- Industry standard IEC power input
- All outlets are Industrial grade
- Thick wall 4” PVC pipe with 16awg standard power cord
- four outlets: 4.5” diameter x 3.5” long
- Price $199
- six outlets: 4.5” diameter x 4.25” long
- Price $229
- Company Information
- Blue Circle Audio
- Telephone +1 (519) 469-3215
- Fax +1 (519) 469-3782
Those of you who have read my earlier reviews know that I am a fan of Gilbert Yeung and his audio products. One thing I particularly like is that he designs equipment not just for high end patrons but also for those on a much smaller budget as well. While it is true that this Canadian based company makes a power amplifier, the BC208, which retails for $28,995 (US dollars), they also sell a more affordable integrated amplifier called the GDC for $1795. Looking at the company’s website you will find a wide range of equipment varying in price from extremely affordable to quite expensive. It’s good to see a manufacturer designing products for the budget-minded masses and not solely for the select few for whom money is no object. In my experience, even the products made for the budget-minded consumer are all held to the same high standards. Therefore, you are still buying a quality product even if you pay a much lower price.
In this article I will be taking a look at the PLC Thingee, which retails at only $199 for the four outlet model and $229 for the six outlet version. The only difference between the two being the amount of outlets available and a more than reasonable increase of thirty dollars in the price. On the physical side, the six outlet version is three quarters of an
inch longer with two extra outlets, but retains the same 4.5 inch diameter. Even though it looks like the Thingee will roll around on the floor, once you lay it down on its side and plug in the power cords it settles and remains in one spot. As Mr Yeung states on his web site, “It’s not going to go anywhere.” Liking bargains myself, I would opt for the six outlet design and pay the extra thirty dollars. You might think that you do not need the extra two outlets now, but you never know where your system might grow, or if you eventually sell it, what the new owner might need. For the extra thirty dollars, I am in.
For those wondering about the origins of the Thingee, in February of 2009 it was suggested by someone on their BC forum that Gilbert Yeung should look into making a Powerline Conditioner in a pipe, borrowing from the technology found within their own BC6000 Powerline/Filter Conditioner. By 4pm that same afternoon the four outlet version was complete with the six outlet design following shortly. The Blue Circle BC6000 six outlet conditioner lists for $1795. While I have not yet heard it, based on Gilbert Yeung’s reputation alone, I would venture to think it worth the investment, but for those of us who would care not to spend such a sum I am reviewing its “offspring” the PLC Thingee.
Blue Circle PLC Thingee review
Inside the Thingee there is the equivalent filtering of three BC86 MKIII power line pillows of a non-current limiting filter design to ensure high-current power amplifiers do not lose their dynamics when plugged in. It is layered with silicone in an effort to reduce vibration from the PVC pipe and also to give the pipe added strength. The Thingee comes standard with a 16awg power cord that can easily be upgraded to improve the sound even more. Unfortunately, I did not have Blue Circle’s own BC62 six foot power cord to try with the PLC Thingee. The November issue of A$$A contains a review I wrote of the BC62, among other Blue Circle products. I recall being quite impressed. The BC62, however, retails for $280, so to keep this review somewhat in perspective, and to abide by Gilbert Yeung’s request, I am reviewing the Thingee combined with the standard power cord that comes with the unit. I must say, I am quite impressed with the idea that a manufacturer actually listened to someone from a forum and turned the idea into an actual product. This is not the first time he has done this, as one of his other products the BC86PC was the result of another customer suggestion. I love that, a manufacturer that listens to consumers and reacts accordingly.
