Blue Circle Audio BC86MKIII Power Line Pillow $180
- 4 distinct wide ‘Q’ filters covering a wide range of frequencies.
- Fully enclosed in a steel chassis for RF rejection.
- Filtering is cumulative with the addition of one or more additional BC86s
- MKII-broader range of filtration than the original BC86
- MKIII-eliminated PC board hard wired -double the filtration of the MKII.
Blue Circle Audio BC86PUG filtered outlet cord
- $180 USD
- Technical Information:
- The Pug is a BC86MKIII with a receptacle that allows it to be used with a component with a hardwired power cord
Blue Circle Audio BC86PC filtered power cord $180 USD
- The BC86PC is simply a BC86MKIII inserted in a hospital grade power cord with an IEC connector on one end
- Blue Circle Audio BC62 power cord 6 feet (1.83 m) long
- $280 USD plus $30 per foot for additional feet
- 10-gauge basic power cord with a hospital grade male plug on one end and in IEC plug on the other
- Blue Circle Audio RR2
- Innerkip, Ontario, Canada NOJ 1MO
- Telephone +1 (519) 469-3215
- Fax +(519) 469-3782
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away . . .”(quote from the original Star Wars movie) To the north of a country called America lived a young man who for 20 years toiled to design and manufacture quality handcrafted audio products for the forces of good (audiophiles) against the forces of evil (companies of mass produced products seeking profit over quality). This young man, Gilbert Yeung, with the power of his force through his philosophy of “Simplicity, Artistry, and Music” raged war against the evil empire.
Blue Circle Audio is a company located in a little town in Canada called Innerkip. Looking at a map it is near Lake Erie about equal distance between Toronto, Canada and Buffalo, New York. I asked him how he managed to set-up his factory in Innerkip when he told me the following story.
Gilbert Yeung and his family arrived in Waterloo Canada to meet up with his brother who was there studying as a foreign student. While in Canada he enrolled in a tech school as he felt a college or university just didn’t suit him. After about three years they all decided that it was a little too populated for them as Waterloo was surrounded by two larger cities, Kitchener and Cambridge, which are actually joined together. Searching for a more secluded spot they drove around and found the little town of Innerkip where they decided to settle down.
He also told me the interesting story of the name Blue Circle Audio. He operated his company from his parent’s basement starting in 1988 until 1999 at which time he moved to his current location. When you look at his website under factory tour you will see it is probably quite a difference from his family basement. He always liked circles and also the color pink but since there was a company named Pink Triangle he decided to go with his second favorite color blue. Gathering feedback on the name Blue Circle told him that people thought it was catchy and non descriptive. Being a philosophical sort of guy he liked the idea that it meant nothing and yet at the same time meant everything. Thus the name Blue Circle Audio was born.
I remember surfing the web for new audio ideas, about two or three years ago, when I discovered a short video demonstration of a product called the BC86 Power Line Pillow by Blue Circle Audio. Amazed at how it apparently reduced power line noise I had to try it out. Hearing that two was better than one, I bought two BC86 MK III Power Line Pillows sight unseen. This was one of those things that I tried to sneak by my ever-vigilant wife but with no success. Yes I did the old here let me pay you with cash trick with my friend who put it on his credit card and had it shipped to his house routine. Of course this never works as she immediately noticed the new gear in my system. A few days later, after falsely promising not to buy any more audio equipment for a short while, we were talking again.
Blue Circle Audio is quite a fascinating company in that it makes not only cables; speaker wires and interconnects, but also a slew of other amazing audio gear. Looking at the product list I see they make, amplifiers, preamps, dacs, integrated amps, phono stages, power line conditioners, power bars, cones, medium density foam pucks (to place under components to hamper vibration), a “USB Thingee” to allow you to plug into your computer to access music files, a headphone amp and even speakers. All this and I have not even mentioned the highly unusual Music Pumps & Music Purse. Gilbert Yeung indeed has a creative and brilliant mind.
You can find relatively inexpensive gear in his lineup to others costing over $20000. No matter what you buy from Gilbert Yeung, before he puts his name behind it, he makes sure it’s a quality component. In fact he still literarily has a hand in making some of the equipment people buy from him. The products that we are going to talk about today are really quite affordable and I think that if you look carefully at some of the other products in his line such as the SBP preamp and The SBS Class AB Solid State Power amp you might just find something that will spark your interest while still being reasonably affordable. Be forewarned though once bitten by the Blue Circle bug you might just become addicted.
My two BC86MKIII power line pillows are touted as being an effective solution for the reduction or elimination of power line noise. You may say, “But I don’t have a noise problem, why my system is so quiet what could you possible do to make it more so?” Fair enough question. Stay tuned for the interesting answer.
When I first bought the pillows I lived in a house located in a small town in California with a population of around only 38,000 people. My equipment was plugged into two Monster HTS-2000 Power Conditioners, operating in parallel. These power conditioners were then run into a PS Audio Power Port receptacle to further reduce noise. I felt quite safe within the knowledge that I had adequately safeguarded my system from the electronic pollution coming from the power company and other electronic devices within my household.
