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Teuton
27-11-2008, 09:30 PM
Hello,

I have a question for A.S. and the forum members. I am building a long-term Harbeth system for my home. I will be buying the Compact 7's on Skylan stands powered by a Lavardin IS Reference integrated. Cables will be QED 79 strand. I am stuck on what interconnect cables I should purchase. I want some long-term and something I can fall back on similar to the QED cables. I'm curious what Alan uses and what the rest of the forum uses for interconnect cables.

Regards

Will
28-11-2008, 03:28 AM
BlueJeansCable LC1. My favorite interconnect regardless of price.

denjo
28-11-2008, 04:04 AM
The Beldens and Canare are very honest cables, neutral and fairly inexpensive. I have been using various iterations of Belden and Canare (and still use them).

The other IC which I recently tried (Reality Cables) are very good, excelling the Beldens and Canare in my system. I strongly believe that cables are also very system dependant so its best to try them in your system (taking advantage of 30-day trial offers, if possible).

The Reality Cables are made by Gregg Straley at www.realitycables.com

I have no business relationship with Gregg, other than being a very satisfied customer. He is very knowledgeabale and friendly!

Best Regards
Dennis

Teuton
28-11-2008, 06:40 AM
Years of psychological programming that I should spend hundreds of dollars on cables, that they affect the sound more than anything else, that the differences are so large that I would be wasting my money on high end components if I didn't spend the appropriate amount is still getting to me. I feel 'weird' and even guilty on spending less than $100 on both speaker and interconnect cables and $3500 on speakers and $3000 on an integrated amplifier.

Not to mention I will be using 'stock' power leads...*GASP*. No fancy isolation devices, magic rocks, etc.

In fact I will probably be placing my Lavardin on an antique wood credenza or on my bookshelf @ eye level w/ample breathing room. I feel weird and I think I just need to keep telling myself otherwise and stay off certain forums that perpetuate these myths--I will probably be a more content and happier person in doing so.

Patek & Phlippe does not make erroneous claims that their watches can tell time better than a $5 timex (utility)--so why do cable companies? Though a person buys a P&P for different reasons (same reason why a person buys Harbeth) but you don't see strap mf's claiming their products magically make a Patek even better.

I don't know if I am articulating what I am trying to say but the problem I have is the importance assigned to cables. There is a line between what i reasonable and what is superfluous, what is refined and moderate (classical thinking) and what is gaudy and a flexing of status.

I actually see value in a Patek for what it's worth, like I see value in Harbeth, Fountain Pens or other pursuits of pleasure. Whatever. I'm just blabbing, i will stop now.

A.S.
28-11-2008, 09:21 AM
What do I use or recommend? Anything you have available. Mine cost a few cents. I prefer the dollar ones because they are prettier. I use the same ones on my test equipment to link it together and it definitely can't tell any difference. But then, why should it?

One of our distributors who has very good hearing has tried many different interconnects and concluded that you can't beat the sonic quality of the free ones supplied with Japanese electronics.

Ferdinand777
28-11-2008, 02:36 PM
depends on your budget:

for under $200- the analysis plus oval 1s are really bang for buck.

for under $500- the silver audio silver bullet 4.0s are really super, for something warmer, the purist audio design museus are really quiet and paints a huge soundstage from a dark and black background.

for about $1000- the acrolink 2070 is a real charmer with its magical mids.

for about $1500- the nirvana sx is as good as it gets.

Teuton
28-11-2008, 06:02 PM
What do I use or recommend? Anything you have available. Mine cost a few cents. I prefer the dollar ones because they are prettier. I use the same ones on my test equipment to link it together and it definitely can't tell any difference. But then, why should it?

One of our distributors who has very good hearing has tried many different interconnects and concluded that you can't beat the sonic quality of the free ones supplied with Japanese electronics.


Thanks Alan,

I don't mind spending $30 on an interconnect cables strictly for the 'look' of them. I can appreciate higher quality grade of copper and 'higher-end' connections even if they don't make a sonic difference.

