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Blue Circle Audio BC-86 MKII Noise Hound Review

 

John Bugailiskis
Blue Circle's noise hound is no dog

Odd as it may seem, what you can't hear coming from your speakers is likely what is keeping you from hearing your music the way it was intended to be heard. The sound you can't hear, but believe me is always there, is the noise created from dirty AC power. In your home, your fridge, air conditioner, PC and other appliances continually team up to pollute your power supply by adding noise to it.

You can fortunately put an end to this unwanted buzz by plugging in Blue Circle's BC86 MKII noise hounds. Like a faithful bloodhound, Blue's Circle's BC86s are able to sniff out AC power line noise and kill it.

The BC86 is a parallel power line noise filter and Blue Circle claims the newer "MKII" version offers a broader range of filtration than the original BC86. The hounds may be the easiest system tweak you will ever install. Simply plug the BC86 into a duplex receptacle or spare outlet on a power bar and it instantly reduces unwanted powerline noise present at the outlet. The effect extends to receptacles, on the same circuit, up to 20 ft. from the treated receptacle.

The unit itself consists of four distinct wide 'Q' filters covering a wide range of frequencies. And is fully enclosed in a steel chassis for RF rejection. The filtering is cumulative with the addition of one or more additional BC86s.

For my review I used two noise hounds, I plugged one of the hounds into my duplex receptacle and the other into my Chang Lightspeed CLS3200 power conditioner. The rest of my system consists of Soliloquy 5.0s speakers, a Sima W-3050 power amp and P2001 pre-amp. For my source I used a Cambridge Audio 500SE CD player with Chord Solid 2 interconnects and Alpha-Core Python Mi2 speaker cable.

I sat back and started listening to Norah Jones' Come Away with me. I was immediately struck by the better definition I heard all through the sound spectrum. The bass was deeper and tighter, the mid-range had added depth, and the treble took on more of a "tube" like sound. It was a revelation to hear how much the low level noise I couldn't normally hear, had been impacting the music that I could hear.

In Jones' sultry vocals there was a definite increase in soundstage depth and focus, with improved dynamics as well. By lowering the background noise it was as if I had upgraded my CD player, since I now could hear details in the recording that had been lost until now in the background hiss.

In auditioning the BC86s I also listened to Patricia Barber's Café Blue, and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. I specifically chose these recordings since they offer a sparser soundstage that would be most affected by power line noise.

These recording also displayed similar improvements. Davis' trumpet and John Coltrane's tenor sax had even more impact while sounding more natural. Barber's mysterious deep voice took on added space and warmth I had never heard.

A fringe benefit of the noise hound is that if you operate a TV you will likely find a dramatic improvement in the quality of your picture as it clears up the noise that can make your picture look fuzzy. If your TV is located some distance from your audio system you can easily unplug the portable hounds and move them to the nearest AC receptacle.

Perhaps the best part of this tweak is the price, which is about $110 (U.S.) for each BC86. For the audio improvement it offers, you'll have a difficult time topping it for the price. And that's nothing to sniff at.

Blue Circle BC-86 MKII Noise Hound @ http://www.bluecircle.com

John Bugailiskis
Contributing Editor
Broadcaster Magazine
http://www.broadcastermagazine.com

John is an audio and PC enthusiast based out of Toronto, Canada. He is also the contributing editor of "Broadcaster" a trade publication covering the communications industry in Canada.
 

eCoustics
The BC-86 MKII is available online at TLP Audio.
 

New member
Username: Andrewpaul

North Sydney, NSW Australia

Post Number: 5
Registered: Oct-04
I have just installed one noisehound mk3 on the power bar close to my hifi and television. All John Bugailiskis says in his review is true. I am usually sceptical of most hifi little gadgets and a few past purchases have not lived up to all the hype that surrounds them. I won't go into all those other dodgy/hyped-up little products. This bc86 unit is very humble in size and until I came across it on the net I had not heard of the device or the company. There are not many real tweaks I could make to my setup that was now getting into some serious money. But I gave the noisehound a try as it really is not much money and could have numerous benefits across several pieces of equipment. Well all I can say is Wow! I must have a very noisey AC supply because the immediate change was quite noticable. Dollar value of this little piece of equipment is the best of all my set-up. If you live in a block of apartments like me than you'll probably notice the difference immediately. This may not be everyones experience, I'd be keen to hear of others experiences. They recommend two of these units, but I reckon one will give you a real idea of just how much detail in the lower notes you'll notice as well as an all-round eveness of the music.

Regards to all you constant hifi tweakers

Andrew
 

Bronze Member
Username: Sarius

Post Number: 18
Registered: May-06
Hi,

This sounds very similar to the PS Audio 'Noise Harvester', which is a bit easier for me to get. The NH also has a 30 day satisfaction return policy.

http://www.psaudio.com/products/noiseharvester_overview.asp

Would you know how these two products might compare?

Thanks
 

New member
Username: Cried

Erie, PA US

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jun-07
Thanks ecoustics
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