Powerline Accessory Reviews

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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.
Art Dudley  |  Apr 13, 2003  |  0 comments
We were having trouble with the power in our home—the wall current, I mean, not the dynamics of our marriage—so I called the local utility. While the technician was here, he let me watch what he was doing. I had a chance to look inside our meter box, which is the junction between the utility's power lines and the circuit-breaker box in the cellar.
Art Dudley  |  Dec 23, 2009  |  0 comments
She responds as expected to the only sound: hysterical voices!—Brian Eno
Art Dudley  |  Dec 20, 2010  |  11 comments
When you play recorded music, you have before you a work of art with almost no physical existence at all; reconstituting it requires electricity, which will itself imitate the musical continuum represented by the bumps in the groove or the zeros in the datastream. When you listen to recorded music, you are listening to your household AC, and better AC equals better playback. That sounds obvious to me and you, even as it sends the technocodgers into paroxysms of puritanical indignation.
Chip Stern  |  Jun 22, 2003  |  0 comments
It's a simple premise: power corrupts. You can buy the finest audio components in the world, but if the foundation of your aural house is rotten, you won't get anything vaguely resembling the level of performance your gear was designed to provide. Over time, I've come to realize just how fragile the audio signal chain is, dependent as it is on electrical sources fatally compromised by all manner of aural schmutz pouring through the local grid. I've become obsessed with figuring out how to liberate my system from the line noise, reactive loads, and voltage anomalies that veil the presentation, obscure resolution, and limit dynamic range.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Aug 31, 2017  |  7 comments
It's time to fulfill my promise to write about Playback Designs' Sonoma Syrah music server and Sonoma Merlot DAC. It all began when I asked Playback's founder and CEO, engineer Andreas Koch, when he plans to produce a multichannel digital-to-analog converter—a question I've put to so many other manufacturers. He said that he already had a multichannel system on the drawing board, and not just a DAC. Our e-mail exchange culminated in his announcement of the Playback Designs USB-XIII Digital Interface, to be used between a USB source component and as many as three DACs via PLink, Playback's proprietary fiber-optic connection.
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.
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?

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.
Robert Deutsch  |  Dec 19, 1999  |  1 comments
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).
Jim Austin  |  Jun 21, 2016  |  6 comments
Stereophile hasn't reviewed a PS Audio power regenerator since February 2009, when Robert Deutsch tried the company's then-flagship, the Power Plant Premier ($2195). But earlier this year, as I prepared to write my review of PS Audio's NuWave DSD DAC (published in the May 2016 issue), a perfect opportunity to revisit the line came about: I read, in the owner's manual for the PSA DAC, that "power conditioners and the quality of the AC power can make a significant difference in sound quality." Eager to help the NuWave DSD put its best foot forward, I asked PS Audio to assist me in dealing with my AC power, which is marginal here in crowded New York City. They sent me their PerfectWave P10 Power Plant AC Regenerator ($4999)—and John Atkinson asked me to spill some ink on this most recent of the company's clean-power flagships.
Robert Deutsch  |  Feb 18, 2009  |  0 comments
Determining whether an idea is brilliant or off the wall is often a matter of perspective—and of looking at the results that follow from the idea. Take the notion of AC regeneration. AC is what comes from the wall socket, courtesy a network of power-generation plants, and it's specified as having a certain voltage and frequency, with the amount of current limited by fuses or circuit breakers in the electrical panel of the house or apartment. Audio components—other than those powered by batteries—are designed to convert this alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), then produce variable AC that drives the speakers to produce a facsimile of that signal. In short, AC provides the raw material used by audio components to do their job.
Robert Deutsch  |  Feb 22, 2009  |  0 comments
PS Audio's Power Plant Premier is a high-end product that takes the regeneration approach in providing audio/video gear with the cleanest AC possible. But not everyone can afford to spend $2195 on such a product, and although the new amplifier design that forms the basis of the Premier is relatively efficient, it does use power, and concern about conservation of the planet's energy resources might lead one to prefer a passive approach to power-line treatment. PS Audio's line of Power Centers provides such an alternative. The model I had for review was the Quintet Power Center, which differs from the Duet Power Center only in having five pairs of receptacles to the Duet's two.
Robert Deutsch  |  Dec 02, 2001  |  0 comments
PS Audio's Power Plant AC-regeneration devices have taken the audio and home-theater worlds by storm. The P300 was voted 2000 Accessory of the Year in Stereophile (December 2000), and the P600 won the Editors' Choice Platinum Award in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater (January 2001). The Power Plant differs from conventional power-line conditioners (PLCs) in that it doesn't just "clean up" AC but actually synthesizes (or regenerates) it. Each Power Plant is essentially a special-purpose amplifier, producing AC to run the equipment plugged into it, the maximum output wattage indicated by the model number. (The most powerful Power Plant available is the P1200, which produces 1200W.)
Jonathan Scull  |  Jun 12, 2000  |  1 comments
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."

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