Regards.

P.S. thanks for being a straight-shooter when I comes to this stuff. A lot of companies are afraid to speak up because of reputation or business relations. Harbeth represents something more to me than just a speaker. I will be a Harbeth owner for life. Furthermore, the only logical upgrade for me after the C7's would be the 40's and only under the conditions that I move into a larger house with a large room that can support a large speaker :)

For background info I used to sell 'hi-fi' at a shop that sold Totem Acoustics, JPS Labs, Parasound, Myryad, MonsterCable, Energy, Kef, and several others. My favorite was Totem and I have owned several Totem speakers for the last 5-6 years, from the Arro's to the Mani-2 Sigs. I used to tell customers that they were great musical speakers BECAUSE of their fatigue free listening. I must have been kidding myself. While good speakers, after listening to an Harbeth and hearing all that inner detail at low levels (an without any form of glare) I have just shut up and gone back to basics (evaluated what is important to me).

Thanks again Alan.

digiphobe
28-11-2008, 08:05 PM
I've installed these into my kit a few months back and have been very pleased with the price/performance http://www.rscables.com/page3.html
....and yes, they are streets beyond the performance of the "freebees"

macraddy
01-12-2008, 10:41 AM
Auditorium 23. (The speaker cables are lovely too.) I've compared against much more expensive alternatives and prefer the A23 over ever disc tried.

denjo
03-12-2008, 01:05 PM
Auditorium 23. (The speaker cables are lovely too.) I've compared against much more expensive alternatives and prefer the A23 over ever disc tried.

Macraddy

Are the Auditorium ICs the same wires/cables that are used for the Auditorium 23 SCs?

What cables have you tried them against?

Best Regards
Dennis

rgshar
03-12-2008, 11:26 PM
Stealth Indras work quite fine for me on my SHL5s. The highs are liquid and full and not metallic, the bass has a great detailed quality and a much firmer foundation than other ICs I have tried, the upper mids do not ring or sound glassy, and the lower mids have a good sense of substance without being forward.

macraddy
04-12-2008, 02:04 PM
Hello Dennis,

I don't think the A23 IC has the same wiring configuration as the SC. The SCs have two wires of differing material per end. (i.e. 4 wires to single wire a speaker.) The ICs look like normal ICs. The sound is the same however.

I've compared the A23 ICs with Linn Silver and Siltech, using both (SHL5) speakers and headphones. I had the Linn left over from my previous system. I borrowed the Siltech. I can?t remember which Siltech they were. I'm sure they were from the 'middle' range however.

The Siltech cables were as tonally rich and accurate as the A23, but there seemed to be something missing from the transients. The A23 transients were more natural sounding. They had more impact, but not overly so - again - more natural. (I noticed this most with solo piano and chamber music.) By comparison the Linn cable was grainy and transients seemed unrefined. (Imagine a bar chart vs. a sine wave!)

Hope this helps?

Kind Regards

Amir

denjo
05-12-2008, 05:24 PM
Hi Amir

Many thanks for your helpful reply!

You used the very word I feel about the Auditoriums - "natural". That is exactly my feeling with the Auditorium 23 SCs! I have never heard a more natural sounding SC (and I have gone through quite a heap!).

I will try to audition the Auditorium 23 ICs when I can get the chance!

Best Regards
Dennis

macraddy
05-12-2008, 08:20 PM
Hello Dennis,
I couldn't agree more!

Good luck with the IC when you get the chance. The UK importer has been very good and Keith Aschenbrenner (?Mr. A23?) was very helpful indeed when I wrote to him directly and asked if he'd like to make me a one-off balanced version for my power amp. (Which he did, and didn't charge me the earth either ? I think I've the only balanced one in existence!)

I couldn't be more happy ? and I'm sure you'll like the IC. Especially as it'll give you A23 wires throughout.

