rlabarre Submits His Thoughts on the Audience aR2p Power Conditioner

On February 1st, Stereophile posted the Audience aR2p Adept Response Power Conditioner Sweepstakes that yielded a total of 213 entries. There was only one lucky winner. Here Stereophile.com member rlabarre shares his thoughts on his fortuitous prize.

rlabarre writes:

I recently completed a painstaking listen to my system, both with and without the Audience aR2p Adept Response power conditioner. This may be a little soon to be delivering listening impressions. I have less than 25 hours of use so far, and Audience recommends a good 75 more for adequate burn-in. In addition, I am using the battery-powered Red Wine Audio Liliana monoblocks that sound best when switched-off from their AC-charging units. Thus only my front end, the PS Audio PerfectWave Player with PerfectWave MarkII DAC, was tested with the aR2p.

Historically, I have been a Luddite regarding many of the accessories embraced by other audiophiles. I wasn’t expecting much at all from the aR2p. Not only is it small and simple in appearance, but I have never been able to pin any sonic benefit to the two power conditioners that I have used until now.

What I hear from my system now far belies its size and unremarkable appearance. An older friend once described a common acquaintance as a guy “with sand”. That was a completely new expression to me, but from his context, it was easy to guess. A person with sand is never one to be trifled with. They are exactly who they are, without apology or compromise. In short, they always play true.

This week I put the aR2p Adept Response on a similar plane. Good recordings played from my front-end plugged into the aR2p became noticeably more real, more alive, more exciting to listen to. Yes, “veils parted”. And that doesn’t happen for me because some dancing Salome is being artful and revealing some-but-not-all of her charms through her notorious seven. Rather, I require the Full Monty.

I hear a new dimensionality to my music now, along with increased refinement and definition of sound. This is particularly evident with textures, more colorful and complex, and more distinct in relief to other instruments. A similar nuance extends to transients at the beginnings of notes, as well as to the subtleties of extended decays. Hearing such a teasing-out and un-muddying of music on temporal and tonal planes has allowed me to transport myself deeper and more raptly into the thick of performances.

What’s not to love here?! Bottom line, if anyone one month ago tried to tell me that my system sounded a little congealed for the make and quality of components that comprise it, I would have laughed at them. This single tweak proved all of that and more.

Kudos to Audience for their stunning achievement with the aR2p! And thanks, ever, to Stereophile for this sweepstakes prize and for facilitating a sea change in what I believed yet remained for me to improve on this sound system of mine!

roscoeiii's picture

The Audience seems like a great piece of gear from your description. I have been trying to decide whether or not to downsize in my power conditioning to free up funds for other purchases. Wonder how things will sound going from a Equitech balanced conditioner or a Running Springs Haley to an Audience and a good power strip...

rlabarre's picture

Wouldn't know how to advise you there. What I do know is that someone on PS Audio's community forum has been supplementing their aR2p with one of PS Audio's power generating plants, they claim with added benefit. I also know that opinions about power conditioning are all over the map. It's hard to know without auditioning with your own ears, and on your own system.

Audio Legend's picture

I would strongly suggest upgrading the stock power cords for your PS Audio components.

Nothing crazy, a couple of Shunyata Venom 3s, or two Element Cable Red Storms.

You will definitely hear a difference, for not a big investment.

rlabarre's picture

Ah, you noticed the stock power cords! As mentioned in the comments about the aR2p, I have been late to buy into sonic benefits of certain tweaks. Yes, upgraded cabling will certainly follow. So, too, a dedicated audio rack.

All in good time...

Audio Legend's picture

Yes, everything in due time...!

Well, take my word, you don'thave to spend much. Check out DH Labs, Element Cable, and a bunch others who have very fairly priced AC cords...all under $100. As a matter of fact you may want to check out PS Audio's budget line as well.

Best of luck.

Et Quelle's picture

Buy a conditioner with battery backup. You can play your tunes of battery power. This is obviously a bonus if the power goes out and improves sound quality according to mags and Co.s. Buy a big Fuhrman?