Powerline Accessory Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2022  |  8 comments
Whenever I do turntable-setup seminars, I complain to the participants about the lack of cartridge-pin diameter and clip-opening standards. Anyone who does their own setup has experienced it: The connection is too tight or too loose. Forcing the clip onto the pin usually results in a broken-off clip that most end users don't have the soldering skills needed to repair; in the worst case, it can even result in damage to the cartridge when you try to remove the clip from the pin.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jul 08, 2022  |  74 comments
The Kingdom of Audiophiledom rests on a paradox. Inanimate audio systems and rooms aim to deliver music that animates our senses and touches our souls. The inherently lifeless exists to bring music to life.

This holistic reality—that systems and rooms function as living organisms where every part is interconnected and interrelated—came home to me when, during one of the first AXPONAs in Chicago, I entered a long, cavernous basement room with several spongy "conference room" walls. "There is no way that any setup can deliver good sound in this room," self said to self. Yet, the system sounded unbelievably good.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 11, 2022  |  First Published: May 01, 2018  |  36 comments
Peter Ledermann, founder and chief designer of Soundsmith, Inc., began his adventures in phono cartridges by reverse-engineering Bang & Olufsen's Moving Micro-Cross moving-iron cartridges for customers B&O had abandoned when it got out of the LP player business, and putting them into production. The B&O cartridges were of the direct plug-in variety; once they were no longer made, a worn or broken B&O cartridge would render a B&O turntable unusable.
Michael Fremer  |  Dec 07, 2021  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2018  |  11 comments
Why am I once again falling down the rabbit hole of alternating current? A while back, I committed to listening to SMc Audio's AC Nexus power conditioner, designed by SMc founder Steve McCormack and distributed by dealer Hi Fi One.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 19, 2021  |  60 comments
Rex Hungerford, Edward DeVito, and Craig Bradley rode into town last week and, together with Audioquest's Garth Powell, solved all the electrical problems that have plagued my audio system for years.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 02, 2021  |  10 comments
Stereophile's August 2021 issue contained further looks and listens to two high-performance products: the Audio Research REF 6SE line preamplifier and the AudioQuest Niagara 3000 Low-Z Power Noise-Dissipation System.
Brian Damkroger  |  Apr 30, 2021  |  115 comments
Shunyata Research is the brainchild of Caelin Gabriel, whose résumé includes stints at NSA, in military R&D, and in the computer industry, first digging weak signals out of noise then developing very high-speed network devices. He is also a lifelong audiophile.

Shunyata's roots are in the scientific understanding and engineering base Gabriel has developed during his career. I've long been impressed by those scientific underpinnings—which extend not only in audio but also to other fields including medical devices—and by how open the company is in talking about its technologies.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 30, 2021  |  14 comments
I'm waiting for a bypass.

My heart did not attack me. My arteries aren't clogged. I'm awaiting an electrical bypass to save my audio system's life.

Tom Gibbs  |  Dec 11, 2020  |  67 comments
It stands to reason that any audiophile system would benefit from improved AC power. The rooms in most older homes are equipped with a single duplex receptacle on each wall, maybe two per wall in homes employing more modern construction practices. Behind the wall you're likely to find standard 14-gauge Romex, passing through via receptacles that typically sell for about a buck each. The electrical work meets local code, but audiophiles aren't involved in setting local electrical codes.
Barry Willis  |  Apr 09, 2019  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1994  |  5 comments
One evening late last summer I took the most expensive workout of my life. In my hurry to meet a friend at the gym, I left the house, leaving my computer and hi-fi on despite the ominous look of the sky. In the South, experience teaches you to dash about disconnecting everything at the first sign of a thunderstorm. Usually I do, but this time my mind was elsewhere.
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 02, 2019  |  27 comments
In the November 2018 issue of Stereophile, Jim Austin reviewed PS Audio's DirectStream Power Plant P20 AC regenerator ($9999). PS Audio had sent me the less expensive DirectStream Power Plant 12 ($4999), hence this review.

Why use an AC regenerator rather than plugging components straight into the wall?

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  27 comments
As a longtime user of Nordost's cable and AC-power products, my ears opened wide when they released their three QKore Ground Units and QKore Wire at High End 2017, in Munich. While I've never questioned the importance of proper electrical grounding, to prevent problems with safety and noise—the latter including measurable noise generated by transformers, appliances, LED lighting, power supplies, and Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular devices—I couldn't fathom what difference a passive grounding device might make in a high-end system that, in my case, is fed by an 8-gauge dedicated line with its own copper ground rod driven into the terra infirma of the fault-ridden Pacific Northwest.
Jim Austin  |  Nov 06, 2018  |  7 comments
When I reviewed PS Audio's PerfectWave P10 Power Plant AC Regenerator,1 I found that it significantly improved the way music sounded through my system. I bought one. The main limitations I found with the P10 were its power—a maximum continuous load of 1200 volt-amps (VA, footnote 1)—and the number of AC outlets it provides: 10. When driving a 4 ohm load at even half its rated power, one PS Audio BHK 300 monoblock consumes 800W—and while 10 outlets sounds like a lot, I've run out more than once.
Herb Reichert  |  Jul 24, 2018  |  31 comments
Before I spin this 23rd edition of "Gramophone Dreams," I must ask: How many of you are using zip-cord as your speaker cables? RadioShack interconnects? Those black universal 18/3 power cords that come standard with virtually every audio amplifier?

AudioQuest Storm Tornado/High-Current power cord
A few months after I wrote about AudioQuest's Niagara 1000 power-line conditioner ($1000), my friend Sphere asked if I'd ever then removed the Niagara from my system, listened, and still thought it improved the sound.

Art Dudley  |  Jun 19, 2018  |  55 comments
In the rural home in Cherry Valley, NY that my family and I inhabited from 2003 to 2017, we had dirty water but clean electricity. Evidence of the latter was seen in the results of tests performed by a technician from the local utility, National Grid—I told him I intended to do commercial sound recording on site, which was close enough to the truth that I considered my sin venal rather than mortal—and heard in the sound of my playback system, which rejected as superfluous or worse all of the AC-conditioning products I tried there.

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