Kind Regards

Amir

canU.K.
13-01-2009, 01:07 AM
I have heard the differences cables can make.And heres a tip it has nothing to do with price.
Use your ears and experiment. You will find some have a synergy with your system.
I tried the Anaysis plus Sub oval on a Mirage sub and the bass lost extension and sounded repressed.I went back to the Monster 400mk2 and what a difference these affordable cables made.I also had a big difference when a swapped my Cardas 300b micros for Cardas Golden reference ICs.My Arcam DVD/SACD player now sounds better than i ever imagined it could.
All i'm saying is it doesn't hurt to try and experiment,don't buy into hype or reviews YOU be the judge.

Naimeo
24-01-2009, 11:16 AM
I have heard the differences cables can make.And heres a tip it has nothing to do with price.
Use your ears ....don't buy into hype or reviews YOU be the judge.

I couldn't agree more after trying well over a dozen interconnects - from Belden to the likes of Crystal, Acrolink & Siltec etc that cost a few hundred US$.

I can assure you there are quite substantial differences between them but it's hard to find a cable that excels in everything. My overall favorites are the Anti I/C (with bullet plug) and Belden 89207.

pranderos
24-01-2009, 05:00 PM
I couldn't agree more after trying well over a dozen interconnects - from Belden to the likes of Crystal, Acrolink & Siltec etc that cost a few hundred US$.

I can assure you there are quite substantial differences between them but it's hard to find a cable that excels in everything. My overall favorites are the Anti I/C (with bullet plug) and Belden 89207.

Naimeo, I tried navigating the Belden website, found it bewildering. Do you know how they categorize the interconnects suitable for hi fi application? I couldn't make sense of their listing of product lines, many quite specialized for industry.

regards,
Paul

Naimeo
25-01-2009, 10:51 AM
Naimeo, I tried navigating the Belden website, found it bewildering. Do you know how they categorize the interconnects suitable for hi fi application? I couldn't make sense of their listing of product lines, many quite specialized for industry.

regards,
Paul

Better to visit Blue Jean cable's website. There are a few popular Belden cables sold in my local pro gear cable shop. The 89207, 89259 & 1505F, plus a few others. I had them assembled with Neutrik Profil RCA connectors.

I find the 89207 dynamic and has great timing, but treble refinement is not that good and a touch upfront. The other 2 are smoother and have equally good tonal balance but may sound a touch polite and less transparent.

I shifted to my current system from a Naim system after over a decade, so my taste may be a bit bias towards a certain kind of sound. They're cheap enough to try out without hurting the wallet.

DSRANCE
17-02-2009, 05:31 PM
These days, I've made up my own interconnects using Belden 9272 and 8760 cables. The conductors are the same and easy to solder into both pnono and XLR plugs, the shielding differences making no audible diference to me. I find these cables do the job and don't appear to "get in the way."

The best "patch cords" I found years ago were the gold plugged wires that came with the better Nakamichi cassette decks. A good clear sounding wire by any standards.

For a giggle, I bought some "Ecoflex 10" screened wire. Once I'd found some phono plugs (from Maplin) to "weld" the central conductor to, I rather liked these for sound - just a touch smoother up top I imagined.......... The cable was well under ?2 per metre and the plugs were around ?3 to ?4 the pair. So, an expensive looking hosepipe sized cable for peanuts - Just the job :)

In the UK, there are some great bargain wires to be had online. Flashback sales make some reasonably priced phono and Naim/Quad style DIN interconnects. Action Hardware do some well performing phono-phono cables for a tenner or so for a metre pair (plus the wire and plugs to make your own but you have to buy quantity) and I'm told by someone I trust that Mark Grant audio and video wires are pretty good and well priced too.

Finally, do bare in mind that cables are the one thing a dealer can make BIG money on, hence the wild prices of outlandish products to tempt the well-heeled audiophile with. I'm sure all of these fancy products have measurable differences (perhaps at RF frequencies) but I bet the parameters aren't as well balanced as they are with sensibly priced wires.

