Frankly speaking, I had always been skeptical about the benefits of power conditioning - it had always been kinda "snake-oilish" to me and it was especially suspicious when a particular established distributor in Singapore persistently hawked a SGD2K+ power conditioner to me.
All is so, until I met James from My Sound Affairs, at the inaugural Can Jam 2016 Singapore. I saw his booth at Can Jam 2016 with his various offerings from his power products, DAC and music streamers. What caught my eyes was a real compact power conditioner - the PLiXiR Elite BAC 150, offered at an affordable price (as compared to the SGD2K+ monstrosity that I had been exposed to). Well, I was curious to experiment to see whether a power conditioner was useful and this fits the bill - compact and affordable. With a leap of faith, I purchased the the PLiXiR Elite BAC 150 along with 2 PLiXiR Elementa Power Cables. [Side note : Comically, I didn’t bring much cash and James offered to reserve the unit at the CanJam price for me to pick up at my convenience. Kudos to a kind seller for his generosity !].
With that, I collected the set of power conditioner and cables the following week. Before I tested these equipment, I listened to three tracks and noted down how they sounded like before I bade my generic power supply and cables good bye. Before I report the sound changes, let me state my setup - iMac -> AQ Jitterbug -> Forza Audio Works Copper Series Twin USB -> Schiit Yggdrasil -> Stager Silver Solids Balanced -> Schiit Ragnarok -> Std Cable -> Hifiman HE-1000. Also, it is worthwhile to note that I had patiently waited for the said equipment to experience a burn-in of ~140 hours before writing this review to let the sound changes settle down.
And here comes the interesting part - the sound changes.
First off, the background became blacker, if such a description was possible. As such, all the micro-details became more blissfully obvious. The blackground was already black before power conditioning, but with the PLiXiR Elite BAC 150 & cable changes, all the details just presented itself more naturally and effortlessly. Because of the darker background, it was as if the sound stage had expanded. In one of my tracks, I could literally feel the percussionist hit on the timpani. I could literally hear the difference in strength each time he strikes the timpani
Secondly, the bass became tighter and more authoritative. It must be noted that I am not saying that the bass became stronger, but it became more focused and presented itself in a way that does not detract the listener away from the rest of the instruments.
Lastly, the attack of the notes was sharper. One of my favorite vocalist is Tracy Huang and her 花言巧语 (Hua Yan Qiao Yu) is an evergreen. In this track, I could clearly hear each finger plucking of the guitar.
I didn’t expect how this would turn out. I had thought that I would have wasted my money with little to no change in sound quality, but I’m immensely pleased with what I hear. No matter what they anyone says, the change is noticeable to me and these will stay in my home setup.
For anyone else hesitant to try out power conditioning, contact James from My Sound Affairs, you will not regret it.