I would like to start this review a little differently by just coming right out and saying, If you own an audio system and do not want to spend thousand of dollars on cleaning power to your components then just buy the PLC Thingee! There I’ve said it, but the review is far from over, now I have got to justify my statement. I started with a Samsung HD-841 universal CD/DVD player plugged into the Thingee and then directly into a wall socket via the standard 16 gauge power cord that came with the unit. Playing Cd’s I immediately noticed a change for the better. First up the music sounded louder which I have noticed previously, in the November A$$A review of Blue Circle products, when I attached a Blue Circle Audio BC86PUG to the same Samsung CD player. The PUG is basically a BC86MKIII with a receptacle that allows for it to be attached to a component with a hardwired power cord. No soldering necessary, just simply plug it into place. The Thingee though, as previously mentioned, has the filtering equivalent of three BC86MKIII’s and not just one. By the way, the BC86MKIII had double the filtering of the BC86MKII, so if you own a MKII you are in for a whole different animal with the Thingee. I happen to own two MKIII’s and even I was taken aback with the level of performance increase between using them and the Thingee. Playing three excerpts from Yo-Yo Ma’s, Yo-Yo-Ma & Friends (Sony Classical 88697-24414-2) Cd I was deeply impressed. First up was the song “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” with Diana Krall on vocals and piano. Her voice, as always, sounded quite delightful. As for Yo-Yo Ma’s cello it sounded very detailed as he played right alongside of her rather than quietly in the background. The Thingee added an extra measure of clarity to the music as I had no problem hearing John Clayton on acoustic bass even though he was performing in the background. As for the timbre of musical instruments the Thingee came across just fine, with “Joy To The World”, Dave Brubeck on piano sounded almost full sized in my review area. This was a feat I had accomplished before with more expensive power conditioners but at this price point it was amazing. Both the cellos of Yo-Yo-Ma and Matt Brubeck sounded natural as did the clarinet playing of Paquito D’Rivera. I like horn instruments, having been exposed to them early on, as my Uncle Joe, my mother’s brother, would play the saxophone for us when we were young children. I am sure Uncle Joe would love to take out his saxophone and play with this group if he were still with us today. The clarinet sounded effortless as the sound floated across my room with grace and ease. Soundstage width and depth was also quite good as was the ability of the Thingee to localize performers within the soundstage. Before moving onto another CD, I just have to mention “Here Comes The Sun”, in which James Taylor does a wonderful rendition of a George Harrison (of The Beatles) song. Here his background singers, while faint, can be heard crystal clear. As for Yo-Yo-Ma, his cello displayed an excellent decay of notes, which was even more noticeable than with other songs on this Cd.
Since I had such great results with the Thingee and my Cd player, I thought I would next attach a Monarchy Audio M24 hybrid preamplifier to the Thingee alongside the Samsung HD-841. Moving now to a blues style of playing I put on one of my favorites, Skin Deep (Silvertone 88697-31629-2) where Buddy Guy plays “Too Many Tears”. The Thingee allowed this songs timing and pace to come through beautifully and the song sounded quite musical. Here the soundstage depth came across as enormous and the vocal clarity of both Buddy Guy and Susan Tedeschi as they sang together was just beautiful. I was happy with the way the Thingee handled this more complex performance and was still able to layer things properly. Before turning my attention to the addition of a power amplifier to this group, I decided to listen to John Denver’s The Best of John Denver Liverecorded on a SACD (super audio Cd).There were of course so many excellent songs to select from here but I decided on “I’m Sorry”. John Denver’s voice came across as wide and open (as it should) with a female background singer accompanying him. The voices and clapping, at the beginning and end of the song, coming from the audience were properly layered as I could hear them in rows rather than as just noise in the background. John Denver’s guitar was clearly nestled below his singing voice and the violin had a nice texture to it as it played quietly behind him. All in all, it was a fine performance.
The next step for me was to plug my power amplifier into the PLC Thingee. Here I moved back to the Cd Skin Deep (Silvertone 88697-31629-2) where I once again played “Too Many Tears”. The difference between plugging the amplifier straight into the wall socket or into the Thingee was obvious. With the Thingee there seemed less smearing of vocals and instruments which allowed for a more accurate projection of imagery within the soundstage as everyone came through crystal clear. Depth of soundstage remained large as well as wide and there was less smearing of the performance. In general the bass seemed slightly louder, fuller and more distinct. When I plugged the amplifier straight into the wall, without the extra filtering capacity of the Thingee, vocals seemed slightly further in the background.
Whereas with the extra filtering effect I felt as if I had moved a row or two closer to the performance. When listening to “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” on R.E.M’s CD Eponymous (file under grain 72434-93457-2-0) the song retained its quick pace and timing. I also did not notice any collapse of its very wide soundstage as vocals, drums and guitars were all layered precisely. Overall, the amplifier performed a little better plugged into the Thingee than just attached directly to the wall socket, which is what I seemed to be finding when I added the Thingee to any component so far.