Vlado
08-03-2009, 01:46 PM
Hi all,
please share your experiences in this area.


I am using IsoTek Orion 8 mains power distributor which provide component isolating, filtering and protection. Underway are IsoTek mains shielded cables.

Inserting the IsoTek Orion 8 and the IsoTek shielded cables in my system the sound became more transparent and the dynamic increased considerably.

DSRANCE
08-03-2009, 01:57 PM
Years ago, I lived in a UK location that had lousy mains and the addition of 6A rated filters on the critical sources (my CD player especially) and cable-ferrites on the long pre-power cables seemed to make an improvement. My preamp back then was impervious to mains difficulties.

The coastal location we now enjoy has very good mains and I now use vintage gear that seems to have good rejection of mains "nasties." I retain a filter on the CD supply feed as this generation of players gave out as good as it received I understand, but I'm not sure it's necessary - I can't now hear differences having it there or not...

One thing I have found though is that equipment that puts the music first (rather than "HiFi" over-detailing) doesn't seem as bothered by such things.

Vlado
08-03-2009, 03:42 PM
The coastal location we now enjoy has very good mains and I now use vintage gear that seems to have good rejection of mains "nasties."


Obviously the effect of such devices depend strongly on locations ( mains contamination).
I have in the surrounding 300 meter 2 mobile phone boosters.

keithwwk
09-03-2009, 05:21 AM
Obviously the effect of such devices depend strongly on locations ( mains contamination).

I have in the surrounding 300 meter 2 mobile phone boosters.

I think you are right..

I had tried few quietline in my room. This device did darken and made my music background sound quieter but I felt the dynamic and some details were lose..I got a friend who didnt detect any differences with or without in his expensive setup..

I sold them to a guy and he feedbacked to me said it improved his setup dynamic...

1ryal
10-03-2009, 07:15 AM
Hi Vlado
I've got a PS audio power plant, and in my location this made a massive difference to the sound.
Improved bass being the largest change, it also removed any background hum, giving a wider and deeper soundstage. The unit has a filtered output, there is a easily noticable difference even between these, the regenerated source providing a more natural presentation, again with tighter more dynamic bass and fluid presentation.
I agree with you that this may well vary from site to site, but if you have the inclination to give it a try, I'd recommend a demo of the PS audio power plant.
Jim

Stephen PG
22-08-2009, 04:53 PM
I found this on Zerogain, well worth a read if you're thinking of spending serious money on fancy inter-connects.


http://www.zerogain.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22779

Thanos
07-01-2010, 10:03 AM
Years ago, I lived in a UK location that had lousy mains and the addition of 6A rated filters on the critical sources (my CD player especially) and cable-ferrites on the long pre-power cables seemed to make an improvement. My preamp back then was impervious to mains difficulties.

The coastal location we now enjoy has very good mains and I now use vintage gear that seems to have good rejection of mains "nasties." I retain a filter on the CD supply feed as this generation of players gave out as good as it received I understand, but I'm not sure it's necessary - I can't now hear differences having it there or not...

One thing I have found though is that equipment that puts the music first (rather than "HiFi" over-detailing) doesn't seem as bothered by such things.

Hi Everybody,

You all raised a very hot topic, considering vast amounts spent worlwide in AC mains "purification"...
Me myself bought (a big expense) an Exactpower AP15A, regenerator/stabiliser, as far as AC current here in Greece presents a lot of problems (voltage variations of more than 10-15% many times a day, blackouts with over-voltage come backs, etc.).
So, I was feared and persuaded -in a way- to buy it.
Then some "hi end specialists" started screaming to me that I was harming the sound quality like this, that I should buy instead an extereme quality power strip (like top Furutech) costing also a fortune. I was messed. Couldn't really spot any crucial difference in sound with or without the regenerator/stabiliser...
A friend -electronic engineer- laughed and said that AC current reaches the transformer and goes out then as 12v DC, so what's the big issue? And then, about AC mains polarity, what am I taliking about? He said "are kidding? Wedon't have a single-phase current here! And the Public Electric Service Co. is delivering "Sh..." up to our houses, so what to use to correct this ridiculous situation?"....

