The Richard Gray's Power Company 400S arrived on the audiophile scene last year with a bang. Weighing in at a hefty 20 lbs and at $700 a pop, this four-outlet power conditioner, according to the paperwork, "effectively 'positions' audio, video, and home theater equipment 'electronically closer' to your utility company transformer, without introducing any type of series electronic 'traps' or capacitors into the circuit, which we feel degrade the performance of certain equipment, and severely limit the amount of current they can handle."
Although advertising copywriters would have us believe otherwise, there is not a lot of true innovation in audio. Most audio products are based on well-established principles, perhaps refined in detail and execution. Of course, some products do take novel approaches, but they tend to be too off-the-wall to be taken seriously, or simply don't do the job as well as more conventional products. What's really exciting is to encounter a product that is audaciously original in concept, yet makes so much sense that you wonder why no one even thought of it before (footnote 1).
Considering that not that long ago there wasn't even a product category for balanced AC line conditioners, we seem to now enjoy a plethora of the critters. Cinepro offers the PowerPRO 20 (reviewed in Stereophile, November 1998, Vol.21 No.11). And Equi=Tech, which caters more toward the pro end of the field, offers one that I have yet to hear. Now Audio Power Industries weighs in with their own approach to the genre.
Any difference that is at all audible must be treated as though it is huge!" John Atkinson declaimed, as Tom Norton and I rolled on the floor laughing. It was a slow day around the Stereophile offices, and the startlingly huge differences that our colleague was describing did strike us as rather piddlingso John began stentorophonically reciting rules from a mythical Guidebook for Audio Reviewers to gales of laughter all around.
The most important change made to the system was one that held up the writing of my review of the Mark Levinson No.23.5 power amplifier for several months, such was its anticipated impact. Though my listening room is well-equipped with wall sockets, there are actually only two 15A circuits serving these outlets. Ever since I had converted what had hitherto been our house's master bedroom into my listening room, I had intended to run new circuits to it.