The PLC Thingee and FX-2 Powerline Conditioners
Here at Blue Circle we really pride ourselves on offering excellent value for money. We also try to listen to our customers as they are
the reason that we do what we do. So when a customer put a post on our forum back in February of 2009, we listened and we
responded. This customer asked if we could build him a line conditioner similar to the BC6000, but at a more affordable price. That
same day Gilbert Yeung, the Blue Circle designer, had a prototype built; and it was... well let’s just say that it wasn’t the most elegant
piece of audio gear in the world. Instead of using a nice metal case, Gilbert housed the unit in a section of four inch ABS pipe. Rather
than a flashy faceplate, he sealed both ends of the pipe with silicone. His reasoning was simple. If the customer was primarily
interested in high performance, but at a low cost, and was not too concerned about cosmetics, this
was a way to meet his needs. After all, line conditioners can sit behind the audio rack anyway.
Prior to the introduction of the PLC Thingee, the venerable BC86MKIII (affectionately known as the Noise Hound) was our best selling
line conditioner. By using the ABS housing, we were able to give the PLC Thingee the filtering of no less than three Noise Hounds,
and offer it at a lower price. It was an instant hit. What started out as a response to a single customer`s needs has now (along with
its big brother the FX-2) blossomed into our best-selling line of conditioners. Listening to your customers really does pay off.
The PLC Thingee comes in two standard versions: four outlets and six outlets. More outlets are available upon request. The Thingee
is absolutely noncurrent limiting. It will never restrict the dynamics of even the most power-hungry amp. The Thingee may not be the
prettiest girl at the dance, but from a performance perspective, the Thingee is stunning. The outlets are all high-quality industrial grade.
All the internal wiring is double runs of 14 AWG solid copper connecting the IEC power inlet, the filter networks, and the industrial
outlets. Extremely short current paths, coupled with the double 14 gage wire, means that from a resistance perspective, these units
are virtually invisible.
And they are rugged. You do not have to worry about anything sitting on top of them and causing damage. You also don`t have to worry
about them rolling around, despite their cylindrical shape. Once the power cord is connected, and one or more components are plugged
in, the Thingee is very stable; it is not going anywhere. The Thingee comes with a standard issue 14 AWG power cord, but if you want
to upgrade, it will accept a BC61 or a BC62.
The PLC FX-2. Think of the FX-2 as a beefed up basic PLC Thingee..Think of the FX-2 as a beefed up PLC Thingee. The FX-2, as its
name suggests, has twice the filtering of the PLC Thingee; that’s more than six Noise Hounds! Like the Thingee, it is housed in an ABS
pipe and sealed with silicone. It too comes in four or six-outlet versions (more outlets are available) and it has the same heavy-duty
internal wiring, the same high-quality industrial outlets, and it is absolutely noncurrent limiting. The breaker at your main panel will trip
before the FX-2 even gets warm. This unassuming little filter has been favorably compared to PLCs costing many times its very
The BC60X1 and BC30X1 are our reference powerline conditioners.For many of us, they are not affordable. Using the FX-2 as a starting
point, you can build yourself a “poor-man’s” version of these exceptional line conditioners at a much lower cost.
It has been more than 20 years since Blue Circle built its first PLC. Over that time we have seen many changes in the type of noise
products that pollute the power grid. Originally, the main source of noise was from RFI and EMI. This noise tended to be in the radio
frequency (RF) range, from about 50 kHz to a few hundred MHz. Then some years ago we found that some of the devices that we were
introducing into our homes were adding a new, lower-requency noise product to the mix. Things like switch-mode power supplies
(SMPS), light dimmers, LED and CFL lighting were producing noise at a much lower frequency,from about 5 kHz up to about 50 kHz.