Many of you -and the Harbeth tech team of course- do have considerable or very serious knowledge on the matter. My set up costs totally above 15.000euros, and my SHL5s are woth to play in a safe chain.
I would more than appreciate every piece of your advice or thoughts, so not get further confused or wasting money.

Warm Regards,
Thanos

macraddy
07-01-2010, 10:26 AM
I use Music Works ?kettle leads? and distribution block for shielding only and it does remove a ?grain? that I didn?t realise was there before. As mentioned above, there?s a darker background too. I understand from someone in the business that even the relatively inexpensive QED mains kit gives noticeable benefit.

Music Works were recommended to me by Sugden. The customer service is also excellent.

DSRANCE
08-01-2010, 06:49 PM
Among all the smaller online audio interconnect people is a chap named Mark Grant, who makes some sensible and not-expensive interconnects and mains leads with no "foo" that I can tell. He does a "sale or return less return carriage" system if you don't find his products to be suitable for your needs.

I only mention this because shielding and good quality conductors are important to this maker and their site is well worth a look I think..

Hoople
19-01-2010, 07:08 PM
Hi Vlado
I've got a PS audio power plant, and in my location this made a massive difference to the sound.
Improved bass being the largest change, it also removed any background hum, giving a wider and deeper soundstage. The unit has a filtered output, there is a easily noticable difference even between these, the regenerated source providing a more natural presentation, again with tighter more dynamic bass and fluid presentation.
I agree with you that this may well vary from site to site, but if you have the inclination to give it a try, I'd recommend a demo of the PS audio power plant.
Jim

In the states here. Use the PS Audio Power Plant and a dedicated power line. My sonic improvements are similar to yours. Very nice.

honmanm
19-01-2010, 11:47 PM
For the last few months I've been using a "Copenhagen transformer" mains filter made in the 1990s. In general it has resulted in slightly cleaner sound without any apparent effect on the dynamics.

There is one exception, a minimalist British amplifier that sounds "unreal" (as in, artificial) when supplied through the mains filter. This amp is also very fussy about cables, source impedance etc.

BTW when new the CT mains filter cost about half as much as a pair of P3s - and all it has inside is a couple of capacitors and some hand-wound inductors.

Ideally the designer of an amplifier should provide it with whatever filtering is most appropriate - but I don't think that is common practice. It is interesting that old-fashioned bulky EI-core transformers are much better at screening out mains noise than toroidal type. See Rod Elliott's discussion of transformers. (http://sound.westhost.com/xfmr2.htm#11.3-otherloss)

I do wonder whether audiophile mains conditioning devices are priced based on perceived value. It would be interesting to try a high-quality computer UPS instead (i.e. one that regenerates the AC and outputs a pure sine wave)

STHLS5
20-01-2010, 08:53 AM
A few years ago I got my power conditioner and "believed" my sound really improved with it. Then one day I decided to connect my amp directly to the main and noticed harder bass and more dynamics. it was subtle and only noticeable at higher level of loudness.

This prompted me to write to my Amp manufacturer ( A canadian Amp) who replied that the Amp came with a power supply that was adequate to meet the challenges of common household supply however whether to use one or not (conditioners) is up to the individual preference. My Amp got a huge 6 or 7 inch toroidal transformer and 4 x 33000mF capacitors that sucks up 1500W. Since I am not sure whether to trust my ears or reviews I experimented with various power conditioners and finally decided that my Amp is better off connecting directly to the main.

However some of my equipments require 230V (my main is 240v) so I am using 2 huge transformers made for sensitive electronics equipments in the early 1980's. Both connected in series so that I can get a precise 230V for my pre, DAC, and CD player . But I do not think they make any difference to the sound. I am using the transformers just to ensure that the power supply do not exceed the stated specs.

