Foreign-market-only components and step-down transformers

How have your experiences been with purchasing of product designed for foreign markets only?

I am aware a step-down transformer is a simple fix for units without universal voltage switches, but wondering if this has ever proven a problem. Are the step down transformers noisy? Do they get cautiously hot? Do they affect performance of a device? Will this translate into sonic degradation?

I’m interested in experiences with both the units themselves as well as any issues folk have had with the step-down transformers.

There’s some exciting product from various manufacturers that were never exported- some beautiful product by Teac, this nifty top load CD player by Sony, a Marantz amplifier with a temperature gauge built into it’s face, the legendary Yamaha GT-2000 turntable….

I’d love to hear your experiences and if you have pictures of your esoteric grey Market gear, that’s icing on the cake.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
I am paging @Ds2000 to see if he would be willing to share some gleaned knowledge. He is a prolific fan of Japanese domestic gear and a user of step down converters.

I also use and have used quite a few and in my experience at least have found no issues going step down. But I have reservations going step up.
 
120-100 is fine for step-down transformers, the smaller stuff can run on 300va units. Stick with Nissyo as a brand, they are good.
For bigger amps, look for the green box 1500-2000va Nissyo motor run step-downs. They won’t act as a choke, and can run at their rating continuously.
Normal integrated amps will be fine with the 550va Nissyo units.
220-120 isn’t something I’m willing to own, it’s a big step and I definitely worry about those step-downs acting as a choke.
 
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120-100 is fine for step-down transformers, the smaller stuff can run on 300va units. Stick with Nissyo as a brand, they are good.
For bigger amps, look for the green box 1500-2000va Nissyo motor run step- downs. They won’t act as a choke, and can run at their rating continuously.
Normal integrated amps will be fine with the 550va Nissyo units.
220-120 isn’t something I’m willing to own, it’s a big step and I definitely worry about those step-downs acting as a choke.
This is very helpful. I’ve toyed with the idea of a power amp (approx. 120wpc) and things like unique CD Players, pre-amps, and turntable drive units. Sounds like the preamps, turntables and CD players won’t tax a step-down transformer much. The amplifier, while do-able, a bit more demanding of a step-down transformer and worthy one of the more robust versions you have suggested.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I'm running the denon DP-80 on a step-down and it works perfectly. I also have a (currently on loan) Japanese-market Sansui AU-D607 integrated which is 100v, but always ran it on 120 without issue (as had the previous owner). My tech ran it on 120 for quite a few hours to test. When he checked temperatures and they were well within the proper range he said he couldn't really see any point to the transformer.
 
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