Our answer to this new challenge was the X1e low-frequency filter module that we developed for our BC60X1 reference-quality PLC. But,
this low-frequency filter network costs (just by itself) about a thousand bucks. Gilbert being Gilbert decided that he had to come up with
something more affordable and the X0e low-frequency filter module was born. This LF filter network is a scaled down version of the X1e
that still performed amazingly well. The FX-2 can now be ordered with an X0e LF filter onboard. In fact, the FX-2 with the X0e is by far our
best-selling PLC. You really should read the reviews on our product review page. In almost every case the reviewer wouldn’t send it back
to us; they ended up buying it for themselves.
Soundstage Review.. PF Online.
It would be nice if things would stand still for a while, but they don’t. The noise soundscape keeps changing. A new source of noise has
recently appeared on our radar and surprisingly, the source of this noise is our own equipment. Computer-based music devices such as
laptops, streamers and media servers are the main culprits. And this noise is at a much higher frequency than we have seen in the past;
up above 750 MHz, in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) range. That is the bad news and now here is the good news:
After a fair bit of research and (as is usual with Gilbert) a lot of playing around, we have come up with an amazing new addition to the
Thingee and FX-2 PLCs. Gilbert calls this new UHF filter the CxT Ultrahigh-Frequency Filter Module. CxT stands for Cross Hybrid
Transfer and is exclusive to Blue Circle Audio. Specially selected materials are formed into tubes that wrap around the filter’s internal
wiring and actually absorb this UHF noise. There is a small air gap between the tube and the wire that we fill with non-conductive
silicone. The filtering tubes do not come in direct contact with the wiring.
And here is the better news: Gilbert has found a way to produce these CXT filter tubes so inexpensively that we have been able to
introduce them into both the Thingee and the FX-2 without increasing the price! How is that for great news? This is a first even for us.
The 60X1 and 30X1 both employ the X1e low-frequency filter module. As mentioned earlier, the X0e is a much more affordable version of
the X1e. The X0e can be built inside the FX-2 to widen its filtering spectrum, but for those who are using a basic Thingee or an FX-2
without the X0e, it can also be purchased as an add-on plug-in. The X0e can also be used with many other brands of PLCs. The plug-in
version comes with one duplex outlet, two duplex outlets, or no outlets at all. The power cord is hardwired and very short at just 3
inches. This is for impedance matching. Longer cords can be used but some re-engineering will be required.
You can also add balanced power to the FX-2 by connecting a TPX120 balanced-power module. Balanced power gives you ±60 V
instead of 120 V to ground. It also provides a type of filtering called common-mode rejection or CMR. Refer to our BC60X1 for a more
detailed explanation of CMR. The TPX120 is an external plug-in balanced-power module that is rated at 120 W. It is basically the
same module that is included inside the BC30X1. It can be looked at as either a two-outlet or four-outlet device. Whenever you work
with balanced power where both terminals are hot, you need a GFCI. The GFCI will trip and cut off power to the all the outlets in the
TPX120 if there is a current imbalance due to a ground fault. The GFCI is about as good as any standard wall outlet. You are welcome
to use it but it is not as good as the industrial outlet beside it. The GFCI is the white outlet in the picture below.
So, starting with either a PLC Thingee or an FX-2, by adding the X0e and/or the TPX-120, for a fraction of the price, you have much of
the performance of a BC30X1. What you won’t get is a nice metal case or a fancy faceplate. But like we said earlier, it can just sit
behind the audio rack and perform.
Housing is thick-walled ABS pipe for durability, strength, and to keep costs down
Outlets are high-quality industrial grade. Hospital grade is special order.
All PLC Thingees and FX-2 line conditioners are absolutely noncurrent limiting
PLC Thingee basic is 4.5” diameter by 4.25” long
PLC FX-2 is 4.5” diameter by 5” long
PLC FX-2 with X0e is 4.5” diameter by 6.375” long
Plug-in X0e module is 2 3/8”: diameter by 5” long
The TPX120 is limited to a total load of 120 W
Both the X0e and TPX120 plug-ins have 3 inch hardwired power cords