Initially, when I put them in my system I really did not notice any change at all. Please note that I foolishly left them in for only about ½ hour. I guess I was looking for something dramatic to happen and therefore did not listen to the details, which is where the magic really happens. Puzzled and saddened that I had spent my money without any apparent result I banished them into my home theatre system to toil for all eternity. About a month had gone by and feeling guilty about not having given my Blue Circle products a fair chance I decided to try them again in the main system. I thought that perhaps if I let them sit there for a few days that would be enough time for them to work their magic. So back they went but this time I refused to listen for three days (an arbitrary number I decided upon for no good reason but to pick some time frame). Since I decided not to listen to my main system I began to watch movies instead. I don’t remember the movie but I do remember how horrible my system now sounded without my two little power line pillows. Running as fast as I could I stole them from the main system and reinstalled them in my home theatre setup. Voila, my good sound was back again.
My brain had actually become adjusted to the subtleness of the pillows and it was irritating to listen without them.
Now when I re-inserted them in my main system I let them settle in for a month during which time all sorts of small but wonderful things happened. I was hearing my system with greater clarity and improved dynamics as well as noticing a decrease in CD grunge. The pillows have never left my main system since and I am still trying to find a way to sneak some more past my wife for use in my home theatre environment. Right now I simply unplug them from one system to install them in the next as needed.
One thing always bothered me though. I had a Sony DVP-7700 for Redbook CD playback and a Samsung DVD-HD-841 universal player that both had hardwired power cords Because of this I was unable to see if I could coax more out of the system with a power cord upgrade. Now the BCPUG does not quite give me the full versatility of an IEC connector but it does allow me to attach the BC86MKIII with its own power cord directly into each component. To me that is at least a half step upwards toward the ultimate solution of a separate IEC connector and is very simple to do or undo as desired.
Then of course there is the curiosity I have had about running two more BC86MKIII power line pillows into my system and to do the extra two directly through my mono block power amps. The solution naturally would be to have a BC86MKIII with its own IEC connector to plug directly into each amp. The BC86PC is exactly the device I needed. Wow you make everything so simple for me. I have a problem and you come up with an easy to do and inexpensive solution.
The next thing I would like to try would be a power cord from the same company so I would have a way to tie everything together with cords that would be compatible. I do believe in synergy and feel that the more you can get from the same manufacturer the better the chance of this synergy having a positive effect. So here comes Gilbert Yeung to the rescue sending me a BC62 power cord to use on my Acoustic Revive RTP-2ultimate power supply box. So I can now plug both BC86PC’s from the amps then through the RTP-2’s connecting them all to a PS Audio power outlet via a BC62 power cord. This presents itself as a simple, clean and cohesive solution.
As for the two BC86MKIII power line pillows, I shall keep them plugged into a receptacle on the same circuit less than 20 feet away to act as a further noise-reducing safeguard during all my experiments with the following Blue Circle products. Like I said, I own these two little beauties and do not see them going anywhere anytime soon. Ok let’s start adding more Blue Circle products to my system one at a time and later all at once to see what happens.
Having already discussed the positive benefits of two BC86MKIII’s let us now move onto adding a BC86PUG into the link via my Sony DVP-S7700 CD/DVD Player (used as transport only, in conjunction with my Monarchy Audio Dual 20-Bit D/A Converter). The DAC already is using a separate power cord, also by Monarchy, but my poor Sony only has a hard-wired cord. First up was Eric Clayton’s Unplugged CD and the song “Signe”. This time the difference of adding my BC86MKIII via the PUG option was not subtle at all. I could immediately tell that things were different in a positive way. The PUG brought with it more weight to the sound, even when played at lower volumes. I had happily lost some CD glare and the midrange also tended to take on some welcomed added weight to them. Vocals just seemed to come across with a rounded fuller sound to them. Playing through the CD and resting at one of my favorites, “Malted Milk”, I again noticed the same effects. There was a definite cleansing of the overall sound that allowed for cleaner lower and mid range notes to be heard. The higher end of the musical spectrum did not seem as affected as these other regions but overall the sound was an astonishing turnaround from what I had heard previously before the PUG was inserted.
Perhaps now it was time to disconnect the PUG from the Sony to attach it to the Samsung DVD-HD-841 universal player. I then ran the Samsung directly into the Manley Labs Shrimp tube linestage preamp bypassing the DAC. I must tell you that little PUG certainly did improve the sound of the Samsung. I played the DVD-Audio disc by The Who, called Tommy. Naturally I played the two great songs, “The Acid Queen” and “Pinball Wizard”. Bass and detail was improved with “The Acid Queen”. The Who’s performance of “Pinball Wizard” brought with it a greater presence of the overall performance. The Pub improved DVD-Audio the same as it did Redbook CD. Later I listened to a SACD performance by The Rolling Stones of “Honky Tonk Women” from the CD Through The Past Darkly. Same results as with the DVD-Audio, little more bass presence, soundstage width and overall a greater amount of details could be heard in each performance.
