Powerline Accessory Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Dec 14, 2022  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2017  |  107 comments
CH Precision's P1 phono preamplifier, which I wrote about in the April 2017 issue, is not going back to its manufacturer. The longer I used it, the more obvious it became that I couldn't part with it, even though I said I couldn't afford it. The cost was stiff even at the accommodation price (at retail, the CH Precision P1 and its optional X1 power supply are $31,000 and $17,000, respectively, footnote 1), but I decided I could afford it, and bought it for myself as a 70th-birthday present. No, I can't hear as well as I did 30 years ago, but my listening is better than ever.
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  |  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.

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.
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.
Brian Damkroger  |  Apr 22, 2007  |  0 comments
I can't remember a time when I wasn't concerned about power quality. I grew up around finicky, home-brew ham-radio gear and labs full of instruments, and with both, power-conditioning gear was standard fare. When I moved into high-end audio, it seemed obvious that power quality was important. As a result, I've experimented with a wide range of power-conditioning equipment, from simple ferrite loops to huge isolation transformers, and even exotic laboratory power supplies that could vary the voltage, frequency spectrum, and shape of the AC signal.
Wes Phillips  |  Jan 11, 2004  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1999  |  0 comments
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.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Dec 17, 2012  |  26 comments
There never seem to be enough AC outlets, and when there are, they're not always easily accessible. I have two dedicated 15A duplex outlets at the power-amp end of my room, but a subwoofer and multiple power amps (up to three at a time) exhaust those facilities. What happens when I need to add a second subwoofer or other EQ? What do I do when I want to keep more than three amps cooking for quick comparisons?
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.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 09, 2016  |  5 comments
Are you old enough to remember when the wires connecting speakers to even the most expensive and sophisticated electronics were 16-gauge, multistrand lamp cord, and the terminals on speakers and amplifiers were just little screws? Sometimes those screws wouldn't even secure all of the wires' strands, but as long as loose strands from one screw didn't touch loose strands from the other, it was good enough . . . and back against the wall went your bookshelf speakers.
Wes Phillips  |  Sep 25, 2008  |  First Published: Nov 25, 1998  |  0 comments
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 piddling—so John began stentorophonically reciting rules from a mythical Guidebook for Audio Reviewers to gales of laughter all around.
Herb Reichert  |  Mar 30, 2017  |  36 comments
Some of our readers seem to believe that the essence of high-quality audio is disclosed primarily by science, and not by dreamy, bodice-ripping adventures that take place on plush carpets behind closed doors. Perhaps they're right. Unfortunately, I have had no personal experiences that confirm that hypothesis.
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.

Robert Deutsch  |  Oct 05, 2007  |  First Published: Sep 05, 2007  |  0 comments
Tweaks come and go. When a new one creates a buzz in audiophile circles, I generally prefer to wait and see if it's still around after the initial excitement has subsided. I'd heard about "audiophile" fuses some time ago, and although the likelihood of them making a significant difference didn't seem as farfetched as such tweaks as the "intelligent chip" or the "clever little clock," I didn't feel inclined to try them. I was persuaded otherwise by the confluence of two separate influences: a report by Michael Fremer, in the February 2007 Stereophile, that the HiFi-Tuning fuses produced a "subtle but noticeable" improvement in the sound of his Musical Fidelity kWP preamplifier; and an encounter at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show with Robert Stein of importer Ultra Systems (the HiFi-Tuning fuses are made in Germany), who said that they produced a big improvement and offered to send me some samples.

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