Nov 2015 / Elementa Power series

Overall sound was more lifelike, fleshed out, compared to before. More three dimensional.

My last encounter with a Plixir product by James from Sound Affair was a customized external DC Supply for my Wyred 4 Sound MS-2 Music Server. The Plixir power supply took my W4S MS-2 to a wonderful level of performance and I have been enjoying it ever since. Then one fine day, I received a Whatsapp from James. The summary of the message was whether would I like to have a listen to his Plixir BAC3000 AC Power Conditioner. He has one on hand and could loan it to me for a trial. I told him that it was really bad of him to tempt me. You see, I try not to spend too much money on my system,
especially when I am now blissfully unaware of any need to enhance or upgrade it. I was quite happy with the musical presentation that my system gave me. Just like Bruno Mars' "Just  The Way You Are", it is perfect just the way it is. Nonetheless, I agreed to have a listen to it. I was also determined not to like it, and to look out for any issue with it. Note that I have PS Audio Duet and Shunyata Hydra 2 providing AC conditioning in my system.

When I collected the BAC3000, first impression was that it was a chunky and heavy black box. James told me that it weighs 20kg. Good thing I was able to put my workouts in the gym to good use. As with any auditioning, I would first proceed to listen to my system so as to reacquaint myself on the sound
quality and musical presentation. This time, I took pain to listen out for the usual audiophile desired qualities of an audio system. The frequency ranges, sound stage, depth, pace, rhythm, clarity, musicality, etc. Once I have given myself sufficient time, and noted down a playlist of songs and
music to serve as reference pieces for the audition, I started the painful process of unplugging the various power cords from my PS Audio Duet (the Shunyata Hydra 2 is still in place even for the Plixir BAC3000) and reconnect them to the Plixir. Painful because of the location that I relegated these power cords to, which was behind my system rack. Suffice to say it required stretching and bending over at odd angles to get at them.Then it was back to the auditioning now with the Plixir BAC3000 in place. I
will start with the most apparent change to the least. But all these are noticeable changes nonetheless.

The most immediate change was an enhanced sense of silence. Whether is it between songs or within a song, this enhanced sense of quietness allowed me to hear all musical notes and passages better, especially at low listening volumes. Typically, I would need to crank up the volume in order to hear
more of the various frequencies from my system, especially the bass region. This is primarily due to physics. My stand-mounted Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors could only deliver so much bass frequencies from their smallish woofers. Nonetheless, with the Plixir BAC3000 in the system, I was able to hear more with less volume.

The next immediate change noted was better grip on the lower frequencies by my Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor. This was most apparent on the track "Way Down Deep" by Jennifer Warnes. Before, although the speakers could reproduce the low notes, they seemed somewhat flabbier and muddier compared to now with the Plixir in place. Now, each low note is tight and clear, with no overhang but with the reverberation that the recording captured. The Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor is a standmount, and could deliver good solid bass when required, although limited by the physical size of the woofer and
physics itself. I have never felt the need for deeper or greater amount of bass. With the Plixir in place, the Cremona Auditor was able to deliver seemingly more. Interesting. I would attribute this to perhaps a further degree of clearing up of the audio noises delivered to my system from the electrical mains.

The next observation was that the overall sound was more lifelike, fleshed out, compared to before. More three dimensional. The highs, especially in cymbals and strings, have a solid feel besides conveying the frequencies. In Boyce Avenue's Imagine Dragon cover of "Demons", I could distinctly hear the impact of Daniel Manzano's hand against the cymbal. In "Skyscraper", the performers' space around each other and their interaction with the room could easily be discerned. The added information was quite revealing of what the Plixir did with the cleaning up of the power supplies to my system.

Clarity was another area that has improved a notch, compared to before. So it was obvious that the Plixir BAC3000 was able to surpass PS Audio Duet's ability to clean up the electrical current. Nothing more to add, except that it did it very well. Clear delineation of performers, the space around them,
etc. The clear reverberation of guitar strings after being struck or plucked. All these conveyed just how the musical information was clearly delivered to the listener.

The final aspect that literally jumped out at me was dynamics. The music just flowed more effortlessly, swinging from pianissimo to forte when required. Having said that, it was not a huge huge jump. But it was enough to be noticed. Which made me realized that perhaps the PS Audio Duet was somehow restricting my system's dynamics in a small way, even though I had thought that it did not.

It never failed to amaze me just what a well built and designed power conditioner can do to an audio or video system. So, the net effect of the Plixir BAC3000 on my audio system was that it actually improved my system's performance. Which means I am now happier with it than before. Which also means I failed to dislike the Plixir BAC3000. As much as I want to, I could not. And, as much as I did not want to, I have to now spend money to buy the Plixir BAC3000. What it did to my system was something that I now could not live without. So I was angry with James for getting me to listen to the Plixir BAC3000 and ending up spending money, but I was also grateful because it brought out the potential of my system. Good job James, and thanks!

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