did not expect all that much surprise from Frank Power Bank. For the sake of supporting a friend, Dr Mimosa never failed to deliver the goods. I am caught big time. None of my tweaks improve all departments, admittedly. Most of them improve only on two or three departments. Three, you got lucky.
Russ Andrew Clarity 16, nearly got smitten
High cost performance means compromises. This goes without saying Frank Power Bank does not come cheap, by my standard, OK. It costs more than my amp! For the results, my audio performance merits three step ladder up and I do not think you can look somewhere else, probably those 5 times priced power plant. Russ Andrew Clarity 16 is good but still a distance close. The guys who had installed one unit of Frank Power Bank are wanting another and they are no fool. And meanwhile, the order keep coming in. The wait is getting longer. The banker will get his in October.
Frank Power Bank is currently making inroad to Hong Kong, the world's craziest audio place.