PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan
Back in the 90s, when we first started investigating the importance of AC power, we were shocked to find major sonic changes when running our equipment’s AC power through a conditioner.
Relative to plugging straight into the wall AC socket, running the AC through a passive line conditioner we immediately noticed music was cleaner, quieter, and with less fatigue.
This revelation had multiple implications. First, it was a serious shock (not to make a pun) to our worldview of what mattered in HiFi sound. We had always taken for granted that what came out of the wall didn’t really matter. (And we were not alone. Our old friend, the late Bill Johnson of Audio Research, went to his grave believing that neither cables nor AC impedance mattered)
Second, while the aforementioned positive benefits were pleasing, they came at a cost. Stripped from the music were harmonic overtones—simple to hear when playing back a close-miked acoustic guitar—and dynamics were stifled as well.
Polite, yes. But, as card-carrying audiophiles, why would we be willing to trade one set of standards for another? We want it all. Cake and icing!
It wasn’t until we heard the first versions of regulated AC power via the Power Plant that we realized we could have everything.
Better or just different?
It pays to listen deeply once the shine of different wears thin.