Finally I added my phono stage into the mix. A while back while rummaging through a used record bin I found an old recording (Capitol Records ST 2459) of Lou Rawls called simply, Lou Rawls Live! While there are many great songs on the album I chose to concentrate on “Tobacco Road”. The changes here were subtle when inserting the Thingee, slightly less than with the Cd player, but I found that over time listening with it in the loop was preferable to listening without it. The individual keys of the piano were more distinct as was the background shouting and clapping of the live audience. The decay of Mr Rawls voice was excellent and seemed to have some added hang time. Again the volume seemed just a tad louder, probably due to the cleaner power being fed the phono stage, while the soundstage depth and imagery was just superb. Lastly, I turned to another older recording, this one of The Concert For Bangla Desh (Apple STCX 3385) performed by George Harrison and his many friends. On “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, while I easily got caught up in the energy from the band, the guitar solo’s of George Harrison and Eric Clapton were never lost amidst the group. In fact as the whole band played everyone onstage could be heard clearly. Even when towards the end of the performance with everyone playing equally loud I could still differentiate various musicians and instruments out from the group. All in all the Thingee was a welcomed addition to my phono section and one I enjoyed.
I know I already gave a one line conclusion in the second paragraph of this review but now I would like to add some details and a further explanation. For those of you with very expensive audio systems, my guess being in the five thousand dollar and up range, I recommend you try something a little different like perhaps Blue Circle’s own BC6000 Powerline/Filter Conditioner for $1795. There are quite a variety of power conditioners you can find if you want to approach the two thousand dollar mark or higher which I have found to perform better than the PLC Thingee. The catch of course is in the dollar amount you decide to allocate towards clean power. While clean power is very important putting money into better speakers, at this systems price point, will probably yield you more immediately noticeable results. However if you want clean power but only want to lay out two hundred twenty nine dollars or less, put the PLC Thingee on your very short list of components to audition. While it may not better others costing eight times its price or more, I felt it sounded close to some of the best out there. Close enough that I would have to think hard before spending a lot more. Summing up my experiences with the Blue Circle Audio Peed Al Sea Thingee, I once again am deeply impressed with this Gilbert Yeung creation. The Thingee impressed me on three levels, how it changed the sound of my system, its unique appearance and thirdly its relatively inexpensive pricing for both the four or six outlet models. Gilbert Yeung, thanks once again doing such a great job at a truly affordable price.
The Listening Environment
The review room is eighteen feet eight inches long by thirteen feet wide. The loudspeakers and equipment are kept on the short wall. The cathedral ceiling starts at eight feet and sloops upwards to thirteen feet at its peak in the middle spanning across the short length of the room for the full thirteen feet height. The hardwood floor has a nine by six foot oriental rug lying down long ways toward the system, which is placed dead center in between, yet not under, the listener and the review equipment. The room has no doors but two openings. One is in front of the right Legacy Focus 20/20 loudspeakers which gives access to the hallway while the other is behind the listening position and opens to the formal dinning area. The room is treated with two floor standing acoustical panels, one behind each speaker, and the audio equipment is located in a Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack against and in the middle of the short wall. I have two power conditioners which plug into a PS Audio Power Port receptacle located behind the audio rack. There are also two Blue Circle Audio MKIII Power Line Pillows, one on each of two outlets on the long walls next to and behind each loudspeaker. The Legacys are located about six feet seven inches from the rear wall to their front panel. They are also twenty one inches from the rooms side walls to the middle of each loudspeakers. The Legacy’s are twelve feet apart from each other to form a triangle with the listening position that is also angled at twelve feet from loudspeaker to listener. In the corner of each short wall behind the Legacy’s are a pair of 1989 Klipsch Klipschorn loudspeakers that are sometimes used for reviews. If the Klipsch loudspeakers are used I would then reposition the two acoustical panels to slightly behind the listening position, one to the left and the other to the right of it.
- Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro power amplifier
- Monarchy Audio M24 Preamplifier
- Samsung HD-841 Cd/SACD/DVD Audio universal player
- Oracle Delphi MK I turntable, Grace 707 tonearm and Denon DL-301MK II Moving Coil stereo cartridge
- Whest Phonostage.20 + MsU.20 power supply(for Moving Coil or Moving Magnet cartridges) Legacy Focus 20/20 Loudspeakers
- PS Audio in wall power port receptacle
- Two Blue Circle Audio Mk III power line conditioners
- Kimber Kable 4TC loudspeaker cables with matching jumper wires
- Kimber Kable Hero and Tonik Interconnects
- Tek Line, PC-8 Signature power cords Mr. Cable,The Musician power cord Monarchy Audio AC-1 power cord
- Cherry Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack
from aﬀordableaudio, By Anthony Nicosia