Jul 2018 / Elite Power series

Product of the Year 2018 - Germany LPs Magazine

Translated from Germany LPs Magazine - April 2018

The Power of Cleaning

Clean electrical power supply to our equipment is naturally a recurring topic.  There are some things that we can do to achieve clear improvements.  And some of these things that can be done are extremely simple - and efficient.

Reinhold Schafer of bFly-audio has presented his latest product: the Plixir power conditioner.  Reinhold Schafer is also known for his sound absorbers and equipment stands, and also for his excellent tube phono stages (which we recently tested).

These power conditioners are nothing more than separation transformers which are placed between the noisy and overburdened electrical supply and our sensitive audio components.  I should emphasize that it is sensible not to use cannons to shoot sparrows.  Start with the most sensitive component in your system.  In 99% of cases, this would be the phono stage.  You can start with a small Plixir and connect your turntable and phono stage to it to clean the power supply. 

The Plixir transformers come from the UK firm Noratel, which has almost a century's experience with the manufacture of transformers.  Plixir, which comes from Singapore, buys the Noratel XQ-Core-Transformers and places it in an expensive and beautifully manufactured housing. 

Since everything must have a name, the transformer is called "PureTone Sound Quality" by the manufacturer. This simply means that the transformer has a symmetrical construction, which leads to higher inductivity to eliminate electrical noise - this means that hum can finally be relegated to the past.  With the 2 smaller models - which are rated 150 and 400 Watts - hum is probably not so significant.  But by the larger models, which can be connected to integrated and power amplifiers, this is very important.  The output impedance of the Plixir conditioner is extremely low, so that there is no power compression effect.

Next I became curious but I destroyed my measuring system through a mistaken setup.  So I could only do an indirect measurement.  The sine-wave that comes out of a phono stage which is connected to a Plixir looks significantly cleaner.  The measurement of the peak to peak voltage displays a considerable reduction of hum in the signal - sometimes more than 4-5dB, even though we used shielded power cables throughout.

Moving on to the system.  Depending on the time of day, the power supply in Duisburg contains high levels of noise, which results in flat and uni-dimensional sound.  When we plugged the phono stage (Qualiton Phono EAR 324) into the Plixir, we were rewarded with significant success.  The dynamics were much better, the soundstage was deeper, and the background darker.  All in all, the performance was one class better than without the Plixir.  Even in the evening, when the power supply is quieter, one notices better structure in the playback.  The results using the Plixir on power amplifiers are not so dramatic, but the improvement is still clearly audible.  You can also try to plug the turntable into the Plixir as this can give a big improvement for the turntable motor.

Thomas Schmidt

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