Well if having two BC86MKIII’s and one BC86PUG in my system worked so well that I wondered what would happen when I insert two BC86PC’s connected to my mono amps. At first I unplugged the PUG from the Sony so that now I was running just the ever-constant two BC86MKIII’s with my system with the newly installed BC86PC’s. One again I could hear a more pronounced midrange and cleansing of the male or female voices as well as extra heft in the lower regions. CD glare however returned without the addition of the PUG helping my Sony transport. I also felt that I had lost just a tad bit of bass without the PUG. Still I liked the improvement that the BC86PC’s had on my mono amps and thought they were all the better for it. I next reinserted the PUG back into the link, via the Sony transport, and with the BC86MKIII’s and the BC86PC’s all back together in my system the sound was simply heavenly.
Now it was time to see what affect the BC62 power cord had on my system. It is designed for use with high current-draw applications, like power amps. Again I took out all the Blue Circle products (except the everconstant two BC86 MKIII power line pillows). I was now connecting my amps to an Acoustic Revive power strip using my two Tek Line PC-8 Signature 6’ Power Cords. I then used the BC62 power cord to connect the power strip to the PS Audio Power Port Receptacle. One of the nice things about this power cord is that it bends so easily that I found it a joy to use. Again, like with all these Blue Circle products, everything just seemed more at ease whenever I installed them into my audio system. Here the highs opened up just slightly and things seemed a tad louder. I really liked what the BC62 did for my two amps plugged in via the power strip as that extra high-end sparkle gave recordings a nice live feeling to them. I could sense more detail when listening to Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” CD, when passages with the live audience was playing. Overall this was a positive addition to my music system and not one to be overlooked.
Finally, I decided I could wait no longer and attached all the Blue Circle products together at one time. This produced the best of all results. Maybe it was also that synergy of having products made from one company together. I can tell you that I now felt more dynamics, midrange clarity, extra weight to the bass/midrange and a wider soundstage. If you think about it that is a lot to get from such a modest investment. For those with a single amp you would only need to spend $180 on one BC86PC, $260 for 2 power line pillows, $280 for a BC62 6 foot power cord and $180 for a Blue Circle Audio BC86PUG. This totals only $900 to outfit an entire audio system with high quality hand built products from Gilbert at Blue Circle Audio. Now that’s a deal.
The best result I obtained was with the insertion of the BC86PUG attached to my Sony or Samsung CD player. If I had to start somewhere, and price was a concern, this is where I would start. For only $180 the PUG transformed my CD players into ones that I could happily live with. I would recommend trying one of these PUG’s before upgrading your CD player. It is cost affective and if you don’t like what it does (although I can not imagine that happening), all you have to do is unplug it to try with a different component. Next up would be to try a BC86PC at again only $180. Having these power line pillows inserted directly into a component was a much more dramatic affect than having pillows plugged into a receptacle on the same circuit less than 20 feet away. Thirdly I would add the BC62 6 foot power cord at $280 to my power strip. If you do not have a strip where you could change cords I would add it directly to my power amp. Fortunately for me I had such a power strip. Finally to put the cherry on top of my audio sundae I would add one, maybe two, power line pillows at $130 each to finish off my system. Having them in my main review system has spoiled me and I now need to find a new way to convince my wife they simply must stay with me. So be careful because the added affect of all these products makes them an affordable and affective system upgrade that you too might be reluctant to remove.
The Listening Environment:
The listening room is 18 feet 8 inches long by 13 feet wide. The room’s cathedral ceiling starts at 8 feet high then slopes upward to 13 feet at its peak in the middle. Flooring is a soft hardwood covering with an oriental rug placed dead center in between (but not under) the listener and the audio system. There are no doors that open or shut into other rooms also there are two large openings one facing the speakers and the other to its side and slightly in front of the right speaker. As for my audio equipment it is tucked nicely inside of a Synergy Twin S30 Salamander audio rack.
- Dignity Audio DA08SE integrated mono amps (imported by Monarchy Audio) Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro Amps (2 run in mono single-ended configuration) Oracle Delphi Mk I turntable with custom made interconnects
- Grace 707 tonearm with Denon 301 II MC cartridge
- Whest PhonoStage.20 + MsU.20 power supply
- Sony DVP-S7700 CD/DVD Player (used as transport only) Monarchy Audio Dual 20-Bit D/A Converter
- Samsung DVD-HD-841 Up-Converting DVD Player
- Legacy Focus 20/20 speakers
- Klipsch Klipschorn speakers (1989 version unmodified) RTP-2ultimate Power supply box
- RTP-4 ultimate Power supply box
- PS Audio Power Port Receptacle
- Blue Circle BC86 MKIII power line pillows (2) Anti-Cable speaker wire 10 foot pair
- Anti-Jumpers for Legacy speakers
- Anti-Interconnects (2 pairs)
- Anti-Digital Interconnect single-shielded 1.5 meters in length
- Monarchy Audio AC-1 power cord one 6 foot length (2) Tek Line PC-8 Signature Power Cords (2) 6 foot lengths Mr-Cable Musician power cord 9 foot length
- Black Diamond Racing Cones (#3 & #4) Audio Prism IsoBearing (Isolation Globes
from aﬀordableaudio, By Anthony Nicosia