Powerline Accessory Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Oct 19, 2021  |  27 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.
Robert Deutsch  |  Apr 02, 2019  |  26 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  |  26 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  |  54 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.
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.
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.
Larry Greenhill  |  Feb 28, 2017  |  4 comments
Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines tot as "1: a small child: TODDLER; 2: a small drink or allowance of liquor: SHOT." Torus Power used it to name their compact line of toroidal power conditioners. Although small in size, weight, and price, the TOT AVR includes the Automatic Voltage Regulation referred to in its name, as well as noise filtering and smart Ethernet control, and is available with series-mode surge suppression (SMSS) circuit protection.
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.
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.

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