Other than that, I have discarded reference interconnects and power cables. Ever wondered why the high end manufacturers provide a standard commercial off the shelf interconnects and power cables. i am sure if they made a huge difference then the manufacturer would have included a better cable and they probably can get it at 15% to 25% of the retail price. IMHO.

ST

harbethpr
20-01-2010, 10:13 AM
However some of my equipments require 230V (my main is 240v) so I am using 2 huge transformers made for sensitive electronics equipments in the early 1980's. Both connected in series so that I can get a precise 230V for my pre, DAC, and CD player . But I do not think they make any difference to the sound. I am using the transformers just to ensure that the power supply do not exceed the stated specs. ...Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

The European spec for mains voltage is here (The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)), It says that: The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)

All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.

STHLS5
20-01-2010, 10:28 AM
Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

......
All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.

Thanks for the warning. My transformer specs says it should able to handle 207 t0 253V i.e 10% variance at which it was set to give a constant 230V. I think most transformer (Voltage stabilizers do just that). Anyway, two qualified electrician certified they are safe to use. :)

ST

harbethpr
20-01-2010, 10:36 AM
Wait. Let me check this with you.

The issue is not about whether your transformer can take the high/low voltage. I'm sure that it can! But is it actually regulating the output according to the input? Unlikely unless the transformer has lots of electronics associated with it. Transformers are dumb. They don't know what the voltage coming in is. You'd need electronics to sense the actual voltage. My point is this ..... you think you have 240V mains arriving at your home and you say you are reducing that to 230V. Right? So you are dropping the voltage by 230/240 = about 4% because you think your gear needs exactly 230V.

In fact, the incoming mains is standardised in Europe at 230V, not 240V, and it can be supplied at +6% to -10% legally by your elect. company. It burns more fuel to generate 240V compared with 230V so it is unlikely that the elec. co. will deliver much more than 230V to you. They will almost certainly deliver less than 230V. And they can deliver as low as 230V -10% which is 207V. If they do send you 207V (which they legally can and will) then you are dropping that by 4% in your twin transformers and then giving your gear is 198.72V! So you have created your own voltage problem!! I'd get rid of both of those transformers and connect directly to the mains unless they are truly voltage regulators with electronics.

timbre
20-01-2010, 10:59 AM
Please be very careful about live mains voltages. 200V plus will kill. Users may be tempted to measure their mains voltage but this should only be done by qualified people.

Thanos
20-01-2010, 11:48 AM
Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

The European spec for mains voltage is here (The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)), It says that: The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)

All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.

Well,
this is exactly what both my technician and the McIntosh Labs N.Y. tech dept. told me about power conditioning.
Which, finally, made me regret for spending so much for the regenerator/stabiliser I bought (see above).
Their final comment was just to keep it for some extra safety in marginal conditions, given that, if I sold it, I would hardly get back half its price when bought.
As for the sound, no matter if you have a conditioned voltage & sinewave, you'd hardly notice any difference, except if you've paid a fortune and your components are more than sensitive to incoming AC current.
Their advice was found to be quite true after long listening experiments I did.
Power supplies are very good and widely tolerant nowadays. Today I used my volt-meter at the AC wall socket where from I get the current for my system, finding variations of less 7% (low) and 3% (high), no matter if both fridges, washing machine and the boiler were working or not.
One last detail is that I have drawn an independent line out and before my electrical panel board, to separately power up my devices, with an independent fuse and emergency relay of course. There, I also used a good quality shielded electric cable to come to the socket.
Hope these help a little,
Cheers,
Thanos

STHLS5
20-01-2010, 11:51 AM
You are right. They got electronics in it. The first transformer a Constant Voltage Transformer with 8 resonance capacitors accepts input 192 to 265V to output 220 or 240V. The second one also a British made voltage stabilizer which accept 195.5 to 241.5V to output a constant 230V but with more electronics and adjustable to required voltage. I have measured on a few occasions when the main is 248V and the lowest at 228V and on both occasions the output remained 230V.

ST